My freelance career began with two things that I thought I would never do: I quit my full-time job without anything lined up, and I did so in the middle of a global pandemic amidst an economic turmoil. 

It was an extremely overwhelming and scary feeling, but I knew in my heart that my 9 to 5 was no longer fulfilling me and hadn’t been for a while. I felt restricted by the traditional confines of an office job and found myself craving a different style of earning money. 

However, my biggest hurdle when deciding to make the change was the department switch. I had worked for several years in the customer service industry. I knew I wanted to be a writer, but with no portfolio to show for it, I wasn’t getting hired on for any freelance jobs. So, I decided to create my own experience. 

Building from the Ground Up 

The first thing I did to kickstart my career was purchasing a website. Nowadays, website platforms like Wix and Squarespace make it incredibly easy to design and build your website without using any code. So, I put together my site that highlighted my services and used photos taken from my sister’s iPhone. And since I had little to no prior experience, I began writing my own blog, The Virtual Somm, to build my portfolio. My previous experience was in the wine industry, and it was a topic I have a vested interest in. So, I started blogging about wine and aimed to make my posts engaging, fun, and easily digestible. I wanted to ensure my readers that the wine world does not have to be intimidating, expensive, or out of reach. Plus, it was a great way to showcase my talents by writing in a style and voice that is all my own. 

Simultaneously, I reached out to small business owners and freelancers that I knew, offering my services for free. This is not always recommended, but it felt like the best way to get my writing published on various websites across multiple industries. My customer service background helped me solidify my services because although I would later realize that I had a lot to learn about writing on the web, I was taught to always go above and beyond for each of my customers. This level of professionalism encouraged me to always ask for feedback because I wanted to ensure that I left none of my clients with a less-than-perfect experience. 

After several months of trial and error, I began landing roles as a contract writer with various agencies. As a result, I’ve had the opportunity to practice multiple writing disciplines across several different platforms. 

What I Wish I Knew 

I’m coming up on just about a year of freelancing full-time, and in this short time, I’ve learned more about writing and marketing myself than ever before. And now that I’ve seen what the other side of working can look like, I do not think I’ll ever return to a traditional office job. However, I understand that the freelance lifestyle is not for everyone. 

If I could go back in time and give myself advice when I was starting, I would tell myself this: 

There are many peaks and valleys. Money-wise, you might not earn that much in your first year or two of freelancing. But unlike a 9 to 5, there is no cap to how much you can make as a freelancer, and if you keep putting yourself out there and sticking with it, it will be worth it in the long run. 

There is so much to learn. As a freelancer and writer, I’m beginning to understand that there will always be something new to learn. It’s empowering to have physical proof of your progress and look back on pieces you wrote a year ago. Comparing it to your most recent articles, it becomes clear how much you’ve learned and how far you have come as an individual. 

Do not ever give up. If this is in your heart of hearts to become a freelancer, do not ever give up. Do not ever stop learning, especially from those low moments in your career that will, inevitably, happen. Every day that you do not give up is a day that you become stronger at your job. 

One of the most satisfying moments I experienced as a freelancer recently was Memorial Day. My friends and family had the day off, and they seemed so relieved to get some time away from their office. And I used to be in the same boat as them. But this year, it just felt like another day. Because when you freelance, you’re not always working eight hours a day, and you can often set your schedule to accommodate you and you only. It felt like I was taking control of my life for the first time, and it was an incredible feeling. 

By: Erin Valusek

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Etsy, a global online e-commerce marketplace where creatives and small business owners can sell their goods, took the entrepreneurship world by storm in early 2005. Etsy provides a platform that connects sellers to those seeking unique art, home decor, clothing, jewelry, and more. Whether you are a full-time seller or just in the “side hustle” stage, Etsy could potentially be an excellent place for you! 

Check out these 2020 stats:
  • More than 61 million new shoppers joined Etsy.
  • $3.3 billion was spent by shoppers on Etsy from October to December. That’s a 118% recorded increase within just a year. 
  • During the holiday season alone, 13 million new shoppers joined Etsy. That’s 76.7% more than the year prior! 

