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Apr. 21st, 2009



Press Opp for Creatives

Category: Lifestyle & Entertainment

Name: Cyndi L

Email: cyndi@b5Media.com

Title: editor

Media Outlet/Publication: b5Media.com blogging network

Anonymous? No

Specific Geographic Region?  No


Deadline: 5:00 PM EASTERN - April 30


"I would like to hear from artists who create with polymer clay,
either wearables like jewelry or non-wearables, and who would like
to have their work featured on either www.jewelryandbeading.com or
www.blisstree.com this spring.  Jewelry&Beading and Blisstree are
both network blogs with very large readerships.  Please send your
artist statement of one to three paragraphs, and up to three images
(72dpi res) of your work, along with a link to your site.  Please
put "polymer clay artist" in the subject line. Thanks! "

Mar. 13th, 2009



(no subject)

If you ask me, inspiration is everything. Sure, I run a creative business. But I need the fuel to keep going, because as many of you know, not all projects are quite motivational. As a copywriter, I have to write about not-so-fun stuff sometimes (medical devices, lawn care, construction, the economy...you get the idea).

That's why I'm huge on drawing in the good stuff. And having the ability to redo my office has perked me up when it comes to inspiration.

What's on my magnetic strip right now:) (That's a tickets to see the Pats play the Jets--not a Jets fan!!!)

It all started with the perfect shade of green. Then choosing the right shelving. Collecting artwork for the walls (can't wait to hang up my artwork of Tine's soulbirds!!), and most recently, the magnetic strip. The room isn't done, but it's on the way. My favorite thing is that I've designed it so I can feature my ever-changing inspirations.

Inspiration comes in all forms, doesn't it? But I think we often forget to fill our creativity tanks. And we let the rest of the things in our lives drain them.

That's why perusing this list of creative books coming out in 2009, for example, is a great help. Or visiting an inspirational place you love, such as a gallery or a greenhouse. You can visit the blog of your favorite artist. Or sitting in the sun. Whatever works for you to relax you or motivate you.

What inspires you? How do you keep your creative tank full?

Jul. 22nd, 2008



new newsletter!

Links You'll Love
Blog Nosh Magazine
Morning Coach
Freelance Folder
Crowd Spring
Communication Arts
Get Buttoned Up
Get Juicy with a Contest
SARK's newest book, Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper (Gifting the World with Your Words and Stories and Creating the Time and Energy to Actually DO It) launches August 5th she's hosting a blog contest!
Start the "ink" flowing by featuring Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper on your blog between August 5 and August 15th. Share your thoughts about the book and you could win a 30-minute creative consultation with SARK! Five other writers will receive a personalized, signed copy of the book. Selections will be announced on SARK's new blog!

To enter, send an email with a link to your blog to juicyblogcontest@gmail.com

Dear Kristen,

I hope your summer is filled with creative goodness! I'm really enjoying the opportunity to spice up my workdays by going outside. Whether I'm hard at work on my yard or headed to the beach, being outdoors has given me tons of inspiration! And yes, I can work there too thanks to the grueling labor my husband and I put into a new patio. It was tough work, but so worth it to have another "room" in the house to work in!
This month, I'm talking about celebrating success. You see, I just released my second book this spring. I'm fresh off four book signings, which really helped to sink in that I've made my creative dream--writing books--a reality. As creatives, we're often reluctant to toot our own horns. But sometimes, you've got to! It's vital to celebrate our successes--and surround ourselves with those who support and nurture our accomplishments.Check out the article below!

I also explore in the second article below what happens if you feel stuck in a rut. Often, it's hard for creatives to express dissatisfaction about an aspect of their job because they generally love what they do. But as you probably know, not all aspects of a creative career are always...let's say, peachy. I'm hoping the article will revitalize your zest for your career!
So feel free to share your accomplishments and thoughts with me! Check out the Creatively Self-Employed blog or drop me a note at kristen@creativelyselfemployed.com. I'd love to hear from you!

Know a friend who'd like the newsletter? Pass it on!
And a huge thanks to all of the subscribers-the opt-in list has grown to more than 300 creatives!
All the Best,
Kristen Fischer
Three Things You Can Do to Embrace Your Success
by Kristen Fischer
I recently received a box full of books. They weren't ordinary books, though-they were the first copies of my new book. After the package arrived I eagerly ripped through layers of packing tape, and I first glimpsed publication. I was in shock-I had written a book.

It's the oddest feeling when something you've been working towards finally comes to fruition. For me, I had read and revised my own words for so long, so seeing it in its final form seemed surreal. Success can be surreal like that.

