FREELANCE LIFE

The NEW way to chase unpaid invoices

Not long ago, I talked about unpaid invoices and how frustrating they were to deal with! It was one of the most popular blog posts I’ve ever written; with so many of you replying to me at exactly how frustrating it was! Dealing with unpaid invoices is one of the most time-consuming and stressful parts of being a freelancer or blogger. You keep checking your bank balance and feel incredibly poor-yet you know you’ve actually done the work! One check of your inbox can transform your mood and even though we know we’re entitled to the money, we’re scared of ruining relationships with the companies we work for. We’re literally too polite to ask what we’re entitled to!

That’s why I wanted to introduce PAYSAP: who is an official partner of The Bloglancer this month. I reached out to PAYSAP because I was literally obsessed with their idea- I knew it was something my readers needed to know about and something I needed to use! So let me tell you a little more about PAYSAP and how it works.

What is PAYSAP?

PAYSAP is a revolutionary new service created by freelancers (I say revolutionary as I think this is such a brilliant yet simple idea and can’t believe I’ve never heard of it before!) that takes over chasing invoices for you. After filling out a very simple form, you’ll be assigned a ‘paygent’ whose job it is to chase invoices on your behalf and just lets you know when it’s sorted. Unless we’re talking a coffee shop with free wifi and unlimited coffee, this is literally as good as it gets for freelancers! 

Not only does this save time but it’s also perfect if you’re worried about potentially damaging a relationship between you and a company. Your ‘paygent’ essentially becomes your accounting department who chases up for you. They’ll call and email and keep chasing until it’s sorted. Then they’ll arrange the payment to be made to your bank by the client.

If you don’t want to wait a full 30 days before chasing (in line with the government guidelines), you don’t actually have to. PAYSAP offers invoice financing too. This means, they’ll pay you for your invoice BEFORE payment is made by the company; 48 hours after submitting in fact! For this service, they take a percentage of the invoice (Starting at just 10% but it depends on the risk involved) but given the amount of time you spent chasing (and let’s be honest checking your online banking whilst crossing your fingers and toes) it is often well worth it. It’s one of those things I’d weigh up personally and it could definitely be worth taking a small cut to get it sorted so quickly!

What plans do PAYSAP offer?

PAYSAP offer two different services: Fixity (a one-off, standalone service) or Tenacity (a monthly plan to cover two invoices). The prices vary depending on the invoice fee (but if it’s under £1000, the plans are usually £29). However, if you’re looking to join you can use the code JENF10 which will get you £10 off either of the above.

How do I get started with PAYSAP?

To get started, simply head to PAYSAP’s website and select which option you’d prefer. Fixity is best if you just need a one-off invoice sorted, but if you know this is a regular thing; I’d go for Tenacity (which, even without the code, works out at less than £15 an invoice but with it, it’s under a tenner!). It’s then just a case of uploading your invoice and contract (don’t worry, a PDF copy of your email outlining the job that needs doing technically acts as a contract) and PAYSAP take care of the rest. They’ll get on with chasing and updating you-whilst you can get on with your busy workload knowing that it’s all i hand!

I hope you found this post useful and I’d love to know your thoughts on PAYSAP and if you’ve managed to give it a try using the discount code! I’ll be updating this post with my own experiences of using the service as the month progresses too.

This is a collaborative post with PAYSAP.

Insider Secrets To Becoming A Highly Paid Copywriter

Today’s blog is a guest post by one of my fellow bloggers Ruth. Ruth is a freelance writer and blogs about genuine ways to make money online at RuthMakesMoney.com Ruth shares her top tips about being a highly paid freelance copywriter.

I’ve been a freelance writer for around 8 years now, and in that time, I’ve done everything from the soul-sucking content mill projects that make you lose the will to live, to working with wonderful clients who totally ‘get’ the value of a copywriter, and who are willing to pay several thousands of pounds for a job well done.

I suppose you could say that it’s all part of the journey. What I’ve learned though is that it’s very possible to earn a generous income from your writing, and you absolutely don’t have to work for next to nothing.

Along the way, I’ve cracked some of the secrets to being able to command premium rates, and they’ve helped me to continuously increase my earnings and make freelancing a sustainable and profitable career.

It’s probably worth noting here that my experiences are a little different to Jenna’s. Whilst Jenna mainly writes for magazines and their online counterparts, my own work has been centred about creating content for business owners.

Still, though, I believe that much of what I’ve learned is applicable right across the board, and if you want to get paid more for your words, this advice can help you to do exactly that. So let’s get stuck into the methods you can use to increase your freelance earnings…

1.Know that the rungs on the ladder only exist if you believe they do

To be honest, I’ve never really been into the whole positive-thinking, believe-it-and-achieve-it stuff that does the rounds in entrepreneurship circles online. But a couple of years ago, I came across something known as ‘leapfrog theory’ by Robert Ringer. It was a bit of a light bulb moment for me, and it’s something that’s stayed with me ever since, and helped me to increase my fees.

