Taking the Plunge Into Freelancing

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  • Taking the Plunge Into Freelancing

    1. 1. Taking the Plunge Into Freelancing David Sheets, president, St. Louis Pro Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists; member, SPJ’s national Freelancing Committee
    2. 2. Freelancer:
    3. 3. Freelancer:• Coined in 1820 by Sir Walter Scott in the book “Ivanhoe,” describes a medieval mercenary not sworn to a lord’s service
    4. 4. Freelancer:• Coined in 1820 by Sir Walter Scott in the book “Ivanhoe,” describes a medieval mercenary not sworn to a lord’s service• Evolved by 1860 to imply a free worker
    5. 5. Freelancer:• Coined in 1820 by Sir Walter Scott in the book “Ivanhoe,” describes a medieval mercenary not sworn to a lord’s service• Evolved by 1860 to imply a free worker• Became what we know it today only within the past 40 years
    6. 6. Common freelance jobs:
    7. 7. Common freelance jobs:• Acting • Publishing• Consulting • Translating• Editing • Writing• Graphic design • Reporting• Photojournalism • Video production• Proofreading • Web development
    8. 8. Benefits of freelancing:
    9. 9. Benefits of freelancing:• You’re the boss
    10. 10. Benefits of freelancing:• You’re the boss• Home office
    11. 11. Benefits of freelancing:• You’re the boss• Home office• Comfortable clothing
    12. 12. Benefits of freelancing:• You’re the boss• Home office• Comfortable clothing• Choose your hours
    13. 13. Benefits of freelancing:• You’re the boss• Home office• Comfortable clothing• Choose your hours• Choose your topics
    14. 14. Benefits of freelancing:• You’re the boss• Home office• Comfortable clothing• Choose your hours• Choose your topics• Choose your clients
    15. 15. Drawbacks to freelancing:
    16. 16. Drawbacks to freelancing:• You’re the boss
    17. 17. Drawbacks to freelancing:• You’re the boss• Sporadic employment
    18. 18. Drawbacks to freelancing:• You’re the boss• Sporadic employment• Spotty income
    19. 19. Drawbacks to freelancing:• You’re the boss• Sporadic employment• Spotty income• No benefits (insurance, medical, vacation)
    20. 20. Drawbacks to freelancing:• You’re the boss• Sporadic employment• Spotty income• No benefits (insurance, medical, vacation)• Out-of-pocket expenses
    21. 21. Drawbacks to freelancing:• You’re the boss• Sporadic employment• Spotty income• No benefits (insurance, medical, vacation)• Out-of-pocket expenses• Market uncertainty
    22. 22. But with a little advance planning,
    23. 23. But with a little advance planning,Freelancing can become a rewarding, enjoyable experience
    24. 24. All you have to do to start is one thing:
    25. 25. All you have to do to start is one thing:Don’t Be Afraid
    26. 26. AndI know why you’re afraid:
    27. 27. AndI know why you’re afraid:
    28. 28. True, you can’t start outmaking the same money in thatcame with your first media job.
    29. 29. True, you can’t start outmaking the same money in thatcame with your first media job. But by following a few important steps, you’ll approach that same salary, or surpass it, in a short time
    30. 30. First, have a plan
    31. 31. First, have a plan • Find a niche
    32. 32. First, have a plan • Find a niche • Make source lists
    33. 33. First, have a plan • Find a niche • Make source lists • Study the marketplace
    34. 34. First, have a plan • Find a niche • Make source lists • Study the marketplace • Study potential competition
    35. 35. First, have a plan • Find a niche • Make source lists • Study the marketplace • Study potential competition • Ask friends, family for references
    36. 36. This assumesthat you canwrite andedit in thefirst place
    37. 37. This assumesthat you canwrite andedit in thefirst place
    38. 38. This assumesthat you canwrite andedit in thefirst placeIf not, fix these problems first
    39. 39. Next, lay the foundation
    40. 40. Next, lay the foundation• Create a dedicated workspace
    41. 41. Next, lay the foundation• Create a dedicated workspace• Have dedicated working hours
    42. 42. Next, lay the foundation• Create a dedicated workspace• Have dedicated working hours• Have a “personality” and marketing strategy suitable for freelancing
    43. 43. Next, lay the foundation• Create a dedicated workspace• Have dedicated working hours• Have a “personality” and marketing strategy suitable for freelancing• Separate your personal and professional budgets
    44. 44. Next, lay the foundation• Create a dedicated workspace• Have dedicated working hours• Have a “personality” and marketing strategy suitable for freelancing• Separate your personal and professional budgets• Have good working habits
    45. 45. Good working habits require:
    46. 46. Good working habits require:
    47. 47. Good working habits require:• Discarding distractions
    48. 48. Good working habits require:• Discarding distractions• Putting off procrastination
    49. 49. Good working habits require:• Discarding distractions• Putting off procrastination• Banishing boredom
    50. 50. Good working habits require:• Discarding distractions• Putting off procrastination• Banishing boredom• Setting aside surprises
