Improvise, Adapt, & Overcome (My Freelance Journey, pt 2)

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Last week we covered a LOT of material… from getting started in freelancing to starting a blog. This week will be no different. In case you missed it here is Part 1 of 3.

This week, we will be looking at how to decide on a niche, the need for social media and Pinterest, how to stay focused, and looking for freelance jobs. Grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable.

Photo credit: BarnImages.com

Deciding on a Niche

No matter what freelancing endeavor you decide, the one thing that everyone tells you is most important… you need to choose a niche! That should be easy enough, right? But…

What exactly is a niche?

Niche, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person is best fitted OR a specialized market. Simply put, it is your focus… for your blog, for your freelance services, for your posts.

Back to the drawing board I go. More decisions, great!?! What am I good at? I had to take a really deep breath for this road block. So, all these months later, I’m still trying to figure out what my specific niche is but I am particularly interested in freelance business, writing, and I fell in love with Pinterest. I guess I will continue to narrow it down as I go and grow,  but for now, I’m good.

(As a side note: there is still no answer to the mind-blowing question… is it pronounced ‘NEESH’ or ‘NITCH’.)

Social Media Dilemma

There are so many social media platforms out there and I was only familiar with Facebook, and that was only ‘kind of’. There are so many options but you have to decide which platform(s) you may already be familiar with and which will benefit you the most.

Check out my first guest post for some up close and personal insight on how to choose which social media platform is best for you. There is no right or wrong answer on which social media platform to use. To start, use what you are most familiar with and grow from there.

It is highly recommended to only start with 2 or 3 social media platforms. It does take time to master each and they have their own learning curve. It also takes time to promote your posts and others’ posts on each platform. I started using Buffer in April for scheduling on Twitter and it is a total life saver. They have free and paid options and I’m happy with the free option at the moment. I wish I had tried it earlier.

Photo credit: BarnImages.com

Pinterest

While Pinterest is technically not a social media platform, it is extremely important in the business realm. It is considered a search engine. You would use it like you would Google, Bing, or Yahoo search. You can search for anything on Pinterest and be referred to a wide range of options.

Like many people, I thought Pinterest was just for DIY and dinner recipes. I was sorely mistaken. So, yet again, I am learning a brand new skillset. What I have learned is that Pinterest is crucial to businesses. I have read in more than one article that many new readers to a blog come directly from Pinterest.

I looked around and a new friend, whom I will credit in the next section, suggested I check out an upcoming webinar on Pinterest. I checked it out, signed up, and had to wait a week but it was SO worth it. I signed up for Pintastic Profit Plan 2.0 immediately and my life changed… drastically. There is also a Free Pinterest Power 5-Day Course if you want to check that out ahead of time.

I took detailed notes and followed the steps and her instructions with utter excitement. The problem, besides learning how to make my Pinterest account come alive so others will notice me, was learning another new skill with Canva. Canva is the ultimate FREE tool for creating graphics, downloadable PDF’s, or anything else your heart desires. I’m still learning how to use Canva and if I get stuck somewhere I can just hop over to YouTube for a handy tutorial.

A little side note about YouTube, you can find a tutorial or a step-by-step on YouTube for just about anything. If you are having trouble with Canva, check out YouTube and then search for the subject. YouTube is my new BFF.

And deciding on whether or not to use a scheduling tool, such as BoardBooster and Tailwind. Others use them with great ease but, personally, I am still struggling. Another to-do goes on the list that I need to work on.

Photo credit: BarnImages.com

You Cannot Possibly Expect to Do it All

When anyone is just starting out, of course, you want to do it all. STOP! You cannot do it all and do not even think you can handle it. I tried and all it did was cause an enormous amount of stress.

I am an extremely organized person but everything was unraveling in December (just 2 months into the journey). I was trying to learn so many new skills that I was swimming in self-doubt and lack of confidence. I cannot remember how I stumbled upon Anuschka Ollnow, with Contoured Consulting, but she saved my life.

I explained my unusual situation via messenger and we scheduled a Skype meeting for the end of December. (And I got to cross Skype off of my things-to-learn list.) I felt so needy because everything that I was attempting to do was all new to me.

Annie was wonderful in expressing to me how important it is to block schedule my time. I had ‘already done this for other tasks but had not even realized I should, or could, use block scheduling for my current situation. And, despite how I love to stay busy, I need to take some “me” time in order to stay grounded. This, Annie pointed out, was ‘non-negotiable’.

Focus on one thing at a time and get proficient with it before moving on to your next mountain. When trying to do too many tasks before you get a rhythm going it is asking for disaster.

Annie was also the person who virtually introduced me to Summer at Lady Boss League and her fabulous Pinterest course. Everything happens for a reason. I will always be thankful that Anuschka was so professional, yet very caring, in her assessment of me and my business.

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Looking for Freelance Jobs

How can you possibly know if you are good enough to even think about submitting a request to write for someone else? Every person has felt this very same way. Yes, me. The ‘what if’ voice inside me kept whispering (loudly) that awful phrase into my aspiring writer’s mind.

As I previously stated, I already knew ‘how’ to write. But just because I liked it doesn’t mean it would be anybody else’s cup of tea. And my mother didn’t count, as she is probably biased.

It was so hard to get enough nerve to send out that first pitch. A pitch is the equivalent to sending out a mini resume and we all remember filling out our first job application, don’t we? I did my research, wrote out my outline for a possible story, pushed send, and then waited.

Waiting is the worst! I sent out two pitches that week. And as luck would have it, one was accepted. I then spent days researching and writing the best article I could muster. I outlined, added appropriate hyperlinks, added some pictures, and pressed ‘send’. And then I waited some more.

Did I mention that waiting really sucks? Well, it was all worth it when one day, out of the blue, I received an email telling me the story was live (printed) and that I had done a very good job. I was doing the happy dance all over the place.

Did anyone else notice what I did wrong? Anybody? I put all of my eggs into one basket. I only sent two pitches, was accepted by one, and put all of my time and effort into that ‘one’ story. That equaled about 6 weeks from pitch to print. How exactly am I going to make a living like that?

However, the fact that something I wrote was liked and appreciated, by someone other than my family, was confirmation that this is for real. But I need to send out a LOT of pitches regularly until I am making enough money to feel comfortable. That is where my next tool comes in handy.

It was probably around this time that I fumbled around and found a short, straight to the point course called No More Job Boards. It was refreshing in its explanation that you can get more from your writing that relying on content mills.

Am I Getting Your Attention?

There is so much to learn… But, it is extremely satisfying and well worth the initial struggle. My journey has been a rough one at times but I am working it all out as I go. As of May 1, the store has closed and I am on my freelance journey full-time. Or, as I like to say, I am now a freelance ninja!

So this week we discussed deciding on a specialty, social media, Pinterest, block scheduling, and looking for work.

Next week I will go into detail about how to juggle everything, creating multiple income streams, and my Plan B (just in case). Sign up to follow the blog so you won’t miss a single update. See you then!

Don’t forget to sign up for the ‘Handy Resource Guide for Freelancers’.
And, please comment below.

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