Monday, 27 March 2017

Knowing Your Worth In Freelancing

You all may know that Katy and I have been freelancing for the past few months, and it's been a real learning curve. Prior to this, I'd only had very structured jobs that come along with very structured wages, and so when I started to freelance I didn't really know what I should be asking for when it came to pricing, or what work somebody would pay me to do. As Katy and I have gone on with our freelancing experiment, we've learned a lot very quickly; but. most notably, we've learnt what our freelancing is worth; and so if you're looking to start freelancing, here's some things that I think are important to know.

Once you know your worth, find regular clients
Once you know your worth, find regular clients and make sure that they're paying you what you know that your work is worth is the long run. As soon as you have regular payments and long term clients, make sure that you drop yourself from PeoplePerHour and UpWork and other similar sites that will take a huge cut of your money, especially when you're starting out and your wages aren't that great anyway. Stick to a pricing plan that suits you, and make sure that your clients know what you will and won't do for extra cash in terms of their business; these boundaries will help you to make sure that you're earning what you think you should be for the work that you're putting in.

Argue the toss, but not for the sake of it
Don't argue for the sake of it, and don't always push for more money, but make sure that you stand your ground and do so if you know that the work is worth more than you're being offered. We had a client offer £150 for three months worth of social media work, and after calmly explaining our social media plans and why this wouldn't be a good amount of money for the work that we would be putting in, this was upped dramatically. Don't push your luck, but make sure you're not underselling yourself, I've found out the hard way that it sets a precedent for future work if you do.

Know what work you can and can't do
Don't try to fumble your way through work if you don't know how to do it - most people will be willing to help you to learn how to do it, or they'll be happy to pass the work off to someone else as you do some alternative work. It's better to learn to do a job, or miss out on £20, than completely fucking up a job and losing a long term contact. Work out your skills and don't lie about them, but it's worth being open to new ones - just make sure that the person you're working for knows that they're new.

There's a hundred and one things that I've learned within the last few months, but these are definitely my top ones when it comes to freelance social media managing and content outsourcing; it's been a learning curve, but I definitely feel as though I'm getting to know my worth, my skills, and I'm getting a lot braver.

Leave what you've learned whilst freelancing in the comments, you could just teach me an important thing or two!

Sammy xo

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Hotel Chocolat Easter Goodies

I've been absent and sporadic when it comes to posts lately, but I'm back for what I hope is good, and my first post back is something that's close to my heart; chocolate. I'm not a big easter egg kind of person, but there's just something so beautiful about Hotel Chocolat's options that they regularly seem too good to resist. I feel like there's something a lot less childlike about chocolate when it's not in an egg shape, and so when Katy and I dug into some Hotel Chocolat offerings, it all felt very grown up - even when we ate it all within 24 hours. If you're looking for something a little more upmarket for your other half, or even yourself, for Easter look no further, because I've got you covered.

The amazing guys over at Hotel Chocolat basically gave me free reign to pick what I wanted out of their Easter collection, and so after much deliberation I opted for the Caramel Egg Sandwich and The Egg On My Face Slab. We'll start with the more basic option, The Egg On my Face Slab, which is a basic milk chocolate slab, with creamy white chocolate eyes. This thing is the typical offering from Hotel Chocolat, and although you have to shell out £8 for something that's basically just milk chocolate, you do get a whole lot of milk chocolate for your buck and I have to admit - it's really good. This is solid, thick milk chocolate with just the tiniest hint of which chocolate; it's amazing, smooth and it's just really, really good chocolate. Would I recommend it? Yes, but I'd be tempted to say maybe in the sale; because as good as the chocolate is, I'm not sure I can even shell out nearly a tenner on a slab of chocolate in any kind of good faith.

Next up though is something a lot more special, and something that I definitely would recommend, and that's the Caramel Egg Sandwich. Now, I'm tempted to say that this is pretty much the same amount of chocolate as the Egg On My Face Slab, although for a lot more money as this one actually will set you back an entire tenner, but this just feels like a lot more chocolate as it's split into two, and generally the caramel chocolate recipe from Hotel Chocolat is something really special, and it's definitely worth shelling out for (no pun intended.) ((okay, some pun intended, but it was at least semi-good)). Although this is pretty hard to eat, as the shells on the top of the sandwich are hollow and break the minute that your teeth hit them, it's worth all of the mess, and the seemingly extortionate price.

All in all - Hotel Chocolat is expensive, no doubt about it; there's no point in beating around the bush and pretending that it's anything other than a really, really expensive treat that someone special would get you, or you'd get someone special. For Easter though, they've really excelled themselves, and if you're looking to treat yourself, or someone in your life, definitely opt for their caramel chocolate options and try to savour every single minute. If you're not willing to shell out the full price (there's that pun again), definitely keep your eyes wide open when it comes to the sale, because you'll get some good options, some good chocolate, and some good pricing.

Let me know your favourite Hotel Chocolat options in the comments!

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

How Do We Travel So Much?

If there's one question that Katy and I seem to get asked at least once a day lately, it's how on earth do we travel so much? I mean, it's actually "how are you affording it?" but that doesn't really make sense as a standalone question and so I opted for the more all-encompassing, and much more click worthy title of; how do we travel so much? There was a lot of time during our relationship where Katy and I simply couldn't afford to travel, we could barely afford to live away from home, and we definitely couldn't afford to go to America (like we are next year). So, what changed that made us suddenly able to afford multiple holidays a year?

This isn't about to get all philosophical - but in basic terms, what changed was us as people. In the time that we were apart we learnt what mattered to us, we had cancelled our lease on what was set to be our joint flat, and about a month into living with Katy's parents we decided that living together in our own space was a secondary dream for us, and so was our wedding; because our primary dream suddenly became clear; we wanted to travel. We wanted to take the chance to travel when we were paying minimal rent, when we could come home to food in the fridge, and people to look at our photographs, and the fire already lit. Before we created our own life together, our own world, we wanted to explore the one that was already out there.

