Tag Archives: social networking

Freelancing and the Smartphone

SamsungGalaxy4GBlazeWell…I finally did it. I bought a smartphone. A Samsung Galaxy 4G Blaze.

Amid a confluence of events a few weeks ago, I noticed that I’d worn the numbers off the keypad of my old Motorola flip-phone, just as T-Mobile’s e-mail marketing announcement for their $50 unlimited plan landed in my inbox; and when I followed the link to investigate, I was seduced by their special price on the Blaze. So I took the leap.

It wasn’t that I had any burning need for a smartphone, and could easily have ordered an updated model of my old flip-phone. But I also believe that a key element of staying sharp through the aging process is to embrace and master any new technology that seems relevant and applicable to my livelihood and lifestyle.

I spent the first week customizing the aesthetics and functionality of my sleek new toy. I wallpapered my home screen with an alluring photo of a tropical beach; I added smiling headshot photos of family, friends, and clients to all my contact IDs; I created an upbeat ringtone for incoming calls; and I imported an MP3 of Joni Mitchell’s Chelsea Morning for my wake-up alarm. How could each day not get off to a fabulous start with her infectious exuberance to set the tone?

And then…Reality set in. The T-Mobile invoice arrived and smacked me upside the head like a mackerel. With the cost of the data plan upgrade, plus the price of my sexy new smartphone, I’ll be paying more than $800 a year for the next two years, which means that Miss Blaze is going to have to earn her keep.

Toward that end, I got rid of all the superfluous apps that came pre-installed on the phone to make room for a suite of downloads to boost my freelancing productivity. Of the hundred-bajillion apps out there to choose from, I managed to winnow the field to these five:

Dragon: I’ve conducted lots of interviews over the years with my Sony digital voice recorder. But reviewing and transcribing afterwards was always such a chore. So I’ll be using Dragon to record and transcribe my interviews with all those fascinating people.

Dropbox: The new darling for media creatives, this file sharing app allows users to access files of all kinds between their own devices, or with anyone authorized to access shared files.

HootSuite: I recently made a resolution to post more consistently and frequently to my professional pages on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. But posting in triplicate can be so time consuming and redundant. So I added HootSuite to my Blaze so I can manage all my posts with one app.

QuickMark QR Barcode Scanner: There was a time when I had no idea what those little square bar codes were, until I was asked to put one in a client’s ad layout. Although I’m now reading reports that QR codes are already becoming obsolete, I still downloaded this QR scanning app to take advantage of the technology while it lasts. And of course, once the next iteration goes mainstream, I’ll download an app for that.

Mobile Banking: For the longest time, I’ve been seeing television ads by various financial institutions for mobile banking, in which account holders can receive money by electronic funds transfer (EFT), as well as by taking a snapshot of a check, thus saving themselves a trip to the bank. Can’t wait to give it a try when the payment checks arrive for this month’s invoices.

Sadly, and much to my dismay, although I searched high and low for a mobile app to help me find and apply for freelance writing and publication layout jobs, there just isn’t one out there yet that fills the bill. Sure there are lots of apps that make the claim, but the reviews for them are all negative, and some are even tagged as virus infected. Yikes! So I still live in hopes of finding an app that will notify me of freelance job opportunities the minute they’re posted to the web.

The four apps I’ve chosen to add to my Blaze represent only a few that I felt would serve my immediate needs, but I have no doubt that I will soon discover lots of others. In the meantime, I’ve compiled a list of my search results for the best mobile apps for freelancers:

iPhone.Appstorm: 90 Awesome iOS Apps for Freelancers

LifeHack: 30 Essential Tools and Web Apps for Freelancers

MediaBistro: Top 25 Most Popular Apps For Freelancers

FreelanceSwitch: The 10 Best Web Apps for Freelancers

CertifiedFreelance: 9 Android Apps for Freelancers on the Go

SitePoint: The 10 Essential Apps You Need to Run a Mobile Freelance Business

GuerillaFreelancing: 10 Apps for running your freelance business

FreelanceFolder: 18 Plus Free Mobile Apps for Freelancers

CelesteHeiterFZBioCeleste Heiter is the author of Turn Your PC into a Lean Mean Freelancing Machine, the creator of the LoveBites Cookbook Series for Kindle Fire, and the author of Potty Pals , a potty-training book for children. She has also written ten books published by ThingsAsian Press; and spent eight years posting her recipes, food photographs, and film reviews on ChopstickCinema .

Visit her website, and her Amazon Author Page.



