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Freelancing Myths Busted: The Pros and Cons of Being Your Own Boss

If you are thinking about becoming self-employed you have probably already spent quite a bit of time online trying to find out what life as a freelancer is going to be like. Unfortunately, there are quite a few common misconceptions out there, and you will probably read a lot of myths about the life of a freelancer.

Trust me, I hear it all the time “well, you just get to go to the beach everyday, right?” and “oh you’ll never be able to re-mortgage”. To help you figure things out and work out whether going freelance is the best option for you, here are some of the most common myths about freelancing busted.

Freelancing Myths Busted: The Pros and Cons of Being Your Own Boss | UK Lifestyle Blog

Myth 1: You Will Never Own Your Own Home

Big old NOPE, right here! Lots of people believe that being a freelancer means that you will no longer be financially stable, this doesn’t be further from the truth. I make more money being my own boss than I ever did working for somebody else, which makes saving dead easy.

Whilst technically it has the chance to be unstable, I always have people wanting to work with me and I have a loyal client-base, so I actually feel more stable than ever. If I need extra money for any reason (we’re looking at going somewhere epic for our honeymoon…) then I just do a bit more work, it’s really that easy.

I bought a house before I quit my job to go freelance because I thought I’d never be able to do it once going self-employed. It’s true, you need three years of accounts before they consider looking at you, but once you’ve got that then there’s no problem. It’ll fly by, I’m already 2 years in and I’m not planning on moving yet, so it’s worked out perfectly for me. 

If you are worried about buying a house and then experiencing a significant drop in your income, you might want to speak to dicksonlegal.com or a similar foreclosure expert. They will be able to inform you of the measures you could take to protect your home in the event that freelancing didn’t work out for you.

Myth 2: You Won’t Have To Answer To Anyone Else

Hate to break it to you, but nope! One of the main benefits that most people think of when they think of freelancing is that they can be their own boss and won’t have to answer to anyone else. However, this isn’t strictly true… After all, you will still have to work for clients and make sure that you follow their instructions and stick to everything they tell you.

I can’t just disappear and not answer my clients emails, they’re the one that are paying my mortgage and my business expenses. There is always someone you need to answer to if you are going to continue getting new contracts and projects as a freelancer. The silver-lining is that you are in charge of the situation though.

I’ve worked in jobs before where I’ve been bullied and harassed but still had to carry on working. When your freelance you can simply decline work if you feel like it’s becoming too taxing on you financially or emotionally. 

 

Myth 3: Freelancers Just Can’t Find Employment

Definitely not true. When I first went freelance I left a great job at a digital marketing agency on the beach. The pay was good, the people were lovely, we had flexi time, and we got free food on a Friday. What more could I ask for!? This was my number 1 reason I was so scared of going freelance because I actually had a great job.

Lots of people choose to be self-employed because they want to be. They might prefer working from home, choosing the exact projects they work on, or not having to deal with colleagues in the office. In fact, there are quite a few reasons why people choose to be freelance, some of which are outlined at creativeboom.com.

For me, the driving factor behind quitting my job was to regain my work-life balance that I craved. I felt like I was wasting away the best years of my life behind a desk when I could be outside enjoying life. Now that I’ve been my boss for 2 years, there’s a hundred reasons I wouldn’t go back to working for somebody else (that’s for another post). It was the best decision I ever made, and my only regret is not doing it sooner.

Myth 4: Freelancers Get To Do Whatever They Want

This is probably the biggest myth of them all! Of course, freelancers can choose what work they take on to a certain degree, but when there isn’t much work going around, they just can’t afford to be choosy. After all, waiting around for their dream project to turn up could result in them missing out on a few months’ worth of work from other less desirable projects. At the end of the day, you need to go where the money is!

It also means that just because it’s 33 degrees outside doesn’t mean you can just take the week off. If you did that, you’d have very unhappy clients and your business would probably tank. But hey, that doesn’t mean you can’t take your laptop in the garden or down to the beach and piggy-back off the café’s WiFi.

I’m settling into the new office pretty quickly 🐚🐠

A post shared by Sam Charles 🌺🥥 (@samcharleseuk) on

Whilst being freelance is full of opportunity and it’s undoubtably the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life, it’s not always what it seems. We’re working our butts off over here to keep the roof over our head, and we’re not just sunbathing, promise! 🍑

2018-06-27T14:34:39+00:00 June 27, 2018|Blogging Tips|

How To Make Sure You Recruit The Best (and Avoid the Worst!)

One of the most nerve-wracking, milestone moments for any small business owner has to be when they make the move from solo entrepreneur to the employer. I recently wrote about how one of the hardest lessons I learnt in business is hiring and outsourcing without recommendations. It’s not easy, and sometimes you need to cast your net far and wide to find the right person for the job.

