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Building a Writer’s Platform
Guest Post by DeLana Nicole

Confession time: As I have delved a little further into the freelance writing world, I’ve discovered how critical having a platform is for a newbie freelance writer. I came to this realization the way I have with my other writing lessons – hard. Recently, a small business owner requested my website address.

“Sometimes I need a writer,” he explained.

After I finished turning cartwheels, I jotted down my email address on the back of an old crinkled gas receipt while rattling off a list of my past writing assignments. “I don’t have a website yet,” I stammered, “but…”

Sigh.

Not exactly professional.

I have spent several hours pounding the online pavement looking for writing jobs, targeting smaller publications (see my last blog) to be able to build my writing portfolio. I have had some success, but I know that a website will give me a writer’s platform that will help garner more established clients and juicer (read: paid) assignments. Social media is king; my website/social media profiles can garner jobs for me while I sleep. It lets the potential client know what services are provided (i.e. articles, newsletters, copy, etc.) as well as giving me a little more ‘street cred’ as a writer, branding me as an established professional.

There’s just one small problem, and I do mean small: my budget. The bulk of my earnings from my soul-sucking day job go toward my living expenses and student loans, so I have managed to set aside roughly $100. I decide this is an opportunity for me to flex my creative muscles to see if I can make this dime into a dollar. I jotted down a list of what I needed: website, business cards, photos for the site, and a blog.

I cannot afford most photographer’s fees; besides, half of that cash went to purchase every website variation of delananicole at GoDaddy.com. So I dug around on Craigslist until I came across a photographer willing to take my pics for free. ‘Joe’ is a freelance photographer working on building his portfolio (sound familiar?) so he is willing to take my pictures in exchange for using them on his website. That is how I found myself standing in heels in 90 degree weather at the Raulston Arboretum, praying I looked professional instead of sweaty. Lesson number 4: If you cannot afford something, offer to swap services. (Read DeLana’s first lessons here and here.) This will allow you not only to gain something that you really need, but you can help another artist further their career. All in all, this is how my expenses turned out:

  • 3 domain name registrations and private registration services – $48.48
  • Business Cards – 250 count at VistaPrint.com – Free
  • Professional photos by local start-up photographer: Free
  • Hosting a blog on WordPress: Free

Yes! Right in line with my budget and well on my way toward meeting my goal: becoming a full-time writer. As for delananicole.com? Stay tuned!

DeLana Nicole Writer

DeLana Nicole

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DeLana Nicole is a freelance journalist and creative writer living in Cary, NC. She holds a B.A. in Written Communications and Journalism. She is hard at work on her first novel. Please check out her Facebook Fan Page and stay tuned for her upcoming website delananicole.com.