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Posts tagged ‘freelance’

Links to Published Works

Updated: February 2014

Links to Published Works

 

Contact:Daphne Taylor Street

Phone: 727-565-5343 ▪ Email: daphne.streetmedia@gmail.com

Virtual Writing Portfolio

daphnepictureDaphne has been published in professional blogs, news sites and national magazines. She was contracted to write a syndicated weekly column that was increasing in reach until Patch.com put a halt on paying freelancers. Since then, she has written on retainer for several professional blogs, including Saint PetersBlog, which focuses on local and statewide politics; iLovetheBurg, writing about everything that’s awesome about St. Petersburg Fl and Patch.com where Daphne had a paid syndicated weekly column. Daphne also has written, ghost written and co-authored works in national magazines and professional journals. Daphne currently has three books under development, co-authored with a client. Links to many of Daphne’s published works are below.

 

Links to published works:

Most of the links below go directly to Daphne Street’s Blog, Saint PetersBlog or Forbes Riley’s Member Site, which may include a brief synopsis of the articles along with links directly to the published works.

Links to press releases:

Daphne has written countless press releases for myriad industries and events. Strategies for press release composition along with distribution strategies are integrated to foster the highest pick-ups from web and traditional new sources and to build SEO ranking. Daphne’s press release reach varies greatly depending on the popularity of the subject within media markets. For a national release, typical pick-ups range from 200 – 3,000+ while local releases tend to have a specialized distribution strategy and therefore may only receive 5-15 pick-ups in a mid-sized to large local media market. A small sampling of published press releases is listed here:

Some guest writing I’ve been doing in the ‘Burg

It’s true – I’ve been a brief stand-in at the iLovetheBurg blog. For three weeks only (I’m into my third week now), I’ve been lending a hand with some copy layout and uploads and even some writing. About the writing…

I did not get a byline for stories or credit for photos published here, and that’s fair because I also didn’t complain about some of the editing (*whistles uncomfortably*). A few abrupt slice and dices with a heavy editing hand make for occasional grammatically awkward reads at times, but the stories still seem to be intact.

Anyway, here are the links for the work so far.

1) Fit2Run is the first major retail store to open in downtown in quite some time–coming in August. I interviewed the owner and the soon-to-be store manager. And, I really did mean that part about the clumsy editing–see both versions of the copy for Fit2Run article for an example:

2) The Chattaway. Here’s a great piece about an old Florida burger joint. My dad used to take me here a lot when I was a kid. Great memories, and it was so much fun to relive the history of this amazing St. Pete landmark. I wrote the copy, and the photographs were taken by local poet and photographer R. MonaLeza – she had her first Chattaburger that day!

3) City Cycle Tours recently closed up shop. Why? Will they come back? Will they refund deposits to customers? St. Pete City Councilmember Karl Nurse spoke a little about it as did a representative of PedalPub–an operation similar to City Cycle Tours in downtown St. Pete. To be fair, this article was written the day they closed their doors–I have no idea if they’ve made any attempts to settle obligations to customers or communicated with them since.

4) Beak’s Old Florida — I discovered whilst hanging out at another of my favorite joints, The Queens Head Eurobar, located across the street. Anyway, both places are a sight to behold, indeed. Here’s a peek into Beaks (I plan to cover Queens Head Saturday). I wrote the copy and took the photos on this one.

I’ll have a few more before I leave, following my three week tour of duty. I’ll include those on a separate post once I close out this gig. Meanwhile, happy trails!

Update: Looks like this gig is gonna last beyond 3 weeks – at least through the summer…

Ethel the aardvark goes quantity surveying

This post is all about titles–so, it will be a brief post. Another list of 7:

Ethel the aardvark

  1. What’s in a name? Everything! It’s your first hook to your audience and potential audience. Get their attention! It also is a hyper-brief summary, description and perhaps a foreshadow of what’s to be found in the content.
  2. Creativity is good in a title, but what’s more important is its impact and accuracy. Sometimes getting too creative can destroy the objective–confusing people hardly ever makes a good title (there are very, very, very rare exceptions–like the title of this post… Ha!).
  3. Brevity: one word, two, three, four, five–powerful titles. Beyond that, you’re writing a tag-line or something else.
  4. Title as starting point: It’s okay to start your [article, story, novel, play, etc.] with a title and work from there. However, once the full work is created, and the full spirit of it is surging through every cell of your body, go back and examine your title again. Strengthen it, change it, tighten it… make it a necessary part of the whole.
  5. Examine other titles of things–all kinds of things: books, essays, headlines, short stories, movies–what made certain titles stronger than others? What did you like better about one over another? What can you learn and what knowledge can you apply from examining other titles?
  6. It’s a boy!!! Remember–you truly are giving your work its first name, similar to naming a child. Make sure you love it–that it means something to you for you to say it, repeat it, call it and scold it.
  7. “Ethel the aardvark goes quantity surveying” is a fictional title made up by the geniuses of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Daphne’s List of 7 – Tips for starting freelance writing

I’ve received a lot of requests lately–people wanting me to give them leads to start freelance writing. Truthfully, there are some really credible books out there on the subject, some even targeted towards the niche of writing you would like to do: Amazon.com (or just do an Amazon.com book search on “freelance writing, and take note of the various dropdown options for a more specialized search).

