Category Archives: freelance jobs

When and How To Find Freelance Jobs

By Amanda Smyth Connor


By now, you’ve come to learn that I have a deeply passionate fondness for social media – bordering on unhealthy obsession – and this week we’ll explore one more reason why I believe  social media is the greatest invention since #slicedbread.

Now that you are on Twitter (you are, aren’t you?) and you’re fully entrenched into following, conversing with, and RTing your favorite freelancers, writers, authors, etc, you should also be following all of the companies you are most interested in working with.

Nearly every major company has a social media presence, and the smartest of the bunch have Twitter feeds/Facebook accounts/LinkedIn pages dedicated to talent acquisition, i.e. job postings. Companies are currently in their first quarter (Q1) during which the majority of hiring takes place for the year, as Q1 occurs directly following budget approvals. What does this all mean? It means that you have the best chance of getting hired for awesome freelance gigs during Q1, and maybe Q2. Chances are also low that you’ll get hired during Q3 and most hiring is NOT done during Q4, since this is the time of year that companies have expended their budgets and need to wait for new budget approval (Q1.) And thus we come full circle.

Pop Quiz!

1. When do you have the highest chance of finding a freelance gig with a company? (A. Q1)

2. Where should you look for company jobs? (A. Aside from freelance job boards, follow the company talent acquisition Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, LinkedIn pages and RSS feeds on the career pages of their websites.)

3. When are you least likely to get a call back about that awesome freelance gig you applied for? (A. Q4)

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.

Sometimes You Have To Tell The Client NO

Joe-Wallace-Vinyl-Collector-and-authorby Joe Wallace

I love my clients. I have just the right amount of them, the projects are diverse and interesting, and I have good rapport with them. Over the long haul, there have been suggested changes, tweaks, alterations to the work flow, content, the usual course corrections that come with any long-term relationship.

And like any long term relationship, there are suggested directions that turn out to be bad ideas, and some that are just plain untenable from the start.

In my early days as a freelancer, I used “the customer is always right” motto until it became apparent to me that, even as a writer (as opposed to a writer/editor/sound designer/social media promoter, blah blah) the clients often turn to me as a subject matter expert and informal advisor–even when they don’t realize they’re doing so. That’s about the time I started saying no to ideas that don’t work, are too ambitious, or just plain bad.

In a sushi bar in downtown Chicago this week, I overheard two lawyers talking shop. Some of the best-ever advice for freelancers came from my shameless “accidental” overhearing of the following paraphrased statement.

“I tell them two things: I say, ‘this is my role and in my professional capacity I will tell you A, B and C about what you’re asking. Now I’m going to step outside my role as your professional and I’m going to tell you what I personally think about this scenario based on my prior experience with it. I do this to let you know that in my professional capacity with you, I’ll give you the advice you need–but I’ll also tell you off the record whether it’s practical in the real world.’ ”

I’ve done quite a bit of that myself, albeit in less direct ways–but I’m starting to think I should take my cues from a lawyer in a sushi bar and start couching it in those terms.

–Joe Wallace

A Digital Freelancer Shares His “How I Did It” Story

Even though Tim Diggle is a freelance Flash developer, non-techie freelancers can learn or at least be inspired by Tim’s story. This video clip is created by a U.K. digital placement agency called Major Players. A lot of freelancers turn to placement/temp services like this for a variety of reasons, but Tim’s advice applies whether you’re with an agency or going it alone.

His short section on how to deal with an agency is pretty good stuff for anyone about to explore that option–you really do have to be on top of your game to compete at the agency level, but more on that in another post.

Who’s Hiring?

By Amanda Smyth Connor1362732_happy_friends

In this crap economy, is anyone still hiring freelance writers?

Yes! Squee! Oh for joy, some wonderful companies are still hiring! And you might be surprised to hear which companies are in need of fabulous writers like yourself.

1. Gaming companies. Game development companies like Zynga and EA are in a state of fast growth and are pumping out games for various platforms faster that you can say “Alec Baldwin playing Words with Friends.” Look for jobs like “community manager” for social media positions and “content developers” for freelance writing positions.

2. Political campaigns. I’m not talking about writing speeches for Obama (although if you can get that gig, I’d ask that you put in a good word for me.) I’m talking about offering your services up to local politicians in need of bloggers, content managers and social media assistants. Just beware the skeletons in the closet.

3. Start-Ups! Keep a close eye on any start-up that you hear about. It may mean short-term gigs because funds are tight, but start-up companies notoriously need content created in large quantities very quickly as they work to build SEO and marketing campaigns. This will mean flexibility on your part when it comes to tight turnaround and jumping from one project to the next, but if you can get in good on the ground floor of a good start-up, you can position yourself for loads of steady freelance work. ps. Etsy is hiring bloggers right now. FYI.

4. Hit up my favorite industry job They have full-time, part-time and freelance job listings for the writing, editing and social media industries. Check it out.

Amanda Smyth Connor is a social media 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.

A Job Opp You May Not Have Considered

By Amanda Smyth Connor1151807_to_do

Being a freelance writer means staying on the ball regarding finding new job opportunities and clients. It also means staying flexible in your job search. One job opportunity you may not have considered is within the community management and social media realm.

Many major corporations are outsourcing their community management needs and many of these job skills encompass what you are already good at: writing, planning and coming up with creative ideas.

What does this role call for specifically? Community managers are in charge of developing and maintaining the style and tone of content that is posted within a community. They develop editorial calendars and make recommendations for specific content. They gather feedback from the community and make decisions about how best to engage the community. They suggest various means of revenue. They control most of the social media channels and messaging, and they develop content – from marketing messaging to blog posts. Community managers straddle the marketing departments, member services departments and editorial departments. They may even have a say in product development. For being a relatively new field, community managers are in greater need now that major companies are realizing the need for such a diverse position.

While networking and job hunting, keep this position hot on your radar!

Hot Jobs: Community Manager

By Amanda Smyth Connorherding-cats

One of the hot new jobs popping up for 2011 is the position of community manager. Online community managers carry four main responsibilities:

1. They serve as the online brand ambassador  and work to establish and cultivate communities of users and members. They often serve as the voice of the community, as well as the liaison between the community and the corporation.

2. They track analytics and report back on what marketing and social media strategies are working and what’s not working.

3. They develop communications plans based on customer feedback to better serve the community, while educating other departments, like PR, marketing and social media, on how better to reach said community.

4. They develop content for specific sites to engage the community and keep them coming back for more.

Why should you befriend your local online community manager? #4 on the list above is “develop content.” That’s where freelancers become invaluable to a good community manager. One CM may be responsible for several sites and audiences. It’s rare that one CM would be solely responsible for all of the content creation, thus, it falls on their shoulders to hire the best freelancers and bloggers to assist in creating articles, site copy, blog posts, etc. And if you have some knowledge of SEO practices, you become even MORE invaluable to a CM.

So put out your networking feelers and see who in your mental rolodex might provide an “in” to a CM in need of great writers, like yourselves.

Amanda Smyth Connor has managed online communities and nationwide marketing campaigns for several start-up and  Fortune 500 companies, and has been an editor for more years than she can remember.