I’m Emma Cossey, a long-term freelancer, mum of toddler and all round digital geek, and I’m happy to welcome you to The Freelance Lifestyle.
I launched this blog in 2011, to provide freelancers with down-to-earth support, and practical advice. I wanted it to be a kind, supportive place to get tips and advice on living a great freelance life (without the constant narrative of ‘earn six figures or you’re failing’).
Since then, the community has morphed into that friendly and honest place I dreamt of visiting when I first started out as a freelancer back in 2009. The space to celebrate successes, discuss the challenging elements of freelancing, and to connect with others on the same path. Because working on your own shouldn’t mean being alone!
What’s here for you?
I’ve spent years building up my own freelance business. I’ve been a pro blogger, a social media consultant, a copywriter, a teacher… but my passion is helping people just like you take the next step. So whether you want to pick up tips from the blog, listen in to the podcast, come join the Facebook group or get some more focused 1-2-1 support with my coaching, there’s something here for you.
Find blog posts and podcasts all about freelancing and working from home, including interviews with freelancers about their daily lives, pitching tips, finance facts and lots of free resources to help you live your best freelance life
Looking for 1-2-1 support, accountability and mentoring from someone who GETS freelancing? I'm your coach! I've been freelance for over ten years, and I love supporting other freelancers to achieve their goals.
It’s podcast time! Pop the kettle on, grab your favourite biscuits (hell, it’s summer, go get yourself a Mr Whippy) and have a listen to this week’s Freelancer’s Teabreak. “How to use Snapchat as a freelancer”:
Are you subscribed to The Freelance Lifestyle podcast? It’s free! You can subscribe on iTunes, so these quick soundbites pop up in your chosen podcast app as soon as they go live.
Despite not being a teenager or remotely interested in being sent d*ckpics, I’m a huge fan of Snapchat. Why, I hear you cry? Because it’s packed full of freelance-friendly features that can help you grow your network, learn lots of useful tips and give people a backstage look at what you do. All while sporting the most flattering filter I’ve ever seen (seriously, who needs make up when you can contour the hell out of your face in one tap).
Five Snapchat Favourites
Want to give it a try? Below are five of my current Snapchat favourites.
Amy is one of my favourite social media experts, and got me excited about Snapchat in the first place. Follow her for behing the scenes chat, top tips and occasionally puppy pictures.
BLWideas stands for baby led weaning, but Bethany shares so much more – from activities to do with kids to cooking tutorials.
String Story is one of the best examples of creating high quality content with themed days. I love her stuff (and she often does Snapchat takeovers).
Liza shares a mix of science and tech facts, from what looks like a tropical island. Also, she’s beautiful. Frankly, I should hate her, but her Snapchats are kind of brilliant.
WomenInTech is dedicated to putting the spotlight on a different woman in tech each day, handing the account over them to share tips and a day in their life.
This week, while browsing Facebook pages for work, I noticed one particular big brand offering a special deal in their shops. The deal was a generous one, but restricted to a certain time frame during the day. It didn’t get quite the positive reaction they probably hoped for.
While there were some justified complaints about the deal, a lot of the complaints revolved around it being ‘unfair’ that the deal is on while they’re at work, or ‘unfair’ because they don’t have a store near them.
This is bizarre, no? A business isn’t required to do a special offer, and it certainly doesn’t owe its customers that. Additionally, deals rarely cater for every type of customer (often they’re used to boost custom at a time that’s usually quiet). ‘Unfair’ would be if it was restricted to blondes, or people called George.
I’ve had experience of this myself with a page I deal with that does a local sale twice a year. Every time we do it, we get complaints that a) the sale isn’t online too b) an item has run out of stock or c) the item they want isn’t in the sale.
Would those same people go into Topshop and complain that their favourite dress isn’t in the sale? Or it’s sold out? Unlikely.
I don’t have a problem in general with complaints on social media. We all do it. If it’s constructive, it’s worth mentioning.
Social media is a wonderful way to promote a business and provide consumers with a way to get directly in contact with that brand. But perhaps it’s also given consumers a feeling of entitlement. And a lack of manners. I suspect a lot of the comments made on Facebook would never be made face-to-face. I also suspect a lot of those comments come from ignorance. Businesses aren’t perfect, and maybe we need to give them a little more slack when they make the odd mistake.
Or could it be that Facebook finally gives us a forum to tell brands what we really think – which could help their strategy long-term?
What do you think? Are consumers developing a sense of entitlement, or are they just voicing their opinions?
(And yes, I see the irony in moaning about others moaning… )
I wrote a piece earlier this year for my other job, working at a Students’ Union, all about CVs and how to make them stand out using social media and online tools. Having spoken to a few people recently who are looking for jobs in social and digital media, I thought it might be useful to share it over on this blog too.
