Archive for the ‘Freelancing’ Category
An a amazing talk by one of my favs Seth Godin. I honestly don’t believe that you can watch this and not take away some great stuff.
My new blog Good Inklings is up and running. This blog will be full of great information for writers and freelancers. I believe that our success is built through each other and we should have each others back.
Here’s a great quote dorm the Dalai Lama that I came across on Google + this morning.
We need to strengthen such inner values as contentment, patience and tolerance, as well as compassion for others. Keeping in mind that it is expressions of affection rather than money and power that attract real friends, compassion is the key to ensuring our own well-being.
I would love to hear what you think of my new blog. As it grows I will fill it with a ridiculous amount of helpful articles, videos and more. PLEASE follow me!!!!!
The following link will take you to a wonderful article that the author, Neil Gaiman wrote on the importance of libraries, reading and imagination. He really makes a wonderful argument for how important books are in our lives and the workings of society. I was saddened to read that the size of prisons can be based on what percentage of 10 and 11 year old children can’t read. And I was interested to learn why China now encourages the reading of science fiction.
Read and enjoy. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors and a pretty neat human being.
A lecture explaining why using our imaginations, and providing for others to use theirs, is an obligation for all citizens
Also you may want to watch a Commencement Address that Neil Gaiman gave in 2012. Amazing Stuff. I have watched it several times because it reminds me to be the best I can be as an artist and writer. Make good art.
WARNING: This Writer Will Be Writing a Novel of 50,000 Words During the Month of November. Should she exhibit random screaming fits, twitch uncontrollably or begin speaking in tongues (which sound eerily like a recitation of basic grammar rules) back away and close the door.
I have considered participating in the insane NaNoWriMo challenge for several years but until this year I could not make the time commitment. But this year is different. Maybe as I age the hardening of my arteries has caused an irrational belief in my abilities or I have chemical imbalance leading to delusional thoughts. Of course, the voices in my head have gathered together and are using all of their powers of persuasion to let me know that yes, I have finally lost my mind. Being the rebel that I am I am ignoring the noisy little buggers and moving off into uncharted waters. Before you ask here are the answers to questions you may have:
Question #1: What will your novel be about?
Answer: I don’t have a clue.
Question #2: Where will you find the time?
Answer: Not really sure but my soon to be 20 year old son suggested that I could free up close to seven hours a day if I did not bitch at him. I think giving up food or sleep may be easier.
Question #3: Why on earth do you think this is a good idea?
Answer: Because I think that if at the end of 30 days there may be chance, no matter how slight that I might have created something that could really be something when it grows up.
Question #4: Are you scared?
Answer: Of course not. Well, OK that maybe that was a little white lie. Actually it is a whopper of a lie. I would say I am scared Sh^*less.
Question #5: Who is going to cook, clean and make sure your meet your other deadlines?
Answer: I have no idea. What are you doing for the month of November.
BTW if you would like to join me on this insane odyssey fueled by cold cups of strong coffee and the burning need to fill pages with lifeless characters and poorly structured plots… please do. Wait a second that last line was infiltrated by the voices in my head. What I meant to say was, “If you would like to join me on this fulfilling odyssey fueled by the desire to create and bring forth the next great novel then hang on it’s going to be a wild ride.
I found this statistic to be sad and disheartening. According to a Gallup poll 71% of Americans don’t like their jobs. Maybe when they find that they don’t enjoy their chosen field as much as they thought they would when they decided on a career path when they were 18. Maybe they have horrible management. Maybe they are getting older and having trouble keeping up with the demands of their job. Maybe they just grew up. Maybe their job is a job that really sucks.
I would think that this is part of the bigger picture on may changes in society, such as better living through prescription drugs, higher depression rates, deterioration of families and on and on and on.
I am fortunate that I am in a position to do what I love but that certainly was not the case for most of my life. Are you just existing at your job? If you could do anything in the world, what would it be? If you could start over at what point in your life would you have made the change? I think if I had it to do over I would have been a teacher and a writer.
I won’t start this post with the obligatory “I know I haven’t posted in awhile”….well never mind, I think I just did. Regardless, I came across a TED Talk video today that made me laugh and think. It struck an immediate chord with me as one that struggles with algebra. I remember as a young student yelling in frustration at my mother, “Letters are for reading, not adding.” Needless to say, math continued to be forced on me and it wasn’t until I was 40 that I actually passed an algebra class. I still think letters should be for reading not adding.
As this video went on I began to consider the statement ” When pigs fly”. Me being me and unwilling to accept that anything is impossible I consider pig flight to be improbable but not necessarily impossible, just as many things in my life could be explained in the same light. I have had dramatic changes happen in my life the past few years. If I had been asked years ago if they would occur I would have said “when pigs fly”. But here we are and not a flying pig in sight. I am sure that in some secret government lab some bumbling yet brilliant LSD imbibing fringe scientist along with his sweet but weird son and an FBI agent that travels to a parallel universe are working on making pigs fly….oh wait, that’s a television show. OK, maybe no one is actively trying to make pigs fly but I do feel all of us should be trying by sheer force of will, imagination and fearlessness make our own pigs fly. (You do have a pig don’t you?). You should strive to challenge the impossibilities in your life and make them possible. Reach for your dreams and like the song says “You may not get what you want but you’ll get what you need”. (Source: Rolling Stones a bitchin’ rock and roll group that is now geriatric and a weird) Or just take a nap. We need our rest, too.
If you are so inclined let me know about your flying pig experiences. What did impossibility did you make possible? I may, with your permission put any responses into a blog post to show others how amazing you are.
