Thursday, July 21, 2011

So You Wanna Be A Freelancer

The MOST Beautiful, Lovely, Fantastic, Incredible Week!
I truly cannot believe the experiences that are unfolding before me this summer. As I type, I’m sitting in a 24-hour diner I found three blocks from my building. Greasy? Yes. But there’s an outlet and free refills on coffee, so when I’m in the mood to greet the sunrise, we’re the best of friends.

ANYWAY, why am I in the diner tonight? Lovely Edsters, not only do I have an incredible internship at the men’s magazine while I’m blogging for Ed, but I just became a real, live New York City freelancer! (I filled out the tax forms and everything!) Let’s just say I’ve been able to meet one of the most incredibly busy and driven people I’ve ever known, and, through some stroke of incredible luck, I’ve impressed her. I’m working on a couple projects at the moment, some copy editing, some composing story intros and query letters, others organizing for business expansion, but it’s pretty much the most incredible opportunity I never saw coming this summer!

She’s introduced me to other people she knows in various careers, and I’m trying my hardest to stay professional, yet personable, and interesting, while competent. I’m pushing my networking to the max, and I’m really impressed with how cool people are with texting. That is still something I’m getting used to. I wouldn’t recommend it, Edsters. I view it as unprofessional. I tend to veer toward e-mail in the professional form, but when these contacts text me, I mean, yeah, I text back. I think it’s really cool to be able to know people on multiple platforms—if you are careful and make sure it’s mutually understood, I think you can meet people in both personal and professional environments. I know that’s what’s helping me get ahead.


-Make sure you’re trustworthy. Obvious, I know. But if you hear some grumblings in the office or your boss for some reason reveals a little tidbit of info to you, try to keep it hushed if it seems it should be. My boss made a point of talking to be about how appreciative she is that she knows she can trust me. It’ll set you apart from the other interns mixing dirt in the break room.

-Pay attention to what people around the office are saying. Working at any magazine is awesome, but regardless of how much it does or doesn’t pay, you can pretty much guarantee everyone is working on some type of solo project. Maybe it’s secret, and they don’t want people to know, or maybe (like in my case) they need some extra help to make sure they meet deadlines and goals. If they mention a project, ASK THEM ABOUT IT. Don’t be pushy, but Do be interested.

-Meet your contacts’ contacts if you can. Ask for business cards/phone numbers (depending on the situation you’re in). Then, follow up. Contact them while they still remember you, and stay in touch every couple weeks or once a month—you need them to remember you. If something comes up that needs a few extra hands, they aren’t going to remember a kid they met that one time last year. They’re going to remember who they talked to yesterday and perhaps recommend that person—make sure it’s you!

-Then, if you get the chance to freelance for something awesome, CELEBRATE, and then give it your all! Now that I have this freelancing gig, I’m working so hard to impress my boss. I want her to know I’m not just some intern who can walk in and out of the building each day. I really feel like this isn’t “working toward our futures” anymore. This isn’t waiting to “grow up,” either. This is real life—we’ve grown up and we’re in the proverbial “future.” I think this is the time when we can choose if we stand idle or fly forward. Me? I’m not going to wait until I graduate college to start thinking about professional projects. Nope, I decided I want the cool parts to start now. If you’re feeling the same, I promise you can do it, too!

Hope your internships are working out and growing incredibly! Any questions? Success stories? Grumbles? Tell me, tell me, tell me!

For now,
Ed’s Web Intern

1 comment:

  1. Grumble: I want to freelance so bad. I moved to D.C. to try to get better opportunities. I haven't had an internship yet despite interviews but I suppose I could apply for more. I just want to write! I'm pursuing a Master's in Communication and I feel so behind compared to what I'm reading here.
    I got the education, just not all the experience.

    Suggestions? I'm super hopeful here.