Archive for the ‘clients’ Category

h1

I’m alive…alive!

October 20, 2009

“I’m like a big old hen. I can’t cluck too long about the egg I’ve just laid because I’ve got five more inside me pushing to get out.” ~ Louis L’Amour

1077250_bee_and_flower

I must apologize for my hibernation. However, I have a good excuse! I’ve been one busy little bee.

My start-up has started to really blossom and take off. After a two-month dry spell at the get-go, I’ve started picking up some regular and steady work. This is a huge relief and revs up my motivation. Not only am I starting to make a profit, but I’m receiving rave reviews. This is the best encouragement any new freelance writer can hope for. I know I’m pleasing my clients, which has promised future work and referrals.

Not only have I managed to secure guaranteed part-time marketing support and copywriting work through a local tutoring company, but I’ve also dug up a few other small corporate writing assignments AND my first magazine article assignment.  I’m genuinely proud of myself and my recent accomplishments.

This is way better than some lousy 9 to 5 office job.

I promise to get my act together with some fresh blog posts very soon!

Advertisements
h1

5 ways to overcome lack of experience

September 10, 2009

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

622351_ahead_1

Welcome to my episode of Confessions of a Little Lost Girl, way less chic than the shopaholic variety. I’m not ashamed to say that despite my age, my parents still teach me valuable lessons on a regular basis or remind me of ones forgotten.

As positive as I’ve been about the slow bloom of my freelance writing business, there are times when I feel like I’m suffering a brain fart of epic proportions chock-full of doubt. I’ll catch my poor dad off guard when he’s watching another re-run of CSI and collapse on the couch with a disheartened grunt, embarking on a never-ending string of complaints and insecurities that probably make the gross  autopsy scenes seem not so bad (I promise he still loves me).

I tell him I’m swimming in a pool of pros. I don’t have a track record that boasts of 20 years of experience. How can I set myself apart? How can I make clients choose me? He’s a dude of few words, but he reminds me of factors within my control. And I wanted to share those with you today. Even if you’re just a rookie, there are actions you can take to land promising gigs and overcome a skimpy track record. Because hey, Abraham Lincoln didn’t start rockin’ the political scene right away either!

458922_growth_persists

  1. Persistence – Persevering is the lifeblood of your freelance writing career. Develop a thick skin and go after what you want. Gigs won’t fall into your lap (unless you’ve got one killer luck gene). So don’t let rejection letters, or worse – silences – get you down. Persistence is what will eventually promote and nurture your talent.  Simply by being persistent, you can put yourself above the gaggle of freelancers that give up over the long haul. Talent may play a major role in establishing a good reputation, but unwavering determination counts for more than you realize.
    1067227_book___
  2. Education – If you want to keep a leg up on the competition, you better get used to the idea of life-long learning. Your education will never end – and it shouldn’t either. Reading reference books, joining professional groups and associations, and going to seminars or classes can give you new skills to market or help you brush up on the ones you already possess. This will make you more valuable to potential clients because they’ll feel confident in your ability to deliver on your promises. While education isn’t a substitute for experience, it’ll definitely boost your chances of landing gigs early on in your career.
    1065245_handshake
  3. Professionalism – You don’t want to stand out as an amateur. Nobody’s asking you to sign up to look like Donald Trump. Conducting yourself as a professional isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Meet your deadlines, be respectful of your clients, project a businesslike appearance when engaging in face-to-face communications, maintain your integrity, provide excellent customer service, keep in touch with clients, listen to feedback from your clients and take it into consideration (good or bad), and always under-promise and over-deliver.
    993146_jump
  4. Enthusiasm – A little enthusiasm can go a long way. Clients will pick up on your positive attitude and high energy. Let me put it this way…if you were looking to hire a freelancer, which of the following would you choose? The one with more experience but a lackluster approach to your project? Or the less experienced one who showed curiousity by asking questions about the assignment and seemed genuinely gung ho about working with you? Point made.
    1078873_word_true_on_the_dices
  5. Honesty – While the desire to beef up your credentials and embellish your capabilities may seem like a good idea at the time, you’re more likely to irritate a potential client than impress them. It’s kind of like false advertising…think the A-cup chick who wears a padded bra that gives off the impression she’s a C-cup. Be honest about you abilities because honesty and good manners are always remembered. After all, no client wants to be left with that cheated, sour taste in their mouth.

