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
Freelancers future of work Solopreneurs

Making the world a better place to freelance ✏️🌍

Welcome to Issue #89!

A group of organisations, including Bravand, is working to make the world a better place to freelance.

Thinking about how they can pool resources and create shared values between freelancers, companies, and agencies.

“Something akin to the Diversity Charter, with the words ‘Don’t be a Dick’ written in large friendly letters,” says Ross Musgrove, Insight & Strategy Director at Bravand.  

Early stages – they are gathering data on what the three groups might want from an initiative like this. Check out the videos here.

Bravand has teamed up with Freelancer Magazine to run an event. If you’ve got a fuckup story worth sharing, thoughts on freelancing, or want to support the initiative – get in touch.

I’d like to see:

• Freelancers/contractors are brought in earlier to meet teams and help shape strategy – not last-minute to ‘fix the words.’

• Rewards and incentives on freelancer platforms, e.g. earn credits for Yon Living stays worldwide.

• More private talent clouds like Braintrust and Distributed. Building independent careers with better benefits than permanent employment. On the waitlist!

• Better onboarding and offboarding. To see the final project if a contract ends early. I want to feel part of the team and have a sense of completion!

• Better security solutions: I have my own tech stack and don’t want to receive a corporate laptop through the post.

• Learning & Development: Shaping your solopreneur/squiggly career – defining ‘success’, upskilling and training. I’ve joined BIMA to access roundtables, masterclasses, FutureLearn courses, and peer networks – creating my own CPD!

• More freelancer/contractor reviews on Glassdoor. You can give feedback on clients as a freelancer, but it’s underused – I appreciate the legalities! But helpful if you’re considering taking on a big project.

• A minister for solopreneurs to help put the policy into action. Jane Hunt MP is the new small business minister.

Be a good business

Sign up for a Code of Conduct to show you’re serious about running a fair workplace:

NUJ Freelance Charter

• Coalition for Change: The Freelance Charter

• Underpinned: Freelance Charter

A Wikipedia for freelancers?

ProCopywriters has created a wiki just for copywriters. See their work in progress.

FreelanceWiki: a free, open encyclopaedia for freelancers and solopreneurs. A single source of truth and a place to gather resources.

There’s a pool of talent, resources and communities, and it can feel overwhelming.

The latest episode of The Nowhere Office is about the rise of the solopreneur. Have a listen👇

Stay cool. Work-lite this week – my flat is like a greenhouse 😎 🌊🍷

– Nika 


Written by Nika Talbot – an independent content designer and UX writer based near Brighton.

Get in touch if you have something to share, a link suggestion, or just want to say hi 👋

The Shift is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

Categories
Small business Solopreneurs work culture

State of Solopreneurs 🏄🏻‍♀️

Welcome to issue #87!

I signed up for Groove this week, a digital co-working community for solopreneurs.

‘Get shit done, and meet some pretty rad people while you’re at it.’

Productivity, but fun.

50-minute focused sprints with 2-4 solopreneurs. Or set aside time to rest, meditate or learn. They are beta-testing, so it’s free for now – join the waitlist.

Interesting to read on their blog that they’re taking a break from posting on certain social channels to focus on creating longer-form content and experiences for the community.  

I’ve heard a few people talk about quitting social media lately. It’s not something I can afford to do as a small business owner – clients want it. And most of the time I enjoy it! Chatting to Twitter friends, learning, and sharing useful stuff. It’s how I find internet gold for this newsletter, and it helps me feel connected to the world wfh. 

Having constraints is helpful. I time block and use Hootsuite to schedule posts. I’ve set up my dashboard so it’s quick and easy to find good content and comment. I don’t use the Twitter interface or app much anymore, as it’s super distracting.

I’m focusing on just two platforms: Twitter and LinkedIn, so I can show up and be consistent. I’ll try Notes when they open it up. Basic UI, I like that. Simple is good. It’s all about the ‘network factor’ after all – if it takes off, Medium, watch out.

Groove: Take the survey and help create their first State of Solopreneurs report.

An opportunity to stop and reflect on your creative career! There’s not much research out there about this growing field – solopreneurship – vs freelancing, so I’m curious to see the findings. 


👀 🎬 Everything Everywhere All at Once

Something for the week. The multiverse. Parallel work lives. Angry tax officers. The overstimulation of 21st-century life. Big ideas and butt jokes.

Motivation to get my tax return done!

– Nika


5 Things 🔗 🏄🏻‍♀️

Why we love (async) voice memos – Growmotely was founded by voice memo. How we can use them to shape company culture – and our lives for the better. A unique tool for your productivity box. Intimate, easy – and an opportunity to step away from your laptop.

By marketers – a marketplace for buying and selling your original marketing content. Find case studies, templates, and resources that the community shares online. Save time, help someone, and make money from your work. Very cool! 

Work smarter, not harder, with automation. A 54-page guide on how to increase your income while decreasing the time you spend working so you can set yourself free from the daily grind for good. Turn your knowledge into an online course that runs on autopilot… Thanks to Marianne at The Green Techpreneur for the tip-off. 

Creative Doing: 75 practical exercises to unblock your creative potential in your work, hobby, or next career. A collection of activities, mental models, and true stories – Herbert Lui spent a decade researching and talking with practising artists and creatives of all kinds. 

Another brilliant book from Holloway. Where tech meets publishing…

Let’s talk about how to find new forms of collaborative work. 5 July, 5 pm GMT. A chance to check in, share your experiences and gain insights from TPC community. Every other week, they focus on one area of portfolio working life to help your career journey. 

Find clients: they’ve launched a talent-matching service, connecting startups and scaleups with entrepreneurs who want to make a difference.


Written by Nika Talbot – a content designer, tech storyteller and strategist based near Brighton.

Get in touch if you have something to share, a link suggestion, or just want to say hi.

PS. I’ve started a new band: The Digital CEOs! Come backstage and meet the crew. Smart, funny and passionate people on a road trip to financial freedom, creative fulfilment – and an extraordinary life 💃💥

The Shift is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid member.

Categories
Advice. Opinions. Conversation.

Diversity #1: Female Creatives – Tips & Resources

I did an interview recently with the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) for a new diversity series. It’s packed with tips and resources for female creatives. Read it here.

Our new diversity series seeks out creatives who’re making positive contributions around recognising, understanding, embracing, and encouraging individual differences. Our first interview features Nicci Talbot, a freelance journalist, copywriter, and author of 11 books on women’s health & lifestyle. Find out how her company is helping female creatives, and download our PDF packed with tips and resources.

Data & Marketing Association (DMA)