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Heidi McLean

The paid sick leave debate rages on: Here’s what you need to know

The paid sick leave debate rages on: Here’s what you need to know 3000 2000 Heidi McLean

The U.S. ranks among the 13% of countries who do not mandate paid sick leave despite the fact that Americans work longer hours and have more stress-related illnesses than their European and Japanese counterparts. While the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does prohibit penalties for people who take time off to care for a sick/new family member, it doesn’t guarantee the time will be paid. With cities passing their own paid sick leave ordinances while states push back and states passing laws despite the federal position, the debate rages on.

What do proponents of paid sick leave say?

1. Employees with paid sick leave take better care of their health

Financial concerns loom for those without paid sick leave, but when workers have paid leave they are more likely to get annual physicals and take preventative measures such as flu shots and mammograms. In short, workers with more paid sick leave are more likely to take care of their health.

2. It protects workers

Clearly not having to miss wages due to a bad case of the flu is beneficial for the worker herself, but some say benefits cascade from there. The workers left in the office stay healthier too because people aren’t as likely to bring their germs into work to share more liberally than holiday fruit baskets.

3. It’s good for employers

It may seem counterintuitive, but some estimates say one of the biggest beneficiaries of mandatory paid sick leave is employers themselves. That’s because offering a solid paid sick leave policy may actually lead to fewer absences and higher productivity. When workers take the time to recover, they can also get back in the game quicker and be more effective. They also argue that people with space to care for their physical and mental health are better employees. Some argue that if workers had more sick leave days, they wouldn’t be quite as likely to come to work sick in order to protect those coveted vacation days.

4. Mental health is an important consideration, too

Eliminating mental health stigma and allowing mental health days into the equation may make people less likely to lie about why they’re taking a day off. An employee on the verge of burnout could simply say, “If I don’t get a little distance from things in the office, I’m not going to be able to do my best work. This job is important to me and the team deserves my best.” Surely that’s preferable to an oddly specific description of their employee’s digestive issues and better for team morale and productivity, too.

What do opponents of paid sick leave say?

1. People abuse it

They’re sick all right…sick of working. Employees misuse paid sick leave with little remorse, using it to go to the Renaissance Fair or on a vacation. Such abuse, which Oregon describes as “repeated use of unscheduled sick time on or adjacent to weekends, holidays, vacation, or pay day, regardless of the number of consecutive days,” may be rampant. Judging by these related searches that came up when I googled “fake sick days,” this is an entirely legitimate concern. Some people approach their excuses with the discipline of a competitive sport.

 

2. It violates business rights and economic success

It should be up to companies to decide how to take care of their employees. Not only is it unfair and debatably illegal to require companies to provide paid sick leave, it can be damaging to businesses, which are at the heart of a state’s economic success. Tracking sick leave is an expensive, complex process. That cost may also get passed on in the form of more expensive goods or services. A better alternative Lisa Horn, director of congressional affairs for the Society for Human Resource Management, says, is a pre-emption bill. The idea is to set a minimum to the voluntary amount of paid sick leave employers could offer. When met, companies would be exempt from local or state mandates. Horn argues that this would eliminate some of the administrative headaches and lessen the burden of such mandates, which vary from state to state and city to city.

3. Benefits don’t translate to all workers

Paid sick leave rules were designed for a conventional FTE workforce and do not translate in the same way for workers who are temporary and who work at varying worksites. It accrues slowly and must be used in the same area (same zip code in some instances). This makes it very tricky to determine when and where the sick leave is valid.  Say a worker accrues one hour after 30 hours of work. They are unlikely to turn down a $700 day gig for one hour of accrued sick pay. Paid sick leave mandates provide little benefit to temporary workers, but still require expensive, complex tracking. As is often the case with such mandates, it can backfire when applied to the flexible, freelance workforce.

The bottom line

According to this article, the “tortured” history of paid leave in the U.S. indicates that abundant paid leave of any kind seems a bit countercultural for a country famous for its hard-working ways. As it stands, the fury continues, with Texas duking it out as we speak.

 

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure you get everyone gets paid quick and easy, and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

When an independent contractor becomes an employee: A chain of events

When an independent contractor becomes an employee: A chain of events 450 450 Heidi McLean

Pumpkin spiced lattes! Babies! Generation Z (move over, Millennials)! What do they all have in common? They’re a constant reminder that there’s nothing so constant as change. With its ever-narrowing definition of an independent contractor, California is embarking on the real-time evolution of the gig economy. Here’s the chain of events a company and its workers might go through in response to such changes.

