"I don't give a damn about my bad reputation." - Joan Jett
My Secret to (Minor) Success
Last week I had two jobs come in. The first one was to look over a short story to see why it wasn't working for a couple judges in a writing competition. The other was a resume and cover letter for a job candidate. I haven't publicly advertised my services yet...so how did I find these clients?
Easy: I already knew them.
This is the first rule of thumb. Start small...with people you know who can use your services. In my case, I have a proven track record that I know how to write. I've taught creative writing, been an expert on author panels at conferences, won contests, had my fiction published in a well-known teen magazine, ran my own literary magazine, and critiqued and/or edited hundreds of short stories and books.
And, not to brag or anything, I also have a giant file folder of rejection slips from magazine publishers, agents, and editors. So I understand the struggles and challenges of "breaking into" the writing biz. And that is so vital to my career goal as a consultant and mentor because without empathy, I won't have clients. Without clients...well...it won't be easy locating a cardboard box big enough to house me, my kids, and my cats.
My Secret to (Future) Success
The one thing I have been much too lax about is advertising my services. Partly, it's because this is a new venture (before helping writers with their work was mostly "favors for friends" and "a hobby"), and I still need to plan out my marketing strategy. But more importantly...I don't have business cards.
I try to tell everyone I meet what I do...and sometimes they ask, "Can I have your card?" Um...yeah...about that...
So my biggest goal this week is to make business cards. I plan to use Vistaprint because I've used them before and have been pleased with what they offer both in design and extra swag.
I will then find places to leave them...you know, cork boards, libraries, bathrooms (hey, if the Born-Again Christians can leave booklets...). This is all part of the Word-of-Mouth experience. How? Check out this scenario:
Mary: Oh my goodness gracious, Eleanor. I have been dying to write a book, but have no idea where to start.
Eleanor: How ironic. I was just sitting on the toilet in the ladies' room, and someone stuck a card under the door promoting her author consultation business.
Mary: May I take a pic of it? I don't really want to touch it...
See what I mean? Word-of-Mouth. Start small. Finish big. I will keep you updated!