Categories
cost of living Freelancing Newsletter

Freelancers versus the economic crisis 💸

Cost of living – your freelance thrive guide | #105

I’m speaking at an NUJ session on freelancing and the cost of living crisis this month.

LFB’s shot at crushing the crisis, or anyway, offering a micron of easement via a 2-hour Zoom confab on 24 November, 6.30-8.30pm, open to all NUJ freelancers who care to come.

And you, if you like? I can invite a guest or two.

Two hours of problems and here’s-some-good-news-tho and try-this/try-that to address what we’re all dealing with currently. Full details here.

I’m pulling together some resources on copywriting and community – networks are your lifeline as a freelancer!

It’s not been an easy year. I’ve had two contracts cut short, and the IR35 saga continues – repeal now revoked – welcome to the UK! My freelance work has been more stable. It pays to work on critical projects that won’t be cancelled, like major events or design work. I had a kick-off call for a conference next March – a core part of their membership offering, and hybrid since Covid.

That means six months of pre/live/post comms work, which I’m grateful for – some stability and peace of mind.

There’s no shame in asking for help if things are quiet. Being bold and vulnerable – Lauren Pope was on Twitter

I’m not super busy either, so focusing on biz dev till Xmas – need to update my portfolio and website SEO, do my comms calendar, grow this newsletter etc. Also doing a bit of mentoring via the NUJ and BIMA.

Investing in myself: upskilling and self-care, which includes massage – finding deep body work essential for joint stuff, creativity and mental health.

👀 My digital HQ  some freelance-friendly forums and networking I enjoy!

Leapers

Independent Work 

Hoxby

The Dots

Yuno Juno

Content + UX

Online Geniuses

The Portfolio Collective

Center for the Transformation of Work

The Association for the Future of Work 

Groove

r/freelance – have you noticed how most Google searches now have Reddit in the title? 🤔

Freelance Twitter community and #ContentClubUK #FreelanceChat #FreelanceMafia #CopywritersUnite

I’ve bookmarked them to save time and blocked out the calendar, or it won’t happen. I’m trying to keep Fridays free for networking – a social start to the weekend.

Offline networking, too – there is life beyond social media. I’ve signed up for co-working at The Observer Building – finally open for business! And a discounted rate till Xmas. It’s an inspiring work space and all creative/arts/tech/community businesses, so let’s see who’s around and what I can help out with.

It will make a change from working at home alone and lift my spirits.

For copywriting, media agencies have been a good source of work. Most use freelancers, so it’s worth getting on their books to find projects outside the UK market. Interesting to see how work is becoming fractionalised – I had a one-hour gig with Google – Small Business. Hoping for more little jobs like that – inbound enquiries, well-paid and it fits in with my other freelance work.

The news is all doom and gloom, but hang in there; there are reasons to be cheerful! Past data around recessions shows businesses are more likely to hire independent freelance workers during a downturn.

The future of freelancing – interesting to hear PwC’s thoughts on the future of work.

My strategy is to focus on building products, not rates – e.g. niche newsletters and digital downloads, and I’ve created some service packages.

You’re less likely to have your time commoditised, and you’re charging based on the value you bring, not your time. It’s scalable, too.

What are you doing to keep the fires burning? Love to hear your thoughts – feel free to send any resources to share on the 24th.

– Nika


Upwork – the new Hays! Love their ad campaign – much better user experience 😉


5 Things 

👩🏻‍💻 What is the Metaverse? A free course explaining what it is and how to use it. New ways to connect, learn, and work. The eco ramifications and the role of decentralisation in making it ethical, inclusive and accessible. NFTs, crypto, avatars, devices, AR/VR/ER – a good overview! (Meta/Coursera)

💬 Dread networking? Here’s how to make it feel less icky. Showing up online is no fun if you take yourself too seriously. You have to separate yourself from your online persona and create distance. Loving Jodie’s thoughtful blogs for entrepreneurs who want to think differently. (Jodie Cook)

📧 How to add your newsletter to your Twitter profile (even if you don’t use Revue). A few people have asked me how I did this, so here’s a workaround – helpful if you use Substack, WordPress or Mailchimp. It does drive new subscribers – you just have to add them manually to your list. (Jacob Morch)

✍️ It takes this freelance writer just a few minutes to make her every client pitch 100% personalized. How to present your work to prospects (and save time on personalized pitches). Handy if you’ve written hundreds of articles on different topics. A fab tool – lovely to get a testimonial from someone thanking me for a book I wrote years ago! (Authory/Maya Middlemiss)

📆 Working on your content strategy? Here’s a brilliant content calendar from Anna McLoughlin of Inkspillers. Daily, weekly and seasonal prompts to help spark timely ideas and help you smash your goals. Working on mine and finding this helpful for goal-setting and staying focused. (ProCopywriters)


📣 Have a great story to share? Contact nika@nikatalbot.io

🖋 Need help with something? Write in with your questions

💬 Build your freelance network. Spread the word about my Freeletter

🥂 Enjoy reading this? Why not buy me a prosecco?

