"So, what do you... do?"
I think everyone hates this question.
It forces you to give an elevator pitch of your entire life, and often when you can squash your occupation or passion down into 1 or 2 sentences it doesn't sound that great.
My answer to this question, Freelance Social Media Marketing, is usually met with blank stares and the follow-up question, "So, what does that mean?"
This blog post/video is dedicated to answering that question. Let me break it down for you.
What is Freelance Social Media Marketing?
I create an online brand presence for companies through Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This means I create content for them, manage their events, retweet things, repost things, respond to comments and generally help people have a more effective social media presence for the purpose of connecting to their target audience.
If you are still lost I'll do my best to walk you through the steps I took to get here.
NextSpace - http://nextspace.us/
To rewind aaaaaallll the way back to 2011, I got my first job as a secretary at a coworking space called NextSpace. This was a really foundational place for me. Coworking spaces are hubs for freelancers to work together and connect with other like minded professionals, all with the goal of creating more business for the community. I was surrounded by people who were working for themselves and making a living off it. As I look back on it now I can see how this was the perfect place for me to test out my desire to work for myself while I was surrounded by people who had been doing it for years.
Testing Out My Business
I quit my job as the secretary for NextSpace to go hike the Camino De Santiago, and I returned to the NextSpace community as a member instead of an employee. I was taking classes at the local community college and working a job as a hostess at a local cafe. It was around this time that I realized I could take the skills I had developed as a secretary and use them to be a freelancer, so I started doing data entry and clerical work for $15/hour. I remember getting my first paycheck from my 'real' job as a hostess after working 20 hours that week and only making $160, before taxes. I quit my hostess job shortly after that to pursue freelance work so I could go to school full time and also make money on my days off.
Once I got into my groove I realized I needed to market myself. I didn't have time to make a bunch of customized businesses cards, so I went to Vista Print and used their most basic design, printed 500 cards for something like $20 and I'm still using them to this day.
Website - www.QueenOfAllTrades.co
I was surrounded by other freelancers, fortunately for me, a good friend of mine was a web developer who was also trying to start his own freelance gig. He helped me create my first WordPress website. Now I would recommend Squarespace or Wix if you are trying to get started on your own thing, they are much more user-friendly.
Contract - http://bit.ly/2vFV9IO
Getting a contract was something I didn't do right away and if I could go back in time I would make myself get a contract immediately. When you are a freelancer you have to filter through a lot of people who want to take advantage of you since you aren't an employee. Having a contract gives you (and them) protection in case anything goes wrong, and if something goes really wrong, you have some legal standing if you need to take them to court.
Google Sheets - http://bit.ly/2gqpdWp
Ok, so down to the 'how to'. When I work I create all of my content in a Google Sheet. I organize my Google Sheets by date, time, and platform. I create the content so I know exactly what is going to be scheduled out, when and where with what links and images.
Sprout Social - http://bit.ly/2iBIujB
Once the content has been approved by my clients I schedule it out with the Sprout Social software. It allows me to schedule the content out a month in advance, respond to comments, run detailed reports, and retweet or repost things on Facebook or Twitter. I went through a lot of different social media scheduling tools and so far I like Sprout Social the best.
Working for yourself is really difficult.
You face a lot of rejection, a lot of disappointment and a lot of feeling unsure and confused. When I was trying to figure out this whole freelance thing, I didn't have any mentors when it came to social media. I had no idea how much people were willing to pay, or what they expected from me. I didn't know the industry standards and I didn't even have a degree in marketing! (I still don't) But what every rejection teaches you is how to improve your system. When you fail, you learn what didn't work and how to change your business for the future. You have to stay positive when those days come around because if you don't, you can easily burn out.
I am broke a lot of the time. I stress about money and I worry my clients don't like me or they are secretly harboring the urge to get rid of me and my shitty service. It can be a hard existence working for yourself. But, (and this is a big big but) I started a recent Monday morning with an icy cold dip in a creek, and then a 13 pitch climb up the side of a mountain with friends instead of in an office.
I wouldn't trade this job for any out there.
I am able to make my own hours, dictate my hourly wage, I don't report to anyone, and I can take off as much time as I want. It is the perfect job for me.
These books really helped me in crafting my own ideal work/life balance.
I know it's cheesy but I really got a lot out of this book, it helped me streamline a lot of my processes and focus on valuing my time more than I value money.