Website redesign: Horror or hooray?

By Kathleen Rake

It's exciting to plan something new, right? I think so, too.

Horror or Hooray

I was surprised, however, by the number of horror stories people shared when I mentioned we're setting the plan to redesign our website to accommodate (and promote) our business and its new directions.

So, that started me thinking: Why?

Why so many horror stories?

While I can't be sure why others experienced horrors, I'm pretty sure I can guess. And I'm pretty sure these are the three reasons we won't. 

  1. Before we made a commitment or paid any money, we had several conversations with our website designer to make sure he understood our business and its new directions.
  2. Then we worked to determine (A) he grasps our big-picture goals for the business in general and website in particular, and (B) has the technical skills to accomplish what we want and need.
  3. Once we were confident he understood us and had the needed technical skills, we put things on paper: timeline, tasks, who owns what, fee, payment method, payment schedule, everything he will do, everything he will NOT do, everything we are expected to supply or do, etc. 

Now neither of us has to guess what the other understands or expects, which means we both can move forward with smiles on our faces. At completion, instead of sharing horror stories, we'll shout Hooray! because we took the time/effort/energy to communicate–in person and in writing.

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Copyright © 2018 Click Media Works. All rights reserved.

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Secrets Revealed: How to break free from your J-O-B and become a successful freelance writer

By Kathleen Rake

I'll bet most of you who know me know that since 2010 I've had success as a full-time freelance writer—as a freelance copywriter and content creator. Prior to that, since the mid-1990s, I did it part-time, at nights and on weekends, off the corner of my home-office desk—the proverbial side hustle

Freelance Copywriter Success-Secrets Revealed

But, do you also know that over the course of six years and prior to breaking out solo as a freelancer, I worked as a business advisor within a self-employment program and helped hundreds of new entrepreneurs from the Fraser Valley—Mission, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, and Langley—start and run their own businesses? Many of these business people continue with their success, even after 10 years. 

If you know how to write and wonder if you might have a future as a freelance writer, the kind who gets to make your own hours, choose the best clients, and make enough money to pay the mortgage, buy groceries, and fully support yourself and your family—with vacations thrown in for good measure—then please join me at my 30-day pop-up Facebook page, Freelance Copywriter Success: Secrets Revealed. It starts today, is free, and you don't have to do anything but ask questions and read answers. The pop-up closes March 19, 2018.

In addition to answering your questions, I'll provide access to 

  • bits of wisdom to help you from making our mistakes;
  • cheat sheets to help you move forward;
  • tricks + tips to make things super simple;
  • proven success strategies; and, yes, the
  • secrets successful freelance writers use every day.

This pop-up is a closed group so only those within it can read your questions and the answers. Just go here and ask to be admitted. I look forward to answering your questions.

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Copyright © 2018 Click Media Works. All rights reserved.

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BoFW: Should you ask existing customers for referrals?

By Kathleen Rake

Q:

Should you ask existing customers for referrals?

Short A:

Yes.

Longer A:

Yes. But only if you want to get more work from people who are likely to pay well, pay on time, and give additional referrals.

What do I mean? Well, chances are that a good customer is going to give you the names of people he or she thinks are good candidates for your services. No one wants to make a bad referral; in my experience, at least, chances of a good customer-writer relationship increase when it begins as the result of an already-good-customer referral.

To increase your opportunities for good referrals, first confirm that this customer is happy with the work you are doing or have just completed, then ask questions (see examples below) that begin with who, where, which, or what, and don't forget to find out if you can use the current customer's name when you reach out—better yet, ask if your customer would make an email introduction.

  1. Who else in your industry would benefit from the kind of work I do?
  2. Where else do you think I should be looking for work like this?
  3. What other departments in this company ... ?
  4. Which of your suppliers ... ?

Warning-do not ask for referrals-unless you want them

Are you a writer who wants to make the move to professional freelancer? We are happy to answer your questions. Ask them here, on Facebook or Twitter, by email, or at Instagram. As we get questions, we'll share them (and our answers) with you here. We will use your name if, and only if, you give us permission.