Here are some tips that might help you should you decide to begin freelance writing:

  1. Electronic versions of writing samples–develop a blog. WordPress and Typepad are two platforms that I’d recommend highly. Be certain to use categories so that people can easily find various subjects that you may have experience with (e.g. movie critiques, food, travel, politics, economics, celebrities, community profiles, local issues, etc.). If you do other types of freelance writing, have those categories listed with samples also, such as copywriting, press releases, business plans, reports, analytics, etc. If they have been published elsewhere (big bonus), be sure to cite that and include the link or details of the publication. Also, be certain to have both MS Word and PDF versions of your sample copies available to send as attachments in emails and to print to have in a hardcopy portfolio.
  2. Keep writing–even if you don’t have someone else to publish your stuff yet, write and post it on your own blog. Develop and cover stories, craft articles, conduct interviews, delve into citizen journalism. Be certain to always cover unique and compelling angles to stories. If you’re freelance writing for other types of media such as brochures, press releases and business plans, do the same thing. Keep writing, and keep putting yourself out there.
  3. Get published–this is the only way to truly build your credibility. What being published says is that someone else thought enough about your work to spread it around under their name. Often times it even means that they thought enough of your work to pay you for the opportunity to spread it around under their name. Even if it’s just a blog or community newspaper that won’t pay you for your work, it’s a start. You get a byline. Patch.com and Thoughtcatalogue.com are two such places you might try, depending on your subject matter. Again, if you’re doing more business-oriented writing, then vs. getting published, get clients. Volunteer to do work for free for nonprofits you like. Get noticed, network and begin building a reputation if you don’t already have one.
  4. Get work–query article ideas to publishers that cover topics that align with your niche. Send a link of sample writing to blogs and such that you read regularly, and ask if they would be interested in a freelance article from you. Scan through Craigslist and similar sites that post jobs and gigs for writers–you’ll find a lot of garbage, but there’s quite a bit of legit stuff there, too. Similar for business writing freelancing. Put yourself out there, and hunt for opportunities. Oh, and network. Talk to people–real, live people. Tell them about you and what you do and what you want (a very quick elevator pitch). Be friendly and generous, and you find others will be friendly and generous in return.
  5. Build credibility and branding–be the go-to person not only for your clients and potential clients but also for others in your field. Blog not only what you write but also about your writing and the business of it all. Develop a following and a network of colleagues. Pitch joint projects to share specialties and resources. Give freely of ideas and innovations–you might think you’re going to give too much–do give too much. You will cash in on the bigger picture, being the source of all of those great ideas and innovations. Your reputation as the go-to person will grow, and you will be noted as an “expert” in your field.
  6. Be in demand–once you’ve been published for a steady amount of time, you will begin demanding increased pay for your work, provided you’re actually worth it. So do always keep working to improve your craft, and listen carefully to constructive criticism and feedback. You may not always like or agree with it, but it’s invaluable stuff. Always ask for it. You might learn something that will supercharge your work and take it to big places. Also, read. Read everything, and study how the big players do your job. Once your demand builds, and so too will your  pay, be very delicate when you have to shed your lower paying gigs to have room to take on higher paying ones. Remember the hands that helped you to grow. No one likes an ingrate, and it can bite you hard later on. Offer to continue giving them some articles once in a while for good measure. Keep doors open and relationships positive. Mend those that have been damaged as possible as much as possible. This too will influence your reputation and build your overall demand.
  7. Stay hungry–keeping your operation lean and mean no matter how much or how little cash comes in the door, it will serve you well to avoid getting jaded. Not about the subject-matter and not about the business. Continue to crave, be imaginative and stay curious–stay hungry. This way, there is little chance you will soon become irrelevant.

I’ve spent 11 years writing in the nonprofit and for profit business environment, and I am a communications junkie. I had a mentor throughout much of this time who helped me develop a reputation within certain circles in the community that have greatly helped my success in freelancing. Not only those individuals, but knowing how to network and build and sustain those relationships have proved to be a critical tool. Therefore, I had an advantage when I made the leap from full-time employee to full-time freelancer–an advantage not many others have.

