I’ll never forget the time someone looked at me and said “you need to be more ‘boisterous’”. They really thought they were giving me sound advice. They really thought they were helping me by telling me something like that.
Are you trying to expand your writing business or get noticed? What steps are you taking beyond sitting behind the laptop? Yes, social media has its advantages but getting out there and getting involved definitely has it’s benefits.
Sometimes, it takes going back to the basics. Yes, we’ve read endless blogs on how to make connections for your business via Twitter and Facebook and this and that. All of that is good and true. I can personally attest to how Twitter alone has boosted my business, but in my opinion real groundwork still has to be laid before reaping the benefits of social media. Here are some ways your writing business can grow:
Small business meetings: These types of groups are all over the place. Every city, town and neighborhood has some sort of meeting group for small business owners, where a set schedule, they meet and share advice and pitch ideas to each other. It’s very beneficial and quite important for anyone starting out particularly in the world of freelancing. As you can see on my page, I am a part of Femworking which consists of women business owners who are looking to thrive in their talent. It supplies endless resources from folks who are more than willing to share what they know.
Running your mouth on the phone: I got one of my first decent paying clients by chatting with a former co-worker one evening. We were catching up and I was telling them of my latest venture as a writer so if they knew anyone who needed service, send them my way. I didn’t even take myself seriously when I said it. A few days later, I get a phone call from someone who was referred to me by that co-worker. I was elated and was able to formulate a great deal for myself and the client. Everything is not done via the laptop. Getting out there, chatting and communicating with those right underneath your nose just might lead to your breakthrough in writing. Let those close to you know what you’re up to.
Word of mouth: With the example provided above, I can’t help but emphasize even further. One thing that folks are good at is talking. Now is a good time to put gossipers to use! Once your service is out, it’s bound to spread. That’s definitely what happened to me. Word soon spread about my services and what I was offering. It was especially attractive because the prices were fair and reasonable.
Mixers: Another form of face-to-face networking. I’m pretty sure they hold networking meetings in your town as well. It doesn’t have to be a specific freelance or business network. It could be on the topic you blog or write about. I recently attended a mixer on public health. I stood out in the best way because I was the only one walking around the room with the title “blogger” underneath my name on the name tag. This got people’s interests immediately and I made great connection that way. It wasn’t a freelancing event, it had to do with an area that I was familiar with and figured I could someway tie it into writing since I cover health and wellness topics. Whatever your niche or passion may be, find a social event or forum being held in your area and attend, representing your website or business. Nothing but good can come out of it.
Explore your neighborhood: Check out the small businesses in your area and find out if they need a way to communicate with their customers on a regular basis. If so, don’t hesitate to tell them what you can do. You’ll have to convince them that they need you – which they do because every business needs to keep their customers engaged. Stop by, give them a business card (and/or resume) and let them know you can write for them. You can also visit the local newspaper offices, libraries and community magazines. All of those outlets involve writing services. If you get rejected, that’s okay since it’s all part of the process. Keep getting out there and engaging until you land some potential clients.
So early last week I was on my way to the train station to start my commute home. I was in usual fashion, bag in tow and headphones tucked comfortably into my ears when all of a sudden someone grabs my arm. I looked and noticed a young lady I met a few weeks ago. Obviously she noticed me first and was so excited to see me. “Do you remember me?” she asked. There was a community service meeting we met at and I pitched my blogs and vision to everyone there. Afterwards, I pretty much went about my business, so it was quite surprising to see her in the middle of the city this particular day. She asked me for my contact information which I was more than happy to provide for her. “Wow”, I thought to myself. I was actually starting to get noticed in the street based on my blogging! For someone who’s still in the early stages of their freelance journey, this was pretty exciting.
