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10 Reasons Working for Yourself Rocks

10 Reasons Working for Yourself Rocks

Working for yourself is no bed of roses. It is laden with challenges, trials and long hours. But I am doing what I love (seriously) and would not swap it for a better paying job (well it would have to be a WAAY better paying job). I took the leap about 8 years ago after doing it as a sideline for years just as the economy crashed so I know exactly how hard it is. Thank goodness things are now improving but even when times were brutally hard I still jumped out of bed and hit the office early and rocked into my work. Here are 10 reasons why I love working for myself and most importantlyat home. 1. Music I love music. I turn on Spotify in the morning and from Boney M to Thrash Metal there is music playing all day long while I work. I create playlists for gigs I plan to go to (using a cool web tool called XXXX). I know maybe in your office you can listen on your headphones but some days I have music playing full blast to motivate me as I try and hit a deadline. Which leads me to the next point 2. My Deadlines Don’t get me wrong if I don’t get work complete I don’t get paid but I set my own deadlines and when something comes up with life that means I can’t work on a day then I can reset the deadlines (within reason). I...

Money, Freelancing and Hourlies

I like money.  I don’t  care about lots of it which is lucky as I don’t  make tons of it.  I make a living and when asked by people who work in salaried positions how is work going I honestly answer like this. Not too bad.  Some months are great, some are OK and some are awful.  Thank goodness the awful months are way less than when I started out But boy I have made mistakes and I still do.  But here are some tips that have helped me enormously to improve my revenue stream and to get more business.  None of them are mystical or weird but just what I do.  I double down on them when I think things are going badly. Don’t Work for an Hourly Rate Ever Never under pain of water boarding quote an hourly rate.  Its ridiculous.  I can do now in 10 minutes what took me 3 hours 2-3 years ago.  Do I charge less.  Hell no.  Correspondingly I have laboured over tasks that I thought would take 10 minutes into the wee hours as I underestimated the effort.  So quoting hourly is a mistake. This is often where you can get into philosophical discussions about what you should charge.  I am not going to go there as different people have different expenses and lifestyles and yours will differ wildly.  All I can share is how I get work. Last year in the web design space I reached out under a pseudonym to over 100 web design companies for a price for...

Conversion Optimisation

Conversion Optimisation

It’s no secret, most people want to increase their website traffic. People usually assume that lots of visitors = lots of inquiries, sales and well money. However, the number of site visitors often needs to be peeled back to look at what the typical mix of visitors is. Analysing Website Visitors 101 Let’s say you have 100 visitors in a day. First, you need to consider how many of those people are “accidental tourists”.  In other words, people who stumbled upon your link and clicked on it.  They arrived at the website, but immediately knew they were in the wrong place, so they bounced off the website. This is unavoidable. They were looking for information on cats, and you had information on dogs. It happens. It is highly unlikely that every website visitor that comes to your site does so in earnest and is going to spend substantial time there.   You see it a lot in bloggers media kits where the number of site visitors is shown as a headline statistic. On average, as many as 40% of those visitors to your website are what I call “accidental tourists”. Which means that of 100 visitors per day 40 (and often up to 70) don’t hang around too long. Retaining Your Visitors If the idea of having people come to your website in error and then leaving is bad enough, what about the thought that they could be coming to your website and then leaving because they don’t find what they want? A service or product that...

The New Org Chart

The New Org Chart

There was a time when if you wanted to expand you hired a sales person and put them on commission or salary.  He blended in nicely with the receptionist, the accountant and the HR manager (puke).  Everything was sweet. No longer. There is a new gun in town. It is the Internet Marketing Manager. It might be a full time person or it might even be you doing the leg work. It is no longer “that Internet thing” it is the business channel that can generate a significant part of your revenue. Making the optimal use of it is critical. Now I don’t like using the word critical too often it is loaded with fear and anger but in this case it is. I assume the same was said many years ago when people moved from horse and cart to mechanised transport. There were people who felt the reliability and the predictability of the horse and cart wouldn’t be surpassed. Similarly with the typewriter to the PC. The only word of caution is setting your expectations. Not a day goes by when I hear of a business that is making a fortune online alone. I treat the numbers with suspicion but not the core business concept in most cases. Yes you can make money purely from an on line presence and most definitely from a bricks and mortar business combined with said online presence. Why haven’t you started? Thinking of the horses perhaps?

Content is Prince

Content is Prince

I read and surf countless blogs and groups and social media where people look to get the perfect theme. Stop right now. Even the simplest theme will work for you if your message is honest from the heart and not badly written. Sure amazing writing will do better, sure nice images help, sure the latest widget will do something (or other). But get the first thing right.  The message. Still looking for that slider and that pop up. Didn’t I say stop? My number one SEO tip is writing till your fingers bleed. Check spelling, check grammar, makes it succinct.  Then market like hell. Will the slider or the widget help? Who cares. Get writing, creating, making it great.  Your great will resonate.  Put that on a billboard. Go now.

