Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pick Me!

Yes, this is what all of us wish for when applying for an assignment. There have been instances when I had been so sure that I would definitely land up with a project but somehow at the end that never happened. Someone else was picked up instead of me. this bought me to realise that what is it in my, my skills that sets me apart from the others in my field. Once I could get to know these points I could then work towards making them work in my favor. trying to find out this is not at all difficult. All that is required is that you carry out a careful assessment of certain points and be the judge yourself.

In order to know your plus points ask yourself some hard questions; questions relating to as to why should clients pick you for their projects. Are you dependable, are you available, are you flexible with your approach, do you adhere to time lines, are you a pro at something, do you have good client testimonials to back your work, do you work cheap? These are some questions which can lead you towards the answer and the discovery of what is unique in your writing talent.

The next step? Hardcore Marketing!

Yes, in freelancing what is visible sells! once you know your positives which set you apart from the herd you need to go out and make your clients know that too! Send emails to prospective clients highlighting your plus points; discuss about these on your blog; emphasise on these points when you talk with clients; showcase client testimonials on your website. having said all this what remains the number one rule to follow is to DEMONSTRATE your skill to the client! With action speaking louder than words you need to prove it to your client that you HAVE the skill in you..

It is all about discovering and sticking to it... Every client likes to work with people who are not only good at their profession but at the same time are worth their salt too!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Twitter and You

The buzz doing the rounds amongst everyone in any kind of field is 'networking'. There is nothing new with it as networking was always around but was something that was done in closed rooms and by exchanging visiting cards. With the Internet booming and opening new avenues the term networking has suddenly taken a whole new perspective. there are now present several forums where you can meet like minded people and interact with them at your convenience. Further these networking websites also allow you to separate your personal as well as professional interests by having both social as well as professional networking websites. A regular search on networking websites is bound to provide you with results which could leave you amazed. The latest entrant here is Twitter. The kind of buzz that twitter has generated amongst netizens is fantastic. So what is all the chirping all about?!

Twitter is a communication media which allows you to interact with other Twitterian's in short 140 character messages. This free to use tool allows you to interact with other people in the form of messages called tweets and you can find people who are either of your field or someone you wish to know more about.

So what is the connection between Twitter and Freelancing? Well, why freelancing, it could be any profession for that matter! Twitter allows you several advantages which you can harness and use to help you grow and spread your business needs.. How? Well, you got to read on!

Twitter allows you read the tweets/updates of other people which is referred to as following in the Twitter terminology as well as allows other to follow you too thereby providing you with followers. This is what you can use to your benefit.

1. Find your old clients using the search option and start following you.
2. Find contacts who can be prospective clients and follow them too.
3. It is always a good idea to market yourself. Tweet about your talent and thereby get the visibility.
4. Twitter comes with various job search options where in people DO tweet about their needs. Regularly check these search options and scout for openings of your like.
5. Make the most of the 'bio data' section on your twitter profile and convey the best about your profession. It is a god idea to use the major keywords relating to your profession here so that you appear on a search when done by someone looking for a person with your expertise.
6. Customise your twitter homepage in tune with your personality.
7. It is never a good idea to spam your followers. NO. NEVER.

Make the most of this 140 character tool and harness its potential for your benefit.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Let People Honor Your Talent

Freelancing can be tough. With the market full of people selling their writing skills it can prove out to be a challenge for anyone wanting to establish themselves full time in this field. The scope available for freelancing is huge but so are the number of people who wish to try and attempt their skills at it. If you wish to make creative freelancing as your full time profession then you need to be all the more cautious because the work available in the market is shared between full time and part time freelancers.

So how can you make your mark? What sets you apart from the others? What can you do so that you can put forward a better impression to your clients than others? How can you convince your clients that you are the best that they can get for their project? It is not tough. I wish to take up my case on the same..

1. Work on your Identity and increase your visibility. It is always a good idea to have a website for yourself. Not only does this make you look professional but at the same goes a long way in projecting your seriousness in this profession. You need not shell out big bucks to get this done. There are available several templates online which can get this done for you for practically free. A simple website with honest, well written content is what your website should portray! You should also make your presence felt through various professional networking websites on the internet.

If you still just have a resume to provide it is a good idea to have it as a PDF file. An impression here goes a long way. If you really wish to spread the word around you could go about and splurge a little and get yourself some visiting cards made.

