Goal-Getting with Freelance Journalist and Massage Therapist Dominique Carson – DONE

Dominique Carson is the true embodiment of what it means to be a freelancer today. She is a talent that wears many hats, being a freelance journalist as well as a certified massage therapist. With her mission to “facilitate people’s lives with her hands and words” as well as her inherent go-getter attitude, Dominique has managed to establish herself as a solopreneur. But what does it take to succeed in two differing hustles? We interviewed Dominique to find out. 

Let’s make sure you pat your own back… What’s your biggest strength as a solopreneur? 

I have a natural hustler spirit and my mindset is like a cheetah. I am always in motion and thinking about the next move.

What’s the best business or money advice you ever got as an independent? 

The best business or money advice I received as an independent is learning how to save money for a rainy day. You can start off with $10 and you’ll be surprised with time and commitment, your account will increase on it own. 

Secondly, invest financially in your craft. In other words, to hone your craft, sign up for an advanced course or learn more about the latest trends in your respective fields. Participate in workshops so you can network with others. It can lead to your next opportunity. 

Now for a moment of realness, what are you struggling with right now in your business? 

Finding outlets that can accommodate your schedule and respect your artistic ability can be a challenge. You may have to pitch more than once to be featured in a specific publication, and they may dismiss or delay the article due to timing or intent.

Moreover, the pay rate for freelancers is not financially stable. The pay is often per article under a contract, and there are no benefits.

This means freelancers such as myself may have to pick up another job just to pay the bills before their big break. Remember, your day job can still be affiliated in your respective field. 

I am a freelance journalist but used my writing and research skills in editorial, reporting, sales, recruitment, customer service, higher education, non-profit, and digital sales. I’ve interviewed celebrities and notable figures during my downtime and lunchtime while at a full-time job.  

As a freelance journalist and massage therapist in NY, what challenges and advantages do you think are unique to your city and hustles? 

I am a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and I am working on getting my New York State license. One of the challenges is that I have to start thinking about my visibility as a massage therapist, but on the other hand, everyone wants to be pampered and relaxed.

It’s an amazing opportunity being able to demonstrate my love for massage and writing at the same time. I can travel all over the world to perform massages and different modalities based on needs and interests, and I can always complete freelance projects as a journalist. Writing will always be my voice and art.

We know the freelancer life is all about the hustle toward incredible goals. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Financially, personally, and with your businesses?  

Well, for starters, my fiance and I will be married next year. My last name will be Carter soon and I am excited. I want to be more financially literate in terms of saving my money and investing in properties and or businesses. I will be an award-winning freelance journalist/author. I will perform massages, own a practice, and participate in the research aspect of the field. 

Here’s Why Paper is Killing Your Home Service Business

This is a guest post by Vanessa Perplies of Workiz. Workiz is an easy-to-use field service management system that improves related workflows. The platform provides contractors and their extended teams complete control and visibility over all their communications and scheduling. 

Tell us the truth… Has this ever happened to you?

You’re on the phone with a client while you’re trying to do 10 other things. You’re jotting down your notes and after you’re done, you step away. Then, you come back to your notes. What color was the wall the client said that they needed painted? Green? Blue? When did you say your appointment was? Wednesday at 10am? Or was it at 10:30am?

Yikes.

If you’re still stuck in the paper and pen ages of business, you’re setting yourself up for way more stress and hassle than you realize. 

According to a 2018 study on Freelancing put out by Upwork, 63% of full-time freelancers feel anxious about everything they have to manage. This isn’t a shock when you really think about it.

From sending out estimates, completing the job, receiving payment, staying organized, managing a team, collecting positive reviews and trying to build a pipeline with future work, freelancers (including contractors and home service pros) are spread mighty thin.

So how do you lower your stress levels and set yourself up for success in your contracting business?

Here’s the good news…

If you’re using a system like Lance to make more intelligent financial decisions, see where you can get tax kickbacks and save money, you’re already one-step ahead of the game.

Now, you’ll need a way to manage the rest of your entire home service business, which includes every aspect of communicating with your extended team (if you have one) and your customers, including your phone calls. All of your phone calls. We know there are too many to count with each project you take. 

Something we see a lot of at Workiz – working with contractors and home service pros – is most of your customers still start the relationship with a phone call. When contractors and your broader teams rely on pen and paper, it’s almost impossible to collect all those notes in a way that helps you really track how the relationship developed and understand what happened along the way, especially when you’re trying to understand that client’s history six months or one year down the line. And tracking that bigger picture is so important to understanding your best ways of marketing your business and how to get more return customers. You want return customers, because they’re cheaper to continue working with over the long term and can be great referrals for your work. 

So, that client who booked an oriental rug carpet cleaning service. But they never called back to schedule a regular cleaning.

Hmmmm…do you know why?

If you’re using a system like Workiz that tracks all of your client and employee communications – phone calls, email, text messages and in-app messages with your team – you can go back and see an entire, digital history with your customers in a super clear visual timeline. 

Not only are your calls with everyone around projects captured, but you can go back in time and listen to all the project calls to figure out what happened and if you want to work with certain clients. 

In the case of the client who wanted to book your rug cleaning, you might go back to your calls with them and realize they were at fault. They were rude to your dispatcher, arrived late to the appointment – despite confirming the appointment via text the day before – complained about the first run through of the cleaning – pulling your best cleaner from across town – and then still left a negative review on your Yelp page. 

