July 30, 2012

The Summer Series - Nichole Beaudry

My guest today was one of the first friends I made when I began blogging. Nichole and I met through what was once The Red Dress Club, now known as Write on Edge, where she was an active leader. We bonded over our mutual love of writing and our little girls, who both worked through speech challenges.

A wife and mom of two, Nichole beautifully shares the simple yet special joys of motherhood on her personal blog, In These Small Moments. She has also candidly and poignantly opened up about her struggles with secondary infertility, most notably on the popular parenting site Babble.com, bringing much needed attention and support to this all-to-common issue.

I have proudly watched Nichole evolve as a writer. After her stint at Babble, she began contributing to SheKnows.com and then the recently-launched allParenting.com, where she is now Assignment Editor. Her blossoming writing career has brought her much personal fulfillment. 

Freelance writing in four steps

Although there are many paths to freelancing, I have found a handful of things to be hugely important and I truly believe that these things that helped me to reach my goal can work for anyone who dreams of freelancing.

Make connections through social media

If you’re not already using social media, it is, without question, time to start.

More and more often, editors are looking at social media presence before hiring new writers, especially for online publications.  They’re looking to see your engagement and reach and want to see that you can bring your readers with you. Writers who merely tweet links and don’t use social media platforms to build relationships are missing the point. If an editor checks out your Twitter stream and sees that you rarely engage with your followers, she’s likely to move on to the next potential writer.

Try viewing your social media relationships as another tool in your toolbox, alongside solid writing and hard work.

Foster a local blogging network

Over a year ago, Rachel Voorhees and I set up a Facebook group for our local blogging friends.  What began as a place to connect and support one another has grown into a tightly knit group of women who would do anything for one another.

One night last fall, we gathered together for a truly life-changing evening. We went around the table and each shared our dreams for the upcoming year. Each of us shared different goals, including new professional adventures, more freelance work, saying goodbye to unhealthy jobs and finding and maintaining balance.

Since that night, many of us have achieved those goals and we’re working to help the others so that when we come together this fall, we will have each known the joy of success. There was magic that night that helped us to create change and that’s priceless.

Be authentic

In December of last year, my editor at SheKnows reached out to me to offer me a parenting column. That column led to general parenting articles, which then led to my assignment editor job for allParenting.

My editor found me through my work on my blog, where I have always written from my heart. My words on my blog that earned me that column. Staying true to myself, consistently writing from a place of honesty and never trying to copy anyone else’s style ultimately brought me to my dream job.

Remember, until you find freelance work, your blog is your portfolio. Show your potential editors who you truly are through your hard work there.

Speak up

There’s a tendency amongst bloggers to downplay their goals. When asked why we blog, far too many of us shrug and downplay why we write…why we do it day after day after day. If you dream of freelancing, be honest and speak up. Never apologize for wanting more.

My goal, from the before I even wrote my first blog post was to earn enough money to be able to stay at home with my kids. It can be scary to make yourself vulnerable, but if you dream of more, opening up to those people that you trust and admire is so incredibly important.

If you see one of your peers reach goals similar to your own, ask for advice.  If you aren’t willing to be honest and open about what you truly want, you’re less likely to see your dreams come true.

Though it may take some time to find the perfect freelancing job, making online connections, building your support system, writing with authenticity and being open about what you truly want, will also bring you rewards along the way.

This is absolutely excellent advice, Nichole! Thank you for sharing, and for being YOU!

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