Maintaining blogs, networking and researching take up a lot of time. Sometimes I don’t get to update the blogs as much as I would like to, but I constantly keep things in perspective because the purpose of New3Creation is being established. There are definitely goals set in place because right now, everything is not where I would like them to be – but that’s okay. In the meantime, I’ve learned not to rush or present myself as something that I’m not. When I introduce myself to someone I come across in the blogosphere, what they see is what they get; I don’t present crazy services that I have no experience in just to get their attention, and I don’t boast anything else that is unrealistic for me (or them). It’s hard at times because I see other established freelance writers who’ve been in the game for a while and offer fantastic services to their clients and have expanded their business at impressive lengths.
It makes it kind of intimidating.
There’s that “in the meantime” moment where you have to continue working towards the next level of success. It hasn’t been a year yet, but I think I’ve made some pretty decent achievements since investing more time towards my writing:
Contributor positions – I’ve received a few offers and accepted them. Is there pay involved? Not at the moment, but I get more exposure which leads me to more potential clients, so the pay does come eventually. Plus, I get to sharpen my writing skills and gain practice being on different platforms to different audiences.
Guest blogger – I didn’t realize how gracious folks were in this area. Not only are they willing to let you post on their page – exposing you to their own audience, but they’re also willing to offer great advice on your own growth and bring up ideas of possible collaborations. All of this has been beneficial to me as a writer. Be sure to check back here soon for upcoming guest posts of my own and other up and coming writers!
Paying gigs – I have to say that real money finally started coming in (now it just needs to be consistent!) and I have to give credit where credit is due. Not social media, twitter, facebook…no; it came from good old-fashioned mouth-to-mouth networking! It really caught me off guard because I’ve been grinding on social media trying to get new clients. Low and behold a friend of mine referred someone to me for service. So never forget the more traditional way of communicating, which is meeting and talking with folks, chatting with friends and spreading the word among family. You’ll be surprised at what doors will open by taking this route!
Hopefully this helps provide some type of encouragement to those who are still looking to make their first break. I’ve provided another take on the freelance journey over at Hub Pages were I get more specific on starting out in freelance writing – click here. And don’t forget, I’m also blogging on health and wellness. Check out New3Creation Wellness and let me know what you think.
Last but not least, if you’re looking for writing services at reasonable rates, give me a holler!
I recently heard a quote by actress Sandra Bullock that pertained to surrounding yourself with people who are ahead of you in life. This is for every area of life because the things that influence you can affect your career, family life, etc. Here are some reasons why this saying is true and necessary.
You save yourself a lot of pain
People who have been places before you know the deal. Yes, it’s a fact that we humans have a curious nature, and like to learn things the hard way. But when we do learn we usually realize that those advising us were right? If they are open to passing that wisdom onto you, don’t reject it. In fact, embrace it with both arms. Listen to them every now and then. Why go through unnecessary pain and disappointment due to ignorance. If you’re already aware of certain things, you’ll make better decisions thanks to words of wisdom from those that have been down that road already.
You’ll be ahead of the game
Taking heed to real words of wisdom will take you very far. For example if someone in your circle is good with money and advises you at a young age, you’ll develop great financial habits by the time you reach adulthood and won’t have to deal with being down and out with debt and bad money decisions. You’ll even be ahead than most people in your age group. That’s pretty awesome.
You’ll be better prepared for life’s curve balls
When (not if) adversity hits, nothing is more important to keep you afloat than strong social support. Your inner circle should consist of sensible mature people that want to see you get ahead. Not only is there less drama in your life, but you’ll also be surrounded by level-headed people who will provide healthy support during tough times.When you get out of a traumatic situation, you’re in the process of building yourself up again so the words you hear can make or break your world. Being surrounded by naysayers usually means you’re surrounded by those who are fearful, insecure and envious. Don’t set yourself up for regression; surround yourself with those who want the best for you and will be honest with you whether you like it or not.
Your confidence will build
This is especially true if you listen to the advice of older people. Think about it; friends your age tend to say the craziest things – things that either get us in trouble or get us nowhere. Well this is likely to happen if they only know as much as you do. The company you keep will help build you up, particularly in the area of confidence. They’re not around you to tear you down, they want to make sure you progress and make wise decisions.
