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What to do when you can’t find freelance work

As a freelance writer, you don’t have to work for long before the freelance work pros and cons become very apparent. Freelance working is great, it fits in with your lifestyle, you don’t have to take on jobs you don’t like and you have the type of freedom about which the employed workforce can only dream. However if your freelance work dries up, for even a short while, the whole, ‘Where is the money coming from?’ thing can get a bit scary. Such is the nature of freelance work jobs; companies employ freelancers for many reasons, but one of the most popular is that the commitment to pay a freelancer is transitory whilst the commitment to pay an employee is far more permanent. Don’t worry, we have some answers below to the question of what to do when you can’t find freelance work (as well as looking for more work of course).

Don’t panic!

Most of us are fairly good at unnecessary panic, particularly when it comes to anything to do with money. However, the truth is, for most freelancers, there will be times when the work isn’t coming in as quickly as they would like it to. Panic is a waste of time and effort, time and effort, which would be far better spent on more productive activities. One way to avoid panic when freelance work dries up is to make sure you always have an emergency fund to cover your expenses during any gaps in income. We have some suggestions below as to how you might wisely use any time made available by freelance work gaps.

Develop multiple freelance income streams

When you find a client or a niche you like, it is very tempting to send all of your work effort in that direction. This however can be a mistake, if you have too narrow a bank of work, you are putting yourself at risk should a particular client no longer need you or a particular niche lose its market value. For example, at Fi Darby Freelance, we love to write about the outdoors and will always jump at the opportunity to do so for clients. However, our policy is to be as broad as we can in both our writing topics and our genre. Having multiple income streams is healthy; as well making good business sense, it keeps your writing interesting and keeps you at the top of your writing game.

Create your own digital products

One way to increase your number of income streams when freelance work dries up is to develop your own digital products. Self-help guides, well-written e-books, infographics and high quality images can all have a market value if you target the right audience. Well thought out and carefully crafted digital products are also a great way to showcase your abilities and show both potential and existing clients just how useful you can be. They are also a useful means of collecting subscribers and opening up a whole world of marketing potential.

Take a look at freelance work patterns

As with any job, freelance often work falls into a pattern. The difference is that, as freelancers, we are often so involved with our current project that we forget to look at overall patterns of work. For example, you might want to ask yourself the questions below and take action on the answers:

  • How much freelance work comes through on a Friday?
  • Do you get sent more work at the beginning of the month or the end?
  • Is there a month when you can predict low work requirements?
  • Do you have a steady income from month to month?
  • Which of your clients provides the most steady income?
  • Has your income level from any particular clients shown a significant drop?

Find time for networking

Networking, particularly if it is done face to face, is a great way of gaining a trusting audience and letting people know exactly how you can help them. As a freelancer you have an advantage because lots of people are interested in freelance working. When you find yourself with time to spare look for business networks to join and start making online contact with possible new clients through a social media that will suit your demographic (if you haven’t already created a LinkedIn account do so asap). Don’t go for the hard sell but make yourself available to answer questions about what you do and be as helpful as possible.

Teach someone else your freelance skills

Teaching freelance skills doesn’t just mean standing in front of an audience, although we do recommend this as a confidence boost and a really good way of putting your skills out there. Teaching can also be done online or via individual tutoring, so have a think about how you can open up your horizons by providing hints and tips about your niche or experiences. The great thing about teaching is that it immediately puts out the idea that you are the expert. You may well surprise yourself when you find out how much you know about your topic.

Tidy up your freelance systems

Freelancers are often very busy people and, as such, can sometimes let their organisation systems slip. If you have a period of low work levels, take the time to improve your systems so that they make your life easier when you are busy again. For example you might like to consider:

  • Creating a spreadsheet to record of all your freelance work
  • Brushing up on the latest VAT and tax information
  • Contacting previous clients and re-offering your services
  • Streamlining your invoice and receipt systems
  • Updating your contacts list
  • Creating a website portfolio
  • Updating your own blog
  • Checking and updating your social media profiles
  • Scheduling social media posting via an SMMS such as Buffer
  • Working out how to implement the latest SEO advice

Whatever you decide to do if the freelance work dries up, make sure you do something productive, that you will be pleased you have done when the freelance work picks up again… because it will do… we promise!

 

How to choose your blogging niche

Blog writing within your niche

Most bloggers start blog writing within their niche, in other words writing about a topic that they enjoy and know something about. In my case this blogging niche led to a career as a very successful outdoor blogger and later as a freelance copywriter. Here are my three top tips on how to choose your own blogging niche and maybe end up with your own new blogging career.

Continue reading “How to choose your blogging niche”

My website needs a blog – where do I start?

Why does my website need a blog?

If your beautifully designed and eye-catching website isn’t presenting itself on the first page of Google searches (SERPs) then you have a problem; most people don’t look beyond this key first page, which means that most people aren’t going to even see your website. Continue reading “My website needs a blog – where do I start?”

How can bloggers improve their website ranking?

