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Networking Tips for the Self-employed

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One of the best ways to position yourself as an expert, get new clients and grow your business is to network. You need to learn how to make strong connections with people.
When you network, you put yourself in the midst of people who are your potential clients, those who are in the same niche as you and those you can partner with. With this in mind, you need to make good use of the opportunity you have to network with people. Because of the importance networking has to freelancers and small business owners, I’ve put together a few tips to make each networking experience profitable.
1.    Set a clear goal or purpose for networking
Although networking can be fun and quite informative, you should not forget the real reason why you’re doing it. For this reason you need to have a clearly defined goal you want to achieve at the end of the networking event or meetup. This will keep you focused and encourage you to be strategic about what you talk about and how you conduct yourself to achieve that goal. But remember to have fun in the process. It’s not necessary to be so formal while networking.
2.    Master your elevator pitch
I first heard about the elevator pitch on a Pro Blogger podcast. I have mastered it since then and use it every day to sign up new clients. When you walk up to people or when people approach you, it is likely that they’ll ask you what you do for a living or what business you’re into. Make sure that you know you have your elevator pitch ready. An elevator pitch is a short description of what business you’re into, what you do, who your clients are and what you do for them.
Take time to plan and rehearse your elevator pitch before networking. You have 60 seconds to make a good impression, so make it count.
3.    Keep the conversation going with open-ended questions
Nobody likes an awkward silence, especially when you try to start a conversation with someone. Conversations that are engaging and memorable create a deep connection with the person you’re talking to.
Develop the skill of asking open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are questions that encourage people to answer with sentences.  They encourage a conversation unlike close-ended questions which encourage a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. When you ask open-ended questions you prompt the person to speak more and that keeps the conversation going, which is great for you.
4.    Always carry your business card
When you meet someone who is a potential client or someone you want to connect with in the future, it’s a good practice to share your business card with them. Your business card contains all of your contact details written in one place. It makes you look professional and it saves you the time you would have spent to bring out your phone, share your phone number and store the other person’s number in your phone. I never leave my house without some business cards.
5.    Be yourself
When you’re surrounded by so many accomplished people, there’s a natural urge for you to try to fit in so you won’t feel left out. However, it’s so much easier to just be yourself. Do not forget your true self all in the name of trying to impress a couple of people. Be real. Stay authentic, but polite. Those who will be your clients or friends will love and appreciate you for who you are.

 

How do you network? Do you have any tips to share? Sound off in the comment section please.

Thanks for reading.

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8 Things Every Pro Blogger Should Do Before Quitting Their Day Job

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If you are among those who are waiting for the right time to quit their 9-5 job, then I have to tell you that there’s never going to be a right time to quit. Quitting your day job after freelancing for a while may seem like a big leap, but with everything all planned out, it can be the best decision you will ever make.
Have you been freelancing or blogging for while and are now ready to take that leap into quitting your job and going Pro? Here are 8 things every pro blogger does before quitting their day job:
1.    Have the right mindset
It may sound strange to have this as the first thing on this list, but having the right mindset before you go into blogging full time is a must. Pro bloggers make sure that they are mentally prepared for full-time blogging because it is a lot of work. It comes with a lot of issues and challenges, so having the right mindset from the start does help.

There will be a lot of business challenges that you may not have experienced from your day job. You will  have a lot of responsibilities. Do not let this scare you. Having a “can-do” attitude will help you grow your career as a full time blogger.
2.    Have some money left aside
When you take that leap into the world of full time blogging, you have to make sure you have some money saved up that will keep you going until you start to get regular income. I know some bloggers who left their day job with nothing to fall back on, or some who left because they had no choice, and yet became successful. But most of these bloggers agree that they should have had some money saved up first before making that move. Having some money saved up to cover your bills and living expenses for some months is ideal.
3.    Develop a strategy on how you can earn money
Don’t leave your day job without having clients! Being your own boss can be exciting but you need to make sure that you have some sort of income coming in from your blog first before you go Pro.
4.    Market yourself regularly
Your blog literally depends on it. You need to constantly promote yourself and your blog so that more people know about you and what you do. The more people know about you and your blog, the higher the possibility of them reading it and becoming regulars. The more readers, the moe followers and engagement. The more followers and engagement, the more money.
5.    Have a schedule
Everything in your day job is planned out: your tasks, goals or deadlines. In the same way, you need to have a schedule for your own business. Have an editorial calendar. Note the days and the frequency with which you will write your blog posts. Set certain days or times when you will edit photos and promote on social media. Have everything concernin your blog all planned out.
6.    Learn the necessary skills