When the definition of an independent contractor narrows:

1. Companies reclassify employees… or not

When an independent contractor becomes an employee, her pay structure changes. Even if all the goodies afforded an employee (healthcare, time off, etc.) bring them close to their original pay in practice, their paycheck may look a lot smaller. That’s because it costs a lot more up front to have an employee and employers withhold taxes. While ICs are still responsible for paying taxes, they can also take advantage of many write-offs, which go out the window once they’re employees. Some employers like this structure, feeling it gives workers more ownership in the company’s success. Others say the structure makes their business model unsustainable.

In the latter case, they may restructure the job completely to avoid hiring more employees. Because often new laws precipitate more ways to get around those laws. Another way to avoid reclassifying is to simply operate business as usual and wait to be challenged. Especially in the case of smaller companies, history shows this could take years or not happen at all. Workers might not know or care about the changes. They may opt not to push out of fear or they may not be able to join together to get strong enough influence. This is a risky approach, but not unheard of.

2. Workers quit or stay

Once employers make their choice, employees make their own. If companies do decide to reclassify workers as employees, they then decide if the situation works for them. If not, they often quit (as we discussed in our last post). Some stay, preferring the stability that comes with being an employee.  Some may even get promoted under the new arrangement, as this article talks about in the case of Matthew Johnson, who’d been driving for several companies before becoming an employee at Perennial. With a greater presence at the office and familiarity with the ins and outs of his company, Johnson was able to make helpful suggestions that earned him new responsibilities and a promotion.

Many employers and workers alike viewed the previous arrangement as a symbiotic relationship that worked well for both the business owners and the workers they employed. So if their bottom line becomes unacceptable, workers may tap out and either increase work for their other clients or look for different work altogether.

3. Everything changes

No matter what happens, everything will change. This latest evolution in the economy will be replaced with another, which will upend the last. And so it goes. Again and again and again.  Tell it to the Gen Zer who has never burned a CD before. She still thinks she’s going to be young forever.

 

Note: Can’t get enough? We’ve covered misclassification in depth. See more here.

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure you get everyone gets paid quick and easy, and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

worker classification and small businesses

Worker classification and small businesses: Is the ABC rule the beginning of the end?

Worker classification and small businesses: Is the ABC rule the beginning of the end? 4858 3239 Heidi McLean

California—home of eternal sunshine and landmark lawsuits. One of the state’s most recent rulings, in the Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County case, resulted in some changes to the ABC test for worker classification. While the test has existed in some form for decades, this iteration eliminates some of the gray area in deciding whether a worker is an employee or not. It’s the narrowest definition of an independent contractor to date.

This ruling has already caused major changes in the Golden State and, if history is any indicator, may have a cascading effect for the rest of us. We hear a lot about worker classification and the big dogs—the Ubers and the FedExes of the world. Today, we’re looking into what it means for the mom and pop shops and the workers they employ.

What is the ABC test for worker classification?

In California, a worker can now be considered an independent contractor only if all of the following apply:

A: the worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact;

B: the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and

C: the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.

Okay, so what’s at stake?

According to the court’s ruling, “the misclassification of workers as independent contractors rather than employees is a very serious problem, depriving federal and state governments of billions of dollars in tax revenue.” Read: money. For the government, tax dollars are a big part of the equation. Small businesses can avoid certain taxes with fewer employees and independent contractors can write off business expenses and may also underreport their income. Hence the resulting “deprivation.”

And for small businesses such as salons? Well it’s the B of the ABCs that’s upsetting the mom and pop apple cart because their workers perform work that is decidedly within “the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.” According to the business owner in this article, the previous model allows them to keep their doors open. They say they can’t afford to pay their workers as employees and provide the benefits required by law. So with the switch, many of this business owner’s workers quit overnight. Many employers and workers alike viewed the previous arrangement as a symbiotic relationship that worked well for both the business owners and the workers they employed.