Whether you write blog posts for pleasure or for clients (at Fi Darby Freelance we do both) learning how to blend great writing with effective Google SEO tools is a vital skill for any blogger, one which takes time and experience. Continue reading “How can bloggers improve their website ranking?”

How to be a Digital Nomad

How to be a Digital Nomad

In truth I am currently somewhat under-qualified to describe life as a digital nomad because this is my first day of freelance writing combined with remote working and I still have a home office, but I like to think that I am on my way to the wandering freelance work life of a digital nomad (at least for part of each year). Continue reading “How to be a Digital Nomad”

5 tips on Choosing the Right Freelance Writing Job from an Online Jobs Board

If you don’t want to use up precious writing (and money earning) time seeking out freelance writing clients and pitching ideas to them, then online jobs boards can be a quick and easy way to find writing jobs that allow you to work from home. Continue reading “5 tips on Choosing the Right Freelance Writing Job from an Online Jobs Board”

How to Get Paid for Writing Quality Blog Posts

If there is one thing we here at Fi Darby Freelance are good at, it is writing blog posts. The life of a blogger is a happy one, you get to research and put down in words all kinds of interesting facts and figures, you also, if you write your own personal blog, get to go out and do interesting things that you can write about. Making money from blog writing takes experience and practice but it can be done. Today we have 6 top blog writing tips that will help you to write blog posts that clients will pay for. Continue reading “How to Get Paid for Writing Quality Blog Posts”

How To Set Up a Home Office

52% of all UK businesses registered with Companies House are operated from the owner’s home. That’s 2.75 million home businesses and a significant proportion of our UK economy. Setting up a home office is an exciting prospect but, whatever your business idea, it is important to ensure that you have a space in which you know you will be able to concentrate, work and get on with being successful. We have 10 top tips to help you set up your home office and work from home in comfort.

1. Choose an office space you will enjoy being in

The simple truth is that if you don’t like a space, you won’t be relaxed in it and if you aren’t relaxed you won’t be able to work productively.

2. Be generous with your home office desk

Your desk doesn’t have to be expensive (it doesn’t even have to be a desk) but it does need to be suitable for purpose. That tiny table in the corner may make your office look big but will it really allow you adequate room to spread out your laptop, diary, paperwork and that vital cup of tea?

3. Spend a bit on your office chair

Chances are you will be spending a fair amount of time at your desk, particularly in the early days of your new business. Your quality of work will suffer if your sitting position is poor. Take some time to shop around for an office chair, it doesn’t have to be brand new but it does need to provide effective support for your back. The best seating posture is a relaxed angle of 100 to 110 degrees.

4. Think about lighting for your home office

Your eyes are going to work hard in the early days of your business so give them a chance by ensuring that the lighting in your home office is suitable for purpose. Lighting shouldn’t be too bright especially if it is causing glare on your screen, for this reason you should position your computer screen so that it isn’t directly in front of a window.

5. Build plenty of storage into your home office design

It has been suggested that clutter in a room can lead to clutter in our heads. Whilst this is not true for everybody, having a tidy office is efficient and can save precious work time.

6. Ensure adequate internet connections

Few of us can run our businesses with no internet access and we all get fed up with slow broadband and lagging websites. This sort of frustration adds to workplace stress (something you especially want to avoid if your workplace is also your home). Before you locate your home office spend some time comparing connection speeds in different rooms.

7. Add a bit of nature to your home office

Being outside is good for us and, whilst you may not have much time when you are first setting up your home business, you can get the feeling of being in the great outdoors in your home office. Make sure that you have windows that you can open and add some plants to give greenery and additional oxygen.

8. Consider noise factors

When choosing which room to use as a home office you should think about noises in and around the room that might disturb you. If you are next to the kitchen will you feel fidgety when the family comes in to use it?

You should also make sure that you have some provision for music or podcasts in your home office. Most of us don’t want to work to music all of the time but it can help when we are feeling a bit tired.

9. Ring the changes

Don’t be afraid to take advantage of the fact that you are working from home. Whilst your home office should be your main home base, enjoy your ‘home worker’ status by taking your work elsewhere from time to time. If you are baking a cake work in the kitchen and enjoy the aromas from the oven, if you feel the need for fresh air then head out to the garden. On a rainy day, you might even want to consider sending a few emails from the greenhouse!

10. Enjoy your home office

Take a moment each day to appreciate the fact that you are working from home, that you can have your lunch whenever you want to, that you can start at 5 and finish at 3 and that you can go to the loo as many times a day as necessary. If 55% of offices are at home, that leaves 45% that are not, we at Fi Darby Freelance know which we prefer.

 

What is Inbound Marketing?

Most people these days have heard the term ‘inbound marketing’ but many will still be unclear as to exactly what it is and how it relates to their marketing strategy or small business. At Fi Darby Freelance we like things to be simple so we have given you a few answers to the question, ‘What is inbound marketing?’.

Definition: inbound marketing attracts prospective customers before they even know they want to buy something

Inbound marketing pulls customers in by providing stimulating content (visual, audio or written) that shares a brand message and makes them want to find out more.