Look for the hashtags #BoFW and #BusinessOfFreelanceWriting on all our social media platforms ... and please check back often.

 Write.
 Get paid.
 Repeat.

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Copyright © 2016 Click Media Works. All rights reserved.

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BoFW: How do you avoid getting stuck with unpaid invoices?

By Kathleen Rake

Are you considering making the move from in-house or staff writer, journalist, or author to full- or part-time freelance writer? 

We know that move can be scary—we've been there!

We want to help you shake off some of that fear by answering your questions about the business of freelance writing (#BoFW) right here. So, let's go:

Question:

How do you avoid getting stuck with unpaid invoices?

Answer:

We do two things we do to ensure we don't get "stuck." First, we write a detailed proposal that the client reads and signs. You'll want to make sure the client understands what you will do, what you won't do, delivery date(s), number of revisions, and more. The second thing we do is ask for (and get!) a deposit on the project before we start.

Freelance Friday-Thought for the day (1)

***************

Are you a writer who wants to make the move to professional freelancer? We are happy to answer your questions. Ask them here, on Facebook or Twitter, by email, or at Instagram. As we get questions, we'll share them (and our answers) with you here. We will use your name if, and only if, you give us permission.

Look for the hashtags #FreelanceWriterBiz, #BusinessOfFreelanceWriting, or #BoFW on our social media platforms ... and please check back often.

→ Write.
→ Get paid.
 Repeat.

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Copyright © 2016 Click Media Works. All rights reserved.

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The business of freelance writing: We're happy to answer your questions

Write.
Get paid.
Repeat.

Are you a writer who wants to make the move from in-house staff to professional freelancer? We are happy to answer your questions. Ask them here, on Facebook or Twitter, by email, or at Instagram. As we get questions, we'll share them (and our answers) with you here.

Look for the hashtags #BoFW and #BusinessOfFreelanceWriting on all our social media platforms ... and please check back often.

Clickety-clack, tippety-tap

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Copyright © 2016 Click Media Works. All rights reserved.

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LEST WE FORGET: WHY CANADIANS WEAR POPPIES ON NOVEMBER 11

By Kathleen Rake


Do you know why Canadians wear poppies to commemorate November 11, the date we call Remembrance Day?

Here is a poem almost every Canadian child learns by heart. It was written by Canadian
poet-doctor-soldier John McCrae during World War I. It will help you understand.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Nov. 11Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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Copyright © 2016 Click Media Works. All rights reserved.

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HOW TO WRITE WITHOUT DISTRACTION: AN EASY 3-STEP PLAN

By Kathleen Rake

I admit it! I am easily distracted, even with a deadline looming. But, over the years, I have discovered a couple of tricks and one valuable tool to help me beat the distractions so I can keep to task and meet my deadlines.

  1. Turn off anything that rings, chimes, dings, clicks, or buzzes, except for #3 below. That way you won't be tempted to find out what's going on outside your focused bubble.
  2. Go to your computer with a full stomach and a large glass of water. If you are hungry or thirsty, you will find an excuse to get up. And, if you do that, you'll probably stop to do another task or two ... or five.
  3. Get and use a two-dollar kitchen timer. Set it for 20 or 30 minutes, or the time frame that works best for you. During that time, do nothing but your task at hand. Maybe it's writing ad copy or composing social media posts for the week. Maybe you have to bang out a couple of chapters of your book. Whatever your task, work it for the full 20 or 30 minutes. When the buzzer goes off (and scares you out of your wits), reward yourself with a tea break, some leg stretches, or a rapid repeat of another 20 or 30 minutes. You will be amazed at how much you get accomplished.

    Really.

Untitled design (1)

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Copyright © 2016 Click Media Works. All rights reserved.


WHY IT'S GOOD BUSINESS TO EMBRACE YOUR SO-CALLED COMPETITORS: 5 REASONS

By Kathleen Rake

I am not competitive in business; at least, not competitive in the traditional sense.

I don't believe I have to beat YOU in order to win ... to be successful. Rather, I like to embrace those who are considered my competition for a number of reasons.

And I think you should, too.

Scroll down to find out why.

