March 28, 2011 Program Summary

“How to Survive and Thrive as an Independent Professional in
Today’s Economy”

Thriving independent professional woman jumping for joyThis informal “share and compare notes” roundtable discussion featured various STC colleagues who have firsthand knowledge of the concerns, challenges, and learning curves associated with moving into, or becoming more successful in, the freelance world.

Based on preliminary survey results, we learned that the top-most “burning issues” seemed to focus primarily on these topics:

  • Where do I find lucrative contracts?
  • What do I charge? How do I determine my rates?
  • How do I market myself as an independent professional?

Our goal was to discuss essential tips and insights around these questions, but just as importantly, to frame potential follow-on events to explore several of the other burning issues under this broad umbrella that we couldn't possibly cover in one evening.

Also, special guest Jim Seybert provided a quick overview of his area of specialization as a certified strengths trainer who helps people maximize their talents. (Jim will return at a later date to give us a complete, no-cost strengths workshop, but in the meantime, you can download his handouts, below.)

Marketing Tips from Our Participants

In addition to the ideas in the event handouts (which focus on several of many possible “killer tips” for technical communication and information design freelancers; see the handouts below), the participants offered these important marketing suggestions:

  • Write books or publications that you can self-publish, such as through a print-on-demand service, to boost your authority and credibility
  • Produce an electronic newsletter at reasonable intervals, and build your subscriber following on your Web site and at each professional appearance you make
  • Set up and post regularly to a blog, which can be especially useful to raise search engine rankings
  • Create your own YouTube channel and post video promos (one example is Flying Colours’ marketing channel; use the search term "fctv4u" to see these sample videos on YouTube)
  • Attend Chamber of Commerce mixers

For more tips, see these handouts and resources!

Downloads & Resources:

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Download the handouts:

“How to Survive and Thrive as an Independent Professional in Today’s Economy”
Date: Monday evening, March 28, 2011

Adele Sommers (LearnShareProsper.com) spent many years at aerospace companies and has been an independent business performance consultant, technical communicator, and instructional designer for almost 15 years. Currently, she focuses mainly on designing training programs and e-learning platforms for a wide range of organizations.

Mickey Reilly (MickeyWriting.com) has been a technical writer for the past 30 years. Half that time has been as a contractor, primarily as a full-time subcontractor or temporary employee of staffing agencies. She's also worked under per-project, not-to-exceed, and fixed-bid contracts.

Pete Roebber has been an employed technical writer in San Luis Obispo for the past 23 years. He’s now entering the scary but exciting world of freelance writing.

Jim Seybert (JimSeybert.com) is one of only 12 people in the world who has been certified to deliver SimplyStrengths™ & StrengthsEssentials™ workshops that teach individuals how to maximize their strengths and talents. This research-driven approach emerged from a 25-year study by The Gallup organization that involved 80,000 managers and 1,000,000 employees.

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