My new mini moo cards. Thanks, Klout (and Twitter friends).
- What do you do?
- So what do you do?
- How do you get started doing that?
- Some combination of the following words: freelance, contract, writer, communications, social media, nonprofits, grants, editing.
- Write reports, grants, proposals, articles, web content, marketing copy and blog posts, format and layout documents, produce print and online publications (like e-newsletters), copyedit and consult on social media strategy and communications. Not at all once, of course.
- Good question.
- Reach out to your networks. All of my paying work so far has been with companies and organizations that I worked with in California. I told them early on (before I left) that I would be branching out on my own after the move and that I'd be available for hire. A few quick emails once I got here to let them know I was open for business and I have had a pretty steady stream of work (not enough to fill up my docket, but enough to give me some structure to my day and time to build on other areas).
- Get online. My work isn't tied to geographic location, so the Internet is an extremely valuable marketing tool for me. I try to stay active on Twitter and Facebook and plan on investing some more time in LinkedIn, and of course this blog is sort of a live demonstration of my abilities (that's not the reason I blog, though). I'm also working—slowly—on my professional website. But social networks are my main target online.
- Volunteer or do pro bono work. I mentioned before that I've been volunteering at Dress for Success Miami, but I never mentioned what I was doing. Well, we launched their new quarterly e-newsletter last week (which I wrote, designed and coded) and next up on my list is building out their website with content and features and updating their communications materials and social media efforts. I'm doing it pro bono for now, but I've already gotten leads for new local clients through my work with the nonprofit. It's difficult to branch out locally when my portfolio includes mainly in-house work done across the country, so having local work to show is a major plus.
- Hit the pavement. There is a lot to be said for good old fashioned networking, especially in a town that is as who-you-know as Miami. Basically if you live in Miami and have a free lunch hour, I'll lunch with you. We can chat about fashion, TV, work, travel...whatever you want. We don't even have to talk about work (mine or yours). I'm just meeting people and going to functions (volunteering has been great for that, too). This part is the most difficult for me so far because I'm an introvert by nature, but I'm getting more comfortable with it.
- Brand yourself. Not with a branding iron, of course, but with a professional identity. Branding often includes logos, colors, fonts, taglines, etc., but it can also be with values, specialties, or a strong personality. I'm not working on a logo, for instance, but am focusing on several areas for my work (such as nonprofits and career development/professional advice). Hey, I know my strengths.
Have you ever opened your own business (small or large)? What tips do you have for getting your foot in the door?