September 24, 2009

What I learned on my summer vacation: Part 16

Part of a series of post-Creative Freelancer Conference postings:

16. Work with great people who are well-connected.

It’s nice to work with nice people. Even better, it’s nice to work with nice people who know other nice people — who need your services. Working with a client who is well-connected or established in their industry can help you grow your business as well. If you do a good job, they can pass along your name or recommend you to colleagues —which can turn into new business or job leads.

(inspired by the Speaker Q&A session)

September 23, 2009

What I learned on my summer vacation: Part 15

Filed under: Client Communication — Tags: , , — lidia @ 12:26 pm

Part of a series of post-Creative Freelancer Conference postings:

15. Be nice. Show you care.

Do what you say you will do. Return phone calls. Respond to emails promptly. Send a thank you note. Forward a useful article or website. Be friendly and helpful.

It’s all so easy (and obvious), but sometimes we get busy and forget. Clients know we are busy, so they notice when we take the time to focus on them (and when we don’t). As someone said: it’s the little things that count.

(inspired by Peleg Top’s comments in the Speaker Q&A session)

September 21, 2009

What I learned on my summer vacation: Part 14

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , , — lidia @ 2:14 pm

Part of a series of post-Creative Freelancer Conference postings:

14. Track the results of your client projects.

Reach out to clients six months to a year later to track the results of the project you worked on together. Ask for hard facts: money, sales, memberships, customers, etc. This data will be invaluable when you create your project case studies (you are working on those, right?) — or talk about why are a great fit for a particular project or client. (Inspired by the discussions during the Freelance Success Panel)

September 18, 2009

What I learned on my summer vacation: Part 13

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , — lidia @ 2:05 pm
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Agenda by Cavallini

Part of a series of post-Creative Freelancer Conference postings:

13. Schedule time each week for marketing.

It’s easy to get busy with client work and forget all about your own marketing efforts. Or maybe you have the time, but you don’t have a plan.

Make a plan! It doesn’t have to be fancy, simply a list of marketing goals and steps to achieve them is enough to start. Then put the steps on the calendar. If you need motivation, a beautifully-designed agenda or day planner can help (left). Or use a ready-made marketing calendar like the Marketing Mentor Grow Your Business Marketing Plan + Calendar.

My goals are to: 1) update my marketing plan to include social media; 2) prioritize my marketing vehicles (so I know what to focus on during busy times) and; 3) schedule a day each week for marketing. Wow, that makes it seem easy, right?

September 16, 2009

What I learned on my summer vacation: Part 12

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 1:26 pm

lvdtwitterPart of a series of post-Creative Freelancer Conference postings:

12. Make a plan for using social media for your business.

  • Know your target market
  • Be useful and informative (freebies are always appreciated!)
  • Be supportive of others’ efforts and projects
  • Be entertaining (it doesn’t have to be all business)
  • Let your personal voice come through
  • Link back to your main online marketing vehicle (website or blog)
  • Determine your goals—focus on those outlets that are working

Social media is like any other marketing tool—it requires some thought and planning. In Colleen Wainwright’s session, The Astoundingly Simple Secrets to Making Social Media Work for You, I was inspired to create a plan for my social media marketing—in other words, avoid Twittering willy-nilly all day.

September 14, 2009

What I learned on my summer vacation: Part 10

Filed under: Small Business,Time Management — Tags: , , — lidia @ 5:12 pm

Part of a series of post-Creative Freelancer Conference postings:

10. Break large projects into small chunks.

This advice was actually via a Twitterview of CFC speaker Dyana Valentine (@dyanavalentine) by HOW Magazine (@HOWBrand). My question to Dyana was how to manage a large project that seems overwhelming. Her advice was: “Break that sucker down. Map time available, chunk it up, match tasks to chunks. Ask for help if you need it.”

I thought this was fabulous advice — especially the part about asking for help, which can be hard when you’re an “I can do it all” kind of person. I’ve also applied her advice to my blogging, realizing that a short post each day is a more realistic goal than a lengthy post (and easier for readers too, I think). Thanks Dyana!

September 11, 2009

What I learned on my summer vacation: Part 9

Filed under: Small Business — Tags: , , — lidia @ 3:29 pm

Part of a series of post-Creative Freelancer Conference postings:

9. Tell potential clients about your work process:

  1. Initial consultation details (free? time limit?)
  2. Project types (we take on jobs of $xxxx size or larger)
  3. Fee structures (hourly, by the project)
  4. Communication preferences (email, in-person meetings).

Based on this advice (inspired by Michelle Goodman’s session, Dealing with Nightmare Clients), I’ve decided to add a “How We Work” page to my website. This will give new clients an opportunity to learn more about our work style before we meet in person—helping to determine “are we the right fit” in the beginning of the process.

September 9, 2009

What I learned on my summer vacation: Part 7

Filed under: Small Business — Tags: , , — lidia @ 3:32 pm
photo by eshm

photo by eshm

Part of a series of post-Creative Freelancer Conference postings:
7. Ask the right questions when meeting with a prospective client:
  1. Why did you choose me?
  2. Why are you looking to do [project] now?
  3. What are your goals and objectives?
  4. What is the problem? What hurts?
  5. Who is your target market?
  6. What is your role in the project?
  7. What is your timeline?
  8. What models are you using? Is this based on something you’ve used or seen in the past?
  9. Are you looking for strategy — or just execution?
  10. What research has been (or should be) done?
  11. Who are the key players in the decision-making process?

Interviewing a potential client will help determine if you are the right fit — as well as form a strong foundation for the project. I plan to append to my current Client Questionnaire with these great questions, inspired by Peleg Top’s session (The Essential Rules for Writing and Presenting Proposals).

September 8, 2009

What I learned on my summer vacation: Part 6

Filed under: Small Business — Tags: , , — lidia @ 5:55 pm
illustration by fragmented

illustration by fragmented

Part of a series of post-Creative Freelancer Conference postings:

6. Create a sales process and follow it:

  1. Hot lead calls you (a referral, or saw your marketing materials)
  2. Explore a fit (are we right for each other?)
  3. Present your process/thinking
  4. Talk money (what is their budget range?)
  5. Send a recap in writing (i.e. proposal)
  6. Get a signature (for both project cost and production schedule)
  7. Get started

(inspired by Peleg Top’s session The Essential Rules for Writing and Presenting Proposals)

September 4, 2009

What I learned on my summer vacation: Part 5

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 8:00 am

677514537_b8ed333c43Part of a series of post-Creative Freelancer Conference postings:

5. Look for trends in your industry and target markets: what is the next direction? What is going away? (inspired by Petrula Vrontikis’ keynote session)

These days, I’m finding it’s not enough simply to stay current with software — staying on top of industry and marketing trends is crucial. Lately, I find myself reading and learning about social media marketing and SEO, in addition to keeping up with my design reading.

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