Freelance Challenges

  • The Weekly Freelance Challenge: Get recommendations

    The Weekly Freelance Challenge does exactly what it says on the tin. Each week, I’ll set a challenge that I will take part in, and it’s open for anyone to join in. One week it might be about improving productivity or finding new clients, and the next week it might be about how to lead a healthier freelance lifestyle. Feel free to join in and leave a comment with your progress, leave a comment on my Facebook page or use the Twitter hashtag #TWFCUK (a football team have nabbed TWFC!).

    Last week’s challenge

    Last week’s challenge was all about updating your Twitter bio. I gave mine a bit of a rewording, and threw in a few more keywords. How did you get on? Did your bio need an updating?

    This week’s challenge

    This week is another simple one, but one that you might feel a little shy about: asking for recommendations. A great recommendation (or even better, several great recommendations) could be just the trigger for a potential client to get in contact if you display them on your website. I’ve got them in my packages section if you want to see some examples. It’s a scary thing to ask for, but most people are more than happy to provide one. I’ve had the odd bit of business through this when I’ve used the LinkedIn method too, so it’s worth doing.

    There are two ways to do this:

    • Email your previous and current clients directly asking for a recommendation. One way to do this is to add it as a note on the end of your invoice. Something like “I hope you’re happy with the work I’ve done for you. If you are and have a minute, I’d really appreciate a short recommendation for my website”
    • Do it through LinkedIn. This is the easier method if you’re shy, as you can just send a request through their website as a standard business procedure. The other benefit of this method is that it will be displayed on your page, which will add more oomph to your profile. I like oomph.
    Once you’re done, let me know how you’ve got on in the comments, or on Twitter using the hashtag #TWFCUK!

  • The Weekly Freelance Challenge: Update your Twitter bio

    The Weekly Freelance Challenge does exactly what it says on the tin. Each week, I’ll set a challenge that I will take part in, and it’s open for anyone to join in. One week it might be about improving productivity or finding new clients, and the next week it might be about how to lead a healthier freelance lifestyle. Feel free to join in and leave a comment with your progress, leave a comment on my Facebook page or use the Twitter hashtag #TWFCUK (a football team have nabbed TWFC!).

    Last week’s challenge

    Last week, the Weekly Freelance Challenge was to try and fit in half an hour’s exercise each day. I managed to do that last week, thanks to a combination of 15 minute yoga sessions first thing, lunch time walks, two gym work outs, one with my sister, bowling with the fiancé and a lot of shifting boxes at the weekend for a car boot sale! I actually find it easier to fit in a little bit of exercise every day, rather than just doing it on certain days, as it begins to feel like part of my daily routine.

    How did you get on?

    This week’s challenge

    This week, my challenge is all about Twitter. The Twitter bio to be exact. I wrote mine ages ago, and although I occasionally tweak it, I often forget about it. So this week, the challenge is to have a read of your Twitter bio, and give it an update if you think it needs it. Think about what other people might like to read, especially as it’s often the decider for whether someone will follow you. Does your bio properly represent you? Don’t forget to throw in some keywords about your business to make it easier for people to find you.

    (If you don’t have a Twitter bio, check out your Facebook About Me section, or your About section on your website.

    Once you’re done, let me know how you’ve got on in the comments!

  • The Weekly Freelance Challenge: Fit in 30 minutes of exercise daily

    Confession time people: I’m not a natural fitness fan. I’m more commonly found on a sofa than doing yoga. But with falling energy levels, poor health and an upcoming wedding, I’ve had to re-assess my previously lazy routine. Plus, all the evidence suggests that regular exercise will improve concentration levels, productivity, reduce stress and . So getting more exercise really is good business sense.

    Therefore, this week’s weekly freelance challenge is a somewhat selfish one. I’d like to challenge you (and me!) to do 30 minutes of exercise each day of the working week. I’m already working with a personal trainer twice a week as I’ve got a fair bit of weight to shift in order to be healthy again, but for most people half an hour a day is quite achievable.