You don’t have to worry about your friends being threatened by you
To piggy-back off the previous reason, mature people who are well established in life have nothing to lose. They don’t mind seeing you move forward – that’s exactly what they want to see! They’re not threatened by your brightness, you drive or your knowledge. In fact, they celebrate those things about you and will root you on during hard times and when you’re on a quest to achieve something in life.
On a personal note….
I’m not just writing this to meet a post quota for the week; I live by this information. I’ve learned over and over the importance of healthy social support. If you’re surrounded by people who are already established and understand your plight, you’ll go very far. They’re not around you to belittle you or your dreams. They want the best for you. This is true in many ways for me, even when I started my freelance writing business. If you have a vision or plan, healthy friendships are key!
What’s your experience with good or bad social support? Do you surround yourself with people who’ve been there and done that?
Among the many hats I wear is that of a full-time career woman. Over the past 15+ years I’ve seen things and people come and go. This includes rights and wrongs as far as moving up the career ladder. Nothing too complicated, but little things that go a long way. People have come to me with questions regarding their advancement ad why they don’t move up as fast as they think they should. Well, there are always different factors and situations that will affect one’s career, but here are 5 solid ones I think will always stand the test of time.
Always complaining without presenting solutions. There’s nothing that irritates a boss or manager more than that one employee who complains about the company’s problems, but doesn’t present a solution of some sort. Not that your boss expects you to turn the company around by yourself, but many of them welcome suggestions that may help with current problems in the office. Don’t assume that your voice won’t be heard. Come up with a well thought out plan that can help with a current problem and present it at the appropriate time with your boss or during a staff meeting. You’ll be surprised at the end result.
Your physical appearance. This is one of the most common ways people ruin their professional image….their appearance. It’s quite horrifying what people chose to wear especially when they work in a highly professional environment that deals with plenty of customer service. You’re the initial representation of your company or department. It doesn’t make sense to wear:
– sloppy jeans
– tight jeans
– low cut blouses
– halter tops
– flip flops
These items damage your credibility and decrease your chances of being taken seriously. Do you have to come in wearing Armani suits five days a weak? Absolutely not. It doesn’t take an expensive wardrobe to be presentable everyday, especially if your office is business/casual. Some folks take this granted and become too comfortable with the “casual” part. Wearing a decent cut blouse and slacks will do the trick.
Wearing your emotions for the world to see. There are many types of personalities in the average office environment. People come from different types of backgrounds and upbringings that may or may not mesh well in a professional environment. Additionally, some days at work are just awful and you’re ready for it to end already. While it’s normal to have such days and things don’t always go your way, it’s so important not to let your emotions control you and your reaction to the un-pleasantries of office life. Walking around with a frown or sitting at a staff meeting with your arms crossed and face turned up will get you absolutely nowhere. And don’t think your boss doesn’t notice because they don’t say anything.
In actuality, they do notice and make note of it.
It’s not a good look and it just shows you’re incapable of handling certain responsibilities, making management less likely to rely on you. Well if they can’t rely on you then your chances of getting that promotion are pretty much shot. It’s better to take a moment away from everyone and put your emotions in check. Whether it’s in a bathroom stall or venting to someone during lunch break, it’s better than walking around announcing to everyone how ticked off or disappointed you are about something. Keep it professional and make sure you do what’s expected of you…with a smile. It’s easier said than done, but it’s possible.
Not giving your best. It’s funny how those who do the bare minimum of their responsibilities are always the ones looking for praise and accolades. All they did was their job (barely) and they didn’t even bother to go above and beyond. If you’re looking to stand out from everyone else, you have to give management numerous reasons to have confidence in you and what you deliver because at the end of the day, your work speaks for you. Doing the bare minimum and expecting rewards for just showing up to work won’t cut it. Paying attention to detail, reviewing your work before submitting and performing quality assurance are habits that will make you stand out in the crowd – especially if you have decent management. Have pride in your work and interactions with people. Believe it or not you’re building a brand of yourself and want it to be as effective as possible.
