Babe, We’re Moving On Up Like the Jeffersons

Kaboomis Copy

To a deluxe website in the sky

Let’s pretend I’m George Jefferson. Afro. 1970s duds. Funky strut.

You are Louise Jefferson. Or “Weezy,” as George affectionately calls his wife. Big smile. Loud dress.

I’ve, I mean, George has just walked into the front door (of your inbox.) Sit back and relax in your lazy boy, sip a soda and watch how the conversation goes (in your imagination)…

Me (in a George Jefferson Voice): Weezy! Come here! I got some great news!

You (Weezy): “What is it, George?”

George: “Well babe, it’s time that we moved out of this roach infested blog. You deserve more than this. I just bought a new, fancy high-rise website! You are gonna love it!”

Weezy: “You did what!”

George: “Take it easy, Weezy. We can afford it. Plus, it’s so much better than this place. I can’t wait for you to see it!”

Weezy: “Hmm. I don’t know, George. You know how I am when it comes to change…”

George: “Weezy, this is one change you are going to enjoy. All you have to do is go to http://www.kaboomiscopy.com and leave your email address there. So then, when our deluxe website/blog in the sky is ready, you will get an email letting you know that it’s finished.”

Weezy: “That’s it? Oh George, you are so sweet! You timed this surprise perfectly.”

George: “Oh…..yeah? I did, huh?”

Weezy: “Yes.” (Smiling lovingly at George.)

George: “How so?”

Weezy: “Well, considering our anniversary is tomorrow…”

George: “It is? I mean uh…yes, I wanted to get you something really special for our anniversary this year.”

Weezy: “George, I love you.”

Weezy gives George a big hug and kiss.

Fade to commercial…

That’s right, folks.

My blog is ending on July 18th. But my blogging will live on. You see, this domain will eventually point to a brand new website at the primary domain of Kaboomis Copy dot-com.

If you would like to continue subscribing to this blog, just visit www.kaboomiscopy.com and leave your email address in the simple box you will see on the page. You will be notified by email when the new website is up and running. And you will continue receiving the latest blogs from Kaboomis Copy right to your inbox.

Remember, July 18th is the final day for this website.

Thank you for subscribing to this blog for the past few months or past year.

All the best,

Matthew Loomis

Stay Connected

Party Like it’s 1776

4_July_1776_by_yankeedog

I’m looking forward to a four-day weekend, thanks to Independence Day.

How about you?

My son will be attending his first major league baseball game. He’s not even four yet, but I think he’s going to have a great time. Especially seeing the marvelous fireworks show above the stadium after the game.

I can’t wait.

That will be our second fireworks show of the weekend. The first will be on the fourth, naturally.

The Fourth of July is a great time to celebrate our freedom.

But I didn’t always grasp this…

I used to question the American traditions of cookouts and swimming and fireworks on July 4th. I wondered if spending our time on those frivolous activities somehow diminished the real meaning of the holiday, distracting us from honoring our freedoms established by our founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence.

But I no longer think that way. A few years ago, I found this quote by John Adams, and ever since then, I’ve enjoyed Independence Day more than ever.

Here’s what John Adams said:

(You’ll notice Adams says “the second day of July” here. For some reason, Adams always thought the 2nd was the correct holiday. But his quote applies equally to the fourth of July.)

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

Happy 237th Birthday, America!

But that’s not all I’m celebrating this month…

July 2013 also happens to be the first birthday of this business and this blog.

Happy 1st birthday, Kaboomis Copy!

The first year has been quite an amazing ride. Tough at times, yes, but that’s okay. Easy doesn’t push you to grow…I wouldn’t trade this past year for anything.

I’ve learned a lot about working for myself, as well as content marketing and blogging.

But there is still lots more to learn. Lots to achieve. And lots of things on the horizon to be excited about.

Year two is going to be even better.

Here’s a few reason’s why I say this…

*First, a new website is underway. Hopefully, the construction will be speedy. Coming soon to a computer near you, Kaboomis Copy will be located at this new domain: kaboomiscopy.com

You can go to that domain right now and set up an email alerting you when the new site is available.

*Also, an eBook resource for freelancers will be available soon.

*And there are some other things cooking that I want to remain a secret for right now.

Freedom Requires Responsibility

My goal for the next fiscal year is to serve my clients better than last year.

I want to help more business owners understand the power of content marketing.

I want to help more websites increase their ROI.

I want to help newbie bloggers dive in and be courageous (and profitable) with their blog.

I want to help freelancers find success in eight months or less.

And I want this blog to better serve the needs of those who subscribe to it.

All of this is my responsibility. But the hard work is well worth the freedom this business provides me and my family. I get to spend the first few hours of each day with my children, and this has been one of the best results Kaboomis Copy has provided this past year.

And none of it would be possible without the help from my incredible wife and the wonderful support from her family and mine too. I couldn’t have done it without you all. Thank you so much! I love you all.

1776-2014

The old patriotic American cliché still rings true today: freedom is not free.

If you have big plans that require some hard work over the next twelve months, I salute you. We live in a country that still provides opportunity for those who have ambition and a willingness to roll up their sleeves and put in some hard work.

Think about where you would like your business to be by July 4th, 2014. If there is any way I can help you achieve your business goals through my copywriting or content marketing services, please send me message, and I’ll get back to you promptly.

Here’s to a fun-filled holiday. May you create some family memories these next few days, and may we all never forget just how blessed we are to live in this amazing republic we call the United States of America.

God bless,

Matthew “Kaboomis” Loomis

Freelance Tips: #5 Get a Mentor…or Two.

Mentor figure

by Matthew Loomis

As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary.  ~Ernest Hemingway

When we were young, it was easier to find heroes. Wasn’t it?

A hero in this context is defined as a person noted for special achievement in a particular field. For example, “the heroes of medicine.”*

Or, the heroes of writing…heroes of marketing…heroes of design…heroes of illustrating…

Stay with me here, and you’ll see how these “heroes” can help you reach freelance success.

The Peach Fuzz Years

As children, we gravitated to those who had the mad skills to do what we admired.

Those larger than life “grownups” with abilities that seemed supernatural to us as kids–like launching baseballs to the moon with a piece of wood…picking up a saxophone and making it talk to your soul…revealing the pure joy found in Calculus…

We can all look back at our youth and recall a yearning to be great at something. Do you recall praying for a teacher to step in and help you excel?

I’m talking about a life changing relationship that pushes you to excellence.

That’s what a freelancer needs.

When the student is ready…

There’s an ancient proverb that goes something like this: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

As kids, mentors come easily…

A teacher…coach….uncle…scout leader…tutor…neighbor…

Then we grow up.

