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Entrepreneurship

In Entrepreneurship on
November 2, 2017

How & Why You Should Have a Contract in Your Online Business

Having a contract in your online business is essential. You and your client need to be signing a contract every time you perform services or do work for any client. Today I want to share with you why you should have one and also how you can create one.

Why

Essentially, having a contract helps avoid any issues and helps prevent you from getting screwed, put simply. We’ve all heard the horror stories. “I didn’t have a contract and my client refused to pay.” “I didn’t have it in my contract and I ended up doing hundreds of dollars of work for free.” It amazes me that in today’s day and age, people don’t have contracts that go into extreme detail about everything in order to protect themselves.

In addition to making sure that you’re getting paid for the correct services and are making sure the client is aware of all moving parts, it also makes you look so much more professional. A client should know that signing a contract is protecting them just as much as it’s protecting you. A client should see a professional with a contract as much more trustworthy and professional than one without.

A contract ensures that not only is the client doing what they are supposed to do (paying you), but you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. A contract should outline everything you’re doing and everything the client is doing. This way there is absolutely no confusion, and things can’t get said or did later on.

How

The first way to create a contract is to write it yourself. There are tons and tons and tons of articles online that can be of help in writing a contract. This is the most budget friendly option, and honestly, when you’re first starting out, it may not be essential to have a lawyer look over your contract. If you can afford it and that seems like an option, it is a great one.

The second way to create a contract is to hire a lawyer. Hiring a lawyer to write a contract can be expensive, so it’s a good idea to do your research and find one that’s going to be extremely helpful and one that is knowledgeable in your area of business. Something that is less expensive than a lawyer, and usually less personalized, but will get the contract writing done and done correctly, is a website such as LegalZoom. In addition to contract writing services, they offer a ton of different types of legal assistance and is a great tool for growing and maintaining your business.

Lastly, I wanted to talk about my favorite ways to get contracts signed. The best way is to do it in person, but for much of online business that just isn’t possible. I’ve experimented with a bunch of different signing tools, and here are some of my favorites.

The first tool that I’ve played around with is DocuSign. It starts at just $5 a month for 5 monthly contracts and goes up from there, adding features like personal branding. They have a mobile app, making it easy for people to sign with their finger on their phone.

The second tool that I’ve experimented with is HelloSign. I think HelloSign might be my favorite, only because I’m a huge aesthetics person and their layout is fantastic. Their plans start at just $0, for only 3 documents a month. If you only have a couple clients a month, this is an awesome deal. For unlimited, it’s just $13 per month. It’s insanely easy to use, and also links with Google Drive, meaning people can literally sign right from their Gmail. I love integrations with products I constantly use, so this is a big advantage for me.

The last tool I have not experimented with but thought I’d mention in case the above two aren’t quite right for you. It’s called Agree, and also has a great interface and a mobile app where people can sign documents with their finger. Agree also features online payments, which may be an awesome tool if you wanted to combine contract signing and payments all in one app. They have a free plan which enables you to have 3 active contracts and a processing fee for payments of $0.30 + 2.9%. Their plans then go up from there, beginning at $13 per month.

Thanks for reading!

In Entrepreneurship on
April 14, 2017

My Favorite Apps & Websites for Entrepreneurs

Today I thought I’d give you all a peek into the resources I use as an entrepreneur. These are all the websites and apps I use to keep track of my freelance load as well as earn money. Let’s take a look at my resources for entrepreneurs!

Apps

Expensify

Expensify is a website as well as an app. This site allows you to categorize all of your receipts and expenses for your business, and send them to someone (like a boss) or just keep them for yourself. I have been using this app for three years and I love using it to keep track of my expenses.

Hours

I use hours to keep track of all of my client work. Most of my work is unbillable, meaning I sell package deals that essentially come with ‘unlimited’ hours. But, sometimes I run support or certain hourly projects and this really helps to keep track of what everyone owes me.

MileIQ

MileIQ automatically detects when you’re driving and you are able to classify those trips as business or pleasure. I love this because it tracks it without me having to do anything, which makes my life that much easier. You can get 20% off a plan here.

Tools

Buffer

Buffer is a website that I’ve used basically since the start of my blog and YouTube. I love scheduling social media and seriously saves me so much mental energy. I use the $10 a month buffer awesome plan, but they have a free one as well if you’re just starting out.

