Category: Marketing

New business venture

Freelance writing is definitely still part of my life, and I’ve recently decided to add another business to my life.

I strongly want to have a flexible schedule so I can spend time with my daughter. So a home-based network marketing business is a great fit for me right now.

I might have to start another blog now, but the next few months are sure to be an adventure.

Without going into much detail about the business (I’ll save that for another post or another blog), I would like to direct my loyal readers to the Donation button in the left-most side panel. Starting a new business takes a little capital, and I don’t think I’ve ever directly asked for folks to take notice of it.

So if you’re so inclined, click on it and donate away! Any amount will be a great help so I can hit the ground running. If not, no worries.

Just keep reading Crayon Writer, comment when you feel the urge, and enjoy!

Have you ever worked in a network marketing/direct sales business?

Happy birthday to your clients

blendaspx.jpg

All of your clients–past, present, and prospective–have a birthday, and it’s a great idea to use that information to add to your marketing repertoire. I heard about another company that provides greeting cards en masse. You could spend time buying cards one-by-one, or you can buy a box of cheap birthday cards at any local store. But if you have a lot of people to send cards, the first option (buying them one at a time) will be very time consuming in the long run. Buying a box of cards might work, but then you have to deal with each envelope separately.

As you build your clientele, be sure to gather their birthday information along with routine data. They’ll appreciate the extra gesture, and it’s another way to keep your business in mind for their next project. Don’t forget to sign each card in your own handwriting, and write a quick personal note by hand too.

Marketing with magnets

FREE SAMPLES from VistaPrint! Order Today!

Marketing successfully means marketing constantly, and you have to be creative.

Using magnets as a marketing tool isn’t new, but I think it’s definitely effective. And judging by the number of business cards I get when I go to networking events, magnet advertising isn’t wildly popular among small business owners. So it makes sense to blaze a new trail to make your small business stand out from the rest, doesn’t it?

Whenever I get a business card or flyer that I really want to hold onto, I always grab a magnet (usually a pizza magnet), and attach it to my refrigerator. But it would be even better if the business card was actually a magnet itself.

Your business or service will be front and center more often. Besides being easy to put on their metal object of choice, your card will also be functional. In my case, whenever I feel like ordering a pizza, I never have to drag out a phonebook. I just go look on my frig. And sometimes I never even planned to get pizza, but that magnet is always there to remind me. I’m guessing a business card magnet will work similarly, especially if your customers put them on their file cabinets (refrigerators probably aren’t in their offices).

Entrecard is making a difference

125×125-crayonwriter-card-c-copy.png

I mentioned a while back that I joined Entrecard, and I thought it might be time to tell everyone how much I like it.

Entrecard Pros

One of the best things about Entrecard is that I’ve met a lot of other bloggers. I’ve made some new online friends, I’ve found some really great blogs, and I’ve even made some money.

With the influx of traffic comes clicks on my sidebar items, so I’ve made a few sales and some Adsense money. I’ve also written several guest posts, which has brought me even more traffic. Recently, a cool site started a contest that featured my blog. (Thanks Leisa!)

I’ve also decided on an Entrecard philosophy for dropping cards. I don’t drop cards on blogs that I don’t want to support for whatever personal reasons. I like the idea that Entrecard popularity could wind up being a democratic process, so I do my part by not “voting” for some.

Entrecard Cons

Entrecard can take a bit of time, because you have to visit a lot of sites to drop your card (which earns you Entrecredits). And if you’re like me, you can’t help but read some of the posts as you go along.

Besides the amount of time it takes to maintain a high position or to grow your site, I have one more complaint. Though Entrecarders do visit often and even leave comments, my subscribership hasn’t budged.

I also gave up offering my writing service for Entrecredits. For now. I wound up taking on too many projects, and I wasn’t sure that the amount I was “charging” was really worth my time and effort. I wound up refunding (plus interest) several buyers’ credits. My time is probably better spent trying to get new clients that pay real money. Now that Entrecard is starting a service for buying and selling credits for real money, I might start again, but I’ll only do one project at a time.

Have you tried Entrecard? If not, why not? If so, have you noticed any particularly good or bad things so far?

How to get new clients using email

An E-mail!

If you’ve been reading Crayon Writer for a while, you know that my primary method of getting new clients is via cold emailing instead of cold calling.

I’ve never gone into much detail about how I do cold emailing, and I also wanted to discuss the anti-spam legislation as it relates to cold emailing.

Thanks to my Entrecard travels, I met a great blogger who asked me to be to his first guest blogger. I was honored, and the article I wrote is up and running. Of course, the guest post I wrote is about getting new clients using cold email.

A big thanks to Marcus Hochstadt from the Internet Business Guide for this wonderful opportunity. His blog has some very helpful information about building an Internet business, so definitely hang out there for a while. And enjoy my guest post too.