So why does the mentor well seem to dry up around the time we reach our late twenties? Is it because our baby faces sprout whiskers that steal our innocent appearance, making us look more like a teacher than a student?

Maybe.

Or could there be something going on inside us as we mature that repels the mentors around us rather than attracting them to us?

Like an acceptance of mediocrity. Fear of rejection. Perhaps a pride that says “I don’t need any help.”

Whatever the reason, we end up traveling through adulthood (the bearded years) Not ready for a teacher. So, the teacher never appears.

At best, a freelancer without a mentor will develop at a turtle’s pace. At worst, they won’t make it at all.

Whatever you do, don’t blow off your need for freelance mentoring or career mentoring today if a teacher or coach in the past disappointed you.

I’m sorry if you were taken advantage of during that relationship. You have a right to be skittish about this.

Or, maybe you are skeptical about this freelance tip because of your own experiences with past figures you placed on high pedestals. You thought they were a god, then discovered they were more like a toad–warts and all.

Yep, they weren’t perfect.

But they still helped you get better, right? Just because they’re human doesn’t mean they can’t train you to be a better freelancer–or person.

Please, whatever your reasoning might be to resist this freelance tip, somehow set it aside and find a freelance mentor.

Here is the way to do it.

How Do You Find a Mentor to Help Your Freelance Business?

Answer: 2 ways: through circumstances and/or through simple networking.

Let’s start with “circumstances.”

Sometimes, your circumstances will provide a mentor. You may unexpectedly stumble upon a mentor through situations. Like a job.

Some freelancers reading this have held a job in their chosen freelance work. Or they currently have a job but are close to shifting into self employment. Whatever case fits you, think back on your previous experiences at work and see if a mentor figure jumps out at you.

This mentor may actually have a job today. They may not be self-employed. But, they can still provide mentorship to your specific skill set, right?

For example, you can be a freelance designer, yet still get design mentorship from a creative director working at an agency.

She may not be much help with certain self employment topics like how to write a proposal for a client, negotiate pay, or tax advice, but she can still mentor you on the latest techniques and trends in B2B Design.

So, don’t be afraid to approach someone you work(ed) with and ask questions about your line of work. They will likely be flattered.

Maybe my story will give you some additional ideas…

Mentor #1

One of my web copywriting and content marketing mentors is a guy named Demian.

He’s a Mentor Provided by Circumstance

In this case, I did not intentionally pick Demian out and ask him to mentor me.

That’s just the way things worked out.

You see, we were both hired to be staff writers at the same employer several years ago. We developed a friendship the first year, and I started picking up a few writing tips from him on a casual basis.

Two years later, he gets promoted. So my friend became my supervisor, which isn’t something that is guaranteed to turn out well.

Thankfully, this experience turned out to be a beautiful thing. His promotion is where the mentoring really took off.

For the next two years, I received personalized training from someone who today is a rising star in the web copywriting and content marketing universe.

Normally, you would have to pay someone to get as much one-to-one mentoring as I did during those two years. (The cool thing about this setup was that I was getting paid while I learned.) You see, he was not only editing and critiquing everything I wrote, but he also conducted weekly writing workshops for the editorial team. And, I received a biweekly one-to-one meeting with him for an hour.

This. Was. Priceless.

His mentorship greatly enhanced my writing skills and my confidence. Actually, my writing was transformed in many ways. My approach, attitude, thought process and style are still influenced by him today.

If your current job or some other circumstance enables you to have access to a “hero” in your line of work, do yourself a favor and make the most of it.

If you are ready, don’t delay the appearance of the teacher.

Because the opportunity likely wont’ last forever.

You see, after two years working under his tutelage, Demian left for freelancing.

This was sad news at first. In fact, one morning before he left, I cried in his office. (I’m not a crier, either.) Because I knew that something good was coming to an end.

Or so I thought…

It’s the 21st Century, Baby! Connections Can Last a Lifetime

With the internet today, Demian still is a writing mentor to me. (And a freelance mentor, but specifically more so with the craft of writing.)

I can still learn from him through his blog articles and webcasts.

And occasionally, I can pry him out of his home office for a lunch.

Mentoring

Power Lunching with a Mentor

But today, he is more a friend than anything else. But a busy friend (like me), so I don’t expect him to take frequent phone calls from me to answer questions. I don’t bombard him with emails. I seek to maintain the friendship along with the mentorship.

To this day, I still pause to read what he’s sharing online or (when I can) listen to him talk about the craft of writing in a Google+ hangout or webcast.

So, what about you? Is there someone in your life who is mentoring your skill set and/or your freelance business? How did it start? Let us know with a comment!

But hold on first…got another story for ya.

Mentor #2

My second mentor is a guy named Steve. He is an example of a mentor who has been instrumental in helping develop my freelance writing skills along with self employment tips.

Steve is experienced in many years of sales along with years of freelance copywriting, and is now transitioning himself to spending 80% of his time mentoring others.

Steve is someone I met online. I did not know him until several months after starting my freelance business.

These pics were taken a few months ago when I had a chance to meet with him in person.

Freelance Trainer

Freelance Writing Can Be Learned While Dining

Steve provides individual mentoring in my line of work (copywriting), along with writing retreats where you can spend a few days with him (in great locations) while learning.

Plus, Steve’s mentoring in the area of running a freelance business has been well worth the investment. He’s provided some great advice on some dealings with clients, time management, and proposal writing.

He also has a gift of encouragement and helping people dream big.

These services are not always free, by the way. But that’s okay.

Think back to some of your childhood mentors. It’s possible your parents were paying that person for the opportunity. That’s why I recommend investing in a personal mentor, as long as you enjoy your interactions with the person.

If you don’t feel comfortable with a mentor, then by all means, move on.

So, now what are you going to do?

Is there someone you admire in your line of freelance work, but you haven’t had the nerve to introduce yourself? Be bold and tweet them, leave a comment on their blog, or simply email them.

The success of your freelance business will accelerate with a little mentoring.

Please share your take on freelance mentoring in the comments. Ciao

*The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Need More Business? Take a Recess and Pick Kaboomis Copy

Kaboomis Copy

Give Your Advertising a Moment to Remember

Do you ever feel like your product or service is the new kid on the playground that nobody wants to pick to be on their kickball team? Yet, you know that if given the opportunity, your business would kick the ball over the fence, while everyone stared in amazement…

People just need to know who you are and what you can do.

B2B Ads. B2C Ads need the right words to pull in the right customers.

Right?

So tell me…how are your strategically placed web and print ads working for ya?