Pros of Selling On Etsy:

  1. A financially low-risk option without the hassle of domain and hosting fees you encounter with a website shop.
  2. Simple to get your shop set up within a matter of hours and start making sales.
  3. Potential of reaching millions due to Etsy’s HUGE community.
  4. Free built-in analytics enable you to see how your posts are doing and where your traffic is coming from!

Cons of Selling On Etsy 

  1. You may not immediately reap the benefits. Be prepared to put time and energy into growing your storefront.
  2. Competition. Millions of sellers on Etsy may be creating something similar to you. 
  3. Etsy charges fees for selling your items. There are three different fees: 5% sale fee, 0.20 listing fee, and 3% +$0.25 processing fee per transaction.

Setting Up Your Account

The great thing about Etsy is that they make it relatively simple to set up a professional-looking storefront within a matter of hours.

Customize Your Shop

  • Shop title — Text used to describe your shop. It can be up to 55 characters long. Consider a tagline. 
  • Shop logo (icon) and banner — Although your shop logo and banner are two different things, they essentially work in tandem to represent your brand as a whole. Make both intensely visual because it gives an idea of what your brand and business are all about. Use text sparingly in these two graphics. 
  • Shop announcement — Intended to quickly communicate with your customer what your shop is all about. Include a welcome statement, where you are based, and what shoppers can find in your store! Include essential links and email contact information. 
  • About section — Improves your ranking in search results by boosting your “customer & market experience score” if you fill out this section—a great place to showcase your brand story with photos and videos.
  • Shop members — Allows your customers to get to know who they are buying from. 
  • Shop policies — Spells out your guidelines for payment, shipping, and exchanges/returns.

If you have Etsy Plus, you’ll have advanced shop customization.  

Provide Detail To Your Listings

We suggest putting great attention and detail into the quality of images and videos you add to set you apart from the millions of others on the platform. Here are some tips to consider:

  • List a minimum of 20 items to fill your front page.
  • Make the first photo your best since it becomes the thumbnail for that item.
  • Choose your categories and sub-categories wisely since they determine your available attributes.
  • Use as many attributes as each item has available to maximize exposure in search results. Attributes include color, measurements, occasion, and more.
  • Use up to 13 tags for each item listing. These are short descriptive phrases that help find your product during customer searches. 
  • Use strong keywords.

Market Your Products

Now that you have your Etsy shop set up and customized, it’s time to start marketing your products and bringing in the sales. Here are four easy ways to help you market your shop with ease:

👉🏼 Instagram — Consider sharing images of your products, talking about your brand, and showing what goes into making your products behind the scenes.

👉🏼 Pinterest — A hub for sharing, promoting, and marketing your Etsy shop. On Pinterest, you can create beautiful boards and aesthetically pleasing pictures of your products that are bound to catch your ideal client’s eyes. 

👉🏼 Email Marketing — Once you have made some sales, consider forming an email list to keep your customers updated on new products, deals, and specials taking place in your shop. 

👉🏼 Apps and Tools — there are countless apps and tools to help make selling easier. Two of our favorites are Marmalead, which enables you to find keywords that REAL shoppers are using, and Outfy serves as a social media manager for up to 9 platforms you can connect to your Etsy shop.

At the NFICA, we want to see you reach new heights in your business. For more tips on entrepreneurship, check out our other blog posts.




Elon Musk had a favorite saying he learned from a friend. “Starting a company is like eating glass and staring into the abyss.” It’s no wonder 72% of entrepreneurs are directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues compared to just 48% of non-entrepreneurs. According to Atomico’s State of European Tech Report (2019), 19% of founders felt that starting a company had contributed negatively to their wellbeing and cited balancing working and personal lives, loneliness, and securing access to talent and capital as their biggest challenges.

What Is The Root Of These Statistics?

The answer is primarily credited to the start-up culture in general. It takes a certain temperament to start your own business requiring energy, motivation, and creativity. This same temperament is also more prone to intense emotional states like depression, worthlessness, and loss of motivation.

Often an entrepreneur’s entire livelihood is dependent upon success. It’s not uncommon for start-up founders to stay up late each night, live off take-out, and allow their physical health and mental health to suffer. The hours are demanding, and the mental capacity that it takes for a business to get off the ground can be overwhelming. This drive can quickly turn to obsession, and it becomes easy for an entrepreneur’s mental health to take a nosedive.

