Freelance Life

It's OK To Work For Someone Else

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Be your own boss, become an entrepreneur, work your own hours, make your own rules!

Sure this all sounds lovely at first but what is not advertised as much is the amount of WORK that goes into it. Can you imagine if EVERYONE worked for themselves? What work would there be left to do?  

While I work from home, I am not my own boss. I don't consider Pulp Sushi a part-time job anymore since I have moved on from it.  I still work for Typepad and I work with A Little Beacon Blog and Rogue Social as my clients - even though I feel like a part of their teams 100%, I don't feel like I'm working for myself.  But you know what? I'm okay with all of this and where I am right now.

You're not a failure if you have no desire to run your own business.  It's cool if you want to keep your Etsy shop as a hobby! I tried it and I was just meh. I like being in a supportive role.  Whether it's working in a big office or a small startup, one of my strengths is that I am SUPER organized to the point where I am annoying, but hey, some people need that!   Why do you think so many "Virtual Assistants" are popping up?  

Many people are venturing out with a business on their own (that's awesome!) but there comes a time where they realize that they can't DO IT ALL on their own.  It could be accounting, social media, updating blogs, managing a newsletter, or wherever else they drop the ball with, there's always going to be a need for extra help.  If this is what you feel drawn to doing, then walk, no, stomp down that path and own it!

Follow me on Twitter @inkandcoffeegal

Use Gmail For Your Business Email

Previously published at Pulp Sushi, April 2015

Today I want to share a friendly tip that some of you may not know about which could come in handy...

Gmail_domain

You may be wondering if it's okay to use a Gmail address for your business or should you set up a "me@mybusiness.com" email.  

I don't have a problem with either one but some experts say that if you want a professional presence, it's better to have your domain name email so you look legit.  Here is how to manage your domain email through your Gmail account. 

I get it, checking different inboxes can be a pain in the neck.  If you have a Gmail account, not only can you forward the email to your Gmail, but you can respond (in Gmail) using your Domain email, here's a screenshot from my Gmail: 

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Pulpsushi.com is hosted by GoDaddy and that includes a few email addresses, I think five but I've been with them for a very long time so that may have changed.  I like to streamline everything as much as possible. I can't be signing in to GoDaddy to check pulpsushi.com emails because I forget and it will sit there forever.  So it all goes to my Gmail inbox. 

In Gmail, go to Settings > Accounts and Imports, this is how my Settings appear:

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As you can see, my default email is actually "marilyn@pulpsushi.com", not even my Gmail address. Not only can you add email addresses, but you can have Gmail check your other email addresses, that is how the emails are forwarded to your account. 

When I get an email to marilyn@pulpsushi.com, I have the option to respond using the same email address or switch to my Gmail account (see above).  There is a drop down arrow next to the "From" field in the email window where you can select which return email address to use.

Sometimes I switch to my Gmail because some inboxes are weird with domain emails. I have a friend who if I email them using the pulpsushi.com address, they won't get it but they will get my Gmail email.  Some inboxes have their filters set up differently so it's nice to have that option and not get lost in someone's spam folder.  There you have it, easy-peasy! 

Do you keep a separate inbox for business and personal? Any email management tricks you have?

Follow me on Twitter @inkandcoffeegal

Favorite iPhone Photography Apps For Instagram

This is a follow up to my previous post about Promoting Your Jewelry Business On Instagram.  Since writing that blog post, I have created a separate Instagram for personal non-jewelry stuff which you can check out @marilyn_coffeeink.

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I use Frametastic when I want to show more than one item in a photo but I also like "Layout" which Instagram released in 2015.  It's sorta kinda built in to IG to collage your images which you can do quick and dirty.  

A pet peeve I have on Instagram is when someone uploads several images at once (like from a concert) so I'm scrolling through nothing but what they're sharing, it can get annoying. Break that shit up!  This might change with with their algorithm updates so we'll see. That's why I like to use frames, like when I go to see wrestling live: 

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 11.09.07 AMSee? There's my whole night in one shot for you to double-tap and move along.  I love this feature.

I knew I was going to be all over the A Beautiful Mess app once it was released.  I like to use it write text on my images for promotional stuff.  Plus they have a lot of neat doodles and pretty things you can add to your pictures.   It came in really handy when I changed my Instagram name. 

Boo

The Repost app is pretty awesome. It lets you share or "regram" a photo from another Instagram account. For example, it's great for giveaways when you're asked to regram the image. It saves time taking screenshots and then adjusting the size.  There is a similar app on Google Play called PhotoRepost.

The latest app I started using is Snapseed (iTunes and Android).  Like VSCO, it has cool filters, editing, and adjustment tools to bring out the best in your images. I still use VSCO Cam because I like to have options -  it's available on iTunes and Google Play.  