We’re in one of the hardest job markets in a long time, and the number of people going for jobs in social media and publishing is phenomenal. So, how do you stand out? These days, a simple paper CV doesn’t cut the mustard. With so many resources available to you, from Facebook to YouTube and online design packages, there’s no reason you can’t be creative and make your CV something that potential employers want to see.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas:
Match your CV to your industry
First things first, what industry are you hoping to go into? If you’re looking to go into a creative industry, like advertising, social media, design or film, incorporating some of the skills you have into your CV would be wise.
If you want a job in print media, consider making your CV look like a newspaper front cover – highlighting your best points in the headlines.
Want a job in visual media? Consider turning your CV into a video. Have a look below for some ideas of how you can do that.
Considering a job with a management basis? Consider turning your CV into a report, demonstrating how you can help the company with your skills. Additional case studies, on a separate document, may also work in your favour.
Essentially, you need to think about what skills you want to showcase, then work out how to use them to create your CV.
Use your Design skills
If you’re into graphic design, or know someone else who is, considering giving your CV a real design makeover to stand out. Check out some of the suggestions on Mashable, which range from an interactive Facebook page to the infographic below. You can also use Visualize.me to create a CV infographic (although you can only link to it, like I have in my sidebar on the right, not download it at the moment). The image at the top of this page is a screen grab from my Visualize CV.
Make your CV Social Media savvy
One of the smartest things to do with your CV, is to make it so engaging that it’s shared across social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon and YouTube. Graeme Anthony created an interactive video CV – and it went viral. His video spread like wildfire through social media, and he apparently landed a job within a few days.
You might also want to look at creating a Facebook page for your CV, or sum up your CV in 130 characters on Twitter (giving others room for a retweet).
QR Codes, Business Cards and Websites
If you’re willing to invest a little time in creating a CV online (try LinkedIn, or Innovate CV), you could try a little guerrilla marketing. Try going to a business card provider like Moo.com, and getting a QR Code printed on them which links to your website. Then leave your business cards in places that potential employers might visit. For example, you might want to leave some of them on the table of a business park coffee shop, on the seat of a rush hour train or ask a friend who works in a company you want to work for to pop them into the pigeon-hole of their employer.
Spelling and grammar checks
So, you’ve developed your CV idea and created your work of art…now what? Check your grammar and spelling. Then ask someone else to check your grammar and spelling. Then ask someone ELSE to check it for you. Especially if you’re after a writing job.
Don’t underestimate the importance of good grammar and spelling. It could give you the edge over those who don’t know the difference between their, there and they’re.
Does your CV stand out? Let me know if you know of any other unusual approaches to creating a CV.
Google+ is the current darling of the social media world, with ‘experts’ claiming it’ll replace Facebook in no time.
They said the same about Twitter.
The thing is, each of the social networks appeal to a different group of people. Which is why some people have a dozen social networks, and others stick to one.
Facebook is the personal network, where you can update your relationship status, comment on other updates and share (sometimes a little too much) your thoughts on the day.
Twitter is mainly made up of media types, who care about grammar and don’t really care for passive aggressive statuses (that’s not to say they’re not still on Facebook, doing just that). It’s also where people test out their wittiest remarks.
Google+…at the moment, Google+ seems more like an extended version of Twitter. Plenty of business and social media chat, but with extended profiles and the ability to comment and share directly on updates.
So perhaps there’s space for them all. Which got me thinking about how many social media networks I regularly use.
Twitter: The one I use most, for personal and professional means.
LinkedIn: I don’t use LinkedIn as much as I should, but I’m trying to get involved in more group discussions. Additionally, I add a LinkedIn recommendation request to the invoices of clients I’ve just finished working with.
Google+: At the moment, I use it mainly for sharing content and keeping up with Google+ trends and social media trends in general. However, as more people join from outside the ‘social media experts’ arena, the content should hopefully evolve into something more varied.
Fancy: To source new products and save them in an online scrapbook. Also, superb for finding devilish dessert recipes.
Tumblr: For all the pretty things and Instagram shots I take, that don’t fit in elsewhere.
Instagram: Mainly use it to take photos of my dinner. Or fancy cakes. Or my dog. All my Instagram photos end up on my Tumblr.
Qype: Addicted to reviewing places, and Qype gives me the opportunity to do that while earning badges and getting the opportunity to go to free events.
Quora: The initial hype for this Q&A site is over, but I still like to use it to crowdsource for answers when Twitter can’t help.
Stumbleupon: My first stop for social bookmarking. The sexy new iPad app makes it a lot more user-friendly too. I also occasionally use Delicious and Diggit.
Flickr and YouTube: I’m a lurker on these two, viewing (and using for work) but rarely contributing.
So, how many do you use? And what do you use them for? Let me know in the comments!