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Starting a Freelance Business is Not All Passion

Do you have a lot of passion to start and run a freelance business? Put that passion aside for a minute… as it can easily get in the way of success. Our how to start a freelance business – in Australia book will show you how tending to areas like budgeting, positioning, and writing useful content will put you on the right path.

Do you know what area you’re going to be in yet? It’s crucial, we’ve found, to put your best foot forward in a distinctive niche – rather than being yet another graphic designer.  Or are you further along and know what to go into… but haven’t yet attended to all the finer details of setting up a successful business? Details like voicemail message, website, business name, bookkeeping system, etc.

In the little book, How to Start a Freelance Business, you’ll get really simple advice on:

  • Choosing a Specialty
  • Your Positioning in the Marketplace
  • Business Setup and Costs (managing in the first year)
  • Finding Freelance Work, including the importance of referrals
  • Marketing your Services
  • Website Planning, and
  • Information Marketing (in your downtime).


A business book for those who dislike reading dense text

Because of the coloured headings, you’ll find it incredibly easy to scan. A glossary explains the modern marketing terms used, while a table on the Social Media types (9 or more) provides ideas for social media use.

As it is for those eager to start out with a simple service, this book is not longwinded. At only 97 pages long, it’s just enough to get you started on all the facets you need… particularly for Australians.

Guest freelancers also tell of their experience in freelancing, giving open and honest advice for new starters. Your own mindset is a big part of a winning formula!

Buy How to Start a Freelance Business: in Australia online ($22-30)… or buy it from the author here for $23 including shipping.

How to Start a Freelance Business in Australia


Creating influence with Video!

This week, let’s delve into the advantages of creating video promotions for a channel. Whether it’s video trailers for books, short promos for a business, or video marketing for an online course, videos can be a great canvas for expressing ideas visually.

Good ones will interest new readers and great ones might prompt a click to a sales page.

There are several ways to build influence through Video Promotions. Here are some of the latest ideas:

  1. Share a personal tip with your LinkedIn or Facebook connections. Rough and raw is OK, but it’s better if there are key words as captions — since many watch with the sound off.
  2. Promote your book with several Text-over-Stock-photo videos – Lumen5 makes this super-easy and can even create the draft video straight from a blog post!
  3. Use reviews from your clients and ensure you highlight any 4 and 5-star reviews on it (See ibuildsocial for that service).
  4. Use a videographer and highlight how your work with people makes a big difference. This can be used in social media ads (e.g. Instagram ads) and on your website.


What Kinds of Videos do I Learn From?

While animations and novelty videos are popular, it’s better to represent my personal brand in a way that people learn something. It’s good to see natural faces, with clear ideas, for that. When I was interested in author marketing, I went to find authors who are doing valuable video education. The winner was the author of “Platform”, Michael Hyatt, who has 22,400 Youtube channel subscribers. Coming a close second, via blogging and videos about writing, was Joanna Penn.

It’s nice to see successful authors sharing what they’ve learnt, isn’t it?


Video Promotions for Small Business

When you’re thinking of making a video promotion for your business, it’s better to think from the audience side. So you want to consider what’s of interest to them at the awareness stage… What types of things (that you know about) do many of your customers search for?

If you go to the trouble of getting a videographer, then ensure that you also get quality video editing. It’s usually an inexpensive service and a good editor can make a routine shoot (raw footage) into something impactful. (If you want a local video production recommendation, please enquire for we certainly know one)

With your own video production, you’ll need to think about WHERE you will put the video. Better quality is needed for putting eternally on your website, the highest for television, and lesser quality for a Facebook post. Vimeo encourages higher resolution and shows only your video once embedded (in Vimeo Pro), while YouTube may show other videos at the end but is free and has a vaster general audience.

A TV commercial costs between $5,000 and $110,000 to make, according to media producers, Lokomotion. Then comes the booking fee, which ranges wildly in price. So anything you make for online is going to be a fraction of that. For a long-term video to promote an established business with a lot to gain, you could budget $2,000 for production and editing costs.

Video Promotions on Social Media

But for just getting short promo videos out there on social networks, you can use free-ranging shots (via your phone camera or good webcam) and a tool like Wistia, if you don’t have a video specialist to put it together for you. (Full Wistia is about $136 per month, or do 3 Wistia-branded vids a month, free). This is perfect for sharing 1-minute videos to your LinkedIn network.

Wistia Learn is a good avenue for learning more about video making. Wistia also have a tool called Soapbox, which lets you take boring Slide Presentations and put yourself (on your web cam) right alongside them. It’s almost like having you there, making a sales presentation. (For create + share online, it’s free, or for promos; Solo plan is $300 a year).

