How AI Can Transform Your Freelance Career

One of the biggest myths about artificial intelligence (AI) is that it’ll replace human beings in work. This is because AI has proven to complete tasks faster and more accurately than human beings. But this isn’t always true – AI can work hand in hand with human beings to ensure more productivity and efficiency.

For example, by automating a couple of tasks, employees can focus on areas that require human intervention, such as the customer journey. As a result, companies can reduce downtime and increase productivity.

An AI takeover?

Freelancing is one of the industries where there have been debates about AI taking over. This has come thanks to the development of different tools used for transcription, writing, editing, and many other freelancing jobs. Instead of taking away the jobs, AI has transformed freelancing careers in different ways – some of which we’ll take a look today.

While AI might complete more tasks efficiently, some common freelance areas such as marketing require a more human touch. As such, AI can aid freelancers instead of replacing them. As a freelancer, here are some ways that AI can transform your career:

Through effective communication with clients

Communication between a freelancer and a client can be a deal-breaker. Great communication means you’ll land the deal, whereas poor communication will make you lose on a potential client. A freelancer should tell the client why they’re doing what they’re doing and how it’ll help the client.

If you can create visuals and display data to your potential clients, it shows your clients that you understand the task. This is possible if you incorporate AI in your communication with clients. Also, AI through communication intelligence software will allow collecting, recording, analyzing, and interpreting conversations with clients. The recorded conversations will provide valuable information about your clients such as the industry in which they are working or the customer base they’re targeting.

Communication intelligence software will also educate you on what’s important to your customer, their pain points, and what they expect from you. It does this by breaking down numerous hours of conversations into simplified forms, and all with minor errors.

By scheduling your time properly

Freelancers can work on multiple projects delivered within specific deadlines. Missing these deadlines can sever relationships with clients. That’s a no-go. Therefore, organization is so crucial to ensure that all projects are completed on time. Some freelancers can be hired on hourly rates as well, so having a timer to ensure they complete the required tasks is totally recommended.

By using a scheduling software, you can organize your work according to priority or according to placement. This will help you start with tasks that need completion. That’s how AI can help prevent burnout among freelancers by avoiding cases of overworking. It will also ensure you only take work that you can handle within a specific time, depending on your schedule. Thus, you can improve delivery and maintain good client relationships.

Through marketing your services

Marketing is essential in freelancing as it will help you get more projects. Your marketing strategy should yield the best results while saving time and costs. It’s crucially important to use AI to automate most of your marketing functions. For example, you can automate the emailing system to send personalized emails at the right time to prospects and clients. This will help to achieve maximum engagements without spending too much time on your computer.

Additionally, you can use chatbots to assist in more customer-centric conversations. Such conversations include frequently asked questions or complaints. This will help eliminate many hours used in customer interactions and ensure that you provide customers with the best experience. AI also integrates with other digital marketing strategies, ensuring success in your marketing.

Helping with data collection

Data plays a significant role in every freelancer’s work. It gives you insights on different areas such as clients and the project they’re working on. Collecting data about your client, such as location and the industry, can help you offer a seamless experience. The data collected should be accurate to give you accurate information and results after analysis. For example, if you’re working as a freelance consultant, integrating AI in your job will save a lot of time on data collection.

With more precise data, you can help your customers optimize their services or content and improve their returns on investment. The outcome will lead to more satisfied customers and eventually turn them into returning clients.

Through personal branding

Personal branding is crucial to the success of any freelancer. You need to create a logo that will represent your brand. While you can outsource this job, the advancement of AI has made it possible to create professional logos.

AI can generate create clean and professional logos based on your needs. The process is straightforward, and you can use features such as the drag-and-drop method to give your logo the elements you desire. These software also allow you to tweak the results to suit your need.

Once you’re satisfied with the results, you can pay and use the logo to improve your branding. This is hassle-free and costs less than buying logos from third-party designers.

Helping ineffective content creation

Content creation is one of the most common freelancing projects available today. With websites looking for regular and authentic content, freelancers have found a place to thrive. While it’s normal to create content manually, using AI can take it a step further. You’ll not only be able to create bespoke content but also do it regularly.

AI will transform your content creation in the following ways:

Through natural language generation: AI can help create small data specific content and reports by translating complex data into human language for easier understanding. This is done through natural language generation, which achieves this in a short time. As a freelancer, you can use this to write product descriptions or generate customer satisfaction reports.

By getting fresh topics and keywords: Knowing what your customers or clients’ customers are interested in is vital for a freelancer. This will guide the content that you create in terms of topics and keywords. AI can help with keyword research through the different keyword-researching tools available that will speed up the process and help you generate customer-specific content.

The research tools will give you information such as organic competition, search demands, and search volumes. After finding the right keywords, AI will also help generate different blog ideas to help expand your topic. You can achieve all this with a few clicks on your machine.

By gathering user-generated content: User-generated content influences a customer’s decision-making when making a purchase more than some other marketing forms. So when creating content for your client, you need to gather brand-related content from users through social media or the client’s website.

Through technology such as visual recognition, AI will help gather data related to products and services. You can then use it to better understand what works for your customers or client’s audience and use it to grow an online presence.

By editing content: As a content creator, your content should be exceptional with minimal errors. Identifying such errors manually can be challenging, but AI makes this task simple. You can use several editing tools to flag common grammar and spelling mistakes. This will help you write compelling content that will sell. Consequently, you’ll have more satisfied clients who’ll come back.

Through productive meetings

It’s common for clients to request meetings with freelancers to discuss the project. Also, you can be part of an online team, and therefore, conducting online meetings is common. Some points discussed might be crucial to your project or other works in the future. So you should understand and stay up-to-date with any important points in your meeting.

You can integrate different AI tools with teleconferencing apps to take notes or record the meeting. So even if you miss the meeting, you can still catch up with what was discussed or get the summaries of the meeting.

By helping with administrative tasks

Being a freelancer means you have to spend time on your administrative and core tasks. For example, if you’re a freelance consultant, you’ll have to balance between core tasks (such as outreach and actual projects) and administrative tasks (such as billing, payroll, and record keeping). These tasks are crucial to your career, but the core tasks require more focus.

Using automation in your management and administrative tasks will save you a lot of time. Thus, you can focus on more rewarding areas that will benefit your freelancing career.

Final remarks

AI isn’t meant to replace human jobs. Instead, it can play a significant role to supplement day-to-day tasks, boosting a freelancer’s career. AI automates most of the processes such as administrative tasks, communication, and research, allowing you to focus on more productive work.

As a content creator, you can use AI to get suitable topics, correct mistakes, and deliver high-quality content. With all the benefits that AI has to offer, you’re likely to get more satisfied customers, and that’ll help you grow.

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Millo Articles by Millo Team

Millo has been serving founders & freelancers since 2009. Our team of expert contributors consists of designers, agency-builders, writers, entrepreneurs, consultants and more. Dive into our best content on our start here page.
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Top 6 Side Gigs for Digital Nomads That Will Make you a Lot of Money

Making money online is one of the most effective ways for digital nomads to earn a living. That’s why most people leave their full time jobs in exchange for online opportunities.

There are several benefits to working online. For instance, it’s a secure way to make money from anywhere, at any time. All you need to start is a laptop, a phone, or other smart devices, plus a stable internet connection and you should be good.

So, if you also want to make money online, build wealth, and control your destiny, stick around a few minutes. You’re going to learn simple yet effective strategies digital nomads can make money. But before all that, you first need to understand who digital nomads are.

Who Are Digital Nomads?

Digital nomads are independent workers who use technology and the Internet to make money while living a nomadic lifestyle. This means that they can travel and work from anywhere and anytime.

In other words, digital nomads don’t work from one place. They move from place to place and use tech to connect and work from wherever they are at the moment.

What Are The Common Side Gigs For Digital Nomads?

There are several ways of earning money as a digital nomad. Some of these include:

Work As A Proofreader

One of the most effective ways digital nomads can earn money is by becoming online proofreaders. Online proofreading is the practice of using the Internet to review a written document for conciseness, correct grammar, and spelling mistakes.

You can proofread by utilizing online proofreading tools or software. However, if you want to increase your chances to make money as a proofreader, it’d be a good idea to enroll in training.

Acquiring proofreading training is essential because most people employ proficient proofreaders. So, training can sharpen your skills, thus, increasing your demand among potential employers. You can get proofreading jobs from online bloggers, book authors, businesses, and many others.

Work As A Freelancer Writer

Another great way to make money remotely is to become a freelance writer. A freelance writer is a self-employed person who writes books, magazines, journals, articles, and other related content. You can work as a freelance writer either on a full- or part-time basis.

There are different types of freelance writers. For instance, you can work as a ghostwriter, content strategist, blog writer, SEO writer, website content creator, or copywriter.

A ghostwriter is a person who writes articles that aren’t published under their names. So, after getting paid for your content writing work, you lose ownership of those pieces.

On the other hand, a content strategist is a writer who creates content for branded business websites. This allows the business in question to attract and engage with the right consumers. However, to qualify as a content strategist, you need to have enough knowledge and experience in digital content management.

A blog writer is a person who writes content that’s self-published online. You can publish your content on blog sites, thus, allowing you to earn an income. This is possible because most blog website owners pay per post.

An SEO writer is a person who writes content for search engine optimization purposes. This involves incorporating specific keywords when curating content to allow it to rank high on search engine tools. This helps a business website to attract more traffic.

A web content writer’s task includes creating copy for web pages. An excellent example of a webpage copy is the ‘About Us Page.’ After everything’s done, you’ll get paid by the website owner.

Become An Affiliate Marketer

Becoming an affiliate marketer is another effective way of earning money online. It involves creating a marketing website to promote other brands’ products. So, after creating a website, you need to search for products you like, then promote them to potential consumers. When consumers make any purchase out of your promotional campaigns, you get a commission.

Starting an affiliate marketing business offers many benefits. For instance, it’s a low-risk business—easy to start and scale. However, you must select an affiliate marketing program that best suits you.

Start An Online Business

Starting an online business is another option any digital nomad should consider. Today, technological innovations, such as the Internet, have allowed consumers to make purchases online. This has forced many businesses to shift from conventional, brick-and-mortar shops to online stores.

So, as a digital nomad, you can follow the same suit and start a business online. However, you must choose your best niche, then, employ the best digital marketing strategies to promote your products. Marketing is important because, without it, no one will come to learn about the existence of your business.

There are many benefits that come with starting an online business. For instance, you can manage your online business from anywhere and at any time.

Besides, an online business allows you to connect with customers 24/7. This increases your chances of generating more income. However, you must use the right tools to target and engage the right customers.

One such tool can be SolidGigs — if you’re a freelancer, particularly one who’s very busy and would like extra help finding high quality clients, for a small monthly fee (currently $2 to start and $19 after that) you will get access to the best 1% of freelance jobs in the world.

Become An Online Tutor

The invention of new technologies has impacted all walks of human life. One of the major areas where technology has a positive effect is education. For instance, technology has allowed people to learn or access education from the comfort of their homes.

So, today someone can enroll in a class and study online. Take, for example, Udemy. That’s why most students aren’t traveling abroad to seek education. They register, study, and graduate online. This provides opportunities for digital nomad tutors to find teaching jobs.

With that said, if you’re a trained teacher, you can search for tutoring opportunities and start teaching online. This gives you a chance to expand your knowledge while earning an income. Besides, tutoring online allows you to interact with people worldwide, thus, learning about new cultures and traditions.

Become A Customer Service Representative

Another way of earning a living as a digital nomad is by finding customer service representative opportunities. This is possible, especially in the modern world wherein most businesses outsource their fundamental functions.

With that said, one of the most outsourced business functions is customer service roles. So, if you’ve got a passion for engaging and helping customers solve their problems, then becoming an online customer service representative can be your best deal.

As a customer service representative, your role will be to answer phone calls and respond to emails, and deal with any other business communication aspect. However, it’d be a good idea to find a reputable and well-paying firm.

Why Become A Digital Nomad?

Some of the benefits of becoming a digital nomad include:

Helps You Make New Friends

As earlier noted, digital nomads entail traveling and using technology to work from anywhere. This allows you to travel the world and meet new people.

So, apart from meeting residents of the region you’re traveling to, you can also meet other digital nomads there. This allows you to make new friends, as well as share new languages, ideas, and skills. So, by becoming a digital nomad, you can increase your network.

Eliminates Commuting Hassle

Eliminating commuting hassle is another great benefit of becoming a digital nomad. This is possible because you don’t need to travel to any office for you to be productive.

You can work from your home or any other convenient place—you only need to have a laptop and Internet connection. This eliminates the hassle of traffic jams, travel expenses, and other related costs. Besides, it allows you to save a lot of time. You can use the saved time to work and increase your earnings.

Allows You To Do What You Love

A digital nomad lifestyle allows you to do what you’re passionate about. This is possible because it enables you to make your work schedule. For instance, no one dictates when to work, travel, or attend an event.

In addition, it gives you the freedom to decide on what type of work to do. So, if you’re not comfortable with freelance writing or transcription, you can still earn money from many other available opportunities.

Live A quality Live

Working as a digital nomad allows you to travel and work from any country in the world. This means that you can select a destination that has the best quality of life you deserve. Some things to consider when deciding your next digital nomad lifestyle destination include the climate, food, security, and much more.

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Millo Articles by Bilal Ibrar

Bilal is part of the team here at Millo. He's a Hubspot certified digital marketing consultant with years of experience working with small and medium businesses. He writes about technology, marketing and social media for aspiring entrepreneurs. You can find him on his Twitter and Website.
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7 promising blockchain-related jobs: Preparing yourself for the economy of the future

The industrial revolution completely changed the world, and you’re right if you think that the digital revolution will do the same. Many jobs will be discarded in favor of automation and AI – and there’s nothing we can do about it. If you think that the only way to take advantage of this revolution is by taking the decision to buy bitcoin, you’re wrong.

The change will take place, and we’re sure that blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and AI will be the main engines. You need to be ready to adopt a new job. Today, we go over the top 7 promising blockchain-related jobs, so you can direct your career properly and profit from it.

Writer for the blockchain industry

Even though we already have AI applications for writing content, it’s still nowhere near what humans can do, especially when it comes to copywriting. Therefore, here you have a great opportunity to start a career. You can help blockchain projects to market their cryptocurrencies.

If you decide to become a writer/copywriter for the blockchain industry, you can help them in the following ways:

  • Create educational blog posts
  • Create long-form content
  • Design and run content marketing strategies to promote the project
  • Write and optimize an email sequence to keep the investors up to date

There are many ways to make money as a writer in the blockchain industry!

Marketer for the blockchain industry

Just like blockchain projects need writers to produce content, they also need marketing strategists that can help them reach more people. They need and will need help with the following aspects of digital marketing:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Pay Per Click advertising
  • Content marketing
  • Video marketing
  • Q&A marketing
  • Community building

Projects need more investors, and furthermore, investors who are willing to hold. This way, they can obtain the funds they need to advance their plans. And they can only get more people by investing in the right marketing professionals.

Blockchain engineer

Blockchain needs engineers who can bring their concepts to reality. On top of that, they need engineers capable of creating and optimizing systems to advance their plans. Engineering is a prevalent need in the blockchain industry.

By becoming a blockchain engineer, you will be capable of creating solutions in different industries with the help of blockchain technology. Be it on your own, an agency or for blockchain projects, there are many paths you can follow as a blockchain-specialized engineer.

Blockchain developers

Evidently, blockchain projects need capable developers who can create the features and functions necessary to fulfill their plans. As a blockchain developer, here are some of the functions you can offer:

  • Developing blockchain-powered protocols
  • Optimizing the architecture of blockchain-powered systems
  • Developing smart contracts using different networks. For example, you could use the ETH network, and smart contracts were one of the ingredients that fueled the growth of the ETH price
  • Developing dApps.

There are many ways by which a blockchain developer can make a career in this new economy.

Blockchain project managers

A blockchain project cannot move and meet the goals of the timeline without an efficient, responsible and responsive project manager. These projects often divide in several departments, and hence, they need to manage a lot of people.