Bringing other people on board is a time of mixed emotions – immense pride that you’ve built your business to the point where it needs and can sustain others, mixed with doubt over giving up sole control of everything and worry about finding the right person for the job. If you’ve never dealt with recruitment before this can be especially daunting. You know the basics you need to ask – their experience, qualifications, and why they want the job – but how do you assess their true qualities and get an idea of what they’ll really be like to work alongside?

How To Make Sure You Recruit The Best (and Avoid the Worst!) | UK Lifestyle Blog

It’s so important in a small business, as you’ll be spending a lot of time with that person. Someone can walk in their best suit, kitted out from tiesrus but that doesn’t mean they will be the best fit for the job and your company. These creative interview questions will get you started.


Ask What They Would Do Differently

Although giving up the sole influence on the direction and operations of your company is daunting, it’s also a chance to gain a valuable perspective outside of your own. See the interviews as a chance to find an original mind to challenge and complement your own thinking. This question determines if a candidate has a proper interest in your sector and company and if they’ve done their research. Don’t be intimidated to ask for their vision – a detailed response can help you identify a future leader who could grow with the company, and those are the types of people you need on board.

Check Their Metrics

Our businesses are run on data, and analytics have a lot to teach us when it comes to insight into human behavior as well. Using behavioral metrics can be an important part of a successful interview process. Take them in balance with other factors that demonstrate the attitude the candidate has, and alongside previous examples of quality work they can point to.

Evaluate Their Critical Thinking

Some people can perform well in tests, but not have as much capacity for independent thought, so look for a list of questions to evaluate critical thinking as well. Some of them can be quite left-field! The whole point is that there is no one correct answer – candidates are being given a chance to showcase their logical and creative thinking, as well as how persuasive and eloquent they can be – all factors well worth measuring, especially if the role is strategic.

In a job interview, it shouldn’t only be the candidates for the vacancy who are thinking ‘outside the box’ – employers too can do a lot more to find the right match by combining some new techniques to give themselves a multi-dimensional view of the person they hope to employ. Combining the classic STAR interview technique with a few analytics and some critical thinking curveballs will give a more rounded picture – and for small businesses, those first few hires can make or break the success of the company.

2018-06-20T11:54:27+00:00 June 19, 2018|Blogging Tips|

3 Things I’ve Learned Since Starting my Own Business

Last month we celebrated Float Digital turning 2 years old. How the HECK did that happen!? When I first quit my job to launch my little digital marketing agency, I didn’t even dream things would go this well. I recently wrote a little piece on our company blog about what we’ve achieved in the last 12 months, and when I read it back, I honestly couldn’t believe we’d come this far.

People always ask me “What’s the biggest challenges you’ve faced running your own business?”. I’ve always felt a sense of guilt coupled with confusion, and responded every time with “I haven’t had any challenges”. I could honestly say I never found running a company difficult, and I certainly never had any hurdles.

3 Things I've Learned Since Starting my Own Business | UK Lifestyle Blog

I guess you could say I’ve been pretty lucky. We’ve been nominated for national awards, presented at some of the largest marketing conferences in Europe and whilst turning over a healthy profit that we can both live on (and pay for an awesome wedding and honeymoon!). We’ve been doing all of this whilst enjoying long weekends and trips away. Seriously, what more could we possibly ask for?


Alas! Three weeks ago, everything changed. It’s almost like my 2 year trial was up and now shit was getting real. Our exponential growth has caught up with us, we soon realised we were completely out of our depth, despite working our butts off all week 🍑 It’s okay, everything is under control; it’s actually been really good because it’s forced us to change the way we operate *silver linings*.

The only thing is, I’m kicking myself. I feel like most of these things could have been avoided if I just did a little bit more research. Like I said though, it’s given us that little push now to get everything right, and I guess we’re always going to be learning. So here’s some advice I wish I had:

Hire based on recommendations

You’re probably thinking “I’m not planning on hiring anybody”, well I have news for you – you will. Outsourcing and hiring experts to help you run your business is a no-brainer. Sometimes you need to hire people because you aren’t qualified to do it yourself, such as a lawyer or an accountant. Other times, it’s just to free up your time so you can spend it doing stuff that’s really important. Technically, I could write my own contracts but I wouldn’t feel confident that they’re good enough to hold up (more on that soon!).

I used to try and do my own finances but a) it was so time-consuming b) I found that my accountant could save me heaps of money, so she was worth her weight in gold. Last year my company officially incorporated and is now a limited company, which changes how we do things. Now, even if I wanted to, I can’t file my own tax returns because I’m not qualified to do so. We have a bookkeeper and an accountant that deal with everything and I have the peace of mind that it’s being dealt with properly, and all above board.

