The Secrets of Smart Freelancers: 5 Questions for Michelle Goodman

<The freelance marketplace is a cauldron of activity. Those of us who have been at it for years are finding work from the very employers who have been showing employees the door. And many of those exiting employees are realizing that it’s about time to acquire some freelancing skills — whether for short-term survival or long-term livelihood.

When it comes to dispensing smart advice about freelancing, there is no greater guide than Michelle Goodman, author of the books, The “Anti 9-to-5 Guide” and “My So-Called Freelance Life.” Not only does Goodman have the answers to the most vexing questions about freelancing, she is also a vocal advocate for the rights of freelancers, and for reminding independent workers to speak up for ourselves. Below is Goodman’s wisdom on how to survive and thrive as a freelancer today.

Marci: Freelancing must be more competitive than ever with all the formerly employed folks now in the game — is there enough to go around? {Read the rest at Yahoo!}


3 Easy Ways Email Can Jumpstart a Career

In addition to my usual career-related activities, I have been working overtime lately talking with friends, family members and colleagues who have recently lost their jobs or are concerned about where the job market and economy are going. I’ve decided to share some of the things I’m telling them with you, so that we can all join in on spreading good career karma.

We all love bitching about email, but when it comes to simple and free tools that can jumpstart a career, nothing beats it. Here’s three easy things you can do with email to help your career, or the career of someone you care about.
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A Board Game for the New Rules of Work

Venkatesh Rao, a blogger, came up with the idea for a board game, Brandhood, as a metaphor for a new way of thinking about work.

Sharpening the Soft Skills (Which Aren’t Really Touchy-Feely)


Self-promotion, revisited

In today’s Shifting Careers column at I revisited the always-popular terrain of self-promotion, with a specific focus on introverts, who tend to have an even more difficult time than most tooting their own horns.


Is self-promotion a women’s problem?

The avalanche of emails responding to my Shifting Careers column on self-promotion continues. When I wrote that column, I didn’t think self-promotion was a women’s issue and I know that many men — and many folks who were just raised to think being humble is good manners — also have a problem with it. But a lot of the experts and commentators believe that women have a harder time with it than men.

Lisa Cullen,’s workplace blogger (the unidentified friend who called me a “master of self-promotion”), blogged about my column. For her, it all came down to the estrogen factor. Read what she has to say here.

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Creating buzz around your ideas (

Yesterday, my Shifting Careers column at The New York Times online focused on ways to create buzz about your ideas. Based on the flood of reader emails I’ve been getting, I’m not the only one interested in this subject. If you have any tips to share — especially ideas for those who are uncomfortable about self-promotion and/or who can’t afford outside p.r. help, please share them in the comments. (There’s no way to comment on the NYT website yet, so leave your comments on the blog.)

Here’s the article, “Tools and Tips to Create Buzz Around Your Ideas.”

Note: Through some weird URL glitch, the link to the 360 Profiler mentioned in the first paragraph was published incorrectly. If you want to try the tool, click here.

Just stumbled on this article on “The Single Greatest Marketing Tool” that does a good job of explaining public relations — from both a do-it-yourself and a hire-an-expert perspective.

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Good Self-Promoter, an Oxymoron? (

This week my Shifting Careers column at the New York Times online talks about getting comfortable with self-promotion, something we all need to do these days. Read the column here.

Last week, my friend Gretchen over at the Happiness-Project, wrote about reframing. That post helped me to figure out that my biggest problem with being called a good self-promoter was the language. I know I’m good at self-promotion. Just not sure I like those words. It’s a lot like how I feel about networking — essential skill, bad image.

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Book Tour — What they don’t teach you in Author School

Today a friend with a book coming out in the Fall asked me for 5 things I learned on my book tour.

Here’s the first five I came up with:

  1. Events don’t fill up unless you do something to spread the word.
  2. Because of #1, you can find yourself talking to an intimate group of 12 folks thrilled to have a private salon, while the bookseller pulls up a chair in your discussion circle in the middle of a bar. Be prepared to quickly modify your presentation for such occasions.
  3. If you have young children, live in New York (near lots of media outlets), or have a job in addition to your book, think twice about whether your “tour” needs to involve leaving your home. Radio tours and online efforts (e.g. reaching out to bloggers) allow you to reach huge audience without going anywhere.
  4. Partner with other authors. You’ll get a chance to build an audience among the other authors’ readers. And if the other authors happen to be enjoying the limelight, you’ll bask in that glow too. Choose some authors in your niche — for me writers like Tim Ferriss, Penelope Trunk, Josh Piven – all who had career books out around the same time, and some whose books are nice complements but not necessarily in the same niche (Sue Shapiro’s book on fix-ups made for a good program on fixing your love life/work life.) You’ll also learn a lot by thinking of how your book relates to the ideas in other books.
    And it’s just more fun.
  5. Spend money if you can. I hired an assistant which was extremely helpful on pitching the press (both to save effort and to avoid having to blatantly flak myself) and organizing events. I’m still wondering whether I should have hired outside p.r. help.

Authors, please weigh in with your top 5. I’ve got many more 5s where these came from and I’ll post a few more after the next few weeks of touring. Cape May NJ, Denver, and San Jose all coming up. Gotta up those B-12s.


Heymarci @ Google!

I don’t like to play favorites, but this Friday, I have a speaking gig that I am more than a little excited about. I’ll be doing the Authors@Google series (Visit the site at your own risk. You may never return).

I’ll be sharing the stage with Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work Week, whose Amazon rank has been hovering at around #10 for more than a week now (I bet I check as much as he does!)

I am a little nervous people might not show because apparently it’s a busy day at the Googleplex. John McCain is also speaking (after us). And everyone is going to see the new Spiderman movie as a company field trip. But a friend told me that maybe it’s good McCain is speaking as it will bring some of the telecommuters onto campus.

There’s a touch of irony about giving a talk about improving your work/life mix on a day when the potential audience is struggling with these kinds of stressful decisions:

1) Should I go to work today?
2) Should I see John Mccain speak?
3) What time should I do the Spiderman field trip?

A typical work day when you work for a company that’s always showing up at the top of those “best companies to work for” lists.

Google posts all author talks at YouTube, so you can watch it here.


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