Categories
Blog Newsletter

Feeling the pinch 👀

Issue #74, February 6, 2022. Art: Rosie Johnson Illustrates

So there it is, Rishi to the rescue with a package of ‘support’ to offset rising energy bills, which covers less than half of the £693 energy bill hike for the average UK household from April 1 👀

£150 rebate on council tax for some and a £200 negative levy on energy bills from October to be repaid in instalments over the next five years. The Centre for Economics and Business Research forecasts a £1,980 rise in overall living costs. The government is trying to soften the blow, but it’s not enough for the brutal cost of living crisis.

All eyes are on the UK to see how we handle this.

And there’s Andrew Bailey, Bank of England boss, telling us not to ask for a big pay rise!! i.e. the 0.5% interest rate rise will be the first of many if we start demanding higher wages. All well and good if you’re earning half a million a year…

Sod that! I’m going to have to raise my prices.

We’ve had bankers’ tax cuts, billions lost to fraud on Covid loan schemes, losses on PPE, and Shell reporting mega-profits. Good to see Red Ed back on it – excellent timing – with calls for a windfall tax on energy firms to help with the price hike.

Time to transform the way we do business. The Better Business Act is collective lobbying for change in company law to ensure companies align their interests with wider society and the environment. 900 companies have opted to be part of the coalition for a cleaner, greener, fairer future for all 👏

Will you join them? You can nominate a leader here.

What help can you get?

Covid cash cut… a running summary from the NUJ London Freelance branch of what help’s available. If you’re going to apply for the Household Support Fund via your local council, do it now – it expires March 31. 

Write to your energy supplier. I’ve written to Octopus to ask for help – they have a £2.5m financial hardship fund and the Warm Homes Discount, which gives you £140 off your bill. This needs increasing and extending.

Turn2us – benefit calculator and grants search to find out what support you can get.

Join a union: the NUJ’s charity has been brilliant and helped me financially throughout Covid as I wasn’t eligible for the SEISS grant. They’ve also given other key workers and me a pay rise and backdated pay to offset inflation.

Citizens Advice are helping record numbers with energy help, advice and referrals for crisis support.

We all need to slowly adjust to paying more for energy bills, and that’s fine. I can be frugal when I need to. But a scarcity mindset isn’t great for my mental health, business and creativity.

I don’t need to cut back – I just need to earn more. So I will be raising my fees and retraining for higher-paying work.

Not going out and spending money locally won’t help small businesses either or create a thriving community to be proud of.

5 Things to Know 🖐

Growmotely’s Align Summit: Building the thriving business of the future. A global online event for entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders transforming the world of work. 7-9 February, free or pay what you can afford. Excellent speakers and topics. Excited about this! Love Growmotely’s vibe ✨

→ Join: Align Summit (Growmotely) 

Tallinn’s Got Talent: Why Estonia’s capital is the best city in the world for digital nomads. James Ware on his week working from Tallinn, recently ranked the best city in the world for remote workers: “not because of one wow thing, but a gazillion small things that accumulate into your experience.” On my list.Love theIgluoffice, a workspace set by the sea – like an Airstream with frills.

→ Read: Tallin’s Got Talent (The Independent) 

Unlearning the way we work – Alastair Simpson, VP of Design at Dropbox, has led the company’s virtual-first transformation. Great to see a design-led approach to the future of work rather than the usual Ops and HR focus – we need more of this! The framework they used for their distributed teams is a Virtual First Toolkit.  

→ Listen: unlearning the way we work (Remote First podcast) 

Move to Sicily for free: restored 1Euro house in Sambuca looking for a live-in Airbnb host for a year. Be the host of a designer house in Sambuca, learning Italian, experiencing local life, and helping regenerate the region. Great initiative from Airbnb – remote work is the way to regenerate small towns. Also good to see CEO Brian Chesky doing the product research… 

→ Read: move to Sicily for free (Evening Standard) 

Clear thinking for 2022 – topline findings from a new report surveying knowledge workers and what we want (flexibility, change, hybrid). Intriguing to hear Julia Hobsbawm (The Nowhere Office) say, “the world is going freelance,” with growing numbers of solopreneurs making their own luck. Ipsos: “we’re going to need offices, but just not for work.” I enjoy every episode of Bruce’s thoughtful podcast. 

Enjoy this newsletter?

→ Listen: clear thinking for 2022 (Eat Sleep Work Repeat) 

Send me a note: nicci@niccitalbot.io

Tip jar

Help me build an Ecologi forest! To offset the carbon emissions of my online work, I plant 12 trees every month via Ecologi 🌿 🌎