This website, for cosmetologists, describes the benefits independent contractors have in the “booth rental” model. Like any independent contractor, they set their own schedule and manage their own business. They also keep any earnings beyond their booth rental fee. That means the harder they work and the more loyal clients they secure, the more they earn. As part of the salon, they get the benefit of the establishment’s marketing as well as possible walk-in clients. On the flip side, they also have the not-so-sexy responsibilities that come with owning their own business. They run their own books, pay quarterly taxes, advertise to get their chair filled, purchase their own equipment, and deal with the seasonal nature of the biz. Independent contractors also don’t get paid time off and are responsible for purchasing their own health insurance.

What about the workers?

Okay, so what’s a hairstylist to do? Well the rule purportedly intends at least in part to protect them and provide “the labor law protections to which they are entitled.” But some are concerned about what the change means for their livelihood. If you spend a little time reading threads dedicated to salon workers and truckers, who often work as independent contractors, you’ll find discussions among people trying to figure out how to navigate this new landscape.

They may choose to accept the lower pay along with the guarantees and security that come with being an employee. That is, if traditional salons operating under the booth rental model decide to stay open. Or they can set up their own truly independent businesses, perhaps operating out of their homes and skipping the salon altogether. This will work better for those with an existing loyal client base. For those just entering the field, it remains to be seen.

Bottom line

If you’re outside of California, don’t think this doesn’t directly affect you. Other states are already starting to use the ABC test too (i.e. Illinois, New Jersey, Maine and Massachusetts). And this isn’t just about salons. Many other operations, from physical therapists to those delivering packages to your door, are affected by this change. Often, in cases like these, one landmark case paves the way for others to follow—begrudgingly though the case may be. So even if you don’t personally feel the effect of the changes, you probably will before long. And what about your haircuts? Are you ready to go to your stylist’s home? Soon, it may be one of your only choices for the services you know and love.

 

Note: Can’t get enough? We’ve covered misclassification in depth. See more here.

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure you get everyone gets paid quick and easy, and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

payroll fraud

Worried about payroll fraud? Here’s how to prevent and detect it.

Worried about payroll fraud? Here’s how to prevent and detect it. 5616 3744 Heidi McLean

The ragtag group of employees who set out to redirect “fractions of pennies” to themselves in the movie Office Space didn’t think of it as stealing. They’re even portrayed as the heroes in the movie—sticking it to the man and finding themselves in the process. Likewise, payroll fraud is so common in the real world that many don’t even think of it as fraud. They’re not thieves! They’re just “redirecting” funds they feel should be theirs anyway. This mindset, along with how easy payroll fraud sometimes is to pull off, makes for a dangerous combination. Businesses with small payroll departments are most vulnerable, but it happens at the big companies and even feel-good nonprofits, too. We’ve collected a tool kit of tips and resources to help you prevent and detect payroll fraud.

What exactly is payroll fraud and why should I care?

Payroll fraud is a misappropriation of funds commonly in the form of paying “ghost” employees or vendors and various types of falsifying wages/hours. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE)’s biannual 2018 Global Study on Occupational Fraud and Abuse covers some of the impact of such fraud. Among its key findings are:

  • Businesses lost over $7 billion among reported cases
  • Small businesses lost more than twice as much per scheme
  • Fraud schemes’ median duration was 16 months

Okay, so how can I prevent it?

As usual, the best approach for protecting yourself is preventing problems in the first place. Preventive measures discourage a would-be fraudster from trying in the first place while also making frauds more likely to be caught early on. Any cost or perceived hassle of preventative measures pales in comparison to the potential cost of lax procedures.

  1. Start at the beginning. Use the Social Security Administration website, E-verify or the IRS website to confirm candidates’ identities. Conduct a background check after that. Continue the process at regular intervals even after hiring. Making this level of scrutiny regular practice ensures it doesn’t appear personal toward a particular employee.
  2. Separate duties. When the same person makes entries, writes checks, and audits the books, they have too much power. Having multiple points of control and separation of duties ensures you keep a system of checks and balances (pun intended) in place.
  3. Conduct internal and external audits. According to the ACFE report, internal audits “accounted for 15% of the frauds detected” and external audits caught 4% of the frauds. Quarterly reviews are a reasonable and healthy standard practice for companies of all sizes.

Something seems fishy. Now what?

So let’s say you’ve taken preventive measures to minimize risk and something still doesn’t add up. Even if they have to get more creative and sneaky, some people will try to overcome the obstacles you’ve put in place. So now you have to dig.

