Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Importance of Networking to Freelancers by Alex Simmonds

People who are thinking about making the change to freelancing, or those who have just started, often see all of the advantages of freelancing and contracting, but forget the work that needs to go into it. All of the advantages, from being their own boss to choosing the jobs they take on, and from flexible working hours to the increased financial rewards; all of these advantages normally come at a price. That price is the possibility of no work at all for long periods. Inevitably there will be times when work is low on the ground and this is where it pays to be proactive, and get yourself into both your community and the wider job market, sniffing out clients and jobs.

Networking then, is crucial to successful freelancing / contracting. And one of the advantages of networking is that unlike marketing or advertising it has very few costs or financial overheads, whilst still being an incredibly important tool to get your business known. More importantly, it is hard to overestimate the importance of personal contact and developing relationships with people.

That is not to say that online networking isn't important, because it is. Joining forums, organizations, work providers, associations and particularly social networking sites from MySpace and Facebook to the more business orientated LinkedIn; all are crucial tools for the freelance worker.

However, networking in the real world is of much more importance to your business and is all about developing relationships with people in your community. How should you go about properly networking then? Firstly look into national organizations such as the Institute of Directors or the PCG (the Professional Contractors Group). The PCG, for example, has over 20,000 members and is useful not only for its support of freelancers on tax and legal issues but also its organization of events for members to network. Tuesday 23rd November is their main event, National Freelancers Day where freelancers get together across the country to celebrate the tremendous impact of freelancers on the UK economy and to allow companies to come and meet freelancers.

Just as important, however, are local organizations such as the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) and hundreds of local regional business enterprises. These are great for organizing brunches, lunches and networking get-togethers.

Finally, once you're at these meetings it is important to remember to play the long game. Don't go into these gatherings and oversell yourself, annoying people or looking desperate. Aim to simply meet people, develop relationships and to meet regularly. This is a marketing slow burner, and the aim is building a network of clients and contacts.

Secondly, show interest in other people's needs and business. Listen, take interest. Cultivate contacts with people even if they are unlikely to be 'of use' to you. Get to know people in similar but not identical fields. For example if you're a copy writer, get to know designers you might be able to work with and vice versa. Also, have business cards ready and collect other peoples. Finally, be rigorous in following up. It is very important to get in touch quickly - if you leave it too long, people forget you. So send that follow up email or make that call, even if it's a brief hello.

Most importantly, sell yourself and your skills. As mentioned above, be low key and subtle, but be bold, speak to strangers and get your contracting skills out there!

The Bedouin Group offers Contractors Umbrella Company alternatives and a place for contractors and freelancers to keep up to date.

Freelancing: Choosing The Right Business To Start by Mike Madrazo

These days, no one can survive on one job alone. That's why starting a small business is one of the best ways to ensure your long-term financial security (and happiness). And the easiest way to start your own business is by freelancing. Here's how to choose the right freelancing business to start.

Question #1 - What are you good at?

What are your core competencies? I believe every single one of us has a special "gift" within us which, when used to the hilt, can actually make the community (and in freelancing, the WORLD) a better place. And it's this gift that should form the foundation of your freelancing business.

What's your gift? Is it writing? Web design? Coding? Graphic arts? Clerical or accounting work?

Remember that any business is meant to create VALUE for its customers. And the better you are at your skill, the more value your new freelancing business will create, and the better off you, your clients, and their customers will be.

Question #2 - What do you like doing?

Confucius once said "Wherever you go, go with all your heart." So if you're going into freelancing anyway, you might as well be doing something your heart is fully into!

Of all the "gifts" I mentioned above (and any other skills that may have come to your mind), which one is your favorite? What's that one thing you'd LOVE to do every single day, even if the pay wasn't spectacular?

Remember -- it's always best to choose ONLY one gift to center your freelancing business around, so it might as well be something you absolutely love. After all, it's not only hard work that makes a business thrive, but also the PASSION behind that hard work!

Question #3 - Are you ready?

Freelancing is a challenge that many rise up to, but few ultimately conquer. Are you ready for it? The world today is in desperate need of effective, skilled freelancers. And I'll be glad to help you get started!

Mike Madrazo is a young freelance writer who believes in freelancing as the gateway to financial security. Subscribe to his blog to receive free daily freelancing advice and tips, as well as a sprinkle of spiritual nutrition to make the journey worthwhile.

Top 52 Advertising Techniques has released a compendium of the 52 most popular advertising techniques worldwide.

This comprehensive collection of advertising techniques will inspire new ways for marketing and advertising professionals to create effective communications.