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I really try to limit how much I adjust my images.  I use these apps to make them look their best, not to turn them into a completely different image.  In the beginning of my Instagram days, I went nuts with filters and tones and aaaaahhh look at all this cool shit!!! Now I'm over it and a bit smarter about it.  I got this thing where I don't want to lie to people but sometimes the phone can't quite capture what I'm trying to show off (like a Full Moon, I've given up taking pictures of Full Moons).

Not exactly a photo editing app but I gotta mention IFTTT.  When I found the recipe on IFTTT to share your IG images on Twitter as an IMAGE and not a link, I was all over it. IFTTT is the best, I use IFTTT for automated EVERYTHING.  

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What are your favorite photo editing apps? 

Follow me on Twitter @inkandcoffeegal

Planning With A Purpose: My Passion Planner Review

You guys, I think I finally found the planner that will keep me in check!  It's easy to be tempted by pretty book covers, colorful tabs, and cute inserts but I don't need all those things. I just need a book that puts everything right in front of me, and I remember to to LOOK at it every day - meet my Passion Planner!

Passplan

There are no apps or electronic devices that keep it all my tasks in order for me.  My planner and I got together by fate.  I saw a message in a Facebook group and my friend Kimberley from Smashfire Designs posted something along the lines of "Hey guys! I got an extra planner! Who wants it?" and with the quickness I jumped in with "MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!" Now it is my favorite thing and I've been so committed to it, I'm proud of myself! 

I get emails from Indie Shopography and a recent email was about slowing down and focusing.  When I try to keep everything in my  head, I will miss something and realize it too late.  My problem is sometimes I need to get everything done NOW!  Having a planner like this not only lets me organize and map out my tasks, but it really makes me think about what needs to be done and by when and in turn, helps me to pace myself and slow down ah ha!

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Not only is Passion Planner a calendar, it gives you personal prompts and nuggets to reflect on weekly and monthly.  Passion Planners are meant to inspire, challenge yourself, declutter, and stay organized all in one place.  It's a nice way to think about how far you've come and what lies ahead.  Plus it's got a nice space for doodling. 

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Besides, where do you think I get some of my Instagram quotes from? 

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You can check out Passion Planners on their website.  Their Instagram is pretty neat too!  I'm pretty sure I'll be ordering one for 2017. 

Do you still a planner to manage your life?  Or is it all in your phone or tablet?

Follow me on Twitter @inkandcoffeegal

Make Way For Awesome

Find a way, or make a way

Yeah, I'm doing the Instagram inspiration quotes again. What can I say? They're fun to do, nice to look at, and they give you something to think about, even if for a few seconds before going about your day.  This quote is from Sir Philip Sidney, the English Poet.

We live in a unique time where "success" is defined in so many different ways and it's awesome.  When I was growing up, "success" was pretty cut and dry - graduate high school, go to college, get a job in the field which you majored in, and/or probably be in Corporate America.  Now there's more acceptance to "do what you love" and do what makes you happy - but it's not that easy.  If you like the steady 9 to 5 office life with sure benefits and income, and that's enough to get you through your day, thumbs up!!

Let's face it, life is short, and there's a lot of bad stuff going on in the world.  Why not make our short time here spent doing what makes us happy? I know we can't ALWAYS be happy, there are times where we need to do things we don't want to do - I don't want to clean my apartment, but I also don't live in a mess nor do I want to hire a cleaning person, so I clean the apartment...eventually.

It seems to be an ongoing theme here where I keep writing about pursuing your passions, it's an issue I strongly believe in now that I feel like I am at the other side of the fence where I am happy with where I am.   This is after years and years and years working a job I didn't care about and building a career I was not that interested in.  You have to go through years of crap and tears and soul searching before you really discover what you want to do with your life.

The job market in Dutchess County SUUUUUCKS! That is why so many people who live here, still commute to NYC every day and 3 hours a day on a train, 15 hours a week, 780 hours a year just sitting on a train and that's if the train is even on schedule and running smooth (which hardly does, especially in the evening).  

What I see happening throughout the mid-Hudson Valley, are people doing it for themselves, real "DIY" and making their own jobs - real jobs, not lazy  bullshit "passive income" jobs, but really getting their hands dirty.  Grant it, some people I know opened businesses a few years ago and have since closed but at least they tried and had good runs.  

Three years ago, I never though I would work in Blogging and Social Media but that is where I am now and soooo different from where I was back then (where I was only dreaming of starting over).  If you're stuck in a rut and feel like you want more, but there doesn't seem to be a way to get there - maybe you need to change your perception.  An opportunity may be in front of you and you're too busy looking in the wrong direction.

Follow me on Twitter @inkandcoffeegal

Freshbooks Review For Freelancers - Bookkeeping Made SO Easy!

Freshbooks

Recently I had an epiphany and realized that maybe I shouldn't keep using spreadsheets to track my time for invoices. I'm sorta new to whole Freelance thing so I'm still learning about invoicing and keeping track of EVERYTHING. After some research, I signed up for Freshbooks which I first heard about from Emily & Kathleen's Being Boss podcast. Do you listen to them? They're great!