Inbound marketing is not the same thing as outbound marketing

Outbound marketing (what we know generally as ‘advertising’) relies on a business sending its marketing message to a defined audience. TV adverts, mail campaigns and posters would all be examples of outbound advertising.

Inbound marketing uses online media to attract your audience

Have you ever clicked through to a website because you like their Instagram video or checked out an online shop because their blog post made you laugh? If you have then you have been the subject of successful inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing works because people (potential customers) don’t like adverts

Most of us get exasperated with advertising. It interrupts our viewing, appears through our doors and pops up on our social media pages. Inbound marketing is more subtle, if we like a video we want to find out more, if we read something that makes sense we are interested in the company.

Inbound marketing techniques are varied

Inbound marketing is vibrant and techniques are ever evolving they include videos, blogs, giveaways, e-books, social media quizzes and influencer marketing.

Blogs are a great example of inbound marketing

By including a blog on your website you will not only attract new customers, you will build up a loyal following, convert that following into sales and improve your SEO.

At Fi Darby Freelance our inbound marketing speciality is blog writing. We provide high quality, keyword centred blog posts to global clients. We will take on any topic in either American or UK English and are skilled at weaving essential keywords into informative, grammatically correct and entertaining posts. For more information and a free no-obligation quote please contact us.

To find out more about Fi Darby Freelance, take a look at our freelance portfolio here.

Freelance Portfolio

UK English Versus American English

With the continuation of globalisation and the rise of the gig economy most blog or web article copywriters will find themselves with clients from all over the world. This is great news because diversity makes our job much easier but the version of English required by clients can vary from country to country and subtle differences in spelling, word meaning or grammar can catch the unwary copywriter out and irritate clients. We look at some of the key differences between UK English and American English.

Choose the right version of English

If you aren’t sure whether your client wants you to write in UK or American English be certain to ask. Mainland USA obviously uses American English but so do some of the areas of the world that the USA frequently trades or has historical connections with such as Japan, South Korea and Jordan. Most Caribbean countries also opt for American English but those that are part of the Commonwealth prefer the UK version.

American vocabulary is not always the same as English vocabulary

Most of us are used to understanding some of the common USA/UK vocabulary differences. Word interchanges like ‘tap’ and ‘faucet’ or ‘football’ and ‘soccer’ are well known. However, when you are a busy copywriter it is easy to slip up and miss some of the more subtle vocabulary differences. For example, if you are writing a travel post and use the sentence, ‘The coach arrived late’, there is a chance that your audience might be searching for a previous reference to a sports instructor. If you are ever unsure, considering checking with your client which version they prefer. If you don’t want to do that, there is help out there on the web. Oxford Dictionaries, for example, have a fairly comprehensive list of British words and expressions alongside their American equivalents. Some that you might want to watch out from a content point of view include:

  1. ‘car park’ (UK) and ‘parking lot’ (USA)
  2. ‘aluminium’ (UK) and ‘aluminum’ (USA)
  3. ‘current account’ (UK) and ‘checking account’ (USA)
  4. ‘estate agent’ (UK) and ‘real estate agent’ or ‘realtor’ (USA)
  5. ‘pay packet’ (UK) and ‘pay envelope’ (USA)

Learn the common differences between English and US spelling

Whilst it is possible to check any UK and US spelling differences online (Grammarist is a great place to do this) or alter your word processor’s grammar setting to the country of your choice, it will speed up your writing and help you avoid mistakes if you learn some of the basic spelling differences between English and US spelling.

  1. Word ending in ‘ise’ or ‘yse’ in UK English will be correctly spelt with ‘ize’ or ‘yze’ for an American audience. For example, organise/organize.
  2. UK English words that end in ‘our’ will typically be spelt with ‘or’ in USA English. For example, neighbour/neighbor.
  3. Words that in UK English end in ‘ce’ are often written with ‘se’ in American English. It should be noted that the rules for these in UK English can be complicated (usually ‘ce’ for a noun and ‘se’ for a verb).

American punctuation is not always the same as English punctuation

Apart from the obvious issues surrounding the cultural differences between ‘full stops’ and ‘periods’ American punctuation is very similar to English with a couple of key exceptions:

  1. Americans tend to use double quotation marks whereas single ones are more common in English (both are acceptable although not in the same document).
  2. In USA English it is usual for a comma to be placed before the ‘and’ at the end of a list. In UK English this would be incorrect.

We have only picked out a few of the differences between UK English and US English. It is important not to be put off a job just because you will need to write in the version of English that is no so familiar to you. Instead, spend some time reading related blogs and articles in the same version. You will find that this will help to familiarise you with language and grammar expectations. Set your spelling and grammar checker to the version you require and it will do most of the hard work for you. Language is not a static beast and in a few years time, these rules may well have changed. At Fi Darby Freelance we say embrace the differences, they may not be with us for much longer!

For a friendly and experienced chat about web content development for your project in either US or UK English please feel free to get in touch with us at Fi Darby Freelance.