Article by Wendy McCance
If you are just getting started as a writer, I’m sure you feel overwhelmed, uncertain and are trying to get as much information as you can on the right way to jump into this field. I tend to see the same information across the web regarding how to become a writer. What frustrates me is that no one ever writes about the little things. Ways to get to your goal faster or how it feels to start a career as a writer.
I pride myself on dissecting the little things that ultimately make a big difference. Hell, my blog is full of writing advice that I have yet to see discussed in detail elsewhere. Today, I would like to share a secret about getting off on the right foot and making a splash in half the time.
When you decide to drop a traditional job and go for what you are passionate about, it is scary, exhilarating and can be downright nerve-wracking. There are constant questions popping up in your head. When I started my career, my biggest question had to do with the correct way to present myself and appear polished as I searched for work. Along the way, I came to an important realization and it changed the way I went after business. The best part was that it worked very well.
What I did was to confidently go after what I considered to be a big prospect. I never used online writing sites to find writing jobs. I found all of my work from my own persistence reaching out to people who weren’t actively looking for a writer.
I have written articles on the value of LinkedIn and even threw in a template of what I would write to a possible prospect. I laid it all out so that you could take my tips, apply them and see great results yourself. http://www.searchingforthehappiness.com/using-linkedin-to-find-freelance-writing-assignments/
What I failed to mention was that I was brave. I aimed high and connected with the best people I could find. Most of my connections are CEO’s, owners, directors, consultants etc… The idea was to go after the decision maker, or the person who could put me in front of the decision maker. I was amazed at how many connections I was able to secure. The best part was that after some time, I began receiving daily requests to connect to these same type of high-caliber connections. It snowballed. I knew so and so, so I must be someone important in another high-powered connections eye.
Because of the way I went after connecting with LinkedIn members, not only did I get some terrific assignments, but I began connecting to people who had seemed way out of my reach. Sports figures, TV personalities, owners of sports teams and big names in my local community began to flock to my profile. I wasn’t just getting good assignments, I was getting good assignments from some dream clients.
It all came down to the way I prospected. I got cocky and approached people who I felt were way out of my league. I connected with the people I wished to work with.
Don’t cut yourself short. Don’t go after an assignment if it doesn’t thrill you. I believe you will burn out and become frustrated with the process if all you are getting are writing assignments that really don’t thrill you.
What if you don’t have clips? I struggled with this for a few months. I froze and didn’t attempt to connect to anyone because I had very little to show a potential client.
Two things helped me get over this hurdle.
- I started blogging for our local paper. Being able to say you are connected to a well-known local paper made a major difference. Anyone can add a blog to a paper if the paper has blogs on their site, by simply asking. Honestly, just reach out to the community engagement editor and ask if they might be interested in placing your blog on their site. It’s shockingly that easy.
- My blog also did wonders for me. If anyone asked to see some of my writing, I could either send them a few of my posts or direct them to my website. No one ever looked further to see what else I had. I was only ever asked one time who I had worked for.
About 80% of my clients never asked for anything at all. They liked my pitch and passed an assignment my way. I had spent months worrying about having a strong portfolio, or any clips at all to show for months. It was a huge and unnecessary waste of time.
The best advice I can give you is to just jump in and forget the concerns. Most worries never pan out and are just a waste of time. As I built my business, I was able to build a nice portfolio. When I go into a meeting, I have several examples of my work. Even so, I never pull them out unless there is an assignment on the table and I have a good example of a similar assignment I can show my client for comparison. The clips just aren’t needed like you would think. An example is two recent meetings. One was with a newspaper and the other with a major furniture retailer. I was never asked to show my work. I walked away with a job offer that I ended up passing on and another offer that I accepted.
So, as you begin your adventure, remember to aim high and be fearless. You will have the same chance of getting a job as you would if you went after these online jobs. Actually, you will most likely do much better if you are the one reaching out because you have just eliminated any competition. Your ability to secure the job will be based solely on what you bring to the table.
Here is a partial list of job titles you should look for when prospecting for business:
- President/Vice President
- Talent Acquisition Manager
- General Manager
- Social Marketing Manager
- Senior Community Manager
- Marketing Consultant
- PR Consultant
- Media Relations Coordinator
- Strategic Marketer
- Strategic Development
For more information, check out The Secrets to Getting Writing Assignments Part 2.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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