Category Archives: Business

The New Hotness in Social Media: Twitter Vine

By Amanda Smyth Connorvine-twitter

My favorite pastime is researching and disregarding the new social media tools that pop up seemingly every day. More often than not, I find that they are re-purposed or re-skinned versions of tools I’m already using. I’ve got my social media favorites:

Hootsuite (for keeping all of my Twitter and Facebook accounts in one place.)

Radian6 (because I am a spoiled child who convinced her company to pay for this shiny and very expensive social media tool, although I maintain that this is Best in Class for social listening.)

SocialMention.com (It’s free and offers very quick sentiment analysis and mentions.)

But the latest hotness to come about is Twitter’s Vine app.

The new Vine app links directly to your Twitter account and creates a 6-second video, during which you can edit only so far as pausing the recording process. Check out some of the amazing videos users are posting already.

Why am I telling you about this new tool? Because this new social toy is becoming the new overnight hotness and much like Pinterest, it’s spreading like wildfire. If you are interested in furthering your social media involvement, or in adding a new line item to your resume of freelance skills, get creative and begin expanding your social media horizons with this new app.

Brands are already clamoring for ways in which they can engage users through this video feature. From stop-motion to straight videos, this is a landscape that companies are anxious to be a part of, so believe me when I say that it is in your best interest to, at the very LEAST, familiarize yourself with this awesome app. It’s going to be a great tool to have in your freelance toolkit.

 

Amanda Smyth Connor is a social media manager for a major publishing company 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.

 

Add Value with Video

CelesteHeiterFZBioIn case you haven’t noticed…video is everywhere! With the abundance of affordable recording devices, from smartphones to digital cameras and mini-camcorders, there’s no end to the possibilities. And these days, nearly every OS includes basic video editing software.

If you want to go pro…there are dozens of options, including Adobe Creative Suite, which now includes Adobe Premiere, a full-scale digital video editing program with all the bells and whistles to enhance your raw footage and even create some amazing special effects. Best of all, the web is loaded with tutorials to help minimize the learning curve.

And when it comes to venues for your video creations, they run the gamut, from the free-for-all known as YouTube…to the news reels embedded in the lead stories of nearly every media website. So if you want to up the ante on your web-based freelance assignments, think video and start offering clips to sweeten the pot…and your paycheck!

Celeste 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.

Stress Management or “How To Freak Out and Throw Things.”

lady-screams

A portrait of the author.

By Amanda Smyth Connor

We’ve all been there. Suddenly all of your deadline worlds collide, all of the stresses of the world unite and it all falls on your shoulders. No matter how carefully you maintain your deadlines, schedules and plans,  work stress can’t be helped.

I’m not talking about the day-to-day stress of maintaining your daily workload. I’m talking about the days when everything is on fire, all of the clients are calling and your inbox has hit its max. You find yourself spiraling out of control until you’re rocking in the corner and your productivity is shot.

Stress management is essential to the freelancer, particularly in an industry known for job flow that is feast-or-famine. As a freelancer, you may go weeks or, God forbid, months without a new client. This is a terrifying ordeal. What may be equally as terrifying is when all of the clients come calling at once.

There are only so many hours in a day and at least a precious few of those need to be dedicated to eating and sleeping (note: showering is always the first thing to go when the deadlines come calling.)

Stress management comes in various ways.

1. Prioritize the insanity to the best of your abilities. Is one project really on fire or is it merely smoldering? Can we de-prioritize it behind the project that is at “stage 5 inferno?” Which deadlines require immediate attention and which ones can be put off for a day with a simple email or phone call response.

2. You can’t work yourself to death. It’s counterproductive to be dead. When spiraling, I tend to forego sleep and I forget to eat regular meals. I run myself down quickly, I hit a wall and then I become useless to everyone.

Take breaks. Eat a meal during which you don’t check email, even if it’s for just 30-minutes. And try to get at least 6-hours of sleep, otherwise you’ll just crap out.

3. The worst thing you can do is to relieve stress by lashing out. Do not lash out at innocent bystanders who happen to get in the way of your rage-stroke. This won’t help you feel better.

 

How do you handle stress management when things get crazy? 

 

Amanda Smyth Connor is a social media manager for a major publishing company 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.

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.

