See What I Do: A Freelancer’s Life - November
Why Do Freelancer Insight Blog Posts?
I love peeking into how freelancers operate their businesses. It's fascinating. It's also part of my ethos of honesty and transparency in my business. I want to show you what works and doesn't work for me, my priorities, the tools I use, and how much I get done - or don’t get done!
So, here is a month in my life as a freelance content and web designer and small business blogger - November 2016.
1. Start my new newsletter series on Social Media for Small Businesses (if you haven’t yet joined my weekly email list, you should, it’s awesome!)
2. Finish up the gorgeous new website design for Mia Ruby
3. Chase up unpaid invoices
4. Set up categories on my blog
5. Organise an awesome 4 year old’s birthday party!
What I actually did...
I wrote 3 really great 'social media for small businesses' posts
I love writing posts for my newsletter subscribers and this series on social media for small businesses has been great - though each post took several hours to write and edit. I kicked off with Facebook for business, followed by Twitter and Pinterest. They are jam-packed with tips on how to make the most of social media platforms for small businesses.
I might rework some of this material into checklists to post on my site either as newsletter opt in incentives or as part of a free "Goodies" page for subscribers. So many ideas, so little time!
Try my newsletter out for yourself! You can unsubscribe at any time.
I was invited to do paid guest blogging
It’s always nice to be asked to write for a publication rather than the other way round! So I was pretty chuffed when the editor of an Australian small business website contacted me about (paid) guest blogging on their site. It’s also a good opportunity to get some extra backlinks to my site (SEO juice) so I’m keen to send her some ideas. Watch this space.
I also registered with a new freelance company that’s just started up in Australia. It promises to cut out the middleman and pay freelancers decent money. Woohoo - if it’s true! A writer friend recommended it to me so I hopped on and registered. If it goes well, I’ll be sharing it with you!
My travel article for BBC Travel was finally published!
I wrote a sponsored travel story on Luang Prabang, Laos for BBC Travel, back in July. I’d been waiting for the client to approve the draft and then forgotten all about it (it happens!). I suddenly remembered this month and found it online. The story looks great but I haven’t been paid yet so I’ve had to start the whole invoicing process.
When you work with a massive international company like the BBC, there’s a whole payment system with purchase numbers, special invoices, accounts departments etc. Getting paid is a lengthy process and I know that it will be at least 2 months before I see money in my bank account!
While on my path of discovery, I also found 4 of the 5 articles I ghostwrote (ie. no byline) for Changi Airport, a content client that I started working with (via an agency) in July. I had already been paid for these stories when I submitted to the editor back in July-August. But it was great to finally see them online, link them to my writing portfolio and promote them on my social media.
I put the finishing touches on another awesome website
I finished up work on a new website for Mia Ruby, a gems & jewellery business in Myanmar. It was fun designing this site because the imagery is so gorgeous.
The final touches included a blog, custom CSS tweaks and the personalised video on site maintenance that I make for all my web clients.
I also gave Mia Ruby advice on setting up an online shop and Squarespace ecommerce options, plus some info on small business SEO. I got a bit caught up on the SEO because I find it quite fun so I gave her a rather comprehensive mini audit with my personal tips and strategies. And doing Mia Ruby’s SEO check gave me a really interesting idea… More on that next month!
I’ve also had several website inquiries here in Vientiane which is great to expand my local work connections.
I wrote my first awesome Squarespace blog tutorial on SEO
I’ve been wanting to do Squarespace tutorials for months but I keep running out of time. Writing tutorials is quite a different style to writing normal posts and there’s so many images and screenshots involved. I want to supplement my written tutorials with videos in future. And that reminds me that I need to start down the webinar path too!
Here it is - Squarespace: How to Optimise Your Site For SEO
I wrote another 3 posts on my Eat Drink Laos blog too, about our October trip to southern Laos. It was so beautiful and peaceful down there and I took a million photos - image posts make a nice change from the epic missives I write for the LG blog. And there was my post about a new Indian restaurant in Vientiane which of course required much research!
What I didn't do on the blog: I didn't get around to setting up a much-needed Category page for my blog. I spent an age trying to whittle down my categories and then got caught up with other stuff. It's on the agenda for December!
What I learned: Why every business should want an email list
Everything I read these days is about growing an email list, why it's important, how to do it, and the strategies and technical tips to make it successful. A few months ago, when I rebranded my website, I decided to build my own email list by writing a weekly newsletter on marketing and online biz growth for freelancers and small biz owners. So far that idea is working really well!
This month I added some email opt ins around my site and in my blog posts. I've also been promoting my newsletter around my social media networks. If you follow me on social media (particularly Twitter and Pinterest) you'll see those posts regularly.
What you need to know: Board Booster for Pinterest is a winner!
I’ve heard rave reviews about Board Booster [affiliate link] for a while now so I tried it out for myself. Honestly, the setup is a bit painful, there’s no guidance and their website interface is terrible but I figured it out! Most importantly, Board Booster does seem to be driving more traffic to my site - my engagement went up 40% in one week!
I also scheduled a bazillion posts on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn via my trusty scheduling tool, Buffer. And I reposted two of my blog posts to LinkedIn, which I try to do every two weeks.
Oh and yes, I made an amazing double rainbow cake with a waterfall, rainbow and dinosaurs for a very special 4-year old. It rocked.
What did you achieve this month?
About the author: Lilani Goonesena is an Australian freelance content writer, Squarespace web designer and blogger currently living in Vientiane, Laos. She is passionate about helping freelancers and small businesses get online with web design and content, blogging and her awesome weekly newsletter on digital marketing, social media, content, SEO, web design and "all that online stuff". She also writes food and travel articles for businesses and magazines, and blogs at the delectable Eat Drink Laos, just for fun.