She was a pushy dame with an appetite for the limelight…

SpillaneAs a freelancer, I wear two hats: one as a writer, the other as a publication layout artist. The season for my publication layout work runs from August through February, which leaves about five months of unscheduled time to pursue my own projects. Some years I get assigned to write a book, others I go scrounging for piece-work. Last year, I had neither to fill the gap, so I set several of my own ideas in motion: a series of Kindle cookbooks, a line of spice blends, an apron design, a collection of short stories, and a self-published children’s book that had been shelved and forgotten for nearly twenty years.

In the spring and summer of 2012, I managed to lay the foundations, to begin production on all of these projects, and to design a website for each one. But that’s as far as I was able to progress before it was time for the publication layout season to begin again. And now that I’m finished with this year’s edition, I’m once again presented with another five months of unscheduled time to pick up where I left off last August.

The first thing I realized is that I now have to find the most effective way to market what I’ve created. And I know I’m not alone when I say that marketing has never been my forte. I’m sure there are lots of ‘creatives’ out there who would much rather spend their time writing a novel, creating a work of art, composing a song, or in my case…developing a new recipe and photographing the finished dish!

But market I must.

On my very first day of freelancing freedom, while pondering the possibilities for introducing my creations to the world, as if manna from heaven, I happened upon a quote from steamy, noir detective novelist Mickey Spillane, who said: “Wherever I go everybody knows me, but here’s why … I’m a merchandiser, I’m not just a writer. I stay in every avenue you can think of.”

His career spanned more than sixty years, from his early stories in DC Comics and the publication of his first novel, I, the Jury, in 1947, to his death in 2006. He appeared in every medium, from comic books, magazines, and pulp fiction, to movies and television. Several of his novels have been published posthumously, and he now has a presence on the Internet that yields more than 700,000 search results.

Mickey Spillane’s words lit a fuse that sparked fireworks in my imagination, and over the course of a single week, I have explored the promotion of my products via Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Vimeo, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, Amazon, eBay, Goodreads, Twitter, Google, and Groupon, not to mention the thousands of bloggers who write about the very things that I’ve created. Suddenly there aren’t enough hours in a day, a week, or even five months to pursue them all…but I’m gonna give it my best shot.


CelesteHeiterFZBioCeleste Heiter is the author of Turn Your PC into a Lean Mean Freelancing Machine, the creator of the LoveBites Cookbook Series for Kindle Fire, and the author of Potty Pals , a potty-training book for children. She has also written ten books published by ThingsAsian Press; and spent eight years posting her recipes, food photographs, and film reviews on ChopstickCinema .

Visit her website, and her Amazon Author Page.


Expanding Your Freelance Network

freelance networkCatherine’s post yesterday, “Helping Another Writer = Good Karma,” was a timely one for me, and I wanted to expand on her thoughts—because it’s even better for your freelance business if you expand your freelance network beyond just referrals for other writers.

Some examples from the past week:

  • I received a referral from a client for a PR project that was really outside my expertise, so I sub-referred it to someone I know who’s capable of pulling it off.
  • I referred a long-time graphic designer colleague, who’s recently gone freelance, to a client who needs some high-end talent.
  • And while editing a white paper for another client, it occurred to me that another client (a professional speaker and author) might find the content useful for her audiences, so I introduced and connected them, too.

None of these will result in direct business for me, and I don’t know for sure if it will mean additional business for any of the people I’ve introduced to each other. And as Catherine pointed out, my motives for doing it were a blend of unselfish and selfish. Sure, I might help some folks generate some additional revenue. Sure, if my matchmaking works, I’m going to cultivate some good karma with clients and potential clients as well as fellow freelancers…and maybe some additional business or referrals will come back my way down the road. There’s nothing wrong with that, eh?

From a bigger-picture perspective, I think we often fool ourselves into thinking that participation in social media means we’re being social. It doesn’t. Real business means picking up the phone or sending a thoughtful email, personally connecting partners, clients, colleagues or friends in ways that improve their own networks and results.

In the comments, share your matchmaking tips or anecdotes. What do you do to expand your freelance network and influence?

Jake Poinier dispenses freelancing advice at DoctorFreelance.com and runs a Phoenix-based editorial services firm, Boomvang Creative Group.

Photo courtesy of Nate Brelsford.

Can You Reach the Right People via Social Media?

by Helen Gallagher

You might think being on blogs, Facebook and Twitter gives you enough exposure for your professional profile. But what if your desired reader or client isn’t out there?


Numerous studies show that men and women have differing online habits. While this may seem obvious, it is important if you’re counting on people finding you online and hiring you to work with/for them.

Examples from recent news items in The Atlantic and Christian Science Monitor:

— Fewer men use social media, and they are dramatically less likely to log on everyday.
— Men spend 28 percent less of their online time on social networks than women.
— Males don’t “Like” brands, update their status, or comment on others’ pictures as frequently as women.
— Women view social networks as a way to connect with family, friends, and co-workers. Men do not.