Identifying When You Need Help

Sometimes signs of a mental health crisis can be physical, like weight changes and insomnia, while other times, they can be ambiguous. Signs to look for include:

  • trouble focusing, making decisions, and remembering things
  • feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • everyone getting on your nerves
  • substance abuse
  • feelings of dread
  • no longer feeling pleaser in things that use to bring you joy
  • WebMD provides a more detailed list

Positive Mental Health Habits

Rather than waiting for the time when you need to seek professional help, there are things you can do to work on your mental wellbeing proactively. 

  1. Maintain healthy connections with family and friends. This can look like a family dinner once a week or playing pick-up basketball regularly with a group of friends. 
  2. Invest in creative outlets and hobbies like painting, gardening, or fishing, to name a few.
  3. Journal to help keep your thoughts organized, relieve stress, and self-reflect.
  4. Exercise at least 3x a week. Exercising releases endorphins that can improve your mood and help you feel more relaxed.
  5. Meditate 10 minutes each day to counteract stress and burnout.
  6. Set positive intentions for how you want to live out each day. You can do this by saying them out loud or writing them down. 
  7. Set up “do not disturb” to silence calls and notifications on your phone for one or two hours each day to reduce interruptions. 
  8. Find a support group with fellow founders.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741

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Besides insightful content to help market your small business, NFICA offers entrepreneurs and independent contractors access to supplemental health and life insurance, discounts on the tools needed to run a successful business, and a quarterly newsletter featuring interviews with industry leaders and tips on improving your business and your life. Join now for exclusive access to these benefits and more. 


Did you know statistics reveal that including an animated video on your landing page can increase your conversion rate by a whopping 80%? The message conveyed in animated videos has more influence on buyers and potential customers than a standard video. It’s no wonder that animation videos are now the most popular type of videos online and quickly becoming one of the latest trends to hit the marketing world.

According to DreamGrow, there are several reasons why animation works better than a standard video:

  • Great at keeping the viewer’s attention
  • Simplify complex topics
  • Bring concepts to life
  • Convey the message of a story better
  • Relatively cheap to produce – no need for a location, production team, and actors
  • Fun and enticing for viewers to click on

What is Animated Video Marketing? 

Animation uses photos and drawings of inanimate objects and plays them in rapid succession to mimic movement. In its simplest form, think of a flipbook. Animation is versatile and can be included in your marketing strategy through ads, product demos, testimonials, email campaigns, and through your social media platforms.

Types of Animated Video

Depending on your experience level, budget, and time, there are several different kinds of animated videos to choose from to engage your audience. And luckily, most of these mediums are easy to grasp the basics of and come with free or low-cost software that guides you through the process. Below are a few examples of the most popular animated video styles to get you started.

Anime Explainer Videos

Animated explainer videos utilize a simple animation style to “explain” your company’s products or services. Usually clocking in at around 1 minute, these videos are often lighthearted while still getting the message across. Explainer videos can be demonstrated in various mediums and do not require a high level of animation knowledge. A great example of this style is the Wine Country Gift Basket ad. 

TechSmith does a great job of outlining how to make an Explainer video step by step

Whiteboard Animation 

Whiteboard Animation simulates animated graphics being hand-drawn, usually with a marker, on a “whiteboard” or something that looks like a whiteboard-style background accompanied by voice. 

Here are some reasons why whiteboard animation videos are so attractive to use:

  • The style is universal
  • Pass a great deal of information clearly and promptly
  • Flexible and mobile-friendly
  • Greater rate of conversion

Four main factors contribute to the success of whiteboard animation: clarity, script, style, and voiceover quality. A great example of this style is Mountain Might, an altitude training supplement.

For those looking to begin your marketing tactics with the whiteboard animation approach, an excellent software tool to get you started is this Whiteboard Animation Pack by Renderforest. It includes templates, 400 pre-created animation scenes, and online content editing. 

