tools

  • The tools I used to run my virtual summit

    A few weeks ago, I ran my very first freelance virtual summit.

    I. Was. Crapping. It.

    As someone who isn’t naturally organised, organising a summit seemed like a really overwhelming, scary project. But I also wanted to do something exciting for National Freelancers Day, with brilliant speakers who could really share something special with this lovely freelance community. In the end, I had over 120 people sign up!

    Want to see how I did it? Here’s a step-by-step guide to how I did it (and it’s surprisingly simple, thanks to a few online tools)

    Prefer to listen? Catch it on The Freelancer’s Teabreak podcast! You can hear it on iTunes, Spotify, Libsyn, Podbean and Stitcher.

    How to run a virtual summit in ten steps

    1. Choose a date. This was easy, as I knew I was going to hold it on National Freelancers Day. I started organising it a month before!
    2. Reach out to the speakers you want. I had eight, which was perfect for a one-day summit, but if you have more, you can make it a two-day event (or maybe even three!)
    3. Create a Facebook pop up group. There are plenty of platforms you can use for the talks, but FB was the easiest to set up for me, and it was free!
    4. Create a sales page. I used a WordPress page, using the Elementor page editor, and created a sign up page in ConvertKit. I included details of all the speakers, what attendees would get out of it, and added details of what would be available free. Attendees got free access for 24 hours. After that, all the recordings were made available in my Freelance Lifestash (via Teachable), which was available on special offer.
    5. As I use Teachable, I was also able to give all the speakers an affiliate link for the Lifestash, so if they shared it they could make a percentage of the sale.
    6. Promotion! I promoted it to my email list, social media channels and the speakers also shared on all their channels. The day before, I released the schedule for the day, along with the social links for all of the speakers so people could get to know them better.
    7. I also sent reminder emails to those who had signed up, the day before and the day of, with a reminder about the Lifestash offer.
    8. The big day! It all took part in the Facebook group, in Lives. I jumped on initially with a welcome video and coaching task. Then the speakers all took it in turns during their slots. The majority of these Lives were solo, so it was all relatively simple. Several of the speakers also gave away prizes during their sessions, which was a great way to encourage live attendance.
    9. Now the coolest tool of all. I set Repurpose.io (affil link) up to take all the Lives, upload to YouTube as unlisted videos, so I could download them or embed them in Teachable later. One of the videos didn’t upload, but there is a hack if you don’t want to automate it. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it was to know they were all uploading in the background.
    10. Finally, I closed out the day, reminded everyone of the offer if they wanted forever access, and left it up until midnight the final day. An email went out the following day with the offer. I then closed the group (removing all members).

    That’s it! The majority of it took place in Facebook, making it easy for people to access. There are some things I’d like to try next year. Facebook Ads for one, and a longer lead up time. Podia also looks amazing. And I totally forgot to post about it on my blog! But for a first go, and with relatively low costs, I’m pretty happy with that!

    Have you ever fancied running a summit?

    p.s If you missed it, you can still catch all the recordings here

  • My freelance favourites for growing my business in 2015

    grow my freelance businessEvery few months or so, I like to share which tools, courses and books I rate as a freelancer. The ones that help me grow my freelance business. Below are a few of my current favourites. A few of them are affiliate links, which I’ve marked. I only recommend things that I have used and loved myself.

    Tools I use to grow my freelance business

    Freeagent for my accounting and invoicing (affil link). I’ve been using Freeagent for over a year now. I love that I can quickly and easily import my bank activity, send invoices in minutes (or automate them), input my expenses straight from my iPhone and even submit your Self-Assessment to HMRC.

    Opinion for recording and editing podcasts (read my guide for how to record, edit, upload and blog about your podcast in minutes from your iPhone here)

    Buffer for social media scheduling. I’ve tried so many of the social media management tools out there, and while I still use Hootsuite’s basic (free) package for monitoring my accounts, I love Buffer for scheduling up large amounts of content in one go then analysis what does best. You can also now schedule to Pinterest, something very few other services offer.

    Flipboard, Feedly and Bloglovin’. When it comes to keeping up with my favourite blogs, social networks and RSS feeds, these three are my favourites. They’re mobile-friendly, making them great for using with Buffer to schedule up content when you can’t get to your laptop.

    Get It Done. I adore this app for creating long-term, short-term and daily goals, as well as reflecting on my day.

    Evernote. I use Evernote every day to save documents, draft blog posts, record audio, scan any important documents and share content with team collaborators. The best advice anyone gave me about Evernote is that you have to go ‘all in’.

    IFTTT. Ever since becoming a mum, I’ve been relying on IFTTT more and more to get more done through automating certain processes. IFTTT does this brilliantly. Whether it be saving emails with ‘receipt’ in the subject to a spreadsheet for me to save for my expenses or saving my favourites tweets to Pocket.

    Courses I love

    Kerri Walker’s DIY PR club (affil link). I’ve known Kerri for a while now, and she has been a huge inspiration to me when it comes to running a business with a baby. Kerri is also a fantastic source of information and ideas for getting your business out there and doing your own PR. Her DIY PR club is perfect for anyone who wants to know how to grow awareness of their business.

    Denise Duffield Thomas bootcamp (affil link). Denise Duffield Thomas’s bootcamp is one of the most valuable money bootcamps I’ve ever taken. She tackles the kind of money blocks business women often face – whether it be a lack of confidence in their pricing, the belief that they’re not good enough to actually sell their product/service or that it’s greedy to want more. If you feel like there’s a mental block holding you back from working out how to grow your business further, or you’ve ever wobbled about charging someone for a service or product you offer, Denise’s course is a must-have. She’s got a bundle of freebies on her site too.

    Psst! Have you checked out The Freelance Lifestyle School of courses? It’s on the excellent Teachable platform, which you can find out more about here. 

    Books

    Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. If you want to read more about the psychology of habits, Gretchin Rubin’s book (and podcast) is a must. This is probably one of the key things I’ve read and implemented which has helped grow my freelance business.

    Jump Start Your Money Confidence: Personal finance confidence in 30 days for the overwhelmed and anyone who thinks they’re useless with money. Penny Golightly was one of the first few people I followed on Twitter back in 2009. Her blog posts, books and courses on money are realistic and practical. Her Jump Start Your Money Confidence book is the latest in her series and will make a significant difference to your money outlook.

    The Jump Start Journal: One small action every day to improve your personal finances and quality of life. Another book by Penny, perfect for kicking off 2016 with.

    ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever. If you’re looking for a book that challenges the traditional ideas of how offices, businesses and the modern working world should run, this is the book for you.
    `
    Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. If you suspect you might be introverted, this book really is an essential read. It made me feel like I could have control and power as an introvert – and that’s a very empowering thing indeed.

    Those are my 2015 favourites to grow my freelance business. What’s yours?