Tag Archives: Social media

Thinking of Becoming a Freelance Writer? Here Are 9 Tips to Help You

Truth be told, writing is hard. It is tedious and on bad days, can be difficult. If anyone had told me a couple of years ago that I would end up writing, I would have side-eyed them and asked, do you mean me well?

I’ve been getting some requests on freelance writing and it’s only right that I share my knowledge and experience with others. After all, our gifts should be a blessing to others.

Let’s get right into it!

Thinking of Becoming a Freelance Writer? Here Are 9 Tips to Help You

Make a decision
Before you become a freelance writer, you need to make up your mind. Have those difficult and uncomfortable conversations with yourself and decide what you want. If you have been writing fiction or short stories all your life, you need to decide if you’re ready to make that transition –  because you might not have time to write as much fiction anymore.

Choose a niche
When you’re fully convinced of your decision, it’s time to choose a niche. Yes, I get that writers should be flexible and knowledgeable enough to write on any subject. That has never worked for me and I do not know anyone that does that. In these times, your best bet is your niche.

It can be something you’re skilled at, trained at, passionate about or simply knowledgeable about. I believe the best work comes from a place of knowledge and passion. So, make a list according to these factors and pick one or a few related ones.

Build your portfolio
Now that you know what you stand for, it’s time for you to build your portfolio and let people notice you –  because trust me, the jobs will not look for you. The fastest and easiest way to go about this is guest posting. Here, you are going to need to research a list of authority sites in your niche. When you’re done with that, send articles to them. It is not the time to think about money. This should not be a problem especially if you have a good knowledge of your niche. This is also the time to create a blog. Writer or not, everyone should have a blog. Your blog would serve as a portfolio for all your guest posts which should be as frequent as possible.

At this point you have established yourself as a freelance writer, now it’s time to put yourself out there.

Rebrand your social media accounts
No matter what anyone has told you, social media is key. This is why your accounts should be consistent. Let it reflect what you do and the services you offer.

Follow the relevant brands and influencers in your niche. 
Here, you are going to need social media to work for you.

You might be followed back and you might not. That is the least of your problems. What’s important is, these accounts are on your timeline which means your chances of getting a job from these accounts has increased because you will see those unexpected vacancies that pop up randomly. If you’re so bothered about your following/follower ratio, make a Twitter list.

At this point, if you play your cards right, you should be getting a few offers. If you haven’t, don’t lose hope.

Make a list of potential clients
Everyone has dream jobs. Companies that we’ve spent our entire lives desiring even when we were not qualified. This is the time to be proactive.

Of course, I do not need to tell you that your research skills come to play here.

Perfect your cold pitch and go for it
Remember when I said that the jobs won’t look for you? Well, except you have somehow risen to the ranks of a digital influencer, you will have to pitch yourself. That list of potential clients comes in handy now. It is time to contact them and pitch yourself. Sell yourself and your expertise – which is backed up by your portfolio (remember your guest posts and blog?) and experiences. Most of them have websites. Look for their contact details and offer your services. Trust me; you might never know where you get lucky. Sometimes, some clients might not realize that your services are needed until you reach out to them and if you are rejected, do not be discouraged.

Keep at it and be consistent
If you’re diligent in your business, you will eventually succeed. Don’t forget to start small and grow from there. If there are additional skills you need to learn to attract more income, do not think twice. Clients usually appreciate freelancers that bring extra to the table. Also, do not chase clients away by overcharging because you’re broke, you will only play yourself.

Register a business name and make it official
Don’t be like me. Don’t wait until you have hammered before making it official.

 

I think this guide also applies to other skills and not just writing. Whatever your hands find to do, with consistency and dedication, you will definitely reach your goals.

 

Originally published on Bellanaija

 

Recap: Social Media Week Lagos 2016

Last week was the annual Social Media Week Lagos which also doubled as a brief stint in the world of 9-5ers. I’ve been in paid employment before but it was nothing like this. As a freelancer, I might not need to leave my house for an entire month except, of course for church on Sundays. SMWLagos meant that I had to leave home as early as possible to beat the traffic as well as attend a few 9am sessions at the other end of town. So, I cleared my entire schedule for a week and got ready for an exhilarating experience. It was so worth it!