2D/3D Animated Promotional Videos

Once you’ve mastered the basics of animation, your company may be ready to take the next step into a more sophisticated form of animation. And while this may require hiring someone with a more refined set of skills, you may find that the investment is worth it. 2D and 3D animation is a classic form of animation that most customers or clients are familiar with. 

In 2D Animation, its objects or characters are flat and only include height and width. 3D animation adds in the appearance of depth. One of the most significant differences is its creation, as 3D is created entirely in the computer.

A great example of the 2D animation style is the Etsy Plus ad.

According to its creators, “Our goal was to create a piece with elegant design (and lots of textures!) while keeping the animation playful and feeling handmade. It was like sewing together a pretty dress, but with our computers.”

Here is a resource for free 2D and 3D animation software

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Advertising your business on YouTube is a highly advantageous marketing move if you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur. Only 9% of businesses are currently using YouTube to advertise, making this a market with massive potential for you to tap into. If you’re not convinced, check out these stats:

  • YouTube is the second-largest search engine with over 2 billion monthly active users
  • 43% of customers buy something they saw in YouTube ads, even though 81% of them mute video ads. (Online Marketing Gurus)
  • 80% of customers start deciding on purchase from watching YouTube videos about the product
  • YouTube has the best ROI for video content, followed by Facebook and Instagram
  • The average YouTube watch session on mobile lasts more than 60 minutes. (CNET, 2018)

It’s no secret that it pays to understand how to set up and optimize your channel correctly. Fortunately, this information is not complicated, and setting up an account only takes a few minutes. Here are the steps to get started.

Step 1: Create A Business Google Account 

It’s best to keep your personal Google account separate from your business account. Sign in to your existing business account or create a new dedicated account and stay logged in.

Step 2: Create A YouTube Channel

  1. Go to YouTube.com
  2. Click on the Avatar Icon in the top right corner and select My Channel
  3. Select Use A Business or Other Name – YouTube gives you the option of using a business or product name for your channel
  4. Select Create

Step 3: Customize Your Channel

Customization consists of three sections:

Channel Icon

The channel icon is basically your profile image and is taken from your Google account. The icon is important because it’s one of the first things a new subscriber will see, and it appears in more places on your channel than you might realize, such as your watch page, search results, video comments, the community tab, and more. The icon is usually an 800×800 px image of your logo. Keep in mind YouTube will give the image a circular crop. For consistency with branding, it’s best to use the same icon across social channels.

Channel Art

Channel Art, also known as YouTube Banner, is the large banner that goes across the top of your page. The banner size is 2560×1140 pixels and can’t exceed 6MB. Canva offers templates making it easy to customize and brand your banner. Always test your channel art across multiple devices because what looks good on a laptop may not look good on a desktop, mobile, or TV display.

It’s essential to choose a simple and effective banner but still represent your company as a whole. This means consistent visual branding with colors, fonts, logo’s and taglines.

You can use your banner to:

  • sell merchandise by including a link to your online store
  • send visitors to your website URL
  • have a call to action
  • promote an upcoming event
  • describe your channel

Here is an excellent resource with tips and examples of great designs.

Channel Description

There are two types of descriptions, the description of your channel and the description of your videos. Here we will be talking about the channel description found under the About tab of your YouTube channel.

The description is your way of communicating your content and what viewers will see if they subscribe. Because this section only allows up to 1,000 characters, including spaces, this leaves you with approximately 200 words, so you want to make them count.

The first 125 characters of your channel description show up in your YouTube search results and your Google search results, so they are of utmost importance. You’ll want to directly call out your target audience, and while you want to define your content, you also want to let your audience know what makes you unique or better than other YouTube channels.

Some things to consider:

  • use specific keywords that your ideal viewer might search for
  • post your upload schedule
  • include social media channels and product links
  • have a call to action to subscribe

Here are a few examples of good descriptions — Kathleen LightsThe Sorry GirlsVat19 and William Arruda.

Step 4: Buy The Right Equipment

Once you’ve completed your business channel’s setup, it’s time to consider what equipment you need to get started without breaking the bank. Initially, you can use your smartphone! With the YouTube mobile app, you can easily record, edit and upload your videos. 

However, for a  professional-looking video, you’ll need to make a more significant investment. There are three things you’ll need — something to record video, something to record audio, and something to edit video.

