Why you should add the Bark Reviews badge to your website today

Getting great reviews on Bark is one of the easiest ways to show clients you’re the right pro for them.

That’s why we created our brand new Bark Reviews badge. It lets you show off your Bark star rating on your website, and reminds your customers to leave even more great reviews on your Bark profile.

We believe it’s the perfect way to promote your services and show clients you’re a trusted Bark pro – and today, we’re going to show you why you should add it to your company website right away.

Prove you’re the best with the Bark Reviews badge

Word of mouth is the cheapest way to advertise your business and attract new customers, and in the modern world that means collecting great reviews on websites like Yelp or Bark.

That’s why we believe it’s so important to ask your customers to review your services, and to share their great feedback with your prospects – and our new range of Bark Reviews badges will help you do exactly that:

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Displaying this badge prominently on your website sends a clear message to potential customers that you deliver a quality service they can trust.

When someone clicks it, they’ll be taken to your Bark profile to leave their feedback – and when your star rating is high enough, the badge will switch to show everyone that you’re a rated Bark pro.

It’s the perfect way to show people you offer a top quality service, and adding it to your company site couldn’t be easier.

Adding the Bark Reviews badge to your website is easy

The best places to add your Bark badge are in the header, footer or sidebar of your website. This will make sure it’s displayed prominently, so everyone can see you’re a trusted Bark pro.

To help you with this, we created this simple walkthrough. It looks at all the most popular website building platforms used by Bark pros like yourself – including WordPress.org, Squarespace, GoDaddy and more.

Simply log into your Bark profile using the link below and follow the quick and easy steps provided to claim your new Bark Reviews badge right away.

Get your Bark Reviews badge now.

If you’d like any help adding this new badge to your company website, send us an email at badges@bark.com or leave a comment in the space below!

How to promote your business with the new Bark Spotlight

We created our new Bark Spotlight to highlight some of our favourite Bark pros to our users, and to help your business connect with even more new customers online.

It doesn’t cost a single penny to feature in it – and Spotlight pros will appear prominently on our ‘new look’ category pages (like this one) so they’re one of the very first things people see when they visit our site.

All you need to do to be eligible is provide a great service, and fill out the questions in the Q&A section of your Bark profile.

To help maximize your chances of being selected, here’s a brief guide to the sort of thing we look for in our Spotlight pros:

1. Show us what’s unique about your business. Many of our questions are designed to help our users get to know you a little better. People like hiring pros they think they’ll get along with. So try to provide honest answers that show people what makes your business different.

2, Write your answers from scratch. Search engines rank web pages that feature plenty of unique, relevant content. While copying and pasting content from your website may be quick, it often won’t read quite right – and it certainly won’t improve your Bark profile’s SEO ranking.

3. You only need to answer your favourites. In some categories, we’ve included several possible questions you might like to answer – but they’re only suggestions. If you’d prefer to pick your favourite three or four and focus on them, that’s totally fine!

4. Use short sentences and simple language. Our ideal answers are those that use the same words you’d use if you were speaking. So try to tell your story using simple, everyday language. Web apps like the Hemingway Editor make it easy to keep your writing clear and simple.

5. Have fun with your answers! First and foremost, we’re looking for interesting answers our users will enjoy reading. We believe this is the best way to showcase the great pros on our site – so don’t be afraid to have fun when filling them in.

Time to get your business into the spotlight

Following these simple guidelines will give you the best chance of being chosen as one of our Spotlight pros, so we can promote your business prominently on our site.

So why not take a moment now to update your Q&A responses? Simply log into your account using the link below and visit the Q&A section of your profile to get started.

We can’t wait to take a look at what you have to say – and if there’s anything else we can do to help, please do let us know in the comments below!

Click here and submit your Bark Spotlight responses now.

Get the right kind of publicity with
our new Bark Spotlight

Getting the right kind of publicity is the key to drawing hundreds (or even thousands) of new users, prospects and customers to your business.