The collection features hundreds of contemporary print, TV, digital and social media examples. And the techniques themselves range from the traditional - such as Problem / Solution and Metaphors - to cutting-edge techniques such as Dramatic Conflict.

"We started with a review of thousands of ads from Asia, the Americas, and Europe - along with feedback from over 300 copywriters and art directors," said Steve McNamara, creative director at

"This collection gives ad agencies and advertisers a clear picture of 'what works' in advertising, at least from the creative perspective."

According to McNamara, "Advertising techniques have persuasive energy. They are the elements in ads that engage and persuade, that get people to click or call, to remember or to react emotionally."

McNamara says that advertising techniques are culturally neutral, and can be expressed in any medium, from newspaper ads to social platforms such as Facebook.

"To see ad techniques in action look at any ad from Apple Computers," says McNamara. "Whether it's branding or direct response, in TV or digital media, Apple stands apart for its creative and effective use of ad techniques."

That's fine for big companies like Apple. But how can the small advertiser, small ad agency or freelancer benefit?

"Every copywriter, business owner, and graphic designer has a set of advertising techniques in their bag of tricks," says McNamara. "But even the best creatives get stuck in a rut. This collection of ad techniques will help creatives explore new ways to make the cash register sing."

An introductory video along with dozens of the most popular advertising techniques are now available for viewing at All 52 techniques are included on AdCracker's Creative Director and Creative Manager multimedia CD Sets.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Benefits of Freelancing: Time by Trixie Torralba

If you are searching for reasons why you should go freelance instead of working in a job you don't really enjoy, there are a lot of benefits that you can get. One of the best things about being a freelancer is that you get to become a results driven person. The reason for this is largely due to the fact that you cannot achieve anything if you sit on you're ass the whole day and watch TV. If you want to get money, you have to work. By doing so, this practice has taught me to maximize my time working. And indeed, the benefits of freelancing have been mega fruitful.

Among the biggest factors which are affected by a freelancer is their time. The usual reaction of people who have never been a freelancer is that these people spend their day watching TV.

But this does not apply to a lot of persons. In fact, I happen to know a number of people who don't even have time to check what's going on in the outside world. Time can either be a freelancer's greatest ally or foe. Here are some benefits you can get when as a freelancer:

You hold your time
Once you hold your time, you are more likely to give good results as opposed to sitting inside an office cubicle for 8 hours straight. And because your time is precious, you opt to get more and more projects even before your task is finished.

You can work anywhere
As a freelancer, you can easily get your work done anywhere. All you need is to have your laptop along with you, a stable internet connection and your set to go. You can even keep going on out-of-town trips and still be able to get your work done on time.

"Me time" is optional
Before I became a freelancer, I was always going out with friends and spending money I didn't have. But when I joined the industry, I traded loud party night outs with simple and quiet nights in a caf with my trusted laptop. I do this in the hopes of earning enough money so I can celebrate later on.

Meetings are optional
If you are working in a full time position, your boss can easily call you to come in any time of the day for a meeting. Even if it is your day off, you are needed to attend a meeting that you have no part of. But when you become a freelancer, meetings with clients are the only ones that you need to attend to. And even these are a whole lot easier to manage since you are actually putting input in the event.

Avoid crowded malls
By becoming a freelancer, you can easily pay your bills and do some shopping done without having to deal with the crazy after work crowds that frequent malls.

Commuting is not necessary
On an average rate, getting to work in Manila can reach up to an hour. This does not include rush hour and traffic when this number gets worse. Sure, a couple of hours a day may not harm your time but if you add those up in a work week, that's already a day's worth of work and income for you. When you turn freelance, you will be able to realize that time means money.

You can work when you feel most productive
If you are in an office, there are some instances where you can feel tired and sleepy. But you cannot do anything because everyone is watching you. On the other hand, if you decide to go freelance, you can easily take a short nap and wake up feeling relived to get another set of tasks done. This way, you can take your time being tired and turn it into your rest hours.

There are still a lot of other benefits of freelancing that you can get. By trying out the task, nothing wrong will befall on you. You only get so much to gain since you are making a huge change in your career. Check out my other freelance benefits so you can decide whether or not you want to try out the industry.

Trixie Torralba has been a freelance writer for the past year. Throughout this time, she has worked with several clients who gave her the opportunity to earn money and work well. This is why she has decided to share her tips with people who want to become a freelancer through FreelancerSociety. Make sure you follow her blog to get more tips!

She is also behind the blog Chronicles of a Gypsy where she shares app reviews, recipes, new restaurants, and anything you can find throughout the Philippines.