  1. Watch for red flags. This aforementioned article—about the ghosts among us—identifies some of the major red flags to watch out for. Hint: an employee who never takes a day off may not be as dedicated as you think.
  2. Provide a hotline for tips. The ACFE report notes that tips are the most common detection method and that organizations with hotlines receive more tips (46%) to potential fraud than those without (30%).
  3. Follow the money. Corrupt behaviors tend to leave a money trail. More than one employee using the same bank account, vendors you’ve never heard of receiving checks, and unusually high expenses are all signs something may be awry. If something seems fishy, investigate or hire someone to do it for you. And do it quietly so you don’t tip off the fraudster(s) before you have all the information you need.

Bottom line

The ACFE provides in-depth fraud prevention checkup that can get you thinking about the topic in a new way, identify vulnerabilities, and help you determine a course of action to put preventive measures in place. Most payroll fraud, while incredibly frustrating and costly, is highly preventable.

 

Note: A third type of payroll fraud is committed by businesses that misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying payroll tax and other costs associated with employees. We’ve covered misclassification in depth (see more here) and focused on the kind perpetrated against a company for today’s post.

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure you get paid quick and easy, and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes event payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

3 reasons you can’t afford to ignore worker classification rules

3 reasons you can’t afford to ignore worker classification rules 768 951 Heidi McLean

With its settlement just this week, General Assembly is the latest to make news on the worker classification issue. Companies aren’t the only ones paying attention. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Labor (DOL) have enough skin in the game to keep a close eye on the subject, too. When those two pay close attention to something, it behooves all companies to do the same or risk costly, damaging, and time-consuming consequences.

Here are 3 reasons you can’t ignore worker classification rules:

1.   The government isn’t

For years, the IRS and DOL had bigger fish to fry. Lax regulations essentially led to a jaywalker’s attitude among businesses. The thought being that it’s okay to ignore the unnecessarily-restrictive law as long as you look both ways. As the economic landscape shifts and independent contractors rise in prevalence, the financial stakes and potential for missed revenue get higher. In response, government agencies have been ramping up their focus on the subject and the debate on how to define an employee rages on.

The IRS and DOL are not alone. States are joining the fray, attempting to crack down on misclassification, too.

2.   Consequences are expensive

There’s big money at stake. In addition to potential for paying back pay and benefits,you’re looking at a per employee fine and potential legal fees, too. General Assembly’s one million dollar settlement is small potatoes. Look a little further back and you’ll find that FedEx shelled out $228 million in a misclassification case. Then there’s well-known Microsoft example, in which $97 million was paid out plus millions in legal fees in a benefits dispute with its long-term temps. And of course there’s Uber which lost a dispute over whether drivers were independent contractors (as Uber said) or employees (as the law determined).

Just when you thought government scrutiny was driving you crazy enough, here come the lawyers. Where the money goes, they follow. There’s big money in class action lawsuits seeking unpaid benefits, expenses and overtime for workers who can make a case they should’ve been treated as employees.

3.   “We didn’t mean to” doesn’t hold up in court

When you knowingly misclassify employees as independent contractors, it’s called wage theft. When you do it accidentally, it’s called wage theft.

Yes, the rules are confusing. Like many things government, oh what a tangled web the federal and state laws weave. Some laws are interpreted differently from state to state and some tests used to determine status are subjective. But the rules, straight from the horse’s mouth, is a good place to start.

Bottom line

In addition to the financial burdens and time-sucking nature of it all, your credibility is on the line. Getting audited is a PR nightmare and depending on the industry or nature of the company’s business, the press would love to expose a company’s misclassification and actual or perceived abuse of labor laws.

Getting the government, lawyers, and media on your case is a guaranteed trifecta of pain. It can be overwhelming, but even the DOL and IRS recognize independent contractors can be a legitimate part of a business plan and are an important part of our economy. The best way to stay in the clear is to stay in the know. So get smart and there’s no need to burn your W9s and run for the hills.

Need more?

Take our five-minute classification self-audit and review our compliance best practices.

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure you get paid quick and easy, and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes event payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

worker safety

What a college lineman’s death reveals about worker safety

What a college lineman’s death reveals about worker safety 5184 3456 Heidi McLean

I hate to admit it, but I tune out a bit when I hear that the elderly, very young, and otherwise vulnerable among us are most at risk for something. I may not identify myself among that list, but researching heat-related illnesses has me sipping coconut water and thinking about the whole thing differently.

