Entries from February 2012 ↓

5 Mistakes Freelance Graphic Designers Make During Start-up

Avoid mistakes when becoming a freelance graphic designerEvan Fischer is a contributing writer for The Web Shoppe –Fargo Graphic Design, handling all of your website design, marketing, and content management needs.

The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of FreelanceCopywritersBlog.com. If you are interested in producing a Guest Post for this blog, please get in touch with your ideas.

If you haven’t worked in the freelance marketplace before, you are probably excited by the many benefits of leaving the office and the 9-5 behind.  No more morning commute, micro-managing supervisors looking over your shoulder, or noisy co-workers disrupting your workflow.  And you can decorate and paint your home office any color you like rather than spending all day staring at a mind-numbing sea of gray cubicles!

So far, so good.

But it’s not all wine and roses.  You are now managing your own business (by yourself), and that means you have to wear a lot of hats in order to keep the operation running smoothly.  The enterprise fails or succeeds solely because of you.  So here are just a few common mistakes that many in your position make and how you can avoid them.

1. Not treating it like a “real” job

As a freelancer you have the freedom to set your own hours, pick and choose the jobs you take, and virtually be your own boss.  But if you get in the habit of waking at the crack of noon, working a couple of hours, and then taking a siesta before showering up to go clubbing with your friends all night, well, you’re not really doing all you can to make your business venture a success.

So set work hours for yourself and stick to them!  And when you’re not working on a project, find ways to self-promote and bring in new clients.  There’s always work to be done when you’re self-employed.

2. Foregoing contracts

The other name for freelancer is contractor, which implies that you need a contract in order to do work and get paid for it.  Without this basic document trading services for payment, you have no legal leg to stand on should clients decide they simply don’t want to pay you (for whatever reason).  So draw up a basic contract (use templates online or seek legal services).  Even a comprehensive purchase order will do.  And consider demanding half of your payment up front; if clients make you chase them for the balance, at least you have a partial payment.

3. Overspending

It’s tempting to blow your start-up funds on the latest equipment and software, but it’s better to stick to what you know when you’re first starting out.  There will be plenty of time and money later on to expand your setup and your repertoire, but until you have steady work it pays to save every penny.

4. Ending education

Just because you have a couple of loyal patrons, that doesn’t mean you can afford to rest on your laurels.  You need to continue to offer current and prospective clients the best possible services if you want to remain competitive, and that means staying on top of industry trends by learning new programs and techniques.

5. Plagiarism

Most people never intend to plagiarize the work of others, but the internet seems to foster an environment of “borrowing” that really crosses the fine line between inspiration and outright stealing.  So just be cognizant of the fact that if something you create looks too similar to a popular design that’s already out there, you could end up with embarrassed clients, angry competitors, and even a lawsuit on your hands.

How to Get Great Copy

Writing sales and marketing copy isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Granted, you know your business and product/service inside out and every which way, but that is often the problem.

To write great copy you have to put yourself in the shoes of your customers. But when you’re writing about your own products and services that can be really tough.

That’s why it really pays to get an expert in and hire a good copywriter.

In an instant you will have access to a wealth of experience and expertise. Someone who knows how to position your product/service, which buttons to press to make people buy, and how to get the most out of your sales materials.

So how can you be sure you’re hiring the right copywriter for you?

Well, let’s look at it this way, if you were looking for a builder to build an extension to your house you’d probably ask for personal recommendations from friends and colleagues, you’d ask to see what other work they’d done, you’d want to make sure you paid a competitive rate – because you only get what you pay for – and you’ll take time to talk with them to see what they’re really like.

The same goes for finding a great copywriter.

The dos and don’ts

1. Avoid job boards

Great copywriters won’t be trawling job boards for work. If they’re good they will have people knocking down their door for their expertise and won’t be traipsing the streets trying to find their next job.

The best place to look is Google. Your copywriter doesn’t have to be local to you (I’ve worked with companies as far afield as Trinidad and Tobago) so make an extensive search to ensure you get the right person for you.

2. Samples

Don’t be afraid to ask to see samples of their work. But don’t be put off if their portfolio doesn’t show anything exactly like you’re looking for or an example from your industry.

News flash – a good copywriter doesn’t need experience in a particular field to write about it. You are the expert in your company; your copywriter is the expert in getting that information across to your reader.

3. Pay competitive rates

It’s true – you only get what you pay for.

Plus, don’t expect to pay by the hour.

If you hired your gardener to mow your lawn and tend to your flower beds you would pay them for that work. If you paid them for 2 hours work, they may not get through everything so you wouldn’t get what you wanted.