Working From Home - A Realizable Dream After All by Deepa Govind

Some dreams are meant to be dreamt, some are meant to be worked upon, some are meant to be chanced upon, while some just hit you between the eyes, and leaves sparks flying all over the place.

In my case, it was purely a chanced upon opportunity. Never even dreamt in my wildest dreams that I would work from home, and yet make a decent amount of money out of this venture. Today, 3 years after my first paid freelancing gig, I have a domain name to call my own, the design, development, and associated costs all paid out my freelancing income over this time. I will not disclose how much, but it is "pretty much".

May be starting this topic from the monetary aspect is not the right way to start after all. But, it is for those, who ask me "Do you earn enough?", whilst trying to be polite by not asking "How much do you earn?"

We have been witness to the changes around us over the past couple of decades. Especially, those coming from the typical Indian middle class family would agree that, for working women and the perspective around them have evolved at a remarkable pace during this time. This was the period wherein, the gender discrimination was beginning to fade away at home, and "higher education" for the daughter of the family was approached with reverence (.. and not worry about finding a groom for over-educated daughter...)We saw girls getting into "professional courses" ( read, Medical, Engineering.... still private tuition for IIT's was reserved for male child). The girl had to secure a seat truly out of her own merit.... "As parents, we will enroll and pay the school/college fees, you are expected to prove that you are worth it".. was the underlying message to the daughter from the family. Today, we KNOW, she is indeed worth every penny that was spent on her education. We now have females in almost all aspects of life, ranging from our neighborhood lady-auto-driver - ISRO - UN - and many more to come.

The point I am trying to make is, there is no substitute to hard work, persistence and perseverance. If not for the efforts put in by those women ( who lived by every word in the previous paragraph), I will not be in a position to write/ comprehend this, you wouldn't be here either reading this. We are born with the gene that drives us to "prove beyond what we are endowed with". So, anthropologically, that gives an added advantage for females, don't you think so?

Miracles do not happen overnight, and earning a decent income via work from home is definitely nothing less than a miracle. So, establishing yourself in the freelancing market is going to take all the perseverance you can muster. Though, this is holds true irrespective of gender, non-freelancing-regular job as well, the stakes are high for males for whom freelancing is the only source of income for the family. For this, and for this reason alone, I would recommend this to females. Especially to those, who have had the fortune of "good education", but forced to "be at home", due to family constraints.... could be children, out in the foreign soil, aging/ailing members in the family... etc.

My English teacher used to say "Well begun is half done". Today, I understand the true meaning of these words of wisdom. Freelancing is not a "walk-in" interview that one would do, with a couple of copies of CV. It really doesn't matter what degree one holds, or how many high profile companies one had worked with in the past. These details will add credibility, but will definitely NOT land you at the first paid freelancing job.

If you have had the experience of giving seminars as a part of your college curriculum, you would understand the role of research that goes before you sit to write the title on a piece of paper. That is an over simplified version of what is to come on your freelancing future. Research - research - research. Then, its consolidate and present yourself to potential clients.

I want to become a successful freelancer. What should I do?

* Conventional CV's do not hold water in freelancing. So don't get your hopes high about that very impressive CV.

* Freelancing is all about the details. (... the devil is indeed in the details...)

* Think hard, about those aspects in your CV, where you can break down those degrees into workable-detail-oriented-solutions.

* This is the hardest part, and this is where you should be investing your time, intelligence, and analytical skills.

* Insider tip: Document every thought that crosses your mind, while you are at it. This might seem unimportant now, but will miss for not having done this when you re-visit the thought after 3 months flat.

I can confidently outline the specific details oriented projects I am capable of handling, Now what?

* Admit shamelessly that you (we) are slaves to Google.

* Try to identify " work from home with no skills needed" type jobs from genuine ones. Focus on the jobs that match the details you have come up in the first phase.

* Research on freelancing sites. What works for me, may not be the best for you. I have found oDesk, Elance, Scriptance, iFreelance, to offer genuine jobs. They too have their share of "con." So for every job that remotely matches your-type, double check, triple check, or even quadruple check if needed.

* Insider Tip: It is okay to go ahead and create profiles in freelancing sites. But be sure not to give you personal email / phone number/ photograph in them until you are totally convinced. When in doubt, visit the community forum at these sites, and observe, inquire, and continue to ask until the responses are reasonably satisfactory.

I have found a job that I am capable of doing. How much should I charge for my services.

* Ah!, the all important (million $$) question.

* First timers, visit various community portals to get an idea about remuneration for "this kind" of projects.... Thanks to Google.