2. It is a very good habit to be easily accessible to your clients. Provide them with your contact details where you can be contacted easily. Though you can mention them the timings when you can be contacted so that your life does not feel intruded. Try and be quick when responding back to emails as clients like to be in touch with quick and responsive professionals.

3. I also think that it is a good idea to try and make a personal connect with your client and try and interact with him as a friend. By this it is not meant that you drop your professional guard. There is a thin line separating professional behavior and getting personal. Clients will like when you try and go the extra yard and talk about their project as their own with genuine inputs. believe me, IT WORKS!

4. Put together an elaborate portfolio of all your work along with the feedback from your previous clients to showcase to all your potential future connects. This will help the client to bridge the trust bridge and help him in developing confidence in your work and talent. If you have your website make sure that you integrate these items in it and highlight them prominently.

5. Watch your price negotiation timing. Do not start negotiating on the price at the first go. Doing so will project an image that it is only money that you are after. Project an image that you are doing this work of freelance writing for the sheer love of writing. Put forward a price looking at what the project is all about and once quoted stand by it. If you lower your price too often it will do no good to your serious professional image of a web content writer.

What ever be your strategy, the bottom line remains that you have to make your client believe that you have what he wants. You have to justify your talent as well your price and at the same time bring on an image that there is no one better than you available. Believe me, with a few tips this is completely achievable!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Brand Marketing

This interesting article was doing the rounds on twitter. It goes on to illustrate what made Michael Jackson the brand that he was. A must read for all who wish to market themselves/their skills in the respective sphere's of work.. Very simple and too the point. Do read it and try to implement it as and when you can..

How Michael Jackson Became a Brand Icon : http://ow.ly/ha9e From The Harvard Business Review

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Thoughtful Read

While surfing some blogs today I came across this simple yet good article. What I loved the most about this article apart from the message that it wished to convey was the simple language used in it. I truly feel that simple language can prove out to be more impactful than heavy words laden sentences. This piece conveys my thoughts!

The article is about tips and advices to make your writing powerful. Yeah I know.. you must be feeling that been there seen that but what is the harm if you get to read it all again and refresh your writing principles too!! :) Enjoy!!

Article: 7 Simple Ways to Dramatically Improve Everything You Write

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Fun of Freelancing

It has been almost 3 years now since I quit a regular job and took up freelancing. As expected I was a bit hesitant in the beginning as to where it would lead me but then as I settled into freelancing I really took a liking for it. For me getting to work as a creative writer was the best outlet that I could get to do something that I truly loved.

Believe me, it makes a lot of difference when you get to work on something which you are truly attached too. You do not need any kind of motivation to drag you day after day and love the challenges that comes along. Freelancing as a content web writer did this for me. I have loved every day ever since I got into it. ( OK I have Monday blues here too :) )

Freelancing has bought with it a whole big bag full of advantages for me:

1. It allowed me to work on something which was my passion.
2. It introduced me to variety in writing through all kinds of projects that came along.
3. It made em grow socially by introducing to me a whole bunch of new people who not only bought me new work but also fellow writers whose writing master pieces left me in complete awe.
4. Freelancing bought with it flexibility. I could finally work on my terms and at last had NO boss over me!
5. It made me more responsible as now I was wholly and solely responsible for the work that I delivered to my clients.
6. Most importantly it is making me learn on how to negotiate! I would say that I am still learning this trade and have lots to learn here..
7. And of course, it brings in some real quick bucks! :) Believe me, you can really do some good cash counting here in this field once you have some good experience and a varied portfolio to back you.

A pen and paper (or a screen and a keyboard) having so much advantages??? Now that makes freelance web writing worth a try... What say??!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Virtues of my trade

As a freelance creative writer I get to do writing assignments for clients who stay in different corners of the world. I do not get to meet most of them personally and it is my communication with them and most importantly my work which I deliver which projects my image to them. This makes it very important for me as a writer to be able to reach out to my clients. In this profession it works well to establish a good relationship with your client as they are the best advertisers that I can get for my work.

This makes professionalism an extremely integral part for my field of work. And let me tell you it is not at all difficult to inculcate professionalism in your field. Its actually very simple.

1. Deadlines and time lines form the back bone of my profession as a creative writer. An immaculate record with deadlines would speak a lot of good for me and would help me in routing in new prospective clients too. A dependable image is what is conveyed by it.

2. Maintaining a regular and a timely communication pattern with your client too plays a very important role in conveying your professional attitude. You have to understand that the project on which you are working is your clients and he has the full right to get involved with his project.

