Friday, October 31, 2008

Week #1

I have week #1 in my career as a freelance writer under my belt, and I've already learned a multitude of things. It may be far too early to make this determination, but I really think I'm going to be able to make it work. Everything I've read about making freelance writing a business seems to indicate that you spend at least as much time looking for work as you do completing it. Particularly in the beginning, I think that's going to turn out to be valid.

Since it's my first week, everything I've done has been related to seeking out work. The following are highlights of measures I took to try to obtain work:
  • I did a lot of searching on the Internet for places that advertise freelance writing jobs. Somewhat surprisingly, craigslist is actually a good source for postings. Additionally, there are many freelance writing sites that, besides giving general information and advice, periodically compile relevant job postings from different sources. One particular site I like is Freelance Writing Jobs.
  • I revised my resume slightly and developed a couple of freelance-specific cover letters.
  • I applied for a few freelance jobs I saw posted.
  • I spoke with someone at Aquent, a nationwide talent/staffing agency for creative professionals, to try to obtain some short-term or contract work. I set up a meeting with them for next Wednesday.
  • I spent all day on Thursday at a Lansing business expo, handing out business cards and making contacts. I got some good contact information, which I plan to follow up on early next week. I also attended a seminar about how to get my Web site noticed more by Google.
  • I had a meeting with my first client this morning. I'll be starting work on my first project, a one-page marketing article for an association publication, this weekend.
All in all, it's been a good week.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A New Beginning

Recently, I left my job of eight years to follow a different direction. My full-time communications position at a professional association had its advantages, not the least of which was security. It was a steady paycheck and was leaps and bounds ahead of the jobs I had when I first graduated from college. I was using my skills, but something, namely professional fulfillment, was definitely missing.

Originally, I looked for a replacement full-time position. When I decided to quit my job, I opted to pursue freelance jobs to make some money while I looked for another position. Then I came to a realization—I wanted freelance writing to be my new position, rather than just an interim measure.

Things in my personal life, namely a recent marriage, made the prospect of self-employment feasible. The stars aligned and the timing was right, so I jumped in with both feet.

The opportunity to start my own freelance writing business is both exciting and daunting. While I embrace the concepts of working for myself, picking my projects carefully and being able to do different types of writing, I realize there are drawbacks. The writing is the easy part. I've been doing that since I learned to read and have always had an aptitude in that area. Self-promotion is the challenge. I've never wanted to be a salesperson, but I understand that this business will require me to sell myself.

I finished at my job two weeks ago, and after a week's vacation, I began my freelance writing business in earnest earlier this week. I'll be figuring this out as I go along, tapping into resources I find along the way, capitalizing on contacts I've made during my professional career and trying to spread the word. I hope you'll join me for the ride as I begin my freelance writing adventures.