As a blockchain project manager, you’re one of the most important factors in the success of the project. You are going to lead the team to victory, and to do that you need to implement the right systems and procedures.

Blockchain attorney

With more regulations coming in, blockchain projects have a real need for specialized legal advice. They are looking for professionals like you, who are well-versed in law as well as cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

Be it for raising funds, entering new industries or operating in specific countries, a blockchain attorney can help new or existing projects to operate legally.

Blockchain web designer

Finally, web design is more alive than ever before in the blockchain. With the appearance and rise of the Web 3.0, they need professionals capable of adapting their websites to this new paradigm of web design. Furthermore, they also need web designers who can implement CRO, in order to attract more investors.

Web design focused on the needs of blockchain projects is only growing in demand. Therefore, it’s a good opportunity for you to develop as a professional in this field, especially if you complement it with digital marketing skills.

Conclusion

The blockchain industry is offering us plenty of opportunities to build a profitable career in the economy of the future. It’s already here, and we better adapt quickly, because things will only keep changing at a fast pace.

What of these jobs interests you the most?

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Millo Articles by Judy Smith

Being in love with communications and human relations I found myself in Journalism. Another passion of mine is the crypto world and I believe in the crypto future. So I have spent the past 8 years studying as much as I can and sharing my own experiences with people. I am writing now about new trends - how crypto keeps changing the world, businesses and our future.
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Clientjoy Review: A Good Choice for Freelancers in 2021?

Clientjoy bills itself as a sales CRM for freelancers and agencies.

But with so many CRM options for freelancers, you might find yourself asking: which one is the best for me and how do I pick the best one?

In this Clientjoy review, I’ll break down a few of the top features you can use as a freelancer to better manage your clients, your projects, and other elements of your freelance business.

(After conducting a full Clientjoy review, I’m also happy to say it works well for people growing an agency or moving from freelancer to agency.)

In full transparency, you should know that we are affiliate partners with ClientJoy and ClientJoy has paid for sponsored placement in the past. However, as always, we strive to publish unbiased reviews regardless of current, prior, or future relationships.

With all that in mind, let’s dive into this Clientjoy review to answer the question: should freelancers use it to manage their business?

The short answer: should you use Clientjoy?

If you don’t have time to read this full Clientjoy review or you just want to get an answer quickly, here’s a very short answer for you:

YES, you should sign up for Clientjoy IF: You’re a freelancer or agency looking to streamline your sales process. This is where Clientjoy shines—in their CRM and sales pipeline.

They do a lot of other things really well (keep reading for all the details) but they definitely stand out in the market when it comes to their CRM and sales pipeline.

So if you’re serious about better tracking your sales and stabilizing your revenue (and let’s face it, you should be) then definitely give Clientjoy a try for 14 days.

What is Clientjoy?

To get started on the more in-depth Clientjoy review, let’s outline exactly what Clientjoy is.

On the Clientjoy homepage, we learn that Clientjoy is a sales CRM and growth engine for agencies and freelancers.

At the time of writing, they have around 3,000 customers—which means they’re very new—but have a great handle on what freelancers and agencies need in their business.

A Sales CRM

Clientjoy’s biggest strength is found in its CRM capabilities. Instead of using 3 different Google spreadsheets or some mix of other apps, Clientjoy allows you to put all of your client information in one place for easy access.

Here’s a high-level view of the CRM home screen:

As you can see, it makes a client’s information readily available and clear.

I’m not just talking about contact info either. With Clientjoy, all of your clients’ contact info, invoices, proposals, and lots more are stored in one, easy-to-access place.

When I click on a client, you can see I not only get lots of contact information and my history with the client, but I can also see proposals, contacts, and lots more information when I add it in. I really love this particular feature. Very clean and nice to use.

You can also grant Clientjoy access to other interested parties (like the client themselves or subcontractors/employees) so everyone has the full story every time they review a client’s progress.

A “Growth Engine”

Identifying what ClientJoy means when they say they’re a “growth engine” is a bit more complicated than identifying their CRM capabilities.

What seems to stand out, above the proposals, invoices, payments, etc. (because lots of apps can help you send invoices and all that) is the sales pipeline.

I’ve used lots of “pipeline” tools in the past and I find them either lacking in features or way too complicated.

What I like about Clientjoy’s sales pipeline feature is its initial simplicity paired with deeper-dive details where you want them.

Here’s what the Clientjoy sales pipeline looks like:

You can see a few key pieces of information here that I want to point out:

  • Simple Kanban-style columns I can easily drag and drop leads based on their progress.
  • Estimated client/project value in the top right of each “card” so I know where the biggest opportunities are.
  • Total client/project value in each column so I can forecast for the future and understand where my revenue is headed.

There are a few things I don’t quite understand at first-glance which I think the Clientjoy team could improve.

For example: what is the date? Is that the date I first added them? The most recently updated date? Or the date I hope to close them by (a deadline of sorts?) It’s not a deal-breaker, but there are a few things like that which could be clarified to create an even more powerful experience with Clientjoy.

More Clientjoy features

Now that I’ve reviewed Clientjoy’s top-billed features—the CRM and sales pipeline—let’s see what other tools Clientjoy has to offer. I’ve selected a few of my favs (the ones that really stood out) below:

Email integration

If you choose to sign up for Clientjoy, you’ll also have the option to connect your email directly to the app.

That means, Clientjoy will keep track of all conversations you have with your clients and allow you to interact directly from the app—instead of switching back and forth between Clientjoy and your email software.

That can be a big deal when you’re sending lots of email outreach and want to keep track of it all, but gmail or other email software just don’t handle the data as clearly.

Creating custom proposals

I was blown away by Clientjoy’s proposal workflow. Very clear, clean and easy-to-follow.

Sidenote: creating a new lead/client

When I went to add my first proposal, Clientjoy prompted me to first add a new lead (which is then added to my sales pipeline kanban board mentioned above).

First, it asked me to identify what stage the lead is at, and what the conversion probability is, reminding me that not all leads are created equal. Some are obviously more likely to convert than others.

It also asks for “deal size” (above) to keep everything in perspective relative to all the deals in your pipeline.

The other detail I appreciated was the lead/client “source” field which will allow me, over time, to identify my most fruitful marketing channels for getting new clients so I can lean into them.

Okay, back to proposals.
Sorry for the detour. Back to creating a proposal.

First, I expected a very simplistic, minimal proposal like I’ve seen with a few other tools I’ve reviewed. Not so for my Clientjoy review. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to see LOTS of proposal templates to choose from when creating a freelance proposal for my clients.

Once you pick a template, it gives you some helpful boilerplate text along with a few pages you can fill in with custom information for your client and the specific proposal you’re creating.

Invoicing clients

I was really impressed with Clientjoy’s invoicing technology. There are tons of apps that let you send invoices—so this alone isn’t enough of a reason to sign up for Clientjoy. However, it integrates really nicely with the rest of their tools.

I also appreciated how many payment options I could include. I’m personally a big fan of Stripe and Paypal and do 99.9% of my payments with those two apps exclusively.

With Clientjoy, you can connect whichever apps you prefer to receive payments with. Currently, they have at least 8 options (the ones pictured below + standard wire transfer) and I’m sure they’ll continue to add more.

My only complaint with Clientjoy invoices is that you can’t change the invoice number.

This is bad for two reasons:

First, nothing screams “amateur” like sending invoice 0001 to your client. I prefer to customize my invoice numbers when sending to a client.

Second, if I’m already established as a freelancer, I probably already have an invoice 001 on record. And 002 and so on. This can make referencing invoices a headache for my accountant, my clients, and myself.

Final answer: should you choose Clientjoy?

When I started this Clientjoy review, I was honestly undecided. We’re constantly being introduced to new freelance software and, often, they fall short of my expectations and many of them don’t survive.

Clientjoy, in my opinion, is different.

I think Clientjoy is going to go on to become a staple in the freelancer/agency community. It reminds me a lot of powerhouse tech tools like ClickUp which have exploded in popularity lately.

So should you choose Clientjoy? If you like what you’ve seen in this Clientjoy review, then yes. You should sign up right away.

By my best guess, you’ll be happy with the various sales tools (we freelancers don’t focus enough on sales) in addition to the cohesive nature of everything else you have to manage.

Honestly, I think you can’t go wrong here. I recommend you try it out FREE for 14 days and see if you agree with me.

A few Clientjoy alternatives

If you’re still not sure after reading this Clientjoy review, then I recommend you read this list of CRM for freelancers to explore a few more options.

Here are a few solid contenders from the list:

Bonsai

If you’re looking for an all-in-one tool, Bonsai is a pretty good Clientjoy alternative. However, I haven’t seen the sales pipeline aspect I love so much in Clientjoy within the Bonsai ecosystem yet. I’m not sure it’s in their pipeline.

AND.CO

AND.CO (by Fiverr) is another option if you’re interested in having all your invoices, proposals, contracts, etc in one place. Again, I don’t see a sales pipeline feature, but they have a few more automation options from what I can see.

Trello

Finally, if you just want to keep track of leads (and forego the invoices, email integration, proposals and tons of other tools Clientjoy offers) then I recommend a free version of Trello. I used it for years to track my lead status and it works great.

What did you decide about Clientjoy?

If you made it through this full Clientjoy review, way to go! I’m curious to know what you’ve decided. Click the link below to share with me (and the community) any more questions you have or what decision you’ve made.

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Millo Articles by Preston Lee

Preston Lee is the founder of Millo where he and his team have been helping freelancers thrive for over a decade. His advice has been featured by Entrepreneur, Inc, Forbes, Adobe, and many more. Connect with Preston on Twitter.
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How to Do Taxes As a Freelancer the Right Way

If you are one of the roughly 59 million gig workers in the US, it is up to you to be familiar with every aspect of running your own business. Of course that includes the skills that got you into business in the first place, like designing, writing, coding, accounting, etc. But it also includes the less fun pieces of entrepreneurship like writing proposals, invoicing, and of course, paying taxes.

And taxes are stressful.

Figuring out how to do taxes as a freelancer has added complications, like multiple 1099s, self-employment regulations, quarterly deadlines and tracking expenses. Add to that the whiplash of an ever-evolving tax code, and you may start to feel like understanding taxes is impossible.

If you’re stressed about filing your taxes this year, there are an abundance of resources available to help you decode the tax code. In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the considerations in determining and scheduling tax payments and give you some tools to help.

Determining if you have to pay taxes as a freelancer

Before you ask how to do taxes as a freelancer, you have to ask yourself if it is even necessary. If you are just getting started in business or if freelancing is more of a hobby for you, there’s a chance you don’t even owe taxes.

For all self-employed individuals, once you have earned $400 or more, you must start paying taxes on that income. Even if you earn less than $400 from an individual client, if your total income is above that threshold, you must pay taxes on it.

You should receive a 1099 form from each client you work with (more on that later), that will help you in filing taxes, but it’s vital to track your own income with detailed reports so that you can compare your earnings with what clients report.

To be clear, even if you earn less than $400, you may still need to file a tax return. If you have other income sources, if you have earned money through gambling or prize money of any kind, receive child support payments, are earning interest on investments or or have credits to claim, among other reasons, you still need to file a return. If there’s a question, go ahead and file. The IRS will not charge you if your income does not meet the guideline, and you may even be entitled to a tax credit or refund.

To ensure you know how to do taxes as a freelancer and are filing the correct forms, you may consider consulting a professional or using a handy tracking tool like Keeper Tax.

When to pay your taxes

For most people, taxes come around once a year.

When learning how to do taxes as a freelancer, you will find it is a bit more complicated—because of course it is. That familiar April 15th deadline still applies, but in some cases, freelancers also owe an estimated quarterly tax.

If your total tax payment is likely to be more than $1000 at the end of the year, you fall into this quarterly tax payment group. The payment depends on a variety of factors, including your individual income, your household income, and the state you live in.

It sounds like a lot, but it’s really not as complicated as it sounds. You can use an estimated tax calculator to determine a ballpark estimate of your quarterly payments and learn more about how to do taxes as a freelancer.

If quarterly payments concern you, there are also a couple of ways to help manage them.

  1. Credit overpayments from the previous year. If you are eligible for a tax refund, you can elect to apply that amount to your next year’s taxes. You should definitely consult a tax professional before going this route, because it is complicated and not always the right choice. However, it can help alleviate some of your tax burden and lower your quarterly payments for the coming year.
  2. Withhold tax payments from W2 income. If you have a full-time job, or if your spouse is paid on a W2, you can elect to have extra tax withheld from their paycheck. This form of payment supersedes quarterly payments and you can rest easy until the April filing deadline.

How to do taxes as a freelancer in 7 steps

So now you know if you need to pay taxes, and you’ve calculated your quarterly payment schedule. Let’s get into the details of how to do taxes as a freelancer.

Determine your business structure

Freelancers can set up their business a few different ways. The two most common are a sole proprietorship and an LLC. A sole proprietorship just means a single individual (you) runs a business (your freelance income).

An LLC is a bit more complex and requires official paperwork to set up. The main benefit of incorporating as an LLC is to limit your tax liability. LLC actually stands for limited liability company. As the owner of an LLC, you are doing business separate from your personal finances.

What does this have to do with learning how to do taxes as a freelancer? If you are operating under an LLC, you’ll file taxes under the LLC and pay those taxes from a separate business bank account. As a sole proprietor, you use your personal name and bank account to file your return. So it’s important to know the pros and cons of both and how to make the shift if needed.

Understand freelance taxes and forms

If you’ve held a job as a working professional, or even took a high school economics class, you are probably familiar with W4s and W2s.

Freelance taxes have a whole different set of paperwork and procedures associated with them. So you’re fully armed with the knowledge of how to do taxes as a freelancer when tax season rolls around, let’s go over the highlights:

  • 1099-MISC: The 1099 form is to a freelancer what the W2 is to a full-time, benefited employee. A 1099 is sent to you by clients for work that exceeds $600 annually. You’ll start to get 1099s in January––businesses are legally obligated to send these forms out before February 1st, so you should have paperwork from all of your clients by the middle of February. If you don’t and you believe you should, it’s time to start making phone calls.It’s very important to save all of your 1099 paperwork. Exactly how you do taxes as a freelancer is up to you, but keeping organized files will be a life-saver when it’s time to file.
  • Schedule C: The Schedule C, or Form 1040, is the bread and butter of how to do taxes as a freelancer. This is the form you use to report income or loss from any business, whether you operate as an LLC or Sole Proprietor. If you have more than one business, you need to file a Schedule C form for each one of those entities.On the Schedule C, you’ll enter your gross revenue, any refunds you’ve granted, interest earned, tax credits you have already received, expenses, commissions, fees, payments you have made to employees or other contractors, property depreciation estimates, insurance premiums, mortgage payments for a business property (not your home), legal and accounting fees, maintenance costs, and certain taxes and licensing fees.That’s a lot of information that you need to have prepared ahead of time. Whether you hire a professional or take the task on yourself, using an expense tracking app can make the process a lot easier.
  • Self-employment taxes: When you work for someone else as a payroll employee, the company you work for is required to withhold Medicare and Social Security taxes from your paycheck each month. This money helps fund those programs, and allows you to draw from them as you age.If you are self-employed, these taxes are not withheld, so you owe them on the back end. That is essentially where self-employment taxes come from. Unlike income tax, self-employment tax does not apply at the state level, so this portion of your tax is fairly predictable. Budget for 15.3% of your earnings for this federal tax.

Stay on top of your finances throughout the year

This is the most important part of knowing how to do taxes as a freelancer the right way. It is nearly impossible to submit an accurate tax return without accurate records and receipts.

Your best bet is to use simple accounting software to track income and expenses as you go. This way, nothing gets left out and you have all the paperwork you need to back up your claims at the end of the year.

Have a dedicated business bank account

If your business is an LLC, a separate bank account for your business is a legal necessity. But for sole proprietors, it might still make sense.

