Latest Entries

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 www.melissabreau.com 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.

While I Was Gone

Here is a small sampling of the pieces I worked on while I was gone….

5 Ways to Take Control of your To Do list — A guest post for Diary of a Mad Freelancer:
As a freelancer, you don’t have a boss looking over your shoulder, checking up to make sure you’ll meet your deadlines. It’s up to you to be your own taskmaster–and that’s not always easy. Sometimes you want nothing more than to curl up on the couch with a cup of joe and your favorite movie. And one of the advantages of being a freelancer is being able to do that–sometimes–but becoming a couch potato won’t pay the bills, so here are five tips for keeping yourself accountable and staying productive. (read more here)

A number of pieces for Moxy Magazine….
The Big Risk–Saying I Do
Taking Risks
5 Things Every Woman Should Have

Lessons Learned: Making Choices — A Guest Post on Sharpskirts.com
Like many people of my generation, I was raised to believe I could do anything I set my mind to. My parents encouraged me to follow my passions and encouraged me, even when I decided to go to school for English and Art.

The belief that I was the only thing that could stand in my way has served me well–I graduated a four-year college in three years, achieved my goal of working for a publishing company with a solid job at a business-to-business magazine and earned my masters degree in publishing a year and a half later. (read more)

 

I’m BACK baby.

It appears the time has gotten away from me. As I mentioned late last year, I launched a major new project in November of 2010. Moxy magazine, for women with with cojones and bigger dreams, has been an amazing project. But getting it off the ground has been extremely time consuming–so much so, that before Stephen left for bootcamp in December, he and I talked about it and I decided I would put freelancing on hold while focusing on Moxy.

Of course, as soon as I made that decision, new projects came rolling in. It’s almost as though my regular clients overheard the phone call, and decided that must mean I’d be better able to focus on their individual assignments. And since my ultimate goal has always been to eventually build a strong freelancing business, I didn’t want to turn away repeat business. So I took on the projects.

As a result, I’ve been swamped.

But Moxy has started to develop it’s own process–it’s begun to grow up a bit and needs a lot less hand holding. While I’m still heading up that project, it’s no longer so time consuming that I can’t refocus myself on freelancing. So I’ve begun accepting new clients again; I redid my freelancing website (another post on the why and how of that is forthcoming) and finally I’ve made a plan to begin writing here regularly again. Initially, you can expect a post a week here and a post a week over on www.melissabreau.com (though those posts will be more client-focused.. again, a post on the whys and hows of this decision is forthcoming).

I’ve made a few decisions about JW recently–I’d like to show y’all a bit more of my personality, since this will no longer be the main blog linked to my freelancing website. Posts may be a bit shorter, but I’m going to try and pack a bigger punch in the smaller package. I’ve talked to a few awesome writers about guest posting here so you can learn from their much-more-established points of view.

But the main goal, tracking my progress in becoming a freelancer, hasn’t–and will never–change.

So, expect to see some new content, including pieces on the subjects mentioned above and a piece next week week on why you should guest post on other people’s blogs. I’ve got big plans–and I’d love for you to come along for the ride.

Image found here.

Lend a Hand

Fellow blogger Jenny aka “The bloggess” is connecting those with, to those without this holiday season on her blog. It’s the most moving blog post I’ve ever read and the comments and folks helping out are incredible. If you have a little bit extra this holiday season, go over to Jenny’s blog and see if you can help someone in need.

See Jenny’s Post Here: http://thebloggess.com/?p=9474

Project Woman: Moxy Magazine

Back in July, I presented an idea here on the blog. That idea brought together over 30 women and evolved into Project Woman. Some of those involved shared business advice, others volunteered to write for the magazine once it launched, others served to bounce ideas off of and share honest feedback. Well, today I’m happy to announce that project has evolved again.

Moxy Magazine speaks to up and coming professional women, covering the issues of tomorrow, today, by leading the discussion on topics women want to follow. Moxy is on the smart edge of information: the new issues, services and trends.

Women today are re-defining words like mentorship, responsibility and success. The modern woman will define success for herself, in the office, at home, and in remote locations around the world. She lives by her own rules and knows she is in charge of shaping her own future.

Today, we officially begin what we’re calling our “soft launch”–The site is up and we’ve begun posting content to it. We’ll continue to grow our audience and help our audience grow. Then, in January we’ll hold our launch party and officially begin what we’re calling our “hard launch”–aka we’ll reevaluate the site, decide what’s working, what’s not, brainstorm for new ideas to try and ramp up existing marketing.

So head over to Moxymag.com today and check out our first two pieces: The Big Idea and Don’t Come too Close.



Copyright © 2004–2009. All rights reserved.

RSS Feed. This blog is proudly powered by Wordpress and uses Modern Clix, a theme by Rodrigo Galindez.