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Learn more about freelancing and owning your business and your time from six-figure freelancer Laura Pennington.
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Now displaying: March, 2017
Mar 30, 2017

Freelancers know how important it is to save for retirement, yet many put it off. Perhaps you don’t know how to start, you’re tempted to put that money back into your business, or you just can’t spare a substantial amount at the moment. Whatever the case, today’s guest can help change your mindset and give you the tools to start investing in your future before it’s too late.

Moshe Amsel is a tax consultant, personal finance coach and business strategy consultant with 20-plus years of experience in the information technology arena. He is also the host of the DreamBuilder Financial Podcast, a program aimed at simplifying and enriching the financial lives of individuals and small businesses. Listen in as he explains the tax benefits available to entrepreneurs and tactics that will help you start saving small to facilitate sustainable change. Making the right decisions now can have profound long-term effects, so let’s get started!

 

Key Takeaways

The significance of saving for retirement early on

  • Allows freelancer to provide for self in the long term and build financial legacy
  • Provides tax benefit by sheltering that money

 Moshe’s tips for getting started

  • Exercise your saving muscle first
  • Then decide where to park the money
  • Start small, then work up to a percentage goal
  • Establish a separate bank account

 Retirement plan vehicles for solopreneurs

  • SEP
  • SIMPLE IRA
  • Individual 401(k)

 The benefits of hiring a professional to assist with retirement planning

  • Understand complicated tax law
  • Determine the best plan for your particular scenario
  • Maximize tax benefit
  • Recognize all available options (i.e.: real estate investment)

 Moshe’s advice for balancing the competing priorities of debt vs. retirement

  • Knock out your debt first
  • Then focus all energy on retirement goals
  • Productivity is lost every time you split your efforts

 

Resources

Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

Todd Herman’s 90-Day Year Videos

Entrepreneur Retirement Guide

 

Connect with Moshe Amsel

Website

Periscope Live

Podcast

Facebook

Twitter

Mar 28, 2017

Struggling to balance business and baby? Many new parents choose entrepreneurship because it allows them the freedom and flexibility to spend more time with their children, but it can be challenging to juggle business obligations with time to watch Elmo and read picture books. If you’re looking for scheduling hacks to help you grow your business while you’re home with a baby, you’ve come to the right place.  

Julienne DesJardins, owner of DesJardins Digital LLC, provides strategic support for entrepreneurs and small businesses. A Digital Marketing VA and Certified ConvertKit Expert who specializes in email and social media marketing, Julienne loves to blog about her favorite business tools and tips for work-at-home parents. Listen and learn how she went from side hustle to full-time solopreneur in just one year, why she chose to niche down, and what opportunities exist for VAs in the realm of email marketing. Julienne also offers guidance on developing retainer packages and setting priorities on days without child care. 

 

Key Takeaways

The value of online networking

  • Answering questions for free affords visibility and allows you to build trust
  • An understanding of common queries can inform the services you choose to provide and guide content creation

 

Julienne’s tips for niching down

  • Choose a niche that you really love
  • Research the market to ensure demand

 

Why email marketing continues to thrive

  • Other online venues (i.e. Facebook, Instagram) may help provide an audience, but those potential clients live on that platform
  • Email marketing drives the customer to your list, providing direct access

 

Characteristics of an email marketing guru

  • Analytical thinker
  • Detail oriented
  • Self-starter
  • Insight around the marketing funnel

 

The email marketing tasks a VA might perform

  • Writing newsletters
  • Monitoring metrics
  • Creating sequences
  • Conducting ongoing best practice research
  • Monitoring the inbox and providing stock answers to customer queries

 

Julienne’s advice for balancing business and baby

  • Schedule client calls only on days when child care is available
  • Don’t set time limits on days without child care
  • Prioritize MITs and work when you can (i.e. during naps)
  • Provide clients with an availability calendar

 

The advantages of offering retainer packages

  • Freelancer can anticipate baseline income and budget accordingly
  • Clients know what to expect as outlined in retainer package
  • On-going relationship allows freelancer to better understand client needs
  • Freelancer can phase out tasks she doesn’t enjoy