Now, this doesn’t mean slaving away and being treated like a doormat. Know your worth and be smart about what you produce. It’s important to not only be on the grind, but to give yourself credit for it as well. If you’ve created a new form or an effective way of doing things in your office, keep track of that as a kudos to yourself and update it on your resume. If the time comes for you to ask for a promotion or salary increase, you’ll have solid reasons for management to consider (if that doesn’t work out, there are other companies who just might appreciate your accomplishments!)
Getting caught up in office drama. Another big turn off for other co-workers and management is the office gossip. They can’t wait to spread the latest rumor (or start it) and get in everyone’s business. It’s unprofessional and makes you look unproductive and horrible at your job. It doesn’t matter if it’s a corporate setting, beauty salon or mechanical shop. Gossiping at the job starts nothing but trouble and at the end of the day does damage to your image. It shows that you have little to no work ethic and can’t be productive when needed. Plus, you’ll be surprised at how aware management is of office gossip, who started it and who keeps it going. The last thing you want is for them to see you that way or to categorize you as a gossip. It’s one thing to be aware of it and something else to be caught in the middle of it. Avoid those who come around to run their mouths. Don’t encourage conversation with them and make it clear that you’re not interested. Keep a low profile and stay productive!
Are you frustrated in your current job? Have you thought about your next move? Ask and share right here in the comments!
The past several months of engaging in blogging have been quite interesting. I’ve learned an extreme amount of useful information and developed some great connections. One of the things I’ve learned is the concept of paying it forward; helping others along the way as I was helped in the beginning. So without further delay, here are 5 important steps every new blogger needs to know (shout out to DC Ladies who are hosting Blogtober this month!):
Get acquainted with social media asap
If you already know your way around the twitters and facebooks, you should be good to go. If you aren’t get knowledgeable as soon as possible. You don’t need an account for every website out there, but you should find the outlets that work best for you, your niche and your audience. Some of the solid ones to start out with are Linkedin, Facebook and Google+ ( depending on your niche others such as Instagram and Tumbler may be more appropriate; i.e. photo blogs). They are filled with endless types of communities that can be a stepping stone to building your audience. You’ll also find folks that are willing to share a plethora of knowledge on building a website and becoming an effective blogger.
Find your audience = finding your voice
There’s no point in logging onto your website every day to write posts if you don’t know who you’re writing to. Why did you decide to start a blog? Who do you want to reach? These are just a couple of questions you need to ask yourself when starting out. From there, it will be easier to build and make the right connections. Once you identify your audience, it becomes much easier to develop topics and posts that will gain interest. It may be kind of slow at first, but consistency and persistence will definitely pay off. As your audience is defined, your voice will continue to develop for the better. As this is happening, you’re not just gaining an audience, but you’re building a solid relationship with them, which is important in the blogging world. You’re not only building your voice from posting, but from interacting with audience as well. Answer their comments; start discussions with them – this will help you develop your vision and voice as a blogger.
Familiarize yourself with SEO knowledge, but don’t obsess over it.
As a new blogger, you’ll come across overwhelming amounts of information – especially SEO tips and tricks. While this is helpful, knowing the basics should suffice for your blog. If you get too into it, you’ll spend an endless amount of hours reading site after site about SEO tips when you could be using that time to develop your blog. You won’t be able to obtain that much information overnight. It comes with time and experience. Google AdWords is an excellent place to start to find keywords to use in your writing. This is especially effective once your audience has been defined.
Hook up with writers who aren’t afraid to share information.
