Many freelancers think that posts on writing are for the benefit of freelance journalists and copywriters alone. You can’t really blame them — if your trade is based on the excellent design you deliver or your skill as a programmer, then it might seem that the ability to piece words together in a pleasing and practical way isn’t necessary for you to master.
I’m a writer so my opinion might be biased, but many others in all sorts of trades and careers have discovered the value of the written word as a tool for relationship building, problem solving, and idea expression. You can learn to use the deceptively simple tool of writing to your advantage as well.
It’s not unexpected that individuals and businesses have tighter wallets in this economy. This, coupled with people who have been laid off and are now starting up their own companies, can be tricky. Little or no money creates a difficult situation for folks trying to promote themselves, thus raising the number of times we service providers hear “no, it’s just not in my budget right now.”
When I first started freelancing, I thought the conversation had to stop there. “They’re simply not interested,” would go through my head. However, I’ve come to realize that responses like these are actually great starters for conversation. There are essentially three things we can do when we hear such a response.
The web can be a great source for inspiration and in the last couple of years we’ve seen a heap of great galleries for website design in particular. But there’s so much more stuff to be inspired by, that’s why today we’re launching Creattica.com a gallery of great design and inspirational imagery that includes not just websites, but logos, business cards, posters and Photoshop art!
The new Creattica site is in fact a redesign and repurposing of our venerable FaveUp gallery that was in need of a bit of love and attention. So we’ve ported all the old content over to give the new site a flying start in its new super suit of Creattica awesomeness!
A freelancer’s career path is rarely a straight line. Many people begin freelancing almost by mistake — maybe they were asked to write an article for a trade journal, or just placed a bid on an Elance project to make some extra money. Other freelancers get frustrated with their jobs and want to try something different. They end up loving the experience enough to stick with it.
If your career has been anything like mine, there’s a good chance you started out by focusing on a few niche projects where you felt you were something of an expert. But as time passes it’s easy to feel as if there’s a whole lot of lucrative projects on the market that you’re ignoring. Maybe you identify a demand for press release writing, but you’re not comfortable selling press releases. You need to learn more.
In order to build a successful freelance business, you must do three things, and do them well. If you don’t, no amount of promotion will save your business from oblivion. Here are the Three Elements of Business Success:
1. Doing Business.
Provide the goods and services that people pay you for. Part of this process is providing customer service so good that people will want to do business with you again, and send referrals.
2. Getting Business.
This is where your marketing and selling activities fit in.
3. Running the Business.
Tasks that don’t directly make you money but must be done fall into this category. We’re talking about things like administrative tasks such as long-term planning, accounting and bookkeeping, handling legal matters, and office and business management. Employee hiring, training, and supervision are included in office and business management.
The following story illustrates what can happen when there’s an excessive focus on getting business at the expense of doing it and running it.
“Learn from the best, or die like the rest.” Sobering words for a freelancer!
In this article we try to discover what separates the best from the rest. What are the world’s top freelancers doing that the rest of us aren’t?
Some of the advice you read here might seem surprising or counter-intuitive. You may read hints you have never tried. The question is: Will you give them a go?
It’s pretty easy to slap together a website, print up a few business cards and declare your marketing efforts complete. But the fact of the matter is that a freelancer’s marketing is never done — if we want clients after our current projects are done, we have to do the marketing necessary to bring them in.
More than a few freelancers struggle with marketing themselves, though. In part, that’s due to the fact that marketing isn’t a big concern for a beginning freelancer. Other issues, like putting together a quality portfolio, take precedence and finding work isn’t as big of a deal as one might think. Between word-of-mouth clients — friends, family and past employers who need a project completed — and low-paying jobs off of Craigslist and other job boards, most starting freelancers can at least find a few projects to work on. But as you advance and want to focus on higher paying projects, marketing becomes crucial. Rather than trying to follow any of the sample marketing plans meant to reassure big business stakeholders, though, you can cut directly to a quick and dirty marketing strategy.
Up until September, 2008 I was a full-time freelance writer. I had built myself a little business that kept my family comfortable, and I have to admit, my writer friends who enjoyed hacking away at their fantasy novels after work were a little jealous. I was happy because my lifelong goal, ever since I could clasp a pencil between a few fingers, was to make my living from writing.
The problem in this story was unrestricted growth. Maybe you think I sound like a bit of an ass looking at growth as a problem when many people are losing their jobs and closing up their shops, but don’t make that mistake. Unrestricted growth can be a problem, and saying it can’t be is a bit like the obese person telling the anorexic that they don’t have any real problems.
I was killing myself with work, and still taking on new clients because I didn’t want to let any of that growth “go to waste.” Nobody wanted to be around me at the time because I could barely hold a conversation after spending long, hard days doing nothing but writing and editing.
When it became clear that I couldn’t take on any more work whatsoever and I wasn’t comfortable with raising my prices anymore than I already had, I did what anybody in my situation would do.
I took a job.
Interviewing other creatives is always interesting; I like to see where they draw inspiration from, how they built their business and what keeps them ticking.
So when I came across copywriter Jon Wuebben—who has also written a book on his craft, along with creating a few other ventures—I knew he would captivate the freelancers that read our blog. Read on to learn more about how Jon has created several businesses and published a book, all while keeping his eye on his clients.
In a short period of time, our @FreelanceSw Twitter account has gone from 0 updates and 0 friends to almost 7,500 followers and 715 updates. In the capable hands of Roger Byrne, the FreelanceSwitch Twitter account has become more than just a link feed — it’s a freelance resource of its own and a way for our readers to interact with us on a daily basis.
We want to interact with even more of you, so we’re working with our friends at Freshbooks to offer a whopping twelve months free on any Freshbooks subscription plan and a couple of additional runner-up prizes of two months free. All you have to do is follow @FreelanceSw on Twitter — and why not follow Freshbooks while you’re at it?
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