 

Julienne’s guidelines for pausing a retainer

  • Make it clear that you may be actively seeking other clients to fill the slot
  • Explain that you may or may not be available should the client decide to pick up again
  • Establish rules in your contract around notice periods

 

Resources

Free 5-Day Course: Balance Biz + Baby

ConvertKit

Acuity Scheduling

  

Connect with Julienne DesJardins

Website

Twitter

Mar 23, 2017

Though tax season is a stressful time for many freelancers, we avoid asking for help or even talking about money. But the subject of finances shouldn’t be taboo – nor should it be a source of anxiety for you as an entrepreneur. In fact, today’s guest will teach you how to karate chop that stress and get your finances in order. 

Melissa Whaley is a licensed tax professional, financial strategist and California mama of three. If profit is not a word you use to describe your business, then Melissa will work with you to build systems and make that dream a reality. As the owner of Whaley Bookkeeping and Tax, she helps solopreneurs and small businesses get their finances on the right track via virtual bookkeeping and tax consulting services. Listen in as Melissa shares strategies for tracking expenses and calculating quarterly estimated taxes, and get her advice regarding the free online tools available. Now is the time to stop feeling overwhelmed and get the deductions you deserve!

 

Key Takeaways

The difference between revenue and profit

  • Revenue denotes the amount of money paid to a business
  • Operating expenses and taxes must be subtracted from revenue to determine profit

 

How much should freelancers be setting aside for taxes

  • 5% of profit at a minimum
  • Melissa recommends 25%

 

The deductions freelancers deserve but often miss

  • Cell phone bill
  • Monthly subscriptions to tools/apps
  • Mileage
  • Client dinners

 

The importance of creating a system to track expenses and income

  • Ensures freelancer will receive deserved deductions
  • Allows self-employed to pay taxes quarterly
  • Prevents stress at tax time

 

The necessity of establishing a relationship with a tax professional

  • No easy answers apply to every business
  • Help understand how business, personal and family finances work together
  • Assist with decision-making as business grows and changes
  • Identify deductions specific to your situation
  • Interpret IRS codes and/or represent you if necessary

 

Melissa’s top tip for new and aspiring online business owners

  • Open a separate bank account for business

 

Resources

Wave Accounting

 

Connect with Melissa Whaley

Website

Instagram

Mar 21, 2017

Christine Morris is the founder of FabulouslyBalancedLife.com, a venture committed to helping busy entrepreneurs implement systems to support a successful business and a balanced life. She is a business mentor and productivity coach who has worked her way through the online business world, beginning as a virtual assistant who quickly built a multi-VA team before transitioning into the in-demand Online Business Manager and systems expert she is today, supporting six- and seven-figure business owners in managing their teams and creating strategies for growth.

Throughout her career, she has proven her ability to overcome adversity and use it to create opportunities for other entrepreneurs. In 2014, Christine’s family experienced a devastating fire 30 days out from a live event she was coordinating for a client. With systems in place, the event went forward as planned and Christine was able to outsource her work and take the time off she needed to recover. She used this opportunity to reflect and realize what was truly important to her and what didn’t fit for her family. Christine designed FabulouslyBalancedLife.com to share her passion for helping others create a life that is more in line with both their personal and professional goals.

On this episode of the podcast, Christine shares strategies for landing clients as a VA/OBM, developing systems for your business, and establishing effective working relationships. Listen and learn when to outsource and how to own your expertise!

 

Key Takeaways

Christine’s strategies for landing clients

  • Utilize organizations like IVAA
  • Respond to RFPs and follow up
  • Network and build relationships

 

The difference between a VA and an OBM

  • Virtual Assistants perform specific tasks (i.e.: social media, marketing) and are paid hourly or per project
  • Online Business Managers work one-on-one with clients to oversee the big picture (i.e.: operations, project management) and are paid base plus incentives

 

The importance of creating systems that are documented and centralized

  • Saves time
  • Establishes consistency
  • Provides clear instructions to VA’s
  • Allows your business to run when you can’t be there
  • Protects clients

 

