Author: Jo

Web hosting bills and the follow/unfollow game

The lovely September blue sky!

It has been another busy week here. I have almost finished the project for the agency in Germany that I mentioned in last week’s post. I also took on some proofreading for a website, which only took a couple of hours and was a nice little earner.

Yesterday was time to pay the web hosting bill for this website. It cost £35 with Kloudhost for annual hosting which I know is very cheap compared to a lot of other companies, but stills seems a lot of money when I take into account the fact that this site has not earned a single penny yet. At the moment the plan is to try and keep this website going for another year and will see if it is working out for me then. My domain authority seems to be improving so there is hope yet! I also found out last night that the £35 a year charge includes an add-on domain, so the hosting for my new translation related website is already covered.

After having used social media for a few months now, I have noticed that quite a lot of people/accounts have followed me then unfollowed when I have followed them back. This has started to irk me a little bit, so I have downloaded an app to be able to track them. To my dismay, I discovered that a total of 45 people followed/unfollowed me on Instagram – Naively, I had been liking and commenting on their posts – not any more though as I have now unfollowed them back. It seems that people do this so that they have more accounts following them than they follow so that they look more popular?? Can anyone enlighten me on this?

Totally unrelated photo in this weeks post, it’s just that I am loving the way the summer is persisting this year! That’s all for this week – thanks for reading. More next Monday!

Diary of a Freelancer is a weekly blog post about my freelance work, stuff relating to extra ways I make money online and my lifestyle. New post every Monday

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New projects and a night out at Pittcue

Last week I started a fairly large project for an agency in Germany that I have worked with before. The translation is in the medical field, which I really enjoy doing as the content is usually quite interesting to work with and I can learn quite a lot too. This project is no exception and the deadline is still quite a while off so I am working on it for a few hours a day.

I am also currently in the process of launching a new website for my translation work, so over the last week I spent some time writing content which involved a lot of trawling of competitor’s websites for inspiration and to try and identify my place in the market. The next step will be to design a logo and buy the domain.

Over the weekend, eBay decided to add the ‘Best Offer’ option to my listings – across all my accounts! I had to go on to live chat to get it removed, otherwise it would have been necessary to edit my listings one by one. This is quite annoying as eBay did this without my consent and I had to waste a considerable amount of time getting it fixed. Whilst I realise that it helps to increase sales for some sellers, the ‘Best Offer’ option is not something that has worked for me in the past and my products are already very reasonably priced as it is.

Other than that, we tried a restaurant called ‘Pittcue’ in Devonshire Square on Friday night – to be honest, I wasn’t that thrilled at the prospect as most of dishes on the menu involve ‘delicacies’ such as pig’s jowl or onglet. I know a lot of people enjoy trying this sort of food but it has never appealed to me. Thankfully when we arrived there were also quite a lot of more ‘normal’ dishes displayed on the specials boards. Phew!

I am pleased to report that the food was absolutely delicious. My main dish was a ‘pulled pork bun’ which was very tender and really melted in the mouth. The potato cake with leek mayo was also very tasty. Check out my Instagram for photos of some of the other food we ordered. The restaurant has a nice atmosphere and Devonshire Square was a pleasure to walk around afterwards, with all its quirky corners.

Thanks for reading – more next week!

Diary of a Freelancer is a weekly blog post about my freelance work, stuff relating to extra ways I make money online and my lifestyle. New post every Monday 🙂

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A short break in Lancashire

I spent a few days with my parents in Lancashire last week. I hadn’t seen them for a few weeks so it was nice to catch up with them and the rest of the family. As the weather was favourable we enjoyed a few days out and did a bit of Christmas shopping – it’s never too early to start!

I had also planned to get some good photos of the flowers in bloom around my parents house but sadly it is a bit late in the summer and a lot of plants were past their best. I did take the opportunity to learn how to use some settings on my Nikon D40 professional camera and had a photography lesson from a relative. There is still a long way to go though, it is just finding the time to really get my nose stuck in.

Southport (taken with a Smartphone – not my ‘proper’ camera!)

The next visit will be in October as my Mum turns 70 and we are having a party – the food has been ordered and the guests have been invited, but the decorations still need to be bought. Normally, I just rely on Amazon for this but I must have a look this week to see if it is significantly cheaper to order the decorations from China as there is still time to do so before the big day.

