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Monday, April 2, 2012

Need to Jump-Start your Freelance Career? Interview with Stephanie Auteri

I've been freelancing full-time for 15+ years now, and during that time, I have tweaked my approach to my career multiple times. I've transitioned from writing for magazines to newspapers to book author and novelist to ghostwriter and freelancing "expert." So I know firsthand the importance of jump-starting your career, and was happy to do a Q and A with freelancer and career coach Stephanie Auteri. Auteri is offering readers Freelance Awesome: A Starter Kit, a freebie e-packet containing the five worksheets you need to jumpstart your freelance writing career  

Q: Stephanie, tell me a little bit about your background. 

A: Post-college, I worked full-time in the publishing industry, doing both editorial and marketing work for two different book publishers. I felt content for awhile, because I'm a major book nerd but, after a few years, I no longer felt fulfilled. I was tired of publishing other people's work. I wanted to create and publish my own. About five years ago, I jumped ship and went full-time freelance. 

Since then, I've done writing and editing work for a variety of magazines and newspapers, and have even co-authored and ghostwritten ebooks, blog posts, and essays. When the economy took a turn for the worse, I realized I needed to diversify, so I went through a career coaching certification program, and launched Career Coaching for Word Nerds. I love the mix of things I do now (I sometimes even sing funeral masses!), but I know I'm not done experimenting with my career. Goals change. People change. It's exciting!

Q: What made you decide to create the starter kit? 

A: When I first launched Career Coaching for Word Nerds, its mission was similar to that of my freelance blog: give beginning word nerds the help and direction I wish I had when I was just starting out. To that end, I tried a few things. I offered a variety of one-on-one coaching and consulting packages. I ran an e-course. I even planned and ran a large-scale speed networking event for publishing professionals. As I experimented, I learned more about how others like to learn, and about how I like to share information. It was a period of trial and error.

Running an e-course wasn't my cup of tea, but I still wanted to share that information in some way. I'm obsessed with worksheets and spreadsheets and lists. I thought maybe others would also enjoy learning freelance writing skills using the same tools.

The starter kit is a precursor to a longer-form workbook I'm working on: 5 Weeks to Freelance Awesome: An Action Plan. It's the freebie preview. ;) It contains worksheets I created and use myself on a near-daily basis.

Q: You talk about the importance of jump-starting your freelance career. How do you know if your career needs a jumpstart? :) 

A: So many beginning freelancers have a grasp of their goals, but don't know how to get there. The list of things they know they need to do is just so overwhelming. How can they prioritize? Where should they start? How do they know they're ready? Anyone who's spinning in circles that way -- frantic, overwhelmed, paralyzed -- could certainly benefit from a jumpstart.

Q: Tell me some of the ways a freelancer can jumpstart his/her career.

A: The simplest thing to do is to look at your to-do list and ask yourself: Where do I want to be a year from now? Then, move the items on your list that will get you there to the top. Move the other items lower, or eliminate them completely. 

After that, break things down even further. Draw up a list of bite-sized action steps for each item on your to-do list that will take you from Point A to Point B. We often balk at starting a task because it seems so large. But when we can see a clear path, that fear is removed.

Then? Get going, punk!

So much of what holds us back can be traced to fear. We know what we need to do. But we're worried we're not ready. We're not good enough. We don't know the right people. That's just crazy-talk. The best way to get better... to meet the right people... to learn... is to dive on in. We self-educate ourselves as we go. We become ever more awesome. (Clearly.) We achieve our own versions of success.

We can't just wait for it to come to us.

Q: How can readers get in touch with you? 

A: You can learn more about me on my website, snag more freelance advice on my blog, and stalk me on Twitter. And if you'd like a free copy of Freelance Awesome: A Starter Kit, just sign up for my mailing list!

***Thanks so much to Stephanie for this Q and A! Next up, I'll be sharing the most recent sales numbers and explain why you need an e-version of any print book you publish. Stay tuned! 

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