What a headache. And likely one you’re happy not to repeat with an ongoing cleaning relationship. 

With the pen and paper you’re using today, along with an extended team, you very likely wouldn’t know every part of this experience. You wouldn’t have the recorded calls, tech notes, timed text message notifications, and a dedicated, digital job history that verified everyone’s story of what they experienced and the fact that you do want to focus your energy on keeping other repeat customers. 

We’re all trying to find new and better ways to stop running around in circles, as freelancers and contractors. We need to save our time and energy for our everyday work and marketing to the right kinds of clients for each of us. 
If you’re a contractor with a home service business, we know you’re always trying to level up your game and keep better track of exactly what’s going on with your team and customers. At Workiz, we’re here for you and happy to offer a free 14-day trial so you can start seeing the benefits of simple and automatic tracking of all the communications around your home service business right away.


Dogs of Lance: Interview with Hassa, The Maltese

Welcome to the Dogs of Lance series where we sit down with our favorite canine freelancer friends to hear what they have to say about running their business.

What does your typical workday look like?

After I go for my daily morning workout (10 min walk TBH), I have a nourishing breakfast followed by my snack of choice. If I’m lucky it’s a piece of fresh red pepper. I then head to my desk where I catch up on emails before I take my first nap of the day, which is followed by a second, third, and evening nap.

Which of your human’s habits can’t you stand?

She’s always all up in my space! Whether it be hogging the entire bed when I’m trying to get my beauty sleep, or when she puts her feet in my face when I’m in my favorite nook under my office desk, she’s always bumping into me! 

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

I’d love to be able to open doors by myself so I can go outside and take my daily sunbath whenever I please. That, and being able to magically turn every meal into a steak dinner.

What keeps you motivated to hustle?

My human gives me healthy brain-boosting treats every day that fuel my creativity.

On a scale of 1-10, how good are you at saving?

I’m a big hoarder of all things, I still have my first toy which is 10+ years old, so I’d say I’m pretty good.

What advice would you give other freelancing pets?

Choose your human wisely.

The Freelancing Dilemma: How do I let a client go?

Being a freelancer is great! We get to do work we actually want to do. Whether this means choosing exciting projects or working with people who interest us, the decision is ours. Since you own your own business, you have the privilege to choose work that will make you happy. Any freelancing client that pushes you away from this happiness or productivity should go. If a client is taking a toll on your mood and mindset, this will be reflected in other areas of your life. If your mind is preoccupied with a tense client relationship, it will be less free to focus on how to make more money and grow your biz. Your other projects and clients will also take a hit from this. 

Once identified, letting go of the clients that hold you back is one challenge that many freelancers face. You might feel guilty for having to fire a client or hesitant to turn down the income. So how does one go about it sensitively yet confidently? Where does one start? 

Continue reading for 6 key ideas to keep in mind in order to fire your client in the nicest way possible. 

1. Determine the where.

Should I tell my freelancing client over a coffee or via email? It depends on the way in which you’re used to working together. If you’ve built a relationship face-to-face, it is important to deliver this news in person. If you can’t or have never met your client face-to-face, set up a video call. Give them this in-person respect, but make sure you state the way you will move forward and the termination in writing afterward. 

2. Stay polite and professional.

Each interaction must maintain a positive business relationship. Upsetting a freelancing client could push them to write negative reviews online, or alert a potential client. Remember, this is an opportunity to keep a good reputation for your biz. Although it didn’t work out with a certain client, they may still refer others to you in the future. Keep your professionalism and this window open.

3. Depersonalize the firing.

With emotions and relationships in the mix, it can get complicated. Changes in business direction, personal circumstances, or an unsuitable process for both you and your client can put you in this situation. Although it may be uncomfortable, think of it as the business decision that it is. Do what’s best for your business and remove all other factors. 

4. Be Honest.

Explain what lead you to your decision. Let them know the exact expectations that are not being fulfilled. Use your evidence, like a written contract or project plans, as examples. This will help both you and your former client move forward in a more productive way. Be open about the ways they prohibited you from producing your best work and why they aren’t the right fit for your business. This will allow both of you to reflect on the relationship and understand what to tweak when moving forward. 

5. Refer a colleague.

Although it is not necessary, your client will be more than appreciative to receive some direction once you let them go. Just because a client didn’t work well with you doesn’t mean they won’t work well with a peer. Since you will no longer be completing their needed services, help them find someone who can.

6. Keep your eye out for red flags.

What aspects of the client were detrimental to the relationship that has caused this firing? There may be at least four of them according to this Forbes article. Don’t make the same mistake twice. Move forward with your business while keeping in mind the red flags that made you fire this client in the first place. Being aware of what works and what doesn’t will help you determine how to choose the right clients for your freelancing biz. It will ensure reliable clients and stable happiness for the future of your solopreneurship.

No matter how hard you try, you cannot meet every demand of every client. You may just not enjoy the work you do or who you work with. Don’t let this stand in the way of your solopreneur happiness. This is your business. You call the shots. 

All in all, you want to let someone go in a respectful manner to maintain a positive client relationship. To do this, be honest to your client and explain where things went wrong. They may not realize this at first, but you are saving both yourself and your client time and money to find a suitable match.