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The Highs & Lows of the Self Employed World 2016

Happy new year everyone. I hope you all are having an amazing start to the year. I am currently down with flu (booo) but I am getting better. I have been under a lot of stress lately so I guess that is the reason for my body shutting down.

 

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We had an amazing time in Dubai, it was the best holiday ever and the kids had so much fun. But everything went wrong when we landed at Gatwick Airport. I stupidly picked up the wrong luggage (it was the exact size and design as mine and even had the same padlock), and someone else picked mine, and I didn’t realise until I got to the hotel room. I could open the box because it was the same padlock (can you imagine the coincidence, the same box and padlock on the same flight) but as soon as I opened it, I realised it wasn’t mine.

This has never happened to me before so I was in a very bad state. I usually tag my boxes but this box was a new one; a Tripp flowery black and red design, so I thought it was unique enough, well I thought wrong.

We had to make the long trip back to Gatwick twice the next day to pick up my box and to drop the wrong box. It was a very stressful period as you can imagine, all valuables were in there, but I am thankful the lady that picked my box was honest (she took it back to the airport and kindly sorted out a leakage in my box), and I am also thankful we were still in London. Imagine if we were back home in Cheshire, that would have been horrid.

The good thing is it would never happen to me again, I will always tag my bags boldly whenever I travel so I don’t pick a wrong box and no one picks mine.

 

Anyways back to the highs & lows of the self-employed world in 2016. I wrote a similar post in 2015, and it was nice to read it a year after.

There are so many highs and lows, so I will try to focus on a few to keep it brief.

 

The Highs

 

Writing a book

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I wrote an eBook last year – How to Cash In as a Blogger. It was released February 2016, and it is a dream come true. I always wanted to write a book and I am happy I got to fulfil this dream last year. This is the first of many books to come.

It is currently available exclusively on Amazon for £3.44 and free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. It is a great book for new bloggers or bloggers trying to monetize their blogs, so do have a read if you have not done so already. And if you have read it, pretty please leave me a review on Amazon, I need those reviews like I need air.

 

Freelancing

I took the freelance industry by storm in 2016 and grew my portfolio. I currently do PR and Blogger Outreach for 5 brands and I am hoping to double this figure this 2017. I also do freelance writing for a few websites and I plan to grow my freelance writing business this year.

 

Fashion and Style Police turned 4

Fashion and Style Police turned 4 last October, and it is great to see how much the blog has grown. It has over 40,000 combined followers now, and I still have to pinch myself every now and again to be sure I am not dreaming. This blog has opened many doors for me and I am super grateful to everyone who reads, shares and comments. You guys are the real deal!

 

The Lows

 

Chasing Payments

This has always been an issue and it still is but hopefully I will be able to manage this situation better this 2017.

 

Unprofessional Bloggers

While doing blogger outreach for brands, I have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of bloggers. I have worked with so many lovely bloggers, and I can’t wait to work with them this year, but I have also had the misfortune of working with some unprofessional bloggers. These select few are giving bloggers a bad name.

The ones that stop communicating with you as soon as they receive the review products, and they never write a post. The rude and entitled ones that believe their blog is the best thing since sliced bread. The lazy ones that take weeks, and sometimes months to post but you can see them on social media chatting all day. I can go on and on.

The good thing is my little black book is growing and I will never work with such bloggers again. But it is a shame that these bloggers are giving the entire industry a bad name.

 

Burn Out

Last year was incredibly busy. It was so hard for me to juggle the blog and freelance jobs at the same time but I did somehow. The last quarter was the busiest, and I struggled to get it all done before the holidays but I got there in the end.

This year I am going to take more time off work to avoid losing my mind.

 

Overall, 2016 was fabulous and 2017 is even going to be more fabulous. I am so looking forward to it.

How was your 2016?

 

 

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How to Pitch to New Clients

Clients are the live wire of every business. If you don’t have clients then you don’t have a business. As a freelancer, you need to keep pitching for new clients to get the flow of clients coming in. The biggest mistake you can ever make is to start your business and wait for someone to hire you. Although one or two clients may come your way, pitching helps you increase you chances. The more clients you have, the more money you make.

 

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Here’s a step-by-step process on how you can pitch to get new clients:

 

Step #1: Get clear on who your clients are

 

No matter how long you have been into freelancing, you need to consistently review your client avatar. Understanding who you ideal client is will help you in crafting the perfect pitch. Take note of how they think, their needs and how you can help them. Remember, your focus needs to be on your potential clients and not on yourself.

