Posts

Wendy Weber, PharmD, MBA

What Would You Do If You Knew You Couldn’t Fail

Many years ago during a job interview I was asked, “What is your biggest fear?” It took me all of about two seconds to respond. Failure. The interviewer sat speechless with a look on his face that was a combination of shock and holding back laughter. Once he composed himself, he shared that he was expecting a more typical answer like heights or snakes. Something tangible. He never expected a naïve student to answer so quickly with such a thoughtful and honest answer.

The fear of failure has always been my biggest motivator. Blame it on my stubbornness or, perhaps, my cluelessness as to what I’m getting myself into. Regardless of the underlying reason, if you tell me I can’t do something my new mission will be to prove you wrong. Over the years, I have been my biggest champion and my biggest obstacle. It’s easy to step away from a challenge, especially when I think the end result may be less than perfect in my eyes. Learning how to use my fear of failure to keep me moving forward is a daily choice.

Learning how to use my fear of failure to keep me moving forward is a daily choice.

Tammy Kellebrew

Get Out Of Your Way

As writers, we have all struggled at some point. Whether it has been finding that next writing project, identifying a topic or overcoming writer’s block, we can all relate to the challenges associated with the craft we love. But how many times have you created additional obstacles that have prevented you from applying for or accepting a writing assignment?

I don’t know anything about that topic.

I’ve never written a blog.

That project is going to take too much time.

That assignment doesn’t pay enough.

I have no idea what SEO is (Search Engine Optimization – yep, I had to Google that one… more than once).

It’s time for all of us to get out of our own way and do what we are capable of doing. Kick that little devil off your shoulder because you ARE capable and KNOW a whole lot more than you give yourself credit for. No more excuses. If you want to build your business and extend your reach, it’s time to make yourself a little uncomfortable. After all, you can’t fail.

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Endless Possibilities

Just like a blank canvas is full of possibilities for an artist, a blank page is full of possibilities for a writer. Challenge yourself to explore the possibilities. As a writer with a limited portfolio, I know that if I want to be considered for more writing jobs I need material to share. In order to build my portfolio, I need to step out of my comfort zone and write about topics and in styles I may not be familiar with. Instead of thinking of what will happen if you fail, change your mindset to “I will do this and it will be amazing!”

How do you change your mindset? Easier said than done, right?

Here’s some guidance to get you started:

  • Research a topic that interests you.
  • Write about that topic in a new format.
  • Add the sample to your portfolio. You wrote it. Be proud of it.
  • Share it on your blog, if you have one. You may need to tweak the content a bit to fit the format, but at the very least, talk about what you learned.
  • Apply for a writing opportunity about the new topic or in the new format.
  • Find a support network (the tribe at HMN is a great one) – ask questions, use their tools and resources, and most importantly network!

Believe in Yourself

What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail? Honestly, I have no idea what, specifically, I would do. Perhaps, that’s because I need my internal competitor pushing me to take advantage of a new opportunity. Until I identify that opportunity, I can’t say for certain what it will be.

My goal for 2019 is to try new things, and that means stepping out of my comfort zone. Writing a blog post is exactly that: stepping out of my comfort zone, doing something that I know I’m capable of doing but have never done because I was afraid it wouldn’t be well received or that I wouldn’t have anything to say that others would want to read.

So, knowing I couldn’t fail because there is a whole tribe of HMN #SavvyScribes that have my back, I seized the moment and just proved to myself that I could do it. I wrote my first blog for an audience that is more than my family and friends. It’s time for a new mindset. I just did it… and you can too!

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Patty Weasler BSN, RN, CCRN

The 3 Most Important Things I Learned My First Year as a Freelance Health Writer

If you’re like me, the first year of freelance writing is full of ups and downs. In my first year, I made money, gained clients, lost clients and learned more than I had ever bargained for!

At the beginning of my writing career, I had a hard time focusing on the core issues to develop my business. I found that I was spending too much time on tasks that weren’t vital to my success and not enough time on the things that were.

I’m here to tell you the three most important things I learned in my first year as a freelance writer, so you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did!

3 Lessons The First Year of Freelancing

1. Find a Mentor

When I started freelancing I had so many questions. What’s a pitch? How do I even write a pitch? How much should I charge? I quickly realized that I needed help.

Internet searching wasn’t cutting it. I needed help from an experienced freelancer, someone that I could ask questions of and get guidance from. That’s when my friend and now writing coach, took me under her wing and guided me every step of the way.  

With a writing coach or mentor, I knew that I was getting accurate information from an expert.

I could have searched the internet to find bits and pieces of the information I needed. However, having someone who has already gone through the process helped to develop my business with my goals in mind.

It’s hard to ask for help, and it’s even harder to pay for help. I get it. But in the long run, I learned the information faster, more accurately and had more fun doing it!

2. Be Persistent

My first year as a freelance writer I knew that it would take work but I never could’ve dreamt how much work. I wanted to give up. Editors weren’t accepting my pitches, writing boards weren’t showing any great leads. I was stuck.

Yet, I kept at it. I kept pitching, writing and blogging. It took time and a whole lot of persistence but one day I received an email from an editor. A company actually wanted ME to write for them.

Whenever I felt like my business wasn’t progressing, I had to keep moving. I suggest joining a writing group with people in your writing niche. It’s a great way to both network and learn from other people’s experiences.

Another tactic to keep myself moving forward was to stay accountable to something or someone. I like to have a writing schedule with blocks of time devoted to work. You might find having a friend or coach keeping you on track works. Find something that works for you and stick with it. Progress will happen!

