Lisa is a TOP CERT freelancer here on PPH. She admits to working 8am until 8pm, 6 days a week and replies to emails until 11pm at night, but she loves her working life, the flexibility of being able to work from wherever she wants and is carefully crafting the development of her empire! To see our archive of other freelance interviews click here!
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into freelancing?
I was looking to supplement my income as the company I was working for was being shut down so that the owner could retire and I wanted to stay with them to assist with the closure of the business. I came across PPH and thought I’d give it a go. There were other freelance type websites but PPH seemed to pay a fair rate and there was a nice mix of skilled and unskilled work ideal for a new member. I was lucky enough not to have to wait very long to win my first job and got some valuable feedback which goes a long way on PPH to help secure further work.
What was your previous job before deciding to go freelance?
I was the Accounts Manager for a local transportation company. If numbers were involved the work came to my desk!
What was your first job like on PPH?
It was quite nerve-racking as I had no idea what to expect. Luckily the person I worked for was awesome. I was helping with a couple of years’ backlog of reports to consolidate. We did an hours training over the telephone and then away I went. That job lasted 2-3 weeks if I recall correctly and turned out to be a nicely paid job. I was working another job at the time and I do recall I had a couple of 4am finishes.
What is a typical day like for you?
The very first thing I do each morning is to check my email at home around 7am, check if I have any important messages to respond to or any work enquiries.
I arrive to the office around 8am and begin work – each day I do 5-6 hours for a regular client whose accounts I manage on Sage. I also run his social media for him.
I seem to be getting more blog work lately so usually a few blog posts per day are created. I will also proofread blogs written from the previous day and usually send the blogs over to the client for review.
My emails are monitored throughout the day as there are usually a few questions from potential clients. I also keep an eye on PPH to see if any suitable work is listed that I can apply for.
Each day will involve some credit control calls for various clients, I’ve worked credit control for local clients and also for clients based in the USA – I have to be aware of time zones to makes sure I can get hold of the right people to secure payment for my clients.
As I juggle so many different jobs for different clients I tend to run long days and often work 12-14 hour days. I work 6 days a week at the moment as I continue to establish myself on PPH.
Even when I return home I keep an eye on my emails and I have been known to be replying to clients at 11pm or later.
How does freelancing compare to a 9-5?
It is more like 8am to 8pm six days a week! But it is SO much better. I am my own boss, it has enabled me to run a business and be involved in every aspect of the work. Most other jobs I have had my role was quite fixed. I enjoy the variety. I’ve always enjoyed my working life so to be able to spend as much time “building my empire” as I like really suits me. Luckily my husband is an entrepreneur too so he completely understands!!
What benefits have you found by using PPH?
There are plenty of jobs to go around. The prices are fair and the money is held in escrow and, as yet, I’ve never had an unhappy client or any trouble securing payment. PPH are much more human than other sites for freelance work – you know there are people behind it who are ready to offer advice if you need it.
What does your future hold? Where would you like to take this?
I can’t see me ever giving up being my own boss. It has enabled me to build a business, employ support staff and I only intend to continue to build on that. I love that my work enables me to be mobile – I’ve taken holidays and kept my work up to date. Quite a liberating feeling to be on a street café in Valencia and working at the same time via PPH. Not many jobs offer that.
What are your top 5 tips for freelancers who are new to PPH?
• Don’t give up. The first job is the hardest to get – but once you have it that feedback rating will help you to secure more work.
• Don’t be afraid to charge what you are worth.
• Find an organisation system that works for you – do not miss a deadline, no client will want to find out they were forgotten.
• Do something you enjoy, I’ve always worked in accounts but have a creative side so I incorporated blog writing into my working life and it has taken off so well that I’ve sold over 800 blogs on PPH alone.
• Brace yourself for some long days, late nights and remember that hard work does pay off in the freelance business. (Make sure you have a good supply of coffee nearby!)
What are your top 5 tips for the products that you use for small businesses?
• I would be lost without my Microsoft package. I use Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook daily for my clients. Take time to keep up to date with new features – YouTube has some great videos to help you learn how to get the most out of your software.
• Asana – I use it to plan projects, particularly when I’m working with other people and we need to be aware of where each of us are at any given time.
• Use a calendar feature on your email package to set reminders for important dates – I use an Outlook calendar for a client so that I can make sure they are ready for important HMRC submission dates.
• Invest in the equipment you need. After a particularly good month last year I invested in a new computer that was a much higher spec than I had at the time and it enabled me to be able to get more done as I cut down time spent waiting for the computer to catch up as downloads were quicker and operating speed increased. I also suggest a large monitor if you spend a lot of time in front of a screen – reduces headaches and eye strain.
• If you have a never ending To-Do-List, invest in a Dictaphone so you can say your notes out loud. This saves time as you don’t have to jot them down and can delete each recording as and when you complete the work.
If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?
This was a tough one but I’m going to have to be VERY specific. If I were an animal I would be Ghost, the dire wolf companion of Jon Snow from Game of Thrones– I can’t wait to find out what happens next season!
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