Freelance Business

  • 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

  • Looking for accounting software? Sage review (sponsored)

    One of the most common questions that pop up in The Freelance Lifestylers Facebook group, is ‘what accounting software should I use?’

    Especially this time of year, when people are keen to start better financial habits so they’re not panicking about their self-assessment again this time next year!

    Thankfully we’re surrounded by options, one being Sage. Accounting software used to be clunky and offline, but the new generation of cloud-based accounting softwares are intuitive, easy to use and make the whole accounting side of freelance life a little easier!

    I gave their Sage Business Cloud Accounting a trial, to help you see if it’s right for you!

    First impressions of Sage Business 

    Cloud Accounting

    ◦ There was a 30 Day free trial, so it was easy to setup and get started straight away.

    ◦ There’s a great startup page on the website which takes you through each of the setup changes. There’s also a quick start bit at the bottom, and a comprehensive help section (including an AI assistant for common questions)

    ◦ There’s also an app, an important factor in choosing accounting software (I really hate dealing with ‘mobile-responsive’ websites that are anything but).

    General overview

    Invoices are easy to set up, especially on the app. I like that there’s a Terms & Conditions section built in, as well as the notes (regular readers will know how much I urge freelancers to issue new clients with T&Cs). There’s also an automated section for adding in products or services, so you can quickly add in a product or service (e.g. ‘one blog post’ or ‘one month of Facebook management’). Finally, you can enable foreign currency transactions, which is really handy if you have overseas clients. All good on the invoicing front.

    Another important factor when choosing accounting software, is to check whether it offers bank connection. It saves SO much time when you can see all the incomings and outgoings of your business within your accounting software, matching up expenses with receipts, and money in with invoices. Connecting your account is really easy, and they have a wide range of banks to choose from.

    On the expenses front, it’s nice and easy to upload and assign expenses to clients, and to the correct category. It took me just a minute to do a couple of them.

    Is Sage for me?

    Sage is definitely the option for those that want to take their business seriously, rather than for side hustles. It’s also ideal for those who are making the move from freelancer to business owner with more team members.

    There are certain elements the average freelancer won’t use. Departments for instance, and for many freelancers VAT is something that isn’t needed (but hey, handy to have for the future). It needs to cover the bases as it’s for 1-25 employees. One handy thing to note is that you can use it for multiple businesses, great for the multipotentialites out there!

    Pricing

    Sage is running a special offer at the moment, where the first three months are £13.20 a month (+VAT), which then goes up to £22 a month (+VAT). As with any accounting services, I would suggest using the 30 day trials to have a really good try out.

    Sage have kindly sponsored this post, and this post contains affiliate links

  • The best books to read about freelancing in 2018

    freelance books

    Got an Amazon credit burning a hole in your pocket? Then you’re a stronger person than I am. I’d have sunk that immediately on unneeded notebooks, too good to be true cheap dresses and iPhone charger cables (I should really start treating those cables better).

    Anyway, if you’re in the market for a new read (so, always), I’ve got some recommendations for you. And by ‘I’, I mean the Freelance Lifestylers Facebook community! Here are some of their recommended reads for freelancers.

    Books For Freelancers

    Daire Charlotte Paddy There are SO many I could pick for this, but if I was going to choose one that has a little bit of everything you need as a freelancer, I’d go for Being Boss by Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson. It has a lot of great mindset stuff, as well as exercises to help you create boundaries, set goals and then make it all happen. The perfect mix of woo, strategy and inspiration. Plus, such a pretty book.

    Helen Jane Campbell I like Time to Think by Nancy Kline. It doesn’t just relate to coaching but to anyone who ever has to have meetings.

    Emily Rose Weston I’m currently reading The Multi-hypen method by Emma Gannon – Really enjoying it, I’d recommend it to everyone in this group!

    Manda Graham Free Range Human by Marianne Cantwell… is the book that has stayed with me since i started as a freelancer. Lots of practical ideas and inspiration

    Chris Worth – I’ll recommend “Flow” by Mihali Csikszentmihalyi – an amazing set of methods for concentrating as a one-man-band.

    Catherine Gladwyn This one’s good, apparently. (This is Catherine’s book, but I can confirm it’s excellent – I bought it myself!

  • Looking for coaching for freelancers? A special offer for April

    Hello!

    Just a quick post today to let you know about a special offer I’m running on my coaching packages this month.

    As I turned 33 earlier this month, I’m offering 33% off any of my freelancer coaching packages booked this month (taking place on Skype).

    This includes:

    • One off 90 minute session: £76.23 rather than £99. This is perfect when you have one thing in mind to deal with, or you’re looking to get out of a rut.
    • Half day session: £151.69 rather than £197. This one is ideal if you want a focused brainstorm for your business.

