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Sunday
Dec032017

Destination Portugal 

I fell in love with Portugal nearly a decade ago and since then have made many trips back to enjoy everything thats wonderful about one of my favourite countries in the world.

I had been to Lisbon many times and explored all around the city. I wrote about some of that trip here  and some  wine visits North of Lisbon Here 

 

 

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But I had never had time to explore around the prettiest coastal towns north west  of the city like Estoril and Cascais.

Enter Susanna Tocca owner of Doc Dmc events company and winelands.pt  a wine tours company  who invited me to come and present the wines at the Piano Riserva Scarlatti soiree with pianist Pnina Becher from the US in Estoril this November. Combining the wines and the music with dinner in such a beautiful setting as the fivestar palacio Estoril.

 

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Susanna Tocca organises corporate events such as these regularly in Portugal and also Conferences in this area. 

 

 

After the event we spent the day going up to Cabo da Roca the most westerly point in Europe and Sintra, and I fell in love this beautiful and wild area of Portugal which offers so much in the way of healthy lifestyles and delicious seafood and wine. 

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Driving Along this stretch of coast one sees people sailing, surfing, walking, biking, hiking, motorbiking and enjoying the magnicient scenery. Its breathtaking and so affordable to stop for lunch and those great wines. We stopped for lunch on the coast near Sintra town at the  Azenhas do Mar Piscinas resturant where we had an excellent seafood lunch with the waves crashing into the tital pools beneath us. It was November but the weather was mild and the sun warmed us as we relaxed, ate and drank our wine. 

 

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 Portugal's brand should be its people.  The Portuguese people are so  hospitable and always happy to share their beautiful country with you.

If youre planning a trip to Europe, put Portugal on the itinerary and don't miss the opportunity to see some amazing places, food, wine and culture take a look at these trips and experiences you can book with winelands Portugal.

 

 See you in Portugal!

Donna 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday
Nov132017

Getting paid on time by your clients 

 

 

 

The cheque is in the mail and other excuses.   Well, maybe Ill wait just one more day to see if they pay.”

Have you ever said this to yourself? (I have.) Then you promise yourself your never going to give a discount for immeadiate payment again, because once youve given that discount you cant take it back even if they pay late.

One of the most troublesome parts of freelancing is invoicing and collecting payment. Nobody likes to be the bill collector, but sometimes it has to be done – and as freelancers, we get to wear that hat, too.

Its essential if you want to stay in business.

If you’re anything like me, you know that anxious knot that forms in your stomach when you expect a battle over a bill. After, all if you are a diligent worker as I am, and all freelancers who stay in buiness are, you've already started in on the work, while the client dily....dalies. Imagine going to get goods from some of your big clients and then using it and when they ask you to pay for it before you leave and you say don't worry I'll get back to you about payment.

You also know the frustration and anger that comes when a client tries every trick in the book to delay or blur the lines.

MY NEW RULES

Get paid first.

Every time I’ve ever started working for a client without getting a deposit first, I’ve kicked myself. Not only does it set a precedence and make it very hard for you to get a deposit on your second project, it also leaves you stressed about the possibility of having unintentionally done work for free.

Dont start on a project until the bank has cleared the cheque

 In my contracts, I stipulate that work begins when I receive the deposit. This helps define when a project officially starts. I also put an exact start day and end of contract. That must be signed.

So when your client says,

“But you said  you would be done in two weeks! You missed the deadline,”

you can respond with,

“I didn’t receive the deposit from you until May 15, which is when as per our contract,  is when I started.

Get it in writing.

The longer I freelance, the more wary I am of verbal discussions because there is absolutely no record of what was said. So whether in-person, or on skype or conference call. I like skype because you can type in exactly what you just discussed and the dates and fee agreed, so they can see and you can see what happened. I then include this script of the meetings in my first email.  In face to face  meetings, take notes, then send such notes to them in an email.  If your client doesnt want to be bothered with details at this stage, thats a red flag. Get it clear right from the outset. Dont solve all their problems in that call, because its too easy for them to walk away.