Video Recording

Camcorders, Webcams, and DSLR cameras are the most popular options among YouTubers for video recording. Here is an extensive list of cameras with reviews.

Audio Recording

You’ll want a great sound to complement the quality of your video. The perfect microphone depends on your needs. For example, are you desktop shooting or doing run and gun type videos? Here’s a list of YouTube mics by category.

Editing Software

The final piece of the puzzle for producing quality content is to invest in some sort of video editing software. Things to consider are budget, ease of use, compatibility, and features and tools.

Fortunately, there are some excellent free options to choose from. The most used editing software by Youtubers? iMovie, which is great if you’re on a Mac. Here’s a tutorial for getting started. Next is Adobe Premier Pro. And finally, Final Cut Pro X.

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Simply put, there is strength in numbers!

Group insurance rates have lower premiums because the risk is spread out among members, making it a better option for supplemental health and life insurance if you are self-employed.

You also get group discounts on a range of products and services, making these discounts alone worth the cost of membership. Learn more.


According to the “Freelance Forward 2020” study, 36% of the US workforce freelance, an increase of 2 million freelancers since 2019. This number is fueled in part by “highly-skilled professionals seeking flexible alternatives to traditional employment.” One key finding reveals that more professionals are freelancing full-time. Cue “permalancing.”

While “permalancing” isn’t a new concept, it is becoming the workforce’s latest trend. It blends the idea of freelancers and full-time employees. Urban Dictionary defines it best as a “freelance position that turns into a full-time job without benefits.” Permalancers tend to work for just one company that offers them a significant amount of regular work.

Permalancing is an attractive alternative for those who may want to have the autonomy to pursue side projects or interests without being tied to a 9-5 job yet still have a predictable income stream.

Is permalancing a good option for you? Let’s take a look at both the good and the bad so you can decide for yourself.

The Pros of Permalancing

  • Offers the freedom and flexibility to choose your schedule and work location
  • Allows you to avoid hunting down potential clients and saves you the exhaustion of constantly selling yourself 
  • Provides you with a regular income 
  • A foot in the door for a more formal role
  • Not tied to any one company and can work elsewhere too 

The Cons of Permalancing 

  • Won’t receive paid time off, health insurance, or a 401(k) match
  • Filing taxes can be a time-consuming burden
  • Businesses can take advantage of your work
  • Easily disposable – termination can occur at any time, for any reason (unless you’ve negotiated a solid contract)

Note: Before signing a contract, be clear about pay rates, working hours, and time off

  • No long term guarantees or job security

Closing Thoughts

Permalancing is a lifestyle choice that can be a perfect fit for those with an entrepreneurial spirit who wants to pursue other goals. If you are looking to break into this kind of work, it’s essential to do your research on the company you’ll be working for and talk to other permalancers in your field.

Join NFICA for $5 a year

Join our community of 15,000 independent contractors, small business owners, freelancers, and direct sellers who are experiencing the benefits of belonging to the NFICA. As a member, you’ll gain access to discounts on industry-leading traditional and virtual business tools, the security of supplemental health and life insurance priced competitively to other market options, work-life balance with discounts on lifestyle apps and services, and a quarterly newsletter with tips on improving your business and your life.



Tax season can be stressful for even the seasoned taxpayer but can be incredibly daunting for the first-time taxpayer who is self-employed. Even the smallest oversight can cost you hundreds of dollars in taxes.

We interviewed Danny Dickerson, JD, and CPA, who has over 20+ years in the tax preparation business. Danny will shed some light on the intricacies of filing taxes as a self-starter and help you get the most out of your tax return.

What actions can you take all year long to prepare for your taxes as someone self-employed, a freelancer, or an independent contractor?

Probably the most important action you can take as a new self-employed business person is to clearly keep track of what you earn, what you spend, and what you spent it for.

The easiest way to do this is with one account that everything goes into and out of. It can be a paper check ledger or an online account. The trick is to write down a good description of each item. That way, whether you do your own accounting, or you hire someone to help, the description will help you remember what things are several months down the road. Most accountants can figure out what to do with an income item or an expense from detailed descriptions.

