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on March 10, 2007 at 12:07:59 pm
  • Why is self-promotion so icky yet so important all at the same time? (All)


  • Why is self-promotion so important? (Annalee, Penelope)
    • If you don't pitch yourself and your prooduct, no one else will.
    • Promotion is at least half your job.


  • How do you answer the question "So what do you do?" How do you perfect your elevator pitch?
    • "Geek scenes can be awkward but being able to talk about yourself comfortably and succintly is key. One of the most important things a freelancer (or anyone needs) is an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a concise and well-practiced description of what you do. Anyone should be able to understand an elevator pitch, not just people who are well-versed in geek speak. Having an elevator pitch is especially important in situations such as South By Southwest when you get asked dozens of times a day, "What do you do?" An elevator pitch can be understood by anyone and takes about as long as an elevator ride." (Molly)
    • It's not about you; it's about what you can do for the client. (Gina)


  • What's so important about specialization? (Annalee, Penelope)
    • "You can't be everything to everyone. And if you do a lot of stuff then you probably don't do it better than a lot of people."


  • The self-esteem factor: how what you think of yourself translates to what others think of you.
    • "being a freelancer means having to take a lot of abuse and rejection and survive with ego mostly intact. So maybe we can talk about psychological coping mechanisms -- getting together with other freelancers to vent, joining professional organizations, learning how to talk to difficult editors or producers, knowing how to say no, etc." (Annalee)



  • Marketing without marketing? (Matt)
    • "I've always been a big fan of promoting yourself and your services by

doing, in essence learning by doing. Even in a sea of a zillion

weblogs, anyone can make a name for themselves if they focus on

something and really excel at it. I'll be happy to take the position much of the crowd probably has:

that marketing feels cheesy sometimes and a lot of geeks would rather

not do it, but there are definitely some ways you can make it work for

yourself without compromising your comfort zone." (Matt)

    • "Be nice. Freelancers get a lot of mileage out of favors. In most cases,

there are two or three people for each job. It's a favor that the person

picks you -- they pick you because they like you, or someone else likes you.

Don't kid yourself that you're the only perfect fit for a job." (Penelope)

    • work that doesn't have the explicit goal of promoting yourself, but does as a side effect. (ie, contribute to open source projects; publish work under a CC or GPL license; freely share information on your weblog; volunteer your skills for a good cause/barter work and ask for attribution; positively contribute to an online community - like Metafilter, Flickr, a mailing list, LH; speak at events like SXSW)



  • How do you get the word out/build your platform?
    • "the importance of having a

platform -- whether that's a blog, a column, a regular gig for a

magazine -- where you can promote yourself. As a freelancer who does

both indie and mass-market gigs, I'm acutely conscious of trying to use

my bigger platforms to call attention to things I'm writing for indie

magazines or for lower-traffic blogs. And I've definitely had to use

such platforms (as well as those of my friends) to market my book." (Annalee)

    • Blogging as establishing expertise (Matt, Penelope)


  • Creating demand: Can playing hard to get professionally pay off? (Penelope, Molly)
    • "It's not so different from playing hard to get in the dating world. Essentially, don't seem too free. While you should explore different tracts, taking any and every job will not get you into an expert role. Don't let client needs dictate your path. Part of marketing is creating an image. This doesn't have to be slimy or dishonest but as a freelancer you work for yourself and you're in charge of what you do; get the most out of it." (Molly)



  • When you're a one-person shop, what's better: create a company with a different name or market yourself as an individual?


  • Personal weblogs that get personal - will they scare off or attract potential clients?
    • pre-fire yourself/filter out clients that can't handle it
    • Personal vs professional (Gina)


  • How do you make yourself memorable? (Molly)



  • How much time do you spend on marketing your work versus DOING it?
    • "Put aside time every day for marketing. The life of a freelancer is

marketing. How else will you get work? Even when people are bangning on your

door to give you work, you'll probaby want to market yourself to the people

who are giving out the really cool, inspiring work. So when you budget your

days and your money, account for makreting in a significant way." (Penelope)



  • How do you become a great networker?
    • "Timing, follow-up and follow through are key if you're going to be a freelancer. If you meet someone you want to pitch, do it sooner than later so the meeting is fresh in their mind and yours." (Molly)

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