The format – 16:9 or 4:3 or 1:1? We think Wikipedia answers this the best, and 16:9 seems to be the most popular format for television and computer screens these days. Square or 1:1 is good for Facebook and Instagram (regular).

Short on ideas? You can also use a tool like Dreamstime to search for video stock photography, and it costs about 15 credits per video item.


Case Study: Taking a Dud Website to a Lead Generating Machine

Today I’ll talk about taking a website that’s a branding eyesore or a postcard, in short a dud, to being: a Lead-Generating Machine! That’s leads, as in prospects… not lead as in metal. After many years of researching and working on website copy and content, I finally created a webinar with a live website case study (which I pick apart).

What I look at in a website content review goes quite deep. First, it looks at logical reader progression – does the website copy flow normally and easily down the page? Are the important parts hidden away or are they nice and clear?

We need to find out WHO you are talking to and what language to use. That’s how we choose the style of voice in the first place.

But we also look at brand tone of voice – does it align with the brand personality, values and the company story. Or is it just plain dull.

Next, we need to develop relevant content (pages or posts) to reach prospects where they already hang out. Research what they ask within keyword searches.

You then have the technical SEO elements to think about. So, any duplicate content, duplicate tags, missing images, errors from lost links to pages, no descriptions, etc.

Importantly, when consulting, I look at whether your marketing system (CRM) or sales people are capturing the leads and following up with them fast. And whether there is a website lead magnet offer, trial, etc and how visible that is.

Then there is the email marketing system and the blog-to-social-media system to look at. Is that all taken care of? Is the blog limping along…? Can better headlines mean much better reader attraction?

So, target market research and article marketing is also part of the picture.


If you want a Better Website and a Lead-Generating Machine

If this is all making your head spin, then please:

Join my live webinar on first Monday of every month… (7 pm). You can also ask questions about your own marketing:

11 percent super

Stop those Money Leaks!

There are many, many things that cause money leaks in your financial affairs. Uncover some of the hidden things that can rob your savings, and find out what you can do about it through these tips.

Superannuation Leaks

If you’ve got multiple Super accounts, you’re in fine company; millions of us do.  The trouble is, each fund charges admin fees – and it’s hard to keep track of more than one fund and what each happens to be invested in. So little leaks occur each year, leading to a smaller savings pot for you.

Fees make a huge difference over time, so ensure that you’re not paying more than the average of 1% in administration fees in your super. If you already have life insurance, just check that automatic life insurance premiums are not also coming out of these other accounts. (My hubby was paying an extra $700 a year in insurance premiums – automatically elected!)

One-third of us have a rolled over account with Australian’s MySuper – as this is the government-regulated, default super account. Now, the Government is ensuring that accounts in Australian Super with less than $6,000 will be tracked and ‘looked after’ by the ATO, and you might find it through MyGov if you have a lost fund.

Performance is another strong factor to consider — look at this super comparison chart, which maps the performance of a $50,000 super account in an industry fund, a retail fund, or Australian Super. Look back at your annual super statements — how much did yours grow?  The asset allocation can make a huge difference — while my little fund grew by a total $20,000 over 5 years (only $2750 was voluntary), my spouse’s little fund hardly grew at all — with the insurance premiums and fees offsetting any value growth.

It’s all your money people — look after it! 

A big problem is the laissezfaire attitude of workers, as found during the Productivity Commission:

“There are many people who don’t even bother to check their fund balance when the statement arrives (or who don’t read the details). They don’t understand that the money they put aside till later is an investment that will grow.”  — InDaily


What to do about Multiple Super Accounts

Don’t let that be you. Register for and manage your super by creating a myGov account and link it to the ATO (it’s a simple step). You can then:

  • See details of all your super accounts, including any you have lost track of
  • Find lost super held by super funds that you can roll over into a super account of your choice
  • Find ATO-held super – if the government, your super fund or your employer can’t find an account to transfer your super into, the ATO hold it on your behalf
  • Combine multiple super accounts by transferring your super into your preferred super account, with a rollover form.


How to Select your Own Super Fund

The recent Productivity Commission found that many young workers were signed to the default fund for their award, and a non-performing Superfund at that. Look around and ensure you select a low fee-paying Superfund, an industry fund, to keep for the long term. Canstar is one place where a consumer can get reports.  With Canstar’s comparison chart, look for a fund with 5 stars – meaning it has been reviewed across all features and fees and rated among the better ones.

Australian Super came out on top for my age & fund amount, with my actual super fund (Hesta) down in 13th position. I noticed though, that my statement does NOT show investment fees, only administration fees and contributions tax. I wonder where that’s hiding?

