FREELANCE LIFE

How to create a privacy policy for your blog

GDPR is just a few weeks away from being implemented! Hopefully, you’ve read my The Ultimate Guide to GDPR for bloggers’  and have understood a little more about what GDPR means and the consequences for your blog. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, one of the simplest things you can do today is to get your privacy policy sorted!

Why do you need a privacy policy for your blog?

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5 ways to save money as a freelancer

I don’t blog about it much on this blog, but I’ve been really into ‘money saving’ for a few years now. Over on my main blog, you can find my ‘how to get FREE gluten-free food series’ where I share my tips on being gluten-free on a budget. Starting out as a freelancer, money can be tight so I’ve teamed up with Latest Deals today to share my top tips for saving money and budgeting.

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6 ways to be proactive during quiet blogging periods

Quiet periods and lulls are so common in the freelancing and blogging world- the summer months can be frustrating for bloggers as traffic can be down due to the hot weather and there are so many bank holidays which means communication can grind to a halt (especially when it comes to unpaid invoices and accountants not being in the office!) All of this can leave you feeling a bit deflated, so today I wanted to share some of my top tips to be proactive during these quiet periods.

This blog post is in collaboration with Boost Capital, who like me, are champions of small businesses and help them with flexible funding via their Merchant Cash Advance (which you only repay when you’re paid!). As a small business owner myself, they’ve asked me to share my own experiences and suggestions on how to keep proactive during these quiet periods to make sure your blog keeps ticking over and of course- money is coming in.

 

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The Ultimate guide to GDPR for bloggers

It’s officially May and you know what that means: GDPR month! Now I must admit that this has come around far too quickly for my liking (although don’t panic, you’ve got until the 25th May!) However, I also think that this is going to be such an adjustment for everyone; we’re all in the same boat and I’m hopeful that when it comes to GDPR for bloggers, we aren’t going to be first on their hit-list (mainly because none of us has the 20 million euros to pay the fine!)

If you’ve not heard the term, GDPR is all about data protection and how we handle and use the data we get from our readers. Where does GDPR for bloggers come in? Well, most of us bloggers aren’t handling reams and reams of data but we do deal with comments on our blog, running a newsletter and more.

Therefore, it is super important that we do our reading too! I’ll be honest, I had initially hoped for this post to get a lawyer to answer all of your in-depth questions about GDPR. But what do you know, I struggled to find one who understood GDPR for bloggers and not huge companies: which again suggests, no one is really quite sure what it actually means for us lot yet!

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3 factors that help take your blog to the next level

black and white, blog, business

When it comes to blogging, there often seem to be different tiers that different blogs fall into. After all, in a world where literally anyone can start their own blog and put their content out into the world, not everyone is going to be in a position to generate a huge audience right away (the competition is fierce!).

The fact of the matter is that some blogs are just going to be there as a personal outlet for someone rather than as a viable career option. But what do you do if you want your blog to become your career? Do you need to just watch and wait? Well, no. Here are just a few things that you can do in order to take your blog to the next level.Also, check out my ‘How I Turned My Blog Into A Job‘ post for more useful tips!

1.Improve your website’s design

You might assume that the only thing that you need in order to bring new readers and take your blog to the next level is the best possible content. And sure, that’s a big part of it, but the truth is that without a well-designed blog, no one is going to be interested enough to engage with your content in the first place.

I recently redesigned my first blog-A Balanced Belly- and it navigates so much better! Once you’ve generated an income from your blog, working with a designer or WordPress agency can help you create the kind of blog that people will want to visit in the first place. If your blog looks amateurish, people will assume you are very new to blogging and not necessarily view you as a ‘pro’ (the same goes for .blogspot or .wordpress addresses)

2.Find a niche

There are so many blogs out there that’s it’s often all too easy for them to blur together and become indistinguishable from one another (especially so for lifestyle bloggers) The only real way to avoid this is to find a niche that makes your blog stand out. It could be a specific topic or an angle that you approach things from. Figure out what makes your voice totally unique and do everything you can to lean into that as much as possible. People should be able to read your content and instantly know where it came from.

3.Improve your writing

Your blog’s design might impact whether people want to read your content in the first place, but your content is what they’re there for. You need to make sure that the content you’re putting on your blog is actually worth reading. You might be a good writer, but to have a really successful blog, you need to be a great one. You need to be able to write in as dynamic and engaging a way as possible. Otherwise, you’ll just end up with readers who end up clicking away after barely reading through a whole paragraph of a single post. This can then help you develop your blog-writing into other areas such as freelance journalism (read my tips on that here)

One of the most important things to remember is that there is sometimes going to an element of luck to your success as a blogger. Being in the right place at the right time is going to make a big difference. However, it won’t matter how lucky you get if your blog isn’t up to the right standard so get out there and  make your own luck!