Social Media Week Lagos
Can you spot me somewhere on the second row? I don’t have a camera and my phone’s shitty so I have to scout for photos of myself. This was during the Intel #SheWillConnect Masterclass Credit: Studio4 for Social Media Week Lagos

 

The STAGE

I thought the venue was perfect and the stages, brilliant. The only previous one I attended had various multiple venues and this was refreshing. The best thing was probably the coffee stands stationed at strategic points. If I hadn’t known better, I would have said that the organizers were out to turn me into a coffee drinker given the number of cups I averaged daily. But they didn’t succeed, tea over coffee all day everyday.

 

The PEOPLE

I went to SMWLagos with the idea of being as inconspicuous as possible. I wasn’t in the least bit interested in meeting anyone – both old as in ”Twitter followers” and new. But then, things happen especially when the universe conspires to bring you out of your shell or you’re simply just good with faces. It’s hard to resist. Before I knew it, one day I was wearing sneakers and the next, strutting in stilettos and block heels with an aura of confidence I never knew I had. Don’t get me wrong, I’m hardly shy but in recent times, I’ve become somewhat socially awkward. Which meant that I was invariably compelled to approach people whose faces I recognized and those I didn’t hence making new acquaintances. What a splendid way to start the year! Unfortunately, that joy was cut short every time someone asked for my business card. Guys, this was rather novel to me. I mean, no one has ever asked for my business card. It never even came up. In my head, I’m just some writer who would rather be behind the screen scenes. I’m not that important. NOT! Turns out, I’ve been underrating myself all this time. I have a serious problem with that. Discussion for another day. So, in the absence of business cards, what do you do? You improvise. Turns out, people were still interested in my handwritten details as well as my social media handles. Ha! There’s hope after all.

There was about 100 sessions during SMWLagos. Which meant a number of them were clashing. I had previously pre-registered about a month ago so I knew the ones I was attending. Well, things didn’t exactly go as planned as I had to make last minute decisions which involved spending about 15 minutes in one session so as to meet up with the next as well as climbing a flight of stairs severally. So happy I didn’t trip in those shoes.

Of course, some things stood out for me.

  1. I was exposed to most if not a fair number of careers available to us – online workers asides fashion blogging. *side-eye*. The information was overwhelming. In fact, I got to home to make double takes. Remember, I said something about the dilemma of career choices I’m facing at the moment? This just made it worse. I signed up for a few trainings and hope to come to a decision soonish.
  2. That thing about being good with faces (that I never knew I had) actually turned out to be helpful. The very first person I approached was Jite who was incredibly sweet. We’ve been following each other for a while now and I used all of the bits of information I knew about her to strike a conversation. Overtime, I met even more people. From Oghenelucia, to Jesse Oguns to Simi Olusola, Odun Eweniyi, Amanda Rylee and host of others I can’t remember now. Also, I finally met Chioma Chuka after winning her giveaway a few years ago. I think she’s doing an incredible job with her TechHer intiative. If only, I was that ambitious. Also worth mentioning is Bolanle Olukanmi who I thought looked totally out of place. For someone who is used to being in the spotlight, she looked so regular that I had to approach her. Ideally the conversation should have gone like this,

Me: Hi, are you Bolanle Olukanmi? I’m such a huge fan of your style (or presenting skills or Instagram?)

 What does she do again?

Instead,it went;

Me: Hi, are you Bolinto? I’ve been seeing you around for a few days now and you seemed totally out of place. It’s nice to meet you.

No jokes! I couldn’t take it back. It was too late. She just smiled, grabbed her coffee and walked away which I think I deserve.

3. Then, there was  the fashion blogger that approached me with the aim of interviewing me for her blog because she thought I had style. ME? STYLE? RIGHT! I told her to take any photos she wanted of me at that moment because I didn’t have anyone to send to her. She thought I was kidding. If only she knew. Also, one of the press guys asked to take a photo of me for their official Instagram because he thought I was stylish. Apparently pairing prints appropriately comes off as being afrocentric and stylish when really I’m all about that comfortable and convenient life. Guys really? I’m not interested. Although, I should have. I currently do not have any decent looking photo of myself.