In the future, when younger people sign on for a new job, they should get the choice of going online into MyGov account and selecting their own Super fund for this new employer. Too easy!

______ Read my eBook How to Control Your Financial Destiny to gain a solid knowledge of investing and saving principles. It has good ROI 🙂 _______

Lost Bank Accounts. Lost Inheritances. Bonza!

About $1.3 billion in unclaimed funds is still available from old bank accounts, shares, investments and life insurance policies now matured, say ASIC MoneySmart. There are leaks all over the place – quick, grab me a money bucket!

Different types of funds are governed by different rules. Bank accounts become unclaimed (by ASIC) after 7 years if the account is inactive and over $500 (no deposits or withdrawals). So if you are looking for old account money, lost shares or lost life insurance funds, you will need to do an Unclaimed Money Search. Some figures below $500 will be held by the actual bank or another financial service. 

To claim, you will need to supply some credentials, such as a TFN, and your date of birth, and details of your search result (the OTN). Don’t forget to also type in your previous full name, if you changed your name by marriage or deed poll. State Revenue services also keep share dividends, funds from unclaimed wins, and life insurance payouts. See Unclaimed Money at ASIC Moneysmart.

Search State Revenue of NSW for unclaimed share dividends and managed funds, if you have lived there:

If you’re struggling with it – just contact me and I’ll help you get started.

Unclaimed Estates

Lots of people have died and left their assets behind, having lost touch with relatives. If there was no will and no probate granted and you’re a relative, you might have a shot at claiming the estate assets. You’ll need to provide ASIC with certain information about your personal details and relationships.

Since 2009, first cousins can also apply to unclaimed estates, but they wait behind brothers, sisters, parents, children, spouses, and grandparents.

See ASIC instructions for claiming intestate estates:

Deceased members’ superannuation also becomes unclaimed by other parties when “the superannuation provider, after reasonable efforts and time, cannot ensure the benefit is received by the person entitled to receive it.” (NSW Office of State Revenue)

It’s a good idea to nominate your next of kin on your Superannuation fund, so benefits can be shared to them without delay upon your untimely demise.

Don’t Pay Interest & Fees on Credit Cards

ASIC say that we owe nearly $32 billion and an average of $4,200 per card holder (interest $692 p.a.).

So a key savings tip is to work out your card Annual Fee/s + average interest paid + any other fees (it could be say, $800 p.a.). That’s a high price to pay for the convenience of short-­term lending, plus a few points… perhaps a free magazine.

Business Leaks

Finally, if you’re in any kind of business – from direct sales/party plan to a larger company, you can find money leaks too. They may be in the form of unused online subscriptions. Look at all your online subscriptions and see which ones are not needed or are too high a level. I found that Adobe Spark premium is free with my InDesign and replaces Canva in its capability. That saves me $15 per month.

For companies, it may be about over-charged accounting fees. Rely on your accountant for advice, but don’t pay crazy fees. e.g. You can transfer from a sole trader to a company for around $800 online at an ASIC-registered incorporation provider, and just pay for the structure advice separately beforehand with your normal accountant. Save yourself there.

If you have been talked into a Trust but only run a micro business that is low-ish risk, then look at why you are paying out trust accounting fees and admin per year. Essentially, that is eating into your profits.


This article was written by Jennifer Lancaster (c) Copyright 2018. Please support her writing by buying the money and mindset book for Aussies which interests you the most.

Handbook Publishing Support

Handbook publishing support

Recently we completed editing and typesetting of a Prenatal Yoga Handbook, mainly for yoga teachers. It contained over 81 hand-drawn illustrations that needed to be re-saved as smaller, grayscale format and inserted — as per the requirements of print on demand. Handbook publishing support is just part of what we do.

Regarding the final result, it was superbly finished and the tables came out nicely. The cover designed by Heather of Art & Design Studios was colourful and the whole thing stood out.

yoga handbook publishing support

What Type of Books/Handbooks Can You Make?

Handbooks for teachers are just one of many types of books you can get made with Print on Demand. Print on Demand books can be paperback (perfect bound usually) or hardback. It can also include high res photographs and be a different shape to usual, for those architectural or website design portfolio books.

If you think what your students or your clients really want to know, there is a book format for it. And you don’t have to put it in a binder and muck about!

  • How To books, like the Dummies series on complex topics. 200 – 300 pages.
  • Tips books, like my Power Marketing book, help people with different ideas and their pros/cons. 100 – 250 pages.
  • Your story plus learning examples. This style is great because it uses the power of story and yet readers can learn a lot from varied honest and raw anecdotes.
  • Experts tell all. Like the “Secrets of…” series, this is where you interview experts on a topic and follow a set structure so readers get key takeaways. Also good for offering a freebie bonus at the end of each section – e.g. an audio download, which helps the expert grow their own list. They like that!


