A few weeks ago, I read the blog post of one of my colleagues at digitalbrandmarketing.com, Megan Campbell. Her post was titled, Why Twitter is Better Than Facebook for Marketing Yourself as a Freelancer.
It started off like this, “Working as a freelance writer means a lot of self-promotion. Really, working as a freelance anything means a lot of self-promotion. It is up to yourself to get your name and work out there for the world to see. You are, in a sense, a business. Fortunately, in this day, social media gives you the perfect platform for all the free self-promoting you could ask for. I can’t imagine how hard it was to begin a freelance career before the Internet existed.”
I chuckled to myself not only able to imagine what it would have been like to be a freelancer before the Internet existed but also remembering what it was like. Although I was in the graphic design end of the communications industry, the characteristics of being a freelance writer are similar enough to merit my comparison.
I could not resist sharing my memories. I am slightly paraphrasing my comment about her post. ‘I think your article is excellent. In today’s economy and technology, you are right on the mark.
‘I do want to share with you and your readers what it was like in the 1980′s and early 1990′s to be a freelancer. It was easy! Social media did NOT exist and it was NOT a problem. It fact it was easier then than it is now to have to keep up on every platform where my name, username and password have taken up residence and will likely continue to do so on an almost daily basis as more new platforms pop up.
‘My first year, I had 25 clients. Most of them came to me as warm leads from a women’s group that I belonged to. Quite a few of the women worked at ad agencies. I hardly had to look for work. Granted it was a very different economy from today’s. But perhaps social media has evolved in response to these times and a much more challenging economy. Therefore given the chance for it to still be pre-digital and pre-social media, I would go back to the analog days in a heartbeat.
‘Don’t get me wrong. I love social media. In fact, I am what we call an addict. Do I also qualify as an evangelist? I never stop talking and preaching about its many merits.
‘But on the other side of the coin is the fact that I now have to think about everything globally rather than just locally. It is a MUCH bigger job. I have met so many people in the two or three years since I joined facebook. I can hardly remember anyone’s name. It may be a part of maturing to feel that life was easier then than it is now. I think it is called reminiscing. But it WAS easier, definitely slower and simpler.
‘I easily made $15 to $20/hour, worked a 5 hour day, took an express bus to and from the client’s office, had my bag of tricks, a tool box the size of a book, not an iPad, my paste-up skills, and my lunch if I was working in an area where I did not know of places to eat. I often got paid very quickly. I could easily make $500/week and in those days that covered my rent. It was mostly a manageable life.
‘If you or anyone else are interested, I am the NY Graphic Design examiner.com. I wrote a series of posts about being a graphic designer before the computer age, through the transition from analog to digital and since the computer. I would love to hear what others think both about what you wrote about today and what I have indicated about how it used to be like compared to what it is like now.’
Alison Gilbert is the Digital Age Storyteller. She is a regular contributing author to DBME, writes The Marketing Byte Blog and is The New York Graphic Design Examiner. Alison is the owner of MARKETING BYTES Solutions 4 Local Biz. Located on Long Island, New York, MARKETING BYTES serves clients virtually everywhere.
Their boutique style – very personal service – hybrid company specializes in helping local/small biz generate sales leads by transitioning from traditional advertising to online marketing. Contact MARKETING BYTES at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 516-665-9034 ET
From the NY Graphic Design Examiner
- A Freelance Graphic Designer BC: Before the Computer
- The Freelance Graphic Designer’s Tool Case Before the Use of Computers for Layouts and Typography
- The Freedom of Being a Freelance NY Graphic Designer Before the Computer
- The Paradigm Shift from Paper to Pixels as a NY Freelance Graphic Designer After the 1980′s
- Manual Transition: Gearing Up for Digital Graphics
- Specing Type: The Science of Turning Type face into Art form
- Primal Scream: Primitive Tools and Their Makers
- Funding Your Freelance Writing Business
- Graphic Designer, Illustrator and Fine Artist
- Artist Finds that Networking Is the Best Way to Find a Job
About Alison Gilbert
Through decades as an entrepreneur, I developed ventures in over a half a dozen industries including HEALTH FOOD | GRAPHIC DESIGN | BUSINESS PROMOTION | HOLISTIC HEALTH | DECORATIVE PAINTING | SOCIAL MEDIA | PUBLIC SPEAKING | WRITING. Eventually under the umbrella of ALISON*S ART, INC, they evolved into the dba MARKETING BYTES, a hybrid company specializing marketing small business using social media marketing and traditional graphic design services. Currently retired, I am focusing on teaching social media marketing graphic design and visual journalism. I can be messaged through www.facebook.com/alisondgilbert and tweeted @MktngBytesMaven and @AlisonsArt.