Having a dedicated bank account is an easy way to track all income and expenses, since the bank will keep records for you. It also provides some financial protection, and allows multiple people to manage the business finances as you grow.

Understand all of your possible tax deductions

As a business owner, at the same time you report your income, you can show the IRS how much it costs to run your company, and you won’t owe taxes on those expenses.

Taking these write-offs is essential in helping you keep your hard-earned money and allowing you to invest further in your business.

In addition to physical expenses, you can deduct certain things like car mileage, meals, your cell phone and internet expenses (as they relate to your business), and a home office.

I could write an entire article on expenses alone, but here are some of the most common ones to consider.

Consider hiring a tax professional

If you haven’t figured it out by now, taxes are fairly complex. Just as you are an expert in your field, accountants are experts at what they do. They generally have a college degree and certified CPAs have to take a difficult test and keep up with the latest laws and trends in order to maintain their license.

Filing your own taxes is a good way to save money if you are just starting out or only wondering how to do taxes as a freelancer so you can continue a side hobby. However, as you scale your business, working with a professional bookkeeper could actually save you money in the long run, since they will help you catch all of your deductions and avoid fines if you miss a payment.

Think about retirement

While you’ve got a CPA on the line to talk about your taxes, it might be a good time to sort out your retirement options. Odds are you don’t want to work as a freelancer forever, and without an employer-sponsored 401k, you need to take on the planning yourself.

Set aside money each month for taxes and retirement. You can set up automatic payments to separate bank accounts or sub accounts of your personal and business accounts, so this earmarked money will be saved before you even see it.

There are tax benefits to both a 401k and IRA accounts, so be sure to review those options and decide what works best for you.

Ready to tackle your taxes?

Most of us spend a decent amount of time wondering how to do taxes as a freelancer, especially as you’re starting up your business.

While there is a bit of a learning curve, taxes are not something that should keep you from pursuing your freelancing goals. With a bit of research, careful bookkeeping, and potentially some outside help, you can tackle self-employment taxes and find a lot of satisfaction in working on your own.

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Millo Articles by Kylie Burgener

Kylie Jackson Burgener is a mother of three and a freelance consultant, specializing in public relations, writing and content marketing. She is a cofounder of Measured Melodies, a leveled piano sheet music system for piano teachers and students. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her family.
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7 Writing Tips to Boost Your Freelance Career (and Top Tools to Follow)

Writing is not a God-gifted skill; rather, it is an art that you have to learn with proper practice. If you want to be a good writer, you need to follow expert tips and the best writing tools.

If you want to become a successful freelance writer, consultant, or even a speaker, then you’ve come to the right place. Starting off, we’ll go through the most effective writing tips, followed by the best tools that you can use as a writer, consultant, or coach to really boost your online business.

Let us first dig into the details of the most helpful tips for writers!

Writing tips that will help you in your journey

To be a better writer, you need to follow these tips and tricks.

Be direct in content writing – Show clarity

If you want to be a good writer, then you have to learn to be direct. The best content is the one that is clear and concise for the reader. If you are using filler words, adverbs, unnecessary phrases, etc., you will make the writing material irrelevant. You have to write down content in a direct way. The key to success is to write exactly what you mean to say.

Always choose your vocabulary wisely

When you are writing content, you have to understand that there are multiple ways to do so. You can explain the same sentence differently, and it is best to pick the simplest one. Using simple vocabulary and words is going to help you make the content readable for a common person.

Always use short sentences

A very common mistake made by newbie writers is that they create lengthy sentences. You must know that short sentences are not only easy to read but also easy to comprehend. You have to ensure that you avoid packing too many details in one sentence.

Use short paragraphs

As a writer, you have to focus on organizing your work. You can easily manage your content if you break it into small passages. Short passages are easy to read and can provide your content with a clear and assembled look. So whenever you are writing content, you should ensure that you use multiple small passages.

Use active voice in your content

As a writer, you have to try and explain your content in an active voice. If you use passive voice, then there is going to degrade the quality of your work. You should also know that you can handle your sentences better if you use an active voice. Passive voice is no doubt correct in every possible way, but it usually complicates and increases the length of sentences.

Review and edit your work after writing

A common mistake made by writers is that they proofread and edit their work as they are writing. You must never read and edit your work before you complete the document. You must ensure that you review your writing after you complete your work. This would help you check and remove all the mistakes thoroughly.

Spend some time on research

An important thing in content writing is research. If you don’t do proper research before writing, you will always end up plagiarizing from other sources. Making proper research would help you create unique content filled up with your value.

Top tools for freelance writers

Here are some of the tools that are considered to be most helpful for writers:

Microsoft Word

Word is one of the most popular writing process software all across the globe. If you want to write content with complete ease and have hundreds of different formatting options, you should go for this tool. On MS Word, you can write thousands of words without any limitations and restrictions. This is no doubt the best tool for content writing.

PlagiarismChecker.co

The plagiarismchecker.co is one of the most important utilities for people related to the writing fraternity. As the name tells us, this tool can help you scan your work for plagiarism. This plagiarism checker is free to use. It can check all kinds of same mistakes, including intentional and accidental. If you are worried that your work might not be original, we suggest you use the online plagiarism checker free website. This plagiarism tool is quite straightforward to use, so you can utilize it without putting up much effort.

Evernote

This is another program cum tool that is considered to be best for all kinds of writers. Evernote can be used on all kinds of devices as it is based on the cloud. You can use this tool as a note-keeping utility. You can use this tool whenever you have ideas, some important information, or facts that you want to note. This tool can compile all your notes and organize them so that you can utilize them later while writing content or speeches.

ProWritingAid

ProWritingAid is another important tool, especially for writers and speakers. If you have written content or a speech that you feel is unclear and has tons of errors, you can easily use a pro writing aid. This tool can proofread your work and highlight all the technical issues. Not only this, but it can also help you rewrite the highlighted content in an error-free way. For making content simple and of high quality, you would need this tool!

These are some of the tips and tools that should be used by all kinds of writers, speakers, and other people who are somewhat related to content generation! For more details about these tools, we suggest you start using them while they are still free!

Grammarly

Grammarly is another tool that is best for writers and others. The main purpose of this tool is to check text for all kinds of human errors. If you are unsure about the quality of your work, then you can use Grammarly. This proofreading tool would check and correct all kinds of errors found in your work, and that too for free.

The premium version of Grammarly can help you connect with a professional proofreader and also in checking plagiarism.

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Millo Articles by Millo Team

Millo has been serving founders & freelancers since 2009. Our team of expert contributors consists of designers, agency-builders, writers, entrepreneurs, consultants and more. Dive into our best content on our start here page.
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Understanding These Project Management Tips Will Help You Become a Successful Freelancer

One of the essential aspects of a stable freelance business are your project management skills, because they can influence your revenue and liabilities positively. Moreover, it eventually influences customer satisfaction and retention.

Your freelance business might have one on-going retainer project right now, while other your competition might be working on several projects at once. Either way, projects are considered temporary.

Projects are a means you can use to bring you to your business goals to fruition. After you complete one project, you might then have to move on to another one. Or, it might have been only a one-time gig.

When your business has projects, you will need to have to bring in additional resources for extra support. In fact, according to the Project Management Institute, an estimate of more than 15 million new project management jobs are expected to be added globally.

Project Management: What Is It?

As mentioned, projects are most likely temporary. That is why project management is not considered the entire operation of your small business or company. It is just one individual segment, a designated project equipped with a detailed plan that presents how you and your company will accomplish their tasks.

Project management is a thorough plan that has a series of steps you have to follow. Each step is as critical as the others. Moreover, you will need to achieve one of the steps first before moving on to the next.

To get to know project management even better, think of it as a ladder you need to climb. In order for you to become successful, you can’t just automatically leap to the top. In fact, you have to take it step by step. Furthermore, your team might need to apply essential tools and use their expertise to accomplish each step and then proceed to the next.

Another illustration would be getting from your current position to another position (which we will call position X) that is 30 steps away from you. It’s easy to say that the key to getting to position X is just by taking the 30 steps. However, you must also take into consideration the time and the budget.

There is no one-size-fits-all plan or system that can guide you in having a successful project. Each project your company has tends to have its own goal, budget, and timeline. That is why it is vital to have a project manager in place to see things through.

Elements of a Project You Should Know About

The four basic elements of a project are interrelated. Moreover, a project manager must know how to manage these elements simultaneously. Here are these elements:

Scope

The scope includes the project’s goals, size, and requirements. This is the most critical element out of the four. Even a slight change in the scope affects all other elements in the project.

Suppose the project scope is to construct a 3-story building on a budget of $350,000; the project manager is supposed to follow that. However, if the project scope has been changed to constructing a 2-story building instead of 3, the project manager must make adjustments to the resources, time, and money.

Resources

Resources can be found in people, materials, and equipment. A well-equipped project manager must know how to effectively manage these resources. Moreover, the project manager must ensure that all the resources are also in accordance with the money and time allotted in the project.

Time

The element of time in project management does not only pertain to the project’s overall time to finish. It must be broken down into dependencies, task duration, and critical path. Furthermore, various project management softwares can help you out with the task of managing and creating the project schedule.

Money

When it comes to the project money, you might need to consider the costs, profit, and contingencies. Each project task comes with a cost, and these costs are computed (estimates only) to come up with the project budget.

You might need to take advantage of personal loans or other types of financing to settle the money part. To help you with this, you can check out CreditNinja. Moreover, it would be an advantage for you to know that credit scores, which usually vary for different age groups, play a huge role when it comes to this sector.

Project Management Tips

The following are some tips you can use to achieve project management success:

Know The Project Inside Out

It would help if you lay down a strong foundation to make your project successful. You can do this by identifying potential clients and stakeholders. Not only that, but you must also need to understand their expectations and interests concerning the project.

After that, you will need to create a solid project plan. This should incorporate all the roles and job responsibilities. Furthermore, it would be best to define the project’s objectives and goals in the said plan to make it clearer. By doing all of these, you will definitely know the inside out of the project.

Enumerate The Project Requirements

It is best to identify the project requirements. This is essential because, as mentioned above, resources are one of the key elements in creating a successful project. Once you have already implemented a project plan, the next step should be to take care of the resources such as material and equipment and create a team that can work in implementing the plan effectively.

Hire A Qualified Project Manager

A qualified project manager is a great advantage to your small business or company. They are an assurance that your project will be going in the right direction. Moreover, a reputable and well-equipped project manager will leave no stone unturned just to make your project successful.

Communicate

Communication is key to running a smooth project. You might need to have a consistent and open conversation (even when it comes to small changes) between your company’s clients and stakeholders to ensure that there will be no confusion or misunderstandings regarding the project planning and implementation. Furthermore, ineffective communication often leads to project failures. Hence, always make sure vital people are equipped with the information they might need.

In Conclusion

Project management can take you and your business to the goals you want to achieve through your proposed projects. It includes all the nitty-gritty factors of planning, monitoring, initiating, executing, and closing the specified project.

Furthermore, project management does involve not only an on-going project. It also includes a one-time project, if there are any.

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Millo has been serving founders & freelancers since 2009. Our team of expert contributors consists of designers, agency-builders, writers, entrepreneurs, consultants and more. Dive into our best content on our start here page.
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9+ Freelance Copywriting Resources You Can’t Work Without

With all its benefits, it’s no surprise that working as a freelance copywriter is becoming an increasingly sought-after career path for many up-and-coming professionals. Getting free rein over the choice of topic you write about, being able to move from place to place while working on the go – there are countless reasons for which writing on a freelance basis holds such appeal.

What’s more, working as a freelance copywriter is now easier than ever!

There are so many platforms available online that offer freelancers the chance to connect with clients. In the past, freelancers would have to build a network of contacts that they knew would wish to avail of their services. This was time-consuming and often very limiting. Nowadays, however, freelancers have the luxury of building a portfolio and simply posting it online. With a strong enough portfolio, it’s only a matter of time before offers start rolling in.

The digital era offers not only freelance copywriters much-improved access to networks of clientele, but also many helpful resources to help improve your writing. After all, even the most professional writers slip up every now and again.

Here’s a brief guide to the most helpful resources you need to achieve your dream of becoming a freelance copywriter today!

A freelancer profile

In order to get your name out there and start landing jobs as a freelance copywriter, you need an online profile. You can turn to one of the many digital platforms designed for freelancers to showcase their talents, such as Upwork or Fiverr. Using one of these platforms allows copywriters who are fresh into the market to showcase their talents and work their way up the career ladder.

With a savvy business mind, even copywriters with very little experience can turn these platforms into a great opportunity to make a splash in the jobs market. By designing a great portfolio, it’s easier to win over clients and quickly make a name for yourself. That way, you can join the 36% of Americans who are currently freelancing from home!

Writing assistants

There are many great online services that offer writers help with their work. Whether you’re a student or a professional copywriter – these services can be a lifesaver. The best writing aids include:

PapersOwl, a service that’s there to lend a helping hand in times of need. Their writers are professional and experienced and can offer great writing assistance, no matter what the topic!

Outwrite provides writers with more technical writing assistance. There are plenty of useful functions that help to properly utilise grammar, for those sticky situations when simple grammar gets the best of us!

Writing Forums approaches writing assistance from a more community-focused perspective. Writing communities offer a unique opportunity for freelancers to give each other advice. On forums such as these you can find guidance on how best to create copy text that flows well and engages its target audience.

Making use of writing assistance is also a great way to reflect on the strength of your own work. Like with all skills, practice makes perfect and practicing reading, writing, and revising essay work is the best way to take your writing to the next level.

Proofreading tools

Even those who are most experienced in freelance copywriting will vouch for the importance of using proofreading tools. Whereas proofreading used to take hours and hours of hard work, laboriously scrutinizing every word, there are now online platforms that make it a walk in the park! Services such as Grammarly not only help you at the end of the writing process to correct your work but actually help you from start to finish!

These advanced writing software analyze your text as you write, giving you feedback and correcting any mistakes you may make along the way. This has proven revolutionary for freelance copywriters. No longer do writers have to spend hours at the end of the writing process, going back over their work. Nowadays, they can write with confidence, knowing that software will steer their work in the right direction. Spelling mistakes, grammatical slip-ups, and redundant phrases are thankfully now a thing of the past!

Social media and web presence

A lot of the content that is generated by freelance copywriters nowadays is ultimately destined for the web. Whether this is social media copy or simply copy designed for websites, it’s truly important that freelancers stay up to date with the latest trends in online copy. Being aware of the kind of article styles that are most popular with online audiences will ensure that the copy you deliver is relatable and readable for your target audience.

Being able to stay on the latest trends with your copy is hugely appealing to your potential clients – so make sure to emphasize your web savviness in your portfolio!

Stylistic helpers

The trick to truly great copywriting goes far beyond grammar and proofreading skills. Having a good sense of style in your writing is also hugely important to keep an audience hooked. Keeping your writing fresh and original can be one of the greatest challenges that copywriters face. This is especially true when you write on similar topics on a regular basis and may find yourself slipping into habits.

Luckily, there is handy software out there designed to combat this issue—stylistic writing aids, such as Cliché Finder. Cliché Finder allows writers to copy and paste in their texts and get feedback on any hidden clichés that may have slipped into their writing.

Alternatively, using a thesaurus can help you steer away from repetition in your writing and keep things fresh. A great way to introduce new vocabulary into your writing is by using a word of the day programme or a platform like Words To Use. Words To Use offers writers alternative word choices throughout the writing process, giving great food for thought when it comes to word choice. Using such a platform improves a copywriter’s overall writing skills, as they become accustomed to reflecting on their own habits and style.

Writing motivators

One of the keys to great writing is possessing a great sense of motivation. Especially when it becomes a full-time job, it’s not uncommon to experience a dip in motivation halfway through writing a piece. Fortunately, the internet offers many fun and innovative platforms designed to shake off writer’s block.

From simple programmes like Written, Kitten! – a fun service that offers writers an adorable picture of a kitten for every hundred words they’ve written – to more serious workflow platforms like Trello. Trello is a workflow control system that allows users to clearly outline their writing goals in a timeline, making it easy to stay motivated and reach deadlines. There are many such platforms available online for writers to increase their motivation, and in turn, their productivity.

