The work ethic of today’s featured author is beyond compare. Diana Marinova is a freelance marketing consultant by day, and a traveler by heart. In her free time, when she’s not exploring the world, she blogs and writes books with one purpose only–to help people find their way in the freelance world. Born and raised in Eastern Europe, she knows all too well the value of personal freedom and how hard life is without it. Therefore, all her writing is aimed at helping people all over the world to break free from the rat race and live their dream life as freelancers.
1. Please provide a brief synopsis of your book.
Diana’s Freelance Tip–How to Succeed on Upwork (oDesk) and Elance is not the typical how-to book. It does not portray being a freelancer as the dream job to make quick cash easily. It provides actionable information and a step-by-step guide how to lay a solid foundation for a successful freelance business on the mentioned sites. Furthermore, it discusses some hard truths which every starting freelancer should know as early as possible so that they prepare for the journey ahead–e.g. personal qualities needed to succeed as a freelancer, time management tips, the importance of work principles, and more. Also, it contains “homework exercises” in the end of each chapter to help the reader master a specific skill or put the tips into practice.
The book is entirely based on my experience as a freelance marketing consultant. It is a direct result of the many questions I receive on a daily basis from blog readers and wanna-be freelancers.
2. Tell us a little bit about what motivates or inspires your writing.
When I was starting my freelance journey, the available information about becoming a freelancer was scarce. I made a lot of initial errors and eventually found my way as a freelancer. I come from a small Eastern European country where employment was hard to find at that time and being a freelancer was a foreign concept altogether.
So I thought I’d share my experience trough a blog, hoping I’d help people who were interested in alternative methods of employment (a.k.a. freelancing with clients abroad).
Not long after, I launched a similar blog in English–to help like-minded people on a worldwide level. And before I knew, I was receiving many emails asking me the same questions about becoming a freelancer – where to start, how to set up their profiles on freelance websites or LinkedIn, how to write proposals and cover letters, what to do to get invited to interviews, and so on.
Long story short, I wrote my first book so that I save myself some time I would otherwise spend replying to readers’ emails 😉
I never thought I’d be a writer but I can say my writing is mostly inspired by fellow freelancers who need help finding a way to live a better life.
3. Writing aside, what passions drive your life?
I love traveling. My TripAdvisor travel map says I have visited 242 cities in 23 countries covering 18% of the world.
I am happy my freelance lifestyle enables me to travel as much as I want and more importantly, to live in different countries for as long as I want. This way, I don’t rush for a week through all major sites a city or a country has to offer. Instead, I blend in with locals and get to know the culture.
Traveling and experiencing new cultures pretty much defines me as a person these days. That is yet another reason I blog and write books – to help more people succeed as freelancers and travel the world, if this is what they want.
4. It’s hard to pick just one, but what do you consider your favorite novel and why?
Oh, snap–I am a bit embarrassed to say I am not an avid novel reader. I read mostly marketing related books and blogs. When I do read a novel, I forget what it’s all about within a week so my favorite novel changes pretty often. Right now, I am very keen on Stealing Time by KJ Waters, a book I found through Jeri’s blog, and I am eager to read the next two parts of the trilogy, as soon as they come out.
Now that I think about it, maybe I have not yet read my favorite novel.
5. What is the name of your blog and what can readers expect to find there?
I blog at Diana’s Freelance Marketing Blog. It’s not a marketing blog per se. It is aimed at helping freelancers to build their business and market their services successfully. It’s not specific to a certain profession but focuses on what you need to have or do in order to succeed as a freelancer.
For example, you won’t find tips how to write the perfect pitch letter for a magazine, or how to record the changes you make in your website code, or how to present your design to your clients for maximum effect, etc. Instead, you will find advice and information on how to pick your clients and build strong relationships with them, how to form your prices, how to present yourself so that you stand apart from the crowd, how to have clients find you instead of prospecting on a daily basis, and other useful aspects of the life of a freelancer.
6. What does your drafting and/or editing process entail?
I get my writing done in one of two ways.
Sometimes, I just sit down and start writing. I used to self-edit a lot but I had an ah-ha moment after reading a post on the topic at some point and since then, I no longer self-edit while writing. Ever.
Other times, I map out the blog post by writing the general idea and drafting the key points as headlines. Then, I fill in the blanks between the headlines by writing whole paragraphs. Each paragraph should convey the key point relating to the specific headline. If the paragraph is too long, I break it up in smaller paragraphs for easier comprehension by the reader.
In both cases, I revisit the draft at least once more, on the next day or at a later date. I found out that editing on a different day helps a lot to simplify the message and make the post more concise.
It’s worth mentioning that topics and ideas recording is an integral part of my writing process. I have a special file on all my devices, where I write down ideas as they come. Sometimes I write down a title of a post with a few words to remind myself where this idea came from. Other times I write down a whole paragraph stating in details what the purpose of the post is and why I thought about it in the first place. Whichever the case, I always write it down–this is the only way I can make sure I will return to the idea and develop it into a post when the right time comes.
I had never used professional editing services before starting to work on my first book. I was lucky enough to know Jeri through her blog earlier and she opened my eyes how much more than just proofreading can a professional editor do for a manuscript.
Although my book is non-fiction and there is no storyline or character development, her critique helped me immensely to clean some repetition (to which I am inclined, apparently), to improve its structure and make my key message stronger. I believe it’s thanks to her that my book today is not only useful as it was planned to be (it’s a how-to book after all) but readers also vote it as inspirational.
7. Are you traditionally published or self-published?
I am self-published–I didn’t even think about going the traditional way. I suppose a main reason is how easy it is to publish a book these days, technically speaking.
I am in marketing, I love reading about marketing, and I don’t think that the readers of my book would go and pick a paper copy in an offline bookstore so… there was no doubt in my mind I should self-publish and use Amazon as a main sales channel for the book.
8. Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers when it comes to marketing and publicity?
I’ve been following Tim Grahl’s blog about book marketing and I find his advice and tips very useful. His work style and approach is very close to my mindset and attitude toward writing so if you are passionate about marketing your book on your own, I think his blog is the first place to look. Here’s a link to his definitive book marketing checklist to get you started.
And a tip which I find invaluable is “always focus on helping the reader”. It describes exactly my journey–I became a blogger and a writer to help others find freelance success on their own terms. If you want to find your “why”, I urge you to read this blog post by Tim Grahl–there is a section for fiction writers and their “why”, too.
9. What future projects can we look forward to?
I have a clear idea of two more books–one would be focused on relationship building with freelance clients, and another one on marketing your freelance services. I have a very rough draft of an inspirational book about the freelance lifestyle but I think I want to complete the other two first and only then move on to the inspirational one.
In the meantime, I plan to launch e-mail courses and a package of my book with e-mail support, so to speak. I’d like to give my readers the opportunity to receive feedback on the homework assignments in the book and help them further hone their skills like goal setting, proposal writing, time management, etc.
10. Is there anything else you want your potential readers to know?
Yes, no matter how hard it is–don’t give up. Make up your mind, make a plan and stick to it. You will succeed as a freelancer only if you believe that you will. So, believe in yourself and move forward, always.
You can connect with Diana and her social media sites via her blog.
Is there anything else you’d like to know about Diana?