Asana

Asana is a fantastic tool for project management. I use this for most of my design clients so that we can both see what’s going on. I use this project management tool in conjunction with the next one, and it has created a system for me that makes so much sense that I love.

Trello

Trello is another awesome project program that I love. I use it in conjunction with Asana (post coming soon about how I use both to manage my business). It utilizes a system of boards and cards which is like using post-it notes on my wall which I LOVE. Trello is amazing and I hands down recommend it.

Upwork

Upwork is a great freelancing website when you are just starting out. The jobs don’t pay a ton, but they’re great to gain some online experience. If you have some marketable skills, like a law degree or web design/development skills, you can usually find some more jobs that pay more.

Later

Later is great for scheduling Instagram posts. I currently use buffer for that, but plan on investing in Later as soon as possible. My favorite feature is the link in bio. It essentially allows you to actually link to things in your Instagram captions by having one place that people click in your bio where they can see any link you added to the caption. It’s revolutionary and awesome!

Leadpages

Leadpages is revolutionary for growing your business. Through their program you can create beautiful landing pages, webinar opt ins, email opt ins and more. They really do a great job at growing your audience. It’s definitely one of the better purchases I’ve ever made.

ConvertKit

ConvertKit is an email marketing specifically made for bloggers and entrepreneurs. It’s an easy way to grow your email list and create fantastic emails.

Tailwind

Tailwind is a program I just started using and I’m absolutely loving it right now. It’s really made an impact on my Pinterest account, of which I’ve seen a 100% increase over the past few weeks.

Edgar

Edgar is an amazing platform for scheduling social media. While Buffer does save some time, it also takes time. Edgar pretty much saves that. You simply go in and schedule social media whenever you find interesting content or things you want to share and Edgar will simply cycle it based on categories. Trust me, it’s lifesaving.

WPEngine Hosting

This is a hosting platform dedicated solely to WordPress. It’s an awesome hosting platform and has had numerous fantastic reviews. It’s definitely the best managed wordpress hosting and I highly recommend it.

StudioPress Themes

StudioPress themes are easy to customize for people without even the slightest idea of coding. They have absolutely BEAUTIFUL themes that I highly recommend you check out. I usually use StudioPress themes for my clients.

Thanks for reading and keep this page bookmarked for future recommendations!

In Blogging, Entrepreneurship on
April 4, 2017

How to Become Creative (When You Don’t Feel Creative)

There was a period in my life where I would have classified myself as not being a creative type. I colored maps in US History in seventh grade messily and never stayed within the lines. My drawings as a kid were stick figures that were disproportionate and ugly. I was much better on the computer. I could type faster than anyone else I knew, and I loved creating things online and on other programs. My love for computers and online creativity began. Then, I discovered web development and hit a wall where I told myself I wasn’t creative enough for it. But, these tips helped me so I thought I’d share how to become creative, even if you don’t feel like you are ‘the creative type’.

Read Blogs

Read blogs of other creatives and gain inspiration from their work and posts. Sometimes I’ll find a blogger that I’m obsessed with and I’ll spend hours browsing and reading through all of their posts and gathering as much knowledge and inspiration from them as I can. I also recommend browsing Pinterest to find other great bloggers and posts that you can gather inspiration from.

Follow Creatives on Instagram

My Instagram feed consists of two types of posts. I follow people I know from my personal life, and then I follow bloggers, creatives, YouTubers and anyone else who inspires me. I love browsing my Instagram feed nowadays because it encourages me and forces me to want to do better. I used to compare myself to everyone online, but I’ve tried to change my mindset so that everyone who’s doing ‘better’ than me is inspiring me to be like them and to be better.

Take Classes

Figure out what you want to get better at and then take classes in it. Take classes in drawing, graphic design, color theory or typography. Whatever makes you tick. You’ll soon have the tools you need to feel more creative.

Go for a Walk

Sometimes you generally are creative, but you’re having trouble getting creative on a certain day or at a certain point. A great way to get into your creative groove is to head out for a walk. It’s amazing how being outside, in nature and having a change of scenery can really inspire you and spark your mind.

Meditate

This is something I’ve started to do but it really will help you feel more creative. Concentrating on breathing and just being for even just a few minutes will change your perspective and allow you to get more done and feel more creativity through your veins.

