Published February 09, 2021
When the first wave of work from home started, it began as a welcome departure from the norm. With no commute to worry about, we could wake up 10 minutes before our first meeting, and spend the day working from our bed in pajamas with a sleeve of Oreos to keep us company. The newfound freedom and ability to relax was refreshing, and productivity even increased.
Now almost a year later, productivity has remained up in most industries, but more and more employees are feeling what’s been dubbed “work-from-home burnout”. The lack of socialization, routine, and day-to-day variance has (understandably) started to wear on people at a personal level.
If you’re looking for ways to combat work-from-home burnout, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together 7 tips for you here.
Published January 27, 2021
Getting your customers to pay you should be the easy part of the job. You’ve done all the hard work to find a customer, agree on a price, complete the job, and deliver the end product. You should be able to sit back and let the money roll in. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like that. According to the Credit Protection Agency, almost 50 percent of freelancers have received consistent late payments on invoices.
In this post, we will go over how to get a customer to pay your invoice, including some steps you can take before you even start the work to ensure you get paid fairly and on time.
Published January 12, 2021
The start of the new year is a good opportunity for small business owners to reflect on their business’s success, decide what works, and find things to improve upon. We’ve put together 5 new year’s resolutions that every small business owner can benefit from this new year.
Published December 08, 2020
Published December 01, 2020
Creating an invoice can be overwhelming and time consuming, especially if you’re not an accounting expert.
Here’s how using an invoice template software helps you and your business thrive.
Published November 24, 2020
Now more than ever, offices are shifting to a digital workplace and allowing employees to work from home full-time. According to Review 42, 18% of employees work remotely full-time, and 55% work remotely at least once per week as of 2020.
Employers are new to this, and it can be difficult to manage and engage our employees when they’re not in the office with you. Luckily, we’ve put together a few tips for you on how to engage remote employees.
Published November 18, 2020
1. Be Patient
Even though you may feel like what they’re saying is personal, it’s likely that your customer isn’t actually angry at you. They may just be frustrated and don’t realize they’re taking their frustrations out on you. That being said, it can be hard to separate those feelings of anger from work and much easier to lash back at your customer in retaliation.
On these occasions, take a deep breath and an extra moment to listen to what your customer is saying. Try to pinpoint the reason for their anger. Be patient, listen to their concerns, and don’t take their harshness in these instances too personally. Make sure you understand that the customer is human too. Don't take their anger personally or hold it against them. Hopefully they will do the same for you.
2. Explain Your Side
You’re the expert who’s been hired to complete a specific job. If you’re doing something a certain way, there’s a reason.
When you explain your reasoning behind why or how something is being done, it’s good practice to break your explanation down by “chunking”. Chunking is the process of breaking a problem down into smaller, more understandable pieces (or chunks). Tackling one issue at a time allows for a more focused discussion, and makes each chunk more understandable for the customer.
3. Be Open To Compromise
Like the saying goes, the customer is always right. Well, maybe not always, but it’s important to hear them out.
Let the customer know what you plan to do to address their concerns. It might be something simple you can solve over the phone, or you might need to go through the process with them or even spell out your next moves. It may take extra time, but it will help the customer feel heard and at ease.
4. If it’s Important, Stand Your Ground
Sometimes, especially on issues of safety, there is no compromise. In fields like electrical and construction work, deviating from the plan is not an option.
If there’s no room for compromising, don’t be afraid to stand your ground.
It's important to let your customer know how important their business is to you and your business. Thank them for bringing their issue to your attention. Let them know what you plan to do to address their concern and get back to work!
Published November 03, 2020
Before You Send
Before you send an invoice (and before you even do the work), it’s important that you and your customer are on the same page. You don’t want to surprise them by asking for a payment amount that they weren’t aware of.
Even if you are working without a formal contract, you should always communicate and have your customer agree to some preliminary payment terms. Once you and the customer have reached an agreement, send a services agreement before undertaking the project. It sounds intimidating, but don’t worry. You don’t need a lawyer for this. There are plenty of templates out there for you to use.
This agreement should detail a final price, payment due dates, and any late fees should a customer pay after the due date. When the customer signs this agreement, you have proof that they have agreed to all terms and conditions of the transaction. This also serves as a resource that you can refer back to if a price or payment dispute with your customer arises.
Creating an Invoice
Once you’ve completed the work, it’s time to create your invoice for your customer. Don’t worry, we’ve already put together a guide on creating your first invoice. Invoice Home makes creating an invoice easy, so head to our invoice generator and get started!
Sending Your Invoice
Your terms are agreed upon, the work is done, and the invoice is created. Awesome! Now let’s get you paid.
Typically, it’s good practice to send an invoice to your customer immediately after delivering the final product. This ensures that you stay in the front of your customer’s mind, and makes it less likely that you’ll need to keep “chasing” that invoice.
Save a tree, and send your invoice via email. With Invoice Home it’s an easy 3-step process!
1. Select the document you would like to send.
2. Click the “Email” tab.
3. Fill out the form accordingly, and press send!
When you’re filling out the body of the email, make sure to keep things short and to the point. Don’t worry, it’s not rude. It’s professional. Something like “Please find Invoice #101 attached. Please respond with confirmation that you have received this message. Thank you!”
If they haven’t responded within 48 hours, follow up and ask for confirmation that they have received your invoice. This is a small but helpful indicator that your message wasn’t lost or ignored, and will help you get paid on time.