Because of my break, no translations were undertaken last week, however I still made a bit of cash as I did some matched betting and also sold a couple of eBay items over the weekend. On Saturday morning I was pleased to notice that I was due a cashout for £24.85 on Prolific Academic which was a great way to start the month!

So, it is back to it this week – the plan is to steam through the next couple of months and make as much money as possible – in years gone by I have found that autumn is my most profitable time of year.

Thanks for reading – more next week!

Diary of a Freelancer is a weekly blog post about my freelance work, stuff relating to extra ways I make money online and my lifestyle. New post every Monday 🙂

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Household hiccups and a curt customer.

Hi! Well, last week started off a bit on the stressful side. I had a deadline on Wednesday evening and we got a gas leak on Monday morning – this was sorted very quickly though as a very charming gentleman from the National Grid came out within the hour and fixed the leak – it turned out to be a loose nut on the new boiler. On Tuesday, the internet was not working, which is a bit problematic for my job as a translator as I need to be able to look up things like industry specific jargon or abbreviations. I also consult dictionaries online, double check grammar and sometimes even look up colloquial terms. Of course, the internet is also essential in order to receive and submit projects. Luckily, my partner works in IT so was able to sort it out that evening when he got home from work.

Diary of a freelancer

I also had a difficult customer on eBay. Shortly after making a purchase on a £50 item, I received a very curt message from him asking me when the item is going to be sent. After my reply stating that it would be posted that day, he messaged me again demanding that I did not waste money sending it with tracked delivery and that normal first class postage will do. This immediately rang alarm bells so I had a look at his feedback and my heart sank. It seems that he has been having trouble with his purchases, from not receiving items to losing cases for items ‘not as described’ – it’s amazing what you can learn from the ‘feedback left for others’ section!

Given all this, I decided to do something I have never done before and cancelled the sale. Luckily it was on a ‘spare’ eBay account that is only used for selling second hand items, so if he does leave me negative feedback it won’t affect the main selling account. Not happened yet though, so this makes me think he has simply moved on to his next victim. Sad, really.

At the weekend, we enjoyed a nice lunch with friends, otherwise just relaxed in the flat.

That’s all from me next until week!

Diary of a Freelancer is a weekly blog post about my freelance work, stuff relating to extra ways I make money online and my lifestyle. New post every Monday 🙂

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Back to work, Korean food & Pinterest

I had a very busy week last week, which was great, as I am now almost fully recovered from my hip replacement and finally in a position where I am able to make some proper money! So I took on a decent sized project and got stuck in, occasionally taking a break to wrap and send items sold on eBay – it’s nice to be able to walk again and take these parcels to the post office myself.

There are a total of three building sites across the road from us at the moment so it is quite noisy in the flat at the moment. This can be very distracting when I am trying to concentrate so am dealing with it by wearing earplugs all day, it is a bit difficult to get them out quickly when the intercom goes but at least some work is getting done. Am hoping that the builders are taking advantage of the good weather and that they will be gone by the end of summer – not sure it works like that though!

Some of the food on offer at Bullgogi

To celebrate the end of the week, we bought a takeaway from Bullgogi, a new Korean ‘urban dining’ restaurant that has opened in our area. So, far I love all their food, so am happy that they decided to open a branch nearby – it’s just nice to have something different that is fresh and reasonably healthy. If you are ever in Notting Hill Gate I would recommend that you give this place a go.

After much gabbling about it, I have finally got around to sorting out my Pinterest account. Have now ’created pins’ for the images that are already on this website – at first I was not saving them properly as I didn’t realise that it was necessary to also create a ‘board’, but soon got the hang of it. There is a nice touch where the header image is an automatically created collage which updates itself as new pins are added. Now I really must remember to ‘pin’ my images when publishing future blog posts! Recently, I read on twitter that Pinterest is a very good way to drive traffic to a blog – let’s see. Another blogger kindly pointed me towards Snapchat last week, so that is the next social media mission.

Until next week!

Diary of a Freelancer is a weekly blog post about my freelance work, stuff relating to extra ways I make money online and my lifestyle. New post every Monday 🙂

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Delayed Sleep and eBay

This week I thought I would explain that one of my reasons for becoming a freelancer is that I am a bit of a night owl. This started at a very young age and has continued well into adulthood. Every night, without fail I get a surge of energy – no matter how tired I am. Falling asleep with this surge is an absolute nightmare and early mornings have always been a struggle. A few years ago I was diagnosed with ‘Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome’, it is essentially a fault with the body’s circadian rhythm. There are various treatments including melatonin supplements and bright light therapy, but none have really worked for me, so I just work around it. My sleep pattern most days is roughly 1am to 9am, which is a lot better than it used to be and my work fits around this easily.