Help getting rid of distractions

One of the biggest threats to a freelance copywriter’s work is the danger of distraction. Especially when working from home, it’s all too easy for freelance writers to get sucked into surfing the web on their laptop or messing around with things in the room. For those prone to distraction, there are many tools that you can use to keep your mind focused. Apps such as Dewo automatically block the most distracting apps on your phone or computer for a set time, making it impossible to get sucked into scrolling when you’re working under an important deadline.

Freedom takes this a step further, blocking out the entire internet for up to eight hours! This is a great solution for copywriters who have trouble tearing themselves away from the online world and getting into the zone. Using these types of anti-distraction software is a great way to train yourself to be a more focused writer.

After all, one of the hardest parts of freelance copywriting is keeping yourself focused on the topic at hand. Many freelance writers struggle to concentrate and need help staying focused. Especially when just getting started in your freelance copywriting career, this is nothing unusual. So rather than taking distraction as an indication that you’ve chosen the wrong career, dedicate yourself to learning focus techniques. This will not only help with your copywriting, but improve your life overall!

When it comes to taking the next step into the world of freelance copywriting, these are some of the most common issues faced and the most useful resources to cope with them. Using any number of these helpful tools is sure to guarantee you reaching a higher level of success in your freelance career.

And with so much freedom, there are few more exciting career paths for aspiring young writers to choose from!

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Millo has been serving founders & freelancers since 2009. Our team of expert contributors consists of designers, agency-builders, writers, entrepreneurs, consultants and more. Dive into our best content on our start here page.
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The Top 3 Reasons Freelancers Should Buy Life Insurance in 2021

If you don’t already own a policy, there’s no better time than the present to get one.

Unless you’re freelancing as a side gig, you’re probably self-employed — which means you’re more than likely responsible for your own life insurance coverage. You may not have given it much thought, especially if you’re young and just starting your career. Life insurance doesn’t have to be a priority for everyone. But there are some circumstances that make having a life insurance policy a really good idea.

Maybe you have family members who depend on your income, whether you’re the primary breadwinner in the family or not. Or maybe you have debt that someone else would be responsible for paying back if you were no longer in the picture. These are both good examples of situations where you should consider having life insurance.

People have lots of reasons for not buying life insurance. Some people think they can’t afford it or don’t need it. Others intend to get coverage “one of these days,” but they have other priorities. And some are intimidated at the mere thought of trying to buy a life insurance policy. The prospect can be kind of daunting.

The truth is you can get life insurance quickly and easily, especially with some assistance from an independent insurance agent or a financial planner, and it’s probably more affordable than you think.

In this article, we’ll offer three strong arguments in favor of having life insurance and why now is the time to look into getting a policy.

1. The people you care about will be protected

Life insurance isn’t something that most people enjoy thinking or talking about, but having a life insurance policy can give you peace of mind. Knowing that the people you care about are protected financially, in case something happens to you, can be a big relief.

That’s the whole purpose of life insurance, really. Life is unpredictable, and an unexpected event can upend everything. Life insurance is a way to be prepared — and if the past year has taught us anything, it’s the importance of being prepared.

Some life insurance policies go beyond providing death benefits, with coverage for accidental dismemberment and early payouts to cover medical expenses in the case of a terminal illness. Again, it’s not pleasant to think about these things, but if you’re prepared, then you can put them out of mind.

2. Life insurance will never cost you less

One of the fundamentals of life insurance is this: The younger and healthier you are, the lower your premiums will be.

If you think about it, it’s not hard to see why. Insurance companies are in business to make money, and one way they do that is by collecting more money in premiums than they have to pay out in benefits.

The older you are when you apply for a life insurance policy, the less time the insurance company will likely have to collect premiums from you — which means the company has to charge you more each month to make up for having less time.

And, the older you are when you apply, the more likely you are to have a chronic illness or a history of illness. Either of these will increase the cost of your premiums.

The table below shows examples of how the cost of coverage increases with age.

AGE & GENDER $50,000 $250,000 $500,000 $1,000,000
25 – Male $8.61 $12.35 $19.11 $31.16
25 – Female $7.83 $10.89 $15.72 $23.47
35 – Male $9.48 $13.38 $21.28 $35.06
35 – Female $8.66 $12.12 $17.87 $29.91
45 – Male $15.27 $26.31 $46.27 $88.85
45 – Female $12.83 $21.22 $37.20 $69.10
55 – Male $31.97 $64.81 $119.13 $227.85
55 – Female $24.71 $48.87 $88.73 $166.17
65 – Male $81.61 $201.35 $387.35 $748.10
65 – Female $63.12 $142.47 $264.22 $508.99

*These rates are calculated for a 20-year term life insurance policy.

For people younger than 55 who are in relatively good health, term life insurance is a good option. It’s more affordable than whole life, and although term life policies usually have lower maximum coverage limits than whole life policies do, you can buy multiple policies for more coverage.

When buying term life insurance, the best strategy is to buy as much as you can afford now, to lock in the lower rate while you can. As noted previously, the older you are when you apply for coverage, the higher your premium will be.

One thing to keep in mind if you’re going to buy a term life policy is that it’s cost prohibitive to renew a term policy when the term expires. One solution is to make sure that the policy you buy has a conversion option. That way you can convert it to a permanent policy before the term is up and you’ll still have coverage — but you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg for it.

Other coverage possibilities

If you’re older, or if you can’t qualify for term life insurance (because of your health history or your driving record or financial history, for example), you do have other coverage options, including:

Guaranteed issue. This is a type of whole life insurance. It’s expensive, and typically there’s a relatively low maximum face value, or coverage amount (usually $2,500 to $40,000). But, as the name implies, you can’t be turned down when you apply for a guaranteed issue policy.

Final expense. This is also a type of whole life insurance. It’s a popular choice for people who are at least 55 years old and is intended to cover funeral expenses. As with guaranteed issue insurance, you don’t have to take a medical exam, but you will need to answer some health questions when you apply and the insurance company will check your public records to make sure you qualify for coverage.

Accidental death. This type of coverage is very affordable and is a good choice for high-risk individuals of any age. Bear in mind, though, that the insurance company will only pay the death benefit if the cause of death is determined to be an accident.

Group life insurance. This is the kind of coverage employers offer. Even if you’re self-employed, though, you may still be able to get group life insurance through a trade group or some other organization. Group coverage is inexpensive and it’s easy to qualify for this type of life insurance. The main drawback is you’ll most likely lose your coverage if and when you leave the group.

Estimating your cost of coverage

By now, you might be wondering how much it would cost you to buy life insurance. That ultimately is up to the insurance company that issues your policy, but there are ways to get a general idea of what you can expect to pay.

Many insurance agencies offer an online calculator you can use to estimate your cost.

If you work with an independent agency, you can get free quotes online or an agent can help you with that. Some agencies also offer an online health quiz to help you narrow down your possibilities.

3. It’s easier than ever to buy life insurance

Many insurance companies now let you complete at least most of your application online. Some even offer what are called “instant issue” policies, which means you can apply for coverage online and get an approval decision within minutes. In some cases, you don’t even have to speak with an agent during the process.

Instant issue policies can be a good option for people who are young and healthy. Be aware, though, that if you apply for an instant issue policy and are turned down, it could make it more difficult to get coverage elsewhere.

No medical exam life insurance

With an instant issue policy and some other types of term life policies, you can skip the medical exam that traditional underwriting requires.

In the past, insurance companies charged quite a bit more for a no exam policy because they took on more risk for this type of coverage. But in recent years, the cost of no exam life insurance has come down, making this type of life insurance more competitive with policies that do require an exam during the underwriting process.

Last year, because the pandemic increased competition among insurers to attract new buyers and the risk of contracting COVID-19 made getting an exam more challenging, many insurance companies lowered their premiums for no exam policies. Eventually, premiums may go back up again, especially if insurers find that they have had to pay out more death benefits on these policies than they anticipated, but prices most likely won’t increase substantially this year.

Some people think they can sidestep a potentially problematic health history by applying for a no exam policy. That strategy isn’t wise, though. You’ll still need to answer health questions on the application, and the insurance company will check your public records, including a database that contains information about any prescription drugs you are taking or have taken.

You should be completely honest when applying for a policy. If you fail to disclose information and the insurance company finds out about it later, the company could refuse to pay the death benefit.

How the pandemic changed buying life insurance

The paramedic exam that is normally part of the application process generally involves recording your height, weight, blood pressure and pulse. It might also include collecting a blood, urine and/or saliva sample, and an EKG. In some instances, X-rays may also be required.

During the early months of the pandemic, and to some extent even today, fewer professionals were available to conduct these exams, and fewer people were willing to undergo them because of the increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

As a result, some insurers dropped the exam as part of the underwriting process. Others began to offer what they called a “maybe no exam” policy — which isn’t really any different from the standard application process for a no exam policy, since insurers always reserve the right to request a medical exam if something in your application gives them cause for concern.

As noted earlier, many insurers made their no exam policies more affordable just to remain competitive. Whether prices go up on these policies after the pandemic is no longer an issue depends on how profitable the policies are.

There is one change that probably won’t go away anytime soon. Insurance companies have added questions about COVID-19 to their applications, and as long as there’s uncertainty about the long-term effects associated with COVID-19, people who’ve tested positive for the disease, even if they’re asymptomatic, might not qualify for the best rates.

Advantages of working with an independent agent

Unless you know for sure that you want to buy your life insurance policy from a specific company, you may want to consider working with an independent agent to help you choose and apply for coverage. Independent agents:

  • Work with multiple insurers, so they aren’t limited to offering you only a few products (whereas a “captive” agent — one who works for a specific insurer — can only offer you policies issued by that company)
  • Have broad expertise and can help you find the best policy for your unique circumstances (In other words, they know which insurers are most likely to work with you if you have any of the following: a chronic health condition, an imperfect health history or family health history, a less than desirable driving record or a bankruptcy in your financial records.)
  • Can shop different insurance companies to find you the best rate
  • Don’t earn a higher commission if you buy a certain insurer’s product, so they have no incentive for pushing you into buying something you don’t want or need
  • Can explain the ins and outs of life insurance and make unbiased recommendations, so you can make an informed decision when buying a policy
  • Will gladly walk you through the steps of choosing, applying for and getting the right policy, which makes the whole process a lot less intimidating
  • Don’t charge you a fee, so you have nothing to lose by working with an independent agent and a whole lot to gain

True Blue Life Insurance is an independent life insurance agency that works with dozens of different insurance companies. Our friendly and knowledgeable agents are licensed in all 50 states and can work with you to make sure you get the right policy at the best price.

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4 Things No One Tells You About Running a Freelance Business

More people are saying goodbye to full-time gigs and hello to life as a freelancer. In fact, about 59 million Americans freelanced in 2020, up over 2 million compared to 2019.

The perks are well documented, especially in the era of Covid-19 and beyond: work from the comfort (and safety) of your own home, determine your own schedule, and elastic waistbands to name just a few. However, anyone who has ever freelanced knows that isn’t the whole story…

While freelancing does offer flexibility, it also comes with lots of hidden costs. There’s health and life insurance — nice full-time perks you’ll be losing out on — as well as other fees and taxes to consider.

To drive our point across, below is a quick snapshot of the pros and cons you can expect from living a freelance lifestyle.

All things considered, It’s important to acknowledge the costs and challenges, consider whether it’s worth it for you, and if so, come up with a plan to deal with the financial facts of the freelance lifestyle. Here are 4 hidden costs of the freelance lifestyle no one tells you about.

Insurance

Without an employer-sponsored plan, you’ll need to cover your own health and life insurance. This is not a cost you want to skip out on. A medical bill could set you back quite a bit. And if you passed away without life insurance, your loved ones may be left to deal with debts or daily expenses without you.

Tip: Shop around for practical insurance options, or join a family member’s plan if possible. A term life insurance policy could also be a smart idea. A company like Bestow makes it fast and easy to apply for affordable coverage. Plans start under $1/day (super freelancer friendly), so there’s really no reason not to get a free, instant quote.

Fees and Registration

Depending on where you live and your industry or service, there may be business registrations, licenses, or certifications required. Whether it’s at a local tax office or a labor office, there are probably processing fees too.

A professional website is another fee to keep in mind. Most domains and/or web hosting platforms cost money, and the price can vary depending on the vendor and the complexity of your site.

Tip: Do your research to determine all of the fees and registration costs you’ll have to incur to move forward with your business as a solopreneur. Keep detailed track of these expenses and budget for unexpected costs. This will help you be prepared when these costs rear their heads again, as well as during tax season.

Taxes

Speaking of taxes, you’ll have to account for those, too. With no payroll department to withhold (and pay) your income tax, that responsibility falls on you. In some cases, you may also need to pay a self-employment tax.

Tip: It’s a good idea to set aside 25%-30% of your paychecks and to file quarterly with the IRS. That number may sting to read, but over-saving and being treated to a remainder is much more pleasant than getting a tax bill that’s higher than your bank account balance.

Inconsistent Income

Since your pay as a freelancer is tied to how many clients you have and how much work you have lined up, you may find it difficult to pin down reliable income numbers. Between that and scheduling payments, be prepared for fluctuating income.

Tip: Scale back and go from there. We’ve all got things we forget we’re still paying for — a streaming service here, a deluxe fancy coffee there. Really drill down and create a practical budget based on things you actually need. Then, you can grow from there! Especially as more work comes in. Either way, the takeaway is budget, budget, budget!

It may seem daunting, but don’t forget that there are plenty of costs associated with full-time jobs that you may not have to worry about anymore. Commuting costs (like public transit, gas, parking, etc) can take a big bite out of your income.

Likewise, buying and maintaining a professional wardrobe is a sneaky cost many people don’t stop to think about (or add up). There will always be trade-offs, but hopefully you’re freelancing because you get to do what you love and be your own boss.

And hopefully these tips can help you be more financially prepared for the road ahead flying solo.

Onwards and upwards!

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How to Take Your Business to the Next Level with Freelance Automation

Working as a freelancer is a dream for many — but it can quickly become overwhelming as you juggle dozens of clients and deadlines while trying to keep up with business tasks like billing, taxes, marketing, and operations.

So, how do you keep your freelance business booming without getting crushed by repetitive manual tasks?

If you aren’t already using freelance automation, it’s time to start. Here’s what you need to know.

What is freelance automation?

Freelance automation is the act of automating critical business tasks so you can spend more time focusing on revenue-generating tasks or finding clients without neglecting important business and lead-generation tasks.

For example, you could automate tracking monthly expenses so that tax time is easier or create an email drip campaign to automate onboarding a new client.

Benefits of freelance automation

Not sure if freelance automation is right for your freelance business? Automation is an extra pair of hands that can help you grow your business. Let’s look at a few benefits you can expect by leveraging automation:

  • Save time: Spend less time on repetitive tasks so you can focus more time on the work that gets you excited.
  • Save money: Automation costs less than outsourcing, which helps keep overhead costs lower. That means more money to invest in training, new equipment, or whatever else you need to help your freelance business grow.
  • Reduce errors: Humans make mistakes — automation doesn’t! Automation can reduce billing and reporting errors that can cost you thousands.
  • Improve business relationships: Automating tasks like onboarding, sending thank you messages, and following up improves client relationships without requiring more time out of your day.

What freelance tasks should you automate?

Automation isn’t an all-or-nothing endeavor — you don’t have to automate every single task and, honestly, you shouldn’t. Over-automation can come across as disingenuous, even spammy. So, how do you decide which tasks to automate?

Start by tracking your time for a week to see where you spend the most time. Some tasks, like client work, obviously can’t be automated. But you might be surprised to find that many business tasks can easily be automated.

Automate tasks that:

  • Must be completed regularly
  • Don’t require complex decision-making
  • You don’t like doing
  • Take up a large amount of time (or combine with similar tasks to take a long time!)
  • Require data entry or other repetitive tasks

For example, automate tasks such as tracking expenses, sending invoices to clients on a monthly billing plan, sending onboarding documents or contracts, and scheduling social media posts to build up your network.

