5 Ways to Market Yourself as a Freelancer

Note: The other day, I was going through some files and found a few articles that had been assigned to me by a website but were never published. This is one of those.

business cardsSuccess as a freelancer, whether writing, graphic design, etc., depends on self-promotion. Many of us were taught as children that it is considered impolite to brag about ourselves. However, that is exactly what we need to do as freelancers.

Here are five ways to promote yourself as a freelancer:

  1. Develop (and maintain) a web site. An outdated website does you no favors. Take the time to keep your site updated. Include a list of projects you completed in the past, with links when possible. You might think no one looks at your site, but it is a valuable tool you can use to let prospective clients know what you can do and see examples of your work.
  2. A web site is basically static. A blog is regularly updated. Ideally, keep your blog relevant to the work you do. Prospective clients use search engines, such as Google, to search for people who work in the field. Their search could lead to your blog. Keeping it updated regularly, at least twice a week, and talking about your freelance work can push your blog higher up in the search engine rankings. The higher your ranking is, the more likely it is someone will find, and ultimately hire, you. There is a caveat here: Never complain about clients on your blog. They will find out and word will get around. Keep it friendly yet professional.
  3. Create an e-mail signature. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you have a computer and an e-mail address. Even free e-mail addresses allow you to have a signature file. Include your name, preferably both first and last, a title, and a link to somewhere people can see samples of your work, whether a web site or a blog. Put it at the bottom of every e-mail you send.
  4. Network online and in person. If you work primarily with local businesses, join local civic organizations and consider joining the Chamber of Commerce. Go to meetings and Chamber events to network. Take business cards with you and hand them out. Remind people of what you do. Even if you work with local businesses, network online as well. Web sites such as Twitter provide opportunities to network with other professionals in your field, learning opportunities (there are numerous chats on Twitter, for example), and interaction with potential clients.
  5. Invest in business cards and brochures. Even in the Internet age, every freelancer needs business cards for self-promotion. Brochures might be able to be replaced by web sites, but only if they’re current. Sites such as VistaPrint offer free business cards if you pay shipping. Business cards are necessary to have on hand for civic organization meetings, Chamber of Commerce events, and professional conferences. Include your name, title, web site address, and best way to contact you on the cards.

There are more ways to promote yourself as a freelancer. Word-of-mouth also works well. The above are five of the most effective methods of self-promotion and can bring you success if you use them and follow up on any leads and assignments you receive.

New Endeavor

I’m trying something a little new.

I have signed up on Medium.com. I spent a day looking around after I signed up. As of right now, I have two stories on there.

The first is “Your Creativity Toolbox: The Idea Pocket” and “25 Ways to Find Time to Create.”

I am not abandoning the blog. Goodness, no! Especially not after I’m just restarting it.  I am doing this in conjunction with the blog.

I’ve received several recommendations for Medium. When the universe talks, I listen. I’ve been hit with clue sticks in the past and ignored them. Then I got hit by the whole clue tree. Yes, I’ve learned from that. So I’m on Medium. Feel free to check me out over there.

August Goals

I said “goals,” plural. redpenBut, let’s face it, there’s only one real goal I’m focused on for the rest of this month.

Finishing the first draft of my current project.

I’m writing a book about starting a bullet journal. I have a section on getting started and a section on the extra bells and whistles you can add to it. At this point, I think I’m about half through it.

I’m  going to include some examples of different styles. Some will be my own. Some will be used by permission of the people who did them. I will have a glossary and a resources section.

That’s August’s goal. For September, I will edit it and hopefully get it out by the end of the year.

Sneak Peek

I am working on a new design and color theme for y site and blog. To that end, I have a new banner that will be going up in the next month. I won’t make you wait that long before you can see it, though. Enjoy the sneak peek. Let me know what you think of it. Nothing is set in stone and I am open to feedback.

jen-nipps.com banner

First Impressions: Pilot Metropolitan Fine Nib

Orange Pilot Metropolitan fountain en\\pen with sample writing
Pilot Metropolitan Fine Nib
Private Reserve Orange Crush Ink

On Monday, I got pen mail. I ordered a Pilot Metropolitan Retro in orange from Amazon on Saturday and it arrived at my house around noon Monday. I also ordered some Private Reserve Ink in Orange Crush.

The pen came in a plastic case with a clear top. It included one black ink cartridge and a bladder ink converter.

