You Don’t Need Money to Make Money

saving-money

It’s around lunchtime, and I hope you’re enjoying something healthy and delicious! I’m slowly learning that you don’t need money to make money, or at least you don’t have to spend an arm and two legs.

Public Relations is all about gaining recognition for free, so my PR background is probably influencing my mindset. While I do not have the clientele I would like for my business, I refuse to do any major advertising. Below are some steps I’m currently taking to get business that will help any business owner.

Networking: Networking is free and effective. It may cost a little bit of gas and time, but that beats writing a huge check. Ask yourself these questions: Who is my ideal customer? Where would my ideal customer spend their time? Go where your customers are and network. Don’t forget to take your business cards!
Talk about it. Be about it: Don’t be afraid to tell every single person you know about your venture. I just emailed a few people that I haven’t spoken to in awhile to let them know what I’ve been up to. Now, if you’re like me you have a daytime job that is the source of your income, and then you’re working on your own business. When people ask about your profession, get in the habit of making your business a priority.
Social Media: Tons of social media networks have emerged, and you MUST be on one to engage with people and attract leads. If your business is not on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, I hope you make the decision to start today. Writing blogs is another great way to get your name out there.
Partnership: Partnerships can help both parties involved which is why I believe it’s effective. If you’re a freelance writer, you can partner with bigger agencies and graphic designers. If you’re a beautician, partner with photographers and nail salons in the area. There is always someone out there who has the same clientele you want, so find a way for you both to gain from each other.
Make Noise. Get Noticed: Everyone wants publicity, but no one wants to put in the work it takes to get it. Make journalist want to put the spotlight on you by doing something worth writing about. If you’re a makeup consultant who coordinated an event to give underprivileged women a free makeup session that is something the world wants to know.

Before you break the bank with advertising, try one of the tips above.

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The Writer’s Block Remedy

Girl with writer's block

I wish curing writer’s block was as easy as grabbing a prescription from the pharmacy.

What’s a girl (or guy) to do when the creative juices won’t flow?

Unfortunately, writer’s block is something that comes and goes at its leisure. Although I would love to chase it and beat it down with a stick, I ‘ve learned not to fight it. Writer’s block tells my brain to take a break and naturally allows me to find inspiration. There are times when I write and my fingers tap like they’re on speed, but then there are times where I’ve got nothing. During those times when nothing comes to mind, there are a few actions I take.

-Freewrite: Sometimes writer’s block comes because you’re putting too much pressure on the project. I love freewriting because you just write with no ending goal. Run on sentences, fragments, and misspelled words are welcomed.

-Listen to Music: Music is a great relaxer. Most of time when I’m writing, I’m also listening to music. You may hear a line from a song and find inspiration there. The song may remind you of a certain memory in your life which may spark a lot of ideas. Next time your brain is stuck in a rut, turn on the Pandora.

-Take a Break: Sometimes all you need to do is nothing. Forgetting all about the assignment and letting your mind stray can be a good thing. Stop what you’re doing, and temporarily let it go .

Jon Morrow offers 27 Wacky Ways to Beat Writer’s Block. It’s definitely worth the read.

13 Quotes to Inspire Writers

Inspiration
 
“Believe in yourself and in your own voice, because there will be times in this business when you will be the only one who does. Take heart from the knowledge that an author with a strong voice will often have trouble at the start of his or her career because strong, distinctive voices sometimes make editors nervous. But in the end, only the strong survive.”– Jayne Ann Krentz
 
“This is for writers yet to be published who think the uphill climb will never end. Keep believing. This is also for published writers grown jaded by the process. Remember how lucky you are.” – Terry Brooks
 
“It’s never too late–in fiction or in life–to revise.” – Nancy Thayer
 
“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” – Jack London
 
“Art isn’t only a painting. Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal. And great art resonates with the viewer, not only with the creator.” – Seth Godin
 
“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.” -Ernest Hemingway
 
“It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.” – C. J. Cherryh
 
“You don’t find time to write. You make time. It’s my job.” – Nora Roberts
 
“Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.” – Betty Ford
 
“The expert at anything was once a beginner.” – Hayes
 
“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.” Neil Gaiman
 
“Write your first draft with your heart. Rewrite with your head.” – Mike Rich
 
“Write what you know. Write what you want to know more about. Write what you’re afraid to write about.” – Cec Murphy

The Reason Why You Can’t Write

 

Imperfection

I’m a Freelance Writer, but aren’t we all? While I would love to think my profession is exclusive and only open to some, it’s open to everyone. Even you! You have the ability to write, but the reason you can’t write is because you’re seeking perfection. There is nothing wrong with perfection, but this is a major barrier for people who want to start writing. It use to be a huge barrier for me.

Perfection happens after you start. Perfection happens after you practice. Perfection happens after you become willing to learn.

