Saturday, May 31, 2008

Start Marketing for Business Success

I consider myself still relatively new to freelance writing, but one thing I am learning about quickly is the importance of a good marketing strategy. I know that a lot of writers got their start, or sustain themselves, with freelancing sites like Elance, Guru and Get A Freelancer and others. I tried Elance once but it didn't work out for me personally. What has worked for me is to regularly apply for jobs listed on job sites, but if I want to reach my monthly income goals, I need to kick it up a notch.

I have begun to take the sage advice of a freelance writing expert I admire, Yuwanda Black of Inkwell Editorial and actually put some time and effort into marketing my services on a regular basis. If you're not marketing your services no one will know what you have to offer. Marketing should be an ongoing process – even when you're swamped with six months worth of work. You never know when the work load will slow down as it inevitably does from time to time. A consistent marketing plan will give you visibility so that others can utilize your services.

I've learned this the hard way. I had really gotten comfortable and content with the clients I had been working with for the past few months, until the good times with one client came to an end. I should have expected it and prepared myself better. I should have taken a few minutes a day or during the week to do some sort of marketing. It could be anything from the dreaded cold calls to social networking. This is not an area where I can afford to be lazy. It doesn't have to take a lot of time or money. Just a commitment to be consistent in my efforts.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Freelance Writing Full-time –What Was I thinking?

I've been a writer for years. I was an intern for a local newspaper in college while also writing for my college paper. When I graduated I got an advertising position at a major newspaper. I wanted to experiment and see whether I would like it more. I had images of what it would be like to have this high-powered, corporate job. Within six months that job was sucking the life out of me. I was so miserable that I was considering charting a plane to Africa to do missionary work as advertised on a flyer I picked up on a park bench during lunch one day. I even called to find out how to sign up, but it cost more money than I had at the time so I stayed.

Eight years later (yes, you heard right. I said eight years later), after two promotions and an advertising sales award that I'm still not sure how I won, I quit. But I didn't quit because I had guts or anything like that. I quit because I was pregnant with twins, had an 18 month old already at home, and my husband convinced me that the daycare expenses alone wouldn't be worth showing up for anymore.

I immediately started freelancing here and there for a couple of small publications. It wasn't until something drastic happened in my life. We needed an income fast and I was teetering on the brink of trying to figure out how to make a go of it as a full time business. But there was no more time for that. I started reading everything online that I could, closed my eyes and just jumped in. That was about nine months ago and I've never looked back.

Honestly, I could kick myself for not doing it sooner. It's the scariest thing I've ever done, but I didn't have time to sit around and talk myself into doing it. Thankfully that worked out for me. A lot of my friends and family don't get it, but I can't get enough! Whenever I get a new client it's like winning the lottery – although I've never actually won… I am a sponge absorbing every bit of education and information I can get my hands around! It hasn't all been perfect -- I've made a few rookie mistakes, but I'm still here and the bills are getting paid. That's my story. What's yours?
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