If you know deep down that your product or service could use some help “getting picked,” have your team captain contact us at kaboomiscopy@gmail.com for a free consultation.

Let’s meet at home plate. High Five

Circle me on Google+

Hey Freelancers! Dread Proposal Writing? Let Me Tell You About Bidsketch

Bidsketch

Bidsketch proposal writing service.

by Matthew Loomis

Proposal writing can be intimidating and stress inducing for creative freelancers. Right?

Because many solo creatives see proposal writing as a time-consuming, no fun, business necessity. While others feel a bit insecure about whether or not their proposals look impressive and professional to prospects.

I was in this camp awhile back. Then I found something to remedy all that.

Proposal Writing Enhancement

A few weeks ago, while searching “Branding proposal templates” to help me send a branding specific proposal to a new client, I found a website called Bidsketch.

I looked it over, noticed that they offer a free 14 day trial, and decided to try it out.

This is the first proposal writing service I have used, so I can’t really compare it to any other service. But I can tell you this–I’ve been satisfied with my experience so far, and I’m looking forward to continue using Bidsketch over the next year. (Btw, there is no contract for the service.)

Here are the two big reasons why I jumped on the Bidsketch bandwagon:

1st Reason Why I Use Bidsketch

1. Their free guide, Perfect Proposals: Five Elements Perfect Proposals Must Have opened my eyes to the benefits of using an online proposal service.

The free guide is yours when you sign up. It’s easy to read, and I appreciated all of the statistical analysis that’s included. For example, here’s a stat that grabbed me: Our research shows that online proposals are accepted 60% faster than traditional proposals, and they’re 18% more likely to be accepted overall. 

This made sense to me intuitively when I put myself in the client’s shoes, comparing the experience of getting a proposal in a Word document that’s attached to an email, verses an online proposal.

That’s just one of many stats included in this great report.

2nd Reason Why I Use Bidsketch

2. Proposals Look Fantastic

Bidsketch started out marketing primarily to graphic designers. So naturally, you are going to find that this proposal service provides a better than average appearance in the proposal presentation, which can greatly help your chances of success with first impressions.

But if you are a copywriter, as I am, don’t rule out Bidsketch. This service can work well for various types of freelancers, especially those in the “creative” fields.

Of course, you still have to write effectively to make it a great proposal, but the good news is Bidsketch provides the templates and tips you need for the copy as well. Plus, you will find informative and interesting articles on the blog that teach all freelancers how to write clear, concise and compelling proposals that convert to paid projects.

One Thing to Consider

I haven’t done a ton of research on other proposal writing services, but from what I’ve gathered, the Bidsketch fee of $19 per month for freelancers is higher than most services, but keep in mind that what you get with Bidsketch is better than most, so you get what you pay for.

For example, Bidsketch has a cool feature included called “Client Activity,” where you can see when your client opened the proposal, the length of time they looked at it, if they printed it out, and whether the client accepted, postponed or declined the proposal. You also get direct emails from the client through the service.

Pretty nice.

Give Bidsketch a Whirl

If you are a freelancer who needs some help making your proposals look more professional, use Bidsketch for fourteen days and see how you like it. Why not? You have nothing to lose and more money to gain, once you start sending out better proposals.

If you have used Bidsketch, feel free to leave a comment. Or, if you want to talk about your experiences using a different proposal service, please share your story with us here.

Freelance Tips: #4 Find Your Voice; How to Determine Your USP–Unique Selling Proposition

The Voice

Photo: uverseonline.att.net

by Matthew Loomis

How does a singer on The Voice persuade Adam Levine, Shakira, Usher, or Blake Shelton to push the red button, spin their chair around and declare, “I Want You!”?

Fans of the show know this hard truth: Some singers get picked. Others don’t.

Why? All the singers on The Voice are talented. There are no “Pants on the Ground” Larry Platt’s or William Hung types getting camera time on this show.

Talent is a factor, but not the only factor.

How The Voice Can Teach You Freelance Success

Let’s take a closer look at the setup of this show…

All the contestants on The Voice come from different backgrounds. They’re ages range from 16 to 40. Most are either still in school, or they have a job.

Yet, each contestant shares a passion to do something they love (singing in this case), and they desire to get better at this particular passion so they can eventually “work” for themselves one day, doing what they love.

Just like you. Only your passion might be writing, designing, developing, coaching… You get the idea.

Paradigm Shift

Now that we see The Voice for what it really is–a group of regular people looking for a breakthrough to become successful solopreneurs who offer a service– let’s dig deeper to find out if The Voice has something to teach freelancers about business success.

Let’s start by looking at the industry you work in. Just as the music field has tons of singers out there, your line of work probably has a bunch of competition as well.

Okay, so what do you need besides”talent” to stand out from the crowd? Just like the singers on The Voice, you will also need to…

Sing in your own true voice. Don’t try to be somebody else.

This little secret to going far on The Voice is just as important to freelance accountants and golf instructors.

Be unique.

That is what separates the best from the rest. You and your competitors may already practice freelance tips #1. #2. And #3. Those are all important. But without implementing tip #4, you will blend in, like green paint drops together in the same paint can.

To make your freelance business stand out and be noticed, you need to determine your USP, or Unique Selling Proposition (also called Unique Selling Point.)

If you haven’t already found your USP, ask clients or prospects to give you feedback as to why they did or didn’t choose you. (Sounds scary, but this can be invaluable information.)

The answers you get will likely sound similar to these comments I have heard all four of The Voice coaches say to a singer who didn’t get chosen…

“You are good, but it sounds to me like you were doing more of an imitation of (so-and-so), when I would have rather heard your voice singing that song instead.”

“You were brave to choose that song, but you didn’t do anything with the song to make it different. It sounded flat.”

“I could tell that you were holding yourself back. You finally let your true voice come out at the end, but it was too late.”

Singers who hear comments like this from Adam, Blake, Usher, or Shakira clearly need a USP.

But let’s look at the other side. I heard Shakira at one point tell a contestant she wanted on her team this: “Wow. You sang one of my songs, but you actually got aggressive with it and put more emotion into it. I really liked how you made the song your own.”

That singer knows their voice. The have a USP.

What Exactly is a Unique Selling Proposition?

Entrepeneur.com defines a Unique Selling Proposition this way:

Definition: The factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.

Defining what makes your service different, then sharing that difference, is what causes people to take notice of you. For example, if your website reads and looks like the thousands of other websites in your field, people will not push their “red buttons.” Instead, they will click their mouse and turn away from you.

Uncovering your USP will probably take some work, but experienced professionals in your field would agree that doing this will pay off.

