Girl on the Write

October 17, 2008

Freelancing till the Apocalypse

Filed under: Freelance — Wendy Sullivan @ 9:07 pm

The Wall Street prophets (not profits) would have us believe that the end is nigh. Pack your rosary and make your peace, because the stock market is going to crash and take us all down with it, like some kind of Lower Manhattan Titanic. Sky is falling and all that jazz.

No one is going to hire a freelancer now, right? I mean, every one is cutting back on their advertising and marketing budgets. People like you and I are going to starve to death in a cardboard box under an overpass, and no one will notice except the guy who stops to steal our shoes (he was a jingle writer once, you know).

Wrong. So very, very wrong.

Yes, businesses big and small are cutting back on their allotted marketing budgets, but that’s actually good news. Larger corporations will begin to downsize their in-house marketing operations and source to outside firms, if they don’t already. Those firms won’t be in much of a position to hire full-timers with benefits and pensions, so they in turn will outsource to freelancers.

And medium and small businesses who would normally go directly to  a firm instead of having help in-house will now eliminate the middle man and his high overhead by going straight to the freelancer.

Really, the only marketing and copy writers who stand to lose are the ones who work in-house, and most of them have side businesses freelancing anyway. They will simply leave their cubicle, go home and put on a pair of flannel pj’s and some Uggs, make some tea, and contract themselves right back to their previous employer to do the exact same job they were doing in heels and stockings.

This is the new reality, and I for one plan to embrace it. What’s your plan?


October 14, 2008

Are You LinkedIn?

Filed under: Blogging,Freelance,Networking — Wendy Sullivan @ 3:05 pm

Do you blog? Hang out on Facebook or MySpace? Does anyone actually know you’re a writer?? Time to get LinkedIn!

The idea of social networking has been around as long as the Internet has, with chat rooms and BBS. But now it is becoming more streamlined. Facebook helps you find friends you haven’t seen since childhood, or set up an action committee. MySpace launches indie bands and gets bored teenagers into trouble. LinkedIn is a networking site for professionals and their communities. Twitter is for the little ADD in all of us.

I use LinkedIn so that people seeking writers might find me there. There’s a Q&A section that can not only be very informative, but can help spread your name and recognition. I keep my work info as updated as possible so that people know I am active.

Twitter is where I go to a) hang out, b) bitch about politics in 140 words or less, and most importantly c) tell people what I’m working on at that moment.

Are you using the Internet to its full potential? Every single gig I have gotten has come through some type of blog (including my own) or on-line job site. In writing my own blog and in reading others’ I have been able to form relationships that have led to writing or research jobs. Someone who reads me hears that I’m looking for work, and someone who reads them drops me an email. All of a sudden, I have clips. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!

If you are not involved in social networking yet, get on it! Sign up for a free LinkedIn account and tell people what it is you do. Tell them your specialty. Tell them who you’ve worked with/for in the past and what you have on offer now. And send me a contact request!

And if you’re not blogging, why not? Back in February, Deb from Freelance Writing Jobs (bookmark her site – do it now!) wrote about why writers need to blog.

Talk to Other Writers

One of the reasons I stuck with FWJ for so long is because of the great discussions we have here. I do believe this is the best community. I learned so much from the other writers who visit my blog. Many times my community inspires my blog posts. I’m always touched by how willing everyone is to share information and ideas. I wouldn’t have met many of you if not for blogging.

Build Up a Reputation

A blog is a great way to build up your online reputation. If you offer useful information, people will trust you not to steer them wrong. They’ll also recommend you for gigs.

Learn About Other Resources

Through blogging I learned about other blogs and bloggers, great websites, books and tools to help make our job easier.

I suppose I could write an e-book called Everything I Need to Know I Learned From My Blog… Stay tuned – maybe I will! And if I do, naturally it will be available here on my blog. You’ll hear about it on Twitter…

October 12, 2008

Freelance Writing Means Never Having to Wear Pants

Filed under: Freelance — Wendy Sullivan @ 8:19 pm

Or so I said to Amy, over at Write From Home. Freelancing is not a 9-to-5 job. There is no dress code. I have been working on a huge project for the past few days and have lived in my sweatpants. Who cares? I launched my freelancing career from my couch in Toronto, and now I’m working from a friend’s guest bedroom in rural Kansas. This is a job that can be done from anywhere, regardless of whether or not you’re wearing pants.

I’m not saying it’s an excuse to be lazy and slovenly (though I did have to remind myself to take a time-out to shower today). I’m just saying that when you aren’t working Wall Street – or Bay Street as I did in Toronto – there’s no need for heels.

Remember to eat healthy. Remember to shower at least every second day. If you start to feel down or burned out, put on a pair of your favorite jeans. They will re-inspire you. There is more to life than coffee, or even Diet Coke. Have you tried this miraculous substance called water?

After a few weeks of living without pants, you will discover that you miss being dressed. That’s when your real career can begin: when you have let go of your work-related petulance and rebelliousness, and you are ready to simply work for a different employer – you.

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