Thanks for reading!

 

In Entrepreneurship, Social Media on
March 29, 2017

How I Edit & Upload YouTube Videos

If you weren’t aware, I have a YouTube channel here, where I talk about life, makeup, beauty, fashion and self care. I’m definitely more of a lifestyle vlogger, and I love creating and editing videos. My filming style is a whole other story, but I thought I’d share the tools I use to edit and upload my YouTube videos.

Step One: Final Cut Pro X

The first step is editing the video in Final Cut Pro X. This is a program solely for Apple computers and I’m obsessed with it. I started out editing in iMovie, but I soon moved to Final Cut Pro. It’s more advanced and has some really great plugins and abilities. I haven’t really tapped into the full abilities of Final Cut Pro yet, but I love it. My favorite resources for plugins is Pixel Film Studios. They have a TON of different options and they typically have some pretty great sales too.  I got my intro to my YouTube channel from a website called Fiverr. It’s basically a website where you can get some amazing products for only $5. They have pretty much everything, from video editing to photo editing to web design. Once I edit the video, I export it to my desktop.

Step Two: Handbrake

I then run my video through a program called Handbrake. It makes the video easier to upload and optimizes it for the web.

Step Three: Lightroom

I then import the video into Adobe Lightroom. I add a filter that makes the video slightly brighter and more colorful, and I love how it looks after.

Step Four: Handbrake

Then I run it through Handbrake again, for the last time.

Step Five: Thumbnail

I use Photoshop to edit my thumbnail. I take a picture of whatever part of the video I want to use as my thumbnail, export it from FCP and then edit it in photoshop. I usually just add text and then add a white glow around it.

Step Six: Upload

The last step is to upload to my YouTube channel! I head over to YouTube, click upload and then find the video and the thumbnail and voila!

Do my six steps surprise you?

Thanks for reading!

In Blogging, Entrepreneurship, Social Media on
March 17, 2017

How to Have a Consistent Brand Experience

Branding is essential in today’s over-saturated market. In order for your blog or business to stand out, you have to have a consistent brand experience that persists through all platforms.

Stick With It

It’s important that you stick with the logo and color scheme you’ve created/been given across all platforms. For example, my color evolved from pink to blue recently, to better fit all of the themes I have across all of my social media. Both my angelicabbie Instagram and my castawaycouple Instagram have a blue/mint theme. This matches my blog theme as well as the Castaway Couple blog theme. I have the angelic, with a halo, logo across everything that I do as well. Another thing that’s important is to have the same profile picture, or one taken on the same day in the same outfit, as your profile picture across all platforms, including social media profiles and your blog.

Print Materials

This should go without saying, but every print material you come up with needs to match your blog/business brand. This means business cards, especially, but also things like letterhead, banners, advertisements and anything else that you print out.

Your Messages

As you get more comfortable with blogging and social media, you’ll develop a voice. You want to keep this voice across all platforms. For example, if you write in very professional prose with big words, everything has to match. Or, if you write in a more conversational style (like me) then have that fit across all platforms. This also means your values and what you’re putting out there needs to match. For example, you can’t preach forgiveness and love on your blog, but then tweet about how much you hate the LGBTQ community. It will confuse everyone.

Emotions

What do you want your readers to feel? This is an important question to ask yourself when you are first starting out. If you want readers to feel happy and inspired when they reach your blog, pick bright colors like reds and yellows. If you want your readers to feel calm, pick blues. Do some research into color theory as well as typography and what they mean for emotions. It will help you attract the right kind of customers in the long run.

If you need some extra help creating a great brand, check out my brand workbook, which you can get for FREE below!

[mailmunch-form id=”432617″]

Thanks for reading!

 

Looking to grow your blog? Try branding consistently. Having a consistent brand experience makes all the difference! | AngelicAbbie
In Blogging, Entrepreneurship on
March 9, 2017

Accounting For Bloggers + Tax Checklist

Keeping track of income and expenses as a blogger can be a giant pain in the butt. But it’s necessary that you’re accurately keeping track of your income and expenses. You’ll have to report it to the IRS come tax time. Today I wanted to share my tips on accounting for bloggers. I also have a tax checklist that you can download below.

