Don’t Call Me a Freelancer

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Honestly, I considered deleting this blog. But today I find myself with the need to share my thoughts on self employment and what many people call freelancing.

I just refiled my LLC for another year. Every year I submit my application and payment, I feel so proud. I’ve come a long way since the start of my freelancing career nearly five years ago. Like most writers, my freelancing started as side projects while I worked full time. Eventually, in 2011, I had the opportunity to go off on my own which is when I first filed Media Alley LLC.

Since then, I’ve developed a disdain for the word “freelancer.” When people ask me what I do, they often cut me off and say, “oh, you’re a freelancer.” No, I’m a business owner. I manage a budget, accounting, clients, projects and projections.

The term freelancer discounts what so many of us do. There’s more to working on your own than doing one-off projects. I challenge any person who calls themselves a freelancer to change the terminology. Call yourself a business owner. Because that’s what you are.

Have you heard the term, “dress for the job you want”? Same idea. If you want people to view you as a credible source for work, make them see you as a credible business.

Now, I need to reheat my coffee, pet my dog, and follow up on some projects …

Another Year as a Proud Business Owner

unnamedTwo years ago, I filed an LLC. Media Alley LLC to be exact. I had done freelancing prior to this, but was kind of forced into formally establishing my business. I am grateful I was told to create an LLC. It has been rewarding for sure.

Now two years later, I just refiled my LLC for another year. Each year has brought different experiences, challenges and opportunities. Each year has been so different from the previous year so I have no idea what to expect for 2014-2015. But that makes it fun.

I’m excited and proud to be a small business owner. Are you looking for someone to write content for you, edit content, handle your social media and/or marketing? Give me a shout onĀ email or Twitter.

My Career Happened Because of Risks

Photo: A Syn

Photo: A Syn

I recently updated my cover letter to reflect another year of experience. I now hold 10 years of experience in media. It threw me off when I realized I have that much experience. Then I thought about my career to date and what I’ve accomplished. One word kept popping in my head: Risks. I have taken risks throughout my career and I’m grateful I have.

Everyone should take risks when it comes to their careers. But not just risks. Calculated risks. When I first graduated college in May 2004, I had zero experience in media. I knew that was my biggest hurdle. I was offered a temporary position as a copywriter for an ad agency in July 2004 with it ending Sept 2004. Quitting my job as office manager at a jewelry store to do a job that was only guaranteed for two months was a HUGE RISK. But I knew it was my only opportunity to add experience to my resume. And it worked out. They expanded my contract from September to December.

In 2007, when the economy collapsed and people were losing their jobs and homes, I took another big risk. I accepted a new position at another company. I was working as managing editor at a builder trade magazine, and had been there for four years – working my way up the ladder. I had a secure position, knew my job inside and out, and did it well. But there was no where for me to move up, and I didn’t feel challenged anymore. I was offered a position as managing editor for a magazine at another company, and I accepted.

A colleague of mine warned me not to take a new job in 2007. He told me, “last hired, first fired.” And in the magazine industry where people were getting laid off constantly, it was a possibility that could happen to me. But I was willing to take the risk. And again, I’m glad I took a risk.

For the last few years, I’ve worked solely for myself as owner of Media Alley LLC. Leaving a job with a guaranteed paycheck every other week was another risk. But I was ready to take it.

After 10 years, I’m grateful that I’ve taken calculated risks throughout my career. Where would I be if I never did that? Sure taking a risk is scary. But how else are you going to grow and learn. Not every risk turns out for the best, but you learn from them, and that’s what matters.

I hope I will always take risks throughout my career.

Winding down #SMWMC

Happy Friday! One more week to go! Next week, you will be presenting your WordPress sites to the class. This involves getting up in front of the class, bringing your site up on the screen and walking us through the site. Reminder: Use the document “Website Project Rubric” found in the Rubrics tab for direction on how your WordPress site will be graded.

Here is a WordPress project from my class last fall if you’re interested:

Any late assignments will be accepted no later than May 8th. The highest grade available for late assignments is a C (but that’s a lot better than a zero). If you need to take a Twitter quiz, there will be one more available next week.

Have a good week!


Overview of week 13

Happy Friday! Last night we had Krista Ledbetter from Kennedy Communications join us to talk about handling client social media accounts. I live tweeted her talk so if you didn’t get to make it to class, please look back at our course hashtag.

Assignments for week 13 are posted in Blackboard for you. The survey of speakers is anonymous so please feel comfortable to give your honest feedback.

As we move forward, please review the rubric labeled “Website Project Rubric.” This is how I will grade your WordPress project that is due May 8th.

Have a good week!

Michele Wingate Rocks Social Media

Michele Wingate, American Family speaks to Social Media Writing students

Michele Wingate, American Family speaks to Social Media Writing students

Last night we had the honor of having Michele Wingate from American Family as a guest speaker. She provided great information on how American Family approaches its social media. I live tweeted her presentation using our class hashtag. Check it out to see some snippets from her talk. Also, feel free to reach out to her on Twitter at @MicheleWingate.