Here are a few ways to go about finding your USP…

1. Make a list of the benefits you provide.

What are some things you can provide that other competitors cannot? Do some online research by studying what others in your field offer. Pinpoint any features or unique offers that could help you stand out from the crowd.

2. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes.

Think about your prospect’s emotions. What are some emotional selling points that would attract the clients you are looking for? Write them down.

3. Find any aspects of your service that cannot be copied by your competitor.

Anything you can think of that absolutely cannot be imitated by your competitor should be noted.

4. Brainstorm phrases and potential slogans.

Using the material from steps 1 thru 3, write down clear, concise and compelling potential slogans that would resonate with your target audience.

5. Consider the benefits you provide your clients.

Think about what customers get in return for your service, or could get with a special offer.

Sure, this takes some time to do, but finding your USP is crucial. You can really help your freelance business with this tip. Besides… If you don’t enjoy sales, or feel uncomfortable about promoting yourself, pinning down your voice, or Unique Selling Proposition, will help make selling yourself a lot easier. You may even end up enjoying the sales portion of your freelance career.

Look how it helped Domino’s Pizza… They grew in size once their “Pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less…or it’s free,” offer started, which was quite unique at the time.

Another example: Take a look at The Voice… this brand has a USP that basically says, “we evaluate the singers primarily on vocal talent.” This separates them from other singing shows, particularly American Idol, which places more emphasis on physical appearance and stage presence.

Even the coaches on The Voice have their own Unique Selling Points that help them “win over” a singer who has to decide which coach is best for their own singing career. They must choose between Blake as the country music guy. Usher is R&B. Adam is rock. Shakira is pop.

These distinctions (USPs) frequently help the coaches “make conversions”. For example, most country singers choose Blake, as his USP resonates with that audience.

Think about some of the people in your line of work who are considered “experts.” (Hopefully, you read their blog and follow them on social media.) Do they have a unique selling proposition?

What is the USP of Kaboomis Copy?

This is where the rubber meets the road, right? Here I am writing about the USP, so it is understandable if people reading this might wonder what my own freelance business USP is now. Is the Kaboomis Copy USP crystallized down to the perfect slogan or distinct offer?

Not yet. But getting close.

Here is a scary part to my process. I want to ask you for your feedback here to help with this.

I am currently doing the five steps above. My goal is to really drill down deep to find the Kaboomis Copy USP. The information gathered will lead to a brand new slogan. Possibly a unique offer too.

Once this is complete, I will blog about the results to share with you.

Right now: Kaboomis Copy provides B2B copywriting, web writing, marketing and social media services to business small and large.

Determining a niche (or a few niches) could take place along the way.

If you are a client, fellow copywriter, or friend of Kaboomis Copy, please leave a comment sharing what you think makes Kaboomis Copy a distinct brand.

What is your impression of the service provided? What thoughts or feelings arise in you when you see the Kaboomis Copy logo, read a blog post, see a finished project, or engage with KC on social media?

I would love to hear your feedback.

Or, if you have any other questions or comments on Unique Selling Propositions, please share them here.

Tell us from your experience why knowing your own voice is important to your freelance business.

Sing away.

I will play the judge, and the best comment will be declared The Voice of this blog article.

In fact, the best comment will win a prize. (This contest idea just came to me here at the end.)

The prize will NOT be a recording contract. Sorry. The winner of this comment section will get an Amazon gift card. Amount of $$$ to be determined.

Sing it!

How Falling Down the Stairs Gave Me a Fresh Perspective

copywriting

Foot swelling like a boss after a spill down some stairs.

by Matthew Loomis

It’s Tuesday. 11 a.m. I’m heading back downstairs to my office.

Coffee mug in hand. Third cup. Creative juices starting to churn. Eager to get back to my computer.

Working from home, my feet start down the familiar shaggy carpet steps.

Whoooops! Bam! Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.

Unexpectedly, I find myself sitting at the bottom of those same stairs, with three-fourths of my coffee splattered on the wall.

What just happened?

After a Chevy Chase-like back flip and bumpy ride down a comedic “12 step program” to the bottom, I am amazed to still be alive.

Confused and a bit dazed, I pick myself up off the floor and look around… Find a couple of scrapes on the right arm. But no bones sticking out or heavy bleeding.

So, as a card-carrying member of the Man Club, I declare myself perfectly fine. Lucky, but physically intact, thank God.

But then…

Starting to walk, I notice some pain in my left foot. Or is it the ankle? Somewhere in that area, from what I can tell. Wherever it is, I conclude my injury is minimal. The pain may be noticeable, but only causes a slight limp. Nothing major.

I go back to my office, sit down in my computer chair, and return to work.

90 minutes go by.

Ready for a quick break, I stand up.

Uh oh.

Now, my ankle is useless. Swollen. Unable to support any pressure at all. My ability to walk is gone.

The next two days are spent using crutches to get around and depending heavily on my wonderful wife. My mother-in-law provided lots of support too.

Some Good News

Today, I had some x-rays done and a podiatrist informed me that nothing is broken. With some prescribed medication and consistent foot rest, the faint glow of progress can be seen in the distance.

The Takeaway from This Pratfall

Here is what I learned from my spill down the stairs:

1. More listening. Less macho. — I called my wife right after falling. And she advised me to take an anti inflammatory (ibuprofen) and rest the ankle by keeping it raised up.

So what did I do? Took no medication at all and sat in an upright chair for over an hour, so the blood could rush down to the injury.

Bonehead.

If I had listened, maybe the swelling would not have been so great.

2. Keep the stairway clear of all objects.

Have you ever lived with two kids ages 3 and 18 months?

Some of you can relate to this… My kids enjoy throwing things down the stairs. So, our staircase to the basement often looks like a mine field of shoes, toys, etc.

But, I’m not blaming my darlings here. The fall was my fault. I need to do a better job keeping the stairway clear. I must sniff out ISDs (Improvised Slippery Devices). For the sake of everyone’s neck.

Kaboomis Copy Perseveres

Although I may have been slowed up a bit this week, business has pressed on.

I am so grateful that my injuries were not extensive and needing weeks to heal. I have a new respect for people who use crutches for weeks at a time.

Or permanently.

It is not easy. Those who rise above life-altering injuries and keep a good attitude, despite their need for a cane or wheelchair, deserve utmost respect.

I salute you.

I also salute my wife for not beating me over the head with, “If only you would have listened to me.” She has been such a sweetheart these past two days, bringing me things I normally can get myself… Making sure I take ibuprofen and Tylenol regularly… Reminding me to keep off the foot as much as possible… Driving me to the doctor.