So here’s the thing… In the traditional world of work, we’re conditioned to believe that there’s a ladder that we need to climb. We need to pay our dues, work through the levels, and ultimately, wait until someone else deems us worthy of the next stage before we can take that jump. Leapfrog theory states that, No one has an obligation—moral, legal, or otherwise—to ‘work his way up through the ranks.’ Every human being possesses an inalienable right to make a unilateral decision to redirect his career and begin operating on a higher level at any time he believes he is prepared to do so”.

The TLDR? You don’t have to wait for permission to raise your rates – and if you do, you’re going to be waiting for a long time. You can actively decide to jump right ahead of your competitors, and become the go-to writer in your niche. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have to be good at what you do. But how good your work is, and how in demand you are and how much you can charge, aren’t always directly correlated. The writers who thrive are often the ones who simply decide that it’s time to take their leap.

2.Shift your mindset away from being the hired help, and become the trusted expert

Fairly early on in my writing career, I’d jumped on the phone with a new client and I explained how I worked and the information that I’d need from him to move forward… So, you know, details about his business, his ideal clients, and so on. Then, he actually LAUGHED DOWN THE PHONE AT ME, and in a really patronising manner, told me that no, he was far too busy to do any of that, and all I needed to do was go away and write the content.

And listen, I’m quiet. I’m an introvert. I’m not up for any kind of confrontation in any shape or form. But in that moment, I knew that I simply couldn’t let a client relationship work out like that. He’d end up with content that missed the mark, and it would be a bad representation of my work. So I stood my ground with him, and politely but firmly explained that actually, we needed to do things my way.

He listened, and he ended up with awesome website content that got him a load of new clients. All’s well that ends well, and all that. But the point is that when you create relationships with clients where you’re the expert, instead of someone they’re just paying to do a job, you do your best work. You get more satisfaction. And you also get paid more. Coincidentally, you also make things much easier for your client… They WANT someone to take the reins.

This is a mindset shift as much as anything else, but there are practical things you can do at all stages of your working processes to really embody being an expert. Consider the tone of your pitches, how you onboard your clients, and how you get started with your projects.

3.Create your own passive income stream

Regardless of how much you might love writing, there’s no escaping the fact that when you’re firing out a ton of content, week in and week out, it can become mentally taxing. It can feel like a treadmill that you’ll never escape from, and if you’re not careful, you can burn yourself out. Having more freedom was probably one of the reasons why you wanted to freelance in the first place, so it makes sense to think about the longer-term and how you can create an income stream that isn’t so hands-on.

After a year or two of freelancing, I created my first passive solution in the form of a membership programme where I taught business owners how to craft their own killer content. That meant that I always started the month knowing that whatever happened, and even if I couldn’t write for clients for whatever reason, I’d still have all my bills and living expenses covered. Obviously, this gave me huge peace of mind, and it massively increased my earning potential.

What I will say here is that there’s a lot of hype around passive income streams, and much of it is fairly misleading. If you think that you can just knock together an e-course and retire to a tropical island, you’re going to get a shock. Launching something like this takes a lot of work, a lot of trial and error, and it’s a big learning curve. Ultimately though, it can definitely be worth it.

4.Know the type of work that will allow you to command premium rates

Much of my early work involved writing blog posts for business owners. And here’s the thing with that… Those blog posts were usually part of a wider strategy to drive traffic to their sites and increase brand awareness. But in most cases, those blogs weren’t directly monetised. So whilst they were a ‘nice to have’ for my clients, they didn’t necessarily have a really clear ROI that was directly traceable back to that piece of work.

That put a bit of a cap on my earnings. You could be the best blog writer on the planet, but when it’s something that just doesn’t have an ROI within your clients’ business models, it’s not going to make a great deal of difference. I quite quickly cottoned on to the fact that businesses will happy to pay a premium if it’s for something that has the power to make them a load of money. And it was at that stage when I threw myself into mastering direct response copy.

Direct response is basically anything that results in the reader taking action… Like a landing page that collects leads, or a sales page that sells on autopilot. These actions can be hugely profitable for businesses, so that means that there’s way more scope for getting paid higher fees.

I’ve spent a ton of time (and money, too) on getting up to scratch with direct response copy, and learning how to really create the kind of content that converts like crazy. Of course, ultimately you need to be able to deliver if you’re going to be charging premium rates. But the time and cash that I’ve invested have definitely paid off, and have given me a much more profitable business.

Direct response might not float your boat, but if you want to charge more, consider how you might be able to tweak or pivot your services so they’re highly desirable in your niche.

By making strides in these four areas, I was able to ditch the low paid content mill jobs for good. Which ones can you put into practice, and which do you think will make the biggest difference to your freelance earnings?

When are youtubers going to stop getting away with it?

