Time to Speak Up

Alisa BonsignoreLike most people, I’ve spent a lifetime avoiding public speaking. But in the past year, there have been more than a few occasions where I’ve sat at conferences thinking, “Someone should host a session about XYZ,” and the little voice inside my head said, “Why not you?”

Why not me?

I ended 2010 by submitting several proposals to speak at 2011 conferences. To my surprise, some of my stronger topics were passed over, but one did accept a hastily crafted proposal for How to Present Yourself as an Independent Professional.

The idea for this presentation formed at that same conference last year. I met several people – all professional writers and editors – who would introduce themselves and say, “Hi, I’m Jane and I’m actively looking for projects, but I don’t have a business card….” There was the guy who spent most of his time out in the lobby playing Angry Birds on his iPhone, then later complained that he hadn’t met anyone at the conference. There was the woman whose home-printed, perforated card indicated that she was an “Eidtor” by profession. And there was the guy who showed up in a worn-out concert tee, shorts and flip-flops, looking startlingly like Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons.

These people have provided the fodder for plenty of my posts here on the Creative Freelancer Blog. Now it’s my turn to give something back and hopefully help a small segment of the freelance world put their best foot forward.

What are some of the biggest lessons that you’ve learned about presenting your freelance business as a business? How do you set yourself apart and convince clients that you are The One?

BTW: We’re counting down to the Creative Freelancer Conference. It’s 3 months from tomorrow, June 23-24 in Chicago and the early bird deadline is April 1: 10 days from now. If you want to meet Alisa (and maybe even jog with her), register now.

3 thoughts on “Time to Speak Up

  1. Neil Renicker

    Is the “eidtor” story real? I had a hearty laugh at the irony – thanks for that. To respond your question, one word: confidence. If potential clients don’t feel like I can handle the job, they’re going to get cold feet really quickly! So, even if I don’t quite feel it: confidence. I can actually do this, and do it well!

  2. Alisa Bonsignore

    Yes, the Eidtor was real. When I saw that, the little voice inside my head started to shout, “you need to say something!” These were people with phenomenal credentials, but with typos on their handmade business cards — or worse, no cards at all! — how could a client ever take them seriously?

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