* Try to bid around the average, to start with.

* Insider tip: The focus should be on proving your expertise on doing the job, stick to delivery schedule, and match the standards expected by the client. The more you are picky about nickels and dimes, you give the impression that money drives your attitude, and gives an impression that you are susceptible to drop an ongoing project, when you have a more-paying-offer.

Whatever freelancing site you choose, whatever job you choose to do,

1. Follow the Terms and Conditions of the site.
2. Be truthful about performing at the project.
3. Provide realistic delivery dates, and adhere to it all costs.

Insider tip: It is always better to overestimate the delivery date, and deliver the product at least 24 hrs before the proposed date.

Deepa Govind freelance Virtual Assistant from Bangalore. She is proficient in developing customised database application using Zoho Creator. She also takes up projects on ghostwriting for blogs, ebooks, newsletters etc. She blogs at While you are there, use the contact form to get in touch with her.

Tips On Free Tools To Use For Freelancing by C Ceil


Freelancing isn't an easy job as the competition is fierce and cut-throat. Whether you are a writer or a web designer or a programmer, there are thousands like you out there who are also looking for freelancing jobs so you need to have special skills or tools to stand apart from them and get noticed.

Online Jobs

To assist the freelancers in finding the right kind of jobs, several freelancer websites have sprung up which allow employers to post jobs for a fee and obtain skilled labor in return. Getting yourself registered at these websites would be the first step to ensure that you get a steady flow of freelancing jobs. Varied jobs such as web designing, web programming, article writing and editing, photo editing and graphic designing are available online. One has to simply choose the right kind of job that suits their set of skills.

Tools For Web Developers

For web developers there are a number of tools available that can help them in testing and optimizing the websites that they create. LoadStorm is one such tool that can be used by web developers to check the loading time of websites that they have created. This free tool can be used to create as many test plans and scenarios required to test the website. VisualVM is another free tool that helps freelancers in testing the Java applications that they have created. This tool helps in monitoring application's performance and memory consumption by remotely running the Java applications. Google's Website Optimizer is another device which helps developers in analyzing user actions and traffic to create error free websites.

Tools For Writers

For freelance writers the tools available are also multiple and varied. Keynote is one such free software that allows content writers to arrange research notes by adding and multiplying various notes and compiling them together. White Smoke is another such application that enables writers to proof read their documents and helps in improving the sentence structures for more innovative and grammatically correct sentences.

Tools for Photo Editors

Photo editors can use Picnik to crop, resize, rotate and give final touches to their edited photos.

All the above mentioned free tools can be used by freelancers to enhance and improve their job performance. If you are a freelancer and you are looking for jobs then you must try to learn the above techniques for achieving greater success in your field of work.

For any kind of article writing, SEO, blog writing, creative writing, eBooks or fictional writing, you can check me out at:

My blog id:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Is Your Service Business Listed on Free Freelance Directory Yet?

More service-oriented businesses and freelance professionals are turning to for their newest feature, a FREE business profile listing on Freelance Directory. A free profile listing in addition to the very popular FREE client appointment scheduling tool? is THE solution for service businesses and freelancers with its popular, free and user friendly online calendar system located at which also allows its users to list their independent service business profiles on the new Freelance Directory. Future enhancements will include a mobile phone application, Google & Outlook integration, Google Checkout and ability to send a user's directory profile link thru email or social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

How does work and how it can benefit you? With a growing subscriber base and already showing constant innovation. For their free client appointment online calendar, allows the user to be paid by the client for their scheduled time in advance at the booking stage of the actual appointment; particularly important in case the client is an unannounced last minute 'no show'. Only prepayment to the user by the client for the allocated time on the user's online public calendar confirms a scheduled appointment.

Users are required to have a PayPal account established in order to be paid and scheduled by clients. This assures secured payment to the user for the scheduled appointment on their online calendar, which automatically emails appointment details to both parties.

For job seekers and those looking to promote their service businesses, benefits those users with a great new feature, the site's FREE Freelance Directory. Users post their business profile listing, areas of expertise and logos/pictures (ie. 'advertise' their services). Because of its global reach, helps connect its users with clients anywhere. Any service business looking to increase their professional visibility will find the free directory listing benefit extremely useful. Current web search results have shown as providing more benefits and free services than its nearest competitors, which provide only free short trial periods, expensive subscription fees and no free directory listings.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Become a Freelance Writer - Skilled Writers Can Earn a Living Working at Home

Just stop and consider the number of individual pages on the World Wide Web. The Internet has millions of pages and hundreds of thousands of individual web sites. Most of these pages contain text that was probably written by a freelance writer.

