Journo Advice is now Totally Freelance

When I started Journo Advice I was very much of the mind that I was a freelance journalist and that most of what I’d write about would be about the business if being a freelance journalist. Since then, things have changed for me and i see myself as less of a freelance journalist and more of a freelance communicator.

Continue reading “Journo Advice is now Totally Freelance”

Exploiting niches is the key

It might well be the oldest business problem there is – how do you find and develop a market niche that others haven’t fully exploited? What are some of the things you can do?

It might well be the oldest business problem there is – how do you find and develop a market niche that others haven’t fully exploited? What are some of the things you can do? Continue reading “Exploiting niches is the key”

Naming your business

It’s something I’ve not really given all that much thought to but a recent conversation has got me thinking. How do you go about naming your business? Although the name you choose says a lot about your business, the words you don’t use in the name are also important.

It’s something I’ve not really given all that much thought to but a recent conversation has got me thinking. How do you go about naming your business? Although the name you choose says a lot about your business, the words you don’t use in the name are also important.

my_name_is Continue reading “Naming your business”

Technology for Freelancers

Choosing the best technology for a freelance business is about more than picking an accounting package. Every part of the freelance business needs the right tools.

Every few months I’m asked to present of the best technology for freelancers. As I cut my teeth as a journalist writing about technology, there are times when my peers look to me for advice. This week, I present to a group of recently retrenched journalists who are looking at freelancing for the first time in their career.

The temptation with this is to simply focus on a few choice applications, look at some specific hardware and then provide everyone with a laundry list of stuff to buy. Of course, this would be a list of what works for me – not much use to someone with different expertise, experience and access to technology.

My approach is to ensure that freelancers look at each different part of their business and get them to choose the best tools for each part of their business. Running a successful business takes more than choosing an accounts package. It’s about managing a whole bunch of conflicting priorities and managing your time so that everything you need to do moves forward. Sometimes, the worst thing a freelancer can do is work to finish one thing and let other tasks stagnate. For example, if you use your spare time to only pitch stories for current clients, you won;t build your client base with new ones.

The presentation I put together is based on one I gave at a freelancer convention with  few tweaks and updates. If you’re interested, it’s on SlideShare.

The Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a short description of what you do that can be delivered to a stranger who knows nothing about you or what you do in in the time you share an elevator ride.

A while ago I described my elevator pitch – short description of what I do that can be delivered to a stranger. It assumes that they know nothing about me or what I do and can be shared in the time we share an elevator ride.

The folks over at Freelance Switch have developed a useful guide on creating an elevator pitch that’s worth a look.

They offer several tips but this is the big one in our view.

Once you’ve put something together, practice it. The trick with an elevator pitch is that while it’s planned, it needs to sound spontaneous; not robotic. Practice this by saying your pitch while your in the car or shower, making sure the words are natural and it’s easy to remember.

We’d also suggest trying it out loud in front of a mirror and then running it past a family member or friend who doesn’t understand exactly what you do.

Having a couple of different versions is also handy. I think a long version that lasts about a minute and a one or two sentence “highlights” version work well. For example, my short version says that I am a professional communicator that helps people tell their story. If that piques the listener’s interest (it usually does – who doesn’t like a story teller?) I can go with the longer version.

A solid elevator pitch needs to be memorable without being ridiculous. You want potential customers to remember you for what you do and stand for, not just because you were funny. And make sure you back up the pitch with a business card that tells people what you do and not just who you are. Consider it your paper-based elevator pitch.