Keep Track of it All

Any and all income and expenses HAS to be recorded. In the event that you get audited, you’ll want to make sure you have accurate records.

Separate Account & Cards

Once you’ve begun making money from your blog, create a separate account just for your business. Not only is it easier to see how much money you’re making and spending on your business, but it’s that much easier to keep track of those business related expenses. And, you’ll feel super fancy when you tell your friends, oh no, this credit card is only for business use.

Apps

There are tons of phone apps and web applications that will help you keep track of those pesky expenses and income. Wave and Quickbooks are two very popular accounting applications, varying in cost. MileIQ is something I’ve recently discovered and I love it. It automatically tracks your mileage and then you can go in and say yes this was a business trip or no this was personal, and then it will show how much money can be taken off as a deduction come tax time.

Record Everything

Whether it’s big or small, keep track of every expense. It will certainly help you come tax time when you get to pay less in taxes, or if you’re making quarterly payments, you may even get some back!

Tax Payments

If you’re a pretty small blogger who doesn’t make a full-time income from your blog, you can probably find a calculator online that can help you estimate how much tax you’ll pay the following spring. It’s a good idea to take these monthly amounts out of your income each month and stick them into a savings account that you can’t touch. This way, even if you put away more than you need for taxes, you’ll have a cushion to fall back on during that lovely tax season.

Calculate your yearly income each month by taking the previous month(s) income and adding it all together and find the average. Then, times that by twelve and you’ve got your predicted income. Obviously, this may go up or down, but it will give you somewhat of an idea of how much you’ll need to be putting away in taxes.

If you aren’t great with numbers or don’t want to mess anything up, it’s a good idea to hire an accountant, preferably one that specializes in small businesses/self-employment taxes and accounting.

Tax Deductions

I’ve touched on this slightly in this post, but tax deductions are going to save. your. butt come tax time. You can pretty much take off anything you used in your business. This means, if you rent an office you can deduct that, but if you work from home you can also deduct some of your rent or mortgage payment. In addition, if your business requires internet or phone service, that can usually be a deduction as well.

Then there’s the obvious deductions. Anything you spend getting your blog up and running, like domain, hosting, your theme/designer, etc. You can also deduct anything you buy specifically to use on your blog, like things for posts, or a background on Etsy that you’ll use as your header.

Supplies like cameras, lights, a new computer etc can all be taken off as a deduction. And remember, you can still deduct things like charitable donations, health expenses and education expenses like any other person.

Get your free, downloadable tax checklist here:

[mailmunch-form id=”458139″]

Thanks for reading!

In Entrepreneurship, Social Media on
March 3, 2017

10 Ways to Find (And Interact With!) Clients on Social Media

Today I wanted to share some of my tips and tricks for ways to find clients on social media. Social media is a HUGE tool right now, and will probably be for many years to come. Social media is relatively new, although so is most technology. It’s a great way to find people all over the world that could be your potential clients. So let’s check out my favorite ways to find clients on social media.

Twitter Chats

Find some twitter chats by searching for twitter chats in your niche. Then, interact with everyone and anyone who’s also participating in a twitter chat. A big tip for twitter chats is to not try and do anything but participate in the twitter chat, as they move quickly. Make sure you’re using the hashtag in every tweet and answering all the questions. Follow anyone that you had interactions with and start conversations with them based on their future tweets.

Search Twitter

Search through twitter for people hiring for your service or asking questions about your niche. For example, I write a lot about blogging, so I would search for #blogginghelp, #blogging, #blogger or just blogging without the hashtag. I could also search for #ISOdesigner, web designer, and any other relevant terms. Then, I’d follow other bloggers, respond to their tweets, answer questions and send information to people looking to hire a web designer.

Join Facebook Groups

This is something I haven’t experimented with as much as I should. I definitely want to spend more time interacting with people in the various Facebook groups I’m apart of. It’s a great way to meet other people in your niche, and promote your blogposts (only on certain days and in certain threads for most groups).

Provide Free Advice

On every single platform, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and your blog, you should be giving away free advice. You need to pose yourself as the expert in your field, and the only way to do that is to be constantly sharing free advice and giving people information on the things they are interested in.

Join Group Boards

This has been so much fun for me. I join group boards that focus on blogging (obviously) and then I’ll pin the occasional pin from some of my favorite bloggers on them, and I also pin every single one of my blogposts. I’ve known a great improvement in views since joining just a handful of group boards.