The fact is that text is very important to any given web page. It's also a fact that a majority of website and web-business owners are not natural writers, and/or don't have the time to write for their own websites. Most hire freelance writers to do this work.

To become a freelance writer and realize success, you need to possess skills such as:

1) The ability to write skillfully. You must be able to write text that is compelling and enjoyable to read. It should be easy to understand without sounding overly-simplistic.

2) A good grasp of English (or whatever language you are planning to write in). You shouldn't try to write in a language that isn't your native language, or that you aren't 100 percent fluent in.

3) A thorough knowledge of the basic rules of grammar and spelling. To become a freelance writer, you must have good grammar. Excellent grammar and spelling is crucial when you write professionally, whether it's for the Internet or another type of media. Poor grammar makes your client appear unprofessional and isn't good for their bottom line profitability. Ditto for spelling. (And by the way, you can't assume that your computer's spell and grammar check program will correct all of your mistakes.)

If this sounds like you, you can become a freelance writer by joining an online freelancer's network. There are a number of good ones on the Web. Many are free, and some offer additional benefits with a small annual subscription fee.

Joining one of these networks allows you to bid on writing jobs. These jobs are posted from all over, and include article, website copy and sales copy writing, as well as other types of freelance writing (books, poems, e-books) and editing work.

It's best if you can provide some samples of your work to prospective bidders. You may be able to post these samples right to your profile, depending on the particular network. Otherwise, be prepared to email samples to prospective employers (they want to make sure you really know how to write before they accept your bid).

All of your work can be done at home. Correspondence between you and your employer typically takes place through email or live computer chat or by phone. Finished projects are then delivered via email.

Anyone who has ever wanted to become a freelance writer will find a wide range of opportunities in this kind of forum. Those who are skilled writers and dedicated to freelancing can often find steady work this way. This kind of freelancing sometimes leads to other types of writing opportunities and bigger ventures. It's one of the best ways to break into the freelance writing business.

Scott Lindsay is a web developer and entrepreneur. Learn how to Make A Business Website in minutes at Do you want to Work From Home? Access thousands of Legitimate Work From Home Jobs in one convenient location at

Freelance Writing Jobs - How Much to Charge by Robert Leichter

No matter your field of writing, as a freelance writer you have a great deal of control over your earnings. You don't have to query, pitch, bid on or accept any project that doesn't meet your minimum rates. Of course, the more you want to make with your freelance writing jobs, the better you must compete and the more carefully you must choose where to compete.

Knowing what you need to earn will help you to know if a particular freelance writing job pays enough and will help you keep on track with your time budget.

To figure the amount you need to earn from your writing in a year, begin by calculating expenses. Be sure to include everything:

Mortgage or rent. Groceries Transportation. Household expenses. Personal expenses. Health insurance. Retirement savings. Credit card bills Professional development (organization membership fees, courses, conferences, books, etc.). Office supplies, Internet, a new computer, utilities, etc. Marketing costs you anticipate (nominal or significant, depending on your approach; this book will give you a clearer idea). Other expenses, such as "sick days," vacations, special family needs, etc.

Add these up, calculating the total for 12 months. Then divide by 1,000 hours. This will tell you how much you need to make during approximately 21 billable hours per week.

"Billable hours" refers to the time spent performing the tasks required of your writing assignments. These could be research, writing, conceptualizing (you might appear to be just staring out the window, but you are coming up with a tag line for a business), editing and proofreading.

The rest of a freelancer's work time consists of non-billable hours, that is administrative tasks. You can expect to spend around 50% of your work time on these.

Some spend more time, some less on administrative tasks, but Writer's Market (a comprehensive, annually updated database and book detailed in the next chapter) reports the average freelancer works 21 billable hours per week, which if working 40 hours a week, works out to just about 20 hours spent on administrative tasks.

These administrative tasks may include querying magazines, bidding on projects, promoting your website, keeping track of your expenses and payments, etc.

Communicating with clients and editors might be considered billable, depending on the topics being discussed. For example, payment negotiations would not be billable, but providing consulting could be, depending on your agreement.

Part Time Freelancing Budgets

If you will be freelancing part time, adjust the figures above. For example, if you will be keeping a job while wading into freelance, adjust the figures to reflect any benefits and income you get from the job and lower the billable hours to reflect the time you have for freelancing. As your skills and portfolio grow, you may want to just work part time at your freelancing business, job or no job.

There are many reasons one might only freelance part time - a mom with young children and a spouse's income, might not want to work 40 hours per week. By earning more per hour, you can work part time and make "full time pay."

