Mini Vacation

One of the things I love about freelance writing is the freedom I have. Tomorrow I will be going on a mini vacation. I’m traveling to Denver, Colorado to see my best friend who moved there two years ago. I haven’t been out to visit her since I drove cross-country with her to help her move, but she has been here plenty of times to visit. So it’s my turn to travel and I have to say, I don’t mind the small break. What little I’ve seen of Colorado from my one trip there, I know it is a beautiful and forward thinking place. In fact the last time I was there I felt so at home in Denver, I spent a month trying to convince my husband that we should move. We didn’t, but I’m very lucky to be able to visit when I want to.

As an added treat, my friend and I will be venturing to Breckenridge for a day or two of skiing. This sounds like a great adventure and I can’t wait. The only part I’m nervous about is the actual skiing. I haven’t skied since high school (over 10 years ago now!). Anyways, I wish you a wonderful few days in my absence and I’m sure I’ll have lots to share upon my return.

Here’s to hoping I make it back without any broken bones 🙂

Cheers!

Confidence: Learning to Build and Project It

*Photo by Alicia Jo McMahan

Confidence is a difficult thing to come by for new freelance writers or any creative type. It takes forever to build up and only one comment from a client to destroy it. For me, I’ve always been a pretty confident person, but my confidence as a freelance writer can be downright fickle.

In a recent conversation with a fellow freelancer, I mused that when I feel confident I land more clients. It’s like the client can feel my confidence in myself and wants to work with me because my confidence builds their confidence. It really got me thinking. If I could keep my confidence levels steady and always portray a certain level of confidence, it would have an extremely positive impact on my career. Since then I’ve been looking at confidence in a whole new light and want to offer you some tips that I’ve found.

Build Confidence

I started to look at how I build my confidence and pick myself up when I feel down. Here are a couple of my confidence boosters that may help you build your confidence too.

  • Look at what you’ve accomplished – this is huge for me. I work hard at what I do and when I look back at the results I have created for myself, I immediately feel ready to conquer the world.
  • Go back over positive feedback – I keep a file of positive feedback from clients that remind me what I did right and how good it felt to be successful. Likewise, I often come to this blog and read the encouraging comments that you all leave me. It reiterates to me that I really can do this.
  • Reach out to others – there are certain people in my life who believe in me. They think that no matter what I put my mind to I can do it. My mom and my husband are two such people I heavily rely on when I start feeling down.
  • Take a step back – it helps me when I start to feel low to step back and figure out why. Sometimes this means going over an article to see why I was asked to rewrite it, other times it means re-reading my cover letter to a potential client to see why they might not have wanted to hire me. Going back helps me understand and makes me feel more confident that the next time I won’t make the same mistakes.

Project Confidence

Confidence is a great thing to have and once you have worked to build it up, you want to make sure that you project it the right way. Have you ever thought someone was arrogant or cocky? That is an example of over projection. You don’t want to be too confident that you turn people off – rather you want to project the right amount of confidence to make other people believe in you. Here are a few ways that I’ve learned to project confidence in the business of freelance writing:

  • Be honest – a lot of people think that telling a client that they can’t do something is a way to lose the client. I have found it quite the opposite. Sure there have been times where I haven’t landed a job because I wasn’t as qualified as the next person, but there have also been times where I’ve admitted that I wasn’t sure how to do something but I showed confidence in my ability to learn it which more than once has landed me a client.
  • Say what you mean – this is especially important when talking to potential clients. Be clear and concise in your communication. When you aren’t clear, you give off the impression that you aren’t sure what you’re talking about.
  • Mean what you say – the flip side to saying what you mean. When I negotiate price with a client and say I can’t go any lower, I mean it and will walk. The way I think of it is if the client really wants to work with me, they will take my offer. If they don’t I may be opening the door for a better opportunity to come along. Have the confidence to stick to your word.
  • Brag a little – I don’t mean go out and give a potential client a five page list of every compliment you’ve ever gotten, but do show them what you’ve done. I have a professional website that I’m proud of. There I list my best work and always share it with potential clients. I’ve also shared my work with former colleagues and friends. I’m not showing off, but I am confidently portraying my work so that they know what I’m capable of should the need for a writer ever arise.
  • Be positive – it’s a well known fact that people respond better to someone who is positive. If you were a client looking to hire a freelancer, would you want to work with someone that has a positive outlook or someone who is negative, moody and grumpy? Of course you would want to work with someone positive. A positive, optimistic outlook is something that a client will really value.

I hope that this gets you thinking about your confidence and how you can build it and project it. It really will help you with so many aspects of your freelancing life. Do you have any tips to add?

Inspiration Away from My Computer

As a freelance writer, I sometimes find it difficult to motivate myself to leave my comfortable home office and step into the outside world. And since I live in Ohio where the winter months can be brutal, I find it even harder to get out even to run errands. While this is good for my work and I am currently getting so much done, it also has its downfalls. Since I was forced to leave my office behind to attend holiday parties and I even left my laptop at home while traveling among three cities to visit family I noticed that there are a lot of benefits for writers to get out from behind their computers once in a while.

Networking

Holiday parties turned out to be the perfect place for me to network a little bit. When asked what I do, I was more than happy to explain to people. Some even asked for my business card. While I haven’t gotten any direct business from it thus far, it’s great to tell people what I do. Hopefully the next time they or someone they know is looking for a writer they will think of me.

One thing that I found surprising is that even some of my closest friends weren’t sure of what exactly I do and more than one person was very interested in the fact that I write resumes. This has me somewhat convinced that maybe I shouldn’t completely hibernate this winter and should actually make a point of getting out to see friends and meet new people.

Inspiration

View from my office window

When I used to work outside the home, there was a constant stream of other people to talk to. And while I wouldn’t trade in my home office to go back to a windowless cubicle, sometimes some of my best ideas came from talking to other people. As a freelance writer, I often miss the simple banter. Over the holidays, away from my computer I got to really talk to other people, find out what was going on outside my little writing world and I actually got much inspiration from others for blog posts and projects.

Even just a simple change of scenery was enough to prompt inspiration. Normally I stare out my office window onto our front yard and street. But by traveling, I got to see different scenes like a ski resort packed with people and an abandoned barn in the middle of a snowy field. While these scenes in themselves aren’t all that remarkable, they were enough to jar some inspiration.

As I write this post it’s snowing so hard outside my window that we probably have gotten a good three inches in the last hour. Since I don’t think I’ll be leaving my home office today, in the near future, I will be making a point to do so just to find the inspiration and stimulating conversation that I’ve been lacking.

What about you, do you find it inspiring to abandon your computer for the outside world?