Blog to support the book "Creatively Self-Employed: How Writers and Artists Deal with Career Ups and Downs" by Kristen Fischer

My Photo
Location: Point Pleasant, New Jersey, United States

30-something Jersey gal working as a freelance writer. Starbucks addict, beach-lover, kitty mother.

Creatively Self-Employed Website

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Deb Ng has a great post going over at FreelanceWritingJobs about that not-so-awesome mentality about working at home. In the post, she shares how many people think writing is a work at home job.

Can anyone write? Of course. But not everyone can write well.

And not everyone starts writing just so they can be home. But a lot of people think writing, for example, is akin to those envelope-stuffing jobs.


It gets me thinking about all the eye-rolling I've experienced. I didn't start writing to work at home. But because I do work from home, many people think I don't make a good living. Or that I don't have to work at home. Or that I write poems all day.

Not so--I took the practical route of copywriting and supplemented my income book and magazine writing, my real passions.

I think a lot of creatives--writers, artists, etc.--deal with this sort of thing constantly. You get told, "Oh you're a painter? I want a work at home job, too."

For some industries such as ours, many with low overhead, working from home just makes sense. But can anyone do it?

I don't think so.

What do YOU think?

link | posted by Kristen at 9:02 AM | 1 comments

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I think it's vital for creatives to treat their businesses professionally--and that includes using social networking to help boost business leads and your image.

I've created a LinkedIn group for CSE. So if you're on LinkedIn, why not stop by and join? You can talk about pertinent topics related to creative self-employment, or just connect with other cool people!

link | posted by Kristen at 3:10 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Photo by kirk.

Many of you know how I feel about running a creative business first and foremost as a business.

That said, it's tax season. And my writer pal Deb Ng posted some great resources at her blog.

  1. Taxes and Freelancing - About.com
  2. 50 Tools and Resources for Freelancers During Tax Season - BootStrapper
  3. Tax Tips for Freelancers - The Huffington Post
  4. Turbo Tax’s Tips for Freelancers
  5. Freelance Tax FAQ - The Anti 9 to Guide
  6. Tax Tips for Freelancers - Absolute Write
  7. Planning for Next Year’s Tax Bill - Freelance Switch
  8. Five Things To Do To (or For) Your Accountant at Tax Time -Freelance Switch

For more, click here.

link | posted by Kristen at 6:41 PM | 2 comments

Monday, January 19, 2009

How to Improve Your Business Development Prospects

Business development is key whether you work at home alone or you work for a large company. Not only can you improve your current business, but you never know where a good lead can take you over the course of your career. You'll want to check out these tips on improving your business development prospects!

Read the rest of the article here.

link | posted by Kristen at 10:03 AM | 0 comments

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bob Bly, who I like to refer to as the godfather of copywriting, recently listed 25 tips to freelance copywriting success.

Here they are, courtesy of Bob!

1- Work with clients whom you genuinely like - or at least have good personal chemistry with.

2-Your freelance copywriting business exists to serve your clients. Without them, you’d starve.

3- If you want to have the final say on your copy without being told what to say and how to write it, market your own line of products, and make yourself your primary copywriting client.

4- Do not promise your copy will generate a specific result. It is unethical and not true: no one can guarantee a particular response rate.

5-Proofread every piece of copy before you send it to the client. I recommending hiring a freelance proof-reader; it is difficult to proof your own copy well.

6 -When can you raise your fees? When you have so much business that you can afford to lose clients who are not willing to pay the higher fees.

7- Use a standard PC with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint,and other standard software packages. Don’t write on oddball word processors, use antiquated software, or send nonstandard file formats that your clients can’t open and read.

8 -Number each page in your copy manuscript, so that if the pages get separated, you can easily put them in order. Also, in a discussion, it lets you and the client reference sections on specific pages.

9- The easiest way to prevent yourself from getting ripped off by deadbeats is to get half your fee in advance before you even start the job.

10- Never work without a written contract that the client has signed off on. Verbal go-aheads are not enough.

11- Trust your instincts. If you have a bad feeling about a client or a project, turn it down. Your gut feelings are right 95% of the time.

12- Be humble, not arrogant. If you are a nice person and your copy doesn’t work, the client will give you another chance. But if you are a jerk and your copy flops, you’re out.

13- Find a peer or someone else whose judgment you trust. Give the headline and lead of every promotion you write (the first page or two will usually suffice) to that outside reader for a second opinion. Never send out copy that at least one person other than you, even your spouse, has read and commented on.

14- Use more charts and graphs in your copy to support your key claims. Even when the reader doesn’t really understand a chart or graph, the fact that there IS a chart or graph helps convince them that what you say must be true.

15- Keep up-to-date in your field - both in marketing as well as the topics (e.g., health, investments) you write about.

16- The only way to become a better writer is to read and to write. Read and write every day. Read magazines, newspapers, and books during your leisure time.

17- Get up early and dive into your toughest copywriting assignment first thing in the morning, without delay. Work until you tire. In the afternoons, you can tackle less demanding tasks like reading background material or answering e-mails.

18-Create a workspace that is comfortable, isolated, and quiet. Barking dogs, ringing door bells, TV in the background, and screaming kids all harm your productivity.

19- Give yourself small rewards throughout the day for accomplishing various work-related tasks; e.g., going out to a coffee shop for lunch instead of eating at your desk.

20- While negotiating the work agreement with your client, ask for at least a week more than you need. As a corollary, never accept jobs that must be started and finished overnight.

21- Don’t take it personally when a client calls and says “I don’t like the copy.” Instead say: “I want to make it as strong as we can. Tell me your thoughts and suggestions.”

22- Should you argue with changes your client suggests if you think they are wrong? Only if you think they will depress response. If the client does not change his mind, acquiesce pleasantly and make the changes. But send a polite e-mail noting your objection and keep a copy in the file.

23- Get adequate rest. If you are not rested after a night’s sleep, start going to bed an hour earlier. You need to be mentally sharp to write copy, and you won’t be if you’re tired.

24 - Read your copy aloud at a normal speaking pace. Doing so will reveal awkward constructions that you would otherwise gloss over when reading copy silently.

25 - Write in a conversational manner, using words that your prospects would use to help create rapport with the people you’re selling to.

link | posted by Kristen at 10:06 AM | 0 comments