In the unfortunate event you have a dispute in the future, you can point back to the email and show them what they agreed upon. Do this with every client, every time, that way you set a standard.

 

Save all emails.

This is why I use gmail. I can access them anywhere in the world. I can store millions of emails in there and refer back to them and never worry that the server lost them or I lost them.

 

After a month of “friendly reminder” invoices. you feel you are losing ground and you have to listen to a bunch of lame excuses.

So now when they come back after the call  saying they arent in a rush anymore.

I  show them the conversation history, the discount on immediate payment and the new 15 percent. they usually pay up..

 SAVE YOUR EMAILS. You never know when you might need them again. 

usage clauses

 I’ve had the following conversation with clients its awful.

Client: “Hi, I got your invoice  but we decided not to use what you sent .”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that, but  payment is due regardless.”

Client: “But we haven't used it.”

Me: “ According to the contract you agreed to, your invoice is still due.”

Some clients clients feel that if they don’t use your work, they don’t have to pay for it. So I’ve added a usage clause to my contract explicitly covering stuff that’s ultimately not used. I Have serious thought about  legally registering copyright to them only once the pay in full. I do however state copyright rests with me until I get full payment thats witten in my contract. Heres the rub, I dont send a completed project until Im paid in full. I also ask clients for a reference once I deliver, that way if they change their ideas later I'm OK.

All payments are non-refundable and payable even if deliverables are not used by client.”

The dos and don’ts of invoice disputes

  • Always be succint and professional, regardless of your client’s behavior.
  • Don’t be afraid to go right to the issue, beating around the bush  doesn't lead to results. The longer you wait, the harder it is to collect payment.
  • Start out friendly and understanding. You’ll have plenty of time later to express your disappointment as the situation develops.
  • Phrase your statements as the choice your client has made (e.g. “I have no choice but to,” “I’m disappointed that I’m forced to,” 
  • Almost all disputes can be avoided by following the rules above, and prepayment of course . When it comes to a new client, I negotiate nothing, if they cant value my work at the start they won't as we go on.

When was the last time you had an invoice dispute with a client and what did you do,? please comment below and if you found this useful, share this post with your friends.

Monday
Nov062017

Do you Journal?

 Keeping a journal is one of the most powerful habits you can establish, its behind the success of so many powerful and successful people. This month we have incredible news for you. A course in journaling 

 

Friday
Oct202017

Sharing your skills on skill share 

 

 

Ever wished you could just go somewhere and illustrate quickly how to do something to a client or a friend who is trying to set up her website or manage her social media? If you are like me you have wanted to explain how to set up a new youtuber account. Well now you can and what's more once you've created your lesson in how to, you can then share it so the world can benefit, and be paid for your skill. Isn't that great I have been waiting for this great platform from the good folks at skillshare.

Get started as a skills coach and use your smarts online

Ready to create a passive income stream, establish your brand, and share your skills with Skillshare’s community of 3 million+ members? Start your side hustle and join Skillshare's Teacher Community by publishing your class on whatever youre good at. 

 

Sign up here and could join when you've checked it out for a month, or jump right in today and sign up for a skillshare account to learn skills and share your own.

 

 

Plus earn more  great credits on an annual premium  for things you want for your site or blog  like squarespace, shutterstock, adobe premier and lots more. 

Now if you'll excuse me Im busy writting my lesson plan for my students  for how to kick ass on youtube, so see you there.

Donna

Wednesday
Oct112017

The day that TV died

The day that TV died

I haven’t watched TV for years, I’m not alone, I don’t know that there was any real revelation, perhaps the final straw was the 70 Euro SKY bill moment, but I woke up one day and realised I hadn’t watched TV in years. I think a pivotal moment came with another yet another tragic US mass killing, when the news team on every news station from CNN to BBC to al Shadia said the same thing “Lets go to twitter”. Out came their giant media screens as they clicked away on tweets about the disaster. It struck me in that moment, why I am I watching this second hand, let me go and hashtag the hell out of twitter myself.