    Coaching Testimonials

    Here’s what others have said about my coaching:

    “Emma is a sensitive and practical coach. She balances the sessions with teasing out the crux of a situation by asking insightful questions, with tips and tricks and ideas that help you solve blocks yourself. Emma has worked as an employee and also, as she is now, as an established freelancer. Knowing both sides of the fence gives her an immense credibility which coupled with her boundless wisdom and suggestions makes you feel nothing is impossible. I would highly recommend Emma as a professional coach to anyone wanting to bring success into their lives.” – Susie Boutal

    “After just an hour with Emma I had clarity on where I was taking my business and an action plan to help me get it there. She gave me loads of ideas and helped me take a fresh look at what I was doing, as well as giving me motivation to get there” – Laura Agar Wilson

    “Emma is the first person I go to to talk about anything, whether it’s work, personal, or utterly random. She is a great sounding board whenever I need to vent, she has SO MUCH KNOWLEDGE that she is always happy to share and her practical approach always helps me calm down and identify exactly what’s getting in my way (and what I should do next). It’s unreal the amount that talking to Emma helps me live life. More than anything, she has helped me to believe in myself. She is always there, always kind, always encouraging and I LOVE HER.” – Daire Charlotte Paddy

    “Emma’s coaching sessions bring so much clarity to any project in such a short amount of time, I honestly don’t know how she does it. She basically helped me get my passive income stream up and running within half a day, AND busted through some business blocks in my client Work too! She’s also a super supportive coach long after the session ends and has helped me so much by being my cheerleader. I adore Emma!” – Leanne Rice

    Sound good? Send me a message and we’ll get you booked in!

  • Join us for StoryVEDA

    Fancy a challenge for April?

    Want to up your Instagram game?

    Want the accountability of a group of other Instagram users?

    You’ve come to the right place! In April, Daire Paddy and I are hosting StoryVEDA, a twist on the popular VEDA (vlog or video every day in April/August) format, focused on using Instagram Stories.

    Each day, we’ll have a new prompt for you to use for Instagram Stories. It might be to share a goal, a top tip or a book you’re loving at the moment. Each daily challenge shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to do, but will hopefully give you some great content to share, some inspiration, and who knows – maybe even a new client or two!

    Sound good? Simply fill in the form below to join our accountability group, and check out the spreadsheet below for others in the group who you’d like to follow. Below the spreadsheet you’ll find the prompts. Then don’t forget to use the hashtag #StoryVEDA in your stories! 

    Your Daily Prompts

    1. Intro + why you’re doing #StoryVEDA

    2. Camera lover or hater (and why)

    3. One big goal

    4. Insta tip

    5. Share a struggle – watch others and help

    6. On the bookshelf

    7. Unwind

    8. How you plan

    9. People who inspire you

    10. Tools

    11. What you’re up to

    12. Your morning unfiltered

    13. The best advice, the worst advice

    14. Journaling process

    15. Where you find inspiration

    16. Quote me on this

    17. Fave listens

    18. What kind of creator are you

    19. Workspace

    20. Unfunk yourself

    21. How do you help?

    22. #workwithme full day

    23. Apps

    24. Work schedule – yay or nay

    25. One thing that makes your life easier

    26. What’s on your wishlist?

    27. Share your values

    28. What keeps you on track?

    29. Fave Story technique

    30. Where else can we find you?

  • How freelance marketers can stay ahead of the GDPR regulations

    This post on GDPR is a collaboration with Accelerate Places.

    New data protection rules, also known as the GDPR, come into effect from the 25th May 2018. With this date swiftly approaching, it’s time to work out how the GDPR will affect you, and the marketing work that you do for your clients. The team over at coworking space provider Accelerate Places have put together a simple cheat sheet to introduce you to the basics of the GDPR for marketers. Take a look below!

    How will GDPR affect freelancers?

    This simple introduction outlines how marketing tasks will be affected by the GDPR, but you should be aware of how the GDPR could affect your wider freelancing too.

    Customer data

    If you have access to customer data of a freelance client, such as a CRM or a email marketing list, you must make sure you are aware of, and abide by, your client’s data protection policies. Make sure to ask for a copy of these up front, and have a read through to make sure there aren’t any glaring errors or omissions in them that may leave you liable to investigation.

    Keeping information safe

    No matter whether it’s client data, or data about their customers that you have access to, you need to make sure you’re scrupulous about keeping data safe. Make sure to always lock your laptop before leaving it anywhere, use secure passwords, and enable two-factor authentication on any devices or applications that you can. Data leaks can result in hefty fines, so it pays to be extra safe!