3. Be respectful and courteous in your communication as this will help your client to relax and instill in him confidence towards you.

4. Be completely honest in your approach and always put in your best in all your projects. If you are time bound and really do not have the time to take on a new project then it is always a good thought to convey it clearly to your client. Also, if due to any reason you are unable to deliver the deliverable to your client on time then be honest and do not come up with lame excuses. Your honesty towards your work will provide you with reliability.

These tips have worked for me and I am sure that anyone wanting to excel in any field too can use them to make the most of the situation. So all the best guys! :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A new project came and delivered..

Client: Urbanimatic Designs
Requirement: Content for home page.

Got hold of a new project on twitter and it was a quicky! :) The client needed content for the home page of his website. His website is all about website templates, twitter backgrounds and YouTube backgrounds.

His creative brief: I need the content to be personal because most of my followers asked me a lot of time where they can donate me a buck or two for the information and resources i share on twitter so i decided to create this websites and instead of donations they will be able to buy cool twitter background.

The client had also provided enough information for me to start work.
I got the understanding that the client wished the home page to be his forum to talk one to one with his friends and therefore his requirement of a personal language was completely justified. With no heavy words and a simple conversational language I formulated the content and delivered what the client needed.

Clear, prompt and easy availability of the client made the project easy.

The website might not be running as of now but should be up in a day or two... Till then the quest for new projects goes on!

PS: The work on the IT project is also going on with couple of reviews and edits. Have been paid the first installment and all's well! :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My Tips, My Experience

I may not have had enough time yet as a freelance content writer but there are certain things that I have discovered and rather drilled in my head to keep in mind. Practical tips which have come my way from my very own experience. Tips which might not sound all that important but believe me when you are working in this field of creative writing and that too as a freelancer they can help you wade through real smooth!

1. You have to learn to say NO too! I can imagine that as a freelancer you might be at times wanting to grab any project which comes your way but believe you me, you have to say no at times too. Doing projects for free or on terms which are totally dictated by your client will not get you any good. You have to understand this. It might be difficult to turn down a project but you have to make the client understand your terms and conditions too!

2. This brings me to my next tip. Before you start freelancing as a content writer devote some time and chart down your price list and your terms and conditions. I understand that when yous tart off you cannot charge high but this does not stop you from charging a decent befitting amount too. You have to make the client realise that you have the talent hence he has approached you for his work.

3. Never under price. Never put your talent on the line just to grab a project by succumbing to the pressure of the client asking you to lower your price. If you feel that you are charging the right justified amount then stick to it. You would portray a strong stable personality this way.

4. Never compromise on the quality of work. As a freelance content writer it is your work which is your identity. By delivering low quality work you are harming your reputation. One of the most common reason for producing low quality work is lack of time owing to too many projects. Therefore limit the amount of work that you take on at a particular time.

5. Do not shy from networking. For a freelancer it is the word of mouth which brings in business. For this you need to network effectively. To start networking ensure that you have your portfolio ready. If possible have your website created too. You can now become a member of the various networking communities on the Internet and simply sell your talent.

6. Communicate. Keep in touch with all your good clients as they are the one's who can be your best advertisers to future customers.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I take an advance payment of 50%- YES I DO

I need to settle this once and for all. I have gone tired explaining it out as to why I need to have an advance before I start working on my projects. The clients have responded back plain rude, confused or in some instances considering that I do not have the required competence YET to put forward this demand. Now that is a sure OUCH. Just for my personal satisfaction I wish to openly state that Yes, I demand an advance if you wish to utilize my content writing services. This statement is not something which I go on to make just from the back of my head. I have reasons and rationales to back the same. reasons which justify that my services are worth an advance. Seriously, I guess I should attach this blog post with every correspondence that I have with my future clients! :)

  1. I charge an advance because I have no intentions of falling prey to clients who to start off have a bag full of principles with them but later on decide to polish off with my work without paying a dime for it. By this I by no means wish to categorize all clients as bad. In fact, over a period of time I have had the opportunity to get to know some of the best human beings with whom I worked on individual projects. But then the entire picture is not as rosy. This rule by me is also because of some clients who for some strange reason decide to halt the project mid way. If you wish me to do the project pro bono kindly ASK. I might just do it for free! It is in my interest that I desire an advance. This allows me to safeguard my work, effort and time that I have devoted towards the project which the client very coolly decides to abandon with.
  2. An advance payment allows me to judge as to if the client is really serious about the project or just wishes to test waters as he might have previously done and succeeded in several other occasions. Sorry, I accept it that I am gullible and can fall into your trap if I do not have limits set for me in order to safe guard my own interest.
  3. My line of work of creative writing works on trust. There are not many legal contracts and written agreements found here. With a thin line dividing profit and loss I wish to safe guard my income and profit by having a backing of an advance payment. Heck I am not the only one demanding an advance for my services, every respectable professional in what so ever field they work in have since years demanded the same towards providing their services. So am I. Accept it and please respect it.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Niha Time!!