Because I was short on time, I removevd the converter and put the ink cartridge in. It wrote smoothly from the beginning. There was no working with the pen to get the ink flowing. So far, I have tested it on a few types of paper, including a sketch pad, fountain-pen-friendly paper in an ARC notebook from Staples, and regular notebook paper. There is no bleed-through on any of these papers. There is some ghosting on the regular notebook paper, but nothing bad unless I press too hard.

The converter is very easy to fill. When it is attached to the pen, you insert the pen nib up to the neck into the bottle of ink, squeeze the metal plate on the bladder, and release. When the bladder resumes its original shape, the pen is full.

Features of the pen that I really like:pen and knock-knock joke

  • Fine nib.
  • Smooth writing.
  • No skips.
  • Ease of filling the converter.

There is one thing I don’t like much. There is a dramatic step from the nib to the neck. That’s where I normally hold a pen, so I am having to modify my grip if I’ going to use it for very long. Since I like how it writes (well enough to make this an everyday pen for me), I am willing to make that modification.

Would I buy this pen again? Yes. In fact, I might because I want it in red. This pen was $14.95 on Amazon.

Frequency and Looking Forward

Image used courtesy of The Public Speaking Project under a Creative Commons license.
Image used courtesy of The Public Speaking Project under a Creative Commons license.

Now that the ProBlogger Get Your Groove Back Challenge is done, I’m left thinking about frequency, topic coverage, and what’s next.

First, frequency. I know I cannot keep up a pace of posting on a daily basis. I would get bored with it and I would quit. It has happened before. I don’t want to do that again. Plus, I figure if I’m bored, you’re bored. That’s not a good combination any time. My current plan is to post a few times a week.

Right now, it’s Sunday evening. I’m going to go ahead and post this tonight, but in the future, posts will go live on Monday. I will also schedule things for Wednesday and Friday. We’ll see how that frequency works for a while. If it needs changing, I can certainly do that.

Next, topics. I still stand by what I’ve said before that this blog is about my path along the creative journey. It is. It will be. However, it will be a little more focused. It will include my main topic areas of writing, creativity in general, and planning/bullet journals. As I know you are aware, this will allow for a wide range of subtopics.

I’m planning on another fountain pen first impression soon. I’ll actually have the fountain pen in-hand tomorrow. It’s a Pilot Metropolitan Retro in orange. I got some Private Reserve Orange Crush ink to go with it. Stay tuned for that.

Now, what’s next? That’s a good question.

I’m working on a couple books. One is further along than the other. It will be an eBook, probably costing less than $2. I think this book has the potential to be very helpful and I want it to be affordable. The most helpful book in the world isn’t worth anything if you can’t afford it.

I am also planning some videos for my long-dormant YouTube channel. Anything that’s on there is …. old. That will change.

I’m making more use of my Instagram accounts as far as writing, the writing life, creativity, and planning go. Some of those posts may be lengthened and transported over here. (Yes, accounts. There’s my main one and my bullet journal/planning one.)

There’s more still percolating, but I think that just about covers it for now. Except for one thing.

What do you want to see here?

Let e know and I’ll do my best to cover it.

Creativity RoundUp

DSCN3878Some of you might know I’ve been participating in a blogging challenge hosted by ProBlogger. It has had me creating more content than usual, which is a good thing. I did get a bit behind, but I’ve still done a lot more in the past two weeks than I have in a long time here.

Other participants in the challenge posted on a wide variety of topics. The ones I tend to gravitate toward are about writing, photography, and creativity in general. No surprise there, right?

Here is a link-up of some of the creativity posts. I hope you like them.

5 Books That Will Spark Your Creativity – Two of my favorite books are on this list: Wired to Create and Big Magic. You’ll have to visit the post to see what else is there. I’m not going to ruin the surprise for you.

Why Am I Not More Creative? – I’ll just say some of the ideas and theories presented here are closely aligned with some of mine, including the idea that we are all creative.

How to Find Your Creative Side – Good tips, all. I particularly like the advice about experimenting. It can be fun and it works.

Why Being Bad Can Be Good for You – Have you ever thought that you don’t have to be good at everything? Being a beginner is good.

Book Review: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert – We’ve already established above that this is one of my favorite books. She does a good review of it here.

Out of all of the posts about writing, creativity, photography, etc., it was difficult to narrow it down to just a few. I couldn’t exactly share of them with you. This post would be as long as a book. I think you’ll find something here you can relate to, though.