    Saying no to tasks

    When the GDPR comes into force, you may have to get used to saying ‘no’ to jobs or tasks. Many companies don’t yet fully understand the GDPR, so may ask you to do tasks which breach these rules. For example, scraping emails from LinkedIn to add to an email marketing list is not allowed under the GDPR, and buying email contact lists can also be troublesome too. Make sure you stay on top of the GDPR regulations so you don’t take on any potentially troublesome tasks.

    Insurance

    As a freelancer, it’s good practice to have a strong professional indemnity insurance policy in place. As insurers can be a little slow to update policies, it’s unlikely that your insurer will have a specific GDPR policy (yet!). Despite this, it is worth checking if you are covered for data breaches or legal costs in the event of an investigation. This will help you to feel a little more safe and comfortable should any issues arise in the future.

    These tips should help to stop you falling foul of the new GDPR rules, but for more information, check out the guides on the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) website.

    Other relevant posts

  • The Ultimate Guide To Getting Started As A Freelancer

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    Want to quit the rat race and go freelance, but not sure where to start?

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    Get started with this guide for freelancers-to-be to make the change from worker bee to Queen bee!

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    Being freelance is a wonderful way to do the work you love, where you want (as long as there’s wifi!), and with who you want.


    But what is freelancing? 

    According to the dictionary:

    “A freelancer is a person who works as a writer, designer, performer, or the like, selling work or services by the hour, day, job, etc., rather than working on a regular salary basis for one employer.”

    Some freelancers call themselves consultants, self-employed, business owners or entrepreneurs. There are a lot of terms thrown around, but the basis is the same – they work for a variety of clients on a self-employed basis.  


    [su_icon_text color=”#ff63b1″ icon=”icon: laptop” icon_color=”#008b8b” icon_size=”82″]Did you know… there are 2 million freelancers in the UK (statistic from IPSE’s Freelance Workforce) 1.77 million work freelance in main jobs, and a further 234,000 work freelance in second jobs​​​​​​​.[/su_icon_text]

    Getting started as a freelancer is exciting, but also a little terrifying! It can be hard to know where to start, and a lot of freelancers-to-be are nervous that they’ll get something wrong or miss something and get into trouble. 

    This guide is here to ease you in! 


    Get started with this guide for freelancers-to-be to make the change from worker bee to Queen bee! Click To Tweet


    The Ultimate Guide To Getting Started As A Freelancer

    From setting up your business with HMRC, to nailing networking, I’ve got everything you need to get you started.

    • Step 1: Plan, Plan, Plan
    • Step 2: Registering & Finances
    • Step 3: Marketing
    • Step 4: Networking
    • Step 5: T&Cs and Contracts

    Step 1: Plan, Plan, Plan

    The important thing to do before you start your freelance business, is to get planning! Having a plan before you dive in is essential, and will help you stay focused on those tricky days when you lack motivation.

    Have a think about:

    • What you want to do?
    • Who your ideal customer is?
    • Where you’ll find them?
    • How much time you’ll have?
    • What you’ll need to earn to cover bills?
    • What resources you’ll need?
    • What your expenses will be?

    Useful Resources

    Identifying your Super Customer – The Girl Means Business

    How To Be A Part-Time Freelancer – The Freelance Lifestyle

    Six signs you’re ready to make the leap to freelancing or contracting – Talented Ladies Club


    Chapter 2: Registering & Finances

    Don’t tell anyone, but HMRC are actually really nice to speak to – as long as it’s not the end of January when Self Assessment payments are due! Registering your business isn’t as tricky as you’d think either. In this section, you’ll find out more about how to register your business, and how to get off to a solid start financially.

    The HMRC has a great guide to registering as self-employed to get you started. If you have an accountant, you can ask them to help you with it. The important thing is that you do it before 5 October in your business’s second tax year. You could be fined if you don’t.

    Useful Resources

    How Do I Register As Self-Employed – The Money Haven

    The best invoicing and accounts software and tools for freelancers – The Freelance Lifestyle

    The A-Z of Freelancing: Invoicing – The Freelance Lifestyle

    Bookeeping for Freelancers – Virgin Startup

    Freelancers, should you set up a business bank account? – Freelancer News

    A Field Guide To Freelancer Finances – Freeagent


    Chapter 3: Marketing

    Building a freelance business means embracing a little more visibility and marketing to get your name out there and bring the clients in. In this section you’ll learn about different ways to market your business.

