Useful, Timely Business Tips from Experts

freelance business tips
Scale your businesses from expert peers in your industry. Photo courtesy of Lance

Freelancers, we’ve got you covered when it comes to your business questions! Ever been midstream in an editing session and wondered when’s the next sale on that equipment you desperately want? Or been walking your midday pack of dogs and wondered when you should raise your rates this year… oh wait, did you forget to raise them last year? Or wondered if there was a good time to run a promotion on the new hair coloring skills you’ve perfected over the last couple months?

We’ve got you! After years of freelancing ourselves, we were constantly asking ourselves these kinds of financial questions but felt like, huh, where do we get the answers? And who do we trust? And then we started asking around and seeing our friends were struggling to get all sorts of advice. We could only get it at conferences or a couple times of year from people the people we admire.

So, we thought what a great opportunity to bring people who have been there, done that, and succeeded into the Lance app! Now as soon as you sign in you can get tips customized to the jobs you’ve told us you do – and you get new tips every week! They’re specific to making and saving money in you job at that time of year.

How can you make the most of these tips? 

  • Just click on Tips in the More Menu of the iPhone app to see all the tips automatically customized for you.
  • Slide through the tips to see which ones you’d like to follow.
  • Click on the Thumbs Up or Heart images to let your experts know you’ve liked their tip.
  • If you want to start a conversation with one of your experts, just click on the Talk bubble and you can ask any questions you might have. They’re looking forward to helping you learn more and grow.

We’re thrilled to help you get all kinds of advice you need – when you need it – to save and make more money. Between the expenses tracking and these new tips, we look forward to helping you grow your income streams and savings!

P.S. While we have friends all over the place, we know there are freelancing experts you’re really excited to connect with more. We’d love to hear more about who those people are – just drop us a note at the Contact Us link on this site or through the app. We’re sure they’ll be flattered to know you want to hear more from them!

7 Steps To Starting a Side Hustle DONE

side hustle ready tips
Ready to start a side hustle? Photo courtesy of Andrew Neel

Okay, you’ve decided to create a side hustle. Great! Like many freelancers and side hustlers before you, you’re now probably asking yourself what’s next and how do I get started?

You might be thinking, “How should I go about marketing my product or service to the world? How will anyone see my product or service? Wait, I also have to manage my invoices too? This is going to be a real problem as I have no clue what I’m doing – and I thought I’d just spend a couple hours a week on this. I’ve never done anything like this before and I don’t know if I’m capable. I still have a full-time job I have to worry about along with all my other responsibilities.”

Breathe. Don’t spin out. Everything will be okay and you’ll be a side hustle superstar soon enough. With the use of all the latest online platforms, your world will become easier before you know it. All those questions will quickly become answered, and those worries will quickly float away with just a little setup work. You’ll be able to allow automation and online platforms to work for you in ways that can easily turn your side hustle into full-time demand, if you want.

We’ll talk about registering your business starting tomorrow. In the meantime, let’s start with setting up a space where you can start selling your product or service side hustle. By the way, just to make sure we’re all on the same page – when we talk about a product, we’re talking about a tangible thing you’re selling whether it’s homemade jams, potted plants or abstract paintings. Everything else that you spend time doing and is likely billed given the hours spent is a service, like providing photography, catering or hair styling services. Cool? Ok, let’s dive into how to get set-up on an online platform.

Selling Using Online Platforms

You should start your side hustle with a presence where people can actually buy from you. If you’re selling a service, the online platforms at your disposal will likely allow you to provide a menu of service options and help you with scheduling, invoicing and payment tracking as well. These used to be things you had to manage all on your own but now they’re all automated! Same goes for products, though instead of a menu of services, you’ll likely enter images and descriptions of the specific items you’re selling and the platform will manage gathering your buyer’s information and any specific requests. They might even have mailing support. Given these differences, you’ll likely come across and use a platform built to accommodate your specific side hustle needs. There are a number of websites to choose from, so here are just two suggestions to get you started. If they don’t fit what you’re going to be doing, just Google your side hustle type (i.e. dog walking) and “platform”.