The biggest companies in the world can spend millions of pounds trying to win positive media coverage, like Oreo did to pull off their “dunk in the dark” stunt during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout.

But flashy PR campaigns usually aren’t an option for small businesses. So we decided to build something anyone could use to enjoy the instant interest appearing on social media and popular online blogs can generate – whether you’re a wedding planner in Leeds, or a plumber in Watford.

It’s called the Bark Spotlight, and it gives our pros the chance to promote their services prominently on our site, completely free of charge.

Why being “in the spotlight” is great for your business

We recently added a short Q&A section to every Bark profile to give you yet another way to promote your business on our site.

Filling in the questions that are relevant to you will help boost your SEO ranking and promote your services to potential customers. (If you haven’t completed yours already, you can login and do so here.)

But this feature is a lot more than just another section for your profile. We’ll also be picking our favourite responses to be highlighted in our new Bark Spotlight feature:

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The Bark Spotlight lets us highlight our favourite pros on our category pages

The Spotlight is a key part of our ‘new look’ category pages, designed to highlight some of our favourite pros to people who visit our site. Every time someone visits one of these new pages, our Bark Spotlight will be one of the first things they see.

We’re working to roll them out across all our most popular categories right now – and you can take a look at one that’s live already right here.

But that’s not the only way we’ll be promoting the pros on our site using the new Bark Q&A. We’ll also be using the quotes you provide us with in our regular blog posts and on our social media pages to promote your business to hundreds of thousands of potential customers nationwide.

In short, completing your Bark Q&A is an easy way to get your business promoted heavily online with Bark. So, if you haven’t already, click here now and fill it in.

Want to hear about even more customers through Bark? Now you can!

We receive emails all the time from pros asking to hear about even more clients looking for their services. Specifically, many people want to be alerted to customers from further afield than our Service Areas tool allowed.

“My biggest payer was a job from a PR agency 100 miles from London,” writes one Bark photographer. “If you were able to set it up to within 125 miles of London, that would be fantastic.”

“I am a photographer based in Dorset and have no interest in work in the South East or London,” says another. “Do you have a lead generation service for my area and surrounding 50-mile radius?”

There’s clearly a demand for larger service areas, so we decided to see what we could do about it!

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Due to popular demand, we’ve expanded our services areas to a 50-mile radius!

We’ve been working hard behind the scenes over the past few weeks, and we’re proud to announce two big changes designed specifically to increase the quantity and quality of the leads you receive from us:

1) We’ve expanded the maximum service area size you can set in your Bark profile to a 50-mile radius.

2) When we alert you to a job you’re not interested in doing, you can now hide that Bark so it no longer appears in your dashboard.

To hide someone’s Bark, simply click the ‘I’m not interested’ button in their public Bark and it will disappear from the list of matches in your dashboard – leaving you with just the jobs you’re interested in doing.

Better yet, doing this sends us feedback that will help us tailor our service so we can provide you with better quality leads in the future.

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Click the ‘undo’ button to recover a Bark you’ve hidden by accident

This new feature should prove particularly useful if you cover a large service area and are receiving a high volume of requests from us.

(Of course, if you hide a Bark by accident you can always unhide it again by clicking the ‘Undo ‘not interested’’ button that appears in its place.)

We hope you find these changes useful, and that they’ll mean you can start winning more business than ever before with our service. So why not put them to the test right away?

Log into your Bark profile here to widen your service areas and try out our new ‘hide Bark’ feature to filter through the leads we’re sending you.

We’re always looking for new ways to improve Bark for you and your fellow pros, and later this month we’ll be sending out our summer Seller Survey to find out how you feel we’ve been doing over the past few months.

Keep an eye out for it for your chance to tell us what you really think of our service. In the meantime, let us know what you think of these brand new pro features in the comments below!

 

How to leave the perfect voicemail sales pitch in 5 easy steps

We’ll now give you instant access to a client’s personal phone number when you respond to their Bark, making it easier than ever before to secure new business with our service.