Diary of a freelancer

It also works to my advantage sometimes. If I get a request to do a translation in the evening and there is nothing much happening – more often than not, I will jump up and do it immediately as this is the time of day when my energy levels are their highest and when my best work gets done. An example of this came about last week, when I was contacted at 9pm to translate a legal document and the client wanted it back by 9am, as it was only 1084 words, I was able to do it there and then and charge accordingly as the work was completed ‘out of hours’.

Other than my translations, I have managed to list a few items on eBay after a temporary pause whilst I was convalescing and unable to get to the post office. This is my third biggest source of income after my translation work and matched betting so I am going to enjoy seeing that money rolling back in!

I still need to sort out my social media, will try to find time this week…

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Short projects and getting to grips with social media.

As I am still convalescing after my operation (see last week’s post) and don’t feel ready to go back to working full time yet, I have been taking on some small projects to keep me going.  Most of this work has been translating CV’s, which are not my favourite thing to work with as they tend to have a lot of jargon and job descriptions are often unclear, so it can take a while to work out what it is the candidate is trying to convey. But as most of these projects contain less than 1500 words, I can turn them around quickly. You may be interested to know that 90% of the CV’s I translate at some point mention that the candidate is fluent in English!??

As the summer holiday is in full swing now, many translators are taking time off. As a result, a few agencies that I have not worked with before have contacted me requesting quotes for projects with very short deadlines and then disappeared into thin air. My rates are probably higher than they were expecting – it really makes me wonder what other translators will work for!

Diary of a freelancer

Other than that, I have spent some time getting my social media accounts in order, as I realise their importance in the blogger world. On twitter, I have posted quite a few tweets and made more of an effort to read and comment on the posts in my feed – this has led to a few interactions with other bloggers, which has been nice and I have learnt quite a lot about social media and blogging too. Have also put some photos on Instagram – I think I will use it mainly to post photos of restaurant meals or random things I see whilst out and about. With regards to Pinterest, after setting up my account a few months ago, I haven’t managed to do anything with it – so will try and look into that this week. Have gained another ‘like’ on my Facebook page but I really need to work at trying to increase my following there too.

How do you use your social media accounts? Would love to read your comments below!

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Convalescence and a new direction.

After trying out a few ideas, I have decided to focus this blog around my experiences of working from home and my lifestyle, and start my ‘diary of a freelancer’. Am not really sure whether this will work or not – but am giving it a shot anyway. The aim is to and write a new post every week, and be consistent, so that readers know when to look out for an update. Occasionally there might be a post on how to make money online, as I do a lot of this in my spare time just to increase my income.

Diary of a freelancer

I have spent the last few weeks recovering from hip replacement surgery and the doctors’ orders were to get as much rest as possible – no bending, no lifting, no housework (hooray!) So, as well as giving me time to reflect and re-think my blog, it has also been an opportunity to clear out my inbox, catch up on accounts and sort through paperwork. I hoped that I would have time to categorise and edit a folder full of digital photographs, but this didn’t happen – am sure that it will, one day…

As I work from home as a translator, and on a freelance basis, it was possible to prepare for my convalescence period by completing some monster projects in the time leading up to the operation – which freed me up financially for a few weeks. I was actually a bit worried that strong painkillers would be needed, rendering me unable to work in the post op period, but luckily this did not happen and I was able to do some small projects like translating CV’s and marketing material, nothing too major as I didn’t want to potentially let any client’s down.

As well as doing these smaller projects, I also completed some money making online tasks whilst watching TV including prolific academic surveys and matched betting (see my recent post on this here).

I’m starting to feel better now and have been going out a fair bit in the last few days, which has been lovely after being housebound for a while. The highlight was a visit to the Design Museum in Kensington, London – we spent about an hour in there (it has lots of places to sit, thank goodness!) and then had a snack in Gail’s Bakery next door.

So, there we go -the first entry in to my new diary of a freelancer is complete. Till next time!

