What I'm reading: Cannery Row by John Steinbeck (finished it!)
What's on the iPod: Soul and Skin by The Clarks
Thank you all for a fabulous start to Writers Worth Week yesterday! It was a great outpouring of support and suggestions. You've proven once again that the writing community is the best support system on the planet.
Keep commenting on any of the Writers Worth Week posts all this week for your chance to win a copy of The Worthy Writer's Guide to Building a Better Business.
Today's stop on our blog tour is Devon Ellington's Ink in My Coffee. Devon's been one of my super best chums for a while now, and once more she opens her blog up to my rantings. Go give her some comment love.
And here's another stop on the blog tour: Anne Wayman's About Freelance Writing. Give Anne a visit, as well.
Even on vacation last week, I had time to think about how to build a stronger career. I didn't have to think too hard. The trip I was on started because of a conference. I turned the conference into a huge networking event. The early results - terrific. I handed out brochures only to vendors who expressed genuine interest. If they looked trapped or uneasy, I walked away. I had taken 50 brochures. I came home with eight. So yes, the networking was more successful than I could have imagined.
The work won't come today or tomorrow, but I have no doubt that, in at least eight cases, the work is definitely going to come. I spent about $1,000 on that trip. It could easily net me $30,000 in work. You bet I made the right decision. I went with the intention of creating work, and I'm happy to say that's going to happen.
And that's today's advice - create your own reality. It's easy to approach your career with trepidation. Isn't that the nature of freelance, to wonder if you're going to get that job or keep that client? Ironically, I've found that the easiest way to score the job is to behave as though you don't need it. Let me explain.
I didn't hard sell these conference people on my skills. In fact, I didn't talk about myself at all until they asked me what I do and who I was with. I let them tell me all about their products and services. I listened, too. I looked for gaps in their marketing or in the way they were communicating. Not that I pointed it out at all, but I made damn sure to note what I'd be suggesting to them in follow-up conversations. When they asked what I did, I told them. I mentioned I had written for most magazines in the room and that I wrote for companies such as theirs, helping with marketing. Then I paused and judged the reaction. If they reacted any way but enthusiastically, I let it drop. Fortunately, most were eager to hear more.
But I left a business card and an impression with those who weren't so receptive. I didn't beg them for work, nor did I even ask for the job. I left them with the feeling that I didn't need to. If they need a writer, they'll call. If not, they may pass my name along.
I created two realities in that one trip, actually. I was determined to go into the conference prepared and ready to land new clients. The other reality - I made sure they viewed me as a valuable commodity, not someone desperately begging for crumbs. Not bad for just two days, eh?
So your assignment today - create your reality. What approach, actions, or presence could you improve in order to increase your value in your client's mind? How have you created your current reality? Is it the one you thought you'd have or is it better/worse?