For Products:

If you haven’t used it as a seller, you may already have used Etsy to buy pillow cases, stationery, prints or potted plants. People use this platform to see just about anything. As a seller, it’s just as easy to register with and use. Just go to Etsy, where you’ll be able to register an account to begin the process of getting your products posted and sold. The process looks like this:

  1. Create your shop’s preference (i.e., language, country, currency)
  2. Name your shop
  3. Stock your shop – This is where you’ll be able to add all of your different products, price them, create delivery times for each, and more.
  4. Select your payments preference – Decide which payment option works best for you (i.e. Paypal, personal bank account).
  5. Determine your billing methodology – This determines how you want to bill your customers.

And that’s it! After that it’s a matter of your creating and shipping your products on time. Etsy really is a great all-in-one place to help get your products-focused side hustle started.

For Services:

If you’re looking to sell a service, like writing content, creating websites or bookkeeping, you might want to check out platforms like Fiverr and UpWork. Other sites out there are also more specific to in-person services, like Rover for dog walking or BeGlammed for beauty services. Signing up in any of these platforms is fairly similar to the Etsy process – there are just questions more specific to the services you’ll be providing and rather than products you can offer different types or durations of your services. With Fiverr as an example, you just go to their site and click on the option to become a seller. Next, simply follow these four steps:

  1. Enter your personal info (i.e., name, profile picture, location)
  2. Enter your professional info – Describe the services you’re able to offer your clients.
  3. Link any relevant bank accounts – Sync the payment options that work best for you (i.e. Paypal, personal bank account).
  4. Create account security passwords – Make sure your bank account and Fiverr account remain secure.

That’s it! If you budget out a few hours over the weekend or after work one day, you should be able to take all these steps and provide really great descriptions of all the products or services you’re offering. The few hours of time spent are well worth the effort – especially if you do just a little research into what the top sellers are doing around you on the platforms. With just a bit of effort, everything else will be automated for you and you’ll be selling whatever you can dream up in no time!

Marketing Your Side Hustle Using Social Media

Marketing, marketing, marketing! Once you’ve set up your virtual storefront, it’s time to look at how you get yourself out there beyond a couple emails or posts amongst friends and family. Using social media platforms to market yourself and your products or services can go a long way in gaining clients and publicly showing how what you’re doing is unique. Using social media effectively does require a little bit of a learning curve, but it provides such an opportunity for you to learn what your clients want and to educate your target market about why they should choose what you’re selling.

There are numerous websites and social media platforms you can use to be the most market friendly to your customers. In choosing which websites and social media platforms to use, it’s most important to think about your product or service, and where your clients are likely to be spending their time.

Is what you’re selling visually appealing? If so, then creating an Instagram account could be the perfect fit. If you feel the best way to depict your product or service is by using words, then Twitter or LinkedIn could be more appropriate. If your potential clients are scattered, create one social media account first where you’re most comfortable, and then expand across more.

As part of setting up your social media handles, make it easy for your customers to buy from you. With Twitter and Instagram, all you have to do is your website or platform profile page in your bio. Make sure to talk about where people can find you and your wares in your posts too (i.e., “Link in bio” should be at the end of most of your posts.

Remember, it really comes down to two simple steps:

  1. Choose a social media platform you think your clients are already on – and that shows off your products or services well.
  2. Make your product easily accessible from your social media handle and reference it often in the comments or posts.

Now, You’re Ready to Sell!

By choosing the right combination of sales platforms and social media sites, you’ll be able to start and make the most of your side hustle quickly. What may have seemed complicated at first, I hope is much clearer now. While you do have to put a little work into the setup – not just what you’re selling, it’ll all be worth the automation you’ll be taking advantage of very soon. Next, we’ll post about how to start a side hustle when you already have a strong network in place.