Yes, there are writers and bloggers out there who are willing to lend a helping hand. Twitter is a great way to hook up with blogging communities. If you need additional help starting out, check out writing sites like HubPages, Problogger and Facebook. These sites are filled with blogger and writing communities that will provide tips to get started as a great blogger. The ones who have been around for a minute obviously know what they’re talking about! Here are a couple I would suggest:
If you’re serious about blogging and becoming a good writer, these sites provide excellent information and folks aren’t hesitant to share what works.
Don’t overlook original networking – face to face
This is one step that continues to help me again and again. The best relationships are made face to face, in my opinion. In today’s world of internet interaction, physical interaction is not as popular, but it’s very effective. One of the best decisions I made as a young blogger is join a networking group. Taking this step is extremely beneficial; you’ll be surprised at how many people have the same drive and vision as you. They’re also willing to share their experience and information with you which is great advice. You’ll find people who need guest bloggers – which is another great way to build your blog, you’ll also find people who will direct you to avenues that can make you money and so on. The opportunities that stem from networking are endless.
Are you new to blogging? How has your experience been so far?
As indicated by the button on the left side of my blog page, I’m part of a networking group. This organization is designed for independent business women trying to make their mark in the world. There are women with all kinds of backgrounds who are a part of the group. I’ve attended a few meetings and every time has been a rewarding experience. No one is hesitatant to provide guidance or advice on how to market your brand and work your away around social media. It really is a group of unique women who are willing to share.
This whole social media thing
I’m no stranger to the internet, but some avenues of it leave me slightly skeptical. After ending my relationship with Facebook after 5 years, I opened an account with Google and have been on there for a while now. I recently joined Linkedin, but haven’t really made my rounds there yet. I was highly encouraged by the group to get back on Facebook especially because it’s the nucleus of their organization, which is understandable and makes perfect sense. My previous encounter with Facebook made me tired of the personal ads, obnoxious friend requests and annoying privacy changes. When I first joined Facebook, it wasn’t with any real purpose; it was something everyone else was doing and it was a way to reconnect with folks you hadn’t seen since high school…well I’m pretty much over that now – next! After a few years went by all communication pretty much stopped between me and my contacts. If I really wanted to talk to I would call or text….and I didn’t care about your current status talking about eating a cheese sandwich while in the bathroom. Who cares?
Now, the purpose has been re-visited and re-defined. I haven’t gotten back on Facebook yet (one step at a time folks), but I feel a LOT more comfortable going back in with a business approach. This means fresh new contacts and a healthy way of networking, at least that’s what I’m hoping for. In the meantime, don’t get me started on Ello! I’m still trying to get comfortable with Facebook and Twitter! Well, I’ll ponder on it for a second: Do I think it will blow Facebook out of the water? Not really. Just from glancing around the site it doesn’t seem as feasible to navigate as Facebook. For example, those small circular pictures can get annoying – how are you supposed to recognize the faces or objects? Maybe it looks better on mobile phone. I haven’t read much about it so that’s pretty much all I have to say about it for now.
Learning the art of “paying it forward”
Because I’ve been introduced to the world of sharing (and caring), it only leaves me with the duty to be the same towards people who are not as knowledgeable as me in this journey of freelance and social media. The information I’ve learned at this point has really taken me places, all because people were willing to share and help me along the way. The advice they give is priceless; not just from Femworking but from other networks I’m currently a part of, such as Hub Pages (shout out to Billy Buc!) and Google. The great friendships I’ve built thus far encourage me to actually take time and build my online profiles with quality, instead of just rushing to put my information out there for the sake of numerous visits. I’m doing it because I actually look forward to working with and helping people. Why are you doing it?
Is it worth joining these types of networks?
Absolutely. Even if it’s just a few bucks a month, it’s well worth the investment. You’re not only investing in your business, you’re also investing in people which is a must in this line of work. The connections are endless, and the time is well spent. Because of networking, I’ve gotten clients for the line of work I wasn’t even planning on doing. But since I’m skilled at it, I don’t mind exploring and expounding in that area. Well what is it, you may ask? Stay tuned and find out!