Don’t automate tasks that:

  • Require a personal touch, such as responding to a client’s questions
  • Constantly change or need to be adjusted
  • You enjoy doing and don’t take up much time

Keep in mind that the types of tasks you can automate (or should) automate can vary drastically based on the type of freelance business you have.

For example, an SEO consultant can likely automate monthly reporting, but that might not help a graphic designer. Most of the cover will focus on operational tasks — but remember there might be other tasks you can automate based on your industry.

Here are a few freelance business tasks you should consider automating:

  • Social Media Marketing: including posts on social media, following industry trends, and tracking analytics.
  • Email Marketing: Schedule drip email campaigns to nurture leads, send onboarding information, and follow up with leads that have gone cold.
  • Expense Tracking: Connect with your bank account to keep track of expenses throughout the year, so tax time is a breeze.
  • Billing: Use a time tracking tool to track how much time you spend on a project, assign it to a client, add reimbursable expenses, and even send late payment reminders.
  • Scheduling: Use an automatic meeting scheduling tool so clients can easily book a meeting when you are available.

5 Freelance Automation Tools to Try

Now that we’ve covered what types of tasks you should automate, let’s look at how to actually make that happen. Don’t worry, you won’t have to do any coding yourself.

The automation field has exploded in recent years, and experts expect it to be worth more than 83 billion dollars in 2021.

Which means there are hundreds of tools you can use to automate tasks — but which ones should you use? Here are five tools you can use to automate and grow your business.

MailChimp

MailChimp is an integrated email marketing tool you can use to send emails, manage marketing flows, and much more. Originally just an email marketing tool, it can now help you manage all of your clients, build ads, and more.

Freelancers can use MailChimp to:

  • Automate email marketing campaigns

  • Build social media ads and manage your audience

  • Create and launch landing pages

  • Track clients with a CRM

Pricing: Starts at $14.99 per month.

Buffer

Buffer is a social media marketing automation tool. You can use it to schedule out social media posts, track customer engagement, and track your social media efforts. If you are struggling to build a network or stay engaged on social media, Buffer will be your new best friend.

Here are a few tasks you can automate using Buffer:

  • Schedule social media posts across multiple platforms

  • Collaborate with clients or even a virtual assistant to approve and publish social posts

  • Track analytics and reports to see how your social efforts are paying off

  • Automatically add comments and hashtags to social posts to drive engagement

Pricing: Free for up to three accounts and limited features; paid plans start at $15 a month.

Clarrow

Clarrow is a freelance business management tool that can help automate tasks related to expense tracking, billing, and time management. If managing your business is a hassle, Clarrow can help you save time and look more professional.

Use Clarrow to:

  • Automatically track expenses using AI to find and track business spending

  • Track your time and automatically add it to invoices

  • Build and send proposals, contracts, and invoices

  • Track client information, including contact info, invoices, and expenses

Pricing: Free for up to three clients, paid plans start at $9 per month.

Calendly

Tired of the back and forth emails to schedule a meeting? Calendly might be the solution you’ve been looking for. It allows you to create specific types of meetings, ask questions, and set available hours. It also integrates with tons of freelancer tools you may already use, including Chrome, Salesforce, Zoom, and Stripe.

Use Calendly to:

  • Avoid back and forth emails to schedule a meeting (including asking time zones!)

  • Automatically ask new clients for information about their project

  • Allow clients to book and pay at the same time

Pricing: Free for one user, paid plans start at $8 per month.

IFTTT

IFTTT is a powerhouse for freelance automation. Unlike the other freelance automation tools on this list, IFTTT doesn’t just cover one type of task — it lets you connect multiple programs and automate just about anything.

It uses applets to create “if this, then that” programs that allow you to automate marketing, research, and much more. The applets work as triggers so when one condition is met, the applet completes a task. And, since you can create your own applets, there is no limit to the ways you can use the tool.

For example, you can use IFTTT to automatically post to social media when you publish a new blog post, automatically share a new video to Facebook, or send Tweets on a specific topic to a Google Sheet.

Here’s just a few ways you can use IFTTT to automate your freelance business:

  • Sync your Alexa to-do list with your reminders

  • Get an email when you miss a phone call

  • Get a morning reminder of all meetings for the day (or just your first one)

  • Import your Outlook Calendar to Google Cal

  • Save new photos you post on Instagram to Dropbox

  • Schedule emails in Gmail

  • Automatically log new Airtable records in a Google Sheet

  • Post daily reminders in Slack

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg — check out IFTT’s Explore page and search for tools you use to find other applets you can use for automation.

Pricing: Free to turn on unlimited applets and create up to three custom applets. Paid plans (which you only need if you want to create your own applets!) start at $3.99 a month.

Use freelance automation to grow your business

Running a business is hard; but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Track your tasks for a week or two and see where you spend the most time. Then look for ways to automate those tasks.

Just make sure you don’t over automate — it can come across as impersonal rather than professional. Focus on tasks that don’t require a personal touch and test your automations regularly to make sure they are working properly.

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Millo Articles by Steven Marin

Clarrow is a business management app for freelancers. Generate polished proposals and contracts, quickly send invoices, and track your time and expenses. Sign up for a free Clarrow account.    
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How to Earn a Six-Figure Income as an Online Tutor in 2021

Online tutoring is an amazing way to earn money from your expertise, knowledge and skills — and everyone’s an expert in something, right?

What was unthinkable a couple of decades ago—tutoring someone without ever meeting face-to-face—is now a multimillion-dollar business. With live online tutoring, what you get is a direct interaction between the tutor and the student in an online environment regardless of being in remote locations.

There are a number of online tutoring opportunities, from teaching English to helping students with their homework, all from the comfort of your home.

The possibilities are endless. You can make a living out of becoming an expert on a broad range of topics and areas — from traditional academic subjects, like science and humanities, to more specialized areas, such as social media marketing or resume writing.

A Flexible Way to Make Money Online

With a work-home setup, you also have the flexibility to spend 15 minutes teaching a lesson, a couple of minutes answering queries online, or just working one-on-one with your student in a live video session.

You can easily pick your most preferred timings and the days you want to work, so you can have more time for your family and kids. Some can even juggle online tutoring sessions with their full time job.

Here are some of the many reasons online tutoring jobs are so attractive:

  • You can work from home, all day, all week.
  • You don’t have to stick to a set schedule every week.
  • You have the option to be mobile, travel more or even full-time.

The trick is to obviously learn the ways to earn money from home as an online tutor, which can be very rewarding because not only are you helping people learn new things, it’s simply the best feeling in the world.

What Does Online Tutoring Entail?

As an online tutor, you help students learn by answering their questions or simply follow a set learning path to help them enable a particular skill set.

As a general rule, most online tutoring platforms allow the ability to answer queries using a built in chat feature, which lets tutors and students communicate easily and quickly. This allows tutors to have flexibility regarding the amount of work they want to take on and choose their own hours.

No special training or qualifications are required. However, as part of the application process, tutors are asked to complete short questions on the subjects of their choosing to assess their knowledge and recognize their specialties and skills. New tutors who show promise in their application receive subject badges that indicate their expertise in the subject, which helps them get selected to answer questions, thus earning money quickly after signing up.

How Can You Start Your Online Tutoring Career?

With an ever-increasing number of students, you have more and more opportunities to find work with as much or less commitment as you want. If a flexible schedule, the ability to work from anywhere (so long as you have internet access), and make up to 6 figures per year by helping others with the knowledge and skills you already have sounds good to you, Studypool is a great place to start.

Your knowledge has value. Knowledge and the ability to help others do not always come from job experience. That’s why regardless of whether you are an accomplished freelancer or have no previous online tutoring experience, you can earn a decent income sharing your expertise and skills.

Your knowledge has value. Knowledge and the ability to help others do not always come from job experience. That’s why regardless of whether you are an accomplished freelancer or have no previous online tutoring experience, you can earn a decent income sharing your expertise and skills.

How Can Studypool Help Freelancers Make Money?

Studypool is an online education platform that helps students all over the world with their studies. Featured by Forbes, Nasdaq, and Dave Ramsey as one of the best online tutoring services, Studypool is a great way to make up to 6 figures working from home. With well over 10 million students and 50k tutors, Studypool is a great place to supplement an existing job or even utilize it as a full-time occupation.

With top ratings — 4.1 out of 5 on Glassdoor and 4 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot, users have continuously praised the site for their support from the Studypool staff, consistent tutoring opportunities, good compensation model, and the amazing support by the Studypool team.

Who Can Apply?

Studypool welcomes tutors from all around the world, making it a great option to work remotely. The seasonal surges mirror the school calendar, and with questions being posted 365 days a year at all times throughout the day, the opportunities are endless. All tutors work as Independent Contractors allowing complete control over their workload and making them in charge of their own earning potential.

How Much Can You Earn as an Online Tutor?

The pay rate depends on the student and the tutor. The student will post a recommended budget, and the tutor submits a bid with whatever budget they are willing to answer the question for. Your earnings will depend on how active you are on the platform and the number of questions you answer. Nonetheless, the most successful tutors on the platform can earn up to 6 figures per year, or around USD $7,500/month.

How do Tutors Find Students to Work With?

Studypool promotes the tutor’s profile and recommends top performing tutors to students, allowing them to focus on the quality of their work instead of self-promotion. Tutors are regularly reviewed, with good performances being rewarded with more subject badges and other perks. Tutors are encouraged to build solid relationships with their students since most students who have a good experience working with a tutor return asking more questions. This is beneficial for the tutor since repeat customers secure strong earnings.

How do you get started?

Click here to apply to become a Studypool tutor. We look forward to hearing your success stories soon!

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How To Grow Your Design Business with SEO

Design is an industry particularly well-suited to freelancing. The discipline encompasses many niches — from graphic design to illustration, UX/UI to architecture — and the work can typically be done from anywhere, especially since the pandemic accelerated remote-work practices worldwide.

For independent designers — particularly recent design graduates looking to establish their career as freelancers — getting clients is the most important and monumental first task. Read on for essential tips and tricks you can use as a designer to get more clients.

All Designers Need a Website

If you are serious about getting clients as a freelance designer, you simply have to have your own website with an engaging portfolio and strong SEO practices.

Yes, social media networks like Dribble, Behance, and Instagram are important for marketing your design skills to potential clients, but those networks alone are not enough to establish you as a credible design professional.

Instead of hosting your graphic design, UX/UI design, or illustration portfolio on someone else’s platform, claim your own piece of online real estate. With your own site, you have complete control to optimize your SEO and attract new clients to your freelance design practice.

The .com Days are Over

Your domain name is the first thing that every prospective client sees. In the Web 1.0 past, having a .com domain name was the only option if you wanted to be taken seriously.

Fast forward to today, and .com is so oversaturated, it’s no longer cool or interesting. Plus, it’s almost impossible to find a short, memorable, and meaningful .com domain name without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars in reseller markets.

Register a Free .design Domain Name for your Portfolio

The best option for designers today is to register a .design domain name. It works just like any other top-level domain, but it directly reflects what you do as a designer.

The .design top-level domain has quickly become an authoritative domain for the design industry. In addition to the thousands of freelance designers and design agencies using .design domain names, major brands like Spotify, Amazon, Slack, Adobe, Dropbox, Indeed, and Mozilla are using them for content marketing, recruiting, and for distributing design resources.

Build Your Brand on .design

When you build your brand and online presence around a .design domain name, your future customers will instantly understand what you do, even before arriving at your website.

Instead of settling for a long and clunky domain name like JaneSmithTheGraphicDesigner.com, opt for a simple, intuitive, and brandable alternative: JaneSmith.design. Short, memorable, and far easier to type, a .design domain looks innovative and unique on business cards, resumes, and even as your email address.

From an SEO perspective, a .design domain name is ideal because it includes the primary “design” keyword. With the “design” keyword built into the fundamental fabric of your website, you can focus your SEO strategies on more sophisticated techniques.

Register a .design Domain for Free

Millo.co readers have the opportunity to register their .design domain name for FREE at Porkbun.com.

Porkbun is offering a bundle of services with everything you need to launch your professional website. In addition to your free .design domain name, you also get free WHOIS Privacy, free SSL Certificates, a free hosting trial, and a free email trial.

If you choose to build your website with content management platforms like WIX or Squarespace, you can easily connect your .design domain to your preferred service for free. Porkbun also offers completely free WordPress and Static Hosting options.

Questions about how to get started? With your .design domain comes full access to Porkbun’s free, top-rated support team.

Click here to redeem your free .design domain name offer and reserve your perfect name today.

Web Design Brings Clients to You

Now that you have registered your domain, it’s time to build your site! As you build, set yourself up for success by employing to web design best practices.

Your navigation, titles, meta descriptions, and even the URLs themselves are important clues for readers and bots alike. If these crucial elements are logical and organized, then your content will gain traction.

Mobile First

As a designer, you’re more likely than most to work on a large, high-resolution monitor. But remember that most of the world accesses the internet through a myriad of different mobile devices.

To make sure that your website is accessible and legible to as many people as possible, you need to optimize for mobile. Responsive mobile versions of sites are so important that they get indexed too! Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool is a great resource to ensure that your site is just as effective on an iPhone, Android, or iPad as it is on your big fancy monitor.

With mobile-first design, loading speed is an important concern. While designers are acutely aware of image quality, and would probably prefer big, beautiful, high-resolution image files, the hard truth is that your search ranking will get dinged if your site takes too long to load. Make sure that your images are sized and scaled appropriately.

Intuitive Navigation

Your .design website should be intuitive and easy to navigate. Ideally, it should take three clicks or less to get from any page of your site to any other page. If you have to click through too many pages to access important content, then you probably need to restructure your website to make it more accessible. (Keep it simple!)

Every URL in your website should be short and meaningful. Use real words, not random numbers. Use a dash (-) to separate individual words — this improves legibility.

Homepage Does Heavy Lifting

A huge amount of your site traffic — about 40% — will go straight to your homepage. It’s the portal that welcomes everyone to your digital doorstep, so you want it to shine!

With so much traffic coming though your homepage, it’s important to continuously update the content there. Whether with new images, offers, or client reviews, fresh content on the homepage is always a good investment of your time.

SEO With Content Marketing

Once you’ve registered your .design domain name and developed the foundation for your website, it’s time to add content!

Show Off Your Digital Portfolio

Your first priority should be your portfolio.

If you’re just starting out in the design industry, you might not have much actual client work to show. Don’t let this stop you from showcasing your talents right now. Designed a logo for a friend? Working on a personal passion project? Feature those too! Use whatever you have to get started, and continuously update your portfolio as you complete more work.

You can also strengthen your design skills and generate portfolio content by working on mock creative briefs. Put yourself in a clients’ shoes, imagine your dream project, and turn it into reality.

If you need some inspiration to help you generate projects relevant to your design niche, check out the Goodbrief creative brief generator featured on Rooki.design. You can narrow the type of work with categories like logo design, brand identity, website building, packaging, illustration, and more. And you can choose industries like fashion, retal, food, travel, and several others.

Create Targeted Blog Posts

So you’ve got your portfolio online. Everyone who visits will see how talented you are. Now… how do you get those visitors to click on your site?

Blog posts are a great way to bring traffic to your site. Keeping your site frequently updated helps you rank higher in search results, and demonstrating your familiarity with new developments in your industry will build your brand and your authority as a designer.

To find inspiration for your blog posts, put yourself in your prospective clients’ shoes once again. What problems are they facing? How do your skills help solve them?

If you structure your blog posts around a problem that people need help solving, you’ll have better SEO results. For example, a search query like “How to make product packaging stand out” will have less competition than an extremely broad query like “packaging design.”

Think in terms of conversational phrases that someone would actually use, and write in a way that addresses those questions and answers them. This strategy means you’re really thinking about your future clients’ intent, rather than just focusing on keywords. The content you create will be all the better for it.