What mistakes do you see first-time self-employed taxpayers make?

Getting financial advice from friends or online instead of investing an hour with a CPA or an attorney. They will listen to your story, ask questions, and likely discuss a couple of choices. All choices have consequences. They can help you think through and talk through the risks and rewards of alternatives. One that I see a lot is “you have to have an LLC”. Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes it creates situations where that may not have been the best choice. It is a little like the mechanic who says “you can pay me a little now, or a lot more later.”

What are some items people think they can write-off but they can’t?

The most frequent non-deductible expense I see is clothing. It’s very seldom deductible if you could wear it for anything other than work. Another is car mileage and actual expenses. We can do one or the other but not both. A third is restaurants. There are very specific guidelines on whether that’s deductible.

Is there a rule of thumb to follow?

The best self-employed rule of thumb is “taxes will cost you one-third of every dollar you make.” It’s not always true, but it’s easy to remember. Then you can be pleasantly surprised if it costs less.” But taxes are like recipes: all ingredients work together. Change one ingredient and the whole mix changes. Congress passes different laws at different times, and they don’t always work and play well together. So you have to consider the total picture when you consider quarterly estimated payments.

Join NFICA for $5 a year

Join our community of 15,000 independent contractors, small business owners, freelancers, and direct sellers who are experiencing the benefits of belonging to the NFICA. As a member, you’ll gain access to discounts on industry-leading traditional and virtual business tools, the security of supplemental health and life insurance priced competitively to other market options, work-life balance with discounts on lifestyle apps and services, and a quarterly newsletter with tips on improving your business and your life.


Have you ever heard of Instagram Reels? First launched in Brazil in 2019, the now-global Instagram tool allows you to create and share 15-second videos with your audience on your Instagram page. It’s available on both Android and iOS devices. 

Though it’s similar to TikTok, Instagram Reels has plenty of its own benefits, with brands like Louis Vuitton, Sephora, and Walmart taking advantage of them. 

Instagram Reels IS NOT Instagram Stories

For those who aren’t as familiar with Instagram, you have a couple of options for posting content. You can post in your feed, which your followers can scroll through. Or you can post in Stories, which appear at the top of the app and offer the ability to add multiple photos and videos at once. You can add music, text, and doodles over your Stories content, which all disappear after 24 hours. 

All of the Reels you create will also appear in a dedicated section of your profile. There is a recently dedicated “Reels” tab at the bottom center of the Feed home screen for easy access. 

Why you should use Instagram Reels to promote your business

Reels have some benefits for brands to take advantage of when using this tool on Instagram. They include:

  • If you’re an Instagram loyalist but want to create the same kinds of videos that have made TikTok the best-rated app of 2020 on iOS, then Reels is for you. 
  • Reels is another way to add a bit of fun to your brand and is a great supplement to your customers’ Instagram experience. 
  • With Reels, you can create AR effects, control your videos’ speed, and add clean transitions between multiple videos, among other editing tools, so there’s a more professional feel to the videos you create. 
  • Reels allows you to be more creative and casual when you’re advertising your brands while also giving your audience valuable takeaways in short, digestible snippets. You can make how-to or demo videos, short customer case studies and testimonials, and even recaps of special events. Check out these ten unique Instagram Reels to Get People Watching Your Channel.
  • The visibility factor with Reels compared to Stories on the feed is considerable since many of the top videos in Explore feeds tend to be Reels content. It’s important to note that Explore is designed for users to discover new brands and content, so it’s a great way to boost your brand. 

Use Shopping in Reels to direct your audience to your online store 

The most significant way you can use Instagram to promote your business is by using Shopping in Reels. This feature was launched in late 2020 and is big news for businesses and creators, who will now be able to insert a “View Products” button that viewers can tap, allowing them to learn more about a specific product and even buy it. Another new feature includes a way to tag your videos as “Branded Content” so people can be transparent when they’re working with a business to promote their products.  

Best practices for using Instagram Reels 

If you’re not familiar with how to use Reels on Instagram, here’s a tutorial

Got it? Great! Now, here are some best practices when creating videos on Reels.