Businesses, building structures, and novels start as a draft. Before it’s a draft, it is an idea. There is so much pressure out there about the importance of content and content marketing causing us to forget what’s really important. If you want to write, my advice to you is to just start. Let go of the perfection concept long enough to get 300 words on the paper.

Why I Have No Blog Posts

I will have no blog posts this week, but I have a very good excuse. Normally, I spend my weekend writing blogs for the following weeks. This weekend was spent taking chances on slot machines and indulging in free cocktails at the Coushatta Casino Resort. This was my first time at the Coushatta, and my second time at a casino. It was a nice getaway, but I think I’ll stick to my natural talents. Gambling isn’t one of them.

My goal this week is to finish my social media e-book which will be available on my website. I’ll keep you posted on that. Anyways, I hope everyone has a great week!

 

 

 

 

Beware of the Dog Puppies

dogpuppies

Are you absolutely certain that you want to enter in to this blog post at the present time?

I spy dog puppies in the above statement. Do You?

It may be helpful if I actually explain the meaning of dog puppies. A dog puppy is a redundant phrase because it contains words that have similar meaning. My college professor would be happy to know that I paid attention to these lessons. And, I must say that my Public Relations and Journalism classes at University of Houston really paid off. Go Coogs!

Ok, back to the dog puppies. A lot of people are redundant to sound more educated or to feel up space, but it is not attractive. A few years ago, I became more aware of my writing style. I trained myself to be more concise, and to eliminate dog puppies from my work.

In order for you to avoid this writing crime, here is a list of common dog puppies.

Add an additional

close proximity

consensus of opinion

end result

enter in

final outcome

free gift

unexpected surprise

plan ahead

past history

forever and ever

revert back

7 am in the morning

Remember: Dog puppies belong in your back yard, not in your writing!

The Lazy Freelancer’s Guide to Getting a Contract Signed

lazy dog wearing rollers and eating muffins

I hope my use of “lazy” in the headline didn’t offend you. I promise there’s a good reason behind my word choice.

When I landed my first freelance client, I was so excited. We discussed all the details over the phone, and I promised her a written contract and NDA. After drafting the documents, I spent a huge amount of time printing, signing, scanning and emailing them to her. My process went a little like this…

1. Create documents with specific terms

2. Print completed documents

3. Sign printed documents

4. Scan/upload signed documents

5. Email signed(by me) documents to client for their signature

6. Wait for client to sign and return documents

After taking these steps with my first client, I knew there had to be an easier way. After researching a few options,  I decided to try Adobe EchoSign. I actually discovered it through another freelancer’s blog (can’t recall the name). I’ve included the link, so you can explore their website. I’ve used EchoSign on one client, and I’m in love. My process has been reduced to 3 clicks. EchoSign works for both small and large businesses, and they have a pricing structure based on your needs. I’m signed up for the free structure, but there is a limited amount of contracts I can upload a month. If you want to quickly get contracts to clients with no hassle, I strongly recommend it.

Being an entrepreneur has definitely been a learning process for me, and I’m always looking for apps and resources to make it easier!

What system do you use to get contracts signed?

Four Questions to Ask Yourself

communication process

When you drive to an unknown location, do you use a map or GPS device? I don’t know about you, but it’s difficult for me to figure out where I’m going without looking at directions BEFORE I start my journey. Similar to driving, I apply the same concept when writing. It’s all about preparation and direction. Before you write another essay, blog or e-newsletter, there are four questions you should ask yourself. These four questions were introduced to me by a great professor, and they have been my guide to writing great content.

What is your purpose?

There is purpose behind everything we do. Why are you writing the blog? What is your intended outcome? My purpose for writing “Four Questions to Ask Yourself” is to suggest an effective writing method to others.

Who is the audience?

Once you know your audience, you can structure your content to relate to their interests, wants, and emotions. The audience for my business is small business owners. When I created the content for my homepage, I included “I’m an entrepreneur, writer and social media manager dedicated to helping small businesses turn up the volume in the noisy online world. You can trust me to take care of your business as if it was my own!” If I was targeting busy moms or large brands, I may have went in a different direction.

What is the medium?

How is your content being delivered? Is it a book, website, newspaper, magazine, eBook or e-newsletter. Smashing Magazine does a great job of explaining the importance of mediums in the article The Medium is The Message.

What is the message?

What message do you want to get across to your audience? You have to make sure that you get the intended message across without any confusion. If you use jargon your audience won’t understand, they may miss the entire message. A message is only successful when the sender and receiver perceive it the same way.

Take a look at this LinkedIn article Want to Be Taken Seriously? Become a Better Writer.

I know that we’re all pressed for time, but this method shouldn’t add more than 5 minutes to your writing process. Let me know if you try it!