Where Should You Distribute Your Handbooks?

Handbooks that illustrate various techniques are tuition guides for a niche audience. While large publishers don’t want a bar of such a select group, as a master, trainer or coach, you can distribute and sell the handbooks through:

a) your students

b) your other suppliers, e.g. associations you belong to, clubs you teach at, even the place that sells you the coffee you use at work!

c) offering to teach one simple element at relevant networking events, and sell them there

Think creatively about distribution, because just relying on the mass book retailers is not going to reach your niche audience as effectively. Your handbook needs to appear where no other books are being sold. Look what it did for Rich Dad, Poor Dad, who started selling the books in petrol stations, of all places!

You can get full handbook publishing support from me, Jennifer Lancaster, a book publishing coach.


Marketing Planning for Consultants

Have you ever done the revealing process of compiling a Marketing Plan?  If you do, you’ll discover what a difference it can make to your consulting business’s vision, plan, and future marketing strategy. (Get a Marketing Planning Template below).

People often overlook the most simple and helpful things in their rush to ‘get on with it’ and bring in some leads. If you’re presently stuck with poor website conversion, lost leads (due to wrong market fit), or dismal numbers from advertising, then going back to the planning and targeting stage is going to help you immensely.

The Government’s ‘My Business’ tools are handy—and the best part is, they’re free.  If you haven’t done a marketing plan or schedule yet, then take a look at the extensive Marketing Plan template and guide. In our forthcoming course Marketing for influencers, we provide a Marketing plan template, example, and message template.

A written Marketing Plan will help you see who your target is, your positioning and point of difference, and then in a Marketing Schedule, you can allocate time and money to the avenues that will attract that target the best.

Read Why Do I need a Marketing Plan? – Link to Template and Marketing Planning App.

What Could go Wrong if a Consultant doesn’t have a Marketing Plan?

Let’s say you don’t have a written marketing plan and someone offers you directory advertising. You flounder and then decide to pay for a feature profile, after all, you need a good start to your marketing. But if you haven’t done some research about your buyers (how they buy) and also allocated a marketing budget, you could be tipping out much of your annual budget on one unproven tactic. The audience of the directory might be too broad, too price conscious, or simply not aware of your sector.

If you don’t know your target market intimately, then you are pretty much firing off a gun in all directions… hoping to hit the person who wants your offering. (Look at doing our Niche Marketing email course, it’s totally free).

In Marketing, Positioning Counts

Everything in the plan is tied to another key element. As an example, in determining your market position, you decide on fairly high end, because in your market research you heard several times that business users just cannot get the sort of proprietary information and advice you have, and if they don’t then it costs them thousands (research linked to value and positioning).

To reach business users that have this problem, think about how they would find you. They don’t tend to flick through the Yellow Pages in pursuit of solutions, in fact they may not look on the web either. Yet speaking at a business seminar and offering your book will give a solution to this ‘hidden problem’ direct to a ready audience. (You can also ask questions and the interaction can uncover further pain points).

Thus you could tie this business target market to marketing tactics, and allocate a small budget for sponsoring a seminar (or talking for free at an alliance’s forum).

In my book Power Marketing, I advise business owners to think about what underlying message you are giving with your marketing. Malcolm McLaren said, “The medium is the message”. If using QR codes, you are implying that only people with smartphones are important to you. This would be the wrong medium if you wanted to reach the over 60s homeowner market, for example.

Find Gaps in Competitors’ Offerings

A lot of business proprietors tend to pitch themselves directly against competitors, but this is a poor strategy. This is because it may exacerbate price comparisons (and price wars) rather than pushing your value and unique qualities.

In your plan, you might analyse around four or five competitors. But how should you do this?

When I was writing website copy, I would do a Google search for a client’s best local competitors. Getting a brief, I noticed it was rare that any small business owner has already analysed their competition and could easily share their customer pain points, their point of difference, their strengths and weaknesses. Yet a copywriter cannot write engaging copy without knowing the client business’s differentiation.

Or in plainer language, you cannot get to their hearts and minds without knowing what’s important to the target customer!

It’s also common sense to look at gaps/weaknesses in a competitor’s strategy or products. It helps you differentiate your own business and then form marketing messages to prospects. That said, remember not to use the competitor research phase to ‘copy’. Find gaps and innovate.

You Can Charge More

A final point is, once you have got clear on your vision, researched competitors, know your target buyer intimately, and positioned your business well with high-quality marketing collateral (and you can deliver on promises) then you will be able to charge ‘In Demand’ rates. When your solution is in demand, and rare, then your rates can correspondingly go up.


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