You have to realize that blogging will be a totally different experience from your day job. Most of your time will be spent working on your own, and you will have to be a jack of all trades. You will be writing and editing posts, taking photos and editing them, promoting your posts on social media, moderating and replying comments, handling taxes and bookkeeping. You can always employ others to handle some of these tasks but when you first start out, you will be doing them yourself pretty much. Learning these skills will help you run your blogging business effectively.
7.    Set up your working environment
Just because you’ work from home doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t treat blogging as anything less than a business. Create a space in your house that you can make as an office. Clear up your desk and set up the right environment to work.
8.    Get support from fellow bloggers
Although you will be able to work from the comfort of your home, and if you are like me, you would love it. But there will be times when you would miss a normal working environment. I know I do miss it sometimes. Building a relationship with other bloggers will help you transition into pro blogging nicely. They may have more experience than you do and you can always learn a thing or 2 from another blogger. The learning process is endless.

Are you a pro blogger? How did you transition into pro blogging? If you are not, would you consider blogging full-time?

10 Questions/Phrases Bloggers Are Sick of Answering

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I have a favourite writing corner. Most people call it the ‘Writers’ Coven’ but I call it my refuge place. Once I have a writer’s block, I retire to my refuge place, which is our guest bedroom on the topfloor. It has a window in the ceiling and the bright sunlight slowly re-energizes my writing purpose.

Surviving as a full-time blogger, freelance writer, author and blogger outreach girl is hard work. Most days I find myself working past midnight, only to wake as early as 6am with the kids. Operating on less than 6 hours sleep is no fun. So you can imagine why some cliques does get to me. Here are some annoying questions I am sick of hearing as a writer:
So you are a blogger, have you published any book?
Yes I am a blogger/writer, and no, not every blogger MUST publish a book.  However I have published a book not because I am sick of hearing this question but because I genuinely had a few things to say and I wanted to reach a bigger audience.
According to most folks, you are not a successful blogger/writer until you get a book published. It doesn’t matter if you write a 5,000 words article published on Huffington Post or The Telegraph. If you are yet to write a BOOK, you are likely not to be taken seriously as a writer. I believe that is overrated. We are sick of people giving us yardstick before we can be who we are. Writing a book is great, it gives you credibility, you can reach a wider audience and you earn some extra cash, but you don’t have to publish a book to be a successful blogger or writer.
Do you write every day?
Yes I TRY to write every day because I realised the more I write, the easier the words flow. But it is not the frequency of the write-up that matters but the depth of the write-up. Writing every day is a good habit if your writing improves as you go along but it is not a must.
How much do you make as a writer/blogger?
I understand many people find it bizzare that bloggers make money from blogging. Many still do not understand the whole blogging as a career thing, and I get that because I find many careers bizzare too. Like being paid crazy money to kick a ball into a net, I can never understand that.
So what is your job?
Blogging/writing is a Job. A REAL job. The digital marketing industry is currently contributing heavily to the British’s economy, so it is definitely a job. I see it as a full-time job anyway. I write and get paid, so it is a job. Why do I have to repeat myself so many times?

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Did you study ‘Writing’?
Yes and NO. Call it a passion and you are right. Call it an art and I give you a thumbs up but don’t think it is purely a craft that needs to be learnt. I studied Acounting as a first degree, and International Human Relations as a Master’s degree. I then fell in love with fashion styling, and studied that at London College of Style. All three degrees/diploma have nothing to do with Writing/Blogging. Writing is a talent. It can be refined but CAN’T be learnt. You either have it or you don’t.
How much have you made as a writer?
I am not J.K. Rowling…….YET. I might not make millions from it but I don’t need you to remind me of that. I also should not have to justify why I am a blogger/writer, or disclose my financial information to anyone. Some questions are just too intrusive and this is one of them.

So you are a Writer? My Grandmother is a Writer too.
I know what you are trying to do. No, not everybody can be a blogger/writer, even if many think they are or can. But well done to your Grandmother.
 So you write novels?
Erm….NO! I don’t write novels. Not everybody that writes has to write fiction. There are different genres and we tend to concentrate on the one most suitable to us. I prefer reading and writing non fiction.
When did you start writing?

Since I could hold a pencil. Any more questions?

Writing must be soo easy for you?
It is very easy for me because I have been writing all my life. Even before I started blogging, I had journals and diaries in real life. Writers put in effort in crafting out piece. It is a duty that needs focus, brainstorming and research. It can be fun and easy depending on the writer.

Do you have any annoying questions or phrases to share? Drop me a comment in the comment section, lets chat.

Thanks for reading and have a lovely Sunday.

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