It was also nice to put faces to online personas from Tolu Ogunlesi who I thought was a fantastic orator. In the sea of accents, he spoke so audibly that I didn’t want him to stop to Ayodeji Rotinwa who I recently followed on Twitter because why not? He’s cute! There’s something about his personality that screams, I’m nice and friendly! to Lisa Folawiyo. I’m not into fashion but damn! She looked amazing! To Yagazie Emezi who I thought looked incredibly bored during her session. According to her, she was listening. Yep! She replied me on Twitter. To Adebola Williams who was this close to me. Apparently, he’s really good at what he does. To Noble Igwe who is hilarious as hell! To Bankole Oluwafemi who couldn’t stop pressing his phone during his session. I thought that was rude. Ebuka Obi- Uchendu, Iyin Aboyeji, Peace Hyde – so close yet so far.

Social Media Week Lagos
Someone just sent this to me. Can you spot me looking attentively?

The SESSIONS

I had just one problem with a few of the sessions. You see, usually there’s a moderator and a handful of panelists for each sessions. Other times it’s just a boring  monologue. I found out later that I preferred the panel discussions with engaging panelists. More often that not, they did a rather decent job and even cracked us up a bit. The rest of the time, they just bore us to death which of course meant leaving the session at any point in time. Some people will agree with me when I say there were times when the moderators and panelists were out of sync. There was absolutely no connection. It felt like the moderators were informed just that morning which resulted into their ill-preparedness. Another problem was the panelists. Some of them were just ill-suited for the session. For instance, there was one called Freelance Focus. Personally, I was excited when I saw the schedule. I mean, finally someone was catering to us. Ideally, you would expect the panelists to be made up of actual freelancers who face numerous challenges especially writers, particularly in Nigeria. Instead, what did we get? Celebrities! Is this what we’re here for? Already made people with endorsement deals? Miss me with that! I was so mad that I walked out! Other than that, the sessions were generally enlightening and informative. I particularly loved the ones that were brazen and straight up! Did I mention the coffee? It was a life-saver! Most of the time, I couldn’t grab breakfast before leaving home so those cups were everything and made the sessions more bearable.

Social Media Week Lagos
Peep our goodie bags!

How about the branded merchandise? I literally got dragged to the front row of the Spice TV session and got rewarded with an all exclusive-to-the-front-row goody bag. How awesome is that? Although, I was so bummed that I didn’t attend the Rele session to see Ayodeji and get a gorgeous mug. Still not over it. So, I’m gonna go to the gallery to get myself one.

My only regret was missing the very first #SMWBooKCulture on Monday. The traffic wasn’t very pretty.

I think this a lot of recap already. For an entire week, I hope it justifies it even though I hoped to give a daily report but I was so damn exhausted when I got home that I couldn’t write a thing.

For more photos visit the SMW Facebook page. Hopefully, I find more photos I appear in and share them.

 

Between The Internet And My Sanity

It’s 2am on a Sunday morning. I have no idea why I’m still awake when I clearly have to be up in a few hours to attend first service and believers class thereafter. But what can I do? Sleep has decided to take a coffee break after a fairly long nap the previous day.

What else? Twitterville is somewhat hibernating with little or no action but endless tweets and retweets from parody accounts. So, I go with what looks like the only alternative left; blog-hopping.

I stumble on Ibukun’s inactive blog(not quite sure now), read through and shared a few posts until this particular one where she explained her decision to ”give Twitter up” . Mind you, this post is over a year old and I remember reading it but not paying so much attention to it because it didn’t resonate with me at that point in time. Infact, scrolling down the comments section, my exact words were;

”Nahh I don’t think I can do this especially since this(Twitter in particular, The Internet in general) is what’s keeping me sane right now”

Hold that thought.

I went back to the article to read some of the links she made reference to. By the time I’m done halfway through the third article about the guy who gave up the Internet for a year, I had a paradigm shift. Suddenly that comment I made almost a year ago seemed invalid.

When I was writing my list of 21 things, one of the points included was to stay off the internet for a week. In my mind, I knew it wasn’t remotely possible but I was ready to challenge myself.

It’s been a little over two years since I became an active citizen of the internet. Not that I didn’t have prior knowledge or access to it, I wasn’t just consumed with it as I am now. It’s quite understandable. Times have changed. No matter how much I’d like to think of myself as a Victorian, I just have to flow with the vibe.