*Collaborative Post*

The multi-hyphen method review: The book every freelancer needs to read.

I’ve written a few times about how much I devour books about blogging and freelancing. I’ve already shared my favourite blogging books that I can’t live without, and I recently wrote about the best new books for entrepreneurs for The Independent. However, I’ve often felt there are not many books that sum-up the reality for myself and many of my readers: those who juggle several different job titles; make an income from their blog one month and not the next and have about twenty ideas for side-projects in their notebook.

That’s why when I came across ‘The Multi-Hyphen Method‘ by Emma Ganon a few months ago (whilst researching for the article I mentioned previously); I was incredibly excited. I’d heard Emma on a podcast talking about how she struggled to always define ‘what she did’ -and that was ok! Her concept of a ‘multi-hyphen’ approach to work perfectly summed up my journey of going from a teacher to blogger with two blogs; a freelance journalist and now blog outreach manager of Chronic Illness Bloggers Network!

Sadly, the pre-release copies weren’t available in time for me to include Emma’s book in my previous articles; but I remained curious and was so pleased when an advanced copy landed on my mat this week (yes, I really have read the whole thing in less than a week!)

This multi-hyphen method reviews explains why this is one of my favourite books and why every freelancer needs to read the multi-hyphen method!

Emma starts her book by highlighting just how common going freelance is becoming and, as someone who is still relatively new to the world of self-employment, it’s great to know!

I really loved how she also addressed the idea of ‘success’ in this section too. After ploughing my way through business books, many talk about concepts of success that don’t resonate me: earning millions, working four hours a week. Success to me, I realised as the book progressed, is flexibility: to work the hours you’d like, focus on projects your passion about and be in control of your career.

But this isn’t a ‘go freelance now’ type of book (or a book on ‘being an influencer’ as Emma quickly points out!)

Emma highlights how not every project you work on has to be monetised (something, I admitted I struggled with in my post ‘the blogging lies I’ve told‘ and actually it’s perfectly okay to define yourself as a writer, creator, artist, podcaster, YouTuber or whatever else you see fit; without actually bringing in an income from it. In other words: it’s SO not just about the money.

Encouraging flexible approaches to work is a big aspect of the book and part of Emma’s definition of success. She acknowledges the very valid point that not everyone can quit their jobs instantly (Thank you! It took me many years to finally quit the teaching game) or perhaps they won’t want to at all.

There are tips on developing your ‘multi-hyphens’ without burning out and considering things like job sharing and talking to your employer. Most business books share case studies of multi-millionaires but Emma shares those of real-women who love all the different parts of their job; from the senior nurse who has a book deal to the full-time paramedic who runs a blog: these are the types of women we should be reading about in business books!

As the book progresses, there’s plenty of practical tips to apply too: such as Emma sharing her tips on using energy wisely, working for free and how to gain your confidence. It’s such a gem of a book and I know I will keep dipping back into it in the weeks and months to come!

I rarely take the time to write in-depth book reviews, but I just really wanted to take the time to blog this one and share it with you. The Multi-Hyphen method isn’t available until the end of May but if you are a blogger with a ‘day job’, a new freelancer or ‘not quite sure which of the twenty things your juggling best defines you’ I’d 100% recommend you pre-ordering this now.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of the book with no obligation to review. Post contains affiliate links.

 

Everything bloggers need to know about their tax self-assessment

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably left your tax self-assessment return to the very last minute. Perhaps you’re even worse than me and didn’t realise the Self Assessment submission deadline is midnight on the 31st January! But it is fast upon us and most of us avoid it until we really have to face it; last year, 33,000 people filed in the final hour, while a staggering 840,000 people missed the deadline altogether. If it’s late, HMRC delivers a straight £100 fine; with even more penalties if it continues to be missed.

You get the idea. It’s a faff but it needs to be done. To avoid getting stressed,  I’ve teamed up with SimpleTax to share lots of expert advice and tips on filling in your tax return properly as a blogger. Make sure you read to the bottom of the post so you can claim a 14 day completely free trial (bank details not needed) of SimpleTax to help you fill in your return with zero effort!

