I’ve only been freelancing, officially, since last year. For years I have been known as the go-to gal for writing, from bosses who’d let me edit a letter or design a newsletter — in which I could only work on “when I’m not working”, to family members who needed, shall we say, assistance with their college papers.
I had always wanted to be a writer, but always needed a “job”, so I focused on working. It was safe and secure. Are you laughing, too?
When I relocated to Charlotte in March 2011(which is a story in itself!) I gave my life a complete overhaul. Going natural was the second thing I did. For the first, sorry, but you’ll have to wait for my book, which will be released by year’s end. But I will say that the move prompted me to give freelance writing a try, whether I would have to return to working a regular job, or not. Now before I moved south, I knew that getting in front of the right person would be the key to landing a job. In between packing clothes, shoes and hair (I was the weave queen until I went natural) I’d spend hours online sending my resume and cover letter to everyone, to no avail. Still, I trusted God, filled my gas tank and bee-lined it through I-95 anyway.
Here I am today, with several few clients waiting for work.
How on earth am I now receiving pay, to write in a Starbucks, with house music oozing from my earphones, or in my bed with Lifetime movies playing in the background? Keep reading. And I did it without spending $100’s. (note: moving costs don’t count, since you shouldn’t have to move to do this, unless you live on Bouvet Island, the most remote island in the world!) Here’s how:
Get away from the wrong people. Price: free. It’s not enough to surround yourself among the positive of the positive. The most common form of negativity, hate, comes out of the mouths of the wrong people. Identify them and remove yourself. Do not pass go. If you cannot move permanently from under their clouds of gray, try this: I’m really swamped with (the kids/work/watching paint dry) right now. This statement should work to eliminate the nosy, gossiping, nay-saying gnats for a substantial amount of time.
Get a WordPress blog, and your own dot com. Price: varies, but definitely not $100s. WordPress has countless free templates which allows you to compete (read: hang out) with the giants. Additionally, the platform gets great exposure online with it’s ability to accept your keywords in a variety of ways. I’ve found that Google is in love with WordPress. Tamyka can explain why, much better than I will ever try.
Give something away, selectively. Price: free, unless you choose to pay someone to help with the gift creation. Before you invite every Tom, Dick and Leroy to grab your freebie, ask yourself how many friends or followers do they even have. You’ll want to selectively share your gifts with popular people, those who will spread the word throughout their network. Someone tweeted my free blogging e-book offer to over 50,000 followers. I’ve just been exposed to thousands, all over the globe.
* blushing *
When meeting, plan short, under 30-minute phone calls. Price: free, if using Skype or if you have a mobile to mobile plan. Reach more people, and eventually the “right” person, by cutting down your meet and greets. You’re not only reaching more prospects and saving money with a shortened phone conversation, but think about your precious time. Do you really need to email, so that you can text, pick up the phone, decide on a lunch date, find the restaurant, wait on someone, eat, and meet? Nope.
Quit looking for Oprah. Price: varies, depends on the event, opportunity, etc. Still doable on the cheap. Everyone is familiar with the Oprah effect. Even though the talk show no longer fills our late afternoons with raving reviews of authors and Spanx, the effect is still there if you can get to her. Sadly, most of us never will meet her, fact. Meanwhile, there are influential people in your own backyard or social network just waiting to hear your ideas. Again, someone with over 50,000 Twitter followers isn’t shabby to me at all. To me, she is a “right” person. You’re likely to already know several right people, like office executives, thriving business owners, and pastors. Think about it: Oprah didn’t have an Oprah to get in front of.
I promise, I don’t remember spending $100’s on seminars/coaching/books/conventions in order to get to the “right” people. It’s reached a point now where my work precedes me. I get “Oh, you’re Ty!” quite often these days. Just received another copy-writing job this morning, on LinkedIn. My first Aussie client, and my second job from him. G’day, mates!