5 Tasks You Can Outsource

5 Tasks That You Can OutsourceI occasionally do some virtual assistant work, but I also outsource some work out as well to others.

As an online freelancer, there are a ton of things that I can outsource and have others do. Also, it also seems like there are a lot of people lined up to become a virtual assistant.

Outsourcing work is great because it can free up time so that you can focus on other areas of your business. This can help you earn more money in that you can focus on the bigger picture most likely, instead of having to be bogged down by tedious tasks that don’t necessarily need you.

Here are five tasks that you can outsource to make your day better.

1. Social Media Management.

Do you even know what you are doing with your social media accounts? It may seem easy to manage at first, but for some it is actually very difficult.

And then, once you throw in all of the various social media accounts that you have to learn about (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and so on), you may feel like your head is about to fall off.

2. E-mail Management.

Whenever I wake up each morning, I usually open up my e-mail inboxes (I have around 6 altogether for my various websites and businesses) and want to cry.

E-mails are great, but there are so many of them! Sometimes I get around 200 in just the morning, and then as the day goes on, of course that number increases as well.

3. Writing.

Do you have a company blog that you need writing for? Blog content can help bring potential customers to your website, but if you don’t know how to write well then you might just be scaring them away.

You could hire someone to write on your blog as a weekly staff writer, ghost writer and more.

4. Research.

Research can mean many things. Maybe you need help with researching possible new markets to enter. Research could also mean looking for ways to advertise, looking for new product ideas, new service ideas, new content ideas and more.

5. Graphic and Web Design.

If you do not know what you are doing, then you should not do your own graphic or web design. I repeat, YOU SHOULD NOT do your own graphic or web design.

You should be looking for a talented designer who can make something depending on what you are looking for.

What tasks do you outsource?

 

Getting Your Finances In Order Before You Switch To Freelancing

Getting Your Finances In Order Before You Switch To FreelancingDeciding to switch to full-time freelancing and/or focusing on your business full-time is very exciting.

Before you actually make that leap, you should try to get your finances in order before you switch to working for yourself.

I understand that in all cases you may not be able to prepare financially for working for yourself (such as a layoff), but if you can prepare then it is usually best to do so.

Here are four things you should do before making the switch from your day job to becoming a full-time frelancer.

1. Build up your emergency fund.

Entering the world of freelancing without an emergency fund is not something that I would recommend. Freelancing almost always means unstable income. You could have one month where income is through the roof and you are able to save an incredible amount of money, but the next month may put you in the negative profit territory.

If you can, try to build up your emergency fund to an amount that you are most comfortable with. You may want a year’s worth of income, a year’s worth of expenses, or something else. There is no right number for everyone. You need to choose a number that you are comfortable with.

2. Eliminate your debt.

If you have debt, then you may want to try to eliminate as much of it as you can. However, you may have to choose between building an emergency fund and eliminating debt, and in that case you have to determine for yourself what is right.

However, if you can, then eliminate your debt as much as you can. Having less money going out each month can really lessen the stress of freelancing.

3. Set a budget.

Do you have a budget? Many people do not. A good budget can change your life. Without a budget, you may not have an exact idea about how much you are spending and how much you are saving. Set a good budget and follow it.

4. Lower your bills.

Do you have something that you can cut out of your budget? I’m sure you do. Find ways to lower your budget. I’m not saying that you can no longer have fun, but just analyze it. Lower expenses make freelancing a little easier. You can then adjust your budget later once you know where your spending and income are.

What are you focusing on before you make the switch?

 

3 Reasons To Have a Business Credit Card

5 Reasons To Have a Business Credit CardIf you have a business, then you might want to look into getting a credit card for it.

As I always say, only do this if you are actually good at managing credit cards though. Getting a credit card for any reason is not worth it if it just leads to credit card debt.

A business credit card has so many positives, and I only recently realized this. I should have done this years ago as it has helped me earn money and it has made life a little easier as well.

Below are three reasons to have a business credit card. If you are currently only using a personal credit card, cash, bank account, etc., then you should continuer reading!

