march 2016

3 silly myths about Squarespace SEO

3 silly myths about Squarespace SEO

Lately, I've been getting a lot of questions about Squarespace and SEO. Bloggers and small business owners are loving how simple and fun it is to create beautiful websites using Squarespace, but they're not sure if switching to Squarespace will jeopardize their SEO.  

I get it. There are lots of Squarespace myths out there that would put me off too if I didn't know they were false. 

Many people badmouth Squarespace SEO before researching it, which a total recipe for disaster. I see myths floating around Facebook groups and other blogs that make me cringe because I know from research and experience that they aren't true. 

5 things you can do to quickly grow your business

Just click on this pin to find out 5 steps to quickly growing your business and how those 5 steps helped my business become what it is today. #Freelance #Marketing #Business #Freelancing #Gettingstarted

Before quitting your day job, you need to be earning a comfortable, consistent amount of money from your business. But it's pretty tricky to do that when you can only work on your business on the evenings.

You can't focus on your freelancing while you work full-time, but you can't quit your day job until you get more clients and more money. It's a never-ending, unfair cycle.

A recent reader said that her job often feels toxic and tends to mess with her creativity, which isn't good for freelancing. She wants to quit, but she has a mountain of bills that she can't reduce and not enough freelance income to cover them. She feels totally stuck.

Sound familiar?

A lot of the women I network with on social media have expressed the same feelings, and it makes me sad for them! Reeeally sad. Everyone deserves to do what they love. Everyone deserves to wake up each morning and actually feel excited to work. Everyone deserves to feel the satisfaction and fulfillment I feel when I help businesses transform their brands and websites.

A few weeks ago, I wrote of 3 things you can do while working full-time to prepare for freelancing. Today I'm here to sprinkle some hope on your day by sharing a few more helpful tips!

5 things you can do to quickly grow your business:

  1. Plan. Did you know that businesses that plan grow 60% quicker than ones that don’t? I keep a simple business plan that I update and tweak all the time. And since I’ve been doing this, my business growth has rocketed. When you plan how much money you want to earn and how you're going to get it, business growth seriously speeds up!
  2. Build connections. Without them, you’ll struggle to find clients. Connect with others in your niche, connect with ones on social media, and you’ll find that you’ll get clients referrals and friends from it.
  3. Take on small jobs. You can't take on big jobs when you work 9-5, that’s just a recipe for burnout. What you can do is take on small jobs. They will still provide you with experience, and possibly recurring clients or referrals.
  4. Collect testimonials. Even if you only do small jobs for people, collect their testimonials! When I was working full-time I designed Etsy banners for small businesses on the side, and I made sure to get a testimonial from all my clients. Testimonials are useful even if they aren’t for the kind of projects you want to be doing because people can still testify to how you work, how organized you are, how effective your communication is… This will help land you bigger clients in the future!
  5. Join or create a mastermind group. A mastermind is a small group of business owners similar at a similar level to you, and you all get together maybe once or twice a month to support and encourage each other, usually over Skype or something. Your business can grow exponentially from a mastermind group because your fellow group members will help you, push you, motivate you, and even refer work to you.

Leave a comment and let me know- how have YOU grown your business quickly and effectively?

How to attract clients with bigger budgets

Do you feel like you can justify quitting your (well paid) day job when you can't find clients who can afford you or you've already quit and you're struggling to make a decent income from freelancing . Well if you're answer is yes then you need to click on this pin right now to find out how to attract clients with bigger budgets. #Business #Client #Marketing #Design #Freelance #Income #Financial

Do you struggle to find the right clients? Clients who value your expertise? Clients who can afford you?

Do you attract clients with tight budgets? People whose 'business' is more of a hobby?

Chances are that you answered yes to all of the above.

You don't feel like you can justify quitting your (well paid) day job when you can't find clients who can afford you.

And worse- if you've already quit and you're struggling to make a decent income from freelancing, you may be seriously contemplating finding a 'real job'. A boring 9-5 job that you know you'll hate, but you also know will safely pay your bills.

There's nothing wrong with finding a 9-5 job if you are really desperate. In fact, I put my hands up to the folks who do this! It takes guts and humility to surrender your dreams (for now) and go back to working in the corporate world.

But before you do that, I want you to try your very best to find the clients that can afford you. The clients with bigger budgets. Because they ARE out there. You just aren't attracting them yet.

