Tuesday Tip 008: The One Tool Every Freelancer MUST Have

You went freelance because you love what you do.

Maybe it's diving into a character in scenework, or capping off an article with the perfect closing sentence, or seeing a client "get it" for the first time. These are powerful moments. But the truth is, if you are freelancing, consulting, side gig-ing, or any number of ways you wanna slice self-employed work, you are also your own marketer. 

It doesn't mean you have to rent a billboard or send private messages to every Facebook friend you've ever made (please no), but it does mean that the word won't spread about your ridiculous talent unless you cause it to spread. 

So here is the first thing that you should do:

It's true. Unless you're absolutely not interested in growing your business or charging more (gross!) then you need a website. I'm not even talking some big honking Wordpress monstrosity. I just mean a place online where people can find you if they are looking for you and a place where you can point people to learn more about what you do. Here's a couple of options:

1. Squarespace. This is what I use for my website. It's intuitive and easy to use. I can easily build out landing pages for special products. And I am easily able to take care of my own ticketing for events. It has everything I need. Plus it makes my blog look pretty. :) $8 per month, yall. 

2. Wix. My acting website is over here. There was a little while where I felt like Wix was falling behind its competitors but it appears that lately they have upped their game. You don't want to blog from a Wix website but this may be the easiest site setup of any out there. 

3. About.me. If you are not actively seeking new clients, this is the site I recommend for you. You can let people know who you are, what you do, where they can find you on social media and how they can contact you. You can probably set this up in 10 minutes. Do it! 

4. Wordpress. I use a self-hosted Wordpress site for my side business. It integrates beautifully with about a bazillion plugins. There's just tons of free ways to modify your site on Wordpress. It's the motherload. 

Bottom line: be anywhere online as long as you are somewhere. You are self-sabotaging if you do not have a website of some sort! So own your freelancer identity. Ship it before you really feel like it's "ready." Get out there and get work. You deserve it. 

Have you picked up my free eBook More in Less: 21 Productivity Hacks for Creatives? It is available for FREE download until the end of the month. Grab it here.

Internship Opportunity. You in?

SOUP & SALAD
SOUP & SALAD

Interested in the ins and outs of solopreneurship, multiple businesses, multiple gigs? Great with research, building business relationships, and social media? Passionate about story? Love to play around with creating images in tools like Canva? Excited by the prospect of being mentored by a creative who has successfully avoided cubicle life? Then you may be who I'm looking for!

HSL Enterprises, LLC  is looking for a summer intern! I'm really excited about the prospect of exposing a college student or recent grad to the ins and outs of solopreneur life. This is a pretty unique opportunity in that he or she will be working with two businesses: HSL Creative and Enchanting Entertainment.

(Pause. If you don't know me then have a looksy here.)

What does that mean? Variety! Said intern will on any given day be conducting research for social media content, creating images for blog posts, build relationships and help with promotions for Enchanting Entertainment, conduct market research, attend some Enchanting Entertainment events to help document them for social media and may even get the opportunity to contribute content to blogs for Enchanting Entertainment and HSL Creative (bylines on 2 company websites? Not too shabby.)

If the idea of doing research for social media content in the morning, writing a blog post around lunch and stopping by an area restaurant in the afternoon to  build relationships sounds exciting to you then email me at sutton dot hilary at gmail with your resume and why you're interested. I'm looking for 2 days a week commitment starting May 11. Stipend provided.

Let's do this.

The 4 Measurements of Marketing

THE FOUR MEASUREMENTS OF
THE FOUR MEASUREMENTS OF

Several months ago I got to sit down with one of the brightest, most energetic marketing minds in technology, Elisa Steele. Steele's resume is nothing to sniff at. She has served as Corporate VP and CMO of all consumer applications and services at Microsoft, including brands such as Bing, Internet Explorer, Lync, MSN, Outlook.com and Skype, among others. She was also CMO at Skype, Executive VP and CMO at Yahoo!, and Senior VP of Corporate Marketing at NetApp. Since my article on Elisa went to print she has now graduated from CMO to CEO of Jive Software. Elisa is really inspiring. She got into marketing by way of sales by way of spending her summers scooping ice cream as a teen. It all started because she was just really excited about putting a smile on customers' faces.

Steele wrote a manifesto of her view on marketing called "Fast Forward: The Four R's That Matter in Marketing." I want to share her "4 R's" with you today.

The Four Measurements of Marketing

1. Reputation

How are people viewing your company in terms of giving back and doing the right thing in the world? What is your reputation as compared to that of your competitors? What specific aspect of your reputation is trending over time, and how can that trend be affected?

2. Relationship

How are partner relationships doing? Are they producing results? How can we make them better? Are customers garnering value from our product so they are inspired to tell the world about their success and help others learn from their experience?

3. Reach

How do you define your target market segments, and how much reach do you have within those? Of the reach you have today, what is your penetration rate? Is your penetration rate growing? What strategies are effective at increasing penetration and what strategies are not?

4. Revenue

How is marketing driving growth for the company? Are we supporting sales channels as effectively as possible? How is our database health? What are the conversion rates? How are we doing on sales leads?