  1. Mix your audio  – If you’re creating a voiceover with music in the background, use the “mix” feature to choose your audio levels to make sure you can hear your voice over the music.
  2. Use hashtags and a strong caption – Think of your caption as your headline, which should immediately get your audience’s attention. Make it short, snappy, and attention-grabbing. Use hashtags to increase your viewability, and remember that your viewers will see only the first few words unless they click on the “show more” tab, so make sure you are strategic in your wording. 
  3. Be funny – Reels, like TikTok, are meant to be casual and fun. Because the videos are so short, your content needs to be memorable. Humor is a way to achieve this. Just be sure your post is tasteful and nonoffensive.
  4. Watch TikTok and Reels videos – To get an idea of what’s popular on both TikTok and Reels, spend some time watching what others are doing. For inspiration, here are some examples of how other brands are using Reels

Join NFICA for $5 a year

The National Federation of Independent Contractors Association is designed to meet the needs of self-employed business leaders like yourself by offering competitively priced insurance benefits and lifestyle and business product discounts. With NFICA’s support, you can confidently say, “I can do this!” Learn more.


Interview with Leah Glover-Hayes

We recently chatted with Leah Glover-Hayes, founder of Nashville-based Her Story of Success, an organization designed to help women define and find success by pursuing their passion. We talked about how she started her business, the challenges she faced while pursuing her dream career, and the lessons she’s learned along the way. Leah hosts a podcast, is a public speaker, panel moderator, and engagement consultant. Read our edited conversation below. 

NFICA: Why did you start Her Story of Success? 

I started working when I was 12 as a babysitter. I didn’t finish college, but everything that I’ve learned through serving, bartending, and being a flight attendant led me to get all the jobs that required a college degree. I knew how to work. I knew how to bust my ass. And I started to learn that I’m good at customer service and I’m good at helping people make decisions. Adults would tell me their life stories. I would hear all the time, “Oh my God. I’ve never told anybody that.” I care about mentorship. If I asked a successful person to meet me for coffee, I found a lot of people saying yes, and I thought,” Wow, I’m onto something.”

Successful people want to give back. They want to help others succeed. And if they’re willing to speak to me, I want to help other people have access to that. Many women don’t have access to the women that I get to talk to. And so I decided to start a podcast on that and then decided to make it my full-time business. That’s how Her Story of Success came about. Now I get paid to help people have conversations. 

NFICA: In what ways does Her Story of Success help its clients? 

I work with some corporate clients, and I provide interview events for them. So these companies will hire me to host events where I’m interviewing one of their top clients. And we have this conversation about how they got there, what they do. It’s a fun conversation. And then we’ll break it out into breakout sessions. These companies will get to have their people lead each of the breakout sessions so that they have direct interactions. So that’s one thing that I do. And then we offer podcast sponsorships for people who want to connect with an audience. 

Now that I have come into the business world and have had some success, I’m so focused and passionate about helping other people find their confidence. When people are in that crossroads of life saying, “I don’t know what I’m passionate about, I don’t know what I want to do next,” I always try to ask, “What made you happy when you were six to twelve? What’s the goal? Let me show you why you can achieve what you want to get done. “

NFICA: What were some of the challenges you faced while getting your company off the ground? 

Honestly, the challenge of getting off the ground is understanding what I wanted to do and what I wanted to offer at scale. Because a lot of new businesses start out saying, “I’ll do whatever you want me to do.” So, really, I had to figure out who we were as a company and what we wanted to offer, and how we wanted that to look. Then, I realized that my values as a person have to be the same values that I put into my company. And then when I start working with a client, do those align? So the challenge was owning my voice and owning my beliefs and values, and being able to stand firm on that and say, “This is who I am. I might not align with you.” And letting clients say goodbye.

NFICA: What is your advice to women looking to start their businesses or advance their careers? What’s the first thing they should do before anything else?

I would say get honest with yourself. If you want to start a business because you’re not happy and want to be your own boss, you need to pause, and you need to figure out what you want to do and what you want your life to look like. What lifestyle are you looking for? And then what is it that you want to spend your time doing?