 

Manifesting My Freelancing Destiny

creationYears ago, at a time when I was at a crossroads in my career, I came upon a quote by San Francisco Bay Area psychologist Geri Weitzman, PhD. She said, “Sometimes you gotta create what you want to be a part of.” I was so inspired by this jewel of wisdom that I taped it to my refrigerator door, where it stayed for several years as a reminder of the creative potential that lives within us all.

Having had only minimal success submitting stories and articles to a small, local publication for seniors, I first applied Dr. Weitzman’s approach when I decided to try my hand at publishing my own magazine. Home PC’s and the Internet had become household commodities, and as a result, the desktop publishing industry was burgeoning as well.

At that time, I had been recently diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse, and having found no relief for my condition through practitioners of mainstream medicine, I began seeking alternative treatment with great success. So…using a desktop PC set up on my kitchen table, I created and published a little magazine called Pathways to Health, aimed at opening a dialogue between doctors of mainstream surgical and pharmaceutical medicine, and practitioners of alternative health care therapies such as acupuncture, massage, and reflexology. Pathways to Health was a modest success that lasted a little over two years, but never reaped a sustainable profit. Nevertheless, for me it was a crash course in the nuts and bolts of the publishing industry, and it opened doors to business relationships that still fuel my freelancing career to this day.

Fast-forward five years, to the day I sold my first travel tale, The Fox and the Foreigner, to ThingsAsian.com. Upon its publication, the site owner asked me to write a series of four articles about my experience teaching English in Japan; and it was those four articles that later became the core of my first published book, Ganbatte Means Go for It. I went on to write several more Japan-related books for ThingsAsian Press, but what I really wanted was to explore Asian culture through food and film.

So, when the site owner of ThingsAsian offered me my own weblog, there was no need to deliberate over what the theme would be: I created a daily blog called Chopstick Cinema; and for eight years, I had the pleasure of experimenting with hundreds of dishes from every cuisine throughout Asia, while enjoying the best that Asian cinema has to offer (with the added bonus that I have become a competent food photographer in the process).

With the current global economy, I am once again at a crossroads in my career. I’ve developed a skill set that qualifies me for an array of options in the publishing industry, but I’ve been freelancing for so long that I’m practically feral. So the idea of a punch-the-clock job is out of the question. Meanwhile, the food-blogging industry has reached critical mass, and print publishing is rapidly yielding to digital media. So once again, I find myself invoking the wisdom of Dr. Geri Weitzman: Sometimes you gotta create what you want to be a part of.

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.

5 Strategies to Up Your Marketing Expertise (FREE classes, webinars, eBooks, and other goodies)

by Diane Holmes, (a) Chief Alchemist of Pitch University, (b) lover of learning, and (c) writer of fiction, non-fiction, and the occasional manifesto.

Change Your Marketing Mindset for 2013

How?  So glad you asked.  Take a look at these expertise-building options.

#1:  Enchanting Your Prospects by Guy Kawasaki + 17 other FREE Marketing classes

Inbound Marketing University (IMU) is HubSpot’s free marketing training and certification program. IMU offers an online curriculum of 18 Internet marketing webinars taught by a faculty of top marketing experts.

#2: Derek Sivers: How to start a movement

People often feel assaulted by messages of selling.  But people join movements and become part of the message.  In 3 minutes, this TED Talk shows you how it’s done.

#3: The AMA’s Executive Guide to Social Media Success in 2012

You can choose this report plus any of the other 5 free ebooks/magazines by the American Marketing Association.

#4: Free Downloadable Webinar: The Power of Consumer to Consumer Recommendations

Womma (Word of Mouth Marketing Association) is a pretty awesome group. Their WOMMFest is coming up February 19th. And Womm-U is May 20-22, 2013. 

These day’s there’s nothing more powerful than word-of-mouth (also called… consumer-to-consumer recommendations!)

#5: Help-A-Reporter Out (HARO) email list

Help educate others!  This is a blast. Reporters need expert quotes. You could be that expert. Being seen as an expert is an rockin’ marketing strategy.

BONUS #1: CFC: Marketing Resources for Freelancers
BONUS #2: 101 Freelance Resources you can use today!

clip_image001[4]Diane writes two columns for Freelance-Zone: (1) Fiction-Zone: Leaps in Fiction Mastery and (2) Marketing-Zone: Marketing Yourself and Your Writing.