We have an amazing content writer called Lee-Anne, great SEO contractors, and a team of experts that deal with our social media platforms, which saves us hours every single day. The time that they save us in invaluable because it means we can dedicate time to our clients. My fiancée and I are always throwing ideas back and forth but it’s nice to have a team of people that have an input on the best things to do.

3 Things I've Learned Since Starting my Own Business | UK Lifestyle Blog

We’re lucky we have a team of people that we trust but it wasn’t easy to do. When I first began outsourcing I didn’t appreciate the importance of recommendations, I just welcomed people onboard that gave a good proposal. Turns out, this was a bad idea and almost ended up costing me a lot of money. I found out that the services I was receiving was actually going to do my business more harm than good, and I switched suppliers. At the time I wasn’t educated enough to understand this, but eventually you work out the who’s a pirate and who is a trusted supplier. I won’t go into it, but I’ll just leave it with this: Reviews matter.

You might not be ready to employ people but instead you might have started using websites, like AppPaye, as your business is growing. So, don’t forget, recommendations don’t just apply to people; they apply to products and services, too.

Be firm with your clients on deliverables

When we first started delivering retained packages for our clients our proposals were quite vague in what the client would receive. This opened us up to clients potentially being unhappy! Luckily, this didn’t happen to us and we’ve always had positive feedback, however, if our proposals were a little bit clearer it would have saved a lot of unnecessary phone calls and emails. We decided to make our bronze, silver and gold packages much clearer so clients knew exactly what they were going to receive. This was never really a problem with us, but I can see how it could be for other businesses that deliver a service, especially on an ongoing basis.

We have run into trouble based on clients not really understanding what we do, and expecting us to do all kind of random jobs for them that don’t relate to our 2 core services, SEO & PPC. If you don’t know what these services are, I don’t blame you, not everybody does! It’s essentially Search Engine Marketing; or ‘Getting People to the Top of Google’, is how I like to word it! This means increasing visibility in the normal results and by using ads.

Pretty straight forward, huh? Well, here’s what we’ve been asked to do:

  • Web development
  • Newsletter marketing
  • Web design
  • Project managing content
  • Calendar management
  • Javascript
  • Social media
  • Facebook Advertising
  • Bespoke CSS
  • Shop refunds
  • Transcript writing
  • Malware clean up

3 Things I've Learned Since Starting my Own Business | UK Lifestyle Blog

We’re pretty clued up on all of these services and we can deliver them. This is great for us, because as business owners we don’t need to outsource this stuff if we don’t want to. For example, we built our own website and if we ever want bespoke changes, we can just code them in ourselves, saving us heaps of money. But our clients often ask for these services; for a while we used to ‘umm’ and ‘ahhh’ about how we could help them. Why? We wanted to make their life easier, we knew we could help, and it was an easy way to make a bit of extra cash.

This soon turned into a problem when we realised we were spending more time on things we didn’t want to do, and we ended up running other people’s businesses for them based on ad hoc payment. We essentially turned into virtual assistants for a short period of time, and it got messy real quick. Stick to what you know because then you can be known if your industry for what you do best. Luckily, we didn’t entertain this idea for long but I already experienced the stress of offering all these services.

Your contracts must be water tight

We’ve got a pretty solid terms and conditions document, our proposals are very clear, and our investment packages clearly outline what we offer. Client have an onboarding process and we find out everything we need to know about them, they pay their invoice one month before we begin working and then we deliver the project. The process is pretty straight-forward and I feel like we covered all basis. Oh boy, was I wrong! Individual contracts for each scope of work with a clear Start date is so important.

We loved that we could offer a service with zero contracts, no minimum commitment and no cancellation fees. We’re real people, offering a service to make an honest wage. This is one of the things our clients love about us because there isn’t many other companies that are this flexible. We’re not trying to scam anybody out of any money, and so we don’t feel the need to tie our customers in. If they want our help, great! If they don’t, also fine. We’re so lucky that we have enough clients that we don’t have to lock people in, there’s always other clients that are on our waiting list, dying to get a slot in our calendars.

This was never a problem until a client decided they didn’t want to pay until the work was completed. We’re very understanding so we decided to deliver the project before payment was received. We began the work, after being told to go ahead. Two months later we’re left without payment. I only have myself to blame for being so laid back and not putting it into a contract. We learnt our lessons, and we’ll always stick to our contracts, and we’ll always require payment upfront. Make sure you don’t forget how important these contracts are!

I essentially need a backbone. What lessons have you learnt from running your own business? 🤔

2018-06-18T11:03:26+00:00 June 18, 2018|Blogging Tips|
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