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

Recycling a blog post from last year about new media jobs

I published this on the original WriterHeather blog last year:

I’ve noticed quite often lately that all the cool writing and journalism jobs are in what we call “new media,” or working in the realm of the Internet.  The majority of new jobs listed on MediaBistro.com are in the new media category.  Yet a friend of mine did something I think is insane–he took his first job out of college in print media at a small, local paper.  On one hand, this could be his last chance to enjoy the print industry.  I think it’s dying or at least shrinking to the point where job competition will be fierce.  The jobs of the present and future for those of us who are writers and journalists will require skills like SEO/SEM, podcasting, blogging, social networking, and video editing.  Can you create original content that no one else is doing?  Do you offer something no one else can?  This is where the future is headed.  Are you able to navigate around various social networks?  Do you understand why this is valuable knowledge?  Only time will tell as to whether or not my friend made the right decision for his career.  I am interested to see where he goes once he feels it is time to move on from the print news job.  I’m sure the print sensibility he is gaining will be useful wherever he goes.  Meanwhile, I continue trying to bridge traditional broadcast media with the internet between my jobs at both Westwood One and Bonneville International.

Vindication:

I wrote this August 17, 2008. I think it is even more true nearly a year later. I think today we’re all either:

1. New media journalists

2. Learning to be new media journalists, or

3. Wanting to figure out how to be new media folk of any capacity

We’re basically trying to adapt. There are fewer jobs in the media than ever; I have more friends out of work than I can find work for. And the friend I wrote about last year? No longer at that paper…