You might have noticed that I’ve had a bit of a makeover here at The Bloglancer. Whilst I’ll definitely be sharing everything you need to know about monetising and growing a blog, I’ll also be expanding more on the ‘freelance category’ and sharing my tips for being self-employed and growing a business. You might have known that last week I presented my first business workshop on that very topic! I teamed up with Epson and headed down to their gorgeous co-working space in Covent Garden to share everything I’ve learnt about going at it alone.
Although I was quite nervous at first, the event went perfectly and such a great group of freelancers came along! I’m so lucky to have a group of freelancer friends in Birmingham already (hello Em and Mel, if you’re reading this you are the best!) but it was fantastic to meet others and by the end of it, everyone was swapping emails and vowing to stay in touch!
I also spent most of the afternoon working from the free co-working space (Free wifi, free printing and free coffee too!) so if you’re in London over the next few weeks, do head down and work from there- so much nicer than your average Starbucks.
If you’re gutted to have missed my event, don’t despair. I’m holding another session on Wednesday the 10th October all around one of my favourite topics: MAKING PEOPLE PAY. We will be chatting everything invoicing, small claims court, protecting yourself and keeping on top of all your payments.
However, I also thought I’d share some of the talking points from the evening for those who couldn’t make it in the hope they help you too! Keep your eyes peeled to the end of the post: as I’ll be sharing how you can get your hands on the ultimate printer to make freelance life just that little bit easier!
1. Always Diversify Your Income
I’m really really passionate about diversifying income. Being a blogger is tough and, unless you have a gazillion followers, it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to make a living just from your one blog.
It’s not about making all the money-although that would be nice-but having different revenue streams for different time periods. I chatted about how in summer, getting freelance journalism commissions is bloody tough-mainly because every.single.person is on holiday!
So that’s when I’m grateful to have other types of work I can turn to. I’ve already blogged previously about my seven blogging income streams . If you’re new to being self-employed, why not make a list of the potential ways you can earn (there are some ideas on the presentation screen!)
2. Passive Income
Talking of income-one of the things I chatted about during the presentation was why everyone should have some form of passive income. This doesn’t have to be complicated-a simple ebook that’s available for purchase on your website could do the trick.
Not only can this bring in money but it actually saves a lot of time. We chatted about how there’s always that one question we’re asked over and over again-and those quick ‘can I pick your brain?’ type emails or coffee meet-ups can really drain time. What’s yours?
One way to help this is to create a download or ebook around the topic-even if you offer it free of charge, it could save you valuable time as you can simply redirect people to that resource instead of explaining it over and over again! Last time I wrote an ebook, I set myself a challenge to dedicate just 30 minutes a day to it so it wasn’t too overwhelming-it worked a treat! I’m thinking of doing it again so let me know if you fancy a challenge-perhaps I could set up a dedicated facebook thread or email sequence to encourage us all to stick to it?
3. My Favourite Facebook Groups for Freelancers
Facebook is probably my favourite tool for connecting with fellow freelancers, so I shared a list of my favourite groups. Including…
- The Freelance Lifestylers
- Freelance Heros
- Janet Murray’s Marketing Community
- Productive Blogging
- Blogging Your Way to Riches
- PR School
and of course my own facebook group: Pitching and Motivation for UK Bloggers
4. It’s a LONG game
When starting out, we want everything instantly. However, it doesn’t always work that way and sometimes we have to remember that it can be a long game to convert a potential client into paid work.
I read once about needing ‘7 touch points’ before a sale and it made a lot of sense to me. So whilst it might be frustrating when that networking event or huge email chain never led to anything, you never know what might happen in the future!
5. Always Invoice straightaway
I’ll cover this in more detail in my ‘Making People Pay’ workshop but we chatted briefly about invoicing. My top tip would be to keep track of this-always invoice as soon as the work is done and pop a date in your diary to chase (usually 30+days after you’ve sent it). More importantly, make sure you know the payment terms before committing.
6. Deposits and Contracts are key.
Another topic that I’ll be talking about in my next workshop is deposits and contracts. Although it can be a hassle, it is worth establishing your own set of terms and conditions and using a contract for larger projects. The Freelance Lifestylers offers great terms and conditions template that you can adapt. For larger pieces of work, don’t be afraid to ask for a deposit upfront (although this often the done thing in journalism in blogging, it can’t hurt to ask).
7. The Power of a Newsletter
Everyone should have a newsletter! I run 3 and they are definitely a great way to get traffic but to also keep in touch with your audience. I think many people still underestimate the importance of a newsletter and it really can be adapted to whichever industry you are in. You can read my top tips for growing a newsletter if you need help getting started.
8.Establish yourself as an ‘expert’
And finally, it’s time to get known for what you can offer! Being an ‘expert’ or ‘the go to person’ can be really helpful. So if there’s a specific topic only you can write about or something you have experience in, then use it to your advantage.
I know I’ve mentioned using Response Source for blogging but you can actually use it another way too. You can request a free trial if you’re looking for media coverage of your business (Even if it’s not a physical product) and it’s such a useful thing to do. I was in The Guardian a week after doing my trial and gained quite a few Instagram followers as a result!
A Little More About Epson and Freelancers (and how to WIN!)
You might be wondering a little about what Epson has to do with my tips on starting a small business. Well, it’s because they actually recently surveyed 1000 freelancers to learn about their lives. They found 48% found it lonely and a quarter struggled with mental health.
That’s why they’ve launched the Covent Garden pop-up to help offer a sociable free space to self-employed folk. The area will also showcase their EcoTank printers-which are thought to help you save 90% on your printing costs; ideal for small start-ups who need to watch every penny!
To celebrate, I’m giving away a cartridge-free Epson Ecotank! Not only will this printer be perfect for your home office but it’s cartridge-free system means it comes with enough ink to print thousands of pages and will save you 90% on your printing costs. To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter widget below…
This post is in collaboration with Epson