Friday, October 30, 2009

Freelancing Is All About Decisions

Freelancing is all about making choices. Right from deciding your work routine to selecting clients and working on payment options, there are a lot of facets that you need to work upon and decide. My journey as a freelance content writer made me come face to face with my share of decisions too. I fumbled upon many initially but with time I surely got more wiser and understood the demands of the business. Based on my personal experience I would like to share some decisive moments that I came across.

1. When starting out initially as a freelancer your basic aim has to be to build on an impressive portfolio. For the same there is no harm if you would do some projects for free. This would help you provide the right kind of work exposure and at the same time allow you to settle down in your line of work. One should never assume that assignments done for free would be less creative. Use every opportunity that comes your way to help refine your talent.

2. When you come across a new project the best way to get off the predicament of accepting it or refusing it can be dealt by asking yourself as to what the project can help you with. Will it help you widen your already existing skill set or help you foray into new territories.

3. It is always a good choice to be the master of one area rather than being average at many!

4. You need to draw a line as to what is the amount of work that you can handle easily and deliver the best doing the same. It is very common for us to get drawn towards taking up more work than we can actually handle. In such a case we are not only unable to devote good time on all the projects but at the same time risk deteriorating our health too. Therefore LIMIT is the key!

5. If possible it is always a good idea to get into a contract with your client. Not only will this safeguard your interest as well as the clients but at the same time it will allow you to stop worrying about the payments and thereby you can concentrate more on your work.

6. It is always a good idea to maintain a gaod rapport with your clients. A small note once in a while will not only allow you to stay in touch with them but at the same time make your client appreciate your relationship.

7. It is extremely mandatory to stick to your work ethics! If you feel that this particular project is not suiting your work area but the client is persistent that you take it there is no point buckling under pressure. A polite denial along with valid reasons will help you sail through.

8. There is no written rule as to what is the best payment option between an upfront payment or partial payment. Though an upfront initial payment is always a good idea but the choice needs to be biased on a " client basis" and the relationship that you share with him.

You can now select the ones which apply relevantly to your sphere of work and do feel free to share your tips too!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Relevance Of Blogs- Why And How!

A friend of mine venturing into freelance writing recently asked me if it was the advisable for her to start writing a blog right at the start of her career in this field. Apparently she had been advised that it is better to establish oneself in this field first and then start with a blog. I do not believe the same. I rather suggested to start writing a blog as soon as possible and use this platform to promote her work and talent. yes, why not? The kind of reach that a blog can provide your business is enormous. The visibility that a blog gets to your business allows you to harness it to your advantage.

The process of setting up a blog is extremely simple. All you need is to join any of the free blogging websites( blogger and Wordpress are the most common ones), select a domain name for yourself, find yourself a hosting space if the blogging website does not provide you with one( blogger does) and follow the simple registration procedure. Once you have an account go about personalizing your blog by adding to it themes and backgrounds that you wish too. The choices towards personalizing your blog are endless! There can be so many reasons that I can list which makes blogging a MUST for an individual who might be working in any field.

1. Visibility: A blog gives you and your business the web presence that you need in order to be seen by the right people.
2. Publicity: A blog allows you to connect with other like minded people on the internet and gives your business the scope of expanding further. Use your blog to your advantage to advertise your talent and as an effective means of networking.
3. Showcase: By means of a blog you can showcase your expertise in your field and at the same time use it as a mean to put forward your portfolio. You could link your blog to your website or add a page of your portfolio to your blog.
4. Portfolio: If you are a beginner and have no portfolio to show then use your blog as your portfolio. In case of a writer use it to write good articles which falls in your area of expertise and then go ahead and forward the link of your blog to prospective clients.

A blog is reflective of your work and is an effective way of marking your presence on the internet. Try and make your blog as expressive towards your services as possible. Use of images, crisp titles and interesting, relevant content are the secrets of a successful blog. Do not write a blog just because everyone else is doing so. Realise the importance that is attached to it and consider it as a part of your business.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

One More Project For The Files

My content generation project for the non profit dance foundation is done. The foundation is named as Guiding Star Dance Foundation. The project was challenging in a way that non profit oganizations demand a little shift in tone while drafting their content and try and make it a little more persuasive and genuine. As discussed earlier, the client had provided me the freedom to structure their website by deciding on the tabs that should be there on the website. The only condition was that all the desired components should be incorporated in the content. The aim of the foundation - to promote Indian dance forms in US- should clearly come across as should the fact that the foundation is a 501(c)(3) oganization.

I looked on the Internet for several other websites working in the same functional area and got an idea as to what all should be there on the website. Also, it gave me a couple of ideas to structure the content on the website. Based on the same as well as the inputs that I got from the client i chalked the skeleton and sent it to the client for his approval.

Once I got the approval from the client on the same I started with my work of structuring content for it. I decided to keep it to the point and concise but since it was aimed towards getting in sponsors therefore it HAD to have some marketing punch too. Not too much but of course! I structured the website to have a Company page, About Us Page, Education page( it further would have 2 parts- mentors as well as schedules and archives) Foundation Page( it would be divided into board of directors, sponsors as well as mailing list tabs), Donate as well as Contact us web pages.

I decided to draft the 'Company' page first as being the landing page it would need to be impressive and take the most time too. Related on similar lines were the 'Foundation' tab as well as the 'About Us' tab. Effort was therefore put in towards trying to bring in a clear distinction as to what content goes in where. Since the client already has a dance academy website( which was drafted by me only, therefore the cleint has asked to pick some content from it and use it towards the 'Education' tab.

Though the task took me 4 days to complete it but the end result was up to my satisfaction. Am yet to hear from the cleint for his final word so there is still the last YES awaited to consider the project DONE! :)

As always, the link of the website will be duly posted once it is live for all you guys to have a look at the final drafted product.


Friday, October 2, 2009

How Much Information Is Too Much Information?

When talking to a client most of us face the dilemma of how much information should be shared with a client when he approaches you with a project? I have always advocated the fact that one should be responsive to all the client queries and try and make him comfortable enough so that he gives you the project. For the same I would go ahead and share my opinion, my views towards his project and what would be the best approach forward. In most cases the client would appreciate my vision and honesty and that would allow me to put his doubts at rest. But then in certain situations I would wonder if that was the right move.

What if the client decides to use my suggestions by taking on board a cheaper writer and asking him to implement all that I had recommended! This could be sure possibility. So what should be the right way ahead?

I say, when a client approaches you try and provide him with a basic skeleton of your ideas leaving behind your actual plans. Leave small teasers for him regarding your vision which would make him interested to take you on board so that you could implement the same.

Providing him with complete samples could be the worst thing that you could do as he could use the same your sample without informing you! In such a situation when a sample is desired from your end it would be a good call to inform the client that you would be submitting just a small paragraph of content and not the actual article. By doing so not only can the prospective client get a look at your creativity and at the same time the length of the sample would not be enough for him to use as such. Never overstretch your offering. Make the client inquisitive for more. This will make him come back to you!