Hi, I'm Laura and welcome to my blog! I'm a book publicist that works from home and this is about sharing what works for me while working the 'school hours.' I'll be writing about how I manage the juggle between work and parenting as well as highlighting other parents and their careers.
How did we get to December? As my absence from this blog shows, I have been lucky to be working in October and November with some great PR projects. These wrapped up last Friday and now I’m back in the freelancers world of wondering where my next job will come from.
I’m not going to lie, this is the bit I find the most difficult and still after 10 years of working for myself, it hasn’t got any easier. However, I have set in place systems to help me get back on my feet and not worrying that I’ll never be employed again. I’ll need to add that with this horror of a year, freelance work has been thin on the ground and I have had a project in December cancelled due to the company reining in extra costs. (which I completely understand but I’m gutted because it looked like great fun!)
Here’s what I do initially:
Do my Accounts – this always makes me feel more on top of my finances and I can plan my spending for the next few months.
Contact clients that have mentioned they may have work for me and remind them that I’m keen to help when I can.
Tidy up my LinkedIn profile and add completed projects to my profile. Never under-estimate the power of LinkedIn
Start looking for work locally – is there something extra I can do to keep me busy and motivated such as consulting for a local business? I look through the local magazines that come through the letterbox each month and see who is advertising. Normally this means there might be a budget for marketing.
Chat to associates – even if this is through email or Twitter. By keeping myself visible, this has helped me secure work in the past.
Refresh my skills – I’ve set myself the target of updating my Microsoft Word skills this month. There are some great free courses offered by Microsoft and LinkedIn that I’ll be using.
I will also reacquaint myself with friends and neighbours (as much as Tier 3 will let me) by going on dog walks and not chaining myself to the laptop. Stepping away from the computer can actually help me work out my next pitch.
Have I missed anything? Do share with me on comments or pop me a DM – I’m on Instagram @Laura_the_9_to3.
After my previous blog (how to be freelance), I thought I would just run through a few hints and tips that I have picked up along the way regarding LinkedIn. People who aren’t looking for a job should still put time and effort into their profile because you never know who is looking at it.
In my line of work, a lot of clients come through on a personal recommendation and although I have a business website, the majority of my new business comes from looking at my LinkedIn profile. I’m the first one to say that my profile isn’t perfect and does need a bit of work BUT it does have the following things that somehow enables me to get me client referrals:
Complete the whole profile: Make sure that you have answered every single prompt – no need to waffle but add concise notes when required. Make sure to list any prestigious events, awards or voluntary work that you do/have done in the past. It all matters.
A decent profile photo: This shouldn’t be the one that you use on Facebook or Instagram (unless both are business related accounts) but should show you looking professional and approachable. There are photographers that specialise in profile headshot – personally I like a colour image but I know a lot of people use black and white.
You can use ‘action shots’ of yourself as well – such as giving a presentation or accepting an award. Personally I like to keep it simple and just show who I am.
Background image: I like to use something that reflects my work and also my personality. Currently I have a beautiful vivid painting by one of the artists that I promote.
A concise headline: That bit of text under your photo should be used to explain what you do. For me, I’m: Publicity and Marketing specialising in Arts and Publishing. You can add in details – award winning sales director etc… instead. This is what future clients will be looking at.
Examples of your work: I like to feature coverage of books or artists on my profile (although I’ve just noticed that these need refreshing!) or a project that you are particularly proud of that you think others may find interesting.
Recommendations: So important. Ask your clients or people that you have worked with in the past to endorse you in skills but also give a testimonial. You can give one back to them. This does help to solidify your profile.
Add in the occasional update: I know people who use LinkedIn every day and add in a status update. This isn’t really my thing but I do comment on other people’s news or published articles. That way your name is seen by others and you are being supportive to your contacts.
Contacts: I believe in quality not quantity when it comes to contacts. I do know that in jobs such as Sales then being connected with as many people as possible is important but to me, I like to know my contacts or at least have someone/thing in common. I tend to have industry contacts only – not friends or neighbours unless it is really warranted. I do LinkIn with colleagues from the past a lot – they are my best referrals. They know how I work and my results. You never know when one of them might need a publicist…
Get a custom URL: Really easy to do – just go through the prompts on your edit page. You can click here for help. That way you can use the link to direct clients straight away, on your emails and also it helps with Google. Everyone “googles” everyone before they meet or sometimes even talk so showing up on the first page is vital.
Treat LinkedIn as your CV : Focus mostly on the work stuff. People are able to discover if you love running or cycling through their internet search of you. I would just use this platform to highlight your career.
There are LOTS of articles out there that can help you with your LinkedIn profile. Videos and Instagram accounts that will show you how to add attachments, check the language you use and all sorts of things. I have found this article useful and this one has even more tips on getting your profile just right!