How Freelance Writing Has Helped Me In My Business

How Freelance Writing Has Helped Me In My Business 

Ever since I was young I've been a writer. Short stories, essays, poems, news articles – you name it, I've probably written it at some point or another. 

When I went to college, it was a no-brainer that I would major in journalism. I declared my major immediately, began as a staff writer for my on-campus newspaper and by the time I was a senior I'd climbed the ranks and landed the coveted title of editor-in-chief of the publication.

I had lofty goals of working hard and landing a magazine internship in New York City, building a life for myself there, and one day – just maybe – starting my own magazine. Of course, things have turned out a little differently for me since then (and the print journalism landscape, too!), but I still hold writing near and dear to my heart. 

That's why when I took my business full-time, I knew that I wanted to incorporate freelance writing as one of my streams of income. And you know what? It's worked wonders for me and my business – here's why! 

 

AP Style...never goes out of style. 

If you were a journalism major, you know AP Style in and out – or at least you used to! I love adhering to helpful grammar and punctuation rules, and freelance writing has helped keep my writing and editing skills sharp. This has also trickled into my business while I'm writing branded social media copy for an array of clients, which gives me an added layer of confidence that I'll be delivering only the best, most grammatically correct content to my clients week after week. It's never too late to step up your writing skills with a refresher in grammar best practices.

 

A little byline goes a long way.

I'll never forget the first time that I saw my name in print. It was such an amazing feeling! Thankfully, even after all of these years I still get a little giddy when I'm published. Having a byline with a variety of online publications has added a layer of credibility to my brand and has also helped expand my business's reach, since most publications link back to their writers' websites. The next time you're preparing a pitch, consider this: would this publication be something that your ideal client may read? If so, that's all the more reason to begin contributing your words and stories!

 

Freelance writing keeps me connected to the outside world.

One of my favorite parts of the writing process is researching stories. I can't tell you how many times completing a writing assignment has forced me to learn something new or wrap my mind around abstract concepts to turn them into words. Now that I work from home, my days can feel a little isolating. Thankfully, my freelance writing endeavors push me to research contacts for stories, reach out for interviews with sources as-needed and to think outside of the little box of my office when it comes to pitching new story ideas.

 

Would you ever consider incorporating freelance writing as a revenue stream for your business? Why or why not? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! 

 

A Creative Minute With... Alisha Byrd, Clarity Coach & Author

A Creative Minute With... Alisha Byrd, Clarity Coach & Author

Meet Alisha Byrd: clarity coach, author and the woman behind the The Alisha Nicole personal brand! I first connected with Alisha years ago on Twitter (of course!), and have loved watching her progress and make big waves in her business over the years.

Read our conversation to learn more about how Alisha's business has changed over the years, and why it's ok to take a step back from your personal brand to focus on other endeavors.

 

Q: Share a bit of your story with us: what’s your creative background, and what led you to pursuing your business in clarity coaching? What does the coaching process look like, and what are some important lessons that you’ve learned as you’ve worked with your clients? 

A: I definitely didn't start my career thinking that I was going to be a business coach. I honestly didn't even know what a business coach was, believe it or not! My very first business was an online shop where I created and sold jewelry. I knew nothing about business at the time and quickly discovered that the road to entrepreneurship was lonely! I didn't know anyone else who had a business and didn't grow up in a family of business owners. So I turned to blogging to help me to talk about my journey, how the business was going and really to vent about what it was really like being a business owner! That one blog also turned into my sharing more on how I was building that business as well including the mistakes that I made. The more I shared, the more I began to build an audience and eventually I had women from all over emailing me wanting more advice on how to start a business of their own. It got to a point where I was spending more time answering emails than I was working. And although I loved helping them, I realized that I couldn't continue to give advice and neglecting the part of my brand that was supporting me. So I decided to charge people for me giving them advice. Again, I had no clue what a business coach really was so I was reluctant to give myself that title and I was only charging about $35 for my services, which is insane to think about now.

The more I helped women, the more I fell in love with the process. I eventually closed my online shop to fully focus on coaching and growing my personal brand. Right now my process is a lot simpler than it was when I first started out. I have three packages that potential clients can choose from that range from us working together for 90 mins all the way to working together for three months. We typically meet bi-weekly via UberConference and all of the scheduling and payments are handled through Acuity Scheduling, which I love!

The biggest lesson I have learned with working with clients is that there is definitely no one-size fits -all formula or method to how you can start or grow a business. I've had the honor of working with women from all different types of industries and I've learned quickly that the best way for them to begin seeing results is to tailor your coaching techniques to their specific needs. Some clients will be really great at picking things up while others may need a little more explaining. Some clients really want to focus on creating great content while others may want to focus on growing their audience. No client is the same which is why I love coaching so much.
 


"The more I helped women, the more I fell in love with the process."