Steele has used these marketing check points to ensure that her team is achieving the right goals. Do you have your own sign posts that you check in with regularly to make sure you're headed down the right path? 

Enjoy the full-length version of this article originally published in Forefront Magazine here.

Hilary is a freelance journalist, a bit of a marketing geek and blogger. Say hey on Twitter @hilarysutton.

The Connection Between Increased Responsibility and Increased Expectations

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN INCREASED RESPONSIBILITY AND INCREASED EXPECTATIONS
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN INCREASED RESPONSIBILITY AND INCREASED EXPECTATIONS

One of my first assignments for Profile Magazine was to interview the inspiring and no-nonsense Raquel Libman. Raquel is the executive vice president and general counsel for the Miami Heat. Yes--that Miami Heat. In our interview, Raquel shared a few speeches and interviews that really impacted her along the way. I took the liberty of doing the googling for you and included the links. Enjoy!

Raquel Libman's Career Advice

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? You’ll be happiest and most successful if you learn and work in ways that make the best use of your natural strengths and abilities.

Who do you recommend young female professionals listen to or read? Madeleine Albright. Most recently she was interviewed for a TED Talk—a terrific resource in and of itself—on being a woman and a diplomat. Also, there is a 2007 interview by Laura Liswood, who spoke at the Salzburg Global Seminar, called “Women and Power: Mechanisms to Advance Women’s Leadership,” which is really excellent.

What is one lesson that you share with younger colleagues? Don’t be in too big of a rush to develop professionally, because the higher up the proverbial food chain you move, the harder the job, the greater the pressure, and the higher the expectations. Telling yourself that you are ready to have the buck stop with you is one thing, really being ready is another.

A closing thought from Raquel: "My role within the company is by its very nature the antithesis of ‘front and center,’ and that’s fine with me,” she says. “The truth is that there is a tremendous amount of preparation involved in putting on a game or a show, managing a facility such as the [American Airlines] Arena and everything in between. The trick of it is to make the end product look effortless.”

Libman has worked hard to prove herself in a male-dominated industry and has been rewarded for the great work that she has done.

Do you agree with Raquel's assertion that you'll be happiest and most successful if you make the best use of your natural strengths and abilities? 

Enjoy the full-length version of this article in Profile Magazine.

HSL Creative Around the Web: September Roundup

Are you enjoying the subtle chill in the air? I'm not sorry to see September go. October is on the way! And what month is better? It's that time again where I share some places I've been around the web over the past 30 days. HSL Creative turned One! So we had our own little birthday party in the way of a countdown post. If you missed it take a look and enjoy our most popular content over the last year!

I got to celebrate the changing of the seasons over on the Clutch Guide with a fun post that includes eight of my favorite quotes about autumn.

I analyzed how the powers of social media and nostalgia combined to bring back Surge, the sugary soda from the 90s.

I also got to interview Wolfbane Productions' Artistic Director Dustin Williams for the fall issue of Clutch. I had the pleasure of working with Dustin two summers ago on a play called FOXFIRE.

I also wrote several pieces for Forefront Magazine that haven't hit the airwaves yet: an interview with Cracker Barrell's head of HR, Beverly Carmichael, Achievers' General Counsel Lisa Haugh, Mark Stone, CIO of Texas A&M University System, as well as Lynchburg's own Kathy Clay for the winter issue of Clutch.

As always thanks for keeping up with HSL Creative. And remember: your story is begging to be told.

My Top 12 Posts in Honor of HSL Creative's First Birthday

My 2nd birthday.
My 2nd birthday.

I’ve had a stunning revelation: HSL Creative, in its most recent incarnation, is officially ONE year old!

Cue the streamers, candles, and of course cake (my favorite.) In honor of our first birthday I thought I would share a countdown of the 12 most popular blog posts from the last year. (Get it? 1 for each month?)

Over the past year I’ve shared observations on social media trends, productivity hacks, career advice, information about our services, and even personal reflections about not living in a major city or overextending myself. So I give you the top 12 posts of our first year as voted by your clicks. So take a look, check out the ones you may have missed. And thank you, thank you, thank you for coming on the journey.

CHOCOLATE CAKE ALL AROUND, I SAY!

Here’s to year 2. Cheers.

12. Finding Margin: Confessions of a Wayward Blogger Whether you're an entrepreneur, a stay-at-home parent, or an employee of a giant corporation, there are always priorities and choices to make. And sometimes we have to say "no" to good things in order to say "yes" to great things.

11. 7 Hacks for Shaking off the Blahs and Getting Out of ProcrastiNation I have a war within me: lazy person vs. driven person. That conflict can easily manifest itself in procrastination. Here's some ways I combat it.

10. How to Launch Dual Careers I'm a passionate advocate of kicking the status quo in the face. If you are a soon to be college graduate, an early career professional, or just know in your gut it's time for a change, this post gives you the first steps to making the move to dual careers.

9. 10 Secrets to Getting Started in Freelance Writing If you've wanted to get started freelance writing but you're not sure where to begin, this post gives you tips on how to get paid to write.