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How to do Matched Betting for free

I started Matched Betting in 2009 and have made myself a tidy sum over the years. It is the most profitable of my money making side-lines, but it is also the most complicated. It takes a little time to learn and is definitely not something than can be rushed into.

Matched Betting is a way of taking advantage of the sign up offers that bookies lure you in with when you register an account and place a bet. However, as you will soon find out, it is not limited to sign up offers as afterwards come re-load offers as well as casino bonuses which can also turn a profit. It is done by carefully calculating bets with the help of spreadsheets and placing them in order to guarantee a profit regardless of the outcome of the event that the bet is being placed on.

There are many websites that explain matched betting, including Oddsmonkey and Profit Accumulator which will guide you through the process step by step, have their own dedicated forums and some useful spreadsheets. But there is a monthly charge (around £18) to use these sites after the initial trial period.

However, it is possible to access the same information for free with websites such as Freebets 4 all and Matched Betting Blog. In the same way as the paid websites both of these sites contain; up to date lists of sign up and reload offers, simple oddsmatching tools and basic matched betting calculators.

Admittedly, the information is not as comprehensively laid out as it is on the paid websites and there are some missing features – for instance, the more advanced calculators, but you really don’t need these at the start of your matched betting career. Also, beware that these websites are funded by affiliate links and you may not necessarily want the bookies to know that you are clicking through from a website that is dedicated to matched betting. It is worth considering sending a donation to the owners of these websites instead.

You can also do this completely independently, as I did, by perusing the free information on the Money Saving Expert forum. All you need to start off is a bit of time to read through the instructions, and if you are feeling a bit nervous there is a questions thread for newbies here. When you have learnt the basics you can find a lot of the more complex methods in the forum. There is also Ultimatcher, a free spreadsheet which I have found invaluable in order to calculate my bets and to keep track of where my cash is.

There is a lot of money to be made in matched betting and I would definitely recommend investing some time in learning it. I completed all the sign up offers many moons ago and still bring in a minimum of £250 a month from not much effort at all. I know from reading others’ experiences that it is possible to make a lot more than this if you have the spare time to commit to it!

Thanks for reading!

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Volunteering in a charity shop

As some of you may already know, about 18 months ago I became a volunteer at a local charity shop. My reason for doing this is that I work from home and, although I love what I do, I miss the day to day contact with other people and the comradery that comes naturally with being part of a workforce. I have found the job very enjoyable and have learnt a lot from it so thought this insight might be helpful to anyone who is thinking of volunteering or is simply interested in the inner workings of a charity shop.

When I started working there my main tasks were to tidy the shop, make sure that all the clothes were hung correctly and were colour coordinated, bag items up for customers, etc. After a few shifts, I was given access to the till and became a fully-fledged member of staff.

There are many different tasks that need to be done in order to maintain the smooth running of the shop, so it never gets boring. Aside from serving customers and keeping the shop tidy, behind the scenes we sort through the donations, price items, clean stock if necessary, organise window displays, complete our paperwork and so on… there is always something to do!

It never ceases to amaze me what people will donate. We are located in a very affluent area and get our fair share of brand new items from designers such as Louis Vuitton, Diane von Furstenberg or Prada. Some of these brands donate their seconds, or clothes that have been used for modelling shoots directly to us.

Occasionally we get fake items which we cannot sell; these are relegated to a textile recycling company, a representative of which visits us once a week to take away our unwanted items. These also include items that are unsaleable, such as stained clothing, dirty cuddly toys or odd socks. As we are in an affluent area, we don’t sell very many ‘high street’ brands unless they are in new condition and from the more expensive end of the high street. Absolutely no ‘New Look’ or ‘Next’ items are kept – we transfer these items to other branches.

We also get items that we have to dispose of which can be a little bit frustrating as it costs the shop money (roughly £2.50 per full bin liner). People mean well when they donate these items, but we really can’t do anything with broken mugs or used dish draining racks, for example.

The volunteers in our shop come from a variety of backgrounds and bring different skills with them. Some are very artistic, which is brilliant for displays and dressing mannequins. Others are great with people which makes for increased sales figures. Whilst we have a few long term volunteers, the majority work for a few weeks until they find paid employment. Most people work 1-2 days a week, but some do 2 hours, others 5 days – it just depends on the individual’s circumstances.

Are you a volunteer? Do have any experience working for a charity shop or any other kind of volunteering? If so, I would love to hear about your experiences – leave a comment below!

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