She is such an incredible wife. More than I deserve.

52  Hours Later

For the first time since the accident, I’ve been able to return down those steps. As I write this from my office desktop, things are starting to get back to normal.

This whole thing has given me a stronger sense of gratitude as we head toward the Easter weekend.

Hope everyone reading this enjoys a wonderful holiday.

May your staircases remain clutter free, and may your coffee remain in the mug… Not on the wall.

Freelance Tips: #3 Develop a Love For Learning Like Isaac Asimov

Pulp magazine

image: philsp.com

by Matthew Loomis

Isaac Asimov was one prolific dude.

His writing credits include over five hundred books–written or edited, along with an estimated count of 90,000 letters and postcards. (Today, we call this email.)

His body of work includes science fiction (I, Robot is a well-known example), mystery, fantasy (both novels and short stories.) He wrote fiction for adults and children.

Asimov also penned non-fiction books covering science, astronomy, mathematics, the Bible, William Shakespeare’s writings, and chemistry.

In fact, no writer can match his record of at least one book in all of the Dewey Decimal System’s 10 major library classifications.

Niche writer? Hardly.

If alive today, Asimov probably would either laugh at the niche writing notion or shrug his shoulders and continue covering topics that interest him.

What does this have to do with freelancing in general?

Everything.

Did you know Asimov was a successful freelancer?

He’s possibly the most successful freelance writer who ever lived. His secret to success not only helps freelance writers, but all freelancers, including Designers, Political Consultants, Life Coaches… any freelancer who wants to reach new heights in their self employment.

(Side note for my fellow writers: I’m not saying you should try to be like Asimov. Niche writing is great if that’s what you want to do. I’m just saying, don’t think you absolutely have to choose a niche to be successful. If you can produce great material on a lot of different topics, then by all means, do it.)

Note that Asimov didn’t work his entire life as a freelancer. His early adult years were spent working in academia as a professor. He held a job while writing on the side well into his forties. It was a gradual process for him to be able to leave his job and work full-time as an independent writer.

Are You a Freelancer-to Be?

I’m a writer, so naturally, I’m going to gravitate to using other writers like Asimov as examples. If you are not a writer, Freelance Tip 3 is still for you.

Because the Asimov Secret to Successful Freelancing works for IT consultants, Business consultants, Web Developers, Photographers, Accountants…. every freelance specialty you can list.

Go ahead here and take a closer look at the most prolific writer in American history. You will be glad you did.

Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov as a young man.

So, how did a guy born in 1920 accomplish what you dream of doing? 

Let’s break it down.

Do Freelancers Need Genius Genetics? 

Was Asimov born with a greater brain capacity than the “average” person?

Well, Asimov was an intelligent guy. In fact, Mensa International accepted him, and he even served as a VP of the group for a time. But he didn’t gloat about this, and actually hesitated on claiming membership, describing the group members as “brain-proud and aggressive about their IQ.”

So, although blessed with a keen mind, this alone did not make Asimov a great writer. Here is one simple way we can know this: Not every member of MENSA is a good writer. 

You probably know a few folks with a high IQ who can’t write a single clear, concise and compelling paragraph, right? Or maybe they write amazingly concise and clear, but their copy is dry. Unfeeling. Unemotional.

Boring.

Maybe the genius you know works as a scientist or inventor. Possibly an engineer, doctor or a corporate CEO. They were born with brains and are good at what they do…but trying to read something they wrote puts you in a coma.

A natural genius can have difficulty relating to an audience as a writer, just as some do when they speak.

That’s good to know, right? A relief, really… We don’t have to start out as a child prodigy in our field to go on to freelance greatness.

So, IQ is not the Asimov secret.

Do You Need More Degrees Than a Thermometer?

Asimov also had plenty of formal education on his resume. MA in chemistry. PhD in biochemistry.

A ha! Going to a good university must be the Asimov Secret to Freelance Success, right?

Wrong. Consider this about Asimov the writer…

He was not an English major, didn’t attend the Iowa University’s Writers Workshop, and had no MFA diploma on his office wall.

So, formal education (getting the right degree) is not the Asimov secret.

Then how does a guy churn out high quality writing covering so many different topics, genres and styles, without the college major of English, Journalism or even Communications?

This leads us to the Asimov Secret to Freelance Success:

“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.”

So said Isaac Asimov.

You see, Asimov’s success as a science fiction writer started when the young Isaac began reading “pulp science fiction magazines” as a gradeschooler. This early reading material served as the foundation for Asimov’s eventual freelance career.

Self education was something he practiced his entire life, devouring books on various subjects like other kids collected baseball cards.

Asimov was amazing. He wrote 14 history books. And he wasn’t even a history professor! That fact didn’t limit his thinking like it would so many others. “Well, history wasn’t my major in college, so I couldn’t possibly write a book about history.”

Instead, he taught himself history, and wrote books like The Roman Republic (1966), The Egyptians(1967), and The Near East: 10,000 Years of History (1968).

Asimov definitely benefited from his devotion to self-education. All it took was a craving for learning that’s stronger than a tree craves water.

Isaac Asimov

Asimov enjoying the freelance lifestyle.

Do You Burn to Learn?

To become a successful freelancer in your chosen field, and more importantly, to remain successful for years, you must burn to learn.

A nonnegotiable commitment to self-education is required.

Because whatever field you work in, things are constantly changing. If you happen to be freelancing in the same line of work you studied in college, your education is not over. Maybe you told yourself you would never crack open a book again on graduation day…if so, you must break that pledge immediately.

Self education is extremely vital.

As a freelancer, I have a daily routine of self-education. I read at least 3 web articles per day that somehow relate to copywriting, inbound marketing, content marketing, branding or advertising. At least three…some days I read more.

I also invest in online coursework to learn more about my freelance work. AWAI is my personal favorite source.

Plus, I read lots of books. Classics like Ogilvy On Advertising, Advertising Secrets of the Written Word, and The Copywriter’s Handbook. Also recent works like 55 Ways to Promote and Sell Your Book on the Internet, Branding Faith, and Ignore Everybody.

Also, it’s good to attend seminars and conferences whenever possible.

Self Education Must Be Your Desire

Although this is not the only tip you need to succeed, self-education is definitely an important one that cannot be left out. If you do, your freelance business will fail.

Things change much too quickly today to think you know it all. Regardless of how much success you’ve already had in your freelance career, your current knowledge and business practices could be completely outdated in a year or two.

One of the best ways to stoke the fires of learning inside you is to embrace change and accept it as an inevitable part of your line of work. 