Change of time/date for Andy Carvin’s Google Hangout. He will be traveling the day we had originally planned so our new day and time is now Monday evening at 6 p.m. CST. I hope you can make it. This was the only time we could find that works. Please let me know ASAP if you can participate in the Hangout. One of the assignments for next week is to post three questions for Andy. Please make sure these are done by Monday. Thank you for understanding and being flexible to Andy’s schedule.

I announced one change last night. Instead of taking five Twitter quizzes by the end of the semester, you only need to take two. I will swap out one of your quizzes if you prefer. Twitter quizzes will continue to be offered at every face-to-face session.

For the next week, you are to focus on LinkedIn. There are two videos and articles for you to read in the Lecture tab. Please make sure to connect with me on LinkedIn so that I can view your profiles.

Have a great week!

Overview of Week 10

Good morning! Last night we did a run-through of Google Hangout. Remember to keep your screen on mute unless you’re speaking, otherwise Google picks up all the background noise and moves main speakers back and forth. Our Google Hangout with Andy Carvin is in two weeks! I’ll provide more info on time after I confirm with him.

We have a guest speaker next week: Michele Wingate from American Family. One of your assignments is to post three questions for Michele in the class wiki. These need to be posted by Sunday so I can get them to her in advance of her presentation.

The lecture and assignments this week focus on press releases. Have a good week!


Facebook Brand Best Practices

Good morning!

Last night we went over Facebook brand page best practices. For those of you who were not in class, pull up the following Facebook pages: Red Bull and DSW. Look at their cover photos, profile pictures, menu buttons, about information, and how often the post. We also talked about Facebook’s algorithm and why people don’t see every posting in their new feed. On average only 16% of people who have liked your page actually see your postings. That’s a very small number. So to counteract that, and work with Facebook’s algorithm, there are a few tricks:

  • Post timely content (average of 1x a day)
  • Post high quality content (not silly postings about Happy Friday)
  • Posts with images and videos. This means actually uploading an image to Facebook – not just using the image that renders from a link, or using a YouTube link. Facebook views those as links which are not given as much weight.

If you look on Channel 3000’s page, you’ll see how they do this successfully. With almost every post, there is a picture. This is not the picture that renders from the link they posted. But rather they have actually uploaded a picture, and the information with the link is the description of the picture. This makes Facebook view this post as higher quality – making it rank higher. See example here:


Other feature we talked about: Highlighting and Pin to the Top. DSW’s page has done the highlight feature with its Annie Shoe Lover post. See here:

This highlight feature allows you to have an important post display across both columns. It’s good to use for important events in a timeline, or promotions. It’s also a nice way to break up the design of a Facebook page.

This highlight feature is found in the drop down menu to the right of a post. See example here:

Here are the options you see when you click on that drop down menu:

As you see in that image, there is also the feature Pin to Top. This allows a post to stay at the top of postings even after you’ve added more posts. For example, say your brand is running a month-long campaign so you want the post about that campaign to stay at the top of your page. Clicking on this feature will do that. Otherwise, that post will move down the page as you add more postings.

In two weeks:

Your assignment to review a brand’s Facebook page is now due April 3rd. Please be prepared to talk about these in class on April 3rd. Use the information from last night’s class to help with this review. For additional information about this week’s assignments, please view the Assignment tab.

Next week is Spring Break. Enjoy! The week after is an online session, so I will see you again April 3rd.

Phew! That was a lot to cover. Let me know if you have any questions.


Week 7: Library, Reporters on Twitter, Quizzes

View from the Madison College library

View from the Madison College library

Morning class! Last night was another great class. We started it off at the library where Donna gave an overview of library resources. I posted on Blackboard all the links she referred to in her talk. You can find them under the “Reading & Resources” tab in the left menu.

I enjoyed listening to your presentations on how your chosen reporters use Twitter. I will be posting those grades over the weekend, as well as the grades to your last blog post.

I noticed some due dates were incorrect on the syllabus so I fixed those and replaced the file on Blackboard.

There is also a rubric for your video PSAs posted on Blackboard to guide you with creating your PSAs. This is found in the “Rubrics” tab in the left menu.

I graded the Twitter quizzes from last night and updated the grade information in Blackboard. Keep tweeting with the hashtag #SMWMC when you see something good to share with the class.

Have a great weekend. See you in two weeks – when it’s hopefully warmer!


Week 6: Everything Video

Source: pixabay

Source: pixabay

Good morning, and happy Friday!

Can you believe we’re at week six in the semester? Nearly half way. Last night’s class was another online session. Everything is up on Blackboard for you. This week we focused on everything video – from Vine, Instagram, YouTube and creating your PSAs. Please watch the two video lectures before reading or doing the assignments.

I updated all grade information yesterday so that is up-to-date for you in Blackboard. Let me know if there are any questions.

Starting yesterday through next Thursday, anything tagged with #SMWMC on Twitter will be free game for the quiz next week.

Next week, we meet at the library at the start of class. Donna is going to show you all the multimedia tools the library has to offer to help with your PSA video assignment.

Have a good week. Stay warm!


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