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‘Shop small’ last minute gift guide

As the threat of the tax deadline looms ever closer, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be self-employed and essentially being a ‘small business’. Since I finally started working for myself (more on my life as a freelance writer and blogger here) I’ve been so much more aware of supporting small businesses. I have so much respect for those who go out on their own as I know first-hand how hard that can be.

Last week, I attended the Ideas Birmingham Etsy market and I was invited to go down to shop, spend and tell you all about the different small businesses operating in my local area.

The event was at the Custard Factory-a place that is always brimming with creativity; I just wish it wasn’t such a trek to get to it from the centre of Birmingham! Here are a few of my favourite stands-and, if you’re last minute like me, I’ve also included a few items that would work perfectly as gifts for you to snap up!

Jewellery from FU Loves

I loved this stand of vibrant, eclectic jewellery. These handmade earrings are amazing for a fashionista friend!

Every home office needs a candle or two and I was blown away by Firefly Handmade Creations. In fact, I’ve already put another order in online! They are the most amazing handmade candles and wax melts- often in the scent of lush products. My favourite ‘Snow Fairy’ smelt absolutely identical to the Lush version and burnt beautifully; filling the room. These are a perfect stocking filler.

 

Talking of my home office, these prints and cards from Corin Beth Designs were so quirky and adorable. They also do great gifts, cards and prints for children.

 

 

I  promptly fell in love with the amazing vintage creations from Silly Old Sea Dog. I very much need this dress in my life immediately. They had a whole variety of handmade colourful vintage style dresses.

And finally- I couldn’t resist this little fella from the gorgeous Hollow Bourne A real work of art! They’d make a lovely gift for that animal lover in your life as they come in the style of foxes, cats, birds and even dragons!

A post shared by Jenna Farmer (@jennafarmeruk) on

Since attending the event, I’m making a real concerted effort to shop small and order from small businesses and Etsy shops in the future. One order can make a real difference and support fellow self-employed people; but what’s more, the items are truly unique and crafted with love. I’d love to hear your suggestions about shopping small and any Etsy sellers you’d recommend?

Staying Healthy When Working From Home

Photography: www.instagram.com/egphotographer

 


A few months ago, I attended an event with Vikings- aimed at freelancers and full-time bloggers who worked from home. The aim was to educate us all about making healthy choices during our working day. Something I know is important, but still, I find myself skipping lunch, hunching over my laptop and just not getting enough exercise outdoors.

 

Photography: www.instagram.com/egphotographerOur first stop was the juice bar. If you know about my first blog- A Balanced Belly– then you’ll know I juice often. But it was still really interesting to chat with the guys about the best recipes and how juices can keep you hydrated throughout the day. It gave me a reminder to keep up my juicing habits- especially when I need an energy boost around midday!

After that, we managed to grab a sit down and I chatted with some fellow bloggers. I love events that let you chat informally with others- and it’s always great to put names to faces!

Photography: www.instagram.com/egphotographer

Then we were guided through the main reason we were there: to learn about sit-stand desks. I’ve always been really curious about these and we learnt about how they impact your posture and keep you active during the day. I imagined it would be quite bulky so I was surprised to see it actually would slot in well to my current desk set up- and could be adapted should I be ready for a sit down!

Photography: www.instagram.com/egphotographer

It’s thought sit-stand desks can do everything from increases your blood circulation, help with eye strain concentration, metabolic rate and energy, which in turn help regulate blood pressure, blood sugar, body weight and stress.

Impressive stuff but given I’m so fidgety, I’m just not sure how long I’d last standing up. I’d love to hear from any freelancers who do this and how they make it work?

Finally, we were also given a little session on how to do simple stretches at our desk- this was my favourite part of the day and the suggestions were so easy to slot in around your desk.

The event left me super-motivated to build in breaks during my workday- whether it was to stand, juice or stretch!

 

Thanks very much to Vikings for inviting me to this event. You can learn more about their sit-stand desks here.

All images sourced from http://www.elouisageorgiou.co.uk/

 

10 tips for going from blogging to freelance writing

Today is a much-requested post here on The Bloglancer. If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that as well as running two blogs, I am a freelance writer. I mainly write for magazines and online sites but have also done some blogging for brands and copywriting. This topic is something I get asked about a lot, but for me at least, getting ahead in freelance writing is the same as any form of media: working hard; not being afraid to put yourself out there every day; making contacts and constantly coming up with new ideas!  Here are my ten tips for going from blogger to freelance writer….

 

1. Read, read and read some more. (more…)

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