I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but I don’t take advice usually until I’ve gone through all the painful lessons the advice was meant to save me from. Here’s a case in point.
When I first started freelancing on the Internet I wanted to learn all I could so I decided to read a few articles I found about my new chosen profession. One in particular told me that although there were many benefits to freelancing like setting your own hours and being your own boss, one of the big downfalls was having to be constantly looking for work because contracts and clients change frequently.
So far, I’m glad that I’ve never really run into trouble even though I ignored that kind of advice at first and had a few big contracts tank over the years through no fault of my own. Still, I’ve been able to get some experience from even those periods when I’ve had to look for work quickly and some of the lessons that I learned include,
- The fact that some clients don’t fully understand search engine optimization. I’ve run into a few people over the years that think seo is a magic bullet that works as quickly as you can switch on your computer but that’s not the case. A good campaign that involves both blogs and articles will take a few months to get rolling. It’s much the same as any print campaign but some companies still think they can force the issue with the search engines somehow. It’s good to let clients know what to expect right away.
- The fact that as a writer you need to shift gears. When you’re copywriting for a client on the Internet it’s important to remember that even though the content is what will hold the reader and convert them into a sale, it’s the seo that gets them to the site. As a content writer, I’m always trying keep in mind that it’s important to juggle those two balls.
So the advice I was given by the article I read those years ago said that part of the freelancer’s life is constantly making sure you have enough work. There have been several times I ignored that important piece of advice and when I had enough for the moment I neglected to keep my feelers out there.
The result was a few situations where I had to scramble early on and that taught me a few things about promoting myself. One of the first things I learned was the art of Internet networking. The links are always the Holy Grail and when you can get them in the right places like niche forms and on the websites of colleagues you’ll always have some momentum even when you’re not looking for work.
It only takes a few minutes a day to update a Twitter or Facebook account as well and there are quite often groups that you can join there that pertain to your field. By the way, a great way to keep expanding is to always be on the look out for new business opportunities as well. I’ve just started an enterprise with Terry McElligott, a Toronto based web designer called Bluestripe.ca