You’ll find each customer’s phone number beneath their name in the in the My Responses section of your Bark dashboard – so you can use it to call them directly.

But, from time to time, you’re bound to reach someone’s voicemail. To help you prepare for when that happens, we put together this simple guide to leaving the perfect voicemail pitch in five easy steps.

STEP 1: Get their attention first

Your objective right off the bat is to get the client’s attention, so don’t start your voicemail the same way as everyone else. As CRM company Salesforce notes, almost all sales voicemails begin: “Hi, my name is X and I’m calling from Y.”

Most people delete these messages straight away. If you recognise the company, you probably already have an opinion about who they are and what they do – and if you don’t, you usually don’t care who they are anyway.

A far better approach would be to take advantage of the specific information we send you about what each of our clients is looking for.

For example, if you were responding to Toby’s request for a wedding photographer, you might start your message: “Hi Toby, Bark just emailed to ask if I’m free to be your wedding photographer next month.”

STEP 2: Capture their interest

At this early stage, it’s really too soon to be going in for the hard sell. You’re just trying to get the customer to call you back to discuss their needs further – and for that, you need to capture their interest.

You might do this by explaining how you’ve helped people with similar requirements in the past, by running through any qualifications you have that make you perfect for the job, by stressing the benefits of choosing your service over your competitors – or all of the above.

Ultimately, the aim here is to present yourself as the best pro for their needs, and focussing on the specific details in each client’s public Bark is a great way to do this.

STEP 3: End with a ‘call to action’

It goes without saying that you should end your voicemails by giving your name and contact phone number. This is your ‘call to action’ – so be sure to state your number slowly, repeat it twice, and lead into it with the phrase “Please call me back on”.

One thing that works really well at this point is to give your client a specific reason to call you back. For example, if you were responding to a catering Bark, you might ask the client to call whenever is convenient so you can create a bespoke menu together.

STEP 4: Keep it short – but not too short

People don’t typically look forward to receiving voicemails from unknown numbers, and if your message is way too long (or too short) it’s possible they could delete it without even listening to it.

Inbound marketing experts HubSpot recommend aiming for the 20-30 second mark as a good rule of thumb. This should give you plenty of time to deliver your pitch, without taking up too much of the client’s time.

Remember, if you don’t hear anything back in a few days’ time, you can always follow-up again by text, or use the Bark Messenger to ask when would be convenient for you to call back.

STEP 5: Plan before you dial

Last but not least, always know what you’re going to say in advance. Before you even pick up the phone, give yourself a few seconds to summarise the purpose of your call in one or two sentences.

This will help you avoid long pauses and unnecessary stammers should the call go to voicemail, and will ensure you’re always ready to deliver the best pitch possible for your business.

Time to pick up the phone!

Sticking to these five simple steps should maximise the number of call-backs you get from your voicemail sales pitches, so you can win even more business thanks to our service.

Why not put them to the test right now by logging into your account here and reviewing your latest matches?

Or if you have any extra voicemail pitching tips or feedback about this latest upgrade to our service, let us know in the comments below!

It’s now even easier to “Bark” on the move

We know our best pros are often out on jobs when new Barks come in, and that’s why we’re working to make using our service as easy as possible when you’re on the move.

Following on from the success of our new one-click response feature, we decided to see if we could make the Bark Messenger itself even more user friendly on smartphone and tablet devices.

So we asked our Customer Services team what feedback we’ve been getting about it, and discovered that many of our pros felt the text box where you compose your messages was too small on mobile devices.

Bark Messenger is now faster and easier to use!
Our latest update makes Bark Messenger faster and easier to use

In the old Bark Messenger, this box only fitted a couple of lines of text, making longer messages tricky to edit and check for mistakes.

That’s obviously no good, especially when you’re composing your first message to a potential client and need to make a good first impression.

(As we’ve noted in the past, the best opening messages are usually around 500-600 characters long.)

