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Guest Post JC RyanFreelancing has always had its joys and its despairs. Writing articles that may not be accepted by newspapers and magazines or trying to capture that one photograph that will launch a career had often led to choosing between gas money and the next meal. With the advent of the Internet, however, freelancers have danced to a different, happier tune.Not Just Local AnymoreAnyone with a modicum of computer skills, ability to compose and send a legible email, and to post a few ads online can find freelance work. Those with minimal skills can still earn pocket money, and those with superior skills, with diligence and diversity, can enjoy a reasonable income and still be their own bosses—definitely a perk to the independent-minded.A freelancer can solicit work from not only local clients but from around the world. If foreign language fluency is required, there are freelancers who can complete that project or pass for another opportunity. Writers, photographers, web designers, and advertising specialists all find expanded opportunities that didn't exist just a few years ago. The nickname, the World-Wide Web, is a fitting one for dedicated freelancers.Basic Business Concepts Still ApplyBecause freelancers are running their own businesses, they must know at least basic business skills regardless of the creative or operational skills applied.1. Advertising: The freelancer must know or learn quickly how, where, and how often to place effective sales copy—ads, white papers, or contract bids, for example—to introduce, reintroduce, and reinforce a public profile that can garner new business. A freelancer, just as a brick-and-mortar business owner, cannot rely on simple word of mouth. If the freelancer does not effectively advertise on more than one site, the business will never succeed. However, because the Internet offers easy solutions with a wider audience, even small advertisements can reap greater rewards than they had in the past.2. Customer Service: Always paired with service, the freelancer must cultivate relationships with his or her customers—the clients. A one-off job today may lead to long-term work a month later, so long as the freelancer maintains professional and courteous relationships. Remembering the phrase, "the customer is always right" is a freelancing paradigm.3. Portfolios: A freelancer without a portfolio is like a mechanic without tools. He can say he's fixed cars, but unless he can show a history of proficiency at it, the clients will be few and far between. However, freelance writers, for example, have dozens of freelance writing sites through which a portfolio might be built. Independent contractor status enables branching out to other venues while lending a platform of reliability and a foundation on which the freelancer can build a reputation. Document or photo storage sites pepper the Internet. Using one to store favored works enables a prospective client to view prior work, assess talent, and make a more informed contracting decision.4. Resource Boxes: A free advertising tool for website owners, a freelancer with a website outlining services can find a resource box more effective than handing out business cards, because it contains a direct link back to the services website. Resource boxes allow free advertising in article submissions, blog posts, and even emails. Not using a resource box when one available is like walking uphill—it just gets harder and harder to reach the top as time goes on.5. Social Networking: Businesses of all sizes are coming to realize the potential importance of social networking sites. The freelancer can also take full advantage of them to promote his or her business and gain greater public attention, just like the "big guys." If a freelancer already has a personal page on various networks, he or she should create a professional page as well. The personal page can link to the professional page as a friend or via tweet or by some other method—preferably all—and gain higher search engine attention than it would if starting with no back-links.6. Terrestrial Promotions: Because the Internet is merely a mode of advertising, communication, and service performance, local advertising is still viable, and it can all revolve around the service website.SummaryThe dedicated freelancer easily finds the Internet a "best friend forever," and when maintaining proper attention and dedication, business is booming!About the Author:JC Ryan is a freelance writer for My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them understand which online colleges and online courses they can choose from to reach their goals.


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