In the meantime, I can be reached on LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Hub Pages. Stop by and say hello….you may never know how it might turn out! : )
Here are some recent thoughts I shared on Hub Pages:
It’s that time of the week again, folks! The past couple of months have been kind of crazy, so it’s been tough to post at least two blogs a week. I’ll get there – thank you for stopping by regardless!
Today’s food for thought comes from The Congo:
” The art of negotiating is acquired from childhood.”
This one really tugged at my brain when I came across it. The first thing that jumped out at me is how the most important habits are established in the earliest stages. Not just in life but in every endeavor we take on, whether it’s in learning how to play the piano, become a basketball player or be a dancer. Of course I’m going to apply this to writing! While some good things are learned along the way, in the beginning of a writing journey, it’s important to have your mind made up. For example, I made a plan to post at least twice a week when I first started blogging, and I’m learning how to manage my time and use organization tools to achieve this (when I’m not being pulled in 10 other directions, of course!). But the one thing I definitely had in the beginning was the mind set to do it no matter what. That stubbornness was developed early in my writing journey; to keep writing no matter what. Even when I’m not blogging, I’m doing some type of writing activity because of other projects I’m working on.
This may not have much to do with the art of negotiating, but that was what I took from today’s quote. Being able to make things happen is not something that’s learned overnight. It develops over the years until you’ve become a master at it.
What’s you’re interpretation of this quote? Share your thoughts in the comments!
I really do. My friend and I recently embarked on a new eating adventure in an attempt to eat healthier and drop some pounds. We came up with a list of foods to stay away from and read up on foods that would provide healthier options for us. We’re setting goals and making changes one step at a time. In those changes, we’re struggling to let go of pleasurable foods – especially those that satisfy our sweet tooth! But because we set a goal, certain things MUST be sacrificed.
During this “cleansing” journey, we’ve both already made some pitfalls along the way. I have a tendency to really beat myself up when I fall short or don’t stick to what I had planned, not so much with my friend. They simply said we can keep going and just modify more as we go along – no stress because of setbacks. I thought to myself, hmmm…they have a point!
So there are a couple of things I’m taking from this experience. One, if you want something to improve, there are some steps you’ll have to take that won’t be the most fun. This is where self-discipline kicks in. As I mentioned earlier, I hate apples, but I will eat them because they are good for me and I want to be in a healthier state physically. Will I eat them on the regular? Heck no, but I will do my best to incorporate them in my eating habits by substituting them in place of sweets that are not so good for me. I know what I want and will do what needs to be done to get it.
The other point I would like to make is allowing oneself to operate in their human nature. It’s okay to mess up. Mistakes and bad choices will be made, but that doesn’t mean the journey has to stop.
A quick quote:
“If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.” – Mary Pickford
On the job experience
I recently had a rough day on the new job. It seemed like everything I was doing was wrong and kept getting kicked back. It made me feel awful, but it didn’t stop me from asking for help and finding out what I needed to do to improve my work. Once I approached the boss about it, they didn’t hesitate to offer me insight and guidance. They were once in my shoes and made the same mistakes I did and told me I shouldn’t feel bad, just learn from them. Now I have the tools to help me prepare my work with better quality so that it doesn’t get kicked back. I also learned to dig deeper within myself to be more keen and attentive to what I’m doing.
So from apples to heart to heart conversations with bosses, it all boils down to self-discipline and perseverance. Don’t burn yourself out trying to outdo yourself or others, and keep going despite the setbacks you may have. These life lessons are definitely being applied to my writing journey as well. While some doors have opened for me, I’m still not where I would like to be as far as platform and exposure goes. Does this make me want to throw in the towel? Not really, but some days are definitely more encouraging than others. Nonetheless, I decide to keep moving forward.
With that being said, I hope you too decide to let your mistakes teach you instead of bring you down. As a writer, fashion blogger, chef or whatever it is you decide to do, learn from your human nature and make the most of it.
Have you practiced self accountability? If not, what’s the hold up?