Answer Questions

I briefly touched on this above, but I want to share with you something that I started doing that has gained me some serious friends in the blogging world. Using the website Zapier I create a formula for any person that I want on twitter. I have it email me whenever there is a question mark included in the tweet. Granted, the formula isn’t perfect and sometimes emails me things that aren’t actually questions, but for the most part it gives me an immediate notice when someone asks a question, that way I can immediately reply and get a conversation going.

Find Competitors

Search all social media for other bloggers in your niche, and then approach them about guest blogging. Obviously if you’re a newer blogger, you aren’t going to want to approach someone with 10 times the followers, so find someone who’s pretty small when you are first starting out and make those lasting connections.

Comment, Like & Follow on Instagram

It used to be enough on Instagram to just follow 100 accounts a day and you’d slowly grow your followers. Instagram has since removed the ability to see who unfollows you. My best advice for growing a following on Instagram aside from posting great pictures is to find people in your niche or potential clients, and comment, like a few of their pictures and then follow them. It’ll make your name appear quite a few more times on the notifications page than if you had just liked or just followed them.

Link Your Sales Page or Opt In

In every single bio, you should have a link to a landing page for your opt in, or a link to the services you provide. Make it easy for people to see what you do and make it easy for them to hire you. If you aren’t offering services quite yet, or would rather gather email addresses, create a landing page for your opt-in and collect those emails like a boss.

Create Calls to Action

Invite your readers, followers and friends to do something when they see a post on social media. Whether it’s clicking a link, responding to the post, or going to visit someone else’s page, try to get them to interact with the tweet/post/picture because it will create a longer lasting impression on them than if they just read your post and move on with their lives.

Thanks for reading!

In Entrepreneurship on
February 10, 2017

3 Places I Look for Freelance Jobs

Making a little money on the side is an awesome way to supplement my income. I hope one day that freelance work turns into my actual job, but for now it’s just supplemental income. So let’s look at the 3 places I look for freelance jobs.

Upwork

Upwork is a huge favorite of mine for finding quick and fun freelance work. I love to apply to their data entry and article writing sections. I can get a quick $5-$20 during my free time whenever I apply for jobs.

Another option through upwork is to find a long-term job, although the pay is usually less than what Americans are used to, unless you get really lucky or have a lot of job experience.

Upwork is free, although with the free plan you can’t apply for unlimited jobs. With the paid plan, you can apply for more, and you can buy credits once you run out of them.

When applying for jobs on freelance, I suggest applying for them as soon as they are posted to give you a better chance of getting the job. Apply with a rate you feel is acceptable, or agree with the fixed rate they have posted. Then, show off why you would be great at whatever they are wanting by writing that in the cover letter.

Freelancer

Freelancer is a lot like upwork, although their interface isn’t nearly as ‘pretty’. Another thing about Freelancer is, and maybe I just haven’t noticed it as much on upwork, is it seems like a lot of the job posters and job appliers are from different countries.

At freelancer, you apply for projects just like upwork. On upwork, you can take skills tests for free, and post them to your profile. At freelancer, each test costs money, but may be the difference between getting the job and not.

A lot of the jobs on freelancer are similar to ones on upwork, and you’ll rarely find the exact same job on both, which makes it beneficial to be a member of both. There are four different paid plans you can choose from, starting at just under $5 a month and going up to $60 a month, each coming with a variety of different perks.

FlexJobs

FlexJobs is a purely paid for system. It costs $14.95 a month, $29.95 a quarter or $49.95 a year. FlexJobs is different from Freelancer or Upwork, in that it has jobs from actual established companies all around the world looking to hire salaried or hourly employees.

Whereas upwork or freelancer is more of a contract thing, these are actual jobs. Most have hour requirements, like 9-5 CST. Not every job on flexjobs is a purely online job, too. So, you could find jobs in your hometown that are half telecommute, half in-office, which might be pretty awesome if that’s what you’re looking for.

I spent a lot of time applying for jobs on FlexJobs and didn’t find any, so I cancelled my subscription when I recently found a new job. That being said, I’d definitely go back to FlexJobs in the future if my new job doesn’t work out.

Thanks for reading!