Got something else to add to the list? Suggest away!

h1

I <3 freelancing for rad clients

August 27, 2009

My son is now an “entrepreneur.” That’s what you’re called when you don’t have a job.  ~ Ted Turner

have-you-tried-freelancing-525x367

I got my first official copywriting client. Boo-yah, baby! I’m totally stoked. Were it not for the obvious lame-factor, I’d be jumping around like a squirrel that just consumed an unhealthy amount of Red Bull. Not that any amount would be healthy for a squirrel…

I feel very, very lucky. As a newbie freelancer, having my first experience with a client be a positive one is just as encouraging as it is reassuring. I’ve been given the opportunity to work with a fellow female entrepreneur that faced hard beginnings and now successfully runs her own educational institution. Hello, inspiration! Since she’s local, I also got to come out of my den and partake in a face-to-face consultation with her.  Things couldn’t have gone better. We communicated effectively, she gave me very clear instructions on what she was looking for and I feel absolutely confident with the ideas I’ve been drafting up to this point. Oh yah, and she fed me coffee and homemade banana bread! Seriously, it doesn’t get any sweeter than that (thank you, client of my dreams).

So in celebration, I’ve come up with some ideas for how to appreciate and hold onto those heavenly clients on your list. Even better? I’ve included detailed examples of how I’ve incorporated them into my own practices. Ready, set…go!

  1. Offer a discount, free service or product…sometimes: I know, I uttered “free”. How dare I. But before you turn around and leave, hear me out. I’m not suggesting you write pro bono all the time or undersell yourself. What I am saying is keep your client’s interests at heart and understand that the payoff is oftentimes worth it. It can help you secure a potential client or keep an old client coming back for more. For example, I offer a 15% discount to new clients on their first project. This helps me build credibility and trust. It also means a potential client who might be unsure about investing in my services will be more likely to take the risk. Why? Because they don’t have to shell out as much cash before having proof of my abilities and accountability. I even offer a 5% discount on a future project to clients who land me a successful new referral. This is a win-win situation – your client has incentive and you get new business.
  2. Talent is good. Unbeatable customer service is better: Be honest about your abilities, turn-around time and expectations. No pussy-footing. Clients appreciate a straight-forward attitude. But what’s equally important is that you genuinely care about your client’s needs. Don’t be solely focused on the moolah. If you want to succeed as a freelancer, you must first help your client succeed. It’s called customer service and clients remember their personal experience with a provider – and whether it was a positive or negative one – even more than the quality of the finished product. Listen carefully, suggest positive solutions, share your knowledge and give them the attention they deserve. Once you’ve handed them a totally kickass completed project and they’ve paid you your dues, send them a thank-you. A personalized note to show your gratitude will go a long way and really set you apart from others, but even an email will do. By taking a real interest in my client’s needs and vision, I’ve been able to secure more work. How did I do this? I listened more than I talked, I incorporated her ideas into my own brainstorming and communicated them to her, I made myself available to her at times that were convenient for her since I knew she had a busy school to run, and I was never anything less than professional, friendly and enthusiastic.
  3. Give them what they expect…then give them something they weren’t expecting: This type of business isn’t about exercising your artistic freedom, even if we are creative professionals. Clients have a set of expectations they require you to meet. So deliver on your promises and don’t be the guy who took the horse and ran with it or they’ll just regret hiring you for the job. They may even spread the bad word to others via fire-breathing rage…and you really don’t want your reputation burned (word-of-mouth is a powerful networking tool, after all). Giving them what they want is good, but if you really want to emblazon your Chiclet-smile and impeccable grammar on their memories, give them something they weren’t expecting. Go that extra mile. Throw in a sidebar for free. Finish the project ahead of deadline. Agree to meet them in-person for lunch or coffee to discuss their project rather than communicating solely over phone or email. Make yourself memorable and you’ll become the go-to for future projects.

This industry has some fierce competition. I know because it gives me the heebie-jeebies everyday. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned early on, it’s that how you deal with clients can make or break your freelancing career. And the last thing you want is to lose the golden ones.