Your Time Budget and Earnings

When you start considering where to market your work or apply for freelance writing jobs it will help to have a good idea first of how long it takes you to create a given type of writing.

For example, say you can write and polish an article of 800 words in three hours, and it takes you around two hours to complete the research/reporting in two hours. This works out to five billable hours per 800 words.

So if you see a magazine publisher that pays .50 cents per word and uses 1,600 word features, then you can figure on 10 hours of work for $1600. This works out to $160 per hour for you. Publishers don't pay freelancers by the hour, but you would do the math for your own time budgeting purposes.

If your annual earnings goal is $40,000 and you are freelancing full time, you need only make $40 per billable hour. So if you land this assignment you will be making 4 times your minimum rate. Some assignments will bring more or less than others. As long as it balances out, you're set.

And remember this isn't set it stone. As your portfolio and references skills increase you can raise the bar on your earnings from your freelance writing jobs and have more fun!

Robert Leichter is the author of The Freelance Writer's GPS: Explore freelance opportunities, chart your course, and navigate a successful writing career. To learn how to become a freelance writer - where to find freelance writing opportunities that are right for you and how to land them, how to manage a prosperous writing business and more, visit

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Web 2 Mobile Design Launches iPad Screenwriting Application

Screenwriting is an application that lets you write your screenplay masterpiece on your iPad. This easy to use app will allow you to write your screenplay on the couch, in the bathroom, or on your commute to work.

Never has writing been so fun and productive. The beautiful and intuitive interface makes it easy to create your cover page, organize your characters, take script notes, and write your masterpiece from anywhere.

"Screenwriting for the iPad is the first Screenwriting application built specifically for the iPad to take advantage of this unique mobile platform. The ability to import pictures directly from your iPad's photo album to your character list helps to see your script come to life," said Nik Manning, Co-Founder of Web 2 Mobile Design.

Want to import your script from another writing program? No problem. With Screenwriting you can import any script into the app directly from your computer's web browser using the industry standard .fdx format.

If you want to backup your screenplay you can email your Project with all of the script info including Cover Page, Character List, and Project Notes. If you have finished your screenplay and want to make the final changes, you can easily export it from the application. Your exported script will be saved in the .fdx file format so you can easily open your screenplay in any popular desktop screenwriting applications.

For more information please visit

Social Media Tip - Top Ten Pitfalls to Avoid When Going Social in the Business World

If you were to make a list of up-and-coming business trends, social media strategies would probably be near the top. Actually, scratch that "up-and-coming" part--social media is already here. However, thousands of companies are rushing headlong into the profile-creating, news-tweeting, blog-posting frenzy...only to find that their valiant efforts are not getting the results they had hoped. If you're looking for fans, followers, and friends to build a Social Nation around your business, don't panic, says Barry Libert. There is simple advice that will help businesses avoid the pitfalls and make a strong online impact.

"It's true: there are countless benefits to joining what I call the Social Nation revolution--but just like any strategy for growth, social media isn't foolproof," points out Libert, author of the new book Social Nation: How to Harness the Power of Social Media to Attract Customers, Motivate Employees, and Grow Your Business (Wiley, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-470-59926-6, $24.95, "If you don't want your company's social strategy to fall flat, there are some guidelines you'll need to follow."

Libert knows what he's talking about. After all, he's the Chairman and CEO of Mzinga, a company that provides social software to businesses. Quite literally, it's his job to be social media savvy. And he's adamant that before you start building your own Social Nation, you need to have a well-researched game plan.

"When it comes to building a successful social network for your company, you need to understand that there's a lot of prep work to be done," he explains. "You can't just set up a Facebook profile for your company, tweet once or twice a day, and expect public interest in your company to shoot through the roof. Far from it, actually."

Think about it this way: if you were in charge of your company's booth at a trade show or conference, you wouldn't just slap your company's logo onto a piece of poster board, place your business cards on the table, and hope for the best, would you? Of course not. Yet that's exactly how some companies approach social media--and that's why so many of these initiatives fail.

"If you want to become a meaningful part of social conversations and interactions," explains Libert, "you've got to know who your target 'fan base' is, where they spend their time online, and what sorts of content and programming is valuable and relevant to them, and will foster their continued interest and participation. You also need to make sure you have the wherewithal to commit to growing and sustaining your Social Nation, and you've got to make sure that you have buy-in from within your company. And that's just for starters."