Simple measures are remarkably effective in ending heat-related illnesses and deaths, which means one of the worst risk factors of all is not taking warning signs seriously. And that quality is one I recognize in myself and nearly everyone I know. We like to think of ourselves as hardworking, tough, and resilient.

I’m sure Jordan McNair, a 19-year-old college lineman who recently died after an organized team workout, thought the same thing. The really heartbreaking part about it is that McNair’s death was 100% preventable. This example and others like it show that even the young and strong are at risk. The same article lists other athlete deaths, including one on a day the high temp reached only 86 degrees.

How outdoor workers can stay safe in extreme heat

  1. Why should you take heat illness seriously? This isn’t about temporary discomfort. Without appropriate treatment, heatstroke can cause permanent brain damage, along with kidney, muscle, and heart issues.
  2. Signs: According to the Mayo Clinic, the signs and symptoms of heatstroke include body temperature at or above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, altered mental state (including confusion, agitation, and slurred speech), nausea/vomiting, muscle cramps, dizziness, flushed skin, headache, racing heart rate, or rapid, shallow, breathing.
  3. Water, rest, and shade: In addition to drinking plenty of water and taking breaks in the shade, some preventative measures include being aware of risk factors. Consuming alcohol, and even caffeine, sugar, and nicotine can increase your risk for problems. Consider setting alarms to remind you to drink water and/or take breaks. Should preventative measures fail and you recognize early signs of heat illness, move to a cooler location, rest, and slowly drink a cool beverage. Seek medical attention immediately if you do not feel better. If you think you may be suffering from heatstroke, call 911. It really is that serious.

Worker safety and advocating for yourself

  1. Ask for the time and space care for your health: It’s easy to get into a project and forget about the time or think you can endure a little discomfort to get the job done. Often, work cultures encourage pushing our physical limits, but your body knows what it needs. Do not ignore it and don’t be afraid to ask for a break.
  2. Know your rights: You have the right to a safe workplace. OSHA takes heat related working conditions very seriously and your workplace should, too. Check out OSHA’s guidelines on Occupational Heat Exposure. If your employer doesn’t take your health and safety concerns seriously, you may also file a complaint and request an inspection.

Bottom line

August is historically one of the hottest months in much of the U.S.. People who work outdoors need to take extra steps to protect themselves in extreme weather. Ignoring warning signs isn’t worth risking your health. Just ask Jordan McNair’s family and teammates.

 

About PayReel

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project, make sure you get paid quick and easy and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes event payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

The next time you work an event or a production, tell your supervisor you love working with the PayReel team.

Worker safety resources for wild weather

Worker safety resources for wild weather 3000 2000 Heidi McLean

What does it mean to do right by your workers with weather that’s getting wilder by the day? I’ll tell you what it doesn’t mean: waiting until someone has a heat stroke to think about worker safety. As we head into August — historically one of the hottest months of the year in much of the U.S. — it’s a good time to talk about workplace safety. Protecting workers, especially those who spend extended time outdoors, requires a little extra forethought and attention. By taking some precautions against heat-related issues, businesses can lower safety risks and prevent fines and lawsuits, too.

Worker Safety in Extreme Heat

Staying compliant with OSHA’s guidelines on Occupational Heat Exposure prevents workers from getting heat related illness. It also prevents them from missing work and you from getting fined. Keep everyone safe so neither you nor your employees end up paying the price.

  1. Provide water, rest, and shade: It’s easy to get into a project and forget about the time. Sometimes proactive measures like mandatory breaks with plenty of hydration will remind people to take care of themselves in the heat.
  2. Recognize the signs: Managers should be on high alert for symptoms of heat exhaustion. According to the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA), “Persons suffering from heat exhaustion might have cool, moist skin; sweat heavily; or complain of headache, nausea or lightheadedness.”
  3. Download the app: At different temperatures and conditions, different measures are appropriate. The U.S. Department of Labor makes it as easy as possible to monitor the heat index as well as its associated risks with its heat safety app. You can also schedule reminders for water breaks and more with a few taps.

