Why a website? Highlights of conference session

By Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, Communication Central owner and
NAIWE Board of Experts member for Networking

I’m looking forward to talking about websites for freelancers at “Gateway to Success,” this year’s “Be a Better Freelancer® conference, coming up October 11–13, 2019, in St. Louis. This topic is always fun to discuss because there’s always something new in the world of creating and managing websites, and because it lends itself so well to graphics and illustrations. It’s also kind of fun to share what doesn’t work in a website, alongside what does make an effective site to promote your freelance business.

It’s become common knowledge that freelancers in any skill set need websites to build and support our business efforts. Sure, you can promote your business at LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, but a website is important because:

  • It’s all yours; no one else controls or limits how it looks and what it presents.
  • It helps you be found — it comes up when someone searches for the skills and services you provide. That’s especially important for anyone starting out, because unknown freelancers won’t be found by their names.
  • It gives you a permanent e-mail address.
  • It’s flexible — you can choose what to post, what and when to update it, the amount of information you provide, etc.
  • It speaks for you with clients who aren’t local; it’s your portfolio in an era when you probably will work with more clients who aren’t in your geographic area than ones who are, and you aren’t likely to meet them in person to show your work samples.

Even if you already have a website for your freelance services, it can probably benefit from insights at this session. You might gain new resources for making it look or read better, and more effective at getting you business and educating prospective clients about who you are and how you work.

Think of your website as the base and office of your freelance business. It’s your showroom. It’s your path to being a better freelancer!

To benefit from this session — and many other ones — by registering for the conference, go to https://naiwe.com/conference/. This is the 14th offering of the conference, and the first-ever partnership between Communication Central and NAIWE. We hope to see you there!

A great start to the new year

It’s an honor and a pleasure to start the new year as a member of NAIWE‘s Board of Experts, especially with Networking as my area of NAIWE expertise. As many of you know, I’m a long-time, even passionate believer in networking, as evidenced by the many professional associations and online communities of colleagues that I belong to, along with the Communication Central “Be a Better Freelancer”® conference that I host every year. Even more important to the concept of networking is that I’m far more than what I call a “checkbook member” – I don’t just pay dues and wait for the membership to do something for me; I’m active and visible in every group I belong to (yes, it’s OK to end a sentence with a preposition).

For organizations such as the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA), Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), ACES-The Society for Editing, Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists (GSLABJ), International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), Association of Independent Information Professionals, Association for Women in Communications (AWC) and NAIWE, I do everything from write for and edit newsletters to  present webinars, workshops and conference speeches; write booklets; contribute to online conversations; manage and update websites; organize events, etc. That may seem like a lot of work, but I enjoy it (I’m the poster child for extroverts) and it means that I’m constantly learning from, not just sharing knowledge with, colleagues at all levels of professionalism. Even better from a professional success standpoint, it means I become visible and known within these groups, which often leads to being hired or referred for projects. I even make a few bucks from some of these activities in and of themselves.

In addition to the professional advantages of networking, I’ve also made great friends through many of these organizations and found resources that have made my work life easier, more diverse and more interesting.

My point is that networking is a two-way process. You don’t get much, if anything, out of joining an organization or group and waiting for it to do something for you. When you engage in genuine networking, the group benefits you in a number of ways, many of which can be quantified in terms of income and renown. Do keep that in mind as NAIWE makes it possible to do more for ourselves and each other in this new year.

Here’s to a successful, profitable, enjoyable year of writing, editing and networking for all NAIWE members. To coin a version of a popular phrase, may we live well and prosper!