Sure, it may sound intimidating, but don't give up yet. Half the battle is knowing which mistakes not to make, and Libert, in the book Social Nation, is eager to share the top 10 social media pitfalls he's seen organizations fall victim to in the past. Read on to discover what they are:

Pitfall #1: Running a Social Nation like a traditional business. If you want to run a social company, you first need to understand that almost everything you do is a two-way street. That is to say, you're not going to prosper if your products and services are designed solely by folks on the inside. You need to embrace the perspectives and contributions of your employees, as well as those of customers and partners.

Pitfall #2: Underinvesting in social initiatives and abandoning them too soon. Understand that a Social Nation is organic--it won't materialize with a proverbial snap of the fingers. Early on, you'll need to invest a good deal of time, thought, and money in attracting fans and followers--and your efforts will need to be sustained. Only after you've built a firm foundation will your social network begin to sustain itself through participant contribution and recommendation.

In general, successful strategies include posting quality content that people want to consume, letting customers tell their stories and post their grievances, and then responding to their criticisms. Also, make sure that prospects are able to learn about your business through customer and employee testimonials. Lastly, remember that using multiple approaches--for example, a blog, Facebook profile, and interactive website--will reach more people.

Pitfall #3: Neglecting to find ways to encourage and inspire your Social Nation's followers and fans. When you stop to think about it, you'll realize that your fans and followers are essentially volunteering their time and energy to serve as developers, sounding boards, and advertisements for your company. So for goodness' sake, respect what they have to say and take their input to heart!

Pitfall #4: Relying on a "build-it-and-they-will-come" mentality. don't really think that launching a new website and firing off posts at various online networking hotspots will bring fans and followers flocking, do you? Of course not! To some extent--usually a large one--you'll need to purposefully reach out to potential community members and make it worth their while to accept your invitation.

"Rolling out a community and just expecting people to join as friends or followers is a flawed philosophy," confirms Libert. "Marketing 101 principles still apply. That means you need compelling incentives to have people join your community. You also need an aggressive programming strategy, one that includes defining your key audiences and targeting them through all available channels, to ensure that they know that you want to build a relationship with them."

Pitfall #5: Delaying the process of going social. Contrary to what you may wish, your company doesn't have the luxury of waiting until it's "convenient" to go social. Why? Well, you have competitors, right? And if you don't start gathering loyal followers and fans now, there's a good chance that some other company will woo them first.

One of the best strategies for going social as quickly and effectively as possible is to designate employees and subject matter experts to act as community success managers focused on fostering community growth and member satisfaction. Separate from your sales and support teams, these community leaders should have the ability to advise members of the community on how to best participate with the company and with each other. If you do things well, you'll find that they'll generally serve as internal and external advocates for others in your organization--be it employees, partners, or customers.

Pitfall #6: Underestimating the power of a Social Nation. If you believe that social networking is just a window dressing that your company "needs" (but not really), then think again. Social media and community collaboration bring many benefits, including brand-building, customer loyalty and retention, cost reductions, improved productivity, and revenue growth.

Pitfall #7: Neglecting employees, partners, investors, or customers when building your Social Nation. Yes, set up a "focus group" of employees to serve as community leaders who will shepherd your company into the social networking world, but don't put all of the power in their hands. Social Nations are organic organizations, so the more people who are empowered to influence yours, the better.

"You'll find that leaders will emerge from your community population--whether they are employees, partners, customers, or prospects," promises Libert. "Future leaders will come from places you never expected. Empower every member of your community with the resources they need, then listen and be responsive to their insights, needs, and ideas. Oh, and here's a bonus: by doing this, you'll reduce support costs since community members can help each other!"

Pitfall #8: Relying on traditional approaches when designing your Social Nation. A decade ago, you probably would have been horrified at the thought of releasing ideas and products into the hands of your customers before they were as complete as you could get them. With social networking, that monolithic approach is now becoming obsolete.

Pitfall #9: Developing your own social software and analytics solutions. You wouldn't dream of placing "remodeling the office" or "handling legal issues" in the Do It Yourself category, would you? Not too many would. Instead, you'd hire someone skilled in those areas. Do yourself a favor and use the same strategy when it comes to building your own Social Nation.

"Do what you do best and outsource the software and community building to the experts," advises Libert. "Various vendors provide ready-made, complete solutions to help you build your fans, followers, and friends. Remember, Facebook and Twitter encourage fans and friends to advance their businesses, not yours. Consequently, although you should leverage the communities they have built, you need to create your own community to ensure your long-term success."

Pitfall #10: Getting caught without partners to help you succeed. Libert has alluded to this one before, but it bears specific emphasis: make sure that you truly treat your community members as partners, not just as fans or numbers. Yes, integrating into the social web (Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks) is key to your company's future success, but being connected to the social web is only a part of what you need to do. Shifting your business strategically, culturally, and operationally are key components to the equation.

