laurabwilliamsdesigns

10 Easy Steps to Becoming a Successful Freelancer: Stop Laughing Someone is Going to Believe This

In Freelancing on March 21, 2013 at 7:58 am

10 Easy Steps with sarcasm

April 1st will be my third month writing this blog and deciding to take my freelance graphic design and writing business seriously. So, what do I have to say about that? A lot actually because I have noticed things I have done right, things I have done wrong and I have learned a lot. Most of the learning is due to the generosity of spirit that other writers have shown by letting me get a peek into their trials and tribulations laid out in some very interesting and inspiring blogs.

I am going to list the top 10 reasons I have survived and why I am going to keep on keepin’ on.

The Learning Curve

The Learning Curve

Whew. This has been the toughest and I am well aware that the learning process will never, ever, ever end. Not in graphic design, writing or in running my own business. Here is what I brought to the laptop Jan 1st
1) A tired, sick and worn out body, always a great way to start off any endeavor.
2) A pretty solid knowledge of graphic design and writing skills.
3) Experience running other people’s business and marketing.
Sounds great, huh? I thought so too until about day three when I realized I didn’t know Jack about how to start. So I sat back, put on more coffee and thought about it. I had no money so I had to figure it out at no cost. Well a little. I did buy some e-books. I decided the best thing was to take the next five days and read EVERYTHING that I could find. In one week I learned so much about freelancing, marketing and myself that it still amazes me. Mostly with the help of freelancers that been there and done that.
Some faves:
http://michellerafter.com/
www.freelanceswitch.com
http://www.therenegadewriter.com

Don’t my friend Lee Tyler at The Point of the Quill she always offers great and thoughtful advice.

Read. Read. Read.

The Money

The Money

What? Oh, you want to know about the money. Aren’t we all in this for the sake of the art? Here’s the skinny on that. It’s out there. I am just now seeing a return. I have two clients I do several writing pieces for every week and then other clients that kind of move in and out of my life as they have needs. I do make more from the graphic design per project but the writing fills in the gaps. Am I making a living? Yes. Am I rich? Be serious. But the potential is huge and the more I learn the more I make.

The “I Can Do It’ Factor

I can do it

If I knew now….. Well, you know what I mean. I would have done this years ago, kid you not. I have never felt more confident about myself and my abilities. The sky really is the limit. The only thing that can stop me is me. Which leads me to my next point.

Figuring Out Who the Hell I am and What Does that Mean to You the Reader

Who the hell do I think i am

This takes some thought and I am still trying to figure it out. I am a 50 year old woman with kids and grandkids (two of whom live with me), former nightclub manager, bartender, server, salesperson, secretary and some other nonsense. I have severe COPD which sucks BTW and I live in a teeny town in Florida. So I asked myself who wants to hear anything from me. The answer: Who the hell wouldn’t want to hear what I have to say. I am well- read, bright, articulate, funny, caring person and I actually give a damn. About all of us.

Selling Myself

Sold

This may make many of you laugh. I sell my wares via Craigslist. Almost every job I have completed in the last three months has been thanks to CL. Bless their hearts. I have done logos for sportswear, print ads, business logos and more. I have written web content for individual blogs, mills and completed several articles for others. But let me tell you baby, I know how to work it. I have a schedule that I go by and post ads in different areas on different days with different content so that I can fly somewhat under the radar. I also read job boards as often as I can and I have come across some projects through them.
Here are some I use:
http://jobs.problogger.net/
http://www.online-writing-jobs.com (one of my favs)
http://www.peopleperhour.com
Look around there are so many more. But read articles where other writers recommend sites. It will save you a lot of heartache and time.

Time Management and other Bull

The Bull & Moi

Please don’t think that I am saying time management is unimportant that is not what I am saying at all. It is crazy important. When you work, you are working. Period. Door closed. Phone off. Set aside time to check emails and blogrolls. I do this on average twice a day, in the morning and at night. Plan your days. Planning a schedule is important for your mental health and believe it or not clients appreciate when your work is turned in before deadline. The Bull part, well that is where life interrupts. Everyday, usually several times a day. Someone comes home. Someone leaves. The cat needs to be fed. The dog needs to be walked. You need to eat. Shower. See where I am heading? If you do not have a plan you don’t have room for the Bull and soon they will be carting you away to a quiet less stressful place.

I Will Survive

zombies not included

You don’t know what this means to me. This has given me a way to support myself and my family from home, because I get so sick so often working outside of the home that is no longer feasible. Besides the financial end it allows me to do what I love everyday and that is the best medicine in the world. And an additional bonus is that I can work while I am in the hospital. So, yes, I will survive.

Cool Tips, Tricks and Other Great Stuff

Great Stuuf

Things I can’t live without:
www.paypal.com
www.evernote.com I use this on all my devices. It helps me keep track of all my research, emails, business receipts and much more. Get it. Use it.
www.iqtell.com “The Best Productivity App in the History of Doing”, that’s what they say and they are right. This is in beta-release and I had to be invited to use it but I will tell you what I will cry if they ever take it away.
http://www.pandora.com Music does soothe the heart of the savage beast and freelancers everywhere.
https://bitly.com/shortenHelps by reducing those insanely long web addresses into short links.
http://www.grammarbase.com Grammar checker so you don’t sound like a complete idget. I wish more people would use this.
And every social marketing site I can find.

This blog turned out to be much longer than I planned and I hope you found something useful. If not I hope that it is enough to know that I am struggling along beside you slurping coffee and wearing yoga pants. Here is one quote that keeps me going day in and day out.

Make Good Art

BTW did you notice 9 & 10 are missing? Well, honestly I only had three months. Please let me know what you think should be added to the list. What makes you a freelancer or just some dude in his underwear trolling the internet eating snack cakes? I need all the help I can get.

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  1. WHat a cool, thorough, and attractive post! Thanks so much for mentioning The Renegade Writer. And I have to encourage you to stop writing for the mills and start pitching better-paying markets. You DO have a lot of great background and experience! 🙂

    • Thank you very much, Linda. I am in the process of moving in that direction. It’s that darn learning curve I mentioned….lol.

      • %^&$ the learning curve! 🙂 Everything you need to know to write a query or an LOI is out there on the web for free or cheap. You get the best practice from trying — even before you’re sure you know exactly what you’re doing.

      • I love your approach. I am looking into it because I do think you are right, there are bigger fish in the sea. I have come to realize, mainly because of the feedback I get from clients and writers such as yourself that I have much more to offer. I need to jump. What the hell am I waiting for? I know what I need to work on but I also know that everyday I read blogs and articles that I know that Ic an write as well, if not better. I can’t tell you how much i appreciate your comments. I need all the support and confidence I can get!

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