How do I hire you?
We will start by having a
I will then go away and create a proposal for you to review and feedback on as required. Should we decide to proceed (and there will be no pressure from me on this, that's not my style), I will send you a contract and a data processing agreement (to ensure we are both protected and in compliance with GDPR) for us both to sign. An invoice will follow for the project fee or coming month's retainer and when that is paid, we can begin!
You can read more about my client onboarding process here so you know exactly what to expect.
What are your working hours?
I "officially" work between 9:00am and 5:00pm GMT/BST Monday to Friday and the majority of my work is completed within these times. However, as I work with clients located across multiple time zones, I also open up meeting slots in my calendar up to 9:00pm GMT/BST on 2 to 3 evenings a week to provide additional flexibility.
I also have some limited capacity for work outside of these times, so if you have some specific requirements on working times or know you will want me available for time-sensitive projects (e.g. product launches), please let me know during the proposal stage so I can ensure I can commit to meeting your requirements and that we are both clear on each other's communication expectations and can work with them.
One of the joys of running your own business is the additional flexibility it affords, so from time to time I do adjust my schedule (e.g. starting later, taking a day off etc), however, this will not impact any client deliverable deadlines.
How do I communicate with you?
To accommodate my clients' preferred communication styles, I use email, Slack and Voxer for day-to-day communication. For video calls and meetings, I primarily use Zoom, but also have the capacity to use Google Meet and Microsoft Teams if the client has a heavy preference towards one of the latter.
I do not communicate with clients about the work I do for them via social media, DMs or otherwise. These days, there are an almost infinite number of communication channels and if they are not limited, takes up more time to constantly switch between channels (not good for anyone's productivity) and increases the chances of something being missed.
My clients also get a dedicated client portal which houses all of their important documents (e.g. contract and invoices) in one easy-to-access place.
Please be aware I do not offer an "on-demand" service, which means you cannot have instant access to me at all times (exceptions can be made over short periods, such as if we are in the middle of a launch). While I will always try and "jump" whenever my clients need something last minute, I look to work with clients where "rush" jobs will be by exception only and not the status-quo. This helps me plan my work efficiently and allows me to serve my clients in the best way possible.
How quickly to your respond to emails?
During weekdays I aim to respond to all forms of communication within 24 hours. I obviously prioritise my workload, so for truly urgent requests, the time frame will most likely be shortened.
For productivity purposes, I do not check my emails and other channels of communication throughout the day. Instead, I allocate two daily slots to check and respond to messages, usually at the beginning and end of my working day.
A successful working relationship requires effective communication on both sides to establish trust, particularly if you are working virtually. This is one of my first discussion points when taking on new clients to ensure our expectations are aligned.
I need someone that has experience in a specific system, do you use it?
I have worked with a lot of systems, but certainly not all of them! However, I am very tech-savvy and pick new systems and tools up really quickly, especially because I have experience with at least one system in every major category (e.g. project management tools, CRM, CMS, accountancy, email marketing platforms, social media schedulers, graphic creation tools, I could go on!)
I also LOVE the opportunity to learn new things and expand my skill set as standing still is never an option for me. For this reason, unlike many other service professionals, I operate a billable/non-billable rate structure, whereby any time I spend learning a new platform when we begin our working relationship (which with as many platforms as there are out there, has happened with almost every client I have ever had!) is not billed to the client as I see it as an investment in my skills and business.
Please note that if you are using a very niche or custom system or tool (i.e. one I won't be able to or am highly unlikely to use for another client), the above rate structure does not apply.
I don’t know exactly what I want, I just know I need help!
Don't worry, this is actually really common, particularly if you having been running things by yourself. We will sort through the overwhelm together by going through your business goals and journey to establish that my services are the right fit for you and how I can best support you with where you need to go.
While nowadays I do employ help to run my business, when I first started working online I did absolutely everything by myself, so I am familiar with the challenges it can bring. Often just having someone to talk to and bounce ideas off can be so valuable in bringing clarity to a situation!
I know that I need help, but I’m really struggling with the idea of letting someone else into my business!
Again, this is a very normal way to feel if you’re used to doing everything yourself! I really work on building trust with my clients; the whole point of me being there is to make their lives easier and allow their business to continue down the road of success.
This starts with great communication and total transparency to build a relationship together and I will do everything I can to put you at ease when taking this massive step in your business. I would encourage you to
Why should I hire a contractor over an employee?
Ultimately, you need to make the right choice for your own business, but hiring a contractor over an employee can be advantageous primarily because of the flexibility, ease and cost transparency.