I also was not hesitant to take on a small overnight job that allowed me time to write on shift to help with cashflow during slow times and also to build a little savings to get me through future slow times. And, there will be slow times. I also have to take balance very seriously–balancing time for play, sleep, wellness, deadlines, self-promotion and hunting for the next big opportunity.

Freelance writing for a living isn’t for everyone–it’s a full-time job x 2. Possibly more when you first get started, just like any small business entrepreneur. You are an army of one, so must make time for all of the needs of the one, or you will burn out and ultimately fail in some definition of that word. And, still, that’s okay. Failure is the greatest teacher if you allow her to be. So, if you bite it on a deadline or two, or you bomb a story or things just don’t work out–it’s okay. Do an autopsy of the situation–find out what went wrong, then, learn from it.

You’ll get better… and that’s success.

Lessons from a freelancer–balance & support

What have I learned so far as a fulltime freelancer? Balance is everything. Balancing time, projects, priorities, personal and professional life, etc. In the end, balance has been the lesson, and I’m getting better at it.

It’s easy to spend your waking hours on business development strategies, branding, pitching for projects, networking–oh and then actually doing the projects. And, in the very beginning, I think you almost have to do this. Afterall, it’s survival here–you have to get work in the door and work lined up and people wanting to work with you to keep paying your bills and to feel safe in knowing that you can keep paying your bills. But, once that’s achieved, you need to know when to tap the breaks a bit and slow down to a comfortable cruise versus the high-speed chase.

You also need to balance time networking, marketing, pitching and branding with “doing” the work and knowing how much work you can take on, what resource you have if you end up with more on your plate than you can handle.

On the one hand, it’s my job to drum up business and keep getting projects in the door. Afterall, I’m a freelancer, so without new projects, I’m without cashflow. On the other hand, I am an army of one, so making sure I balance out projects and deadlines is critical while I’m always keeping an eye out for new ones. <–This all may seem obvious, but there’s a point here…

In an age where more and more freelancers and entrepreneurs are budding up, a real skill, once you’re certain you have something valuable to offer and others know it too, is planning for success. Many more businesses fail because success came, and they weren’t prepared for it, than people might think. It’s not always that the clients don’t come and the contracts fall through, etc. Often times it’s overcommitment leading to missed deadlines, broken promises and failed deliverables that shuts down an operation.

I’ve not fallen victim to either fate, yet, and I remain cautious, making sure to say “no” and to make certain that I never have more than three projects on my plate at once and no more than three more in the pipeline to maintain a successful balance. And that’s just my personal guideline–I know myself. Others may be able to handle more or less, but it’s important to know what that number is, or risk biting it and facing failure.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, keep other resources on hand–other freelancers or partners outside of you that you can send projects to or work with in case you need the extra set of hands, eyes and brains. Not only do you need to have backup plans for when your deadlines become too much, but also it’s important to plan for being human–illnesses, personal and family crises, etc. Develop a professional support system/back-up plan for emergencies.

Truthfully, though I try to plan and maintain a healthy network of colleagues for mutual support, I still make mistakes, and not everything runs as smoothly as I like, and outcomes aren’t always the slam-dunk I  anticipated. Mostly, though, I’m finding increased success in this crazy freelancing journey–for me and my clients. And that’s awesome. Here’s to progress!

You cannot succeed if you don’t take a risk,

and without failure, you’re not likely to learn much or get any better.

Daphne’s List of 7: How 2 Hire a Freelancer

From both angles–as a freelancer and someone who needs a freelancer–it’s critical that the working relationship is a good match for both parties. Too often employers have professional needs that fall out of scope of a particular freelancer’s offerings, but they tray to talk them into fulfilling these needs just the same. Likewise, too often freelancers agree to take on projects that fall out of scope of their niche business making for an uncomfortable mix. This is a recipe for disaster. Decide up-front as an employer, what your expectations are from a freelancer. As a freelancer, decide up-front what your menu of professional offerings are so that it’s easy for you to say no when asked to go out-of-bounds of your niche. 

Other potential pitfalls include making sure personalities, work ethic, communication styles and dedication to common goals match. These don’t need to match in a way that mirror the other but in a way that compliments the other. To this end, here are seven tips to help both employers and freelancers decide if there’s a mutually beneficial match before signing that binding contract, committing you together.

