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When in Doubt, Network!

So thanks to the economy and those pesky things called bills, last year I went looking for a full-time job and got one doing tech support towards the end of the month. Oh, I still have my occasional freelancing gigs, but it’s all about paying the rent and getting out of debt, you know. One of the good things about coming back to the workforce, especially when phone tech support, is that you meet a lot of new and interesting people.

I’m sure I’m not the only person who has or is doing some office work and freelancing on the side, so you’ve probably encountered folks who may have been interested in what other things you do – this can certainly be family and friends, but I’m talking about co-workers and yes, even clients. Working tech support for an ISP, I of course speak to a lot of different people, every minute, of every hour, of every day that I’m working; many are just regular folks having issues, but once in a while I speak to folks that are doing what I am – freelancing/work at home/small business – and I basically make a new friend. Read the rest of this entry


How to Use Social Media to Get People to Read Your Stuff

I’ve hit the message of using social media in terms of getting people to read your stuff. And I’m pretty sure I went over why this is important and if you remember me say it, then please forgive the rehash of this, because this is kinda important.

Technology is big. Crazy big. So big that people will look at you funny if you aren’t on at least one social network site (or they may look at you funny if you say you’re still on MySpace). Now, as you are a newbie freelancer (and hopefully not a noob freelancer), you might feel the need to sign up for every single social network site every where and anywhere.

But if I may – you’re just getting started. Why not just use the ones you’re using now?

Say what?

Listen, I was in your same boat; hell, I’m probably still in the same boat! When I started looking into becoming a freelancer on a full time basis, I went and signed up for a whole section of social networks. I got the Twitter, I went LinkedIn, signed up for Diggs (oh, if only I could remember my login info for this), Stumble (same thing), and I’m even posting about articles and blogs on Facebook (which I was adamant about not doing).

But as with the fate of Diggs and Stumble, you of course run into the issue of forgetting what login you have where, especially if you are just posting links to stuff.

But for you, my friend and avid reader of my blog, I’m going to tell you a secret in why – after all these sign ups – you aren’t getting people to read your stuff.

Because you haven’t said ‘hello’.

New freelancers or anyone going gung ho on the online business shift seem to forget that social media is still social. Now, believe me – I do think it’s a bit suspicious that people can post every hour or minute on FB or Twitter (especially when I know they should be working); hey, even I get a little distracted in responding to Tweets, but that’s social media. Think about why you signed up for Facebook.

The point of social networking is to talk to people. That’s the social part; the networking part is the meeting new people and learning new things. Think about Facebook – most times, you’re friends with your friends’ friends, right?

Now that I’ve given you that info, how exactly do you use social media to get people to your stuff?

  1. Sign up for a social network. Just start with one (if you don’t have one); we’ll call it reader’s choice.
  2. Search for friends. This is where I think many newbies fall. I know what you’re thinking – “I’ve signed up for Twitter and now I just sit back and wait for people to come to me” Sorry, but that is not how social media works. Unless you are a celebrity in any fashion (designer, director, Charlie Sheen), no one is just going to start following you. Find people that hold your interests – writing, blogging, websites, etc and start following them. In most cases, they’ll follow you, meaning you now have access to their friends, meaning their friends have access to you.
  3. Tell people. Social media is no good to you if you don’t tell people. Now, if you’re doing articles or design work, you may not be able to post your Twitter name or Facebook page, but if the option is there, do it. And while you’re at it, post it on your website too.
  4. Make Friends. This is a part of the ‘search for friends’ thing, but think of the people you could be making friends with. The Internet is an awesome thing, where you can meet people from all around the world. I have made friends around the states, as well as the UK and Australia. I even have friends in Canada, places I have never been to, but yet I have known these people for years (we’re talking 10+)
  5. Say Something. You, my friend, are a writer. I wrote this blog for writers. And freelancers, but mostly freelancing writers. As a writer, you have things to say. Hence why you are writing. Why then are you not using that gift to say something on your social media site?

Social media is all about give and take really – if you want followers, you have to go out and get them. And they, in return for your cleverness and fit, may reward you with followers for you. Just try it if you haven’t and if you haven’t, why not? And hey! Don’t forget about those real people you got hanging around you. Word of mouth still gets going in the real world too!

Smorgsborg about…um…something

Kind of a late start today, but this post has got everything. Action, adventure, mystery, murder, death, lots and lots of death.

Okay, I’m kidding. It’s just a regular post, BUT I do have a copy of articles you should read, cause they are awesome and well, I like them. So, let’s get started with the week that was.

