So now that turkey day is gone, and the last of the leftover stuffing has been consumed, I really need to get serious about figuring out what to give my clients. Decisions, decisions. In my last blog post, I mentioned things that have worked for me in the past. Here’s what I’m considering this year.
**A ready-to-plant amaryllis bulb in a festive pot
**Funky business card holders (either for the purse or desk)
**Super cute desk/office supplies (I love the ones from seejanework.com)
**Dancing Deer cookies (dancingdeer.com). I love the ones in the shape of the house… they benefit the homeless too!
**Gourmet hot chocolate. I’ve given this before, but this year I’m thinking of including homemade gourmet marshmallows and some artisanal chocolates from the woman-owned shop in my neighborhood.
**I’m also contemplating donating on my editors’ behalf to my new favorite charity, kiva.org. Your donation actually becomes a micro-loan to assist a disadvantaged entrepreneur in the U.S. or around the world.
I’ll keep you posted on my decision. In the meantime, I’m going out this week to pick out the perfect card. My PictureIt Postage stamps have arrived. Check out how cute they are.
If you order using the coupon code MOTHERHOOD, you’ll get $4 off an order of custom stamps and be entered to win a $500 prize http://pictureitpostage.com/
Rules are detailed here http://www.themotherhood.com/post/show/id/483184
I’ll let you know when I make my decision, and send you a pic when I’ve got everything “wrapped up.”
Every year around this time, I try to find new and creative ways to show my appreciation to the editors who keep me so busy writing all year long. Though I don’t give gifts to everyone I’ve ever worked with, I do send something to the special people who hire me consistently throughout the year. These are usually editors with whom I’ve built solid relationships with over time. The rest of my business contacts get holiday cards, and I admit spending WAY too much time picking out just the right design that will make people remember me!
I’ve been doing the holiday card and gift thing for over 20 years as a homebased writer/mompreneur. Here are some of the festive tricks I’ve learned along the way.
Don’t Go Overboard on Gifts. I recently heard one of my favorite editors say that she thinks it’s weird if writers give her something extravagant. And if someone she’s only worked with occasionally sends something, she thinks they’re sucking up. The moral? It’s not necessary to shower everyone you’ve ever worked with (or want to work with) with presents. But do be sure to show your appreciation to clients that hire you most often.
Keep Gifts Small and Sweet. Boxes of artisanal chocolates, brownies, cookies, or small fruit baskets will always be greatly appreciated. It’s even better if the treat benefits some kind of good cause (check out cookiesforkidscancer.org). I also try to pay attention to what clients like when we’re out for lunch or coffee. For example, I once bought my tea-loving editor a gourmet sampler tied to a handmade tea caddy. She loved it! I gave handmade floral notecards to another editor who had mentioned she missed letter writing. They were a big hit.
Slip Something in the Card. If you’ve got a lot of gifts to send, you might try slipping a Starbucks or Sephora gift card into the envelope (I still have the very cool eye liner bought with the gift certificate my iVillage editor sent me years ago!) Sure you could email these, but there’s still something wonderful about actually getting a mailed card to open—especially in this high-tech, impersonal age. I’ve also received many cards where the sender has made a contribution to a charity in my name—a great way to have your gift do some good!
Personalize Your Postage. Did you know that you can actually make postage stamps with your company logo? The PictureItPostage peeps just gave me the chance to try it out for free, and I have to tell you…it’s very very cool! It works like this: Go to http://pictureitpostage.com/business/ and design a stamp using a jpeg logo from your photo file. I used a picture of our red-headed Mompreneur character from the homepage, and then adjusted the postage part of the stamp to match the teal background. Pretty cute! I’m going to go make one with her in her Santa hat too! The .44 stamps are 18.95 for a package of 20; and PictureItPostage is offering our community a coupon to get $4 off your order. Go to http://pictureitpostage.com/business/ and use Coupon Code: MOTHERHOOD .
I don’t know about you, but I have had it up to here with hearing how tough the economy is and how sucky the job market is in return. It’s a fact. Can we move on now? Because dwelling and moping gets us nowhere.
It is time to stop moaning about why your resume is getting no clicks and your emails are not getting responded to. It is time to be smart. Let me share this story with you. As a freelance writer I get a lot of work from my current client base. But I also find work on craigslist, mediabistro, morning coffee and other job boards. I am also always on the look out for new places to find jobs and often click on links within sites because you never know. The other day I saw a posting for a full-time job but thought perhaps they might be open to working remotely. But when I went to the link it was a placement agency and they wanted me to spend like an hour filling out this ridiculous questionnaire. I knew that would not be a good use of my time so I did some digging, found the hiring manager and emailed her my questions directly. She was out of the office so I got an auto-response directing me to another person. So I emailed her. Well, she got back to me immediately and said the position was not open to working remotely and the salary was below my ask. But, she did have a freelance position open elsewhere and she wanted to put me in for it.
So not only did I not have to waste my time filling out all the online forms (only to find out the job would not have fit my criteria), she directly submitted me to her client. I am still waiting to hear, but regardless, I made a connection and now have someone who will continue to look for me. And it was all because I decided to be smart and direct and take a chance. So go out there, be positive and be direct. Now more than ever, you need to take a chance to get noticed. Who can disagree with that?!
As a freelance writer, I am always looking for my next gig. From networking to checking websites, this is practically a full-time job in itself. It is also overwhelming and exhausting. You always feel like there is more you can do, more places you should be listing your resume, more sites you should be trolling for jobs. And in my haste, I have gone to sites and spent hours uploading my work only to find out that potential clients offer what isn’t even minimum wage for most of the jobs they post. This is my own fault because I should have done my due diligence in the first place and even though a site may have been recommended to me, I should have perused to see what the pay was before wasting all that time. The bottom line is there are sites that pay off for me and I need to continue to know that they will pay dividends.
And you should do the same. I know that I command a pretty penny for my services. I have 15 years experience doing Marketing and Copywriting so where I might look for a job, is vastly different from where a newbie might look. And when I went freelance, I did adjust my rate and take things that paid less because I needed to build up my portfolio. This has helped me get work I might not have gotten before so it was worth it to work for a little less. But you also need to understand your value and have confidence in what you do. If you keep settling and working for pennies, you will never get back to where you deserve to be.
So don’t waste time trying all these new things and stressing over your next gig. Use what worked in the past for you and trust that it will again. Have faith in yourself, write everyday – a blog post, an email, a letter – anything to keep the juices flowing. If you write it, they will come.