Most copywriters will provide you with a fixed fee based on the nature of your project.

If you want an excellent job you’re going to have to pay for it – but that’s why you hired in an expert, isn’t it?

4. Talk to them

Pick up the phone and have a chat with them. Suss them out and see if they are the type of person you could work with.

5. Agreement

Once you’ve made your choice, get a written agreement that clearly states what they will do for you and what you will provide for them. That way everyone knows where they stand.


Don’t forget, when hiring a copywriter you are not paying for their time. You are paying for their experience and expertise.


Can You Really Sell Anything Through Social Media?

Selling through social mediaOne of the main barriers preventing businesses from getting stuck into social media is that they don’t believe you can actually sell using it.

Other than the time issue, many people don’t utilise social media because… ‘Why do I want to know what someone had for lunch?’ Yes, people do talk about sandwich preference, but that is all part of building relationships and allowing people to get to know you.

And those that do dabble give up after just a week or two because they aren’t seeing results. Well, first off it takes time for your social media activities to bear fruit. And, if you’re just using Twitter or Facebook to bombard people with lame sales messages, you’re not going to have any success because you’re just turning people off you and your business in their droves.

You see, although it is possible to sell just about anything through social media, it’s not somewhere people hang out who are looking to buy a particular product. They are there to see what people are saying, or looking for information to a particular problem they have, or an expert to give them a helping hand.

How to get results

As more and more people become ‘comfortable’ with social media, they are increasingly turning to it to find out information. And that’s where you come in.

So, if you are going to make the most of this golden opportunity to reach out to a whole new marketplace, you need to have a strategy in place.

1. Test

The only way you are going to find the right approach is by testing.

Which method produces the most engagement?

Once you’ve discovered what works for you, stick to it, but continue to monitor your results.

2. Target

If you want to use social media you have to ensure you are targeting the right people. Use keywords within your tweets and updates and hash tags.

So, make sure you know who your audience is and what’s important to them.

3. Trust

People will only buy from you once they trust you.

How do you get them to trust you?

Giving away great information, engaging with them and making your content easy to share will help to build trust.

4. Engage

Social media isn’t a one way street. If you want people to like you and trust you, you have to engage with them. Ask them questions, post a poll on your Facebook page, do a question and answer session and ask for feedback.

All of these activities will make you more accessible to them. And if you’re accessible, you’ll be seen as approachable – a business they would want to buy from.

5. Call to action

Of course, once you have their trust and engagement you have to ask them to do something – don’t assume they will automatically buy.

Direct them to your website, make them aware of your offers, or ask them to sign up for your newsletter. Whatever it is, make sure it’s clear.

So, can you really sell anything through social media?

Yes, you can if you get your approach right.

Over to you

What successes have you had with social media?

As a copywriter I’ve gained several new clients through Twitter – leave a comment below and share your experiences.

Marrying Social Media and Your Website

You know how great social media is as a way of promoting your business and building relationships.Marrying social media and your website

You also know that it’s imperative these days for your business to have a website

But how good are you at marrying the two together?

The power of two

In today’s online marketplace, it is essential make the most of your exposure. It’s not enough just to have a website, a Facebook page, blog or Twitter account.  Now you must ensure you’re making the most of all your online efforts by making them work together.

The seamless integration of all your online and social media outlets will maximise your promotion potential, impressions and sales.

So how can you make that happen?

Socialmediaexaminer.com has produced an excellent post that gives you the low down on how to ensure your business website and social media platforms are working together to maximise their online exposure.

Grab a coffee and take a few minutes out of your day to check it out and refer back to what you’re doing at the moment.

Make 2012 the year you integrate all your online activities to give your online presence a real boost.

9 Tips for Integrating Social Media on Your Website

Advertising on Facebook – Keeping Track of Your Results

You could be forgiven for thinking that Facebook is taking over the world.

After all, that’s hardly surprising with stats like these:

  • 800 million active users
  • 50% of active users log on everyday
  • 80% of users are outside the USA
  • 7 million apps and websites are integrated with Facebook

This is why more and more companies are looking for Facebook for advertising. But how can you be sure your advertising is generating the kind of ROI you’re looking for?

Firstly, you must have a goal to your advertising campaign and then you have to measure it.

To give you head up on how to achieve that, take a look at this post that recently appeared on the HubSpot Blog.

It is an excerpt from their eBook How to Create Killer Facebook Ads.

So, before you start your next Facebook ad campaign, take a few minutes out and take a look at the 20 Facebook Ad Metrics Marketers Should Know.

Thanks HubSpot.