So, before wasting time on social media, hoping to reach the right contacts, consider spending more time reading up on sites that share meaningful industry-specific content. In other words, go where your clients are. Ideas include:

CNet.com, and wsj.com for business contacts
LinkedIn.com industry-specific groups
MediaBistro.com for journalists and media industry news

And, don’t overlook traditional trade magazines. (See tradepub.com).  Whether your client works in insurance, housewares or transportation, you’ll keep up with industry news, and be ready to talk business the next time the client contacts you for a freelance assignment.

Helen Gallagher blogs at Freelance-Zone.com to share her thoughts on small business and technology. She writes about, coaches and speaks on publishing. Her blogs and books are accessible through www.releaseyourwriting.com.

LinkedIn – On Notice

Amanda Smyth Connor1343803_rusty_chain_2

I’ll admit it. I don’t really “get” LinkedIn.

I’ve worked in social media  for about six years. During that time, I have grown to love and understand the intricacies of Facebook and Twitter. But when it comes to LinkedIn, we just never formed a connection. Our synergies never synergized.  We just didn’t click.

Dear LinkedIn. It’s not you…it’s me. Well, maybe it’s you.

Don’t get me wrong. I check LinkedIn frequently. I keep my profile up-to-date and active. I respond to requests for recommendations and connections very quickly. I have my Twitter feed hooked up and running and I obviously use LinkedIn to track what colleagues and clients are up to professionally. However, it feels like so many people are using LinkedIn for the wrong reasons.

I get spammy messages from people looking to rent out office space. I get jerky self-promotional mass emails from connections looking for new projects, and worst of all, I get requests for recommendations from people I have never worked with or have not worked with directly, which just feels really slimy. “Please recommend me even though you have no frame of reference for my work and have no idea what my work ethic is really like.”

So the question remains – is LinkedIn really just a glorified resume platform that occasionally yields a job connection, or is it a highly valuable professional social media tool that I have unfortunately not experienced in the best capacity? From a social media and professional standpoint, I just don’t understand how best to use LinkedIn – which begs the question – how user friendly is LinkedIn if someone like me is asking this question?

Until someone explains how LinkedIn should best be utilized beyond what I’ve stated above, as Colbert says: “LinkedIn – you’re on notice!”

Amanda Smyth Connor is a community manager for a major publishing company, owns her own wedding planning business, and has managed online communities and content development for many start-up and Fortune 500 companies.  She has been a professional editor for more years than she can remember.

Use Social Media Apps to Retire Early (and Time Travel)

by Mke O’Mary

mjo1 0305 cropI’ve been playing around with Twaitter and Ping.fm, and I think I’ve figured out a way to retire in two years.

You’re probably familiar with Twaitter and Ping.fm or similar apps. Twaitter allows you to schedule tweets in the future. You can schedule one tweet to be broadcast one time, or you can schedule multiple tweets to be broadcast into perpetuity.

Twaitter can be integrated with Ping.fm, and then your messages can automatically be sent not only to Twitter, but also to Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace, and about 60 other social networks.

My plan is to use Twaitter and Ping.fm to cut my workload in half in the near term, and then to retire early, all while watching my income increase exponentially.

First, I need to find a really repetitive, redundant and repetitive  job. Then I’m going to do half of next week’s work this week. After that, I’ll use Twaitter and Ping.fm to schedule and broadcast half of my work next week while I’m sitting on the beach relaxing. (I’ll have to continue to work the other half of the time.) I’ll keep doing that every week for a year, and then I’ll repeat the same steps in year two, eliminating the need to work the other half of next week. By the end of year two, I’ll no longer need to work at all.

I’ll continue to work though, partly because I am still trying to prove my third-grade teacher wrong for giving me a “check-minus” in “industriousness,” but also because I’m pretty sure that if I can figure out a way to get Twaitter and Ping.fm to feed each other, I can probably figure out a way to do multiple jobs and increase my pay exponentially, even as I slip into retirement.

And then there’s the Holy Grail of social media apps: time travel. I’ve been thinking about time travel ever since I met a man who was able to travel through time. It was 2006, and the man told me he had traveled to the present from 1970. I was skeptical at first, but then he proved it by telling me in great detail about everything that happened in 1970. It was amazing.

Ever since then, I’ve had my heart set on time travel. My thinking is that if scheduling and broadcasting messages can take you forward into perpetuity, then sending messages back from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media networks  toward the Twaitter-Ping-Google-Yahoo-Amazon-Ebay center of the universe (aka “Source”) will probably not only make time travel possible, it may actually reverse the flow of time.

That’s my thinking. Then again, I think I got a “check-minus” in “Thinks logically,” too.

Mike O’Mary is founder of Dream of Things, a book publisher and online retailer