LET'S WORK TOGETHER

I don't worry about what my so-called competitors do—I am aware, but not worried. I am too busy dedicating my energy to growing my own company and serving clients.

At Click Media Works, our focus is relatively narrow, especially when you consider the huge worlds of marketing, corporate communications, and public relations.

We are writers and editors.

We string words together (cleverly and effectively, I might add) for commercial and industrial enterprises, non-profit and charitable organizations, public figures, and educational and government agencies and departments. 

Our clients hire us to write the words that build the messages used to serve their respective business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) needs, and deliver those messages using various vehicles: Blog posts, web copy, case studies, social media posts, video or audio scripts, press releases, advertorials and advertisements, and whatever else needs words. We consult on the content we deliver and help our clients fit the words into their larger marketing, public relations, or corporate communications (internal or external) strategies.

But—and this is important—we are not a full-on marketing or public relations firm. Here are some of the things we do NOT do:

  • create graphic designs
  • shoot video or record audio
  • build websites or blogs
  • develop and execute comprehensive marketing or public relations campaigns
  • organize events

So, back to the title of this blog post and the purpose of writing it, here are the five reasons it is good business to embrace your so-called competitors.

1. WE REFER BUSINESS TO THEM (AND KEEP OUR CLIENTS HAPPY)

Since our clients often need some of the services I noted above, I am grateful to have developed strong relationships with people and agencies who provide them. And yes, they provide writing, too, which makes them, in effect, my so-called competitors. But, I prefer to call them my strategic alliances, my colleagues, my friends.

I know their work, their character, and that I can count on them.

If a client needs graphics or a design layout, I can send them directly to Camilla Coates, Linda Horn, or Denée VanDiermenIf they need a branding package or comprehensive marketing and PR plan, I call Leanne Froese. If they are looking for an integrated digital marketing plan, then Allison Markin is my go-to [ahem] competitor. If a client needs a PR splash, I connect with Summer Dhillon-Giesbrecht. And for video, Gilda Diaz or Keith Dobie get the call. 

The bonus, as I see it, is that I don't leave my client to whirl in the wind wondering who to hire to get "that other part" of the project done.

Customer Service 101 ... Yes?

2. WE HIRE THEM DIRECTLY (AND KEEP OUR CLIENTS HAPPY)

Sometimes, if circumstances call for it, we contract the other firm—we pay them—and manage the project for our client. Then we become the so-called competitor's client.

And, occasionally, we need their services for our own company's branding, marketing, or PR purposes.

3. THEY PAY US TO DO WORK THEY CANNOT

One of the benefits to developing relationships with these other people and firms, with our so-called competitors, is that they often get too busy to effectively generate and deliver the writing for their clients' projects. That's when they call on us. Three-way win, again.

4. DIRECT COMPETITORS SEND WORK, TOO

What about direct competitors? Other writers?

I don't worry about them, either. They are, in my opinion, my greatest asset. I have been a member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) for more than 12 years. During this time, I've developed good, strong relationships with a number of other professional freelance writers. I don't know of one who would try to steal a client or mess up another writer's relationship with a client.

It's worked out so that I have referred writing jobs directly to other writers, and they to me, simply because of schedules, preferred projects, and areas of expertise.

I don't like writing proposals or government grants, but I know my friend and colleague Heidi Turner does. So, I'd rather refer a client to her for one of those projects and keep that client extremely happy, while I remain free of frustration.

Ronda Payne has a busy schedule, so she refers certain clients and projects to me (and others) rather than suffer through them.

5. MORAL AND PRACTICAL SUPPORT

I don't think it matters what industry you are in, you need to have some strong alliances set. Sometimes you simply need to vent, but other times it's fabulous to be able to celebrate with someone who really knows what goes on behind the curtain.

And, what happens if you take ill? Suffer an emotional set-back? Or, [knock on wood] get hit by a bus? If you've set it up, you know you can count on these others to support you (read: do the work for you, without taking the credit or client) when you need it most.

I'd love to know what you think. Please connect with me in the comments here.

I'm easy to find on Facebook and Twitter, too.

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Copyright © 2016 Click Media Works. All rights reserved.