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  • 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.
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    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?

  • Freelancer’s Teabreak Podcast #12: Pen or tap? Paper or app?

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    What do you do when you’re struggling to get productive? Turn to an app, an online tool or some other form of tech? That’s my default method. I’m horribly addicted to my phone.

    Remember last week when I mentioned how many hours I’d racked up on my phone? But this week, I’ve shaken things up a bit and returned to an old school method – pen and paper. As if I needed another excuse to stock up on supplies from Paperchase. It’s not just me either – several members of the Freelance Lifestylers Facebook group are also huge fans of pen and paper.

    While I figured getting things down with pen and paper might help me clear my head a bit, I didn’t realise the impact it would have on my productivity. Or how passionate other people were about the benefits of using pen and paper.


    Pssst! Pen and paper enthusiasts – have you heard about the bullet journal method? It’s a great way to keep track of your To Do lists and more (and aside from the cost of a notebook, it’s free)

     

  • Freelancer’s Teabreak Podcast #11: Three essential freelance apps

    Freelance apps

    Last week, I did a little test on my iPhone using an app called Moment. It tells you how many minutes you spend actively using your phone, and how many times you pick it up and swipe it open.

    The results weren’t flattering. I spent almost SIX HOURS on my iPhone in one day. And 72 pick ups. A day where I was training for six hours, away from my phone. That’s almost half of my waking hours spent staring at a tiny, bright screen.

    I should be deeply, deeply ashamed of that, right?

    Um, no. Because if it wasn’t for my handheld treasure trove of apps, I’m not sure how the hell I’d manage to run my business.

    Pop the kettle on and listen to this week’s Freelance Teabreak podcast to find out exactly which three apps I couldn’t freelance without – then tell me in the comments which ones rock your freelance socks off!

    (Bonus points if you confess to what your results were using the Mention app!)