People Per Hour and Me

People Per Hour and Me

I joined PeoplePerHour some time ago. I have used contractors myself on Upwork for many years (and can share how I get the get the best people there some other day) but I wanted to see if I could use PeoplePerHour to get some more work on board and to fill any gaps I have in my workload. I use my own contracted team and myself to do these jobs. I think the approach here would apply to any contracting website (like Upwork and Freelancer) really but is here how I approached it on PPH.  I plan to try it also on Freelancer and Guru but need to free up some bandwidth and automate even more to get jobs there. MY GOAL My goal using PPH is to make money.  I am quite happy to make $50 on a job that I quote $100 on.  To explain (referring contractors).  I have a very established contracting team who all nearly work for me full time with the flexibility to do other work.  So if I win a job for $100 that I haven’t the time to do I give it one of my guys (or gal) and they do it for $50 and I make the balance.    If I can do it alone for $100 then great too.  See details further down. Sounds mercenary but it isn’t.  I do the project management of the client, work really fast get it done, next.  I don’t develop an emotional attachment to the task.  PeoplePerHour is all about...

On Death and Earnings

On Death and Earnings

If you just want to make €22 and make me €22 then click here to sign up for PPH or else read the fascinating blog post I have written. Last week and this week were a bit crazy for me.  My father was in the hospital and my mother in law passed away.  Sad but that’s life. As a result, I didn’t get much work done.  Rushing between two hospitals and the death of my mother-in-law last Friday meant that sitting in front of a Mac working fell way down the priority list. My father is out of the hospital (nothing major) and we are adjusting to the loss of my mother in law this week. Besides the sadness of the loss, it also showed me two things. The first was the importance of charging for work, something I write and rant about a lot but tend to be weak at implementing.  In my Inbox on my return to my desk were a sprinkling of emails from past customers looking for little jobs. I had kept my active projects well up to date through busy triaging on my phone during that past 10 dyas at weird hours. The second was that some day I might not be able to work (or want to)  for an extended time and it is about time I started thing about “the product” that would provide recurring income (yet to be created but lots of ideas).  That is for another post. Small Jobs The word quick, small...

Hustling Like a Hooker – Days 1-5

Hustling Like a Hooker – Days 1-5

This follows on from my previous post about being in a tough place as some work fell through the floor on me. So what to do – how could I make some money.  Well in the last 5-6 days I have done pretty OK in rustling up some new business.  It wasn’t pretty but here is what I did -.  There are no flash gimmicks here it was lots of email and out reach and still a way to go on getting back to pre-crash. Apps Do Help First I knew I need to hit the email hard.  Mailchimp does rock but I need to email a lot of people and fast. During some informal outreach with John Doherty of GetCredo he mentioned QuickMail.io and how we was loving the free trial.  So I tried it out signed up and am half way through it at the moment. IT helped with what I did below a lot eMail OutReach I hate those spammy emails you get selling SEO and website design but I knew I could do better and simpler,  So I searched in Ireland for every single printer that was out there.  The reason for this was a lot of printers get asked for websites and even though they are great designers they just don’t do that work.  I do a bit of work here in Cork for two printers so know the deal. So I made a list of 200 printers got their emails and sent them an email that was very simply this. Hi How...

A Prospect Isn’t a Customer

A Prospect Isn’t a Customer

I used to get excited when I started out when I got a lead or a prospect. Wooo hooo a new customer. Emm nope. A lead isn’t a customer. They may end up being one and you should work your little tail off putting great proposals, processes and communications in place to ensure that they turn into customers. But you should contain your excitement.  If every lead you got DID turn into a customer then you could start woo hooing all day long but usually it is a small percentage. Here is how I at least try to transform leads into customers. Don’t Be Lazy and Forgetful When I get a lead through whatever medium I reply to them really really quickly.  The reason is that I tend to forget them  if I don’t pump them into my process right away (less so now with Pipedrive) and unless I hop on it I may not follow up. Believe me I don’t have hundreds of leads pouring in my door.  It just slips down my Inbox, I get busy, Twitter burps, the door slams and before I know it, it is too late and I didn’t get back to them  A week in business is like a decade. I did a survey just a few weeks ago in my niche and I found that about 30-40% of people in website design reply the same day.  So if and when you reply quickly you are ahead of the pack. You may already have some level of...

How To Grow Without Actually Growing

I emailed 200 website companies recently.  I won’t bore you with the statistics of their responses but of the responses 3-4 told me they were too busy to take on work at this time. I find this hard to comprehend.  I understand why.  They have well paying, time consuming projects that are keeping them busy and don’t want to take on any more. But don’t they want to make more money?  If making more money doesn’t interest you then stop reading but if it does read on. How I Started Out When I first started creating websites for customers as a sideline business I was also working a full time job.  I would like to tell you that I slaved into the night working on projects after a long hard day at the office.  OK I did quite often, but after a year or so doing this I realised that I couldn’t sustain this every single day or week of they year. I also wasn’t in a position to leave my current job.  Ironically nothing did change when I did leave it so it was a mental thing. Over time even with the part time nature of my website design work I got more and more work which did fuel me leaving a comfortable, very well paying job.  But I had made a critical decision to get help even at that stage. Someone tuned me into Odesk (now Upwork) to get people to help me.  I primarily needed developers to help me as at  that stage I...