3. Just Do It

Nike knows what they’re talking about. When it comes to writing, Just Do It!

My first year, I was nervous and hesitant. I didn’t want to make mistakes. I let fear slow me down. I questioned every move I made. Once I let go of the fear I started writing. I gained the confidence to develop a website and write blog posts, articles and so much more!

If you’re having a hard time making the first move like I was, try not to overthink it. Start writing blog posts or journal privately to get the creative juices flowing. Just the act of writing will spur new ideas and give you the motivation to move on to bigger and better projects.

Take my advice: find a mentor, stay persistent and just do it. After a year of ups and downs, these three lessons always held true to my freelance writing wins.  

– Patty weasler, RN, CCRN Freelance Writer

Another tip to get started is to write what you know. It’s so much easier to jump into freelance writing when you’re writing about things you know well. I’m a nurse and mom, so it’s easy to write about health and parenting topics. If you love gardening or photography you’ll find writing about those topics comes naturally.

The saying, “nothing worth having comes easy” is a phrase that I repeat to myself when I’m in doubt or struggling.

That first year of freelancing can be tough! How are you going to make it through your first year? Take my advice: find a mentor, stay persistent and just do it. After a year of ups and downs, these three lessons always held true to my freelance writing wins.  

 

 

 

Hired a Coach, Gained a Community (2)

Hired a Coach, Gained a Community

Community. It’s commonly used to describe where we live, a feeling, or a sense of belonging. This feeling can be based on common attitudes, interests, beliefs or goals, but it isn’t always what you think it will be.

Sometimes it’s better.

A Business Coach Changes Everything

I wasn’t searching for a community when I happened to stumble upon my now beloved business coach, but I certainly found one when she led me to the Healthcare Marketing Network.  

After  writing for a content mill for a few months I had gained experience and built up my portfolio, but it was clear that something was missing.  I needed vision. I acquired said vision as I was searching for business coaches late one night and came across an article about top nursing blogs that Janine Kelbach (my soon to be business coach!) was mentioned in. I emailed her that night, she got back to me the next morning, and just like that the future of my business was forever changed. We started with a short 45 minute meeting and before I knew it, she had given me more than just a few business tips; she’d given me a community full of like-minded entrepreneurs with a thirst for growth and a strong desire to lift one another up.  

Janine, also known as WriteRN, recently told me that her goal when working with new clients is to help them create business goals and a vision for their future. She said that steering new writers towards the Healthcare Marketing Network has been invaluable.

She said, “New writers need accountability, and that can be found through the community at the Healthcare Marketing Network. Writing can be a lonely business, so having others who are willing to help with brainstorming, pitches and keeping us on  track with our goals is very important.

It amazed me that after one coaching session Janine knew exactly what I needed; a community! She told me how to find The Healthcare Marketing Networks website, as well as their gated Facebook Group filled to the brim with people just like me.  

Shortly after ending our first session, I looked up this Healthcare Marketing Network group on Facebook to see what it was all about, and what I found left me nothing shy of exhilarated. Not only did I see a community, but a  successful one full of healthcare writers! I also found great videos with tips and tricks of the trade, helpful articles tailored to writers, other members getting their business questions answered, and everyone enjoying one another’s company. And if that wasn’t enough to have me in awe, what came next was.

Out of the blue, I received a Facebook message from Carol Bush simply stating she thinks she could get me a gig. Being a nurse, I was shocked. Many times in nursing, the common theme is that we eat our young, not that we build one another up. Where was I, Kansas? Nope, but Carol was! After our encouraging exchange via Facebook Messenger we decided to meet.

I now know why she lives in Kansas! She’s like a small, mighty twister all unto herself. She was dynamic, excited, and offered up a wealth of knowledge. She shared pointers with me as well as ideas for several gigs. By the time the phone call ended, I had 3 potential leads and we were planning to meet again. I was still blown away and kept wondering how this small community would continue to touch my journey.

Community Matters

A few days passed and a familiar name showed up in the Facebook Group. Ashley Hay, a fellow writer. I had seen Ashley’s work and her story on another site I frequented. Even though I had never actually spoken to her, I started to feel a sense of belonging again. I was seeing a common theme of people in my writing life. I did get to connect with Ashley and she has experienced a similar journey to mine. She shared with me that the Healthcare Marketing Network has helped her in many ways along her journey, and the message of community was alive and well as we talked. She described that through the Healthcare Marketing Network she has found the “value in connection.” She stated that she often sits down in the evening and goes through the videos on the Facebook page just to continue to grow and learn as a writer. She has been able to connect with clients through the networks Gig Board, as well as build upon her own community. She also feels that accountability is a huge bonus of being a member and has really enjoyed the friendships she has built along the way.

The missing piece in my foundation of community was to meet Janet Kennedy, the other founding member of the Healthcare Marketing Network. She shared her journey of meeting Carol through a Twitter chat and out of that a collaborative friendship with a vision was born. I told Janet my story and she quickly replied that stories such as mine and others are “everyday validation” that the Healthcare Marketing Network is needed by clients and writers alike. She described the network as the missing link to the connection between writers and clients that she’s glad they’ve been able to provide.

Enjoy the Journey

My journey leads me to one of my favorite quotes by Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”. I no longer feel alone in my journey as a healthcare writer and I am thankful that late one night I hired a coach, and gained a community.

If you’re a healthcare writer looking for a community to lift you up, help you get gigs, and push you to be better, click below to join The Healthcare Marketing Network today!