Christine’s guidelines regarding documenting systems

  • Don’t keep things in your head
  • Next time you complete a task, open a Google Doc and jot down the steps
  • Add and elaborate as needed – it’s a living document
  • Before long, you’ll have an entire operations manual

 

Christine’s advice about determining what to outsource

  • Complete a time audit
  • Outsource tasks that are taking too much time with little ROI
  • Delegate tasks that are not in your zone of genius

 

The 90-day dating period you should expect after hiring a VA

  • It takes time to get a feel for each other and understand work styles, etc.
  • Give clear instructions, otherwise, you’re setting the VA up for failure
  • Rather than expecting instant results, take the time to build a relationship

 

The significance of owning your expertise as a VA/OBM

  • Set your own expectations regarding what the first 30, 60, 90 days should look like with a new client
  • Own the role you play in the relationship and set the tone early

 

 

Resources

Christine’s Workbook http://fabulouslybalancedlife.com/workbook/

International Virtual Assistants Association http://ivaa.org/

 

Connect with Christine Morris

Website http://fabulouslybalancedlife.com/

Mar 16, 2017

Allison Gower is the President and CEO of Allison Evelyn, Inc., offering content, media and marketing services to a variety of local and global clients. She helps business owners find their voice and establish their online presence through content writing, blogging and landing placements in the media.

After graduating from San Diego State, Allison landed a job in marketing and sales with a video production company. In her role there, she discovered a love of writing. Fascinated by getting to know the client’s brand and how they defined their voice, Allison started freelancing in this capacity on the side, and eventually, one of her freelance clients offered her enough work to quit her day job.

Three years later, Allison has established her own company and continues to thrive as an entrepreneur, helping prominent businesses such as LaJolla.com and iPetitions connect with their audience. When not typing away at her co-working space in sunny San Diego, she is practicing yoga, hopping on a plane or facilitating video projects. On this episode of the podcast, Allison shares her approach to planning for trips that take her offline and several of her favorite travel experiences. She also offers advice regarding the business aspects of freelancing and the benefits of joining a co-working space.

 

Key Takeaways

The benefit of establishing a business

  • At the income threshold of $80,000/year, freelancers begin to lose so much in self-employment taxes that it makes sense to establish a business
  • For liability reasons, it is better to deal with legal issues as a separate entity

 

The challenge of doing solo work as a freelance writer

  • It can be a difficult transition if you are used to getting energy and ideas from other people

 

The advantages of joining a coworking space

  • Helps separate business and personal life
  • Promotes productivity
  • Affords the opportunity to connect with business owners who might need your services
  • Provides friends to brainstorm with – and go to happy hour!

 

Allison’s tips for freelancers interested in pursuing travel opportunities

  • Let clients know when you are planning an offline trip – as far in advance as possible
  • Once your plans are finalized, sit down with your clients to plan
  • Do as much work as possible before you leave
  • Consider investing in a VA to support clients with ongoing needs
  • Refer clients to another freelancer you trust who can sub for you
  • Put systems in place to keep things running while you’re gone
  • Compose a conversational auto response for your email to remind clients that you are unavailable

 

Allison’s favorite travel experiences

  • She has taken trips to Atlanta and Illinois, working in the morning and exploring the rest of the day
  • On backpacking trips to New Zealand and Peru, she has gone offline for several weeks

 

Allison’s best tips for emerging entrepreneurs

  • Seek opportunities to network face-to-face
  • Attend events in your area that address topics you’re interested in
  • Connect with potential clients on LinkedIn and invite them for coffee

 

 

Connect with Allison Gower

Website

Twitter

Mar 14, 2017

Kathryn Moorhouse is a Pinterest Expert and Social Media Strategist based in South Africa who helps high-performing female entrepreneurs grow their audience and income. As an entrepreneur herself, she understands the ins and outs of marketing an online business, and her passion for Pinterest has led to an expertise in that niche.

With degrees in Investment Management and Marketing, Kathryn began her career in the corporate world but soon realized the corner office might not be for her. Then she became an au pair and discovered a need for kids’ clothing compatible with outdoor activity, so she founded the handmade brand, Zoey and Logan. She sought strategies for growing that business through Facebook groups, and connections she made there led to VA work managing social media accounts for other businesses. Kathryn soon found that Pinterest was her forte, and she has narrowed her focus to a single platform.