It got me thinking about victories. So often on this website, freelancer talk about struggling to get clients, having problems completing projects or trying to make sure they get paid. Seldom do we talk about success. When success happens to us, sometimes we aren't sure how to embrace it because we've been struggling for so long. Or we overlook our achievements.

Many of us undermine the good things that happen in our lives. So it is vital to learn how to let the positive things really sink in and benefit us. Here are three tips to help you get the most out of your achievements!

Visualize your achievements. For me, holding my book was similar to the way that parents cuddle a newborn child. Soon after the book came, though, I put it down and moved on to other things I had to do during the day. But then I picked the book back up. Too often, we don't let the good stuff sink in-so I felt and touched and saw this book for what is was. I now look at it every day and keep it in a prominent place where I can see it and relive the good feelings each day. Did you create a website that a client loved? Display their thank-you note in your office. Set your browser to open up to their website so you can see what you created each time you open a browser. These are simple ways to be reminded constantly that you've done well.

Mention, don't brag. You may not want to talk up your accomplishments out of fear that others will think you're bragging. If you have this mindset, you probably aren't a bragger anyway. So go ahead and tell your friend that you've landed a big account. Tell your family members about all of the interesting magazine articles you've written. Tell them about your good news and listen to theirs. I would be careful of the way you talk to others in your industry, though. Only my close writing friends know that when I share good news I'm not boasting-others may not have the capacity to understand. But it's good to discuss your successes, and listen to others' accomplishments. It shows support and a sound relationship with someone that you can mention successes and not be jealous or vindictive. Find friends that support you and share the goodness.

Publicize your career bonuses. When you complete a project to a client's utmost satisfaction, this is the kind of thing that you should publicize. And remember that publicizing doesn't mean bragging: it's more about using a success as a stepping stone toward more accomplishments. Use a knockout clip in your portfolio. Send out a press release announcing your client's new website that you've built. These are simple things to do that will help you leverage one success into more achievements. I always add links of websites I've written, for example, to my online portfolio. The more clips the better. In a similar sense, it's okay to mention that you're an "award-winning" professional if you've won an award in your industry. It's not boasting-it's marketing your professional status and all of us need to celebrate the good.

Good happens. Let's all try focusing on the good things, too. Securing a new client, creating a masterpiece...these are things that you should celebrate in your own way. And if you're lucky enough to have a support system, you can raise a glass to yourself every once in a while.

Posted at FreelanceSwitch.com by Kristen Fischer. Image by Hamed Saber.
Breaking Out of a Creative Rut
by Kristen Fischer
by Mati RoseI recently blogged about being in a rut, which to me is different than experiencing burnout. Being in a rut insinuates that you want to do something creative or something new--you just don't quite know how to do it. Or everything feels monotonous and you're not really motivated. There are many different types of ruts to be stuck in.

All you need to get out of the rut is pretty much the motivation to do so. Once you're ready to try some new things, you'll need to take the plunge. These things will hopefully help you shift perspective, and subsequently awaken your motivation to try new things creatively.

Here are some tips on how to get out of a creative rut.

1. Try something new. It doens't have to be something creative--if you're around art all day painting with acrylics instead of oil may not help you shift your energy. Instead, try taking a hike somewhere new, shopping in a different store, taking a spa day, or even heading to the gym if you don't regularly go. There are all sorts of different things to do.

2. Experiment with another creative medium. Sometimes all you need is to get into a different hobby. For example, I enjoy beading, painting and photography--yet hardly ever find time to devote to them. Sometimes I don't have to think about skydiving to get out of a rut; all I need is to try something else creative to get me going. It depends on the rut and what you enjoy.

3. Explore a vaca. You don't have to travel far to get a break. If you're used to sightseeing vacations, maybe you can get in the car for a few hours just for a change of scenery. Plan a trip where it's all low-key instead of the go-go-go type of trip. You want to do something you enjoy but do it at a different pace. If all else fails, play tourist in your own town.

There are plenty of ways to get out of a rut. All you really need to do is make an effort to change things up a little. Remember, even if you have a "fun" creative career it's still a job and that can get stale sometimes. Refresh and revitalize yourself--I think you'll find the results well worth it!

You can reprint this content so long as it includes a link to www.creativelyselfemployed.com. Photo by Mati Rose McDonough.

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May. 10th, 2008



(no subject)

New post: Can New Grads Work from Home?

