Well, now I have them, double-sided cards, as depicted above, though the colors are a bit darker and the text a bit harder to read here than they are when printed. Much thanks to colleague graphic designer Brian James Kirk who did the dirty layout work.
There are those who say business cards are old hat, but, let me answer my own question, they are still absolutely necessary for a freelance journalist even today. Below I share what I did and related learning.
I am on month five of full-time, professional freelancing. I think only now am I finding the hum and the rhythm of this craft, particularly in the doldrums of a sour economy and struggling print industry.
You’re a college journalist, unsure about the future. So, tell me, why aren’t you trying to make in-roads in freelancing now?
I think it’s a sin if you aren’t at least contributing to your college newspaper – it’s a great, college experience, it’s challenging and a wonderful incubator for insight and vision. But, I think you need to be doing more.
Get that internship, sure, but if you don’t have one, or perhaps even if you do, you should be developing contacts and knowledge for the freelance game – because it’s a better back up than waiting tables.
A former boss of mine has taken to calling me around 6:30 a.m. sometimes. I’m not awake, so he’ll leave a message.
“Are you taking a nap or something?” he might ask. “Because I know you can’t still be asleep from last night this late in the day.”
I’m a freelance journalist without much of a strict schedule most days. While on occasion, I’ve gotten an early-enough start between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., I often don’t get up until nine in the morning. While I almost begin working right away, I do, on occasion, not even begin work until ten. A rare exception has seen me doing so later still.
This is obscene to friends, bosses and even some family of mine. It doesn’t much matter to anyone that, despite my relatively late start on the day, I very rarely work less than 10-12 hours a day, often six, if not seven days a week.
I’m just getting my professional freelancing start in a bad economy and a frightened print industry, so – though I’ve made it a point to get back out and have some fun from time to time – my work schedule sometimes borders on obsessive.
I love not needing an alarm clock or needing to commute, but I wonder what my guilt about that drives me to do. When does the workday for a freelance journalist end?
Though KYW covered it on its own, and the Inqy will do the same for another round of the performances, I took a single story and group of interviews and sent out different pitches with separate angles on the same subject.
With a little more effort, I got more pay, clips and contacts — without needing fresh sources.
In the increasingly difficult game of freelance writing, redundancy is a skill you need to know and we all need to improve.
In telling my sources that I was shopping new homes for the story, I got a suggestion from one source, E. Jean Carrol, the venerable Elle magazine advice columnist.
“Send it to Huffington,” she offered, but, “They don’t pay. It is ALL glory!”
For now, I’m choosing to sit on the story — one in a frustratingly growing class of stories I’ve written and then eaten. Huffington Post, the uproariously popular liberal news and opinion blog, is not getting my work, and it shouldn’t get yours.
Suppose you’ve started a career in another field and look back somehow longingly on the print industry.
You want to freelance on the side, make some cash and rekindle the love with the sight of your byline by slumming it in the currently self-destructing print industry. But, of course, if you have any writing samples or clips they’re outdated, if not lost, irrelevant or, dare I say, embarrassing.
That doesn’t mean you can’t begin a freelance writing career today.
Get online, start small, aim big and try not to take any work from me, OK?
Newspapers and many magazines don’t cover freelance expenses, like telephone calls.
What gives? Doing some quick math – and the 15 cents per minute phone call I use from my cell-phone plan to charge those publications that do accept my charges – I expect to spend at the very least more than one hour on the phone per story. Yeah, that’s about $10.
Ten bucks isn’t a chunk of change in the eyes of even the most crippled newspaper, but that does mean I spent more than $100 in additional phone charges last month.