Here to keep you moving – Team Lance

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7 Best Business Podcasts for Solopreneurs DONE

business podcast freelancer
You’ll want to take notes while listening to these business podcasts. Photo courtesy of Juja Han

As a solopreneur, you’re busy and jamming at making your business and side hustling run smoothly. But you know the value of a little focused direction and inspiration in making more happen, right? Podcasts have really started to break out over the last couple years as a way to learn more while we’re at the gym or running around. They’ve certainly become a background playlist to my everyday. Through all that listening time, I’ve been listening to more business news and insights. I generally walk away from each half hour show with at least one insight I can immediately apply to my work.

So here are some of my favorite business-related podcasts below. I’ve curated them over the past few years to be my companions while I travel, run, fly and drive around the globe. Hope they keep you company and inspire you with some sparks of new insights or trends you should be paying attention to as well!

How I Built This

Guy Raz, the host of this podcast, is just the personification of curiosity. He really dives into the lives and habits of his interviewees. And you get the benefit of hearing all about their trials and tribulations of developing their products and companies. More recently, really enjoyed the episode with Alexa von Tobel and live episode with Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman. Great content about pushing through and also co-founder relationships.

Slate Money

This podcast makes economics, market trends and finance approachable. Not every episode will be relevant to immediate business impacts but listening to the three hosts will definitely make you curious about broader market trends and make you think about what to be pay attention to on a regular basis. Also, it’s still refreshing to hear a female voice in podcasts. Cathy O’Neil was a fantastic co-host when she was on, and Anna Szymanski is just as impassioned and ready to dive in with her perspective.

Exchanges at Goldman Sachs

Tbh, I downloaded this on a whim while I was taking MBA classes. I thought it might be a good (boring) supplement to my Barron’s subscription. But it’s been great! A weekly overview of macroeconomic trends, global trade, etc. I know that sounds a little “how could anyone get excited to hear about this stuff” but it’s delivered in a super digestible way and again, brings you up to a 30,000 foot view of what to think about in the world around you.

BBC Business Daily

I listen to about half of these episodes, along with a few other BBC programs. If you’re based in the US, it’s critical to be more mindful of sourcing global news and content. This program along with From Our Own Correspondents and Desert Island Discs is really a great daily habit.

Hidden Brain

Shankar Vedantam. You will get to know that name. While you’re focused on your business, it’s always great to infuse your thinking with how the human brain actually works. Listening to Shankar talk about the patterns and psychology that directs our decision-making and actions will inevitably turn you into a stronger business person. The “Me, Myself and IKEA” episode from last May is a great one to start with in this show.

99% Invisible

Roman Mars has been in the podcast game about as long as anyone. For most of us listeners, he was the person who originally drew us into podcasts. I first heard him speak at a Fast Company Innovation Summit, and I’ve been listening to his take on the world ever since. Much like Hidden Brain, I listen to this podcast because it focuses more on very human stories and explores why we do the things we do. And Roman Mars is a fantastic storyteller – take notes.

The Tim Ferriss Show & The Tony Robbins Podcast

As much as I didn’t want to like these podcasts, I can’t help it. They’re a solid injection of inspiration whenever you need it. Yes, Tony tells the same stories over and over again (so you will be able to repeat them to others). And Tim has a penchant, like Alec Baldwin (in Here’s the Thing, another favorite), to share over his interviewees. But both of them do several things very well: score incredible interviewees, self-promote like crazy, and share some very practical insights. So here’s my suggestion: Listen to them ahead of pitching clients, when you’re developing sales materials, or ahead of stepping into your office space. Draw inspiration from their interviewees. Remember to think about and deliver your story to your clients. And keep up the hustle, it will pay off over time!

Hope you enjoy listening to these podcasts. I’ll be sharing some more entertaining ones from comedians and others I listen to when I’m really wanting to zone out – usually on a long run – next week.

In the meantime, would love to hear which ones you find most interesting and useful. Have you found any that are totally relevant to your specific business? Or that talk about managing finances in a compelling way? I haven’t yet but am always on the hunt. Continuously adding to my playlist – and wishing I had more time to dive into these!

Hope to one day start our Lance for Freelancers podcast.

In the meanwhile would love if you’ll download the Lance ios app.