Writing A Profile That Isn’t Crap

I have always been amazed by some of the professional profiles I have read online. Some of them have you clicking away thinking ‘Man, I wonder if they will even acknowledge my email’ while others have you thinking ‘Are they for real – they want people to pay them?’

Lately the majority of the ones I have seen had me thinking the latter. It should be no wonder why people pay to have professional profiles written on sites such as Linked In.

So how do you write a profile that isn’t straight crap?

I don’t know.

I’ve rewritten my profiles so many times, at any given point I couldn’t tell you what it says. But I can say that everything that is written in them is true.

I update my profile regularly, and that is how it should be.

One of the biggest mistakes freelancers make is not evolving. How can you explain not having learned anything new in over a year of freelancing? I can understand that happening if you work a traditional job – a factory worker may have the same task as they’ve had 6 months earlier. That is typically not the case with the online freelancer.

I used to work (yes as in typical job) for a company that had a motto of move at the speed of the Internet. That means: learn something new today, but expect to re-learn it tomorrow. You need to be able to take on new assignments, learn from it, and then do something else. The Internet is not stagnant, so why should the experience of an online freelancer be any different?

That is why a stale profile is a useless profile, or at least a sign that the freelancer is not suited for the online economy.

So if you are like me, an online professional that moves at the speed of the Internet, it makes as much sense spending time ensuring your information is updated as it does using the right keywords. If you are going to drop $100 on a professionally written profile, be prepared to update it in a month or so. Otherwise, save your money making a website and promote yourself the old fashioned way- with business cards.

For online professionals, writing a profile that doesn’t suck is all about staying fresh, because it’s the Internet, and search engines can’t read.

“Publicists are Super Humans, Not Super Heroes”

I’m late, but its still Sunday here… Check out this reality post from a personal friend whose freelance work ethic I have always admired. For the online economy it is all about getting your name out there. The internet is a very loud place. Can anyone hear you? @keianimodels

fantasy5

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Do you understand what a publicist’s job entails and when you should hire one? It consists of far more than sending e-blasts,image consulting, and damage control. You must also have talent and a great product. A good/connected publicist will open windows of opportunity, break down barriers, and help you accomplish things that would be difficult for you to acquire on your own. An even better one will do all of the above, be your spokesperson,advisor, and so much more.

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A:) Do you have a Finished Project?

B:) Have you created your own buzz to the point where you’re receiving word of mouth advertisement, and your fans are participating in social and other types sharing?

C:) Are you being contacted via phone to make guest appearances on T.V., at events, etc.? 

D:) How far is your reach?…

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Writing What I Love – Why I Have a Niche

Writing What I Love – Why I Have a Niche

When I first started writing online, I wrote about anything. I painfully remember that day, 5 endless hours of writing about the benefits of golf clubs. It was painful. As I crafted each unique article, 20 to be exact, I thought about how many ways you could refer to a club. Let’s see, there’s: golf club, golfing clubs, clubs for golf. .. and then I catch myself staring blankly into the screen with my fingers not moving.

That’s when I decided I would only write about things that interested me. It wasn’t a very long list at first:

  • Small businesses
  • Marketing
  • Internet
  • Consumer Technology

and I became burnt out and eventually stopped.

Then in 2007 something terrible yet wonderful happened to me that would bring me back to writing- I began to show strange symptoms. By 2009, I was unable to work. That year I was diagnosed with dystonia, a condition hardly anyone had heard of.

My need for information and understanding launched me online. I began blogging and tweeting, connecting and informing as I went. I as I wrote, I connected with organizations and friends that I would have never met otherwise. I read more medical studies than any lay person should have access to.

It got me writing, and I haven’t been able to stop.

So, as I continue to focus on my health, it seemed only appropriate that I would dedicate as much of my content to those like me as I could. I now create content for those looking to understand their health or technology, better their lives, and make connections with others. I create content that serves humanity and helps those who seek knowledge. I do this because that content was there for me when I needed it.

I realize that having such high standards will prevent me from making as much money as I could otherwise, so there are a few things out there that I write that I may not agree with. As I find more work, I can take fewer of those type projects.

In the meanwhile, I can comfortably write about

  • Small business
  • Technology
  • Marketing
  • Freelancing
  • General Wellness
  • Health
  • Nutrition
  • Alternative Health/Medicine

And sleep well at night =)

Why the Online Freelance Economy Is Great for Racists, Nationalists and Sexists

Remember when the Internet used to be anonymous? I do. Now it’s full of avatars, bios and videos. People want to know who they are working with, where that person is located, and what country they hold allegiance to. While I can completely understand the rationale behind this practice, it is quite troubling to me for one reason. It makes it extremely easy to discriminate and prejudge based on factors other than actual qualifications.

The Internet Should Not Be EEOC

Let me start off by making that very clear. I believe that the Internet is the ultimate free economy. Anyone with the ability to go online can theoretically offer their product or service. Ten years ago it was the perfect playing field. It is the reason a bookseller could become a cultural icon, and a dating website the marketing tool of businesses. People made decisions based on the merit of the product or service being provided, not the attractiveness of the creator’s avatar. We didn’t care who wrote it, we cared about what it said.

So I am not in any way suggesting that there should be some type of quota to ensure that disenfranchised populations get equal access at the Internet economy. (That would mean that someone would have to regulate the Internet, and that is when you start opening up a huge can of worms.) I am suggesting that it would be awesome to have a blind internet economy. Otherwise, what solution does someone who knows they will be discriminated against have in today’s economy?

Lie?

Most of What You See Is an Illusion

What would you think if you knew that the Connecticut legal blog you referenced the other day was written by a 20 year old Ukranian college student? Regardless of whether or not the information was correct- would you feel cheated? Did you have an expectation that the blog would at least be written by a paralegal?

What about the online profile of the attractive girl you viewed the other day. Did you think that was her real picture? When you chatted with her, were the responses a little bit too perfect? Maybe it’s because the picture was purchased and you are actually chatting with a motivated professional from Bangladesh.

The point is, those making money from the Web have learned that Internet users are prejudiced. Since anyone can promise the world, these users make decisions based on information they already know.

Well he clearly looks like a lawyer, I’ll click there.

She likes the same television show I do, and look at her gorgeous eyes! I’m sure she is trustworthy.

Instead of focusing on the information being delivered, they instead focus on the package it is delivered in.

How this Affects Freelancers

When you are working as a freelance writer, this stark reality will quickly hit you in the face. Potential clients don’t judge you by your capabilities- they judge you by your profile picture.

The oDesk community is made up of professionals from around the globe. To maintain a high-quality workplace for all oDeskers, identity information associated with an oDesk User Account must be real and verifiable.

This includes pictures and videos.

I still wonder: why do clients need to know what I look like in order to determine whether I can write well? I would understand if I was still modeling, but I work remotely and I write.

Regardless, I play the game. I upload the clear profile picture, I record the video.

As a result, I get clients who expect me to write in ebonics, know something about fashion or decorating, or be willing to write about television shows. I get passed over for projects ‘seeking a male voice’ as well as those who ‘prefer not to work with Americans’. Five years ago, I would have been at least able to get my foot in the door, because they wouldn’t have a profile picture to base their ridiculous assumptions on.


 

I knew we were headed in the wrong direction when I was contacted on twitter about my dystonia blog 5 years ago. A fellow advocate of dystonia awareness sent me a private message.  He had read my tweets, my blog, and visited my portfolio websites. (At the time my income was from promotional modeling.) Regardless of all of the effort I had put in concerning awareness, he was most struck by the following fact:

You’re pretty for a black girl.

I would have had better luck spreading awareness had I worn a dystonia bikini.