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Posts Tagged ‘Freelancing’

‘Devil Wears Prada’ Screenwriter Dishes About Writing Process & Defeating Procrastination

Whether you have a day job and you’re an aspiring screenwriter or you’re blogging away all day at the nearby coffee shop, chances are you’ve battled blocking out distractions, creating a method to your madness and oh yeah, carved out space where you can write and write alone for your baby, your project.

Well, thanks to this new series, “Academy Originals,” released by The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, we get a glimpse at screenwriter Aline Brosh (The Devil Wears Prada & We Bought a Zoo) McKenna’s process. She sets goals each day like getting to the end of an act or scene, “I go and I move the boulder from here today…and that’s my work.”

Having an office outside the home for 12 years, she needs her own space and time to “just do my thing.” Check it out!

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Four Ways for Freelancers to Successfully Land Big Clients

SixFigureFreelancerBy big clients we mean clients with deep pockets. Budgets to spend and contract to sign. That’s why this post from Freelancers Union is so appropriate.

Of course, the first way to land big clients is to let them know you exist and to pitch them. The art, my friend, entails in the pitch itself.

1. Research. The clients you’re pursuing require more research, plain and simple. You know what though? They’re worth it. Per the piece, you should spend at least one hour reading through anything and everything about this company. Social media feeds are helpful so you can get a grasp on how the company views itself.

The piece points out: “If it’s a large corporation with multiple locations, try to find out if certain locations specialize in different services. Then find the department that aligns with what you do. Then do some private searching on LinkedIn to find out who works in that department. Recall your past gig experience: who was the person who hired and managed you? Look for someone with that job title.”

2. Explain what you do. Think bigger than what you currently do, too. You’re not just a project manager, says the piece. Instead, you’re the go-to person who makes the company’s problems disappear. Check that — the person’s problems to whom you’re pitching. Speak to the person your pitching and solve his or her problems.

3. Understand that they have a boss. The person you’re pitching indeed has a boss who’s likely putting pressure on them to make a hiring decision and to make it a good one. Plus, deadlines are looming. Give them all the information you can to make it easy for them to sign you on for the project.

4. Understand that they don’t want to train you. They need you to come in and roll up your sleeves to get right down to work. They assume you have the required skills and experience and need little to no training.

The piece advises, “Tell them you always spend the first few days listening and watching. Say something about how good you are at seeing the big picture, filling in where needed, and instead of trying to talk a lot about what you do, repeat back to them what they need.”

Survey Shows Pitfalls & Perks of Desk Versus Non-Desk Jobs

helpHave you ever felt the grass was greener on the other side?

Let’s say you worked in editorial. Thanks to the recession, maybe you got what you yearned for — the opportunity to freelance full-time. Then in due time you started missing the structure of a day job so you ventured back into editorial.

Sound familiar? Each scenario has its perks and its pitfalls and according to a new survey published by CareerBuilder, workers in desk and non-desk jobs were equally likely to report being happy in their current roles. That said, desk job employees were more likely to report complaints about their own work environments. Read more

Six Questions to Ask Yourself Before Negotiating Freelance Gigs

moneyIf you’re a freelancer, raise your hand!

If you’re hesitant to negotiate, don’t be shy. By sheer definition of being a freelancer, we’re always hustling. And always negotiating. Seriously. Sometimes we don’t even realize we do it and yet, we’re still doing it.

According to a post on Freelancers Union, there are a few tips to keep in mind when negotiating. For starters, never say “um” and don’t let nerves take hold of your emotions. Stay calm, cool and collected and better yet, keep these six questions in mind. Read more

Hey Managers, Want to Spike Productivity? Here’s a Hint: Give Team a Raise

moneyWant to put a little spring in your step while boosting the wallet of someone on your team? If you’re a manager, you may see the benefits of giving an unexpected salary increase.

As per Fortune, the average salary increase has been approximately three percent each year. How can the typical worker stay motivated to work hard when compensation isn’t exactly linked to performance?

Well, according to a study conducted by Harvard Business School, there’s a quick and effective way to boost productivity and morale. After you hire new employees, spike their pay! Read more

Three Ways to Tackle Freelance Isolation

LifeAsFreelancerWe’ve been so focused lately on office dynamics that we don’t want to overlook our freelance friends. Yes, entrepreneurs — we’re talking to you.

Inspired by this piece on Freelancers Union, there are a few ways to fend off the isolation blues. Sure, we know how liberating it is to make our own schedules and have the ability to work from anywhere but there are ways to overcome the drawbacks of feeling lonely and oh-so-isolate.

1. Create structure. When your day has a purpose from the minute you wake up and it’s full of meetings, phone calls and a work schedule on a calendar similar to how you would schedule a meeting, it’s easier to squash loneliness. Even if you schedule specific times during the day (perhaps when you’re least productive) to run to the dry cleaners or grab a bite to eat for lunch, you’ll stay occupied. Plus, it’s important to get fresh air so be sure to schedule that as well. Read more

Three Ways to Cope With Rejection


It’s not a pretty word, let’s face it. Especially when it’s bestowed upon you. As in, “No, we don’t like your work.” Or, “No, that’s not a good idea.” Or simply the silent treatment which we pretty much take for a no anyway.