For as Isaac Asimov said, “It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.”

What are some ways you practice self-education in your chosen freelance career? Do you “burn to learn”? Tell us in the comments.

 

Freelance Tips: #2 Inbound Marketing Your Business Like a BassMaster

inbound marketing

image: anglingfish.net

by Matthew Loomis

Last time, we looked at Freelance Tip 1: Networking, both online and in-person.

Next, we will focus on marketing yourself. But not just any marketing. As a freelancer, my recommendation is to use a fishing pole a lot more than a firearm.

I’m serious here, and will explain my analogy in a moment.

How you go about spreading your brand story is important.  This has been going on since Business married Publicity.

But marketing keeps changing and evolving rapidly. Techniques that worked swimmingly just a few years ago are quickly losing effectiveness now.

You want to make good use of your time and use a marketing plan that works, right?

Let’s look at the two primary ways freelancers can market their business and talk about why one is better than the other.

Inbound Marketing or Outbound Marketing?

Today, you can be a hunter (outbound marketer), or a fisherman (inbound marketer.)

Which style of marketing do I use?

Let’s just say my motto is: Live Bait Before Bullets

Picture Elmer Fudd Selling Door-to Door

Outbound marketing reminds me of a hunter with his trusty shotgun. He goes out looking for big game, finger on the trigger, blasting anything that moves.

Aggressive. Direct. Indiscriminate. Ruthless.

outbound marketing

image: businessinsider.com

Like the sales reps of a bygone era, he/she is on the prowl, looking for a trophy.

I’ve done direct sales like this in the past and learned a lot from it, but there’s a problem… today, outbound marketing turns a lot of people off. Particularly people under 40 who are highly skeptical of anything that looks like direct sales.

Outbound marketing is an umbrella term that includes all “old school” sales and marketing techniques. Strategies like…

  • Advertising (conventional ads for television, radio, print, billboards, etc.)
  • Email blasts to an unsolicited (bought) list of unknown people
  • Cold calling – Pretty much everyone I know hates doing it.
  • Telemarketing (“Hello, Ma’am. Do you have time for a survey?)

All of these things cost money, and most freelancers don’t want to spend their hard earned cash on traditional advertising or telemarketing research trying to measure what people want.

If you are just starting out as a freelancer and don’t know a lot about inbound marketing, outbound marketing, and the differences between the two, don’t fret over it. There are some great websites that can teach you what you need to know. I give three great examples with links at the end of this article.

More On Cold Calling 

Personally, I have done a lot of cold calling in my past work history, and I’ve never been one to dread cold calling. But still, for the most part, I have avoided cold calling people since I started Kaboomis Copy.

If my memory is correct, I think I have made 2 or 3 cold calls during the first 8 months of freelance.

All of my clients so far have come through tip #1.

Now some freelancers still believe in cold calling. That’s perfectly fine. If you enjoy it and find that it works well for you, then you should do it.

Just make sure you are prepared before you dial the number. A freelance copywriter named John Wood wrote a great article called 11 Tips to Help You Get New Clients Through Cold Calling. His pointers actually would work for most types of freelancers.

I’m not saying I will never make a cold call again. I just find that if you practice all eight of my freelance tips, you won’t need to do much cold calling. Normally, I call people I don’t know only if someone I do know has given me a name and number. When I call the prospect, I say “so-and-so said I should contact you.”

(Want to know all eight of my freelance tips? Subscribe to my blog, and you won’t miss the six tips coming out later.)

Advertising 

Let’s face it, Freelancers starting out may not want to put tv, radio, billboard, or web ads into their budget.

That’s why some resort to the inexpensive classified ads or free websites like Craigslist.

I haven’t spent a dime on conventional ads, not even the classifieds. I also avoid Craigslist.

Why? Because platforms like Craigslist rarely connect freelancers with quality clients.

Outbound marketing techniques like this can attract the wrong people…folks who are not really that serious or they won’t pay you what you’re worth. They end up wasting your time.

Stay clear of these types of websites and spend your time attracting the right people to your freelance business. How that’s done is coming up soon.

Sending Out a Mailer

Another form of outbound marketing is mailing brochures, postcards, fliers, etc. to people who have not requested them. 

Recently I read a blog from a guy who freelances as a creative director. He has worked in advertising and marketing for a lot of years. Anyhow, on his blog, he showed a photo of his new marketing packet that he was sending out to people. It was basically some portfolio samples put together in a really slick, nice looking package.

I wish he would have shared how much money he spent on his packet. And I would love to know the actual numbers on the return of this investment.

Chances are he won’t share that information.

Sending out expensive mailers is something you do if you have a lot of money to spend. But even if you do, your mailing will probably not get a response over 3%.

Considering his postage costs, along with the printing costs of the packet, does he get a good return?

Maybe.

Wrapping Up What NOT to Do

So, in a nutshell, these are things you don’t need to do in 2013 to be a successful freelancer…

  • Spam emails (Unsolicited)
  • Conventional Ads
  • Mailings
  • Cold Calls

So then, what should a freelancer do to market their service?

Go fishing.

Inbound Marketing

What’s great about inbound marketing is how the techniques don’t take a big slice of your business budget, yet they work.

Fishing (inbound marketing) puts more food on your table than hunting (outbound marketing) these days.

In the 21st Century, Elmer Fudd has sold his rifle and bought the best G. Loomis fishing rod he could.

Here’s a Short Definition

Inbound Marketing: Basically, you are using techniques that draw in prospects to you, instead of pushing out to hard sell. Instead of  hunting for prospects like Daniel Boone looking for a rabbit, you are methodically fishing for clients by casting out lines, with tantalizing bait dangling on the end, throughout  various fishing holes all around Lake Internet.

Then you patiently wait. Or you keep casting, using a new shiny lure that’s state-of-the-art and scientifically tested to attract big fish.

The “bait” is known as good content, and this entire approach is now being called content marketing.

inbound marketing

image: 123rf.com

Content marketing is all about casting out helpful information (content) online at no cost. This info needs to be good, interesting and entertaining, like a big fat worm on a hook is to a catfish. Whatever type of fish it is you are hoping to catch, they will bite at some point if you keep your line in the water.

Turn Your Website or Blog Into a Bait Shop

Content marketing “bait” examples include a blog like this one. Also, web landing pages, white papers, videos, and podcasts. If done correctly, these forms of content turn up in search engine results, which draw people into your brand.

This is effective because the fish out there who find and follow your business online obviously  have an interest in what you provide. They will swim around your site on a regular basis if they smell tasty morsels of content.