    30 minutes of exercise could be as easy as:

    • A brisk walk at lunchtime, even easier if you have a dog to walk. If you usually meet a friend for coffee, try arranging a catch up walk instead
    • Try the Couch to 5k running plan
    • An early morning swim
    • A quick yoga session (there are plenty of free YouTube tutorials about, or pick up a bargain Yoga DVD on Amazon)
    • A workout class – book ahead if you can so you’re committed to going.
    • A session on the Wii or Kinect. Several of the Just Dance workout videos have timed workouts to make it easier, and I think some of the sports ones do too.
    • Put your favourite music on and dance round the house.
    • Split the half an hour into sections, doing five minutes of exercise each hour.

    How do you fit exercise into your daily routine? Get it over and done with first thing? Or take a lunch break away from your desk to work those muscles?

  • The Weekly Freelancing Challenge: Find your USP

    Last week, I started a new series of posts where I set a weekly freelancing challenge. The first challenge was to set yourself five goals for the end of 2012. How did you get on?

    This week, it’s all about finding your USP. Stick with me people, it’s not just a sales buzzword! Finding your Unique Selling Point is essential when you’re working in a competitive industry. It’s quite easy to promote your work, but how do you make yourself stand out from the rest?

    Your USP could be your location (I concentrate on working in the Home Counties rather than London which is overcrowded when it comes to bloggers and copywriters), your skill set, your contacts or your experiences. You might specialise in a particular sector or work with a specific type of customer. It’s actually much easier to build a brand for your business when you can tell people exactly why you’re worth hiring.

    If you’re struggling, think about the USPs of big brands. What makes Apple stand out? Or Moonpig? Or ASOS.com?

    Have you found your USP? How did you decide on it?

  • The Weekly Freelance Challenge

    Welcome back from the weekend (or rather, welcome to the extended weekend – hurrah for Jubilee bank holidays!)

    This week, I wanted to do something a little different. I’d like to set a small challenge each week for those freelancing or working from home, or thinking about doing either of those. I’ll take part in the challenges too, and report back on how I get on.

    This week’s freelancing challenge

    As it’s a short week, I’m going to keep it simple for the first one. We’re six months into the year, so I challenge you to come up with a list of five goals you want to achieve by the end of 2012. They can be a mixture of personal and professional, and as big or small or serious or silly as you like. The important thing is that they’re achievable.

    For me, my five goals for the rest of 2012 are:

    • To increase my income from 2011 by 15%. I’ve got a few different projects which I’m hoping will help me meet this goal, but a business plan is needed!
    • Continue to post regularly on The Freelance Lifestyle.
    • Podcast more. I got the bug last week when doing my first podcast, and I’d love to continue doing them.
    • Adopt a more healthy freelance lifestyle – I’m looking into a new exercise routine and getting back on the meal planning wagon. Now I’m freelancing full-time, it should in theory be easier to fit in some exercise. Challenge coming up for that.
    • Finish planning the majority of my wedding in April next year. It’s been on the back burner a bit because of work but I’m hoping to get it mainly sorted by the end of the year.

    So now it’s over to you! Leave a comment with your top five goals, or write a blog post and let me know! I love to see what other freelancers are hoping to do this year.

    p.s Like a challenge? Want 30 days of them? Check out my 30 day Freelancing Challenge ebook.

  • I wrote a book! The 30 Day Freelancing Challenge

    Well, it’s been a long time coming, but my 30 Day Freelancing Challenge is now available as an eBook thanks to Nikki Pilkington. And until Monday, it’s only £4! (It’ll go up to £8 then). It’s aimed at helping anyone who wants to escape the rat race set themselves up as freelance – and, as the name would suggest, it takes place over 30 days.

    Nikki has a wide range of 30 day challenges for all sorts of online services, including, Facebook, Google+ and blogging. You can find all her challenges here, and my freelancing challenges here.

    With rather excellent timing, this infographic landed in my inbox from PolicyBee. If you’re curious about freelancing, this gives a pretty good overview.

    Freelancers on freelancing – Policy Bee
    Infographic by PolicyBee Insurance

    Oh, and if you enjoyed the 30 Day Challenge, I might be working on another one in the future…