    51. 51. Good working habits require:• Discarding distractions• Putting off procrastination• Banishing boredom• Setting aside surprises• Giving up generalizations
    52. 52. Good working habits require:• Discarding distractions• Putting off procrastination• Banishing boredom• Setting aside surprises• Giving up generalizations• And 3 more things ...
    53. 53. Research,
    54. 54. Research,Research,Research
    55. 55. Because what you know is moreimportant than what you think
    56. 56. That means:
    57. 57. That means:• Looking deeper than the first couple pages of a Google search
    58. 58. That means:• Looking deeper than the first couple pages of a Google search• Interviewing people, in person as well as online or through social media
    59. 59. That means:• Looking deeper than the first couple pages of a Google search• Interviewing people, in person as well as online or through social media• Getting out from behind the computer and experiencing things first-hand
    60. 60. You don’tlearn byimagining
    61. 61. You don’tlearn byimagining
    62. 62. You don’tlearn byimaginingYou learnby doing
    63. 63. Qualities every freelancer should cultivate:
    64. 64. Qualities every freelancer should cultivate:• Curiosity — Stay interested in your niche
    65. 65. Qualities every freelancer should cultivate:• Curiosity — Stay interested in your niche• Enterprise — Keep looking for work even when you already have it
    66. 66. Qualities every freelancer should cultivate:• Curiosity — Stay interested in your niche• Enterprise — Keep looking for work even when you already have it• Good health — Exercise regularly, eat well
    67. 67. Qualities every freelancer should cultivate:• Curiosity — Stay interested in your niche• Enterprise — Keep looking for work even when you already have it• Good health — Exercise regularly, eat well• Professional demeanor — Understand the value of deadlines, story lengths; dress as if you’re heading to the office
    68. 68. Look like this:
    69. 69. Look like this:
    70. 70. Look like Not like this: this:
    71. 71. Look like Not like this: this:
    72. 72. Because how you feel affects how you act
    73. 73. Develop a marketing strategyhighlighting your talents, skills
    74. 74. Develop a marketing strategyhighlighting your talents, skills• Word of mouth — Talk it up with former colleagues, professionals in your niche
    75. 75. Develop a marketing strategyhighlighting your talents, skills• Word of mouth — Talk it up with former colleagues, professionals in your niche• Direct mail, email — For a personal touch
    76. 76. Develop a marketing strategyhighlighting your talents, skills• Word of mouth — Talk it up with former colleagues, professionals in your niche• Direct mail, email — For a personal touch• Social media — Establish yourself on Facebook and Google Plus, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
    77. 77. Develop a marketing strategyhighlighting your talents, skills• Word of mouth — Talk it up with former colleagues, professionals in your niche• Direct mail, email — For a personal touch• Social media — Establish yourself on Facebook and Google Plus, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.• “80/20” plan — 80% promotion, 20% work
    78. 78. Please, don’t diminish yourwork’s value by doing it forfree. Set a rate and be firm.
    79. 79. Please, don’t diminish yourwork’s value by doing it forfree. Set a rate and be firm.A good guide for setting payrates is available through the Editorial Freelancers Association
    80. 80. Speakingof which,we come to the main topic ...
    81. 81. Speakingof which,we come to the main topic ...
    82. 82. Financial planning
    83. 83. Financial planning• Don’t quit your day job
    84. 84. Financial planning• Don’t quit your day job• If you do, have 1-2 years’ worth of salary socked away
    85. 85. Financial planning• Don’t quit your day job• If you do, have 1-2 years’ worth of salary socked away• Review 2 years’ worth of monthly income
    86. 86. Financial planning• Don’t quit your day job• If you do, have 1-2 years’ worth of salary socked away• Review 2 years’ worth of monthly income• Budget for health, life insurance
    87. 87. Financial planning• Don’t quit your day job• If you do, have 1-2 years’ worth of salary socked away• Review 2 years’ worth of monthly income• Budget for health, life insurance• Set aside 20% for taxes, 40% for savings, 40% for emergencies / extras
    88. 88. And don’t push aside thebookkeeping until the last week of the month, orworse, the last two weeks of the year.
    89. 89. Help with finances:
    90. 90. Help with finances:• IRS.gov• Freelancers Union• NerdWallet.com (compare credit cards)• QuickBooks online (30-day free trial)• LegalZoom.com• SPJ’s Independent Journalist blog• Other freelancers
    91. 91. Taking the Plunge Into Freelancing David Sheets, president, St. Louis Pro Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists dsheets@post-dispatch.com 314-971-0073 Facebook: david.sheets Twitter: @DKSheets

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