1. The rewards points can be great.

For business credit cards, the rewards are usually a little bit better than with personal credit cards. I recently signed up for a business credit card and received $875 for signing up and using it just like how I normally would. That’s a decent amount of money, and I was even able to buy a new laptop with that!

I’ve personally noticed that business credit cards have much higher sign up bonuses. There are many business credit cards like the one that I mentioned above that offer great sign up bonuses.

Another great positive is that you may be able to get two of a similar credit card and earn double the bonus. For example, I have a personal Southwest credit card and I also have a business Southwest card. This way I can earn the great sign up bonus twice.

2. Small businesses can get credit cards.

There’s a myth out there that you have to have a big business in order to qualify for business credit cards. The truth is that for many business credit cards, they are not strict with what kind of business uses their card. Usually they do not require an EIN, proof of your business, and so on.

So, even if you just have a small business where you occasionally sell items from your home, you may in fact be able to get approved for a business credit card as well.

3. It can help you keep expenses separated.

By having a credit card dedicated to your business expenses, it can help you keep your business and personal expenses separate. You can use your credit card for strictly business purposes and that way you know exactly what is business-related. This means less to go through when tax time comes rolling around!

Do you have a business credit card? Why or why not?

 

5 Tips To Have Side Hustle Success

5 Tips To Have Side Hustle SuccessSide hustling can change your life. You can make money on the side of your day job that can help you reach your financial goals a little bit more quickly.

You can pay off your student loans, start the business of your dreams on the side, go on a dream vacation, save up money to travel the world, pay off your credit card debt, save up for a home down payment, and more.

It’s all up to you. It’s your time and your money.

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Below are my five tips to have side hustle success:

1. Find the best side hustle for you.

The first thing you need to do is buy the best side hustle for you. This means you should look into your talents and skill set and see how you can make money. Just because one person can make money with a certain side hustle does not mean that it can work for everyone.

This is why you should dive into your own skills and see how you can possibly make money. This makes having a side hustle more enjoyable because you are doing what you want to do in your free time.

For example, if you absolutely hate dogs, then becoming a dog walker sounds like a horrible idea. However, if you love dogs, then becoming a dog walker might be a dream side job for a person.

2. Use your time wisely.

A side hustle means that you will most likely be using a lot of your free time on whatever your side job is. This means that you need to learn how to use your time as wisely as you can.

Create a schedule, eliminate distractions, find out when you work best, and more.

3. Network like crazy.

A very important part of having side hustle success is that you have clients. It would be very hard to ever gather any clients for your business unless you network. This means networking with a potential client base and also networking with those in your industry. Don’t see everyone as competition, instead think of it as a way to grow your business and improve yourself.

4. Outsource what you can.

Eventually, it would be very hard to grow your business while also maintaining your day job. You may want to look into outsourcing what you can so that you can focus on the more important parts of your business.

5. Don’t forget to enjoy life.

In the end, it’s always important to enjoy your life. You will most likely be spending a decent amount of time working, so getting out and doing other things that you love is very important. This way you can relax, rejuvenate yourself, and more.

Do you have a side hustle? What tips do you have to be successful with it?

 

4 Tips For Raising Prices

5 Tips For Raising PricesOccasionally, there comes a time when you may start thinking about raising the prices for the products or services that your business sells.

You may be thinking about raising your prices for many different reasons. It can be a hard decision, but sometimes it just needs to be done if you want your business to continue to make a profit.

Below are my four tips for raising prices for the products or services that your business sells. Yes, you CAN raise your prices at your business so that you can either get out of losing money year-after-year or so that you can make larger profits.

1. Change your product.

If you are wanting to increase the price of your product, you might want to look into possibly creating a higher quality product. Customers will then see first-hand why your product’s price went up.

You also may want to look into adding other things to your product, such as a free service or a free item that goes with it.

Giving your customers an upgrade of some sort can help you increase your prices as customers will see that they are getting more from paying a higher price of your product or service.