If you get a chance to check it out, please leave a comment here or on Marcus’ site (or both). We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Romance your clients on Valentine’s Day

946083_purity.jpg

Marketing your business includes spending time on your current and past clients, not just trying to acquire new ones.

Holidays are a great time to let clients know how much you appreciate them, and they’re another way to remind them you’re available for projects.

I’ve heard that Valentine’s Day isn’t used by marketers that much, so this is an excellent holiday to make sure your message stands out.

So this Valentine’s Day, why not send your best clients a personalized card (with your business card tucked inside), a few roses, or maybe a short and sweet email Valentine?

If flowers are too romantic for your client/vendor relationship, you can always send a potted plant, gift basket, or even chocolates.

Even better, as a home-based business you don’t have to worry about leaving your home to send your items of choice (unless, or course, you just want to get out of the house). You can order online or with a quick phone call.

What marketing techniques have you used for the holidays? Have you had success with Valentine’s Day marketing?

Getting started as a freelance writer: Books to read

502691_handwritten_2.jpg

Years ago I realized I was a good writer. I would say it started in elementary school when my teachers always told me how creative I was. In college, I helped friends edit their papers, and even though my degree was in biology, my first job after college was as an assistant editor.

So it makes sense that I’m pursuing a writing career.

More recently, I’ve figured out that I prefer writing for businesses. I write website content, newsletters, press releases, sales letters, correspondence, brochures, and more. Basically, I’m a freelance commercial writer.

A new freelance writer asked me to recommend some books that helped me get started. There are two that I found particularly useful for commercial writing, and they’re both by the same author.

Peter Bowerman’s books include The Well-Fed Writer and Back for Seconds. The best thing about his books is that they give explicit instructions for building your commercial writing business. It’s not a bunch of, “Look how great I am!”

Peter’s first book, The Well-Fed Writer, is very specific but primarily based on the way Peter built his business. It’s great for learning about an effective business model. When I followed his directions, I definitely made progress.

His second book, Back for Seconds, includes lots of examples from other writers’ experiences. You’ll learn from people from all walks of life who are running their own commercial writing businesses.I also appreciate that Peter responds to his email messages even though he’s clearly very busy. He has a new book coming out soon, and I’ll be sure to let you know what I think of it.

In the meantime, if you’re serious about a freelance writing career, grab these books and get to work. I pick them up whenever I need a boost.

Brick by brick

779068_bricks.jpg

November was my month for marketing my freelance writing business

I did a bit of cold emailing (as time permitted, considering I have a very busy toddler), and I have a few warm leads as a result.

I also started a new blog, Marana Unwrapped, both because it’s an interesting topic and it’s a more specific niche. (I consider Crayon Writer to be a more personal blog that also has some universal appeal.) Hopefully the exposure in my community will help me gain more clients, and the niche should attract advertisers also.

So December is my month of looking for freelance gigs, while I also continue looking for another day job.

What’s a freelance gig? Projects I find not by marketing myself, but by perusing freelance sites. Right now I only use Craigslist. With access to cities across the country (and the world, if I choose), I should be able to find some nice side work.

If you’re a single parent or sole breadwinner, how did you get started with your freelance business, and how do you keep on keepin’ on?

Not your first time?

1crayons.jpg

If this isn’t your first time visiting Crayon Writer, I would like to extend an invitation for you to subscribe.

Most of you are bloggers, so you’re familiar with subscribing to blogs.

But in case you aren’t, take a look at the pretty orange square thingee under my picture to the right. Either click on it to subscribe in a “reader,” or put your email address in the box below it. It’s completely free.

(To learn more about readers, check out Yaro Starak’s post about rss feeds.)

Either way, you’ll get updates from my site on a regular basis, saving you the trouble of traipsing over here to see if I’ve written anything new.

I didn’t know I had it in me (or I forgot), but I recently increased my MyBlogLog community by over 100 in just a few days (in response to a contest).

So now I’m going to challenge myself to increase my blog’s subscribership by at least 50 before Christmas.

I’ll start with repeat visitors, like you. Subscribe for a month, and if you don’t find my blog useful, feel free to unsubscribe (hopefully you’ll let me know what went wrong).

For those of you who are already subscribers, thank you so much! Please let me know how I’m doing, and wish me luck on my challenge.

Bloggers Showroom launches

843641_chain.jpg

I mentioned recently that I’ve been meeting lots of new people on MyBlogLog. While I haven’t noticed an increase in subscribers, I have noticed some new networking opportunities.

One member, Vince, just launched a site called Bloggers Showroom, where blogs can be reviewed by readers. I think it’s a great chance to get exposure for your site, and also get much-needed feedback.

Submitting your blog is free, so why not take advantage of it? While you’re there, review my blog so I can find out how I’m doing.

Vince’s site also has a journal, so you can follow his progress through his own words. Though I haven’t been blogging for long, I have a feeling this site will do very well.