How to Take the Next Step in Your Freelance Career

How to Take the Next Step in Your Freelance Career

When someone I don’t know emails me out of the blue and hands me a guest post, I’m usually a little skeptical. (There’s truth in the experts’ advice of building relationships and trust first.) But when I took a look at Justin’s post – and the quality of his writing – I fired back a reply. “Win.”

You see, there’s a whole world out there beyond our screens, and we often forget about it. Justin’s post will remind you of the potential that’s right outside your door. More clients, more exposure, more credibility… go for it. Here’s how:

If you’ve been involved with freelance writing, blogging, copywriting or marketing for more than, say, a day and a half, you’ve probably heard plenty about how speaking before an audience can boost your reputation, which helps you become a thought leader and an expert in your field of choice.

And it’s true!  Public speaking can do wonders for your expert status in the minds of current and future clients, readers, fellow writers and the public.  Combine it with writing a book and you’ve got an incredible one-two punch that can propel you into the upper echelon of experts in short order.

And as a freelancer, public speaking can easily be the most important thing you can do to bring your career to the next level.

If you’re like me, though, you didn’t get into freelancing or blogging for the fame.  You weren’t looking to travel around the country speaking in front of thousands or charging $20,000 for a 30-minute keynote address.

Not that you’d mind that last one, right?  I mean come on!

That doesn’t change the fact that adding public speaking to your repertoire can mean huge benefits for you and your business.

So how do you translate the power of public speaking into value for your freelancing business without going whole hog and becoming a professional speaker?

You keep it simple.  For example…

Schedule Some Local Speaking Engagements

Grab the phone or jump online and look up the local Rotary Club, business networking organization, SBA outpost, Boys and Girls’ Clubs, the YMCA and YWCA, community college.  All these places probably have ongoing needs for professionals to come in and speak about various topics to their ready-made audiences.

Would your business benefit from some local exposure like that?  From the chance to meet local business leaders face-to-face, trade business cards and show off your stuff?  Could you snag some sweet portfolio pieces by working with local non-profits that work with these organizations?

By setting yourself up onstage instead of in the audience, you go to the event for free, you look like the expert for the day, and you get the full benefit of this tailor-made networking opportunity.

Of course, there’s not a lot (or any) upfront profit from speaking at these kinds of events.  What if there was a way to get the same benefits plus turn a profit for your time as well?

There is.

Create and Hold a Seminar

For a fairly reasonable rate, you can rent a hotel conference room and throw some ads in the local papers or on business websites and bring together an audience of targeted leads to hear you speak for a significant ticket price that more than pays you back for the expense of running the seminar and the time it takes you to speak.

Plus, you’re the expert for the day. You’re pressing-the-flesh with professionals who now have a vested interest in paying close attention to what you say, and you have several hours with a captive audience to work your marketing magic.

But what if your work is primarily online?  Do you need to miss out on this great concept?

Absolutely not.

Organize a Webinar

With the technology available today, you can run a webinar from virtually anywhere as long as you have a laptop and an internet connection.  If you have a list already built, it could be as easy as firing off a few e-mails to let people know the details, then showing up when you said you would.

If you don’t have your list built yet, there are several options available, including renting a qualified list of prospects who may be interested in what you have to say, advertising in a complimentary e-zine, arranging a joint venture opportunity with a fellow online freelancer with a list of their own…

The options are virtually endless.

But Hold On a Second…

Don’t get too far ahead of yourself just yet.  This is exciting stuff, but there’s one vitally important point to consider before you start scheduling your seminar.

It’s so vital, I’m going to ask you to bring your eyes just a bit closer to the screen for this, so you’re sure not to miss anything.

Are you ready?

No one cares what you have to say unless YOU do.

Does that make sense?

If you’re going to put yourself behind a lectern in front of a group of people, and you hope to gain some sort of benefit from the endeavor, such as a new client, increased sales, a boost for your reputation…

You’d darn well better be passionate about what you have to say.

You need to take the time to turn all those experiences, facts and statistics rolling around your head into a format the audience is going to care about – and you’re going to need to present it in a way that they’re going to be able to sit through.

But if you can do that – if you can reach down deep inside and pull up the core of what makes you jump out of bed every morning to greet the brand new day of this incredible freelance life and turn it into a speech that knocks an audience’s socks off – you’ve got a goldmine just waiting to be exploited.

So what are you waiting for?  Go to it!

Or did I forget something important?  Let me know in the comments, because I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Justin P Lambert is a freelance writer and a public speaking expert who blogs daily at Words That Begin With You.  He’s right.

Nervous about being on stage? Want to hold a seminar but aren't sure you can actually make it through?

Check out In the Spotlight, Janet Esposito's book on overcoming your fear of public speaking and performing. S'worth it!

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