5 Takeaways From The Creative Freelancer Track at HOW Design Live

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With permission, I am reposting this from Julie Cortes of juliecortes.com

I’ve always wanted to go to the HOW Design Conference … probably since I was a young pup right out of school. It never seemed like it would apply to me, though, as I’m not a graphic designer.

A few years ago, however, I saw they had created a Creative Freelancer track, and I was super excited. Here was my chance to finally have a reason to go to the conference I always wanted to attend!

And then … they stopped the track.  For years, it was non-existent.

But this year, they brought it back. And you bet your bottom dollar, I went! I flew out to Chicago for a few days to immerse myself amongst other freelance creatives, get inspired, and walk away with useful tips and tricks to help myself as well as my clients elevate our brands and take our businesses to the next level.

There were six sessions in this particular track: 

  • Instagram for Freelancers
  • Your Branding Bat Signal: How to Create Messaging that Attracts the Clients You Want
  • How to Get and Keep Media Attention
  • Publishing for Creatives: Should You Become an Author?
  • Produce Like a Pro: How to Create Compelling Video and Handle Any On-Camera Opportunity
  • Want Better Clients? Cure Their Pain!

I attended every single one of them. Ilise Benun, Terri Trespicio, Paula Rizzo, Bridget Watson Payne, and Puno Puno commanded the stage. The speakers, the presentations, the energy … were all on fire. I took 16 pages worth of notes. SIXTEEN PAGES!! And I walked away totally inspired.

To give you a glimpse of what all was presented, I give you the five biggest things I took away from the conference:

  1. Your website should reflect what your clients want, not who you are. So many of us get caught up in this habit, myself included. We write our websites as an extended About Us feature. That’s great for just one page, but the entire site? It’s time to rethink who we’re targeting and what exactly they want to hear.
  2. You are not for everyone, and everyone is not for you. True story … in life AND business. Not every client is the right fit for you. Be specific in your promotions to easily filter people out. The world is too big. Don’t make the mistake of being a generalist and trying to have your services apply to everyone.
  3. Want to write a book? Start by writing a blog. The thought of sitting down and cranking out a book may seem daunting. Start small. Write blog posts instead. Do this for a year or two. Then take those posts and make them into chapters for your book. Smaller chunks are more easily attainable.
  4. Including a video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%. We all know video is huge right now, but that statistic is staggering! Whatever kind of video content you produce (testimonials, tutorials, interviews, etc.), be sure to include it in your promotional strategy: Instagram stories, Facebook Live, email, etc.
  5. Out of sight? Out of mind. Determine who your ideal client is and identify their pain points. Offer info that’s useful and relevant to them. Stay top of mind. They may not need you right now, but when they do, you want to be on their radar. Promote yourself as the ideal resource.

Between the sessions, networking, parties, and finally meeting someone whom I’ve admired for years (AND who inspired me to write this piece … Thanks, Ilise Benun!), I walked away a changed freelancer. As my company continues to evolve, from copywriting and proofreading to teaching, speaking and coaching, I couldn’t be more thrilled with the knowledge I picked up at HOW Design Live.

Want to hear more? Drop me a line: copydiva@juliecortes.com.

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