Blogging

  • A Day In The Life Of A Freelancer: Sarah Arrow

    A Day In The Life Of A FreelancerWelcome to a brand new series of posts where we interview freelancers and have a nosy into their freelance life….

    Tell us a bit about you!

    I’m Sarah Arrow, small biz social media marketer. Helping small businesses create content that gets them discovered.

    How long have you been freelancing, and why did you start?

    8 years. Wow, I thought it was less than that. Time really does fly when you’re having fun!

    Let’s talk about the start of your day – Are you an early riser, or a night owl?

    I’m a night owl. I regularly pull all nightstand and my clients know I speak fluent gibberish until 11am and then I wake up!

    What time do you start work?

    9am until 3pm and then I star working with my US clients around 7pm in the evening.

    Do you work from home?

    Yes I’ve a gorgeous office filled with flowers, candles and a mural of NY city on two of the walls. It’s a haven of peace and tranquility!

    What’s your working routine before you start work?

    Breakfast, reading, school run and then more reading!

    Do you take a lunch break?

    Sometimes. I work on exciting projects and campaigns and that means I get so caught up in what I do that I completely forget lunch!

    How do you tend to spend your afternoons?

    Updating my own social media activity and monitoring clients.

    How do you motivated? Do you have any particular techniques?

    Motivation is like food, you need some every day. I listen to Steven Pressfield and Tony Robbins almost every day. I read Paul Mckenna, Jackie Walker and Paula Jones (sugarbox coaching) every day too. Paula, like Jackie Walker is a coach for coaches. They know what you’re going through and help you manage it.

    What time do you tend to sign off for the day?

    Sometimes it’s 11pm and sometimes it’s 2am. Every day is different and I finish when the job is done!

    Tell us – what’s your favourite thing about freelancing?

    The variety of work, the ability to chose who I work with and the amazing clients I serve. I’m blessed with truly brilliant clients.

    And your least favourite thing about freelancing?

    Invoicing. I forget and then I get paid late…

    What tools/apps/gadgets/things could you not live without as a freelancer?

    My diary.. And email. My business would implode without them

    Where can we find you online?

    @SarahArrow on Twitter & Facebook. You’ll find me most frequently over at sarkemedia.com where I share marketing tips and social media tutorials.

     

     

    The Big Question – What’s the secret to your success?

    Hard work! I love my work and I know that no one works as hard as I do!

    Thanks Sarah! Sarah has a blogging webinar on how to avoid blogging failure coming up, which you can join here. She also has lots of Kindle books on Amazon.

  • Referral networks – would you charge to refer?

    referral networks

    For the last couple of years, I’ve been in the fortunate position to be able to refer work on to other freelancers. Sometimes, it’s because I’m fully booked, sometimes it’s an area of freelancing I have little or no skills or experience in (for example, I’ve referred my copywriting clients to freelance graphic designers or web designers I know). I tend to refer freelancers for free. In honesty, it hadn’t occurred to me that you could charge for such a thing. But late last year, I started to hear about referral networks. These are networkers of freelancers who refer work to each other, and take a small commission from the freelancer in question if the referral is successful (usually a fixed fee or 10% of their first invoice once they’re paid).  Although there are more formal groups that do this (often groups that you have to pay to join), this tends to be more of a relaxed, friendly arrangement.

    But….why?

    That’s what I thought. ‘Why would you charge?’. But on discussing further with a couple of freelance friends, I could see the advantages. Referring someone takes time, and as we all know as freelancers – time is money. It takes the time to reach out to check availability and the time to write an email connecting them. I often check in with the freelancer to see how things are going too, and chat about any problems they might be having. Additionally, there’s a certain amount of reputation on the line there, that referral represents you, so a referral fee could ensure they do a good job (although, arguably, you wouldn’t refer them if you had doubts about the quality of their work). In theory, it’s a win for you, the client and the freelancer you’ve referred.

    What does the referred freelancer get out of it?

    Work with that client, hopefully. Sure, they may have to pay a small fee, but isn’t that worth it for the overall work, especially if it’s ongoing or leads to more? It’s not an ideal solution though. The client may becomes difficult, leading to some resentment on the freelancer’s part. From the referrer’s point of view, there needs to be a degree of trust that the referred freelancer will pay up or be honest.

    One other thing to mention – referring work to other freelancers doesn’t always guarantee you’ll get it back. For example, I have in the past referred work to less experienced freelancers who may charge slightly less, fitting in with the client’s budget and needs (as long as the budget is acceptable – I never refer if the work or budget is ridiculous). But I know that work is unlikely to be referred back from them (as those freelancers quite rightly can do the work themselves).