So we re-wrote the code for that part of the Bark Messenger so the text box will now dynamically expand (and shrink) as you type in your messages.

In the process, we were also able to make everything run faster, by chucking out a lot of the cumbersome Javascript the messenger used to depend on.

In short, Bark Messenger is now faster, more responsive and mobile friendly – meaning it’s now even easier to respond to clients using it when you’re out on a job.

If you’d like to send us any feedback about how you’re finding this new feature, send us an email at team@bark.com. Or if you’d like to suggest any further improvements we could make to the Bark Messenger in future, let us know in the comments below!

Why you should hire a photo booth for your next corporate event

Everyone knows that photo booths are a great alternative to traditional photographers at weddings and anniversary parties. But for household brands like Dolby, Listerine and Adidas, they can also be powerful promotional tools.

Modern photo booths are kitted out with a host of marketing features that, with a little bit of creativity, can be a great way to promote your business at any corporate event. To find out exactly how some of the world’s largest companies do it, we spoke to Martyn Doherty from leading photo booth hire company, The Photo Cabin.

“Corporate photo booth hire is quite a broad area,” Martyn explains. “It covers anything from conferences in the day, as a sort of breakout thing for people to do, to work parties, product launches, festivals, fashion weeks – literally any kind of corporate event you can think of.”

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Companies including Adidas, Listerine, PayPal, Nokia and more all make use of photo booth hire services at big corporate events – and right now, Martyn is working with Dolby at the Ministry of Sound to promote their latest clubbing collaboration.

“They’ve got the world’s first nightclub surround sound that they’ve just installed, so everything has to be remastered from stereo to Dolby Atmos,” he explains. “At every event they’re doing, they’ll have a photo booth there to help promote this night. So they’re doing animated GIFs, data capture and stuff like that.”

Having a photo booth present at the Ministry of Sound will create yet another way for people to enjoy themselves on these immersive new club nights. But the marketing benefits go way beyond the booth itself.

Adidas hired The Photo Cabin to help them cover Milan Fashion Week
Adidas hired The Photo Cabin to help them cover Milan Fashion Week

“Data capture’s probably one of the most requested things with corporate photo booth hire,” Martyn says. “The most common way is just capturing an email address. So the user can just email their photo to themselves, they type it in and we can capture it that way.”

“On Facebook upload, we can also get your name, age, current city, date of birth, email address,” he adds. “Depending on the user’s privacy settings, you can get basically everything.”

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Letting people share their photo booth pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is also a great way to boost your brand’s social media presence. This approach worked wonders for Adidas when they commissioned a custom photo booth for the last Milan Fashion Week.

“At Milan Fashion Week [Adidas] were targeting certain famous people outside venues, getting them to come over and have their photo taken,” Martyn says. “They were getting like 40,000 ‘likes’ when they uploaded the pictures online.”

Listerine enjoyed similar success with their photo booth campaign at the 2014 Isle of Wight Festival, generating over 130,000 Facebook impressions in just three days.

Listerine generated nearly 140,000 with their photo booth at 2014's Isle of Wight Festival
Listerine generated nearly 140,000 Facebook impressions with their photo booth at 2014’s Isle of Wight Festival

“From 400 digital prints, the number of impressions was something like 140,000,” says Martyn. “The ROI for essentially what’s an advert to be seen that many times is huge.”

“But also, it’s not just an advert,” he adds. “It’s going to be kept on that person’s Facebook profile forever, because they’re tagging their friends to it and they’ve liked it.”

By simultaneously letting you capture valuable data about your customer base and boost your online presence through photo sharing, photo booths really are a promotional tool like no other. But it’s not just the world’s biggest brands that are using them to promote their business and attract new customers – soon, you could be too.

Place a photo booth hire Bark today and we’ll find a great photo booth hire company for your next corporate event right away.

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It’s now up to 70% cheaper to respond to selected Barks!