Q: I always love to ask! What does your workday morning routine look like, and how do you try to maintain a balance between managing your coaching business, recording episodes for the Living Over Existing podcast and publishing your Living Over Existing book? 

A: My typical workday is usually different each day depending on what needs to be done or where I feel like working from but my mornings are typically the same! I wake up usually around 6:30 a.m. and I try to spend about 20-30 minutes reading my devotion and journaling. If I try to jump right into work after waking up, I notice that I become really frustrated throughout the day and something just seems "off," so I try to start my mornings as slow as possible to get my mindset ready for the day.

As far as balance, I can't really say that I believe it is possible to equally balance it all. I think you have to decide what takes priority in the moment and give yourself some grace on what doesn't. In this season I am really focusing on building Living Over Existing and launching the book. Outside of making sure that my clients are taken care of, I've had to put my personal brand on hold for awhile. And that's OK, because I know that I am not only building something that will be equally as valuable, but I also know that it will be there once I am ready to shift my focus again.

 

A Creative Minute With... Alisha Byrd, Clarity Coach & Author

Q: Who is your ideal coaching client, and where are they in their career or business?

A: My ideal coaching client is a creative woman I would say between the ages of 25-35 who is eager to build a creative online business. She is also a go-getter and is willing to not only consume the advice she is given, but also do the work necessary to begin seeing results. She is typically either at the very beginning stages of building her brand and just needs some clarity and direction, or she has an established brand but is ready to take it up a notch. I love working with people who are just starting out because I can help them shape and mold their ideas until they hit that lightbulb moment!


"I love working with people who are just starting out because I can help them shape and mold their ideas until they hit that lightbulb moment!"


Q: What’s next for you and your coaching services, podcast and book in 2018?

A: In 2018 I want to really put focus into seeing where Living Over Existing will go. What was supposed to be just a book turned into a podcast and now an entire online platform for creative women who are wanting to live their life and create their business on purpose. I'm excited to continue allowing women to share their story on the podcast and work on building out the community. As far as coaching, I definitely look forward to working with new clients later next year!

A Creative Minute With... Alisha Byrd, Clarity Coach & Author



Q: For fellow women who are seeking a creative outlet or want to take their creative business to the next level, what would your greatest piece of advice be?

A: I would definitely say to do what YOU feel called to do. There is so much chatter and noise in this world and on the internet about what's profitable, what's not and what you should be doing in order to be successful. While you can take that advice, please don't forget what your original goal is, and don't be afraid to focus on that. It's so easy to ignore what you really want to do because of what you see is working for everyone else. But just because it's working for them, doesn't mean it will necessary work for you.
 

Keep up with Alisha on Facebook, on Instagram at @thealishanicole and both her personal website and site for Living Over Existing to learn more about what she's up to with her brand, book and coaching business!

 

Why I'm Prioritizing Creative Conferences in 2018

Why I'm Prioritizing Creative Conferences in 2018

Photo: Ashley Pieper Photography

As 2017 winds to a close, I can't help but begin filling up my calendar with exciting events and travel plans to look forward to in the new year. With 2018 business planning nearly wrapped up, this season of goal setting has opened my eyes to several areas of my business that need more attention: namely, the fact that I need to invest back into myself and my business!

Armed with that hard fact, I've set a big goal for myself in 2018: to attend one creative conference a quarter – even if those conferences are out of state and require travel.

Are you hesitant to take the leap into investing in conferences and business-related travel for yourself? You're not alone. Here are the three reasons why I'm prioritizing attending creative conferences in 2018 anyway:

 

Bye, bye, comfort zone.

As I've grown older, I've noticed that I can be very set in my ways: I want to begin working at the same time each day, from the same desk, while listening to the same playlist. It's super easy to fall into a routine, and before you know it, another year of your work life has come and gone. 

How scary is that?!

Because of that reality, I want to say no to my comfort zone and yes to feeling uncomfortable. One of the places where I feel the most uncomfortable? At conferences and events. These experiences can be incredibly overwhelming, but they're also the experiences that I've walked away from with the most confidence, best new ideas and amazing network of potential new friends and clients.

Become comfortable with being uncomfortable. You'll look back and be glad that you felt the fear and forged ahead, anyway.


"Become comfortable with being uncomfortable. You'll look back and be glad that you felt the fear and forged ahead, anyway."


 

Treat yo'self – because who else will? 

Although my business is young, I've already found that I tend to deprive rather than reward myself. If I land a big, new client contract, I'm apt to stash away all of my earnings into savings rather than indulge in a celebratory happy hour. I'm inclined to just deal with the uncomfortable office chair that I have now rather than buy a new one. 

Why am I this way?!