    Of course, this isn’t an entirely new approach. Affiliate schemes have allowed people to send a customer over, in exchange for an affiliate fee. In fact, I already offer affiliate links to a few courses my friends run or products they sell. Most freelancers have freelance friends in lots of pockets of the internet, so they’re able to offer clients a network of freelancers and recommendation they wouldn’t ordinarily have had access to. So a referral network can be hugely valuable to you.

    I’m still undecided about referral networks. But I’d love to know what YOU think! Comment below to let me know what you think about referral charges. Have you tried them before? Would you use them?

  • The Three Minute Freelance Podcast – Five things to do during the holidays

    It’s been a few weeks since my last podcast, and I wanted to tackle something a lot of freelancers think about – what to do during the holidays. Ideally, the best thing to do is switch off (I wrote about this in more detail on Rosalilium’s blog) but if the idea of completely switching your brain off fills you with dread (or the idea of spending more than a couple of days with your family fills you with dread), then I have a few suggestions…

    Just click on the link below to list to the podcast. It’s only three minutes long, as long as it will take to make a cup of tea!

    The Three Minute Freelance Podcast – December

  • Gift ideas for freelancers and home workers: part 4

    Looking for some last minute gifts for the freelancer in your life? May I suggest one of the following….

    Amazon Prime

    Amazon is like freelance crack. If it’s not books, it’s stationery and box sets and desk storage and shoes and….well, anything and everything. So an Amazon Prime subscription, which gives the recipient next day delivery on their orders, is a perfect way to enable them.

    iTunes gift cards

    Get a freelancer an iTunes gift card, and they can download all their favourite magazines onto their iPad or iPhone. What more could a freelancer who travels a lot want?

    Not Another Bill

    The thing about everything being digital, is that most things that drop through your letterbox will be bills, spam or (on a good day) an Amazon package. Not Another Bill aims to add a little happiness to your post, with a handpicked gift every month. The kind of gifts that guests squeal over when they see them.

    Audible membership

    Audiobooks are brilliant for freelancers, both those who travel a lot and those that like to have something on in the background that provides a little more education than the jabberings of Fearne Cotton on Radio 1. I get the vast majority of my audiobooks from Audible, as I have a subscription with them. The unfortunate thing is their gift system in the UK seems to be down at the moment. If you’re in the USA though, it seems like you can still gift an Audible membership.

  • Google+ Communities – Two new communities for UK bloggers and freelancers

    A quick post this morning before this afternoon’s post on Christmas gifts for freelancers and those working from home.

    Google+ has launched Communities, where you can create areas to chat and discuss with similar types. I’ve created two communities this morning – one for Freelancers and one for UK Bloggers. My intention is to make them places people can happily post questions, useful info and debates. It’s similar to Facebook, but I often find Facebook is limited to those you know or friends of friends, whereas Google+ communities are a little more open.

    So, why not join and get involved? I know Twitter is great for discussions, but quite often things can get lost in the noise.

    While you’re on Google+, why not try out some of the following:

    • Adding your blog links to your profile
    • Try a hangout (Check out the Digital Q&A I do with a couple of friends for an example of how you could use it)
    • Have a look at some of the events. There are some great live Q&As and Hangouts you can view (but don’t have to get involved with) going on.
    • Check out Google Local for info on your local area. You can leave reviews too!

  • Guest Post: When Blogging Took Over My World

    A month or so ago, I signed up for a scheme called Big Bloggers, Little Bloggers. It’s a scheme that matches up newer bloggers or those that want to take their blog to the next level, to those with a little more experience. I’ve been working with the lovely Ashley Stallings from Flats to Flip Flops to help her (although she’s teaching me lots too!) Her blog is a wonderful mix of fashion, parenting and philanthropy.
    Here, Ashley explains a little more about her blogging journey (with a poetic edge).

    So it all happened one night in September.
    I threw some shoes on the lawn, snapped some pictures, and my blog, flats to flip flops was born.
    If you know me, than you know that when I get an idea I kind of run with it.
    Actually more like marathon with it, I guess.
    A fashion blog?  Geared towards mom and real life women?
    Sure, I can do that, what the heck?
    Little did I know the world I was entering.
    Late nights stressing out over posts.
    Signing up for Facebook and Twitter and Bloglovin and Instagram and Hellocotton and Pinterest and the list goes on and on.
    HTML, who?
    I swear I had never goggled so much in my life!
    And balance?
    There was none.
    My kids were left to their own devices.
    My husband came home to a disaster and a crazy stressed out wife.
    Blogging had taken over my world.
    So how do you reign it in? ; ;
    How do you stay at home, take care of your family and blog?
    Here are just a few of my tips to taking back your world:

    1.  Set a schedule.

    I only do the bare minimum amount of work in the morning. ; All my posts are pre-scheduled so they pop up all on their own.
    All I do is Tweet and Facebook that day’s post out to the world and I am done.
    I save all of my other work(writing posts, commenting on other blogs, returning emails, etc) for naptime.
    I make a list, do the most important things first and I get done whatever I can get done during naptime.
    The rest of the evening is family time.
    I occasionally work at night too, once the kids are in bed, only if my husband isn’t at home.
    He deserves my time and attention when he is home.
    Figure out what works best for you and your family.

