Quick tips for those new to freelancing online

I’ve been freelancing with not much more than a Macbook and a prayer for over two years now, however, it’s no longer a full-time gig for me.  I’m looking to get some good freelance gigs again, but they have to be right.  Since I work full-time as a digital editor for Westwood One Web, I have the luxury of being able to pick and choose gigs I’m crazy about instead of just taking whatever comes along that pays.  In the meantime, I’m most interested in creating my online brand so that it’s clear who I am, what I do, and what I’m after in my career.  If your business is right for me, I’m sure our paths will intercept somehow.  That’s my take now.  Know who you are, be clear and steady with what your personal brand is (mine is music/entertainment and hippy-oriented lifestyle stuff).  Be yourself 150% and the work will come to you.  That’s my first tip.

My second tip is Twitter.

My God, how I love this site.  If they ever make an IPO, I’m buying stock.  It is the next big thing.  I’ve been on it for a long time and follow 150 people or so.  This site is singularly responsible for connecting me with colleagues, other freelancers, journalists, the local Phoenix web community, old friends, and new friends.  I think it just may be the glue holding the Phoenix new media community together.  If you’re a freelancer, you have to be on here.  If you have a website to promote, you have to be on Twitter.  I’ve gotten more traffic to my sites from my Twitter followers than I have through SEO tricks.  Twitter works.  My Twitter followers will actually visit my blog if I ‘Tweet’ a link to them if they are interested enough.  I don’t want people to bother if they aren’t into what I’ve just blogged about.  Those who do visit from Twitter leave really good comments on my blogs.  I would post links to blogs on MySpace and never got the response I got from Twitter.  I think it’s because my ‘Tweeps’ and I share a more intimate day-to-day experience.  We also all happen to be social media whores who are way too interested in the ‘net and who would be more than happy to read one another’s daily blog posts just because that’s the type of geeks we are.
Avoid Craigslist

There are some legitimate employers on Craigslist but this site isn’t where it’s at for freelance gigs.  Use it at your own risk. It’s a site where I’ve had really good experiences as well as the worst ever experiences as a freelancer.  There is no middle ground.  My advice is to find connections through friends and colleagues over any job board.  Follow your interests; you’re likely to find the right obscure job board that fits your experience and passion in life.  If you find an unbeatable gig on Craigslist, just do your research on the company and person running it.
This post was originally published on blog.writerheather.com 9/24/08 at 5:35 pm

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