2. Use a different name.

If you don’t want to change your product at all, then just changing the name may help you to increase the price of your product. If you make your product sound better and make it sound like your customer absolutely needs it, then you may be able to charge a higher price.

3. Give your customers a reason.

There must be a reason for why you are increasing the price of your product or service, correct? You should reason with your customers and tell them why you have to increase your prices.

Your customers may be more okay with your reasoning, as long as it is a good one. Being honest with your customers is always a great idea. You do not ever want to lie to your customers about why you are increasing your price as it can easily come out and this will make them wonder about what else you have lied about, which will then significantly impact your reputation most likely.

If you are saying that you need to increase your prices because you just want to earn a salary you may not deserve, then that most likely will not make them reason with you.

4. Raise your price and don’t think twice.

I did not mean to make that rhyme. The truth is that you are able just to raise your price if you want to. You don’t need to change anything about your product or anything else like that if your product is something that your customer wants.

Also, if your price increase isn’t much, then it may not be that big of a deal. As time passes, it is only normal for pricing to increase as well.

What other tips do you have? Have you ever had to increase your prices? How did customers react?

 

8 Things You Must Do Before You Even Start Looking for Clients

home-office-569359_640So you have decided to give freelancing, one of the most popular money making ideas, a shot.

Great!

What now?

Where do you get started?

Well, considering that the three most important words in the world of freelancing are – clients, clients and clients, we may as well get started there.

Freelancers work based on the demands of their clients, and without clients, a freelancer would be just another couch potato.

Finding clients is the ultimate goal for freelancers, but before you even you start looking for clients, there are 8 things you must do.

Let’s take a look at them here, and in the next article, we will cover the basics of how to find the clients. Here we go –

#1 Create a Portfolio

One of the first things potential clients will ask is, “Have you ever…?” or “Do you have references?” or “Do you have links to some work that I can see?” These are all very good and necessary questions that clients have the right to ask and you should be prepared to answer them.

If you’re just starting out in your particular niche and don’t have anything you can show for it, provide the client with a portfolio of work that you’ve done in another niche. If you’ve been in the game a while, you should compile a list of links to work that you’ve done before, and choose to showcase the best ones that you want other people to see.

#2 Create a Website

If you really want to impress and bring in the big game, you should consider purchasing a domain name and create a website. A website that contains your portfolio, a list of your services, a list of what you charge (we’ll cover this in a bit), testimonials, a link to your blog, links to your networking sites (also covered in a bit), and a way to contact you can make you look professional and get some instant credibility. That could be a big edge over a chunk of your competition.

If you have never set up a site before, this may seem intimidating. But believe me, it is a lot easier than it sounds. Websites are really cheap. Domain name from a site like 1and1.com costs less than $10 a year and purchasing them is a breeze. Your domain name can be as simple as your actual name, or it can be something catchy that also focuses on your professional services, for instance: drawntoexcellence.com for an illustrator, or writerperfect.com for a freelance writer, or designed2rock.com for a web designer or graphic designer.

You can set up the site yourself on a free platform likeWordPress or have someone do it for you. If you do it yourself, your only cost to worry about will be in the range of $30 – $50 per year for web hosting fees. If you have someone else design the site for you, it may cost you an additional $500 – $2000. If you choose to go with someone else to design the site for you, remember to insist that the site be on wordpress and ask your designer to help you pick a premium template. The advantage of using WordPress is that, you can easily learn how to use it and handle the administrative aspects yourself.WordPress is the most popular platform out there with a thriving community which will help you come up to speed quickly. And it offers the best balance in terms of cost, flexibility and ease of use.

#3 Create and Maintain a Blog

While this is not a “must”, it would definitely be beneficial to create and maintain a blog. If you’re the best at what you do, you need to show that to other people. A blog that focuses on your chosen industry will show people that you’re staying on top of the things that matter to them, and it shows what you are capable of. This is especially important if you’re a freelance writer.

Also, a blog with constantly changing content can help you immensely in getting your site to show up in search engine results, thereby creating a new channel of visitors and potential clients.

If you are looking to create a blog of your own, Making Sense of Cents has a very easy to follow tutorial.

