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Guest Post: Work Less, Earn More & Get a Life

I’m honored to share a guest post with you today from the wonderful Jennifer Mattern on how to work less, earn more, and get a life beyond freelancing. Today’s post covers phases one: the workaholic and phase two: exhaustion. Stay tuned for Friday’s post — Phase three: Taking control.

Jennifer Mattern is a freelance business writer and professional blogger who writes about freelance writing, social media, indie publishing, and small business. She also publishes e-books for freelance writers and is scheduled to publish her first nonfiction book, The Query-Free Freelancer, next year. Jennifer Mattern is behind All Freelance Writing, ProBusiness Writer, and Social Implications. Check out her sites — the lady knows her stuff.

How to Work Less, Earn More and Get a Life Beyond Freelancing

Do you ever feel like you work too hard and still don’t achieve that freelance writing success you long for? Do you work late regularly, putting in sixty or more hours a week, and still struggle? There are better options. You don’t have to work your fingers to the bone, clickity-clacking away at the keyboard all day to make a living as a freelance writer. You can find a better balance, making time not only for work but for family, friends and play.

Let me share a story with you — how I personally went from being a workaholic writer to one who can earn a full-time living with part-time hours, accomplish more now than I did at sixty or more hours per week, and have plenty of time left over to enjoy life, pursue hobbies, and spend more time with loved ones. Continue reading…

Getting Up & Getting Back On

Last night at the gym I was bench pressing; I went to re-rack the bar and my hand slipped–Instead it fell on my face. Immediately three guys at the gym rushed over to pull the bar off of me and to make sure I was alright. I shakily stood up, thanked them for their help and went to clean the blood of my face–and then I came back to the bench, laid back down and did two more sets.

You may have heard the term “when you fall off the horse, get up, dust yourself off and get back on.” The idea is that after something goes wrong, it’s natural to be afraid of doing it again. By immediately “getting back on” you’ll be less likely to develop a long-term fear of horseback riding (or bench pressing or whatever). You show yourself that you’re not going to let that fear hold you back and begin the first step in overcoming it.

Doing this last night made me realize that I wasn’t doing the same thing in my freelance career. Whenever I receive disappointing news (a rejection letter, for example), instead of “getting right back on” I tend to wallow and procrastinate before sending out the next one. Instead, I should immediately start working on a new query and pitch, pitch, pitch. It’s the only way I’ll ever be able to stop myself from developing a fear of rejecting and letting that fear hold me back. So this weekend I’m going to sit down and send out some queries–and from now I’ll respond to any query letters by sending out two more.

[Image via Wikicommons]

Lessons From Retail

I spent the last week at a trade show for my day job. In some ways, I love trade shows–they are an opportunity to get out of the office and really talk to people about what’s going on in my industry. In other ways, they’re difficult–you have to be “on” all the time.

However, while there I intentionally didn’t work on anything not related to the show. I gave my brain the week off. And what resulted was a plethora of ideas for posts here and over at my freelance writing website.

Today’s inspiration came from a Retailer Idea Exchange Seminar I attended, hosted by Two Hat Marketing’s Steve Miller. One of the things Steve talked about was the fond farewell. Now, keep in mind that this particular seminar was for retail stores — mostly brick & mortar retail stores.

See, there are two times during your interaction with your customer that are particularly important: their first impression and their last impression. Continue reading…

Recommended Read: Finding Experts

Over at Dollars and Deadlines today, has posted a great piece on how to find experts for your queries and articles. She writes:

“I’m often asked about finding sources for articles and books (and it’s smart to suggest experts in your query letter). So for today’s post, let’s take a look at how you identify and find potential sources for your work.

First off, you have to decide who you’ll interview for the story. Perhaps your background research has uncovered potential sources in other newspaper, magazine, or medical journal articles. In other cases, you’ll start from scratch. There are a number of efficient ways to find qualified experts, and the methods you use may depend on the topic and nature of the expertise you seek.” Read her piece, with 5 places to find expert sources, here.

[Image via flickr user Wonderlane]

Why (and how) I Redesigned My Freelance Website

Okay, so the title of this post is a tad bit misleading–it uses the past tense, implying I’m finished redoing the site. Really, it’s still a work in progress. And the truth is, I don’t think I’ll ever be “done” working on the site. I constantly apply tweaks, and as of right now, there are at least 5-6 more things I want to change.

But when I decided to refocus on my freelancing work, I took a good look at my existing site. Was it really on target? Did it portray everything it needed to? A lot of the copy was okay, but the site was very basic and didn’t really go into as much detail as I wanted it to. I began poking around, looking at free wordpress themes and found one I really liked. It was cleaner than my previous design and much easier for a novice like me to play with on the back end. I understand just enough web design to be dangerous.

I’d also decided this site wasn’t very client focused. As much as I love sharing my journey, posts about how to price freelancing services aren’t going to help me sell said services to a new client. So I wanted to create a resource on that site with pieces that clients could look through that *might* help them decide to purchase my services. So I’ve launched a new blog on for that purpose exclusively. I brought over some of the more targeted pieces from the Jargon Writer archives, but mostly it’s new content. Continue reading…

The Advantages of Guest Posting

“Since I’m not trying to build a blog, how does contributing to other blogs help me as a freelance writer?” a friend of mine asked recently.

We were talking about the pros and cons of guest posting. Most frequently, guest posting is hailed as a way to build traffic for your site–it exposes you to a new audience, and the goal is for them to enjoy your writing enough to then go visit your site and become readers.

But what if, like my friend, you don’t have a blog that you’re trying to drive traffic to? Is guest posting still worth your time? Continue reading…

5 Ways to Become More Efficient & “Pink Boys”

My latest article has been published over at iGrad – here’s an excerpt:

Once you’ve just landed your dream job and want to look good in front of your boss, one of the best ways to make a positive impression is to spearhead a new project or idea. But how do you find the time? The trick is learning to do the things already on your plate more efficiently.

I suggest canned emails, the Pomodoro Technique, and other ways to amp up your office efficiency. While the piece is about improving efficiency at the office, almost all of the techniques are just as true of working for yourself. Check the piece out!

Monday also saw my piece, “Is the ‘Pink Boy’ the Tomboy’s Reflection?” published in Moxy Magazine. An except:

Sexuality, it seems, is a fickle thing these days. Whether it be in the guise of Lady Gaga or “My Son is Gay,” the piece from Nerdy Apple Bottom about the preschool boy who dressed up as Daphene from Scooby Doo for Halloween (which went viral last year), the line between what is “female” and what is “male” has definitely been blurred.

The tomboy emerged as a fixture in popular culture in the nineteenth century, turning classic female stereotypes on their head. Not surprisingly, her arrival coincided closely with the first wave of the feminist movement (18th-early 20th Century).  So is it any surprise that we’re seeing her reflection arise?

Read the rest of the piece here.

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