    2. Ask for help.

    Oh goodness.
    If only I would have asked how to write a guest post in html format.
    It would have saved me a super late night, a fight with my husband and a few tears.
    If you don’t know don’t be afraid to ask!
    The blogging world is full of super nice, super helpful bloggers who are willing to take the time to help (like Miss Emma, for example)!

    3. Take A Break

    Can’t think of a topic to write on?
    Didn’t have time to link up to your favorite linky party?
    Don’t have time for that guest post?
    It’s ok! You don’t have to write every day, you don’t have to link up to every link party known to man or comment on every blog every day.
    Take time for a break.
    This whirlwind called blogging can pick you up, twirl you around and never let you go if you let it.
    Even if you want to take a week or a month off, it’s fine.
    Your readers will understand and your posts might just be better for it!

    4.  Enjoy it!

    For reals people.
    If you don’t enjoy it, it is not worth it!
    Decide what you love about blogging and stick with that.
    Let the other stuff go to the wayside.
    Do you.
    Be you and all the other stuff will fall into place!
    So if you already blog, are thinking of blogging or are wondering how to make blogging fit into your world, those are a few of my tips.
    Just make sure to enjoy your world, first and foremost because you only get one.
    Happy Blogging!

    Thanks Ashley!

  • Flipboard continues to be a blogger’s best friend

    Bloggers in general read a lot of stuff. A LOT. When we’re not reading other blogs, we’re flicking through Google+, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, or have our noses in a good old’ fashioned book. It can all get a bit overwhelming at times.

    This is one of the reasons I adore the Flipboard app. It’s an iPhone, iPad and Android app that collates all the content from your various social accounts, and puts them together in a flippable magazine format. I’ve written about Flipboard a few times in the past, so I won’t go into too much detail.

    There have been two interesting developments with app this week. They’ve added Google+ and YouTube functions, so you can view both within the magazine format. I’ve been hoping they’d add YouTube for a while, but Google+ is a real catch for them – Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are still waiting to add that to their streams, so it’s impressive for a relatively new company to land such an opportunity. It’s a smart move by Google too. Interaction levels are low on the network, but targeting a group of switched on social media types, like Flipboard users, could be key to getting things moving again.

    Are you a Flipboard fan? What do you think about these two new additions?

    p.s I seem to be having some problems with YouTube on there at the moment, but they’re usually pretty quick to iron out any bugs.

  • Apps, eBooks and public speaking

    This past week has been a busy one. Busy in a fun way, busy in a scary way, busy in an exciting way.

    The Only Way Is Blogging

    It all kicked off last weekend, when I went to London to speak at The Only Way Is Blogging (TOWIB for short, obvs) on a Q&A panel about making a career from blogging. To be honest the idea of public speaking scares the hell out of me, which is partly why I agreed to do it. It all seemed to go well, and I was really interested to see what the other panelists had to say. It was nice to meet lots of new and successful bloggers too (even if, at 27, I was a decade older than half of them…)

    So ‘appy!

    Next up, The Bag Lady got an app! I’ve been editor of The Bag Lady for a year or so, and I’ve been writing for Aigua Media, the network TBL is part of, for over three years. So it’s exciting to see all the sites (Catwalk Queen, Crafty Crafty, Shoewawa, Dollymix, Kiss and Make Up, Trashionista, Star Trip and The Bag Lady) go mobile. You can download the app on all mobile and tablet platforms, for regular (and live) updates from the blog. On the right is a little screen grab of how it will look on the iPad.

    I’m on Kindle

    Well, my 30 Day Freelancing Challenge eBook is. You can now buy my eBook through the Amazon store, to read on your Kindle when you’re on the go if you so wish. If nothing else, my mum is excited she can tell people my book is on Amazon, and not have to explain what blogging is.

    The Rest

    BuyaPowa got in touch to ask for a recommendation for their festival products. So, if you pop over there now, you can see it in the Coming Soon section. It should go live next week, but you can pop your email in there to get an alert when it’s ready. If you’re not familiar with the co-buying concept, check out my earlier post on BuyaPowa.

    Aside from all that, I’ve picked up a couple of new clients, so I’ve been adjusting to the new workload. I’m hoping regular blog posting here will resume soon, now that I have an idea of how much free time I’ve got. I’ve also got some interesting guest posts coming up. If you’ve got any particular topics you’d like to see covered, please do leave me a comment below, or give me a tweet.

    Have you had any exciting news recently?