General Emergency Preparedness

Heat isn’t the only hazard workers may face. OSHA’s website provides resources for winter weather and just about every situation here. Preventative measures for upcoming cold weather and other inclement weather issues is a worthwhile investment. OSHA offers free on-site consultations to help diligent employers eliminate any problems up front. Contact them at 1-800-321-OSHA for more information.

Bottom line

It’s not just about staying compliant with the letter of the law, but about understanding and staying true to the spirit behind it. Even if you can push temporary employees a little further to get the job done faster, it’s worth going above and beyond to provide a safe environment.

About PayReel

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project, make sure you get paid quick and easy, and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes event payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

The next time you work an event or a production, tell your supervisor you love working with the PayReel team.

training payreel

What is the lifetime value of the skill/training you seek?

What is the lifetime value of the skill/training you seek? 5548 3699 Heidi McLean

In today’s ultra-competitive environment, learning skills that are in high demand can up your game and make you ultra-hirable. But what if it’s going to require some sacrifice on your part, like money, time, and energy?

It’s easy to think about the short term cost, but without considering long-term effects, you don’t get the full picture.

Here are some considerations to help you decide if investing in learning a new skill is worth it:

Will this skill make you more hirable/profitable?

Consider whether the training complements your line of work and existing skills sets. For example, if you’re a graphic designer and a wiz kid at Photoshop, you might consider learning your way around Adobe Illustrator. Both are great design tools, but the latter is math-based, allowing you to scale your pieces infinitely without losing any quality. Being well-versed in both allows you to solve more client problems.

Along those lines, consider the questions clients ask frequently. If you find they’re asking for the same thing over and over, you know you’re onto something. The equation is simple: solve more of their problems and you’ll get more of their business.

Think beyond the next month or quarter and into the bigger picture and where your industry is going. Can you be on the front end of an upcoming trend or one in increasing demand? Videographers may want to invest in learning drone skills, for example.

In addition to making you able to solve more problems for clients, adding new programs and platforms to your repertoire sometimes directly adds to your hourly value. If you’re a skilled editor who can also tackle basic motion design and Visual FX with After Effects or sound design with Adobe Audition, you may be able to charge more.     

The more skills you have that apply directly to the job you want or are applying for, the more valuable you are to the employer and the more money you are therefore worth.

A note on the intangible  

Being a Jack or Jill of all trades can be useful, but there’s something to be said for mastering your niche and staying in one focused, clear lane. So if you’re thinking about adding a skill that broadens what you can offer but takes a lot of time or energy away from what you do best, you may consider redirecting resources to your core strengths instead.

There are always the intangible benefits to consider, too. In addition to the financial benefits a new skill may bring you, consider the intangible value. Will it make you more knowledgeable and confident or just plain better at your job? Will it keep you mentally stimulated and therefore, head off burnoff? If so, you may want to invest in learning something new even if seemingly doesn’t relate to your core business at all. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll end up pulling some oddball skill or information out of your hat.  

Bottom Line

Learning some of the most marketable skills of 2018 will give you an edge in the marketplace and thinking about training opportunities in terms of lifetime value can make the decision clearer.

 

About PayReel

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project, make sure you get paid quick and easy and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes event payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

The next time you work an event or a production, tell your supervisor you love working with the PayReel team.

4 Summer blockbuster hits to bring you back to the ’80s

4 Summer blockbuster hits to bring you back to the ’80s 150 150 Heidi McLean

Summers are for grilling out under the golden sun. For chasing fireflies. For lingering on the porch with a cold beer. They’re for homemade blueberry pancakes on Saturday mornings and for stretching out in front of a movie with a bowl of popcorn on Saturday nights.

These 80s summer hits—in all their adventurous, witty, and nostalgic glory—have us pining away for a time machine of our own to take us back to simpler days.

E.T: The Extra Terrestrial (1982)

The movie’s effects were top notch for the day, but the story itself was a simple, intimate tale about friendship between an unlikely pair. A lonely kid named Elliot and his oddly adorable pal accomplished the seemingly impossible—melting hearts everywhere and surpassing Star Wars as the highest-grossing movie ever released to date. And if your heart doesn’t glow red when E.T. comes back to life, then I can’t help you.