#4 Register on Freelance Sites

Okay, this is a no brainer, but there are actually people who overlook this step. Before you go looking for clients, register on several freelance websites. Here is a list of some of the popular ones –

Many of these sites are free to sign up, but they all require a fee for any work done through the website. Often times, freelancers will find clients through these websites and take the work ‘offsite’ in order to bypass the fees.

#5 Create a Client Contract

Even freelance workers deserve the protection of written contracts. Before looking for clients, you need to sit down and create a contract that covers the service you are offering, the price agreed upon, the client’s details, the project details, and any actions you will take if the contract is broken.

No, you don’t have a client yet, but you can create a contract template that you will fill in with all the pertinent information later. When you get a client, if you aren’t under contract through one of the websites above, you must email the client the contract, request their signature, and have it sent back to you, either through the fax machine, or an online faxing service. In the event that you do not have a contract, at the very minimum ensure that all the terms of the project are in written format in an email.

#6 Set Your Pricing

We finally come to the most enjoyable part of all money making ideas (or the most dreaded one, depending on who you ask) – figuring out how much to charge. The best way to create a fair list of fees is to figure out what other people in your niche are charging. It’s best to look at people on the same skill and experience level as you. You probably won’t get the $120 an hour on your first project like a seasoned professional could get, but you can set that as your goal over the next 3 years.

Using what others are charging their clients as a base, you can either choose to charge by the hour, or charge a fixed rate per project. Freelance writers often charge per word, or per page on larger projects. If you take 2 hours to do a simple task, you might want to consider a per project price just because clients don’t want to pay you for slacking off or incompetence. If you can crank out 3 articles an hour, you need to charge a per word rate so you can get maximum returns for your skills.

#7 Register with an Online Payment Site

That brings us to the next important task – register with an online payment system where you’ll receive payments. Though there are several different payment systems, the most common one is www.PayPal.com. The advantages of using paypal are that it has come to become one of the universally accepted payment systems and your future clients will likely feel comfortable using it. Another advantage is that paypal keep records of payments sent and received, which comes in handy around tax time.

#8 Determine Your Hours

The beauty of working freelance is that you can choose to work whenever you want. If you wish, you could set up regular work hours per day, and take your weekends off like any other “regular” job. Or, you can choose to work just 3 hours a day if you have other obligations. If you have time to spare, you could also go10 hours a day and establish yourself. While this may be flexible, you should still think about it before you take on clients, so you will be in a position to provide accurate estimates to the client of when a project can be completed. Delivering a project within a predetermined time schedule is one of the key aspects of having the client come back to you for their next project.

These 8 simple things are all necessary to creating a persona that will snag clients and keep them happy in the long run. Now that you’ve completed these steps, you’re ready to move from ‘getting started’ to ‘getting clients”.

The Ultimate Task Management Guide For Getting Things Done

You’ve got the most organized home office in town, possibly the entire country. Your Internet is on lock-down, and you know exactly how long you have to get this project done. You have, in fact, allotted plenty of time to complete it.  Still, “it” still sits there on your desk…or it would, if it existed. It’s still nebulous, vague, unformed. Scary.

You have no idea where to begin.

It does not matter whether you are aspiring after an online mba degree , are a fledgling freelance writer or a seasoned freelance photographer – every person who is juggling life goes through this stage.

It does not matter whether you are a fledgling freelance writer or a seasoned freelance photographer – every freelancer goes through this stage.

Fortunately, the field of task management takes up where time management left off, providing a template for getting any project from amorphous beginnings to a triumphant finish, with a minimum of confusion, frustration, and wasted effort.  Here are the basic steps:

1. List

It may seem like common sense, but first, you have to know what needs to be done. You can make your list on a white board, an electronic app, on a calendar, or in an agenda, but make one. List your goals for both the week and the day, and include the mundane tasks your schedule must accommodate. Review these lists daily, making changes as necessary; stay flexible. At the end of every day, enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from crossing a few items off. [Read more…]