I can be hired on a short or long term basis and you don't even need to decide which when we begin working together. For monthly retainer work, you can choose to terminate my services with 30 days notice, for whatever reason.
You only pay me for the hours I work and I cover all my own overheads, including all taxes, pension contributions and you don't pay me sick or holiday pay.
Can I meet you in person?
On a day-to-day basis, I only communicate with clients via email, Slack, Voxer or Zoom. I am, however, open to conducting meetings in person should our geographical locations permit it.
Please be aware that dependant on the frequency of meetings required and your location, my travel expenses may become billable.
Despite the virtual nature of my work, I do love to meet my clients in person though, so if you are ever near me, let me know and let's grab a coffee! For my US-based clients, I am over in New York twice a year (or I was until 2020!) visiting my family if you ever fancy catching up then!
What happens when you take a holiday or get sick?
I will always aim to give you a minimum of 7 days notice when taking 7 consecutive days off for holiday and 14 days notice for more than 7 consecutive days off for holiday. The nature of my business will mean that I will always plan my time to complete any required work before I leave, however I do generally retain capacity to be able to perform urgent tasks while away, or if appropriate, will work with you to source an alternative solution during my absence.
As a contractor, I rarely have the luxury of being too sick to work! In addition, I generally organise and plan my workload to accomodate short term sickness with clients seeing little to no impact (i.e. not working too close to deadlines).
To prepare for any potential (hopefully never!) longer term sickness, I keep documented business processes and am always working on building my freelancer network to present viable alternatives to ensure as minimal impact on your business as possible.
You do not pay me sick or holiday pay, as a contractor it is solely my responsibility to cover these costs myself.
How do I pay you?
I can invoice in three different currencies, GBP, USD and EUR. I will automatically invoice you in the currency of the country that you live in (or in USD if you live in a country that doesn't use one of these currencies), however, if you wish to pay in an alternative currency, just let me know!
You can pay via credit card, debit card or bank transfer, whatever works best for you!
All the details of how to pay will be provided on your invoice. Projects are billed 50% upfront, with the final 50% due after our milestone meeting at the halfway point. Retainer contracts are billed monthly in advance on the first working day of each month. All invoices are due to be paid within 7 days of issue.
Are you insured?
Should the absolute worst happen, I do have professional indemnity insurance with PolicyBee that is specifically designed for online contractors. It protects me against any compensation claims for negligence or mistakes, as well as covering any legal costs.
I obviously aim to never be in a position to have to use this, but I absolutely believe in safety nets and being as prepared as possible for both myself and my clients.
Do you contract out work?
It depends on the needs of the client. For some, I am their first "hire", while others need me to work with or manage their existing team or want me to build out a team for them. The latter I can do with other contractors for the ultimate flexible workforce, or with employees, whichever fits best for their business.
Depending on the work that needs doing for my client, I may recommend that some of the more specialised or administrative tasks required are contracted out. The client then has two choices, either they can use my team or I can take on the responsibility of hiring on their behalf.
The use of any contractors will form part of my initial proposal and if anything changes, this will always be discussed with the client first.
What business continuity plans do you have in place?
I am a huge advocate of business continuity or disaster recovery plans (I actually have these for my personal as well as professional life!). These are the things I have in place for my clients, just in case:
- I use LastPass for secure password generation, management & storage (this also allows you to safely and securely share your passwords with me).
- The data on my computer, laptop and phone is regularly continuously synced to the cloud.
- I have a spare laptop, phone and chargers should my main devices break.
- I have secondary WiFi access with a different network provider should my main WiFi fail.
- I document my main business processes, particularly for regular client work, which I can share with you.
- I am constantly working to develop my network of trusted Online Business Managers, Virtual Assistants and other contractors that I can recommend in the very unlikely event I am unable to complete any services (or if something is outside my skillset).
- All of my business processes are mapped out with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), so if I unexpectedly had to take a leave of absence, my business could operate without me.
- If we work together over a longer period of time, I will encourage you to create your own business continuity processes and increase your online security, which of course I can implement for you!
What if I decide I no longer want to work with you?
The nature of much of the work I undertake is that it is inherently flexible; you may only need me to support you while you go through a business change or growth phase, to get a certain project off the ground, or if you need to spend more time at home for personal reasons.
You may not know how long you need me when you hire me and that is absolutely fine. If you employ me on a retainer basis I only need 30 days notice before terminating services.
There is a huge number of factors that can influence your ability to contract out services and as a small business owner myself, I understand the landscape can change very quickly and that can have an impact on your requirements for business support.
The flexibility of working with a freelancer is one of the many advantages over the commitment of hiring an employee.