The Week That Was

As unproductive as the week before. Well, sort of. I managed to muster the fact that rent was coming to finally say, “perhaps I should make some money to pay for that” Once again, this week, CW didn’t take no for an answer and was insistent that I work on things that had nothing to do with making money. This, of course, would have been great, if – you know – I didn’t need to be making money.

But luckily for me, somewhat, the urge for money did start reviving up Thursday and I have to say that I have managed to get CW and Pro Writer to get together and get something done.

Something of Importance

So as this is a blog that is supposed to be about freelancing and writing in general, I of course have to pimp out some stuff of importance. Today, the importance is an awesome blog by my Twitter buddy, Becki Sams. I finally got around to reading the tons of RSS feeds I have coming in and found three awesome posts from Becki, but you should just check out the entire blog she has cause it’s all awesome.

Here it is – The Writer’s Blog

Becki’s a student by day and a writer/blogger by night, so she’s got some insights on trying to juggle the life. Check out the blog! Do it!

And speaking of Twitter, this week was ultra awesome. If you’re a blogger or thinking of being a blogger or you like reading blogs, then you should know that ProBlogger is one of those big name blog sites for the blogging pro. And…Darren Rowse is following me.  That’s right – with no intervention from me, I’ve got someone important following me.

*fan girl scream*

That must mean you guys like me, you really like me!

Oh, and guess that means this blog’s gotta be about stuff now. Alright, fine. But this is a big deal. I mean, I have important folks in Denver and Colorado that are following and I even got a small following in the UK, but ProBlogger is like the world.

Now if only I could get LeVar Burton to follow me or Maroon 5, but hey, I’m happy with this. Serious.

And in Other News

I have remembered why I hate living in multiplex apartments. Apparently, there is an elephant/rhino/hippo hybrid that lives above me. I have no idea what it is that he or she is doing up there, but all I hear are thumps, bumps, and stomps. And usually at the worst times, such as when I decide that 9pm is a perfectly good time to go to bed or even if my alarm goes off at 4:30, 5am, maybe I just want to snuggle in bed for another hour or two.

My one bedroom in Tucson was one story, so I only had to worry about the person next door and the person behind me. It took like a month or two, but we finally got that area rocking in quiet. So quiet that I didn’t even know I had a neighbor behind me for three months. Yeah. I loved that. But…sacrifices were made to move to Denver and…while there are many a time that my mind screams, “OMFG, what have I’ve done!? I should have never moved!!” some semblance of…something tells me to calm the f*** down and life thus goes on.

Tomorrow’s post will be about…you know what, I dunno. Taxes maybe? Actually, know what, I should talk about my website. I mean, as long as you all are coming here and this is a blog about writing, I should be pointing you to my website, which showcases my writing. I think there’s a theme here.

Probably about my website.

TweetUps & You

In my move to a brand new city, I knew that I couldn’t exactly just have the three friends that I had already known when I moved here. Despite my loner qualities, I actually do enjoy meeting people and one of the first things that I did – well, before I moved to Denver – was to check in on this thing called a TweetUp.

What’s a tweetup, you ask? It’s basically meeting those people that you talk to/follow on Twitter who are local to you. After I made my decision to move to Denver, that was what I did. Made friends with Denver and Colorado people on Twitter. And that’s how I heard about the tweetup.

So for my very first tweetup, it was great! It’s definitely an excellent way to network with different people, as well as meeting those folks that  you’ve been replying or DM-ing on Twitter. I got to meet Jerome Shaw (@jeromeshaw/@DenverTwitr) who I have been asking about Denver for at least a month now and the awesome Ashley Kingsley (@ashleykingsley), who was not only awesome for putting everything together last night, but cause she’s short and that automatically makes her awesome!

Now I’m sure you have questions…

Do I have to be on Twitter?

Nope. In fact, a couple of people were using Facebook or weren’t doing any type of social media at all. These were also friends or spouses, but it was still great to meet some really nice folks. I even met some Arizona folks, so it was great speaking about our ‘special’ state.

Should I bring business cards?

In a word – YES! I’m so mad that I didn’t think to make business cards. See, this is why freelancers should get business cards, so that you can pass them out to people. BUT don’t let that discourage you. Not everyone had a business card and when in doubt, people used planners or their phones. I actually downloaded a notepad on my phone just so I could start writing down real names next to the Twitter name.

I just started freelancing; is this a good way to pimp my name?

