“Sorry, I’m new.”
We’ve all heard that from time to time on the phone. Many of us have said it. But what if the company is just you? Many writers are a ‘one-man band’. There is nobody to ask and nobody keeping an eye out to steer you towards the right path. No man is an island, so what’s a budding writer to do?
My chief rule in life has always been “if you don’t know, ask.” So I asked some of the copywriters of Twitter. They turned out to be a very friendly bunch, with a lot of good advice to share. My most sincere thanks go out to every writer who responded to my tweets and to those who engaged in conversation by email.
My main two concerns were with how much to charge and how to get my name out there. Take a look at this Storify slideshow to see the advice I got – or you can read the story on Storify.
So what have I learned on this Twitter journey?
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You never know where they may lead. The worst thing somebody can possibly say is “no.”
- Your first move should be to secure a web presence. Create a website and blog, and create social media pages/accounts for your writing. Post updates regularly; this will increase your exposure.
- Get your work under people’s noses: email companies and follow up on leads, no matter how cold or old.
- Use social media to your advantage, especially when it’s to take the road less travelled; make connections, form business relationships and increase awareness of your services by actively contributing to online creative channels.
- Value your time, your skills, your time and yourself. Don’t let clients pressure you into working for peanuts – remember your bottom line!
- Carefully formulate your charges against your required income and the amount of value you hope to add with your input.
- Approach other creative types such as graphic designers, SEO companies and web developers to work alongside. They have a number of different types of organisations on their books, so you may be able to turn your hand to a variety of topics!
- Attend business networking events both for general business and those just for the writing community. It’ll probably help to have business cards too!
- Follow writers on social media and read the advice on their blogs. Keep an open mind to all advice coming your way.
- Most of all, have fun and enjoy the freelance life!
I have also written an article on my own blog with some more in-depth conversations instigated on Twitter but taken over into email, with responses from John McGarvey (@johnmcg) and Sarah Turner (@TurnerInk) along with some of my own experience and advice to boot.
Be curious, take heart, and forge ahead. And if you don’t ask, you don’t get.