Again, you are not hard selling people like a hunter looking for bear, or one of those goofy hillbilly’s who use dynamite in a lake to blast the fish unconscious.

Instead, you consistently provide content that attracts the right people and keeps them hanging around.

Like a fishing pro.

If your content is stellar enough, and you are patient, those folks will eventually (bite) buy your service.

inbound marketing

image: floridasportfishing.com

And if you do inbound marketing the right way, those clients will become evangelists of your brand. They will provide the best advertising possible–word of mouth (large mouth bass?). Testimonial. 3rd person horn tooting.

Priceless.

Inbound Marketing 101

Here are the tools needed to get started making inbound marketing work…

Do you have a website/blog? No matter what type of freelance business you run, you need to set up a blog. You can create a blog for free to get started. But over time, you will eventually want to invest a little bit into a more attractive and functional website/blog.

Whatever you do, just make sure you don’t throw up garbage “SEO content” on your site. You will lose prospects and simply look ridiculous. (What I’m talking about here are web pages filled with keyword laced copy that’s so poorly written, nobody wants to read it. Google now punishes those types of web pages with their new algorithms.)

Doing that is no different from putting an empty hook in the water and expecting a bite.

If you are not a Copywriter, writing web copy may be something you need help with. If that’s you, go ahead and hire a web writer to assist in creating website copy that flows like a bucket of minnows.

Make sure you publish epic content. Then use these two inbound marketing techniques to help build an audience to your blog.

1. Leave engaging, intelligent comments on other blogs. You know what these comments look like when you see them… they add to the conversation, provide additional insights, ask the right questions, or use humor to draw in more conversation. Blog comments that come across as self promotion, display links to your website, or simply say things like, “Yeah, I agree. Good work,” will not do much for you.

2. Guest blog on other websites/blogs. This will expose you to a wider audience, build credibility, and provide links back to your blog. Be sure to collaborate with the blog host and follow any guidelines they might give you.

Social Media

Another inbound marketing tool is having social media accounts for your freelance business. You need these to help promote your brand, primarily through driving traffic to your website, but social media is also useful for the all important inbound marketing goal to engage with your audience, develop a relationship and build trust with them, using transparency and a generous attitude.

Be sure to get started using Twitter. Google+. Facebook. Pinterest. Instagram. YouTube. All free.

Emails

With inbound marketing, you can still use emails to promote yourself. You just don’t want to send the emails out to purchased lists or people who never showed interest in your service to begin with.

Instead, you want to use opt-in email, or permission marketing. An example of this could be sending a newsletter to your customers. These emails will be more personalized than the general spam email approach.

If you are just starting out as a freelancer, you can build up an email list by having a Contact Form somewhere on your website. These provide a quick and easy way for people to give you their name and email address.

Of course, most people don’t bother to type in that information unless they get something in return. A great inbound marketing technique to build an email list is to provide something for free, like a free report, or maybe an eBook…It really could be about anything you think will prompt your target market to eagerly leave you their email address.

inbound marketing

image: colourbox.com

Inbound marketing is what freelancers need to succeed.

Just like a professional fisherman needs a quality fishing pole, a tackle box filled with attractive “bait,” and the right touch to reel in the big ones.

This article serves as a starting point for beginner freelancers and freelancers who are not yet practicing inbound marketing. There is much more we could cover… If you want to go deeper into inbound marketing and content marketing, here are some of the best sources you can find on the web:

HubSpot

Copyblogger

Content Marketing Institute

Following these expert sources will keep you educated on the latest news, trends and techniques of inbound and content marketing.

Happy fishing.

P.S. – Subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss Freelance Tip 3.

Freelance Tips: #1 Networking Online and Networking In-Person

freelance writer

by Matthew Loomis

Today marks exactly the 8 month anniversary of Kaboomis Copy.

To celebrate this occasion, I decided to share 8 things about freelancing I have learned along the way (so far), and offer them as helpful tips for other freelancers.

This series of freelance tips will be helpful for two types of people:

1. Current freelancers who want to grow their business.

2. People with jobs who are seriously looking at going freelance full-time.

If this is you, let’s jump right in.

Visions of Freelance Bliss 

Many people who have never been self-employed dream about doing the work they love from the comforts of home and actually getting paid for it. They smile from one wet ear to the other wet ear when they talk about it. It’s pretty adorable, actually.

I used to be one of those gullible souls. Nothing wrong with that. We all have dreams, but we often don’t know the full scope of what it takes to reach them.

Some people get thrown into freelance due to a job layoff, which is like learning how to swim after being dropped into the middle of Lake Erie.

If that’s you, don’t panic. Other people’s freelance mistakes and hard knock lessons can serve as a flotation device for you.

If you are still employed, count your blessings, but make sure you start taking swimming lessons NOW, so you’ll be able to jump into freelancing prepared.

True Short Story that Opened My Eyes

A few years ago, I was working as a staff writer for a well-known televangelist. Suddenly, my managing editor at that time announced he was leaving the job and diving into full-time freelance writing from home.

I thought this was pretty cool. He was going to “live the dream.”

We stayed in touch. Emails. A few phone calls. A lunch. I followed his blog that first year. Things seemed to be moving along for him in a positive direction.

I was surprised when he published a blog article a year into his freelancing called The Year of Falling Apart. Thank God he had the courage to share this. (His article has been recently updated.)

Extra Bonus Tip For Freelancers  

My friend’s first year of freelancing story has been helpful to me. How so? Because it reminds me to enjoy the freelance journey as you grow.  

Working as a freelancer is not for everybody. If you value predictability, a steady stream of income, being around a bunch of people every day, or free donuts, then maybe you need to stay in a job situation?

I almost included “safety” in my description of a job, but in today’s world, is that really true? How “safe” is it to have your income completely in the hands of other people and at the mercy of one source?

Just something to think about. If you’ve read this far, you are probably serious about freelancing.

Remember that freelancing is not a destination. It requires much from those who choose the adventure (like self-discipline and courage.) You will encounter many highs and lows along the way. (Dry spells. Difficult clients.) But, if you will listen to what my friend is telling you through his story, and take heed to the freelance tips and stories I’ll be sharing over the next few weeks, you can learn to persevere and be a successful freelancer.

Practicing this bonus tip of enjoying the freelance journey will strengthen you and you will start…

  • Tapping into your faith and believing your needs (bills) will be met
  • Defining what type of work you want to do
  • Determining the monetary value of your time and your talents
  • Setting boundaries with clients
  • Refusing to be all things to all people

What Is Your Freelance Dream?

The tips I’ll be sharing work for all types of freelancers.