(You may be thinking, did she really after all this time feel that this is the most compelling post she could come up with? Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I have a lot on my mind and a lot on my plate but I feel that I will be posting more soon. Maybe when pigs fly.)
Out in the real world and online I have heard freelancers claim that they don’t have time to promote themselves and that is effecting their being successful. Is it that they don’t have time or that they don’t know where to start?
Often someone stepping into the world of freelance starts with building a Facebook page, maybe they open a Twitter account and they also spend a few hours building a website. As I have heard many times in other articles, just because you build doesn’t mean they will come. So, let’s take a look at what you are doing to market yourself.
Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Facebook Page?
Online marketers have rammed it down our throats that Facebook can solve all of our marketing problems. Not true. Facebook is one of many tools that can help build an online presence. Here is a big problem I see with Facebook users that are trying to promote their business, they forget that they are promoting their business and start throwing in personal posts that are not relevant to their product or service. Your posts should connect with other users but at the same time it needs to have value. For example, as a writer I may post articles form my blog that have nothing to do with selling my service but they have value because it reflects my writing talent. If I was to post about how my grandson made the honor roll or post a cute cat video it would be irrelevant and a waste of time
Sell. Sell. Sell. Right? No. Stop It. Now.
Look at what you are posting and be honest. Don’t over-post. I have deleted more “friends” because they continually try to ram their products or services down my throat without supplying any interesting content. Let’s say you own a plumbing company and you want to promote your residential services there is a right way and a wrong way to do this. You could post once or twice a day some information on your company and the services you offer or you can show your potential customers that you are an expert in the field of plumbing. Write a short post on an interesting subject such as inspecting your pipes for damage caused by tree roots, how to avoid freezing pipes, new trendy fixtures and so on and so on. Now do you see the difference? You can apply this to any industry. If you post your article in the morning or in the early evening more people will see it. People tend to check their Facebook pages before work and after. Also if you are paying attention to what you post and when you post you can add content a couple of times a week and get more impact than posting bland, irrelevant posts a couple of times a day. If you can’t write your own content hire someone who can. Ha! There it is I just wrote an article to share on my social media sites that promotes my business. Shameless, aren’t I?
Spread Your Message Like a Bad Cold
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you are taking the time to write the post, why not add it to your website, your blog or post it on Twitter and other social marketing sites. Spread your message around. Use the content you create over a week to create newsletter that you email to your existing customers. The world may be your stage but if you don’t build a strong platform to stand on not everyone in the audience will hear your message.
If you find that you don’t have the time or ability to create informed content that gets results I can help. No, really. Visit my website at http://www.laurabwilliamsdesigns.com. I specialize in web content writing and also with my background in graphic design I can give you a hand with all your marketing materials.
The other day I wrote the post titled Presenting Yourself to a Client: In Person Pt. 1. Today I want to address how you should deal with a client online. First of all take a look at what your website or blog communicates about you as a professional. Is your blog full of cute videos about cats or is it interesting content that will show a prospective client that you have the skills that they are looking for. Make sure that there is a photo of yourself on your website, blog and all social media. This photo should be a nice, clean head shot that looks professional and you should be smiling. You probably should avoid photos of you passed out after a night of partying with friends. Believe it or not I saw that on a Facebook profile of someone advertising for work. Wow. Be honest with yourself, would you hire you based on your website or blog or social media sites? Make sure you have a portfolio of your work or information about your product or services that truly communicates the value of what you are offering. A DYI website is not a good idea if you are not a talented designer, hire a professional and you will increase your sites impact.
Second, develop some email templates that you can use with clients. You may need a few for responding to ads that you come across that advertise for someone with your skills. I have a few including one for graphic design projects, there’s one for general web content and another for writing for blogs. Then I may change them depending on the particular client that I am pitching. I also have templates for responding to clients that contact me through my blog, website, Facebook or Twitter. I have found that by using templates I can easily adjust the information to meet the needs of that particular piece of communication but I maintain a consistent voice throughout all my communications.
Next, be honest about what you can offer. For example on the design side of my business, for the most part, I stay away from web design. Not because I can’t do it but because it is very time consuming and there are other projects that I would rather do. Often I work with another designer friend and I sub-contract the work to her and that works well for me. I work with my clients the way I want someone to work with me first and foremost I LISTEN. A client interview is not all about you. By the time a client emails you they have probably visited your website or blog and have a general idea of what you have to offer. It is now time to find out what they need and who they are. I have noticed that a lot of freelancers need to LISTEN more. Take notes as you talk so that you do not miss any important information that will make your job easier. Do not accept jobs that you think you might be able to do. It’s better to turn down work then to send a project to a client that is shoddy and amateurish.
Here’s a good one that I think is very important. Do your research! Whether you are seeking work or a client is contacting you, if possible research their business before communicating with them. If you do that you will be able to better understand their needs, their mission and you will sound better informed.
PROOFREAD all communication. If you are seeking a writing gig and there are a couple of typos in your email you can probably forget about getting that job. Good grammar and proper spelling says that you are a professional and that you take yourself seriously.
Take yourself seriously. If you call yourself a freelancer than this is your business, it is no longer a hobby. Build your brand and create a professional image for yourself. Every client communication is a chance to market yourself and grow your business. Take advantage of that opportunity. Keep in mind that doors can open for you but they can also close. As a freelancer, at least in the beginning you are often a one man (or woman) show and it is vital that you understand who you are, what you have to offer and that you use that information to communicate to potential clients.
Here are some of my favorite books on freelancing. They are all available on Amazon.
Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business
Amazing websites for freelancers:
Word Count- http://michellerafter.wordpress.com
Pro Blogger- http://www.problogger.net/