Ghostbusters (1984)

Ghostbusters nails the oft’ attempted genre of the underestimated geek turned unlikely hero. The moment one such lead feels personally betrayed by the “harmless” Stay Puft Man lives on as possibly the penultimate example of a perfect marriage between humor and horror. These ghostbusters came. They saw. They kicked ass. Good luck getting that jingle out of your mind.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

The Indiana Jones franchise kicked off with an Oscar-winning blockbuster. Harrison Ford brings his signature nonchalance to the role, including during frequent brushes with death. One such moment seemingly sets Indiana up for an epic fight scene, only to end abruptly…and with great comedic effect. The usually ultra-cool lead shares an ultra-common fear with the rest of us. “Snakes…Why does it always have to be snakes?”

Back to the Future (1985)

Back to the Future is everything we love about the ’80s in one hour-and-a-half-long adventure. Our likable hero (dressed in his Levi’s jeans, jean jacket, puffy vest, and Nike shoes) along with his jumpy, wild-eyed mentor take us on one trippy, time-bending ride. Just when it seems like messing with timelines is going to catch up with him, Marty succeeds in the seemingly impossible and gets a second lease at life. Watch this one for the closest thing you’ll get to time travel. It’s your density. 

May your summer be as epic as these classic flicks! 

 

About PayReel

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project, make sure you get paid quick and easy, and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes event payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

The next time you work an event or a production, tell your supervisor you love working with the PayReel team.

 

freelancer

5 skills that will make any freelancer ultra-hirable and profitable

5 skills that will make any freelancer ultra-hirable and profitable 5760 3840 Heidi McLean

Freelancing is a balls to the wall, pride-swallowing siege and these days, it seems everyone is fighting it out for business. How do you make that business yours? One way is to solve the problems clients have (the ones they called you about) and then go even further by solving the ones they haven’t even thought about yet. That’s when you become an advisor clients can’t live without rather than a freelancer they can replace tomorrow.

Every freelancer should seek to be as hirable and desirable as possible in today’s competitive marketplace. Here are 5 of the most coveted skills as well as where you can hone them for free/next to free:

Network and Information Security

With hackers making headlines, it’s no surprise that people who can combat this threat increase their desirability. Whether you’re primarily a writer, video producer, website developer, or designer, being able to offer clients additional peace of mind is priceless. Especially for small businesses, who may not have a team dedicated specifically to security, your expertise adds value and makes you an essential team member. Coursera offers Information Security: Context and Introduction Coursera, LinkedIn Learning offers IT Security Foundations: Network Security, and Udemy offers The Complete Cyber Security Course: Network Security.

Instagram API

There are a lot of ways to use Instagram’s APIfrom turning a website into a living museum to converting sales. Often, companies spend a lot of time creating and posting content, but fail to convert views into action. Add knowledge of Instagram API to your resume and you can become a conversion superhero. Learn more at Consuming the Instagram API by LinkedIn Learning and Build a Photo Web App Using Instagram API (cape not included).

WordPress 

With 50,000 new WordPress sites added daily, the Internet is basically one big WordPress matrix. Even if it’s not their core business, content creators who can build, update, or fix WordPress sites will keep businesses from having to hire additional people. Saving clients money is one surefire way to get in their good graces. Complete WordPress Training for Beginners is a free course that will absolutely give you a return on your time invested.

SEO 

The only thing as constant as change is change itself…and SEO. A clever behind-the-scenes glut of the right words doesn’t get results anymore. SEO has gotten much more sophisticated and tough to crack. The real key is increasing traffic organically. Having the tools to have an intelligent conversation on the subject and being able to point clients toward solutions makes you extra valuable. HubSpot offers a free course and Udemy offers SEO Training Academy: Learn Search Engine Optimization.

Sales Funnels 

Sales funnels are a key to converting all that organic traffic into action. If you already have some knowledge of landing page design and content strategy, ClickFunnels (or something similar) is a great way to take your skills to the next level. You can learn enough about ClickFunnels (which seems to be the tool of the moment) to get you started with Udemy’s course here.

Bottom Line  

If you want to have an edge in the marketplace, it’s time for you to learn some of the most marketable skills of 2018: This is how to make all the dolla dolla bills, y’all.

Note:  General Assembly’s course matching service offers guidance on courses you may benefit from. Additionally, we used this article (where you can find skills we didn’t mention) for many of the resources above.  

 

About PayReel

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project, make sure you get paid quick and easy and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes event payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

The next time you work an event or a production, tell your supervisor you love working with the PayReel team.