Per a piece on The Intern Queen, there are a few ways to shrug it off and not let it affect your day. Lauren Berger writes, “Rejection is the biggest fear that young people have about the workplace. And it make sense – in the media, we don’t usually read about people’s failures – we read about their successes.”

She adds, “But I promise, with every success comes a rejection. If I hadn’t been rejected countless times – I wouldn’t be running the business that I am today.”

Here are a few ways to handle the inevitable not-so-fuzzy-feeling… Read more

How To Balance Your Freelancing Life With Your Personal Life

There are a myriad of reasons people choose to freelance. Although it can a be a difficult and often isolating profession, some writers prefer it to the monotony of office work. Gossiping colleagues, an unfair boss, a tediously long commute: all understandable complaints of working a 9-to-5.

But the downsides of freelancing are just as overwhelming: no benefits to speak of, an unconventional schedule and the difficult task of separating your home and work life (when they are arguably one in the same). In the latest Mediabistro feature, a freelance writer shares her experience of the challenges:

One of my favorite books is by Marcia Golub, and for all of its chapters on the distractions of working from home, it’s ironically titled, I’d Rather Be Writing. We often choose to become freelance writers because we’re invigorated by the idea of doing what we love all day long, only to realize that, as Golub puts it:

No sooner would I sit down to write than I’d find myself going into the kitchen to brew coffee or defrost something for dinner. I’d force myself to get back to my desk and sit there, splitting my ends or examining my eyelids in the mirror. I’d put the mirror away and the phone would ring. With a theatrical sigh of impatience (knowing full well how delighted I really was at the interruption), I’d answer and get into a long conversation about skin cancer with a friend who was trying to put off something she was supposed to be doing.

When there’s no boss hovering over your shoulder, and you can’t get that vision of the overflowing laundry basket out of your head, and you don’t really have any immediate deadlines, it’s difficult to stay on task.

To hear how she overcame the challenges, read Balancing Your Freelance Life with Your Personal Life

Aneya Fernando

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Get a Free Webcast When You Purchase a Mediabistro Course!

Although it’s back to school time for the kids, why should they be the only ones to hit the books?

When you’re looking to propel your career, hone your skills and amp up your mojo, classes are some of the best ways to give your career a one-two punch to the next level.

From now until Thursday at 11:59 pm ET, when you buy any Mediabistro class you’ll get a free webcast! The promo starts today and all you have to do is use the promo code WEBCAST at checkout.

In particular, we’re fans of the course, Develop Your Freelance Career.  Taught by Brooklyn-based freelance writer Lauren Waterman, the class covers basic freelancing skills such as creating ideas to pitching them. In fact, by the end of the course students will create two pitch letters and a list of well-crafted salable story ideas. Read more

Three Ways to Adjust From a Full-Time Job Into Freelancing

Okay, to piggy back our post yesterday about adjusting from freelancing to a full-time gig, we need to bookend it with it with the opposite situation. Adjustment takes time and planning but with some preparation, you’ll be well equipped to make the transition. Here’s how to do it…

1. Create structure. After the novelty of waking up until noon and creating your own hours wears off, you’ll want to create a schedule in terms of when you’ll wake up, when you’ll start working and most importantly, when you’ll stop. Creating set hours may seem counterintuitive to freelancing but if you don’t, work bleeds into life and bank into work and it can get kind of gray.

Translation: You may find yourself working harder than ever before now that it’s for yourself. And with that hard work may come midnight pitches, deliverables, invoicing, etc.

Furthermore, where will you work? Will it be your home office? The local coffee shop? The library? All of the above depending on the day? These are all things to consider.

2. Seek out fellow freelancers. Yes, as a freelancer you’re on your own with wings to soar but you may find yourself very isolated. Whether you work from home or not, fact of the matter is you’re probably working alone. Without anyone to bounce ideas off or even have water cooler chatter (and how many times has an innocent conversation led to a story idea or blog post?), you may find yourself isolated.

Seek volunteer opportunities, social activities and above all, opportunities to connect with local freelancers. Even if a friend is now freelancing, too why not create set times to meet at a local coffee shop to work in specific increments by setting an alarm on your mobile phone, and then taking a break to chat?

3. Own your finances. Okay, this has less to do about the physical and mental sides of freelancing but is important nonetheless. Without an employer to provide benefits and the ubiquitous paycheck, you’re now fully on your own.

It may be well worth your time and money to sit down with a financial planner to determine how much money you can set aside every month for retirement, if you should contribute to a Roth IRA and all sorts of fun topics. Although some people dread the finance aspect of it all, why not embrace it? The sooner you figure this part out, the better off you’ll be.