I suddenly realized that my blog had become more ohh ok ALL about my work and stuff and it was hugely missing the "I" factor! I mean it is fair that I blabber once in a while about my life too!! After all its my blog here people, so I get to decide what comes up here! :)

Today being a Sunday meant it was lots of leisure and rest and less or rather no work to do. Waking up late, having Subway sandwiches from breakfast and gulping down jars of cold coffee is completely in sync with Sunday! After all it is just the weekends that I get to enjoy when there is no work to do, no schedules to think about, no deadlines looming on my head....

Me and P went and booked a treadmill for our home!! Yayzzz so that means that we will really be sweating out all the big bucks that we spent on it today... yeah man, i mean that kinda money could have attest covered the air fares to an incredible resort far far far away.... oh ok i mean not allllll that far but yes decent far for sure! :) but then with finding time being an issue with P there was no way we were going to compromise with his health... so we are now proud owners of a brand new treadmill.. not exactly owners as the machine will actually be delivered tomorrow! ;) Till then we got to figure a place to keep it as our house as it is stuffed from corner to corner. It will be the study room / guest room/ PC room/ shoe room which now also have to work as the exercise room.. real I know too much burden on this one small space of walls but then that is what a standard two bedroom house has to offer!!

Ohhh great!! I have a realllll gooey, candyfloss romantic movie slated to start now on HBO!!! yeah I know.. but what to do I like these mushy flicks!! Typical me....


Friday, July 3, 2009

LinkedIn Part II

While surfing the internet I came across this article by Guy Kawasaki as to how to use LinkedIn to help you with your search for jobs. Since it was in line with what I had discussed in my last blog post I thought it would be apt to post it here.

Do read it and see if it can help you too.. after all, it is all about spreading the word! :)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Make LinkedIn Work For You!

I have personally seen that lately I have been using the Internet more for networking than for socializing. I remember times when for me sitting on the Internet meant checking mails, chatting on yahoo and of course downloading music.. strangely all of that has stopped now! I now have 4-5 email id's that checking all of them is something that I rarely do... Since my email accounts are configured on outlook therefore chatting on Gmail is something I no longer do ( yahoo messenger is seriously passe now!) and for downloading music, I have my husband! :) So yes, it is all about networking now! For that i have accounts on Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn.

I wished to keep my facebook account private as I believe that at times you wish to have your private sphere which has you and some of your real close friends to talk too and not something which the world has to watch and enjoy.. my thoughts.. need not be your's too!! :)

Of all these networking sites by far it is LinkedIn which comes across to be the most professional looking. From my experience so far and what I have learnt from people already there I thought of listing out some strict DONT's that you should keep in mind when you open your account on LinkedIn.

  1. Understand the whole concept behind LinkedIn that this platform is your professional identity. Keeping this in mind be very sure what kind of information you put up there of yourself. Keep in mind that your current employers or even your prospective clients are going to read it. Keeping this in mind communicate forward a clean, professional image.
  2. Be very honest when you write your summary. Refrain from bragging about yourself and at any cost do not lie facts.
  3. I would advise you to refrain using LinkedIn the way you use twitter. Use the status message window in LinkedIn to showcase your professional updates rather than cracking a joke!
  4. Do not sent invites to people with the sole aim of increasing the number of connections. To optimally use LinkedIn connect with like minded people who are from your field or interest. The same applies to joining various groups on LinkedIn.
  5. PLEASE refrain from haggling others to provide you with a recommendation! It is a natural process.. If you do good work the other person will automatically feel compelled to write it up for you.
  6. If you wish to use the Q and A section of LinkedIn be very sure what you wish to ask. Dont use it to simply post a question which would later on look silly and undesired.
  7. I would advise you not to add many family contacts here on LinkedIn. There is facebook, orkut, twitter and several other networking platforms for you to connect with them. Limit LinkedIn for your professional contacts.