8. 6 Reasons Someone You know Did the #ALSIceBucketChallenge Why the heck did the Ice Bucket Challenge raise over $100 million? How did that happen? Here's some reasons it worked amazingly well.

7. 10 Social Media Resolutions to Adopt This Year Need a cheat sheet for social media etiquette and smart habits (like knowing your privacy settings)? Here ya go.

6. 10 Ways I've Made Life Easier for Other Businesses, And How I Can Help You Too Don't really know what all we do here? Here are some of the most practical ways that organizations and individuals have used HSL Creative services in recent months.

5. 9 Surprising Things I Learned When I Met a Client in Person Bottom line: in this incredible digital age where I (and many other people!) make a living by never seeing anyone in person--the face-to-face communication remains irreplaceable.

4. The #1 Reason I Feel Ok Even Though I Don't Live in a Major City My industries are media and the arts. Of COURSE, I have a desire to be in a major city where patrons and potential clients flock. But here's why I think this small city life has been GREAT for me and my career.

3. 6 Ways Grad School Launched Me into the Career of My Dreams Grad school gets a lot of flack in creative fields. "It's not worth the money," they say. "You're avoiding the real world," they say. Well, I say it was the exact right move for me. Here's why.

2. Will You Do Anything Social Media Free This Year? Do you ever feel like you've become a little too attached to your technology? Do you twitch when you accidentally leave your phone in your car? Have you never left your phone in your car because you always make certain it's on your person? This one's for you.

And drumroll please...the most popular post of the last year is....

1. 5 Lessons We Can Learn from the Most Retweeted Selfie of All Time Did you retweet it? Do you know exactly which one I'm talking about? What makes us take part in viral activity online? These are a few of my observations from both academically and professionally studying people and their social media habits.

There ya have it! My 12 most read posts of the 1st year of HSL Creative. Do me a huge favor and comment here or on Facebook or Twitter with some feedback on what kind of posts you'd like to see more of in the future. I'm listening!

HSL Monthly Roundup

HSL

HSL

July came and went in a BLINK. Hello, August! Whether or not August is in fact fall (ok, it's not), it sure feels like it around here. Students are beginning to trickle back to this college town and rehearsals have begun at Alluvion Stage for our fall production of the Little Mermaid. July was a writing filled month over here. I've begun freelancing with Forefront magazine which has me picking the brains of business executives in a variety of industries. Though the articles won't be published until the winter, I wrote four profiles this month in addition to the pieces you can take a look at right now:

HSL Creative Blog 9 Surprising Things I Learned When I Met a Client In Person
10 Secrets to Getting Started Freelance Writing

The Clutch Guide Endstation Theatre Company presents Always, Patsy Cline
3 Tips for Feeling Confident in an Unknown Situation

Kicker Hail the Conquering Hero: Tim Howard!
Kickstarter Potato Salad
Malaysian Airlines Shot Down over Ukraine
Meriam Meets the Pope
Turkish Women Laughing

Have a fantastic month!

10 Secrets to Getting Started in Freelance Writing

Coffee
Coffee

One question I get asked with some frequency is "so how did you get started writing?" You may be interested in pursuing freelance blog or magazine writing but don't exactly know where to start. Though I started with a degree in journalism, I submit that it's certainly not the only way to launch a career writing. Here's ten steps to take that I've seen work:

1. Start a blog. This is your first stop on the road to getting paid to write. Blogging gives you full control of what you will say and how you will say it. Show the world what you can write and what you're passionate about saying! The world is your oyster. The blog is your step one.

2. Get a copy of the Writer's Market. Pore over it. This annual volume is the bible of freelance magazine writing, poetry and writing contests. It also has a collection of great, informative articles all about the business of writing. You can fork over the money for it or just spend some time at your local library.

3. Offer to guest post on other blogs in which you can provide relevant and helpful content. Can you think of a blog or a website that really resonates with you? Look for their contributor guidelines. Some sites won't pay but if you have a good looking blog with compelling content and a great idea for a post, they will give you a shot. Look you're collecting portfolio pieces already.

4. Master the art of the query letter. This is your pitch. The magazine industry has its own nuances. Make sure your ideas are relevant to the magazine. Show you've read it and you like it. Then pitch.

5. Read On Writing Well by William Zinnser.

6. Get YourName.com. I have several friends in the business who regret that some other joker got their name (ie janedoe.com) before they did. This is a just a good rule of thumb for anyone. Buy your name's URL at GoDaddy just in case. My dad always said: "better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it." A website provides a great opportunity to point potential editors to check out several of your clips in one place. You have full control over this corner of the internet that has your name on it.

7. Spiff up your Linkedin page. Make it clear that you're a writer. Add keywords that people who might be in search of a freelance writer would use when looking for one. Consider eliminating positions you've held that don't add helpful or interesting context to your work story. Yes, I left the fact that I once swept hair from the floor of a salon off my Linkedin page. Gasp.

8. Read Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott.

9. Do your research on the people in your network that are in the publishing business. And when I say "network" I don't mean "people you follow on Twitter." I mean people who you know that would be glad to pass your name along to the proper person. Let friends and family know this is the direction in which your career is headed.

10. Keep writing.

Have anything to add to the list? Comment away!