Happy Sunday! Today’s blog post comes in light of the recent Alfie Deyes scandal. I watched that video and left a comment which said ‘this video has so many things wrong with it I don’t know where to begin’; a statement which pretty much sums up my feelings about the behaviour of lots of big Youtubers at the moment.

To be fair, this isn’t going to be a blog post that goes into detail why making a video about living of £1 for lols (and then proceeding to get loads of free stuff and spend money on a beard comb) is terrible; because if that’s not clear to you then I’m not sure what to say. But more to discuss why, in an age of social media where everyone can have their say, how are these massive YouTubers still getting away with this shit? How are they still getting subscribers, advertisements, brand endorsements and succeeding-when they continue to make mistake after mistake? (and not acknowledge or rectify them?)

Problematic Youtubers

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what to do when your invoice is overdue

I’ve been meaning to write this post for ages but have only just got around to doing so. It’s something I’ve mentioned many times on Twitter or in my Facebook group but I wanted to sit down and write a proper post about everything payment related-and specifically what to do if you’ve not been paid.

When should you expect to be paid?

Blogging is a funny old business as we do all the work before the post goes live. Therefore, it’s frustrating that we’re often waiting for payment when the post is doing its thing and getting traffic and engagement! Sometimes a company will specify payment conditions upfront but otherwise, you can revert back to the government who state: Unless you agree on a payment date, the customer must pay you within 30 days of getting your invoice or the goods or service.

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The ultimate freelancing handbag (and WIN your own)

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be sent a handbag by Mia Tui. This couldn’t have come at a more perfect time: as I’ve been massively struggling when taking trips to London and meeting my blogging pals for a day of co-working in Birmingham. It got to the point when I booked a massage after my last trip to the capital-as a day trying to lug my laptop, notebooks, food (since I’m gluten and dairy-free) and various chargers in a bag that wasn’t suitable had wrecked my back and neck.

In my opinion, there’s a massive market for handbags that look beautiful but also double up as functional work bags. I’ve tried with plain, sturdy laptops over the years and I’ve alternated between my handbag and tote bags; but as soon as the Mia Tui Elise arrived; I just knew I had found my freelancing handbag for life!

I’ve taken this bad boy everywhere over the past few weeks and am completely in love with it: from hospital appointments (great if you have lots of paperwork and prescriptions like me) to meetings to days out. I opted for the new rose gold colour-and at first was worried it might seem a bit too over the top for everyday; but as you can see, it’s a beautiful muted shade.

The thing that I’m most excited about is the bags practicality. As demonstrated by my handy diagram.

The reason I’ve gone into teacher mode and provided an annotated diagram is I just wanted to show how functional this bag really is. When I’ve been looking for a bag, I’ve never known how roomy it is until it arrived. So, with the Mia Tui Elise you get…

  • ample laptop space (I have a google chromebook and you can see there is room to spare here!)
  • A dedicated space for water bottles-no more leakage.
  • A slot with a free plastic wallet; big enough for keys and mobile phones.
  • A second slot which comes with a gorgeous matching purse.
  • A zip slot on the outside of the bag.

This has literally changed my life! First of all, the plastic wallet is SUCH a simple idea but it has saved me so much time. Everytime I go out, I make sure my keys are in the wallet so there’s no rooting around (and as it’s clear I don’t even need to open it to check). I also store all those bits of paper in here that I’d otherwise lose: parking tickets, prescription forms etc. No more panicking over whether I’ve lost my keys!

The water bottle holder is also amazing! No more leaks! Although I just wish it was a bit bigger. It holds a regular plastic bottle but I’ve recently started using a Hydratem8 water tracker-and it’s just a little too big for that.

The only thing I haven’t used yet is the matching wallet-I imagine this would be great when travelling as it’s the perfect size to stash your passport and travel documents.

I’m so grateful for Mia Tiu sending me this because it’s the bag I’ve been looking for since I went freelance last year. What’s more, it’s made from vegan leather and they’ve also teamed up with Disability Campaigner and Actress Samantha Renke-as their bag is wheelchair friendly too!

As well as gifting me a bag for review, the lovely folks at Mia Tui are offering my readers the chance to win an Elise bag in a colour of their choice (subject to stock availability). Enter via Rafflecopter below-and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway open to UK entrants only. I will contact entrants by their entry contact and they will have 7 days to reply with their address until I select another winner. Winner will be shared on the blog.

This is what it is REALLY like to be a freelancer

 

 

Today I wanted to shine a spotlight on the realities of what it’s like to be a freelancer. I write a lot about things like ‘how to get into freelance writing’ or my monthly and yearly business updates. I’ve been lucky that my career has kept building from strength to strength, but I’m also conscious that my blog posts might just surmise ‘be a freelance; it’s great’ without actually sharing the realities of it.

Last week, one of my favourite bloggers, Cat from More About Cat  (who also does amazing weekly freelance vlogs) dropped a bit of a truth bomb.

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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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