Accountants. Architects. Illustrators. Photographers. Tutors. Typists.

I happen to work as a Copywriter.

At first, my plan was to cover all eight tips in one article. But it became clear this topic needs to be a series.

So today, we will cover Tip #1. If you haven’t subscribed to my blog, you should. That way, you’ll be sure to capture all 8 tips over the next few weeks.

Now, let’s start with the most obvious of the eight tips. Some of you already know this, but many of you still don’t get it. And some just need a reminder.

This tip is crucial. Don’t take it lightly.

Successful freelancing tip #1: Courageously Network Online & Face-to-Face

Sounds simple and obvious. Almost makes you want to say, “Duh.” But how many people actually do this CONSISTENTLY, month after month, and year after year?

Only the successful freelancers.

Networking is absolutely vital if you want to grow as a freelancer. Just like any other business, customers do not come knocking on your door through osmosis.

There are two primary ways to network–by internet or in person.

Millennials and introverts love the internet. Extroverts and baby boomers like getting out and doing it face-to-face.

You need both, regardless of your personality type.

Networking With the Internet (Specifically Social Media)

A website is important, but that’s like your home online. If you never leave your home, you will lose money.

Here, I’m talking about networking online through social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Let’s start with LinkedIn.

As I said in an earlier blog, before freelancing, I didn’t pay much attention to LinkedIn. But it didn’t take long for me to see how useful this social media platform is for the self-employed.

So, I revamped my profile and started using LinkedIn.

In fact, my profile ended up in the top 5% most viewed profiles of 2012. What’s amazing is that I didn’t even start using LinkedIn until July, so all that 5% action happened in 6 months. I obviously tore up LinkedIn.

But there’s a reason why I did and continue to do so.

Results.

Several great business relationships I’ve made started and evolved through LinkedIn. Clients are found here. Seeds I have planted along the way continue to grow and produce fruit, thanks to LinkedIn. Some relationships are still incubating, but I know they will eventually lead to paying projects.

You never know how quickly each relationship will develop, but if you will patiently tend to your LinkedIn profile, good things will happen.

Some day I’ll write in more detail how to network using LinkedIn. I use some uncommon techniques.

freelance writer

You also should be using these other social media platforms:

Twitter – Not only can you meet new clients here, but this is also a must-have tool to market yourself. Awhile back, I gave some tips on how to do this.

Facebook – Some freelancers spend little to no time here. My take on it is this: As long as Facebook continues to have a mega audience, I want to make sure my business has a presence there. 

Glad I do. A couple of clients have come through here.

So when it comes to Facebook, remember: Visuals are important for getting the best ROI with your Facebook business page.

Speaking of Facebook, I also am a member of a forum for copywriters of all persuasions on Facebook. This is a great place for me to “network online” and learn from others in my freelance field who are going through the same things I experience.

Also, I get lots of motivation through this forum by reading posts from other members who share their successes. Many times, after visiting this site, I am fired up and ready to press on to greater levels of success. And it’s really cool to receive support from other writers when you need a little encouragement.

Whatever field you freelance in, find a forum like this to network.

Google+ – Surprised? You shouldn’t be…. Freelancers who know the latest on this unique platform have gotten over themselves and started using Google+ consistently. Some freelancers still think it’s a waste of time–to their detriment.

Copyblogger has been putting out some great articles on Google+ lately. You should check them out if you want your freelance business to rank high in SERPs and not get left behind in the SEO jungle.

Another social media platform to network with is Pinterest. I hear it’s a good place to be, but I haven’t set up there yet. But I will.

Be sure to treat each of these social media platforms differently. Each has its own unique personality. Study up on those differences.

Okay, so all of this sounds great for those who don’t want to leave their house and just work their freelance business from a computer, doesn’t it? Sure, that can provide a certain amount of business, but I don’t recommend using it alone.

Despite our awesome technology, you should still do this…

Network Face-to-Face with People

freelance writer

One of the best things I’ve done to help market my freelance business is to join a networking group. Last September was my first meeting. Ever since then, once a month, I get out of the house and I go to this midday meeting. I wear something nice and make sure I have plenty of business cards to hand out.

In person meetings like these not only help you find clients, they also do a lot to help you believe in freelancing. How? Well, you will be forced to publicly talk about your business. You may feel funny at first. Lack some confidence. But, if you will keep showing up to these meetings and persistently talk out loud about your freelance business, your confidence will grow.

For me, not much seemed to be happening the first couple of meetings. But over time, I have developed several great relationships. And here’s a bonus–a couple of these relationships have already led to paying projects. Others will eventually.

Don’t try to figure out all the details. Just go to your networking meeting and generously give yourself away. Inbound market yourself in the flesh. 

There are all sorts of networking groups you can join. Determine which one(s) will be a good fit for you. Consider the type of service you offer and the type of folks who will be attending.

Networking clubs can be large, city-wide groups that are easy to join and provide social events during evening hours, while others are niche groups you may have to qualify for based on religion, industry, political affiliation…lots to choose from.

The group I attend these days is a spiritually based group. Whatever group works for you, do it.

Since joining my group back in September, I keep finding new benefits . Each meeting, I not only get to continue developing relationships with other professionals in various industries around my city, but there are always new people to meet at every event.

I met a client through this group who has sent me three projects so far in 2013. We enjoy working together, and he’s someone I respect and actually learn from, because he’s been a full-time freelancer for almost twenty years. He is living proof that the freelance dream is possible.

Meanwhile, another guy I met through this group asked me to serve on the board of his charity, because the mission of his organization is something I’m passionate about. I do some pro bono work for them, which is a win-win situation. And, since I started serving on this board, I’ve met additional quality people. Made some new friends.

Plus, it gets me out of the house even more. I don’t feel cooped up and cut off from society as I work from home, thanks to these two groups.

So, if you are concerned about feeling lonely and isolated as a freelancer, be sure to JOIN A NETWORKING GROUP.

Last Key Point: Don’t rule out networking with others in your field. I have received referrals from other copywriters. I treat these word of mouth referrals, whether from other copywriters or from anyone else, like GOLD.

I have also received projects from other copywriters who needed some help with their workload.

So, treat others in your field REALLY WELL. Don’t be stuck up or try to hoard everything. That’s doesn’t get you anywhere.

Wrapping Up Tip #1

Be sure to incorporate networking, both online and face-to-face, into your freelance business plan. Have you done that? What’s holding you back? Have you seen results doing this? Tell us in the comments below.

P.S. Next week, we will continue with more Free Tips for Freelancers. Seven more tips coming your way–if you are subscribed to this blog. If not, you might miss them.