She is an obsessive planner and organizer with a deep love for good coffee, doughnuts and going on adventures around the world. On this episode of the podcast, Kathryn communicates strategies for landing clients and the value of choosing a niche!

 

Key Takeaways

The secret to a successful business

  • Identify a need and provide the solution
  • Kathryn’s work as an au pair led her to build a children’s clothing line

 

Kathryn’s advice for landing clients

  • Reach out to current clients and encourage them to share your availability with others
  • Join Facebook groups and other communities in your area of expertise
  • Look for posts related to what you do and provide free value by answering questions

 

Kathryn’s parameters for niching down

  • Is this specialty something that really appeals to you?
  • Is there a market for this service?
  • Will the service provide results for your clients?

 

The beneficial features of Pinterest

  • High-performing lead generator
  • Acts as a search engine (like Google, but pretty!)
  • Untapped market

 

The value of focusing on a specific niche

  • As an expert, you gain confidence in your abilities
  • Your desire to dig deeper provides better results for your clients

 

Kathryn’s best tips for budding entrepreneurs

  • Give yourself a bit of grace
  • Put yourself in a position to connect with potential clients
  • Be open to growth and refine your skills
  • Make the decision to go for it
  • Progress is better than perfection

 

Resources

Wake to Make Facebook Group

 

Connect with Kathryn Moorhouse

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Mar 9, 2017

 

Athena Santora writes copy that (actually) sells for startups and small shops. She is the founder of Bevy, a courageous digital agency that builds websites for clients in the US, EU and Australia. Over the course of the last year, the company has grown to span five countries and to craft digital marketing assets of all kinds.

Born in the States, Athena now splits time between her hometown of New York City and her new town of Barcelona because she can’t bear to give up residency in either one. An Ivy League graduate and lifetime learner, she is driven by the idea that intentional design and savvy sales copy can meaningfully connect people, even through a screen.

On this episode of the podcast, Athena shares her approach to identifying ideal clients and pricing based on the value she provides. Learn to trust your intuition and get paid what you’re worth!

 

Key Takeaways

The pros and cons of platforms like Upwork

  • Competing in a world economy means you may have to charge less to land projects
  • Unless you learn a new way to present your services, you may not make enough to keep the lights on
  • Bidding teaches you what clients are looking for and what they need to hear to buy in
  • Writing proposals helps you understand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to pitching clients
  • Searching open jobs allows freelancers to do market research (demand, pricing, etc.)

 

The value-based pricing model

  • Explore what the client is trying to accomplish
  • Determine what reaching that goal will mean for their bottom line
  • Charge accordingly

 

The advantages of a value-based pricing model

  • The freelancer has a better chance of charging appropriately
  • It builds a relationship with the client rather than focusing on an endpoint to the project

 

The common pricing mistakes freelancers make

  • Getting stuck at a rate based on what other freelancers are charging
  • Failing to realize their own value

 

Athena’s principles of negotiating price

  • Start from an uncomfortable place
  • Hold strong unless you are working to land an ideal client
  • Consider the value the client can offer you (exposure, contract length, etc.)
  • Offer incentives to guarantee additional work

 

Characteristics of an ideal client

  • Like any relationship, the ideal client brings out the best in you and allows you to do your best work
  • Ideal clients don’t take more than they give back

 

Athena’s best advice for new freelancers

  • If you can be proud of the work you’ve done because you trusted yourself, that will guide you in the right direction

 

 

Resources

Laura’s Ideal Client Blog Post & Workbook

 

Connect with Athena Santora

Website

Bevy Digital

 

 

 

Mar 7, 2017

 

Jim Palmer is a marketing expert, business coach, entrepreneur, author and speaker. Founder of both the Dream Business Academy and Dream Business Coaching and Mastermind Program, he works to provide Smart Marketing and Business Building Strategies for growth-oriented entrepreneurs and small business owners. This mission extends to Jim’s hosting enterprises on Dream Business Coach TV, the hit weekly web TV show with an audience of thousands, and Stick Like Glue Radio, a weekly podcast that helps entrepreneurs take their business to the next level. Jim is best known internationally as ‘The Dream Business Coach’ and creator of No Hassle Newsletters, the ultimate ‘done-for-you’ newsletter marketing program used by hundreds of clients in nine countries.