We’re cutting prices by up to 70% for pros in 25 of our most promising categories, from acupuncture to vehicle window tinting and more.

Why? Because if you’re a skilled professional in the UK, we believe you should be able to quickly grow your business online with Bark, no matter what industry you work in.

Although we get loads of Barks in these categories, competition for them is relatively low – making them some of the most potentially lucrative services we cater for.

They’re ideal if you’ve thought about registering with us before but weren’t sure it was right for your business, or if you offer similar services already and think it might be worth branching out to attract new customers.

So – whatever services your small business provides – make sure you take a look at this breakdown of most heavily discounted categories today:

Category Discount New Price
Acupuncture & Acupressure 50% 3 credits
Business Card Printing 66% 2 credits
Dog Walking 50% 1 credit
Kitchen Tiling 70% 3 credits
Massage Therapy 50% 1 credit
Masseurs 50% 1 credit
Pet Care 50% 1 credit
Pet Sitting 50% 1 credit
Picture Framing 50% 2 credits
Portrait Photographers 50% 5 credits
TV & AV Repair 50% 1 credit
TV Installation & Mounting 66% 1 credit
Upholstery & Furniture Cleaning 50% 1 credit
Vehicle Window Tinting 66% 1 credit

Credits are £1+VAT – so if your company provides vehicle window tinting, for example, you’ll now be saving £2+VAT every time you contact a new customer through Bark.

This change should make using Bark more cost-effective, so you can generate even more business using our service.

As you can see, TV installation, vehicle window tinting and business card printing are now 67% cheaper – and it’s a full 70% less to respond to new kitchen tiling Barks.

But that’s not all, because we’ve also reduced the number of credits you need to respond to Barks by at least a third in another 11 categories:

Category Discount New Price
Artificial Turf Installation & Repair 40% 3 credits
Balloon Artistry 33% 2 credits
Bathroom Tilers 40% 3 credits
Bouncy Castle Hire 33% 2 credits
Carpet Repair or Replacement 33% 2 credits
Martial Arts Classes 33% 2 credits
Pet Photography 40% 6 credits
Video Editing 40% 6 credits
Vintage Car Hire 40% 3 credits
Wedding Car Hire 40% 3 credits
Wedding Stylist 40% 3 credits

We review our prices regularly, and are always looking to strike the best possible balance for everyone who uses our site.

So, as our most popular categories continue to grow and generate more revenue, we’ll often look to pass those savings onto you in the form of price reductions like these.

Better yet, if you’re new to Bark, we’ll even give you enough free credits to contact your first customer on us when you register on our site.

Register today to claim your FREE credits

We always make sure new pros who join our service can contact their first client on us. That way you can see first-hand how easy it can be to find new business with Bark, without needing to spend a penny.

Then, if you’d like us to continue to help you grow your business quickly online, you’ll be able to contact every subsequent customer you find through us at our new reduced rates.

Getting started couldn’t be easier – simply click the link below and open a Bark account today to claim your free Bark credits today:

Click here to start growing your business with Bark.

Writing the perfect customer response – secure more business with Bark in 6 easy steps

The first response you send to a customer is far and away the most important. Many people will decide whether or not they’d like to hire you based on this message alone, so it’s essential you get it right.

Making sure your pitch is the best one a client receives is a key part of pitching for new business with Bark, and we want to do everything in our power to help you stand out from the crowd.

So, in this week’s blog post we’re looking at how to write the perfect customer response in six easy steps.

STEP 1: Promote your company

The best sales pitches all have the same basic structure.  You start by getting the customer’s attention. Then, you explain what’s unique about your pitch. Finally, once the customer has decided you’re the pro for them, you give them an offer they simply can’t refuse.

That’s why your opening message should stress exactly what experience and qualifications you have that make you perfect for the job. Include links to your website, your online portfolio, customer reviews – and anything else you think might improve your chances of securing the business.

STEP 2: Explain what’s included

Next, make sure the customer knows exactly what they’ll be getting for their money, and explain why your service is great value.