Yes, but don’t treat it like you’re only there to do business. But also don’t make it a down home party either. If you’re new, people are going to want to know something about you, especially those folks that don’t follow you on Twitter. So tell that what you do. As I said, it is a good way to network. There were a lot of big names that are ‘in the know’ about social media, marketing, writing, freelancing, and business in general.

For instance, I happened to mention that this week I had been thinking about getting started in copywriting and lo and behold, there was someone there who happened to know and do some copywriting. See? I just mentioned when asked what I was doing.

So this social media works then?

Do you remember one of the very first posts I did about social media? You don’t? That’s okay, I’ve linked it for you. Anyway, one of the first posts I did was about how I was starting to use Facebook and Twitter to tell people, “hey, I wrote some stuff and I think you should read it!” And behold, here you are reading this! See? See how that works?

In the end, most importantly I had a really great time and met some new people in the city I now live in. I wish I had gotten everyone that I talked to on Twitter *grr!*, but hopefully when another one of these happens, I’ll be there again. So, my young freelancing padawans, if you’re looking for people to follow on Twitter, I’ve put some of the awesome people down on the list here. They have awesome things to say and share with folks, so if you aren’t following them, you should!

Ashley – @ashleykingsley

Jerome – @jeromeshaw and @DenverTwitr

Betti – @nowmedias

Patti – @thebusinessloft

Donna – @donnafeldman

Stevie – @stevieknight

Tomorrow, my crazy decision on being a copywriter! No, seriously.

Social Media & Fan Fiction

So this week’s blog was going to be about LinkedIn and why it was important for freelancers to take a look at it, but then Fuel Your Writing had an awesome article about whether or not writers should delve into fan fic writing. And I was torn, but as I have made a stand to blog four times a week, today’s post will be all professional and talk about how social media can help you and then tomorrow I’ll go all writing and talk to you all about fan fics. So here we go!

Why Social Media is Important

Social media is crazy hip right now. Everything from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, You Tube, etc, everyone’s keeping connected by the world of the Internet.  As a beginner freelancer, no matter what your chosen area, having a presence online is uber important. But why? You may think all that social network hype is good for businesses and teenagers, but how as a freelance does any of that impact you?

It’s simple – social networking brings you and your work to a broader audience. While doing projects gets your name out, nothing gets people to see more of your work than posting on a place where others upon others will see it. Facebook has hit the 500 million mark of those who are on it and use it. That’s 500 million folks that can see your website or portfolio of your work.

I get it, I do. When the whole MySpace and Facebook war started, I said “who cares?” They are both places where teens go when they aren’t doing homework or something useful (no offense to the teens out there).

But eventually,  I broke down and got a MySpace page because I had friends on it. Sadly, of course, I haven’t been on my MS page in forever, but from a business experience, there is an impact of having a page dedicated to your business or brand.

Earlier this week, I completed the social network circle by making a LinkedIn page. I’ve just started it of course, so not sure how much of a benefit that I can gain while on it. During Thanksgiving holiday, one of my Twitter followers, Becki Sams tweeted a question – what did we, as freelancers, find more productive? Twitter or Facebook? From the responses, mine included, it seemed that folks felt that Twitter was a better way to getting out to a ton of people.

So as a beginning freelancer, which site is better? That if of course personal preference. I personally am using Twitter as more of a professional networking place, meeting other freelancers and writers. With the exception of some friends and He Who Must Not Be Named (because he was sending DEs out to protect Betty White, which is paramount in protecting comedy as we know it), the majority of people I’m following or who are following me are freelancers or writers. I’ve also made friends with some in Denver, while I will hopefully be in 2011.

Personally, Facebook, for me is more personal and private. The majority of friends are on that site and I’ll admit, anything kinda goes on my Facebook page. That said, I don’t want professionals or businesses to view my Facebook page. In fact, I don’t even have people from Twitter on my FB page (unless they are friends).

The important thing here is to choose just one of the social networks around. Don’t expect that you’ll be picking up contracts and work like a snap, however it means that you can start to get your name out if you haven’t already. All of the social networks allow for people who follow one person to see who that person follows and in turn, follow them if they so choose. And so on and so on. As a beginner, it’s important to get your name out, so that when you get to be big and famous, people can say “I knew you before the fame.”

On the weekend, as we enter the holiday season and new year, I’ll discuss my favorite thing ever – finances *please insert eye roll and sarcasm* Tomorrow, it about fan fiction!