Let me tell you the financial story of my business over the last few years.

Before I quit my day job...

I freelanced on the side, trying to build up my experience and portfolio.

I didn't have a website yet, or any testimonials. I only had my blog.

I targeted micro-businesses, like Etsy shop owners and bloggers. The problem with that is that the majority of Etsy shop owners and bloggers are hobbyists. This means that their budgets are really tight. I was only making about $340 per blog design.

What did I learn from this?

I worked my butt off for barely any money but I built up my portfolio and I got a few testimonials, which was well worth the hard work! Now I'd built a foundation for my business, I recognized that I needed to change my target client to businesses with bigger budgets.

In my first two years of freelancing full-time...

My rates were a bit higher than before, but still really low compared to the average wage of my peers. This most likely made me look like an amateur to prospective clients with bigger budgets, even if my work was good.

I decided to raise my rates again and steer away from bloggers and shop owners, focusing on female entrepreneurs with five/six figure businesses. I began charging $2000+. Here was the problem: I still didn't have enough experience to charge people this much.

To make matters worse, my website was terrible. It looked very corporate and attracted the wrong clients. It didn't contain much useful information- like my step-by-step process, testimonials, an about page, or a sign up form- which probably helped people decide not to hire me.

What did I learn from this?

I learned that I couldn't charge high prices if I didn't have much experience. But I also learned that I wouldn't attract clients with bigger budgets if I had ridiculously cheap rates, because cheap rates made me look like an amateur. I had to find a middle-ground that I was comfortable with.

In the last twelve months...

I increased my rates to what I felt comfortable with and what I thought my ideal clients would be willing to pay for quality work.

I rebranded my website and I increased my rates again. I was pretty scared that no one would want to pay my rates, even though they still aren't really that high, but the opposite happened! I had more inquiries. I was booking more clients. It was 100% the right move for my business.

What did I learn from this?

When the time feels right, increase your rates and don't be scared. If your work is good enough, people will be willing to pay you more.

So, how can YOU find clients with bigger budgets?

1. Don't jump the gun. If you don't have much experience or you haven't built up a portfolio, don't expect people to pay you lots. We all have to start at the bottom and work our way up.

2. When you've built up experience, increase your rates! Your dream clients won't be interested in working with you if your rates make you look like an amateur. For example, say you're buying a used car. You seen an amazing car with no faults and you get really excited. You expect it to cost you, say, $4000 and you'd be willing to pay that for such a good little car. But you see it's being sold at $999 and you're instantly put off. Why? Because it looks too good to be true! It looks like a dodgy deal. The same theory applies to pricing your services. If you price like an amateur, people will think you ARE one.

3. Make sure your website shows all the information your client needs. This includes your rates, your process, an FAQ page and testimonials. This will make you look more professional and trustworthy; qualities that clients with bigger budgets need to see.

4. Are you attracting the right clients? If your website is girly and filled with designs for Etsy shops, you're going to attract Etsy shop owners and push away bigger businesses with bigger budgets.

5.Do you advertise and guest post? If so, what are advertising in the right places? If you're advertising on craft blogs and things like that, you're most likely going to attract hobbyists with smaller budgets.

6. Is your portfolio filled with the right work? If it's filled with designs for blogs and Etsy shops, people with larger businesses might not be interested in you.

7.Fake it 'til you make it. Don't state all over your website that you haven't been in business long- people don't want to do business with newbies. Instead, put a positive spin on it by mentioning all the experience you have- from freelancing on the side of your day job, to doing a similar job for a large company. Every drop of experience counts.

I recently emailed the women who have signed up for more info on my Shelancers club, asking them to tell me their no.1 struggle with freelancing. (If you don't already know, Shelancers is a supportive community for freelance women and we're launching in March!)

I had dozens of replies, and everyone said the same thing:

I struggle to find clients.

That's why I chose to write this post today. I wanted to give hope to all the freelance women who struggle to find the right clients- or any clients at all!

Shelancers is not only going to be a community of united freelance women. It's going to be a monthly series of freelance lessons, taught by myself and your favorite freelancers.

In one of the lessons, I'm going to dive deeper into all aspects of finding clients- how to find clients when you lack experience, how to find your dream clients, and how to always book clients in advance.

If that sounds awesome to you then sign up to be the first to hear when Shelancers launches!