Essentially, that means creating a community for the people who matter most in making your business thrive--a place that is all theirs and that is connected to your brand. Remember, your constituents want to connect with like-minded peers, and they want to feel as though they are contributing to a purpose that's bigger than themselves. Given that they are buying products and services from you, investing in your company, and working for your organization, providing them with a community they can call their own is the least you can do for them.

"We are on the cusp of a new business era," concludes Libert. "Building a new Social Nation isn't just about a paradigm shift in technology. It also requires a business and cultural shift in how your company is organized and run. Now is the time for leaders, their organizations, and you to find a way to connect to individuals--be they coworkers, investors, customers, or partners--on personal and social levels. Do all of this with an appropriate amount of forethought and planning, and you'll succeed in creating enduring social and emotional value for your organization."

About the Author

Barry Libert is the author of Social Nation: How to Harness the Power of Social Media to Attract Customers, Motivate Employees, and Grow Your Business (Wiley, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-470-59926-6, $24.95, He is Chairman and CEO of Mzinga®, the leading provider of social software, services, and analytics that improve business performance. Through a combination of enterprise-class technology, strategy and online moderation services, Mzinga social solutions enable businesses to increase revenue and lower costs by improving brand visibility, workplace satisfaction, and customer loyalty. Headquartered in Waltham, MA, Mzinga supports more than 15,000 communities and 1 billion monthly page requests from 40 million unique visitors in 160 countries worldwide.

Libert has published five books on the value of social and information networks. He is a regularly featured keynote speaker at industry associations and for leading companies on the power of social media. He has been published in Newsweek, Smart Money, Barron's, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, and he has appeared on CNN, CNBC, and NPR.

Mr. Libert currently serves on the Board of Directors at Innocentive and The SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

About the Book

Social Nation: How to Harness the Power of Social Media to Attract Customers, Motivate Employees, and Grow Your Business (Wiley, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-470-59926-6, $24.95, is available at bookstores nationwide, major online booksellers, or directly from the publisher by calling 800-225-5945. In Canada, call 800-567-4797.

Internet Marketing, How To Make A Stable Online Income

Internet Marketing is one of the most popular search terms on Google today. Millions of people around the world are looking for ways to make money with internet marketing. This is probably the biggest obstacle in deciding what the best and most profitable way to make money online is.

Of course you need to do your research if you're just starting out, but there are many ways to make money online.
Even though the first thing I'm going to talk about is the quickest way to get started I must stress that there is no quick and easy way to make money online. Internet marketing is a science, which when learned and applies in a step by step manner can bring rich rewards.

Stay very clear of Get Rich Quick schemes.

It is like any other business, for example, an offline business takes time to set up. If you are going to open a shop you need to find property, maybe redecorate, buy the stock / inventory, employ staff, advertise and launch, etc.

If you are building a house it is likely to take months, or perhaps years to finish the project before you can even think of turning it into cash, not to mention the investment during the project.

Internet marketing is the same; it takes time to build an internet business that gives you a decent stable income. However, as I mentioned earlier, you're able to get started very quickly, you can start earning money almost immediately.

The best way to start is in affiliate marketing, there are thousands of companies that have affiliate programs where you can register for free and start selling their products immediately for a commission, these commissions vary according to the affiliate program and product.

For instance, if you sell golf balls as an affiliate you would need to sell a lot of golf balls to make a decent return. However, if you were selling an eBook as an affiliate you could get a huge commission of up to 75%.

You can create your own products, such as e-books (electronic books) that offer information on how to help people get the most out of their niche.

You can build your own website and sell affiliate products that fit the niche of your site.

You can create a list of email marketing; there are legitimate ways you can do that without spamming people, I hate spammers, so I never endorse it. You can do this by setting up a simple squeeze page.

You can also use PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising from Google, Yahoo and other search engines to promote your products which is by far the fastest easiest way to get targeted traffic to your site, this does costs money, and can sometimes be quite expensive, but you can set your own budget for as little as 0.50 cents per day.

The key to getting started is to take action, there is a lot to learn, I've been doing it for three years now and I'm still learning new things.

I love internet marketing and I love making money online but as I said it takes time. Take the time to build your Internet marketing company, so that in future, you have more time on your own to do the things you enjoy most. Mine is soccer, thanks for reading my article.

My name is Leo McMackin and I'm and Internet Marketer. You can visit my website, which offers free information on how you can start making money online today at