Freshbooks is designed for the non-accountant, the small business or creative person that hates doing the numbers stuff.  It is so simple to use that I'm kind of obsessed with it now. 

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What sold me on Freshbooks that I did not find with other online bookeeping services is that it allows me to accurately track my time. I no longer have to short change myself nor overcharge my client for the work that I do. I just love that little pop-up timer.   Once you have all your time plugged in, you can generate a swank looking invoice that displays all of your unbilled time and tasks - very professional looking. 

Plus they got a killer app! Not only can I still track time,  create and send invoices, I can also take a picture of a receipt and upload it as an expense, all on my phone, heeeeey!

Freshbooks iPhone App

What about getting paid?  You can accept Credit Card payments through Freshbooks or connect to your PayPal and/or Stripe account.  It's super easy.  You can also connect it to your Bank Account to keep better track of your expenses.   

Last, if you like looking at the big picture, you can quickly run just about any type of report - Profit/Loss, Expenses, Time Tracking, Tax Summary, Tasks Invoiced, and so much more. 

So here's what's up! All Freshbooks links in this post are my referral links.  You can try it out for 30 days free like I did and see if it works for you.   It's especially great if you're a Freelancer and you deal with multiple clients.  It can get crazy keeping track of time worked and expenses made for who.  If you're new to Freelancing, check out this awesome infographic from Freshbooks to show you what you are in for after the jump!

What do you use for tracking your Finances for your business? Are you still using spreadsheets like I was for many years?

 

Continue reading "Freshbooks Review For Freelancers - Bookkeeping Made SO Easy!" »

Follow me on Twitter @inkandcoffeegal

Working Breakfast Date At Ella's Bellas

Sometimes I need to get the hell out of my apartment. It's hard for me to get together with friends during the day because they work and my hours are wack-a-doo.  Thank God for Jess from Knot By Gran'ma!  I can just email her at random and ask if she wants together for a "Working Breaking Date" and she'll be down.  She can relate to my situation as a mom who works from home and while her kids are at school, she can get a little stir crazy too.  So let's get crazy together!

We recently headed to Beacon to hang out at Ella's Bellas.  Sometimes, you just gotta go to a pretty cafe, drink coffee, work and shoot the shit.  That's exactly what we did.  

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You can see my hands reflected on the spoon.  We scored a sweet rustic white metal table. I almost want to say it's something you would see in an old doctor's office. 

Before I stirred up my latte, I was given a heart.

My view for the morning.

  

Proof that I was actually working - you know I had to take a pic like this or else I would lose my "Blogger Card." Messy muffin, don't care!  This was a lot of fun and I need to do stuff like this more so I don't completely lose touch of what human interaction should be like.   I need to stay on Jess' ass about trying to do this once a month.  Maybe more people will join us and it can become a "thing."

Do you like to work outside of the home?  Where do you like to go? Do you have a favorite spot? 

Follow me on Twitter @inkandcoffeegal

Starting Over: A New Career

Ask and you shall receive! I mentioned earlier this month wanting to take on a second Freelance gig.   Well I gone ahead and did just that! I'm happy to share that I have joined the team at Rogue Social as their Social Media Coordinator. I guess I better update my tasks I do at home

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I make jokes about being old, I know I'm not "old" but I have some experience under my belt and I entered the corporate world right out of high school. I've only had office jobs, never worked a cash register at a store or a "Summer Job."  I was a Business major in college because that was the degree to get if you wanted to make money.  I didn't like it. I was an okay student but nothing to brag about.  I got a BA in Psychology and landed a job in Human Resources. While I bounced around, HR stuck with me for 16 years until I left my last job in 2014.

While in HR, I was building Pulp Sushi and getting into social media for promoting my Etsy shop and blog.  Then I started seeing people talk about social media like it was a real thing, then it turned into a real thing! It's not just teenagers dicking around talking to their friends, it became a serious tool for all types of businesses big and small. Not everyone "gets" social media and how to use it - there is a science to it.  It became a job for some companies, "Social Media Manager/Strategist/Coordinator." A new line of work just develop over the last 15 years!  I wanted in!  I'm tired of HR!

I gained more experience doing some social media for Typepad, it's part of our customer service. Ok, I can do this for another business that's not my own, yay!  I wanted to do more.  When a friend posted on Facebook that A Little Beacon Blog was looking for a freelance Social Media Coordinator, I said "Screw it!" and contacted them, not expecting to get it, I was wrong.  Now I get to tweet and Instagram for another blog besides my own.  Am I considered a Social Media Professional yet??  I was a little apprehensive giving myself that title but now that I'm working with an actual social media company, I am super excited to get my hands dirty and working with clients directly. 

It took a couple of years from just thinking about it, to actually pursuing social media work.  The timing had to be right for things to fall into place. 

Have you changed careers? Was making the transition easy or challenging?

Follow me on Twitter @inkandcoffeegal