In many industries there are ‘extras’ which sometimes aren’t included as standard. If you’re a photographer, are prints included in your estimate? If you’re a cleaner, will you provide your own products?

If your service costs more than some other providers, explain that’s because you offer a superior service – if you’re cheaper than your competitors, be sure to stress what a good deal you are offering.

STEP 3: Move the conversation forwards

Unless you’re really lucky, the chances are you won’t secure the business from your opening message alone.

Your customer will usually have a few questions they need answering before they’re satisfied that you’re the right pro for the job, so ask them to call you whenever is convenient to discuss things further.

Encouraging the customer to take a look at your previous work and offering to meet them in person to provide them with a bespoke estimate are also good ways to move the conversation forwards.

STEP 4: Give your contact details

Customers you contact through Bark will always be able to reach you via the Bark messenger, and they can get your phone number and email address by clicking the “view contact details” button under your display name.

But to make sure it’s as easy as possible for them to get in touch with you, we also recommend including your contact details in the body of your message, so they’re impossible to miss.

STEP 5: Respond quickly

It’s important to respond to new Barks quickly. Our analysis shows that pros who get back to the customers we alert you to right away are twice as likely to secure the business as those who don’t.

So when we alert you to a potential customer you like the look of, it’s best to send them a message right away to register your interest in their business. To help with this, we created our ‘one-click response’ feature – you can find out how it works right here.

STEP 6: Check your spelling!

Finally, once you’ve finished your response we we highly recommend reading it through carefully before you click ‘send’.

A message that contains typos implies you don’t pay attention to detail, and makes people feel you don’t really care about their custom. So it’s always worth checking each message carefully, just to be safe.

Put these steps together and you should be able to craft highly effective responses for your customers – like this example reply to someone with a serious pest problem:

Hi Hans,

Bark just emailed to say you’re in need of pest control, so I thought I’d get in touch to offer you my services.

I’m a BPCA-approved exterminator with 15 years of experience under my belt. In that time, I’ve dealt with everything from ant infestations to escaped Ocelots (don’t ask!), so there really is no job too big or small.

Take a look at my website – www.the-verminator.co.uk – for more info about my experience, qualifications and pricing. If you like what you see, I’ll happily visit your home to take a look at the problem and give you a free quote.

You can reach me any time on 07811 545548 or at theverminator@gmail.com.

Best wishes,
Vincent
07811 545548 | www.the-verminator.co.uk

As you can see, this response explains clearly what services Vincent provides in a way that’s both attention-grabbing and intriguing.

It makes it easy for customers to contact him by phone, email or in Bark Messenger – and it moves the conversation forwards by offering to visit the client’s home to take a closer look at the problem.

Employ these same techniques when responding Barks and we’re confident you’ll be securing even more business with us in no time.

If you have any thoughts or feedback about how we can help you secure more business with our service, we’d love to hear from you. Send your thoughts to team@bark.com or leave a comment in the space below.

From the Hollywood Hills to the Burmese mountains – freelancing secrets from journalists across the globe

In the spring of 2015, Eve Barlow packed her life into suitcases.

She’d had enough of working for someone else. From that day forward, she was going to stand on her own two feet, and focus on projects she was genuinely passionate about. So, she left her job at one of the UK’s most respected music magazines and boarded a one-way flight to LA.

It was a huge step – but having visited the city several times before, she knew there was only one place she wanted be to start her new life.

“The idea of being a freelance music journalist in the City of Angels just seemed like a no-brainer,” she explains. “So a one-way ticket was purchased. I flew by the seat of my pants, and it’s worked out nicely so far.”

She adds: “Working in the NME office was one of the best rollercoaster rides of my 20s and I wouldn’t change the experience for anything. But it’s a challenge to be Deputy Editor of a weekly magazine and also have time to write.”