So, we started working out how we could afford to do it. It started with jobs, then extras hours, then freelance on top of that. Then came the cull; we couldn't spend as much as we were spending on makeup, or fast food, or taxis - we had to learn to live basically so that our travelling was anything but. Essentially; we made a decision. We made a decision that travelling was a priority to us; it was more important to us right now than saving for a wedding, or paying rent on a flat, or having our own dog, or having pizza twice a week, or getting taxis when we could walk or get buses.

We learn to use the system so we could afford it; £1000 Thomas Cook all-inclusive packages are still out of our budget if we want to pay upfront (and we do), and so we became all too familiar with Air BnB and cheap flights from Skyscanner and Norwegian airways - we quickly realised that it wouldn't be pools and panoramic views, but with a little bit of determination and searching it definitely could be tiny apartments in perfect locations. We learned that whilst we might not be going to capitals, we could explore beautiful cities and see things our friends might never see - and it's amazing, and magical, and exactly what I wanted from my travelling experience.

What I learned about travelling when we work minimum wage jobs and freelance sporadically is you have to make it your priority, and you have to be willing to dig for offers; but more than anything, you have to be flexible. It'll be worth every penny, trust me.

Sammy xo.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Magnitone Barefaced

I'm lazy. Not like won't get out of bed in the morning type lazy (although I am that too) but in the context of this blog, I'm 'definitely-not-going-to-wash-my-face-when-I-could-use-these-make-up-wipes-right-here' type lazy. I love washing my face, I like how it feels when it's done and it's just so satisfying and life-affirming when you know that you've been together enough to at least wash your face with something more than cotton wool and a micellar pad this morning. Call me fickle (in fact seriously do, I made my blog around that as a trait), but having a gadget or something pretty to help me feel more inspired when it comes to washing my face each morning definitely helps; and luckily for me, the Magnitone Barefaced is both.

When Magnitone sent me a Barefaced Brush (they sent me some other goodies too, but we are testing them to the max and so the review for those will be with you in a while) I thought it was a little gimmicky. Cute? Sure, it was pastel pink and came with it's own adorable pouch, but worth the money? Well, I wasn't so sure. These adorable little face brushes come with a not so adorable £70 price tag - and that's a whole lot for something that I didn't think I was going to get much use of, and so I took to trying this at least once a day so I could get into a routine with it and let you know whether or not this was truly worth the money, if you used it to it's full potential.

I tried using this each morning, with my normal cleansing routine every night to take my make up off, and I don't have sensitive skin, but this really did seem to be a little much for my skin, and after a few days it seemed to be really itchy and irritated whenever anything came into contact with it. It wasn't such a big deal, but something to bear in mind - however, once I took this down to just using it every other day, it seemed much better. To be fair to this, I'm willing to retract my initial thoughts and statement about it seeming like a gimmick, because unlike other brushes in the past that I've used, I'm tempted to say that this facial brush works.

I think that at first my doubt stemmed from the fact that this doesn't seem to move much; it definitely isn't a facial brush that alarmingly spins around with bristles that seem to dance in strange directions. Instead, this is a slightly moving brush head that feels as though it's barely moving at all on your skin, but don't be fooled - there's a lot of power behind such a powerful movement, and my face does feel really clean, and almost exfoliated by the time I'm finished. You really don't need to do this once a day in my opinion, every other day is more than enough.

Beautiful, effective and a really pretty colour - it seems like Magnitone has outdone itself with the Barefaced brush. If you've tried a Magnitone, I'd love to hear your opinions!

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Overwhelmed, Money Troubles, An Update.

I'll be honest with you guys, I'm overwhelmed. It feels strange to sit here and type in this box, I feel as though it's been months since I've done this, not weeks - as I'm doing it, my mind is half here, and half somewhere totally different, thinking about the task that I have to do next. It's been a long time since my brain has been fully occupied, since it's had more than one job to do, since it's had to think, process, develop ideas, keep in a certain head frame. It's been a while since I've done a job outside of my blog, outside of events, writing for companies and trying out makeup.

Some of you may know that for the last year or so, I've really struggled with money. I'm not talking about the idea that I've not been able to go out with my mates because I'm on my last tenner a week before payday, I'm talking about the fact that I got turned down for credit cards, I was in so much debt that my debit cards were blocked, I was out of money, out of luck and I couldn't get a job for shit. For the last year, I have been in a constant cycle of sleepless nights, trying to work out how I'm paying to get to uni the next day, and never being able to buy anything that I like because I simply don't have the money; whether the item was £1 or £900.

I've had to buy myself out of some seriously big overdraft charges this year, I've had to take £1400 out of an overdraft; and I'm only now starting to get into the swing of my job trying to pay this off and pay for the life that we want to have; I'm freelancing, working on overtime, working all the time - still trying to keep up with university, a social life. I'm nearly at the point where I've paid off my debts and I'm learning to save better, budget better, work harder, and more, for the things that I want, that I want for Katy and I. I'm overwhelmed, and I'm trying - but I still haven't managed to find that balance between work, play, and the ability to afford life.

I've neglected Little Fickle - and though it's not the end of the world - it certainly seems like a physical manifestation of what I've let slip in my life in the last few weeks. I love Little Fickle, I built it up from the ground to where it is now; which is at least the height of a curb. I've let my relationships slip, I've not slept enough - I've been overwhelmed trying to dig myself out of a hole that I've been in for over a year now, but I'm getting there. I think. I'm trying.

So that's where I've been - bear with me, if any of your care that I've been away, and I'm trying my best to get back into a routine.

Sammy xo.