A freelance field trip

Sorry — again — about not blogging much. I've been so busy lately, and my blogs are definitely suffering some neglect because of it.

Anyway, today is just gorgeous. After weeks of afternoon thunderstorms, it's finally getting up into the lower 80s. (I didn't think I'd ever be happy about that...) Since I was up early today, I was able to fully appreciate the cheerful weather, and I decided it would be best enjoyed from a table on the patio at my local Starbucks.

(Our dog Emma didn't think very highly of that decision. She wanted to go out and sunbathe, and instead I left her standing in the mud room, looking rather surprised and disappointed. I still feel guilty about that one...)

Anyway, while I was waiting for my drink, I saw three guys in business suits walk in. They looked like they would be staying for a while. Lori Widmer's blog post on treating coffee shops as a networking opportunity is always on my mind when I come here, and here was my grand opportunity!

I wouldn't ever walk right up to them, but I knew that by pulling out my laptop and getting to work inside, I could probably set myself up to have the proper questions asked. But it was cold inside, and there was this perfect little table on the patio that had the table top in shade but the chair partially in the sun (to warm me up). I looked uncertainly from that table back to the comfy armchair I would sit in if I stayed inside.

In the end, shyness won. I grabbed my drink and my computer and bolted outside to the patio. I really need to work uninterrupted, was what I told myself. Oh, and there was the They'll only think I'm a college student, anyway excuse. But what it comes down to is that I'm still a little bit shy when it comes to face-to-face networking.

I'm curious if my fellow freelancers ever have attacks of shyness thata could potentially rob them of a new client. Or is it just me who balks at the thought of having to sell myself to someone's face.

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By Katharine Swan On Thursday, June 18, 2009 At 9:53 AM 0 comments

The best indicator of my workload...

...is how seldom I update this blog, I'm afraid.

I've been pretty busy lately, and it usually shows up in the declining frequency with which I blog. The blog most likely to be updated, regardless of my workload, is my horse blog — the others tend to get pushed onto the back burner when I get too busy to maintain all of them (and I have quite a few!).

This is one thing that I need to work on: balancing work and my own projects. I tend to load up on work when I have it, and then inundate my readers with blog posts during slow periods. It's just like how I tend to only market when there is no income in sight (which, luckily, hasn't happened in a while — but still, a bad habit to get into!).

So I'm going to make a list of a few ideas for keeping up on my blogging — and my marketing, for that matter:

* Setting aside an hour of time dedicated to updating my blogs (not reading other people's blogs — I don't need any encouragement there!)

* Focusing on writing rather than reading blogs (something that I've had a difficult time doing since Blogger introduced the dashboard Reading List)

* Scheduling more posts several days or even weeks out when I find I have extra time

How do you avoid neglecting your blog and/or other marketing tasks?

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By Katharine Swan On Wednesday, June 10, 2009 At 7:20 PM 2 comments

Freelancing report card for May

Yesterday Lori Widmer posted her monthly assessment for May. As you know if you read my blog, I don't often post this myself, but I think this time I'm going to pipe up.

I think I've mentioned before that the year started out kind of slow for me — both January and February's earnings were dismal. March started picking up (despite me being gone for two weeks), and since then I've met my drop-dead minimum goal every month. (My minimum is the amount I need to pay my bills and have a little bit of spending money on the side.)

However, I also have a higher, more idealistic goal that I didn't quite reach. I usually only meet or exceed this goal one or two months out of the year, and I technically already did in March, though that is partly because some February work rolled into March. But in any case, I'm going to make a concerted effort this month to meet my higher goal.

Things are looking good in other areas than financial, too. I've been quite busy with work lately — busy enough to need a three-day weekend after meeting a major deadline. Most of this is from a few regular clients, but just last week I had a longtime on-again, off-again client contact me with some unexpected work. I've also gotten a little bit of marketing in here and there — not much, but some is better than nothing, right?

The one thing that I keep failing on is updating my website. It's been a long time, and I know I need to do this, but it seems there's always something else to do that supercedes this rather large and intimidating task. I'm in the middle of doing a major overhaul to certain pages on my website, but I keep getting stalled on it. So I think that will be my second goal for June — to get those updates finished!

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By Katharine Swan On Tuesday, June 02, 2009 At 10:27 AM 2 comments

Recharging my batteries

May was a busy month for me. After a slightly slow period at the beginning of the month while I waited for the month's assignments from my biggest client, I stayed pretty busy until almost the very end of the month. It's been a while since I've felt that efficient and productive. It was a good feeling, and it paid off in the income department, too.

But I can only keep up a high level of efficiency for so long before I need to take a break and recharge my batteries, so to speak. So after staying up late to meet a deadline Thursday night, and earning literally twice the dollar amount I usually do in one day, on Friday I wasn't feeling much like working.

I'm not terribly good at forcing myself to work when I don't feel like it and I don't have anything pressing, so I decided to put off the work for that day (which didn't have a fixed deadline) and read instead. I spent the entire day reading, and I have to say it was a fantastic feeling.

Sometimes I work over the weekend, but Michael and I were pretty busy this time, so I didn't push that either. And to top it all off, I let myself sleep in a bit later than normal today.

It sounds like three and a half days of slacking, doesn't it? But to me, it's worth it, because I woke up feeling ready to get back to work — and being genuinely excited about working is priceless, in my opinion!

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By Katharine Swan On Monday, June 01, 2009 At 12:52 PM 2 comments

Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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