As I wrapped up my second EFA webinar for this spring and started checking on my materials for two more later this month, I started thinking about why I offer to present these programs—especially Freelancing 101: Launching Your Editorial Business. After all, that session in particular could be said to create my own competition, and my other usual topics (Websites for Freelancers, Basics of Editing and Proofreading, and the new Business Basics) fall somewhat into that category as well.
For one reason, I’ve been a longtime believer that the more professional and businesslike we all are, the better off we all will be—the “rising tide lifts all boats” philosophy. Sharing my experiences as a freelancer means (I hope!) helping colleagues be more professional and effective, which should improve conditions for all of us.
That generous impulse aside, there are a lot of rewards to sharing insights with colleagues. For one thing, the EFA pays its webinar and course presenters. Not all organizations share educational income with members (or nonmember presenters), so it’s a treat to teach for this particular association—there’s a nice mercenary element to teaching.
It also just plain feels good to help colleagues manage aspects of their freelance businesses. That’s a psychic reward that is hard to measure, but still deeply gratifying.
Teaching also keeps me on my toes. To provide useful information to colleagues, I have to stay up to date on trends and issues, and refresh my knowledge to make sure both the information and my handouts are current. That means I learn something new almost every time I prepare to present, so I benefit from the process as well.
Doing these programs helps me build visibility among colleagues and might even lead to future business from some of the students in those events. Ideally, they’ll think of me when they need additional assistance, are offered projects that are a better fit for someone like me than for them, or have the opportunity to hire or subcontract with someone.
Doing presentations for the EFA also helps the organization by enhancing its reputation as a provider of useful, practical, career-building information. When we contribute to that reputation, it makes us all look better for being part of an association that generates respect.
Colleagues who also teach for the EFA, what do you get out of that activity? Are there any additional rewards that I have overlooked? Feel free to respond at firstname.lastname@example.org for a future EFA newsletter article.
—Ruth E. Thaler-Carter
Ruth E. Thaler-Carter (www.writerruth.com) is a longtime freelance writer, editor, proofreader, website manager and presenter. She is the editor of the EFA’s Freelancer newsletter; author of the EFA’s Freelancing 101: Launching Your Editorial Business booklet; past conference chair and presenter; chair of the Rochester, NY, chapter; and creator and presenter of in-person workshops and webinars for the EFA and other organizations.
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