Optimize SEO on Every Page

Whether it’s a blog post or a portfolio piece, every page on your website needs effective SEO.

Be sure to include meta descriptions for every page. Keep the description short and conversational. Use keywords organically — don’t overstuff your description with keyword spam.

Formatting text doesn’t just make it look pretty and easier to read — it also helps Google’s crawlers understand the relevance of your content.

The H1 tag is your top-level header. It should be used only once per page, and should include your major keywords.

The H2 and H3 tags are subheaders that should include your more targeted and specific keywords. They should help both bots and readers follow the flow of your content and understand it more quickly.

You should also always use ALT tags on images. These are specifically intended to help make the internet accessible for people with visual impairments, but search engines also use them to help index the site. That means they offer two benefits in one!

Remember The Call-To-Action

“Always be closing.” On every page, make sure you include a call-to-action.

Your call-to-action should reiterate your services and encourage your site visitors to make contact with you. Offer a quote, a consultation, more information, or anything else of value that will entice your prospective customer to become an actual customer.

Make sure it’s easy for people to contact you: include an email form to capture email addresses and phone numbers so that you can follow up with them. The less work for your visitors, the better.

Promote Your Content

Once you’ve populated your site with beautifully composed and search-optimized content, you shouldn’t just sit back and wait for clients to find it organically. Get out there and promote your content to enhance your chances of being noticed!

Backlinks are Key

Getting backlinks to your own .design site is an important facet of any SEO strategy. If other important sites are linking to your site, your ranking will rise.

A great way to get backlinks is to contribute guest blog posts to websites that already have a solid following in your niche of the design industry. Don’t repeat or reuse any content you’ve posted elsewhere. Start by reaching out to smaller, more niche blogs and build up from there.

As more websites — especially those with authoritative Google rankings — link to you, your site will rank higher in search results.

Be Social

All around the internet, there are forums, social media groups, Slack channels, and other interactive communities related to design. Find them, join them, and engage authentically. Even if you’re networking with other designers, you’ll still get valuable feedback on your work.

Use Google Search Console

Google Search Console is the official way for you to communicate with Google about the intent and objectives of your site. It provides a wealth of tools and information you can use to optimize your website.

Search Console lets you see how much traffic your site is getting and which keyword queries are performing best for you. You can also submit a sitemap so that Google is sure to index the most current version of your site.

Search Console even includes educational videos and documentation so can continuously build your SEO expertise.

Don’t Cheat

There is one all-important rule in SEO: thou shalt not attempt to outsmart Google! If you try to game the system or attain an unfair advantage, your search ranking will be punished accordingly.

In the past, unscrupulous marketers would overuse keywords or pack in an extremely high density of keywords, aka “stuffing”. Those spammy tricks won’t work anymore. If you try to pack in too many keywords, Google will deprioritize your site in search results.

While optimization is a crucial strategy for gaining web traffic and winning clients, remember that Google’s algorithms are designed to elevate content that is written for people. Don’t try to write for machines.

Instead, your content should come from a place of authenticity, which means that keywords should appear where they actually make sense contextually. For best results, ensure that your content is genuinely relevant and helpful to your industry.

Google’s success depends on their ability to separate good content from bad, and they’re really good at it! So seriously, don’t try to cheat your way to the top of Google’s search results: it’s a guaranteed way to tank your search ranking.

If You SEO It, They Will Come

It may take some time for these strategies to pay off, but be patient. The longer you consistently produce search-optimized content online, the more you will reap the rewards of increased engagement and growing business!

Be sure to take that first simple step and redeem your free .design domain from Porkbun.com. You’ll be well on your way to establishing your brand as a freelance designer and building your client rolodex.

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Millo Articles by David Gold

David is a Marketing Content Specialist at Top Level Design, the registry for .design, .gay, .wiki, and .ink. David is passionate about developing creative strategies for making the internet a more expressive and inclusive space.
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Invoice Home Review: Still Good for Freelancers?

Invoice Home is a freelance invoice tool that helps you create invoices using over 100 templates and get paid as a freelancer.

Today, I’d like to offer an in-depth Invoice Home review. I’ll explore the overall ease-of-use, design, UX, functionality, and product offering.

Most importantly, I’ll answer: should freelancers be using Invoice Home to send invoices? Or should they choose something else like Freshbooks, Bonsai, or Honeybook?

First impression of Invoice Home

To give Invoice Home the most fair assessment possible, I didn’t read any articles or reviews before logging on, signing up and giving it a try myself.

At first blush, Invoice Home is a simple, easy-to-use free invoice generator. 

It’s basic (in a good way) but also offers a few advanced features. I like how, after signing in, I wasn’t taken to some elaborate onboarding sequence like I have been with invoice tools, but instead I was taken directly to the “create an invoice” screen.

All filled out (which only took me about 60 seconds) it looked something like this:

Invoice Home

Of course, you might be guessing what my primary complaint is about Invoice Home at this point:

Its design is terribly outdated. When you compare it with some of the most popular freelancer invoicing apps, it feels less slick and more like something designed a decade or more ago.

Still, the design itself isn’t necessarily hard to use and its simplicity makes for quick invoice generating. 

So if you can get over the older UX style, it’s a good free invoice generator option.

Overall functionality of Invoice Home

Once I created my first invoice, I started to tinker a bit more with the overall functionality of Invoice Home.

Generally, it’s quite simple to understand and there were no real hiccups along the way.

After populating my invoice details, I was able to pick a template (see below). This was a unique and refreshing option I hadn’t seen in many other invoice generators so I appreciated the extra effort there.

Invoice Templates

Just for fun, here’s the design I ultimately landed on (I also must have been hungry when writing up this invoice):

Invoice Design

It was also extremely easy to download the invoice as a PDF directly from the preview page. 

Alternately, there’s an option to send via email right from the app itself. I also appreciated the fact that I could attach additional files to the email (something not many other invoice generators offer) before sending.

Where Invoice Home shines

As far as functionality goes, it offers the most critical pieces any freelancer may need including:

Document templates

Multiple templates like invoice, proposal, estimate, purchase order, receipt, etc. make it easy for you to store all of your client-facing business documents in one place.

Saving previous list items

The ability to save previous items is helpful for faster invoice generation. For example, if you’re always charging a client the same cost for an article once a week, just select the saved item for your list and send the invoice. It’s super quick.

Availability on any device

The fact that there’s both an Android and iPhone app for Invoice Home means you can access Invoice Home on any device with the same functionality. Extremely helpful for a freelancer who’s on-the-go all the time.

Helpful Reports

Finally, the reports tab has some definite potential for tracking how much you’ve billed and how much revenue you still have outstanding—important metrics to run your freelance business by.

Where Invoice Home can improve

I’d be dishonest if I didn’t address a few of its shortcomings in terms of functionality, though:

Limited functionality

From what I can see, Invoice Home doesn’t do much that PayPal, for example, won’t do. But, on the upside it’s free and doesn’t take a fee when an invoice is processed (up to $1,000 in invoices) like PayPal does.

Outdated design

I don’t need to kick a dead horse here, but if design and aesthetic are important to you, this is going to be a critical point for you. Yes, it works well. But it doesn’t necessarily look good getting the job done.

“Tabbing” all mixed up

If you’re more of a “tabber” than a “clicker” like I am (meaning you press the tab button to get to the next field on a computer instead of using your mouse) you might find it a bit frustrating since you can’t just tab to the next field when filling out your invoice. 

Difficult to find more advanced fields

Lastly, I had a harder time finding a few key ingredients I recommend when learning how to create an invoice such as an option for payment terms (net 30, etc.) The features are there, but I think they could be a bit more obvious.

Final thoughts on Invoice Home

Here’s the short of it: if you’re looking for an easy-to-use free invoice generator, then you should try Invoice Home. You’ve really got nothing to lose. 

This is especially true if you’re early in your business and just getting started with clients.

But if you’re in need of a more advanced tool, with more robust features and an exceptional UX design, you may want to consider another option.

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Millo Articles by Preston Lee

Preston Lee is the founder of Millo where he and his team have been helping freelancers thrive for over a decade. His advice has been featured by Entrepreneur, Inc, Forbes, Adobe, and many more. Connect with Preston on Twitter.
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How to Grow Your Freelance Business With Influencer Marketing

The term “influencer” has become very popular in the last few years. In a matter of years, it has evolved from a hobby and internet trend, to be considered a highly-rewarding career path.

If you had told your parents that you were dropping out of college to work as an “influencer” ten years ago, they would have thought you were crazy. Today, however, leveraging influencers is one of the most common marketing strategies at companies of all sizes and in all industries.

So in 2021, it’s actually not rare to hear parents encouraging their kids to start a YouTube channel or to aspire to become internet-famous.

The reason is that the benefits of influencer work can go from getting free products and publicity to actually earning millions of dollars per year.

Since these synergies generate amazing returns on the investment for the brands and the influencers, there aren’t any signs of this industry stopping its growth. Projections foresee that the influencer marketing industry will be worth more than $15billion by 2022.

With that in mind, have you ever considered leveraging your influence to grow your freelance business?

In this article we will show you three ways you can benefit from working as an influencer while you keep growing your freelance business.

1. Side hustle and make extra cash

You don’t need a degree or specific niche to become an influencer. You can basically monetize your knowledge and audience in any niche and with any skill set if you take the right steps. In addition, you can do this work on the side, without committing to it full-time or neglecting your freelance business.

Sounds nice, right? But how do you get started?

You need to convince businesses or brands to pay you for influence and reach.
Our advice would be to start by creating some social reviews or give some shoutouts to supplement your income.

Companies will pay you based on the benefit they will get from your review or shoutout.
You don’t need 100k followers to be considered for a gig like this.

There are opportunities for people with audiences of all sizes and skills/interests of any kinds – as the stage, background, and budget of companies looking to make a match with an influencer is also very diverse.

Who knows? You may end up loving it.

So, next time you lose a client, pause a contract, or finish a project, you could consider scheduling some influencer collaborations to keep the cash flowing.

2. A consistent source of leads

Building your online presence, expanding your reach, and growing an audience come with a highly valuable benefit: you will have leads knocking at your door consistently.
It’s simple, if you become a voice or authority in the podcasting niche, people will come to you for help with their podcasts.

If you start making noise with your web design tips, I am pretty sure that more than one person will be interested in your expertise or will buy a course or training from you.

It’s so simple that it sounds silly, but if you ponder it for a second you will realize there’s no downside to this.

Becoming an influencer comes with some nice perks, including the ability to monetize your business on many verticals. You will get paid for your influencer work at the same time that your freelance work is appreciated and gets more recognition. Once you grow your online reputation, you can also increase the profitability of your influencer collaborations, freelance rates, sell your expertise through info-products, and more.

3. Test new industries and concepts

Generally speaking, influencer work is not as immersive as freelance work. The jobs are quick and diverse. You can enrich your portfolio and network by getting involved in influencer projects or signing up with an influencer agency (that connects brands with micro-influencers) that go outside of your current sphere.

Getting out of your everyday routine and comfort zone can help you experience and understand industries or niches unknown to you, without having to spend as much and resources as when you take on a new freelance project.

Many individuals have pivoted or transitioned their business into new horizons after experimenting with temporary influencer gigs. Participating in influencer work will expand your mindset and it can help you distract from the stress and pace of your current freelance activities.

As you can see, influencer marketing work comes with huge upsides. So, start knocking on doors, you may be surprised by the amount of businesses that are looking to partner with the right person to promote their products.

If you want to speed up your way and get help from the pros, you should consider joining the influencer marketplace at Intellifluence. Start getting free products or cash for your reviews and monetize your influence.

It’s easy: create your FREE account here and get immediate access to a robust influencer marketplace. Browse curated offers from brands and apply to campaigns based on your interests. Brands can also send you pitches if they feel you are a good fit for their campaign. Go ahead and try it out and let us know what you think!

Thanks to Intellifluence for supporting the work we’re doing at Millo.

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Millo Articles by Millo Team

Millo has been serving founders & freelancers since 2009. Our team of expert contributors consists of designers, agency-builders, writers, entrepreneurs, consultants and more. Dive into our best content on our start here page.
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The Power of Please: How Etiquette in an Online World Goes a Long Way

Communication is one of the most powerful tools at a person’s disposal. We’ve developed complex communication methods that reached far beyond our ancestors’ basic vocabulary. Communication is now the cornerstone of a successful relationship – personal or business. 

With the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic, employees found themselves working from home, rather than in an office setting. This meant less oversight for many workers who were used to in-person management. This responsibility to maintain productivity, etiquette, and professionalism, was instantly on stay-at-home workers. But what does etiquette in an online world mean? How does it change the way we communicate in professional environments?

Many businesses still haven’t opened their doors for in-person operations, and even after they do, maintaining a sense of etiquette on and offline is good for everyone. 

Productivity And Etiquette

The convenience and flexibility of online meetings and digital communication has made our work lives that much easier, especially when so many of us are working from home. It’s difficult to imagine a world without such tools. Now, with email, video conferencing tools, and project management software, your living room can feel just like the office.

Working from home can be incredibly productive (and some studies even suggest that it’s more productive than an office setting). However, formalities like etiquette can be easy to leave by the wayside when you’re working in the comfort of your home.

While digital conferences will never quite capture the feel of an in-person meeting, we’re still responsible for following certain rules during these online meetings. The basics of etiquette apply, but online meetings also have their own “netiquette” rules to follow.

Rules of Online Etiquette

Here are some rules of “netiquette” to remember when you’re online.

  1. Answer emails as promptly as you can, or, in lieu of a direct response, provide some kind of acknowledgment that you’ve received the email and will respond later. This helps prevent miscommunications and lets your recipient know that you’re addressing the task or problem promptly.
  2. Never say anything online you wouldn’t want your boss, relative or close friend to see. Nothing that happens online can ever be fully erased.
  3. Use slang as little as possible, especially in professional environments.
  4. Wait your turn. Where possible, wait until your fellow attendees have finished speaking before chiming in.
  5. Share with discretion. Not everything that’s shared with you is meant for the entire internet.
  6. Keep your online information up-to-date.
  7. Use a file sharing service for large files; emailed files can be marked as spam and never get to the intended recipient.
  8. If it can be said in an email, send it in an email. Conference calls should be reserved for discussions that are not easily handled in email.
  9. Respect other peoples’ privacy as well as your own privacy. Be careful with sensitive information.
  10. Always prepare for meetings by creating a meeting agenda. Have everything you need for the meeting before joining. Trying to locate materials, emails, or other information during a meeting is distracting.
  11. Make protecting sensitive information a priority for conference calls. This means using password-protected calls, a waiting room, and other tools to keep unwanted callers out.
  12. As a participant, use the ‘mute’ button on conference calls judiciously. You don’t want to add extra noise to the meeting. But be careful to not to hide behind Mute and stop paying attention.

How Etiquette Increases Your Professionalism

Professionalism is the art of maintaining a mature and respectful attitude toward other professionals and colleagues. This means, in many cases, being well-groomed, well-dressed, and, of course, utilizing etiquette as a means of respectful communication. 

When you take part in conference calls, messages, or emails at work or while working from home, you should focus on etiquette to stand out among your competition and show respect to your colleagues. The professional who maintains etiquette even in the face of adversity in the workplace is a highly respectable worker and someone that the rest of the workforce can look up to.

Showing good etiquette in an online environment can help keep the meetings moving and ensure that all goals are being met. We’ve all been in a conference call with someone who was rude or disruptive; it’s hardly conducive to a productive environment. It can set a bad example for other people or even mean the difference between solidifying a deal with a new client or scaring them off for good. 

Remember the rules of good netiquette when you join a meeting. Even if you’re joining from home, you should have a clean, productive environment free of distractions for yourself or other callers. It’s always a good idea to dress the part, as well. You may not be at the office, but you’re still “at work” in a sense, and closing a deal with a client in your pajamas is hardly respectful or professional. 