  1. Discuss specific needs and expectations. As an employer, have a list of the types of services you would like the freelancer to undertake and what types of outcomes you expect. Be clear about these expectations. Also, be open to negotiate on certain services and tasks that the freelancer may not be willing or able to undertake. Understand that you may find a great match from a freelancer who can fulfill a percentage of the needs you’ve outlined and you may either contract elsewhere or agree for the freelancer to subcontract for the additional services required. As a freelancer, be clear, firm and consistent about the menu of services you can provide. Be realistic about your skills, experience and time available, and consider having a network of other specialists you can refer or subcontract with to potentially fulfill other needs a client may have that you don’t offer.
  2. Date before marriage. Try a single project or a small batch of multiple projects prior to committing to a long-term working contract. Think of it like dating before marriage. Employers and freelancers need an opportunity to work together on projects to see if their styles and offering match well. When you begin working on projects, examine aspects of the partnership that will impact future projects if you both decide to move forward in a working relationship. In particular, observe matching or complimentary values such as punctuality and adhering to deadlines, frequency and styles of communication, creativity, problem-solving, innovation, leadership and project management systems, etc. While most people value all of these, many will value some more than others. For instance, perhaps an employer values a freelancer’s leadership and innovation and can deal with flexed internal deadlines once in a while as another employer demands strict adherence to deadlines but is less concerned with creativity. Likewise a freelancer may require a specific communication style and frequency and is less concerned with an employer’s project management system. A trial project will help the employer and freelancer examine if this professional relationship is a good fit and makes parting ways on good terms if things don’t work out well much easier.
  3. The contract. Write it, discuss it in detail, sign it and stick to it. Determine what money is needed upfront with projects to seal the deal. Often freelancers will require up to 50% down, especially at the beginning of a professional relationship. This is important for the freelancer to cover some operating costs while working on projects and to help ensure that the employer/freelancer commitment is firm on a project. It is less likely that an employer will pull the plug on a project if there’s already money invested in it. Also, freelancers tend to be more responsive to employers who have already invested financially in their work. This is especially true at the beginning of the employer/freelancer relationship. Include in the contract items such as ownership of intellectual property and copyrights, confidentiality expectations, deadlines both internal and external, specific pieces of the project that need to be completed to make the whole, what fatal flaws can break the contract from the perspective of the employer and the freelancer. If anything has been promised free of cost or is required free of cost, include it here.
  4. Experience and Inexperience. Check references, portfolios, ask pointed questions to determine experience and knowledge–from both the freelancer and the employer. Employers need to know the credibility and experience of the freelancers they hire, and freelancers need to know the same from employers. It’s perfectly great to work with start-up employers and freelancers who are cutting their teeth. Just know that this is what you’re doing, and do so with the intention of supporting that start-up. Anticipate that some minor mistakes may be made at the start, but know that you can help one another grow together. If you’re working with a start-up from either end of the spectrum, expect that the services will cost a little less. Discounts should be involved to compensate for inevitable missed internal deadlines and struggles with communication, etc. If the mistakes are too frequent or troublesome to overlook, from either the employer or the freelancer, the aforementioned trial project is a good way to check this out and perhaps decide to part ways easily afterwards. If after the trial period the employer who has enjoyed the benefits of discounted quality work wishes to move forward with the start-up freelancer, that employer should expect the rates to raise up to industry standards–if not immediately then in the very near future.
  5. Payment. Both parties need to be specific about terms of payment. Timeframes. Whether this will be based on a retainer, fee for projects, hourly rate, etc., this needs to be pre-determined and honored. Discuss payment for meetings and consultations, phone calls and other forms of communication on project(s) and travel/mileage and other potential expenses such as copying, printing, etc. If terms need to change due to unforseen circumstances, this needs to be communicated immediately, preferably with options that will be beneficial to the party that is NOT changing the terms.
  6. Conflicts of Interest. Discuss and have in the contract anything that would be considered a conflict of interest for both parties. As an employer, you will want to ensure that your freelancer will not utilize any proprietary information you provide to them with your potential competitors. This may include having the freelancer agree to not work with your competitors while under contract with you. As a freelancer, you may need to make it clear to your employer(s) what types of projects you will not be able to undertake due to potential conflicts of interest. This may include developing marketing plans for similar businesses in similar markets simultaneously. Open, honest communication and signed conflict of interest clauses are very helpful to avoid this common pitfall
  7. Parting Ways. Do everything possible to part ways on positive terms. This does not mean avoiding direct communication when things go wrong or communicating any dissatisfaction. What it does mean is to ensure that one is not slandering the other publicly and that communication never turns abusive, harmful or threatening. Do not threaten lawsuits or demand refunds unless the infraction is so significant that these circumstances are unavoidable. Understand that most things go bad due to miscommunication and misunderstandings or even uncontrollable events. This knowledge should bring at least a small sense of compassion that might lend to at least civil and polite communication and the amiacable dissolution of a professional relationship. At all times, remember, your reputation is always on the line each time to speak ill of another.

Daphne Taylor Street’s Resume (2 page visual version)

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