    9 Often Overlooked Ways to Market Your Freelance Business – Men with Pens

    8 Tips for Effectively Marketing Your Freelance Business – Social Media Week

    The One Email You MUST Send As A Freelancer – The Freelance Lifestyle

    10 ways to boost your biz on a budget – The Freelance Lifestyle

    How to Market Your Freelance Business Better – Freelancers Blog


    Chapter 4: Networking

    Want to get work in fast? You need to network! Whether it’s face-to-face or online, getting out there and meeting people is how you can develop business relationships quickly. But don’t worry, as an introvert I know this can be scary – I’ve got your back!

    Five things to consider when choosing a networking event – The Freelance Lifestyle

    Getting started in networking – The Freelance Lifestyle

    Shhh, quiet: an introvert’s guide to networking – The Guardian

    Use this easy hypnotherapy exercise to beat your fear of networking – Talented Ladies Club

    How To Network Online as a Freelancer – Ben R Matthews


    Step 5: T&Cs and Contracts

    Setup your business, marketed the hell out of it and found a potential client? Hold up! Before you dance off into the sunset with your bill payer, you need to get some T&Cs and contracts in place. Read on for some useful tools for this.​​​​​​​

    Protect yourself with these contract samples – Crunch

    What NOT to do with freelance contracts – Contracter UK

    The Freelance Contract – and.co


    Ready to start taking your freelance business seriously? Come join The Freelance Lifestash, an essential stash of super-practical resources, trainings and templates for freelancers who want to take their business seriously (but still have fun)

  • How To Put Together A Highly Clickable Email In 15 Minutes

    Social media might rule the roost when it comes to getting word out about what you offer, but email and sending a newsletter is how you develop the relationship and get clients buying. In fact, there are some interesting stats on Optin Monster:

    66% of consumers state that they have made a purchase as the result of a marketing message they received by email.
    On the flip side, only 20% of them have ever made a purchase resulting from a Facebook promotion, and a mere 6% ever purchased something resulting from a Twitter promotion.

    So, newsletters are important. But it’s so easy to push it down your To Do list, and assume it will take a lot of time. It doesn’t have to though! With a little planning, creating your weekly newsletter can take just 15 minutes.

    First up: The Newsletter Format

    Freelance Lifestyle Newsletter 2

    Freelance Lifestyle Newsletter

    The basic format of my email is:

    • Logo
    • Email topic
    • Image (often used from Pixabay/Picjumbo or my latest post)
    • Introduction text – usually linking to that week’s blog post
    • Promotion section – usually one of my courses, the podcast info and info on my online school
    • The Useful and The Fun link round ups. These are two sections summarising some of my favourite links from around the web that week for freelancers and home workers. They give readers great value, increase click rates and, from a selfish point of view, are fun to research!
    • Featured Freelancers. Occasionally these are affiliates, or just freelancers who have created products and services suitable for my readers.
    • Finally, there’s the blog post archive section and the social media links

    While that might sound like quite a bit, most of it only requires occasional updating. The rest, with a little bit of forward thinking during the week, is absolutely doable in 15 minutes.

    Want to know how I do it? Here are the steps I take:

    • I use pretty much the same template every week, so I can easily edit it for that week and send it out. It also means readers know what to expect.
    • Throughout the week, I save links I’ve enjoyed to Pocket. I’ve also got a couple of IFTTT recipes set up, so that Tweets I favourite/heart end up in Pocket, save Medium articles I applaud, and some of my favourite blog RSS feeds are set up to save there too. That means that when Thursday comes round, I have a nice collection of links to use for my round up.
    • The chatty bit at the start of the email is often a repurposed introduction from that week’s blog post, linking to the rest of the post. I don’t just copy and paste – I like to tailor it to newsletter readers and give them a good idea of the kind of content they’ll get when they click through
    • The next bit is my featured freelancers bit. These tend to change every month or so, so often just need a read through to make sure they’re still suitable.
    • Finally, the section at the end of my email is a piece of MailChimp code which automatically imports my last few blog posts, so I don’t need to change it!

    What can I write a newsletter on?

    Not sure what you could offer a newsletter on? Here are a few ideas:

    • A monthly current and previous client newsletter, with useful links to their industry or yours (e.g. ‘Instagram released this feature, want to know more? Book in a session with me’)
    • A chatty behind the scenes email with what you’re up to
    • A weekly or bi-weekly update on new products. This could be as simple as an image that clicks through to your online store
    • Something a little different – perhaps an industry-specific crossword, a teaser for your latest videos, a summary of your most popular Instagram snapshots, a round up of your favourites – there’s no reason why you have to do anything the standard way.

    Do you have a newsletter?

    p.s If you’re short on time, but keen to start a podcast, I have a 15 minute hack for that too!