Jan. 8th, 2008



(no subject)

NEW Creating Your Freelance Career
Did you ever dream of setting up your own freelance business? Whether you’d work part-time or full-time, you’d have the flexibility to focus on work while making time for family and personal commitments. And you’d be your own boss! In this course, you’ll learn everything you need to know to set up your own freelance business. Covering topics such as contracts, taxes, marketing, business development and time management, the instructor will present an overview of relevant topics.

Cost: $59
CEHE 381-01 CSP
Jan 19-Jan 26 • 2 Sessions • Sa • 1-3pm • Kristen Fischer • Register by Jan 10
CEHE 381-02 CSP
Mar 5-Mar 12 • 2 Sessions • W • 7-9pm • Kristen Fischer • Register by Feb 26
Location for Section 02 only: Pt Pleasant Boro HS, Pt Pleasant

Register here:)

Oct. 4th, 2007



(no subject)

FreelanceSwitch.com Launches Freelance Radio

Biweekly Podcast Explores Growing Work Lifestyle


Sydney, Australia (October 3, 2007)—Adding to the success of the popular blog geared towards existing and aspiring freelancers, the FreelanceSwitch team has announced the launch of their biweekly podcast, Freelance Radio.


The digital radio show features tips and commentary about marketing, business development, money matters, travel, and more. Incorporating the active audience at FreelanceSwitch.com, the show gives listeners a variety of ways to contribute to the podcast's content, including submitting their own questions and advice. With a growing number of designers, writers, programmers, illustrators, photographers, and others freelancing on the side or as a full-time career, the goal of the show is to engage listeners with valuable content for a growing work format.


“Eden Creative Communities is the parent site for FreelanceSwitch, and our sites are a home for creatives around the world.  FreelanceSwitch was the next logical step for us, to support the many creatives (and others) who freelance around the world. Freelance Radio is so exciting because it allows us to share our experience and engage with a whole new audience,” said Cyan Ta’eed, co-founder of Eden Creative Communities and founder of FreelanceSwitch.com, who is also one of the show’s panelists.


The show is led by John Brougher, a technology and new media guru from Providence, Rhode Island. Other panelists include Dickie Adams, an Oregon-based freelancer specializing in design and consulting; and Kristen Fischer, a New Jersey copywriter and author of Creatively Self-Employed: How Writers and Artists Deal with Career Ups and Downs.


“We’re very excited to bring this free podcast to the ever-increasing amounts of people who are working—or looking to work—for themselves,” added Fischer. “I believe that the practical business tips and entertaining repartee between the four of us will support the growing number of people looking to work for themselves.”


“It is a great honor for us to be able to serve the Freelance community in this way,” Adams said. “By helping to further spread the available knowledge base, we hope to encourage and enable others to accomplish their goals.”


Freelance Radio joins a crowded field of podcasts, but its audience and content make it unique.  “I'm an avid podcast listener myself, and there's nothing quite like Freelance Radio out there right now,” explained Brougher.  “Just like FreelanceSwitch is the home of the freelancing community, Freelance Radio occupies a podcasting niche that really hasn't been filled.”


Freelance Radio is available for download at FreelanceSwitch.com, and through iTunes.


FreelanceSwitch.com features daily postings about succeeding as a freelancer. The interactive community was founded in 2007 and boasts over 500,000 visitors monthly and 14,000 RSS subscribers, as well as a host of regular advertisers. FreelanceSwitch is one of a family of sites owned and operated by Eden Creative Communities based in Sydney, Australia.



Sep. 13th, 2007



(no subject)

Business Development for Busy Freelancers

By Kristen Fischer


Sometimes as a freelancer, you may find that you get so wound up working on your trade that you forget about running your business. Hey, it happens. For example, sometimes I put off working on my accounting because I just don’t feel like looking at the numbers.


But you may be neglecting to work on another aspect of your enterprise—business development.


This is vital because it involves creating a pipeline of assignments so you don’t run dry. To me, this is the most valuable “trick” of staying well fed. This is the mark of a true business, in my opinion: not just doing what you’re good at but running it as a real business, which often involves tasks you may not like or be good at.


Below are some of the strategies I use to ensure that business keeps coming in.


  • Make time to market. Often the hardest thing about generating clients is making the time to work on it. Because it offers no immediate payoff, it’s easier to put paying work ahead. But trust me; it’s worth it to take even an hour out of the week to market yourself.


  • Do it even if you’re “full.” While deadlines and your trade are important, you’re going to need to build in time for lead generation and marketing. Even if you’re pretty established. It’s always better to feast than famine. When you take time to network and outreach on new opportunities, you open up doors. Doors that may lead you to better pay or a better working relationship. Or that last-minute contact you need when a work well taps dry.