 

Step #2: Craft your pitch

 

One important thing you need to note about writing your pitch is that you have to keep it short and simple. You need to keep in mind that your potential client may be busy and would not have time to read a long email explaining all the services you offer.

 

Always address your potential client with their first name. It’s so much better to start on a friendly note. Emails that begin with “Hi Sally” make your client feel like they are receiving an email from a friend. Next, in one or two sentences give a short intro about yourself.

 

“I am [write your name] and I’m a freelance writer. I have had my work published on [write where your article was published].”

 

Remember to keep the tone nice and friendly. The idea is to make sure that they feel like they’re receiving an email from a friend.

 

The next thing you need to include in your pitch is to tell your prospective client why you’re sending them the email. You need to be brief and straight to the point here. Something like this:

 

“Just wanted to reach out to you to find out if you’d be interested in having someone to write your content for you. I also do some publicity work if you’d be interested in it too. I find your business interesting and I feel that increasing your reach will help you get more clients and promote your brand. Let me know if you’re interested.”

 

Step #3: Do a follow-up

 

It’s possible that you may not receive a reply as soon as you expected. If you don’t receive a reply after one week of sending them your pitch then send them a follow-up one week later. If there is still no reply then you can let it go.

 

The reason why it’s good to do a follow-up is that there are situations where the person you pitched to may have missed your email or wanted to reply to your email but forgot to do so. So don’t feel bad when you don’t receive a reply as soon as you send your first pitch.

 

How do you pitch to your clients?

5 Things Not to Say to Someone Who Works from Home

Being a freelancer is not like working in any other 9-5 job.  As a freelancer, you’re not restricted to the 4 walls of an office space. You can work anywhere and at any time you want to.

Although there are about 1.4 million freelancers  in the UK, not many people can wrap their minds around how a person can work and make money from home. They all believe that a “real” job is one that has to be in the office. As a result, freelancers get looked down upon.

 

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If you’re not a freelancer and know someone who is, here are 5 things you should never tell a freelancer.

  1. “Freelancing is not a real job”

This is the first thing many people say to freelancers. The fact that someone works at home does not mean that they are not working. The home is just a space, an environment. Work is not defined by the place you’re doing the work.

The real work happens on the computer where the client’s projects are being attended to. They have to make sure that they offer the best services, they send emails, spend hours trying to do everything according to the specifications of the clients.

Freelancers spend hours trying to give the highest quality and put in their creative genius. They give advice and outline strategies to meet their client’s needs. So what they could have done in an office, they do it at home. What matters is that the work gets done.

  1. “Freelancing is easy”

A lot of people think that freelancing is easy. Just because freelancers carry their laptops and work anywhere, some people think that being a freelancer is just a breeze.

The truth is that there’s more to freelancing than meets the eye. Those who work from home do more than just deliver orders. They pitch to clients, post on social media, market their products and services, send emails, create products and maintain their blogs or websites. And most times they do all these tasks alone. Unlike an office job where you’re assigned to one specific task, freelancers have to do a lot of tasks to keep their businesses up and running.

  1. “It’s a waste of time”

Most people think that freelancers work from home only to be paid peanuts at the end of the day. That’s absolutely not true. Many freelancers are earning a good income. Many are earning even more than their employed counterparts and are on their way to growing a profitable and comfortable business.

 

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  1. “You’re only a freelancer because no one was willing to hire you”

This is a major misconception and I am not sure why. I will speak for myself and say being a freelancer was a lifestyle decision. I didn’t want to go back to the job I had prior to becoming a mum, and I wanted to stay home with my kids, so working from home was the only option for me. Working from home gives me that opportunity to dictate my own terms and live the life I want to live without being subject to anyone.

  1. “You can’t build a future with freelancing”

There are many people who made a great career working from home. Some have made millions from it. What some people don’t understand is that they believe that working in a 9-5 is the highest level you can achieve in life. But freelancers like me believe that running their business will give them the opportunity to earn more and build a lasting empire. The freelance life is also more stable unlike working in a 9-5 where you are worried about not getting a bonus or promotion, or afraid of getting fired!

 

Are you a freelancer or self-employed person? Feel free to rant in the comment section about annoying comments or questions people have asked you.