How Better “Netiquette” Can Make A Difference

Etiquette is a crucial component of good communication and a sign of basic respect in the workplace. When we communicate well and show respect, we solve problems quicker and connect more with those around us. You can practice things like better conference call habits, answering emails, or any of the other netiquette rules we discussed in the previous sections. By elevating your online netiquette, you can ensure your next online meeting runs smoothly and remains productive for everyone involved.

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Millo Articles by Jamie Davidson

Jamie Davidson is the Marketing Communications Manager for Vast Conference, a meeting solution providing HD-audio, video conferencing with screen sharing, and a mobile app to easily and reliably get work done.
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How to Build a Financial Runway & Scale Your Freelance Business

The longer I build Millo as a place to help freelancers (I’ve been at it for 10+ years, btw), the more I realize we freelancers can benefit a lot from studying the startup world.

Of course, you know I condemn the ridiculous work hours, lack of work-life-balance and unhealthy “hustle culture” many startups embrace.

But there is definitely one thing startups have figured out and we freelancers still struggle with:

Financial runway.

Many of us freelancers live in a feast-famine cycle, never 100% sure we’ll make as much money next month as we did this month.

So while startups are out there hiring faster than anyone else, freelancers take the polar opposite approach and almost never hire someone.

And so, our businesses never grow.

And we get stuck doing everything.

Having a financial runway fixes that problem

But if you have a financial runway, even a small bit of runway, that problem essentially goes away—if you’re smart about it.

“What is a runway?” you might be asking.

It’s essentially a cushion of money in the bank that you can spend in order to make more money.

For example, if you knew you could bill a client $1,000 for something that you can hire a contractor for $500 for, all you’d need is a way to make that initial $500 payment.

Ask any startup you want: if they could spend $500 and make $1,000, they’d do it.

All… day… long.

Here’s how you can improve your cash flow

Here’s a helpful hack I recently stumbled on for creating your own 45-day financial runway.

First, before spending any money, you have to go out and book a client for work you know you can hire a sub-contracted freelancer to do.

For example, you might go out and sell a blog post for $600, knowing you can sub-contract it for $350.

Once you’ve got that set up, use a service like Melio Payments to pay using a credit card.

That little trick will let you take advantage of up to 45 days of “float” until your next credit card billing cycle.

They call it float… I call it runway.

And it’s a game changer.

Now, you pay your contractor $350, deliver the final project, and collect $600 from your client for a nice profit of $250 (or 42% profit for no billable work hours on your part).

Why go with Melio Payments?

I recently discovered this small (totally legal) loophole as I began to explore Melio payments (they’re sponsoring this blog post too).

As I looked a bit deeper into it, I realized Melio is the perfect payment platform for freelancers who are looking to scale.

So…

If you’re good just doing everything yourself (I’m talking, sales, billing, marketing, invoicing AND all the billable work too like writing, designing, coding, or whatever you do), then this method probably doesn’t mean much to you.

But if you’re ready to scale up your business by hiring some help (like the guests we coach on our podcast), then this automatic 45-day cushion is a really big deal.

Not only do they have this nice 45-day cushion from which you can build a nice beginner-level runway, but they also offer:

They make it easy to pay anyone, anywhere

Here’s a really cool feature of Melio Payments. If your vendors or sub-contractors prefer a check-in-the-mail but you prefer to pay with a credit card, Melio will convert your card payment into a bank transfer or a paper check mailed right to the person you’re paying.

They make it easy to accept client payments (for free)

If you’re tired of paying a service fee to accept payments online from your clients, Melio can help. Instead of waiting a week or more for checks, receive payments directly to your bank account in just 1-3 business days without any fees whatsoever.

Sync your payments with Quickbooks

If you work with an accounting app like Quickbooks, your payments and other critical info will sync directly with your QB account so you can see everything in one place.

More ideas of where to spend your financial runway

And you don’t have to use Melio’s 45-day float period just to pay sub-contractors (although, I think you totally should).

You can also pay other vendors or businesses you work with on a regular basis. For example, if you’re a designer and need to purchase stock photos or vector files to complete your next project, pay with Melio and you won’t have to foot the full bill for up to 45 days.

Plus you’ll earn rewards with each purchase.

The idea is to spend money on things you KNOW will bring a break-even or profit-positive return in less than 45 days.

For example, you could:

Hire a salesperson

If you’re having a hard time finding new clients, try hiring a salesperson you trust to drum up some business for you. Instead of paying them on commission because you don’t have the cash to pay them upfront, take advantage of your 45-day float period.

Hire a marketing expert

Similar to hiring a salesperson, you may want to hire a marketing expert and give them the goal of paying for themselves within 30 days in order to keep their contract open with you. Then, pay with Melio and have 45 days to make your money back with new business.

Invest in software that boosts revenue

Of course, you don’t have to hire a person yet if you’re not ready. There are plenty of other ways to boost your sales—one of which is investing in software. Using Melio to pay for something like Pipedrive or Reply.io which will boost your ability to reach out to more clients and close more deals would be a no-brainer investment you should be able to recoup within less-than 45 days.

A final caution about runway

Finally, if you think your business could benefit from Melio’s up to 45-day float period in order to build a small runway, here’s what I suggest:

Make sure you have a 100% chance of making your money back and paying your bill on-time. I would never suggest you take on high-interest debt to pursue something that’s not a sure thing.

If you aren’t sure you can pay off your debt within the 45-day window, it’s not a wise decision since it’ll just land your business in further debt.

Try Melio Payments for free

If you think you could benefit from a 45-day runway like I’ve explained in this post, then you should take a look at Melio Payments.

You can use Melio for 100% Free ACH payments and receivables (that includes no sign-up fees or monthly subscription fees for you or your clients).

Or, for 2.9% fee—which is pretty standard—you can free up cash by paying with a credit card and enjoy up to a 45-day runway.

Thanks to Melio Payments for supporting the work we’re doing at Millo.

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Millo Articles by Preston Lee

Preston Lee is the founder of Millo where he and his team have been helping freelancers thrive for over a decade. His advice has been featured by Entrepreneur, Inc, Forbes, Adobe, and many more. Connect with Preston on Twitter.
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12 Essential tools to start (& grow) your freelance business

There was a time when people could only dream of having a job in which they could pick their own working hours and location.

Today, that’s a reality that millions of people are enjoying across the globe.

This is all possible because of the gig economy in which freelancers can make a living by working on different gigs/projects about website designing, blogging, video editing, etc. rather than a typical full-time job. If you want to become a freelancer yourself, then keep on reading.

How to become a freelancer

To become a freelance worker, then you need to identify your skills first.

What are you good at? Do you have experience in any kind of work? It’s a good idea to start a freelance business in something that you have an innate talent for.

For instance, if you have good written communication skills, then you can become a freelance eBook writer, copywriter, start a blog, etc. On the other hand, if you have good problem-solving skills, then you might be good as a mobile app developer, website developer, etc.

There are many reliable websites where you can create an account to get your business started. These include sites like Fiverr or similar to Upwork. However, to grow your business, you need help from tools like the following:

1. Calendar: Google Calendar

There is no dearth of calendar apps on the Internet. However, Google Calendar is easily one of the best calendar apps as chances are you have a Google account already.

Besides, the app offers many useful and interesting features that can help you in your freelance venture. For instance, it allows you to schedule meetings with details, set reminders for key events that can alert you in advance (the exact number of hours or minutes set by you), and create and share notes with others on the fly.

2. Cloud Storage: Google Drive

Cloud storage is becoming more and more common, now that everyone is realizing it’s more secure than they think, and the fact there are many free options as well.

For instance, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive are some of the most reliable and advanced cloud storage services that you can use today. However, due to sheer prevalence and popularity, Google Drive is recommended for most freelancers.

Not only is Google Drive a simple and satisfactory cloud storage solution, it also offers access to important office tools like Docs, Sheets, and Slides that allow you to create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentation slides, respectively.

The free version of Google Drivers offers up to 15GB of storage which should be enough for most freelancers. However, if you want more storage, then you can also pay for it.

3. Communication: Slack

Slack has become one of the most popular communication tools used by start-ups and even large-size businesses across the globe. This is because it offers a smoother and simpler communication system that’s more suitable for long-term projects than emails in which it’s easier to lose old threads.

Slack is also popular as a communication tool as it can be easily integrated with other tools like Trello and Google Drive.

4. Logo Design: Tailor Brands

Tailor Brands is an online logo maker that can help you create a unique and attractive logo for your freelance business. Whether you want to or not, you need to set yourself apart from other freelancers in order to grow your network and get high-paying projects.

Tailor Brands allows you to create the exact logo you want by understanding your requirements with the help of artificial intelligence technology. However, you also get access to other branding tools like business cards, business presentation slides, social media banners, etc.

Cool, isn’t it?

5. Legal Paperwork: Termsfeed

Most customers don’t bother about the terms and conditions of the websites they visit, which include e-commerce websites and service providers’ websites. However, when you are on the other end of the equation, i.e. when you are a seller, then you have to publish these terms to protect you from legal action from a disgruntled customer or some other entity.

This is where Termsfeed comes in.

Termsfeed is a nifty online tool that can generate top-notch templates for T&C, disclaimers, and EULA which you can customize for your business within minutes. This way, you don’t want to spend a lot of time with actual lawyers and pay a huge fee for their services.

6. Finance: Quickbooks

Quickbooks is one of the best freelance invoice apps in the market today. It’s also a nifty accounting tool that can connect with your bank accounts so that you can track the expenses of your business and income.

What’s more, you can also pay quarterly taxes easily rather than wait for the end of the year. Additionally, you can study detailed reports to identify cashflow leakages, and also access the services anywhere since it’s based on cloud technology.

7. Project Management: Trello

When you work on big projects and involve other freelancers, then management can get tricky. That’s why you need a proper project management tool like Trello.

It allows you to divide the various tasks of a project to different people. You can create boards and cards to make tracking projects easier and more engaging. You can even use it for personal work—it’s that good!

8. Productivity: Todoist

As a freelancer, you have to juggle different tasks at the same time. From attending meetings to reverting emails, and from doing actual work to revising previous work, there is a lot that you need to manage on a regular basis.

So, to ensure that you stay on track and deliver the projects on time, you need a productivity app like Todoist. It’s a simple to-do list app that allows you to create a list of tasks that you need to finish every day.

There are many features that make Todoist one of the best apps of its kind. For starters, you can assign priorities to different tasks so that you know which ones do you need to finish first. You can also set select tasks to repeat, assign them to different projects, and even assign them to others.

9. Proposal: Prospero

Sure, you can pick a good proposal app to generate attractive proposals on the fly. However, what if you could create proposals and get the right pricing at the same time? With Prospero, you can do just that!

With Prospero, when you create proposals it asks you questions like your rate, expected duration of the project, kind of work that you will be doing, etc. It uses this information to suggest the ideal pricing that you can provide with your proposals. This way you don’t have to deal with the guesswork of the pricing and create new proposals with ease.

10. Social Media Management: Hootsuite

Hootsuite is easily one of the most popular social media management tools on the Internet. It allows you to manage all your social media campaigns on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. in one place.

Hootsuite provides you detailed analytics of your campaigns so that you know exactly how your posts and content are performing. You can also schedule the posts in advance so that you don’t have to publish them manually every time, and boost the best-performing content from the dashboard itself. There are many other useful tools that it offers to help you take your marketing efforts to the next level.

11. Time Tracking: RescueTime

Admit it—there are moments when you lose track of time checking out your social media profiles or watching YouTube videos when you take a “break” from work. Countless freelancers fail to realize how their 10-minute breaks stretch into 1-hour long entertainment sessions.

For a serious problem like this, RescueTime app offers the perfect solution.

RescueTime is a browser extension and mobile app that tracks the time you spend on the Internet. Depending on which websites you visit and how much time you spend on them, it can tell you how productive you have been. It even provides you simple but informative charts that show the distribution of your time spent online under categories like Design & Composition, Communication & Scheduling, etc.

12. SEO Tool: Yoast SEO

If you’re a freelancer you will need a website, and to promote that website you will need to optimize it for search engines. Introducing: YoastSEO.

This one of the most downloaded WordPress plugins, and for a good reason. It helps you to implement the best SEO practices even when you don’t have an in-depth understanding of the concept. With it, you can add XML sitemaps on the fly, set canonical URLs to prevent duplicate content, create SEO-friendly copy, and adjust title and meta description templates for consistent snippets in search results.

Freelancers may get benefits like flexible work environment and choice in projects, but they do have to face many challenges too. After all, it’s not easy to manage everything—marketing, networking, accounts, services, and more—on your own. So, be sure to check out the tools above and best of luck!

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Millo Articles by Bilal Ibrar

Bilal is part of the team here at Millo. He's a Hubspot certified digital marketing consultant with years of experience working with small and medium businesses. He writes about technology, marketing and social media for aspiring entrepreneurs. You can find him on his Twitter and Website.
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25 Things to write about on your blog

In this day and age, it is easier than ever to make money online.

Probably half of your friends (at the very least) already have some kind of side hustle – an art shop on Etsy, selling collectibles on Ebay, a social media influencer account, or maybe a monetized blog. And you’re thinking – I could do that too!

The truth is: you can.

Starting a blog is simple

With today’s tools, starting a blog takes less than 25 minutes. You can even do it with no initial investment.

But making your blog great is a different matter altogether. 

The thing that sets a great blog apart from a mediocre one is content. Of course, you have to worry about marketing, engagement, backlinks, SEO, sponsorships, social media, and about a million other things. 

But trust me, you can do all of that flawlessly and still lose readers if you don’t put out great content.

Which is easy to say, right? Produce amazing content, and traffic will flock to your blog! 

Putting it together is not so easy. 

But with a little bit of thought, some organization, and some help from resources like Millo, you can totally do this. 

There are a few categories of posts that tend to work really well, and the concepts are universal regardless of what you’re writing about. Try keeping a list of these subheadings near your computer, and fill in what makes sense for your niche.

Hopefully, some of these concepts will help spark your perfect post!

You've got this

Add value for your readers

If you’re putting your writing out there, it must be because you know something about your niche. And the reason people will look at your site is because they are interested in the topic. 

So you’ve got to ask yourself: what do you know that other people don’t? It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering to be valuable. You might be surprised at what skills you totally take for granted that other people are interested in learning more about.  

The most specific skills are usually the easiest to write about. Some ideas might include:

1. A step-by-step guide to (insert your passion project here)

2. I changed my life with (your product), and so can you

3. Learn to (your expertise) in 5 minutes a day

4. There’s a right way to (your skillset) and a wrong way. Here’s the difference.

5. This one idea improved my (profession) almost instantly

Go for keywords

What content has already done well for your blog? What posts do you see other bloggers writing about? 

Come up with a short list of the most interesting articles in your field. Pick out some of the words used over and over in these posts. 

You can then use a free tool like Ubersuggest to input the keywords you think your audience is searching for, and get ideas for others to put in their place. 

This will not only give you more content ideas, but it will also get you more and better web traffic. The kinds of posts that might work here are things like:

6. What is (keyword from your field of expertise)? 

7. How to (keyword) in 10 steps or less

8. The best thing about (keyword) is…

9. Learn to (keyword) for (more specific keyword) without pulling your hair out

10. Download this FREE (Something you can offer) to improve your (keyword)

Use numbers in your headlines

See the title of this post? It got you reading, right? 

Conventional wisdom, backed by lots of evidence, shows that headlines with numbers in the title get more engagement on average than those without. So using lists is a good way to write popular posts that people will want to share. 

Use numbers in your headlines

A list doesn’t have to be click bait. Again, think about the value you can add here. 

Readers want information about your chosen topic that is easy to read and actionable or something that makes them feel like part of the club. Keep that in mind when you come up with your list.

Insider tip: the exact number you use here doesn’t seem to matter too much, but somewhere between 3 and 10 is kind of a sweet spot

Some examples of a list-based post are:

11. Ten things only (your audience) will understand (your product)

12. These 4 photos will make you rethink the way you use (your product)

13. Seven software solutions that will make your (skillset) easier

14. Look for these 5 items next time you’re shopping for (expertise)

15. Changing these 8 things will revolutionize your (product/service/skills)

Emotion and authenticity wins

The blogs that you keep coming back to are probably the ones that you really relate to. 