Because a lot of times, when you start a company, you’re not actually doing the thing that you set out to do. You’re beginning to hire people to do that because you’re trying to grow a company. I would start interviewing people that are doing what you want to do. Do you know other business owners? What challenges are they having? What conversations are you having with your friends? When you pursue something that you love, the one thing that I always say is find the people doing what you love.

About The NFICA

An underlying safety net can go a long way in encouraging you as an independent contractor. Our health products can help make an emergency easier to manage.


By now, most marketing professionals are aware of the ins and outs of using social media platforms as a useful marketing tool. Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn naturally come to mind. However, Reddit is mostly off the radar for business advertising. But with over a billion interested users, it may be time to add Reddit to your arsenal for reaching your customers.

What is Reddit? 

For those unfamiliar with the platform, Reddit is a single platform that combines web content, social news, social media, and live interaction. Its layout is straightforward, with threads usually only consisting of text boxes and a few photos here and there. But don’t let its lack of bells and whistles fool you. Reddit has generated over 1.5 billion users, making it the sixth most viewed site in the U.S, above Netflix. 

Registered users can contribute images, content, news, or anything else they would like to share. Posts are organized by subject into user-created boards called “subreddits” or “communities.” These subreddits cover a myriad of topics like cooking, sports, video, news, politics, and science. Participating users can then “vote” the post up or down. This ensures that interesting content floats to the top of the page while the unappealing posts are washed away towards the bottom. It’s a completely user organized app that encourages interaction and culminates communities of like-minded people online. 

Why Market on Reddit?

Reddit has quickly become a red hot opportunity for marketing. As mentioned above, it’s the perfect place to establish a marketing strategy simply because of how many viewers it generates on any given day. Reddit users spend an average of ten minutes per visit and view roughly seven pages in that time. During that ten minutes, millions of people could be looking at your advertisement. 

Reddit offers two different types of advertisements that marketers can use to their advantage. The first shows up in the user’s right-hand sidebar—this type of advertising is best utilized for larger photos or video advertising. The second type is buried in the feeds. It acts as a thread response, but when users click on the ad, they are sent to the ad’s landing page. This flexibility allows marketers to experiment with effective advertising on Reddit and decide what works best for the demographic they are reaching. 

Reddit also has an extremely low minimum daily ad spend. Clocking in at around $5, Reddit’s affordable ad spend puts it as a more accessible advertising platform than its competitors. 

Tactics for Effective Reddit Marketing

Reddit is an entirely underutilized platform, making it the perfect place to advertise your business, gain traffic to your website, and experiment with tactics that work. But Reddit can be a little challenging to advertise on because the audience mostly dislikes being spammed with ads or businesses that seem disingenuous. Because of this, it’s essential to treat these ad spaces like you would Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn, versus Craiglist (little to no effort, and irrelevant to the content that the user is currently viewing). There are a few tactics to consider when breaking into the Reddit community.

Register as a user: The best way to get to know the platform you are advertising on is to become a user yourself. This allows you to learn the user experience’s ins and outs and see ads from other companies as you scroll. It also helps to gain Reddit loyalty. Users enjoy knowing that you are a trusted brand that participates in threads and posts content regularly before advertising. 

Post genuine content: Since Reddit is such a unique experience on the internet, it’s in the advertiser’s best interest to generate original, eye-catching content. The ads that Reddit participants see when scrolling through the site should blend in seamlessly with the content they are viewing. The more subtle the ad, the more likely you’ll generate traffic to your website. 

Do not use fake accounts: Reddit users are smart and quick to point out any shills. Using tools like fake accounts, asking your employees to upvote your threads, and undisclosed paid ads will be exceedingly hurtful to your business. 

The Bottom Line

Reddit is a unique social media platform that can be a handy marketing tool if used correctly. But as great as it is, it does require a strong level of knowledge of the user base before diving right in. Unlike Instagram and Facebook, Reddit has created a community of users that harness the site’s content, and they come together as a united front. If done incorrectly, the community as a whole could ostracize your company. However, if you can focus on Reddit’s best practices for advertising, you unleash the potential of millions of viewers a day looking at your business. 

About The NFICA

An underlying safety net can go a long way in encouraging you as an independent contractor. Our health products can help make an emergency easier to manage.