I was an early adopter and digitalfounder as @wisequeen on twitter, on facebook on instagram on tumblr. I was a digital strategist. I ate,slept and breathed social platforms, blogs and apps. I was a paid tech blogger, I had to plan my clients future on said platforms.

Twitter had its peak and then its slow decline, as it was overtaken by media channels and big business, they were always slower on the uptake as citizen journalists reported the news before the news channels could, it was a race to the scene as media channels became ambulance chasers while citizens recorded footage on their mobiles and beat them to it . Exciting times!

Reality TV had arrived and paid for a large part of the  TV channels who survived, those who hadnt yet  fallen off a cliff into the sea.

Reality stars... i.e. ordinary people, were in charge of their own image and influence for the first time in history, when the Kartrashians’ followers made even Obama’s numbers look sad. Even Oprah, who had ridden the crap out of that wave for eighteen years decided to hang up her wide-screen surf board and make content shows under her OWN label (what a smart name ). Yup, she went to You tube too.

How could anyone keep up? Techcrunch gave way to Snapchat, vine, reddit forums, web conferences in Paris, LA and London where the new media kids on the block were treated like rock stars. I remember saying to Gary Vaynerchuk in Paris 2008, this is a revolution.

I remember watching one of Gary’s first You Tube videos filmed in New Jersey before, Wine Library, before Daily grape, before Vaynermedia. That year and those following Gary and I and a crew of early adopters like Chris Sacca, Tara Hunt @missrogue, Guy Kawasaki, Chris Brogan lit a fire under people at huge events from Berlin to LA where you couldn’t help but notice that the corporate suits would pay thousands for a ticket to come and watch young pipsqueaks annihilate their 10 year plans and their carefully-put-together expensive marketing budgets on stage. That stage hosted speakers as different as Sarkosy, and Queen Rania of Jordan, who I got to meet with her PA at the green room, I still have her card. It was amazing stuff.

Google was on that stage too, of course they were. I was working from Zurich where we were building apps and holding Techmondays with developers and entrepreneurs, to London to Rome, to LA, to Boston. Speaking at Google and watching the internet give birth to snow white and the ugly stepsisters, It was breathtaking!

Crowds of People paying obscene amounts to attend conferences or to stand outside like the paparazzi, waiting, bloggers who wanted part of the social juice that was flowing like a river.

In 2010, I made a personal decision to cede my Zurich position to colleagues, to save my marriage. Then I got ill and then followed four major operations. I attended a conference in Paris for Le vin in 2011, and again Gary flew in from NYC to speak about wine, this time. We shared Lunch together and he was right on that tipping point.

About the same time, I started casually uploading small clips to Youtube of my travels. Mostly wine stuff, and helping some my clients with their clips.

In 2012 I got really ill and so followed a six year absence from almost all social platforms. I took down my pages, occasionally blogged, Social, had had it’s day.

Three months ago I looked at my little Youtube account with no subscribers and decided to take a look at reviving it as I did some exciting trips that I had made clips of, that I wanted to share with family.

There was 28,000 views… Now this was nowhere near Casey Neistat numbers , but I hadn’t touched it in years, I hadn’t promoted it, admittedly most of those thousands of views had been happening when Youtube was in its infancy, but I was surprised.

Here’s a video I uploaded then (portrait mode and all) it still got 1,5k views so  like it and subscribe! 

TV is truly dead. I do love Strictly come dancing on the BBC but I can watch that when I’m in London and that’s often, plus, some sweetheart records them for me…and I watch the BBC news online and everything else is on Youtube, Yup, You tube has become my TV.

I meet a lot of under 20s’ every day at uni and around startups when I speak and coach. They don’t watch TV much either.

Donna Jackson

Coach