Being relatable is important for a blogger, and sometimes that means that you need to share more detail about yourself that you originally thought. 

Even something like ‘a recipe blog’ benefits from a personal story about how your grandmother used to make you these cookies. Business-centered blogs are always better when the author shows how he or she has actually used the knowledge they are sharing. 

Think about your life and incorporate your experiences into meaningful posts, such as:

16. Overcoming this (obstacle) was the key to my success

17. Watching the face of my (client/child/dog/coworker) finally got me moving forward on (my goal)

18. That one time I (meaningful experience) and how it changed me

19. My (family/heritage/values) influence every decision I make. Here’s why.

20. The best (vacation/self-care/career move) thing I have ever done.

Emotions and Authenticity wins

What would you want to read?

When writer’s block really strikes hard, go back to your audience. You have gathered a tribe (or are working hard to) because they care about the same things that you do. 

So put yourself in their shoes.

What would you want to read next on your blog? What ideas, tips, or motivation are you looking for in your day? 

Start writing about that. If you think of a question that you really don’t know the answer to, that probably means you have hit on something really valuable to your readers. Go out and find someone who does know the answer. 

Interview them, or ask them to write a guest post for your blog. 

The ideas that are really exciting to you will probably also be really exciting to your readers. Here are some questions to get you started: 

21. How can I make one part of my day better?

22. What are the most misunderstood things in my industry?

23. Where could I (and my readers) go to get more information about my niche?

24. Who are some rock stars of my hobby or profession I could profile?

25. Why are you doing what you’re doing? How can that help someone else make decisions?

In the end, it’s a matter of how consistent you are with your writing, how closely you follow the guidelines you set for yourself and with time (and enough practice), writing great content gets easier.


This article was developed in partnership with our friends at Wix –  Create a professional website and grow online with Wix, a world-class website building platform with millions of users worldwide. Get started today!

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Millo Articles by Kylie Burgener

Kylie Jackson Burgener is a mother of three and a freelance consultant, specializing in public relations, writing and content marketing. She is a cofounder of Measured Melodies, a leveled piano sheet music system for piano teachers and students. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her family.
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Prospecting on autopilot: the key to always having work as a freelancer

Finding new customers is how you keep consistent money flowing. But without actually doing the work and turning in the deliverables — you won’t get paid.

At times, it seems like you’re both the carny and the fair-goer trying to enjoy the ride.

Otherwise known as the “roller coaster” effect or the “feast and famine” nature of freelance work. These are concepts that have been well-documented here at Millo.

Key Point: This is a huge problem amongst the freelance community.

But what if there was a clear way to turn your roller coaster into an even-grade road? Or to create a regiment of pre-planned meals instead of either feasting or…famine?

By the title, you know the answer is prospecting. And this post should help you with all the basics.

Prospecting is another term talked about here, but sparingly.

Which is crazy to me given the potential.

So, here’s what we’ll cover in this quick post.

  1. How to determine which clients are right for you
  2. Which details you’ll need to find those exact clients
  3. How to set up an automatic and recurring outreach process

Ready? Here we go.

Quick side note: This article is written by Justin, the founder of LeadFuze – a tool for smarter, faster, and automated sales prospecting. LeadFuze helps you spend less time on prospect research and contact gathering and more time having actual sales conversations. Millo readers can get 25 free leads when they try LeadFuze.

A brief on prospecting

Prospecting is the art of finding high-quality leads.

Maybe you’ve bought a list or created one yourself before. On the list were companies that you thought could use your services.

Buying a bulk list of leads can be worrisome because the data is rarely verified. Creating a list of leads yourself takes you off the ride and back into the carny role.

Instead, you’ll want to put together a list of qualifications that your target clients have in common. Doing this will make them easier to find.

4 Attributes to target when prospecting

Let’s start up the LeadFuze app and take a look at common qualities you should be looking for in your leads.

1. Find decision-makers by role

There may be a few general decision-makers and a bunch of people who influence that decision at a given brand.

But there is likely one decision-maker specifically for what you do.

If you sell accounting services, you’ll probably want someone in operations. If you’re looking for smaller businesses, it’s likely the Owner/CEO you’re after.

How about we use an example of a Facebook Ad Expert. Probably a few of you out there, right?

Plus, it’s transferable to a host of online marketing skill sets.

Here’s a gif of LeadFuze automatically targeting both the Owner/CEO and Marketing roles of our database.

Notice how there are titles in red like “-assistant” or “-intern”. This lets the program know that you’re after the decision-maker.

Doing it manually

If you’re doing this manually, make a list of the top 2-3 roles that are likely to hold the money.

Then, go to number 2 in the article.

2. Find better targets by industry

Choosing a few specific industries can help hone your pitch and really get you more conversations.

For instance, if our Facebook expert targets health, wellness and fitness, they could send a cold email that prompts gym owners to think about taking advantage of the upcoming new year rush.

Here’s another gif (below) of the LeadFuze app targeting that particular industry.

Doing it manually

Write down a couple of “easy” industries to pitch your services. Then, make a list of the companies in that particular niche.

Once you’re finished, you can begin finding those roles you picked out in the first step.

3. Find lucrative prospects by employee size

If you’re selling a $10,000 website redesign, a company with fewer than 10 people probably won’t bite.

Likewise, if you’re selling blog posts at $100 each, you won’t be winning overfunded startups.

Since we’ve been following the Facebook ads person and chose fitness as the industry, we’ll likely want something smaller.

There are three choices in LeadFuze for employee size; Small, Mid Size and Large.

In the gif, I chose small and then reduced it further by taking off the “51-200” and “201-500” options.

Doing it manually

For this one, you could look at the company’s LinkedIn page and see how many people say they work there.

It takes time but could be worth it in the long run.

4. Narrow the list further with tech

One of the most powerful sales tools is to know where your leads are currently spending money.

You may think something like, “Oh, this company doesn’t have a blog! I’ll sell them one.”

Not likely.

It’s better to know that the target is already using something similar to what you do.

Take a look at how the LeadFuze app gives you dozens of technologies that the companies in our database use.

For our Facebook ad expert example, I chose “Advertising” and “Social Media Marketing”.

Doing it Manually

To be honest, this one is nearly impossible to do without paid tools or a pre-researched list of leads.

How to automate the entire process

Once you’ve found your ideal candidates in the form of our four qualities, you’d simply scroll down and hit the search button in LeadFuze. The app will find verified and accurate contact data to show you.

Then, you can set that particular list up to consistently gather leads for you.

If you’re a freelancer and set it up to give you 25-50 leads a day, Monday-Thursday, you’d have 100-200 new leads a week — automatically.

The number really doesn’t matter. In fact, LeadFuze is the first data company to offer unlimited leads.

But, what then?

Sure, a couple of hundred leads coming in every week sounds awesome, but you still have to email them. And find them on LinkedIn and all that jazz.

It’s still a hassle, right? Nope. Doesn’t have to be.

LeadFuze has been working diligently to provide some of the most thoughtful sales integrations in the contact data space.

Two of these integrations are Mailshake and Orca.

Mailshake offers automated cold email sending and Orca automates the process of checking LinkedIn profiles and connecting with leads.

So…once you have:

  • A few quality lead lists are being regularly built by Fuzebot
  • Some quality emails setup in a Mailshake campaign
  • Orca ready to check and add LI connections

Your entire outreach process could be on autopilot.

Monday: 25 leads go to Mailshake and send the first cold email to all of them.

Tuesday: 25 more leads go to Mailshake and the first 25 go to Orca to start the LinkedIn process.

Wednesday: You get the idea..

The best part? All you do is manage those who respond to you. No more carny, just ready to ride.

If not, you still know what to look for in your leads to reduce the headache of prospecting.

Let us know your tips for tracking your leads in the comments!

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Millo Articles by Justin McGill

Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze, B2B lead generation software that allows you to find anyone’s contact information in your target market with unlimited access. Entire lead lists built for you.
Read more from Justin.

How to rock your freelance portfolio, even if you’re a beginner

As a freelancer, there’s nothing scarier than coming across that dreaded “please send your portfolio” line, right?

Especially when you’re just starting out.

What could you show your potential customers if all you’ve got is enthusiasm?

It’s totally understandable to feel like it will take years to build up a portfolio of work you can be proud of.

So what exactly do you do in such a tricky situation where you can’t get more clients without a portfolio to share, and you can’t work on building a portfolio without any clients?

First, I suggest you relax. And then read ahead as I run you through how to rock your freelancing portfolio.


This article is brought to you by our partners at Placeit.

Placeit helps creative freelancers with thousands of hand-crafted templates, mockups, logos, videos & designs to brand and grow their business. Sign up now to access their entire library of more than 18,000 smart image and video templates.


What should I include in my portfolio?

Think about who your client is, you might have to re-arrange or even change a little your portfolio every time you send it. That one thing you know they want to see in your work should be exactly what you put first on your portfolio.

Are you a florist? Is your ideal client a bride? Wedding flowers should be the very first thing they see!

Explain your work

Shouldn’t that be, ‘show your work’?

Well, portfolios are about giving examples of your work. But that doesn’t mean you include a link or put up a screenshot of your work – that kills the point of having a portfolio.

Make sure you take the time to explain the work you did on a project – talk about the challenges you faced, how you overcame them, the type of team you worked with, etc. Give your potential clients a better idea of your work style and your way of thinking, so they can understand you better and hopefully make it easier for them to hire you.

Your portfolio should have a thread that ties everything together. If you’re a designer specialized in illustration, maybe start from there. If you’re a photographer, include some of your best shots all across. Make sure your portfolio tells a story from beginning to end that highlights your main skill.

But how about the actual contents that go in your portfolio? You should include your brand, your most recent work (with images and text), basically anything that can exemplify what you do best. So, as a beginner freelancer, you might not have so much experience under your belt. Don’t worry! Creating things specifically for your portfolio is also a good idea, go ahead and make some inspirational images in which you can show off your skills!

Why is it important to have a sharp portfolio right from the start?  

Every single customer, company or brand, will want to take a look at what you can do before they even consider hiring you. Your online presence is everything you’ve got to impress someone before they even met you.

Think hard about what you are putting out there!

Mockups are the best news

This is our best advice to freelancers who don’t have clients to build a portfolio. Simply imagine your dream clients and create a few pieces of work around that.

Using mockups and license-free images to build your portfolio there is no need for you to take pictures, hire a photographer or print anything. You can display your brand basically on everything with the help of a high-quality mockup generator.

License-free images can be useful as backgrounds, for social media images, landing pages, blog covers, anything you need to prettify your images on a fixed budget.

Here’s the thing about good graphics (and logos)

When using a professional logo and images, your business gets an instant upgrade and potential customers will begin to take you more seriously. Your logo is the most important piece of presentation you have even as a freelancer, it says that you take your work seriously just like a regular office job.

As I said before, your online presence is everything when trying to entice clients.

Final thoughts

When you create your portfolio, you will be judged even on the color you decide to use in your logo and banners!

So make sure you use the best tools and resources available on the internet. For starters, you can design a professional freelancing logo and add some really cool images to spice up your first portfolio.

Your freelance portfolio is definitely crucial to you landing more clients, there’s no doubt. But, that’s not something set in stone. A lot also depends on how you present yourself, your initial emails, negotiation skills, hobbies, past experience, your rates, and your availability.

As you can see, there are a lot of factors at play. But if you’ve got your freelance portfolio set, you’ll be stressing much less about the other factors – and hopefully a step closer to landing your dream clients!

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Millo Articles by Bilal Ibrar

Bilal is part of the team here at Millo. He's a Hubspot certified digital marketing consultant with years of experience working with small and medium businesses. He writes about technology, marketing and social media for aspiring entrepreneurs. You can find him on his Twitter and Website.
Read more from Bilal.

3 Common mistakes freelancers make on business expenses (and how to avoid them)

Ask any freelancer out there their least favorite thing about freelancing and chances are pretty high that most answers will have to do with ‘money’ in one way or another.

In the world of freelancers, money can be, ‘inconsistent’, as a friend of mine, quite bluntly put it once.

Whether it’s managing your overall expenses, tracking and supervising your budgets or having your clients pay up after completion of services – it’s no wonder freelancers are not very enthusiastic about this side of their business.


This article is brought to you by our partners at FreshBooks

97% of small-business owners recommend FreshBooks—and it’s one of the most recommended tools here in the Millo community too. Their invoicing and project management tools make YOUR freelance life much simpler.

You can try the brand-new FreshBooks completely FREE for 30 days. Thanks to FreshBooks for supporting Millo and freelancers everywhere.


As a freelancer in today’s ever-changing economy and with the competition getting tougher by the day, it’s crucial you know how to manage your money – and not make these (pretty common) money mistakes…

Mistake # 1 – Not being mindful of your taxes

Taxes can be complicated and frankly too boring – but not being on top of them is by far the most common money mistakes made by freelancers. If you do it right, you (usually) pay less when tax time arrives.

Usually what happens with new freelancers is that they don’t give enough consideration to quarterly, or simply don’t know / forget about them all together. At the end of the year, when the tax bill (bigger than expected) actually arrives – it can turn about to be quite a nerve-wrecking experience.

[Tweet “It’s always a good idea to overestimate your #taxsaving amount in the first year #moneymanagement”]

Here it’s important to note that you enjoy further success in your freelancing business – and your earnings grow – so does your tax bill.

Taxes are no fun. But setting aside extra money each month will make keep you safe from unnecessary tax bill shocks.

Mistake # 2 – Not realizing that you’ll (almost) never get paid on time

It’s not easy being a freelancer.

In our world, money just takes longer than usual to arrive. Call it unfortunate, but that’s a real-world reality. Ask any freelancer who’s freelanced long enough and he’ll describe numerous occasions where his client(s) didn’t pay on time (or worse, didn’t pay at all).

How do you deal with such situations?

First off, always remember to be polite – yet firm. Be as professional as possible when inquiring about your payment. Always make sure to put agreements in writing (or email) so to use them as leverage when faced with late payments.

[Tweet “Plan for the unexpected – Always have extra money on the side to tackle with #latepayments #freelancing”]

Have a safety net of at least 6 months (living expenses). This will get you through, in case of a late-payment emergency. Note that late payments can easily turn into ‘no-payments’ if you’re not careful. But you need to go one step further from only setting aside extra money – having a diverse income stream is also a ‘safety net’, so to speak.

Mistake # 3 – Not keeping track of your expenses regularly

It’s pretty simple. You won’t know what you can write off if you don’t keep a regular track of your expenses.

Being a freelancer doesn’t automatically mean you can forego recording your expenses – doing which, can actually benefit you in many ways. If your freelance business ‘accounting’ includes a few receipts and some notes recorded in a manual register, then it’s time to put up an efficient system in place.

[Tweet “Automating your #expensetracking gives you more time to focus on your #freelance business”]

Making your expense tracking automatic (instead of running a manual bookkeeping system) can save you both time and money. If done correctly, several sections of your expenses can be written off, thus lowering the amount you owe for your business.

This is where a freelance invoicing app like FreshBooks can do wonders. It has just about anything you could ever need for managing your freelance business—including some of the best freelance invoicing app features around – from time and expense tracking, invoicing, payments, reporting and overall project management – you name it.

(And there’s also the brand-new feature called ‘Proposals’ which helps freelancers win new jobs faster with professional-looking proposals)

FreshBooks is a lot more than just an invoicing and client billing tool; It’s everything you need to run a service-based business.

You can try FreshBooks out, for a FREE 30-day trial. The best part? You don’t even need to put in a credit card to try their service.

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Millo Articles by Bilal Ibrar

Bilal is part of the team here at Millo. He's a Hubspot certified digital marketing consultant with years of experience working with small and medium businesses. He writes about technology, marketing and social media for aspiring entrepreneurs. You can find him on his Twitter and Website.
Read more from Bilal.