The first step in Jim’s path to successful entrepreneurship began when, at age 41, his lucrative position as VP of Marketing was eliminated. With four teenagers and a mortgage, he sought another traditional job, but long-term unemployment and a cancer diagnosis inspired him to launch his own small marketing business in October 2000. Eventually, Jim learned about internet marketing and direct response, which led to the creation of his wildly successful coaching business.

On this episode of the podcast, Jim offers a mini-master class in time management and the real grit of being an entrepreneur. Listen in and develop the confidence to say ‘yes’ and grow your own Dream Business!

 

Key Takeaways

Jim’s definition of a Dream Business

  • Multiple revenue streams
  • Fun to operate
  • Firing on all cylinders
  • Provides the lifestyle you want to live
  • Asset for worry-free retirement
  • Allows you to give back and make a difference in the lives of others

The ‘bookend schedule’

  • Jim’s official working days are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
  • Downtime is essential to cultivating creativity

The difference between an employee and an entrepreneur

  • Entrepreneurs are wired differently and do not make the same distinction between work and personal
  • Entrepreneurs are willing to work long hours because they are building something bigger than a paycheck

 Jim’s guidance regarding when to start building your business

  • Stop waiting for it to get easier
  • “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today.”

 Jim’s advice to entrepreneurs just getting started

  1. Do whatever it takes, even if that means stocking shelves part-time at Target while you are building your business
  2. Control your environment to achieve extreme focus by eliminating distractions

 The necessary mindset for fostering adventure

  • What if you say yes?
  • Rather than framing what if’s that might prevent you from pursuing something new, explore the possibilities of what could be if you problem-solve and persevere

 Resources

Stop Waiting For it to Get Easier: Create Your Dream Business Now by Jim Palmer 

Jim Palmer Books 

 

Connect with Jim Palmer

Website 

Boating Blog 

 

 

 

Mar 2, 2017

Laura is back to help you deal with losing a freelance client. On this episode of the podcast, she talks you through the necessary process of self-reflection and offers strategies for replacing lost revenue when a contract ends.

Learn from Laura’s experience as she shares mistakes she made early in her freelancing career. She was able to leverage those missteps into learning opportunities and develop a knack for replacing lost revenue quickly through a savvy hustle that includes capitalizing on established client relationships and expanding service offerings.

Laura also offers advice on how to recover from the loss of a client, emotionally and financially. Listen in and learn her practical three-step approach to rebounding when a client chooses to end a business relationship! 

Key Takeaways

The reasons why a contract might end

  • Often, the end of a contract happens due to circumstances outside of your control, i.e.: the client can no longer afford your services or they are hiring a full-time writer in-house
  • If it was your fault (i.e.: missed deadline, poor work quality), it’s time to recalibrate

Laura’s advice about learning from your mistakes

  • Take ownership and briefly grieve the loss
  • Consider what went wrong and how you might apply that insight moving forward
  • Revise your pitch and writing samples

The need for clear, specific feedback from clients

  • Clients who say your work “just wasn’t what they were looking for” may be trying to get free content
  • Consider adding a clause to your contract in which the client acknowledges having read your writing samples and agrees to the expectation that the tone, quality and general writing ability will be similar

 Laura’s tips for replacing lost revenue

  • Keep a monetary goal in mind as you hustle
  • Reach out to clients you’ve worked with before
  • Think about expanding service offerings in your current niche and upselling existing clients
  • Even when fully booked, continue marketing your business to cultivate future opportunities 

Resources

Laura’s Full List of Courses https://laurapennington.teachable.com/

Connect with Laura Pennington

Blog http://sixfigurewritingsecrets.com/blog/

Twitter https://twitter.com/sixfigurewriter

Website http://sixfigurewritingsecrets.com/

Email info@betterbizacademy.com

 

 

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