Published October 29, 2020
Many want to go into freelancing, but it can be difficult to know where to begin. To learn more about how to get started in freelancing, follow these steps:
1. Choose a Specific Field
You probably have a general sense of the field you want to get started in. But narrowing that field down even further will help you get started, and get more work in the future.
If you’re looking to start freelance writing, think about what sort of writing you would like to do. Choose a more specific subsection, whether that’s writing journalistic articles, blog posts, or ad copy. For those looking to go into freelance developing, are you looking to do frontend development, or more behind the scenes backend work? The same goes for designers, artists, and any other field you can think of.
Think about what sort of work interests you, and pursue that first. If you get more specific and start with a niche, you’ll have a much easier time getting started.
2. Build a Portfolio
You don’t need to have direct experience in the field you want to start freelancing in. But you do need to have some sort of proof of your ability. Imagine if someone came to you and said “I’ve never touched a wrench in my life, but I’d be happy to install your new toilet!” You (rightfully) wouldn’t let them anywhere near your house. The same goes for potential clients who are looking for freelancers.
To show a potential client that you are qualified to start freelance work, it’s important to have a portfolio to show them. Even if you’ve never worked in that particular field before, putting together some sample works to show off your ability can go a long way.
For example, if you want to start freelance writing, write a handful of sample articles or blog posts about topics that interest you. If you’re a designer, build a portfolio with some of your art. Freelance developers especially should have a tangible thing so they can demonstrate their ability.
Being able to say “Here’s an example of my recent work,” goes a lot further than “Here is a list of my qualifications”. So start building your portfolio!
3. Reach Out
Once you’ve got your field narrowed down and your portfolio wrapped up, it’s time for the least exciting step of your freelance journey: reaching out to potential clients.
There are many ways to go about finding new clients as a freelancer. You can create a profile on sites like Fiverr or UpWork so that customers can come to you. New freelancers often share their content on social media sites, hoping to find interested people that way. Many also start by simply reaching out to people or companies in their desired field via cold email. It’s a great place to start! Just don’t get deterred by a long stretch of uninterested clients.
You might be wondering what the best way is to go about reaching out to new clients. Well the best way is actually… all of them! Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. By diversifying your approach to finding new clients, you’re giving yourself a better chance to find a winner. It’s a lot of effort, but it’s well worth it!
4. Follow Up
By now, you’ve had a few clients and done a handful of projects for them. Awesome! But don’t let them get away. It’s time to put your networking skills to the test and nurture that new relationship. You’ll be surprised how often seemingly one-time projects turn into long-term clients for freelancers!
Start with a simple follow-up email. Something along the lines of “I enjoyed working with you on this project, and would love to work together soon in the future!” within a week of project completion is typical. But don’t be afraid to check in more often.
It’s good practice to send a client an email every month or two asking if they’re still looking for freelance workers. Even if there’s nothing on the table right now, it’s a great way to remain in the front of their mind whenever a new project does inevitably arise. So don’t feel awkward, follow up and keep that client!
Published October 14, 2020
The way you’re setting goals is wrong. It’s not just you, it’s how we’re taught. And we’re not just setting the wrong goals in business, but everywhere. According to The Times Tribune, 92 percent of people don’t accomplish their New Year’s resolutions.
So we’re clearly not doing something right. To find the solution, it’s important to start with recognizing the problem first.
The problem with how we set goals isn’t that we’re being too ambitious, or not ambitious enough. It’s how we’re framing the things we want to accomplish in the first place.
Take the most common non-business goal for example, which is “I want to lose weight” according to parade.com. Who doesn’t want to feel better about their physical appearance? But let’s make it more specific and “better” by changing it to “I want to lose 10 pounds”.
For your business, you might set a target of a 40p percent increase in sales by the end of the year. This is a good, specific goal right?
But “I want to increase sales by 40 percent” has the same core problem as “I want to lose 10 pounds”: We can’t control them. They’re output goals.
To set goals that are more easily monitored and attained, the key is to set input goals.
An input goal is one where you can directly control whether or not it is achieved.
For example, let’s use “I want to lose 10 pounds” again. Without any real clarity of the work you’ll put in, it’s hard to measure the amount that you’ll get out. You might start a killer workout regiment with a healthy diet, get in great shape, and feel great about your body. But if you “only” lose 8 pounds at the end of it, you’ll feel like you’ve failed when you really haven’t.
An example of a good input goal for getting in shape is “I want to exercise for 30 minutes every day and eat vegetables with two meals per day”. These are two clear and measurable actions that you can control that will almost certainly lead you to getting in better shape.
The same goes for “I want to increase sales by 40 percent”. If you launch effective marketing campaigns and get great customer reviews, but your sales numbers only increase by 35 percent, you’ll feel like you fell short of your goal.
In your business, don’t set output goals you can’t control. It’s great to have targets and milestones to shoot for along the way, but focus on the actions that will take you to where you want to go. If you want to increase sales, set goals that are within your control.
For example, set a goal of requesting 70 percent of your customers to leave a Google review, or reaching out to 40 new potential clients per week. Just like with personal goals, it’s important that your business goals are a good fit for you, and focus more on creating healthy habits than swinging wildly for an end goal.
Here are a few more tactics from LocalIQ that have proven to increase your sales on a budget.
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