So, I’m at this point trying to compare the pros and cons of ”living on the internet”. Obviously, the pros outweighs the cons in terms of accessibility,availability and whatnot. Undoubtedly, I’ve been able to discover, develop and push myself. Good thing is I didn’t allow myself be swayed by throwing my morals out of the window. Probably because of the way I’m wired. So there’s no issue there. But on the flip side which I’m not quite sure is a disadvantage yet is my reclusity. In my head, it’s all part of the transition to adulthood. Recently, I got asked out on a date and for some (un)conscious reasons, I kept stalling. I haven’t been on a date in like forever! Ola; who serves as my default boyfriend hasn’t been avaliable for a while now so I was supposed to be excited about it but no I wasn’t. You know why? I didn’t see any need for it.. Yep! At this rate I’m not gonna meet people at all and I’d probably not get married. Yeah,we’ll probably date through DMs. Smh. No but really it is an issue for me that’s why I’m eventually gonna have to take time off the internet if things don’t change for the better. It doesn’t even help matters that I currently have online jobs and planning to take up more. Really! Sigh.

Bottom line is I’m have to strike a balance and fix my social life.

I’m gonna end with a few excerpts from one of the articles I read. This struck a chord and I was literally moved to tears because it’s aptness.

 

”….Can we all agree that making friends is just plain hard? You inevitably face awkward conversations, and awkward dinner every now and then, and for lack of a better term, after much investment, you may just come to find out the chemistry (not romantic) just isn’t there.”

”…As if rejection doesn’t take a serious toll on a human being as it is, we’ve now added another dimension. I’m almost tempted to call it imaginary rejection. Rejected by those we’ve never even met. Nor talk to on a normal, consistent basis.With comparison comes jealousy and I’m not sure anything steals your joy quicker than feeling jealous.”

” Because of this new season and revelation, I’ve found that reverting to the internet to bring me
community and companionship is just as easy, but it lacks true intimacy and vulnerability, which to me, is no relationship at all. While making friends and creating community takes time, work, patience, vulnerability,initiation and so much more, the reality is, we were created for face-to-face friendships, not face-to-screen. We want to be known, loved and accepted, but we fear rejection,so we are more comfortable to correspond with people on twitter, as opposed to calling up a friend to meet for dinner”

”But the truth of the matter is, it’s our responsibility to take control of what we let rule over and own us.”

 

EB.

Let’s Take A Look Back

Hi.

So i just downloaded my Twitter archive and I’m just SMH for myself; in a good way that is.I actually like what i’m seeing. There’s been a drastic growth and improvement in the last 2 years. Sadly, some things that used to matter to me don’t anymore.
 

Right here I’m looking at a girl that used to rant about her mum all day and long for the company of the ex-bestie/boyfriend. I see a reader(not that I’m not anymore),a socially relevant person who always wants to be in the company of her friends, and very importantly a retweeter. LOOL. Someone once a gave me an award on my timeline as the best retweeter of all times. I could retweet for Africa ehen! especially those silly relationship quotes. *bows head in shame* LOL. I guess it’s because i could relate to some of them at some point. SMH.

I can also see someone that was really into Nigerian music and always tweeted her support to her favorite artistes. Nah i don’t do that again. Priorities changed! Besides i revamped my playlist and ”secular’ songs didn’t meet the criteria. A lot of changed handles, tons of unfollows(i don’t follow more than half of the handles i see here),re tweets again,terrible use of 140 characters,silly abbreviations and whatnot.

I see a girl that was always in touch with her mates and not give flimsy excuses. (Again,priorities changed!)

Wow! Haha! Too funny!.

Apparently i had a sense of humor. who would had known?

I was a talker! Chai!

Businesswoman ke? LMAO

Yeah! Korean movie addict!

Wow! I think i’m done.

 

Anyways i think I’ve had a swell time on Twitter. I can’t imagine letting all that out on Facebook. I’ve made friends that i think i would love to have around for a long time,I’ve grown; still growing. My long-suffering has been put to test countless times. I’ve been able to tolerate people,ignore and/or unfollow when necessary,reject the norm of profanity,enjoy intellectual convos from the sidelines,follow inspiring tweeps,have endless chats with King and maintain a sane timeline. :).

In all,i think it’s been an amazing journey and i wouldn’t trade that for anything.

 

Always and Forever

E.