Here at Bark, we believe taking your career into your own hands is one of the most important things any skilled professional can do. It’s one of the reasons we started Bark in the first place – and if you haven’t already, you can register as one of our pros here.

Since she moved to LA, Eve has the freedom to choose exactly which projects she wants to work on. So we reached out to her to ask what advice she had for aspiring freelancers thinking about going it alone.

“You are your name, and only you can hold yourself up to the quality you’re aspiring to maintain,” she explains. “You’re only as good as the last piece you wrote. That’s a good and bad thing.”

When asked what advice she’d give a young writer trying to get their first paid freelance gig, she says: “Know what you’re good and passionate about covering, make sure you know more than anyone else about that thing, and pitch at the relevant title in a manner that’s going to excite them.”

“Whether it’s unparalleled access, a unique argument or something yet-to-be-discovered, make sure there’s something about your pitch that nobody else could offer,” she adds. “Also, put the time into forging relationships with your editors and people who are going to be able to help you get the stories you need in your field.”

She recalls a recent interview she conducted with a band in the public eye who’d been caught up in an international news story.  After it was published, one of the world’s biggest news outlets wanted her to reveal further details she had ‘off the record’ – an offer she ultimately refused.

“You must always remember that your intellectual property is what you’re selling to people and have ownership over,” she explains. “It can be incredibly valuable if it could further a story that’s currently got heat, and if you’re working with the right editorial team they will understand and respect the part you have to play in that.”

Eve’s Los Feliz apartment complex is the sort of setup many young writers can only dream of. But the beauty of working for yourself is that you can put down roots wherever you choose – whether that’s a sprawling American metropolis, or out in the depths of the Myanmar jungle.

“I’ve just come back from a visit to one of the remotest regions of Burma,” says Joshua Carroll, a freelance writer living in Southeast Asia. “A freelance friend and I went with no commission, figuring we’d find stories while there and make a profit on the trip. We were right and it was an amazing experience.”

Travelling by motorbike along precarious mountain ridges, Josh stayed the night at a remote village which gets its water from a brook that trickles into peoples’ homes via a system of elevated pipes made from carved tree trunks.

“The houses cling to the mountainside on stilts, and there is a football pitch on a plateau ringed by distant blue mountain ridges,” he says. “We went there to interview two hunters who were returning their gun licenses in a gesture of solidarity with the depleted wild animal population. I got paid to do that!”

Although Josh has no formal journalistic training, his natural flare for spotting a good story has proved to be all he needed to succeed as a freelancer. He purchased a one-way ticket to Myanmar in 2014, and he’s never looked back.

“For me, not having a boss and motivating myself is the biggest challenge,” he says. “If I don’t pitch, I don’t work and I run low on money pretty quickly. It can be tough to get out of a dry spell.”

“If you haven’t done something you’re proud of for a while, your confidence starts to flag, and that means it’s less likely there’ll be ideas bouncing around in your head – so it can be a bit cyclical at times,” he adds. “Thinking financially helps. If you set a goal of making £X every month, it helps you work in a more disciplined way.”

Speaking about the best way to land your first paid work when you’re just starting out as a freelancer Josh says, for him, the key was simply to enter as many competitions as possible.

“The student journalism award I won led to a string of paid work,” he explains. “Winning stuff is also good for self-esteem, which is vital for keeping motivated – especially in the early stages when you’re likely to face a lot of rejection.”

Josh stressed that to make it as a freelancer, you need to learn to respond to rejection the right way – a sentiment echoed by UK-based investigative journalist Joe Sandler Clarke.

“Research the publication and editor you’re pitching to, before getting in contact. Treat a story pitch like a job interview,” he says. “The most important thing, more important than writing ability and story getting, is to meet your deadlines, be professional and work hard.

“Editors will respect you and ask for you to do more if you’re reliable and capable, more than they will if you’re flakey and brilliant.”

Securing regular commissions is one of the toughest problems all freelancers face, whether you’re a writer living in a remote Asian jungle, or a plumber working in South London.

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