  • Copy and paste, baby. I secure most of my clients online. So having several form letters geared towards different industries or for different services to email out is a plus. For example, I have a degree in environmental studies that I like to “use” every now and then. So I have a letter that goes to environmental companies outlining what I can do for them. Obviously it’s a more technical field than writing for, say, a fashion magazine, so I need to be targeted in what I present. To save time, save your letters. Same goes if you use cold calling—the thing everyone hates but some people insist is the only way to find the bacon—make sure to have a script geared towards the client you are calling. Don’t’ rip your hair out creating new pitches all the time. Stick to what works and reuse it.


  • Break out the collateral. Think you don’t need marketing materials to develop business? Wrong! I have a brochure that can be emailed, mailed or presented in person to clients. And because one of my specialties is writing for the Web, I’ve created a single one-page Microsoft Word document with links to websites I have written. In addition, my own website features a portfolio. I also have business cards for networking events and client meetings. You have to brand yourself and have the marketing materials behind yourself to lend credibility to your name. Remember, your image matters. So when a client receives a query (copy and pasted, of course) letter from me and asks to see some of my work, I’m ready with the click of an email to provide the back-up support that lands me the job. And bonus if the client passes a brochure or business card on to a colleague and I get more gigs from the relationship.


What? There’s more to business development? Absolutely! Next week we’ll talk about fostering client relationships once you’ve secured the deal. Stay tuned!



Kristen Fischer is a freelance writer living in New Jersey. Her first book, Creatively Self-Employed: How Writers and Artists Deal with Career Ups and Downs is available at www.creativelyselfemployed.com.

Jul. 18th, 2007



(no subject)

Freelancers, Unite!

FreelanceSwitch.com is conducting a survey for freelancers.

Freelancers by nature usually work on their own, as such we often don’t really know what others are doing, charging and thinking. This survey aims to compile our collective knowledge for the benefit of freelancers everywhere! It takes about 10 minutes to complete.

All participants will receive detailed report and statistics of the survey, to know more about the freelance world. Moreover they offer prizes (with random draw), including a Nintendo Wii!

Take the survey...

May. 28th, 2007



(no subject)

A fabulous forum for creative business gals!

Apr. 25th, 2007



(no subject)

copied this from a blog:

The Big Dip: Ten Questions with Seth Godin Barnes & Noble.com - Books_ The Dip, by Seth Godin, Hardcover.jpg 
Seth Godin
provided me with a copy of his new book, The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick), and I think it will definitely get people to think about life. To give you a taste of what’s in the book, here’s an interview with Seth about the topics of perseverance and quitting.

  1. Question: Other than hindsight, how does someone know when it’s time to quit?

    Answer: It’s time to quit when you secretly realize you’ve been settling for mediocrity all along. It’s time to quit when the things you’re measuring aren’t improving, and you can’t find anything better to measure.

    Smart quitters understand the idea of opportunity cost. The work you’re doing on project X right now is keeping you from pushing through the Dip on project Y. If you fire your worst clients, if you quit your deadest tactics, if you stop working with the people who return the least, then you free up an astounding number of resources. Direct those resources at a Dip worth conquering and your odds of success go way up.

    What’s the worst time to quit? When the pain is the greatest. Decisions made during great pain are rarely good decisions.

  2. Question: If I’m in the middle of a dip, how do I know if it’s worth gutting it out toget to the other side?

    Answer: The best time to ask this question is before you hit the Dip. Smart people can see Dips in advance and plan for them. If you want to be a doctor, the time to decide is before you get to the organic chemistry midterm, not while you’re taking it.

    In picking a Dip, you need to think about two things: First, do you have the resources to get through it; second, is it worth what it will take? If your goal is to build a top 50 blog, you need to consider what that will take in terms of time and effort and money and what you’ll get if you succeed. If your goal is to displace Microsoft Word as the industry-standard word processor, the Dip is a whole lot bigger. The reward might be too, but you need to figure it out before you invest.

  3. Question: Is there a place for the intrinsic value of learning a skill—for example, playing hockey or the violin—even though you know you won’t be the best in the world?

    Answer: Mastery is an addiction. Most people never master anything and never experience the thrill of being on the other side of the Dip. As a result, they don’t seek out new opportunities for mastery. I hope that as parents, we can do a better job of teaching kids this habit.

    As for being “best in the world,” it doesn’t have to mean you play like Joshua Bell. The world can be whatever world your market chooses from. The best acupuncturist in town or the best $45 shoes ever made.