If you're asking yourself the same thing, it may be time to face the truth: in business, you deserve to treat yo'self from time to time. And I'm not talking about going on a lavish shopping spree just because you met a deadline. But treating yourself through experiences that benefit you and your business: like investing in a creative conference, an entrepreneur's retreat or a masterclass that's going to take your business to the next level. 

 

Doing business alone...isn't worth doing.

This is the biggest one for me. As a creative entrepreneur who works at home, it can be easy for me to put my head down and get a lot of work done each day – without sharing it with a single soul.

However, I believe that as creatives, we're not meant to walk this business journey alone. We need each other: for support, friendship, advice, brainstorming sessions and accountability. 

I don't know about you, but I find it hard to sometimes connect with my non-business friends on the issues that keep me up at night: why is the Instagram algorithm so tricky to crack? How can we create a cohesive social media presence that converts? What is the best way to present design work to a client? 

People who attend creative conference? They're going to get you on all of these topics – and then some. Because who doesn't want to come home with a few new friends?

What creative conferences are you looking forward to attending in 2018? I'm sharing a list of a few that are on my radar below! 

 

2018 Creative Conference Wishlist

Create & Cultivate Los Angeles: February 24, 2018 - attending!
info

Creative At Heart: 2018 conference TBD
info

Alt Summit: February 26-28 in Palm Springs, CA - sold out, but get on the waitlist for next time!
info

Yellow Conference: 2018 conference TBD
info

A Creative Minute With... Lindsey Trauger of Lindsey Trauger Boutique Editing

A Creative Minute With... Lindsey Trauger of Lindsey Trauger Boutique Editing

All photos: Allison Pedigo 

Isn't it funny how social media intertwines and connects us all? I first met Lindsey Trauger on Instagram at the beginning of this year, and I've loved getting glimpses of her boutique photo editing business ever since. Lindsey currently lives in Atlanta (my home city!) with her husband and adorable daughter Harlyn.

Below, Lindsey shares her story of how she initially stumbled into boutique photo editing, how she landed her first client, and what life really looks like as a full-time employee, wife and mom. I hope Lindsey's story encourages you and reminds you that the greatest business journeys all begin with two little words: just start.

 

Q: Share a bit of your story with us: what’s your creative background, and what led you to pursue your business in boutique photo editing? Your business is very specialized and niche, so I’m interested to hear how you initially discovered this need in the photography industry.

A: I actually didn’t even know photo editing was a thing until about a year ago, and it was my love for photography that led me to be a boutique photo editor. I've loved photography for a while and my big dream was to start a photography business, but then I had my daughter and life just got super busy.

About this same exact time one year ago I found out about photo editing when an ad popped up on my Facebook page. It was an ad about a course created by a woman named Marissa Lynn – she is a private photo editor and works with big-name photographers like Katelyn James. I was intrigued because I love editing, but also because I saw she was getting to do this from home and not having to spend her nights and weekends away from her family. The course she created was all about how to start an editing business and the process she uses. It was perfect because I already had everything I needed to start right away – I just needed a client!

Luckily, I already had a pretty strong network of photographers that I knew because of workshops and classes I had taken. Last October I second-shot a wedding with a photographer friend and that's when I really knew that shooting weddings was not for me. I mentioned to this friend that I was thinking about getting into the photo editing side of the industry, and she told me she would be interested to try it out if I went through with it. That was all I really needed: I went home, purchased Marissa's course, learned the process and my friend started working with me!

A Creative Minute With... Lindsey Trauger of Lindsey Trauger Boutique Editing

 

Q: I always love to ask! What does your workday routine look like, and how do you try to maintain a balance between managing your photo editing services, work and spending quality time with your family?

A: Yes, this is a tricky one. It's honestly something that I'm still trying to figure out and can change from day to day. Since I still work full-time and I'm a mama, I can only edit on nights and weekends after my little one goes to bed. During busy seasons I even have to sacrifice a day on the weekend with my family in order to edit so I don't fall behind.

The thing that helps me the most with this is communication with my husband. Some nights I need him to execute dinner and some nights I need him to do bedtime with our little girl so that I can get a jumpstart on my photo editing work. I'm also fortunate that both of our parents live nearby and are willing to help out when I need it since my husband travels a lot for work.

I knew it was going to be hard trying to edit on the side, so I was careful in my first year of business to only take on a very small number of editing clients and also to be realistic about my turnaround time. I have a longer turnaround time then most editors, but honestly, it's still faster than most photographers who are delivering work to their clients anyway, so it works.

What I have found is, if you have a strong enough passion for something and you want to make it work, you find a way – no matter what your circumstances are. This is not an ideal schedule long-term, but it works for now. 


"What I have found is, if you have a strong enough passion for something and you want to make it work, you find a way – no matter what your circumstances are."


Q: Who is your ideal client, and who or what do they typically photograph?