5 Simple Things You Can Do Right Now to Grow Your Freelance Business

When you own a freelancing business you are like a shark; you move, or you die. Not only do you need new customers, an occasional support request for a service provided earlier and increased revenue, you also need the encouragement and promise of growth to stay engaged. Getting your business to grow can be challenging, especially if you’re new to world of entrepreneurship, so here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Try Cross-Promotion

Chances are, you have plenty of clients out there who would be beating down your door–if they only knew you existed. One way to get your name out to more people is through sharing promotional efforts with a related business. If you design and create fancy plugins, for instance, you could reach clientele through cross-promoting with a website designer. Have you written a cookbook? Try selling or advertising it through gift shops and gourmet food emporiums, whose products you’ll also recommend. Get creative, cast a wide net, and you should be able to find several other business owners (local and online) who will be excited about working with you. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Share advertising. Ads can be expensive. Share costs, share the ad, share the sales.
  • Send out joint promotions. Fliers, postcards, newsletters, electronic or snail-mail.
  • Joint sponsorships. Get out in the community! Sponsor a team, an event, a booth.
  • Joint contest. This is another project that can be held online, in your community, or both.
  • Joint coupons/special offers. Customers who buy one of your items or services get one of hers free, and vice versa. Coupons are a great way to spur some sales.
  • Share samples. Because you attract similar clientele, you should each enjoy increased sales. It can also be done locally, or online.
  • Share space. You sell a little of their product, they display a little of yours. You both reap the benefits. This can be done in a “bricks-and-mortar” store, or online.

2. Add Value

You’re in the business of supplying what your clients need and want. But it’s easy to lose touch with those needs, or to miss additional sales opportunities because you get stuck in a rut. Ask yourself: what related products or information are my clients looking for? How can I provide them? Take some time to brainstorm. Bounce ideas off your friends. Ask clients via blog post, newsletter, or survey, then add products you believe have the greatest potential. If there are some you’d love to offer, but can’t, seek out entrepreneurs who do, and work on some cross-promotional ventures. [Read more…]

Are You Missing This Important Step in Your Freelancing Journey?

Saving for retirement is an important step in everybody’s life. Unfortunately, it is a step that is often overlooked by most freelancers. No matter where you are in your freelancing journey – whether you are just starting out or are a career veteran, you can start saving for retirement and building your nest egg, NOW. By following tips below, you can ensure that you will have enough money saved for retirement.

Get Started

The first step is to get started. If you go through an online or contracting company, and the company offers a retirement plan, enroll in it immediately and start saving. If you are self-employed, enroll in a program at your local bank or choose an online Discover account that will allow you to set aside part of your earnings toward retirement. The general rule of thumb is that you should set aside ten percent of your earnings toward retirement. Depending on your needs and the length of time you have to save before you retire, you may be able to save more than ten percent.

[Read more…]

How to Successfully Find Clients Through oDesk, Elance and Similar Websites

Websites offering online work opportunities have expanded significantly over the last two years. The growth of websites offering freelance job opportunities such as oDesk, Elance, and Freelancer, demonstrates that contractors have an appetite for sourcing work online. Some commentators see the demand for online freelance work as a sign of the current economic situation, with redundant workers seeking alternative work because regular job opportunities are shrinking. However, supporters of online freelance websites view their growth as a positive response to changing attitudes to work.

Pros and Cons of Searching for Jobs Online

Searching for online job opportunities has become popular because of the flexibility they offer. People can work at a time and place that suits their schedule. Freelancers can fit their online work around family commitments, hobbies, or other paid work. Because online freelance work can be undertaken from home, it removes the costs associated with working, such as commuting, store-bought lunches, and business clothing.

Undertaking online work via reputable intermediary websites, such as Elance and oDesk, gives freelancers confidence that they will receive payment. Elance offers an escrow service, where customers deposit money with the website prior to offering work. Although a dispute can occur, freelancers have a good chance of being paid because the website already holds the money. Freelancers working for oDesk on an hourly-paid basis are guaranteed to be paid, although fixed-price assignments are exempt from the oDesk payment guarantee.

[Read more…]