    Of course there’s room for passion—for doing stuff because you love it. I hope that my book doesn’t dissuade a single person from playing the violin for love. But my book is about investment and effort, in doing things not just for the pleasure of doing them but because you expect something in return.

  4. Question: What if the market is not established so there’s no way to know if it even exists and if it’s worth dedicating/rededicating to?

    Answer: Here’s the art of being an entrepreneur. There are almost no established Dips that are available to a big-time visionary entrepreneur. Instead, this kind of entrepreneur creates a new one—a new market, a new challenge, a new mastery. Part of the work of the successful venture capitalist is to imagine life after the Dip. For example, to fund Google because inventing a search site that dominates the market creates a new Dip, not because Yahoo can be replaced.

  5. Question: How can a company quit a product and not give the incorrect signal that it’s quitting the market?

    Answer: Tactics change all the time. Losing organizations embrace tactics because they’re not flexible or brave enough to embrace strategy. Smart organizations are clear and loud and vivid about their strategies and the market forgives them—endorses them too—when they change their tactics on the path of getting there. Nokia stops making various phone models every year, but this didn’t change its strategy. In fact, when Nokia stopped getting aggressive about making the best phones in the world, we lost interest.

  6. Question: What’s more powerful: a short-term pain or long-term gain?

    Answer: The power of quitting is that it empowers you. Just like the Toyota assembly line that stops when a worker sees an inferior part, the willingness to quit when you get off track pushes you on the path to mastery. An organization that refuses to settle for average stuff is far more likely to make remarkable stuff. Stuff that powers through the Dip.

    Too many organizations are willing to make a half-assed effort to try a new tactic, but require a writ from the Pope to quit a tactic. This not only dilutes their ability to execute—witness a9.com—but it also leads to an impotent organization that rarely breaks through, even when they’re on to something.

    This means that the Dip isn’t pain; nor is it something to be avoided. The Dip is actually an ally. Because when the Dip shows up, you’re know you’re close to a breakthrough, to getting to the other side, to mastery, and to being the best in the world.

  7. Question: Do most companies quit too early or try too long?

    Answer: Lucky for us, it’s both. They quit when they should be sticking: when they hit the Dip. And they stick when they should be quitting: when they’re on a dead end, when they’re stuck, and when it feels safe. I say lucky for us because this behavior makes it easier for those of us who can see a better way.

  8. Question: Should Microsoft quit the MP3 player market?

    Answer: I thought they already did. They’re spending a lot of money, but they’re on a dead end. They always were. They saw the Dip, but instead of embracing it by completely reinventing what it meant to be an MP3 player, they just played it safe and made a piece of me-too.

    When you copy something that’s already on the other side of the Dip, you’ve already lost. Microsoft “quit” the MP3 player market when they identified the wrong Dip. They picked the obvious, “safe” one—the one committees of people could live with, but one that is so big and so steep that even Microsoft doesn’t have the money to get through it.

    Microsoft has a long history of sticking through Dips, and a long history of quitting dead ends. I have no idea what they’re thinking when it comes to the Zune, but it’s a dead end, through and through.

  9. Question: Should Apple quit the personal computer market?

    Answer: Apple has already crossed that Dip, big time. Not the “personal computer Dip” but the Dip of “style-conscious, designer’s, multimedia, student, family computer.” They’re the best in the world at that. They own it. They profit from it. Sure, if Steve hadn’t been arrogant, they could have been best in the world at a much bigger, much juicier market. But they’re not. Once they deal with that—and I think they mostly have—then they can erect a wall behind them, a bigger dip, one that prevents others from following. Over time, personal computers become a profitless commodity while Apple’s market just gets sexier, more fun, and more profitable.

  10. Question: Should America quit the Iraq War?

    Answer: My opinion doesn’t matter. But I hope my method matters a lot.

    Here’s what we know: it’s easy to record and print a CD and hard to make a hit. Easy to write a book and hard to make it a bestseller. Easy to build a website and hard to create a viral success. We also know, and I hope Dick Cheney now knows, that it’s easy to invade a country and hard to be a successful invader and to dominate and change a culture.

    So, the questions are simple: Are we in a Dip in Iraq? Everyone knows we’re in pain, but is it the pain that comes from being in a dead end—a cul-de-sac—situation that might very well get worse but probably won’t get better? Or is it a Dip, where sufficient effort can push us through and get us out the other side…we better know the answer.

    The giant mistakes were made early. Cheney didn’t tell us what the Dip would look like, nor did he outline what we would do when we hit it. That’s a big difference between the current team and Churchill or Roosevelt. If you’re not ready for the Dip, it’s a lot harder to stick through it.

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April 2009



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