A: My ideal client is a wedding photographer who currently uses Lightroom 5 or higher for their editing. They shoot about 15-30 weddings a year and are looking for an editor to work with long-term. My clients find value in having a one-on-one relationship with their editor and big box companies are not for them. I would say style-wise, I have a mixture of photographers who have more of a light and airy/film style, but I also work with clients that are not bright and airy. I also work with hybrid photographers who shoot film and digital, so matching film is something that I also offer.   

A Creative Minute With... Lindsey Trauger of Lindsey Trauger Boutique Editing

 

Q: What’s next for you and your photo editing business in 2018?

A: Because I work a full-time job, I've had to grow a lot slower than most editors out there which can be really frustrating at times, but I have learned to find beauty in the slow growth. Growing slow allowed me to take risks, say no to the wrong types of jobs, and seek out my ideal clients. I have lots in store for 2018 like getting my website up and running, taking on more clients, and coming up with ways to better serve my clients and enhance their overall experience with me.

A Creative Minute With... Lindsey Trauger of Lindsey Trauger Boutique Editing

 

Q: For fellow women who are seeking a creative outlet or want to take their creative business to the next level, what would your greatest piece of advice be?

A: If you’re seeking a creative outlet and aren't sure what you want, start with something that fires you up. Ask yourself what your passions are or what's something you really enjoy doing, and then think of how you might be able to use that to serve others in some way.

And then just start: because it doesn't have to be perfect, but no one will know how to find you if you don't put yourself out there. And where you start doesn't have to be where you will end up. I thought I always wanted to do photography until I learned about photo editing!

And no matter where you are in your business, find a tribe of people who get you! Join a local Tuesdays Together chapter so you can make friends and network. Join groups on Facebook of like-minded people. Listen to podcasts and read blogs of people you admire. Do a mentorship with someone you admire or take a course in an area of your business that you need help with. Starting a business can be scary but you don't have to do it alone. There's so much information out there and people willing to help others grow their business – it's so awesome! 

Keep up with Lindsey on her Facebook page, Lindsey Trauger Boutique Editing, on Instagram @lindseytrauger, and stay tuned for updates on her soon-to-be-launched website!

How I Manage To Unplug...While Working In Social Media

How I Manage To Unplug While Working In Social Media

For the last four years I've worked in social media in some capacity: I began as a PR and social media intern, recently worked in corporate social media for a national brand and now manage social media clients of my own

You know those people who make dramatic (c'mon, we all know one...), "I'm leaving Facebook forever" farewell posts? I kind of envy them. Not because they get to be dramatic, but because they truly get to experience what life is like sans social media!

I think it's safe to say that social media folks can all relate to the fact that our job responsibilities beg us to stay plugged in and ever-scrolling – even on weekends, nights and vacations. 

As much as I love what I do, I also know that endlessly scrolling through Instagram and re-pinning dreamy, idyllic Pinterest images day in and day out isn't healthy for me. I've fallen into the social media comparison trap more than once, and it's not a place I like to be mentally. 

So: how can you unplug when you work in social media? I'm sharing three ways that I take social media breaks – even as a social media strategist! 

 

#1: I've disabled social media push notifications

...for my personal accounts! Because my clients are my priority, I of course have mobile alerts turned on for their social media accounts. But for my own? Nope! Because I'm the type of person who has to check her inbox as soon as I hear a new message chime in; who has to check a text as soon as it hits my phone. And I would also be the type of person to check every single social media alert that comes my way. 

Doing this has allowed me to still prioritize my clients while also giving myself the choice to check my own social media when I feel like it – or not at all. 

 

#2: I don't touch my phone after 5:30 p.m. or on weekends

This is a big one for me, and I'm far from being perfect about it – but I'm truly working on it. Since I'm on my phone all day posting for my clients and engaging from their accounts, once 5:30 p.m. hits and my husband comes home, all I want to do is leave my phone in the office to charge it for the next day. So that's what I do! 

The same goes for weekends. I don't ever want to become the business owner, friend or partner who is too busy scrolling through meaningless updates and misses important moments of life. Although I bring my phone along for the ride on weekend adventures, I try to refrain from posting or engaging excessively on social media until Monday.

 

#3: I track my screen time and phone usage

Just as I track the time that I'm spending on projects and services for clients, I also track my own screen time on social media! I do this using a free little app called Moment, which begins keeping track of the minutes in a day that you're on your phone and will alert you if you're in the green, approaching yellow or in the red (over-usage!) on any given day.

This app has worked wonders in my life and has opened my eyes to just how much time I'm spending (and wasting!) on my phone. It's one of the best apps you can invest if you find yourself absentmindedly reaching for your phone throughout the day without truly knowing why.


Tell me: how do you try to cut down the time you're spending on social media each week – even when you work in social media? Leave your tips in the comments below!