On New Year’s Eve in 1994, I gave birth to a baby girl and a new business. Crazy, yes, but it was something I had to do. Determined to be a stay-at-home-mom, I began to make my living as a home-based publicist and freelance writer. This was especially challenging since I was an orphaned single mom with no one to help me. I had to figure out a way to raise my child and earn a living in an environment that catered to both. Thank God for the Internet!
With a small investment for a monitor, mouse and telephone, I was all hooked up and dialed-in. Immediately after purchasing my computer, I hired a techie-nerd to set me up on the world wide web. I was swept away into cyberspace with a click of my mouse. I was off! I was ecstatic. I had e-mail, and I was ready to bring on the clientele. In one swift move, I tossed my fax machine out the sliding glass door and burned my paper trail. It was time to get moving, and get moving, I did. I quickly set up computer files and things started to happen.
Hooked up to a cordless telephone headset, I carried my infant from room to room, conversing with prospects as I changed dirty diapers. When my daughter slept, I worked online. Sometimes it was during Oprah, other times it was well past midnight. Being on the Internet allowed me this valuable flexibility that I otherwise never would have had.
The Internet helped me dig up new business. I wrote query letters to editors of trade journals and national magazines. I received responses and writing assignments immediately, and suffered no down-time. I no longer had to check my post office box for rejection letters or signed contracts. All of these documents were immediate accessed through e-mail.
Soon, ideas flew across my keyboard and press releases flowed from my fingertips. I was a cyberspace surfin’ mama, and nothing could slow me down. After each press kit was completed and all the bios were written, I would directly e-mail my information to various editors across the world. Instead of standing in line at OfficeMax to make copies or wait for faxes, everything I needed was neatly tucked into my home office computer.
Instant messaging helped me roll in even more business. I felt the adrenaline rush of high-tech heaven.
Thanks to the world wide web, I no longer felt isolated. I was able to hook up with newsgroups and various professionals that understand where I’m at and where I want to go. Resources such as Worldwide Freelance Writer and WritersWeekly.com allowed me to learn more about my craft and give me valuable resources for jobs for freelancers.
Moreover, gone were the days of doing heavy research in dimly-lit libraries. I didn’t have to commute downtown to look up information. All I had to do was step into my office, log on, and retrieve all the information I needed to craft a well-written article. When I received assignments about equine facilities, day spa dilemmas or the mating habits of past Presidents, I logged on. I downloaded. I felt empowered. Soon, a self-satisfied smirk would be on my face. Another article finished on time, and I was ready for more.
The Internet even allowed me the ability to interview people online, rather than in-person. I did not need to meet people at Starbucks armed with a pen, paper and tape recorder to find out their life story. I simply e-mailed interview questions to people from all over the globe, and they liked the fact that this allowed them to think about their answers more carefully and saved them from being misquoted.
As my child grew, so did my business. I needed to hire both babysitters and copy editors. Instead of placing a classified ad that would appear in the local fish-wrapper the following week, I was able to instantly post a help-wanted ad on various job-hunting web-sites. In a matter of hours, I hired two bright, young people to help me at home with my baby and my business.
Seven years later, I met my husband online. I did all my wedding planning on the net as well. Our honeymoon reservations were made online, and I even found a minister on the web to conduct our ceremony.
Today, I’m still clicking away. I boot up my computer early every morning as the espresso machine hisses in the background. Celebrating my 11th anniversary in business, I have developed and nurtured several solvent business relationships—all thanks to the Internet.
Both personally and professionally, I can certainly say that the Internet is my greatest resource. What would I do without it?
Connie Werner Reichert is the President of Write Side Up Freelance Writing & Publicity. The home-based business near Lake Tahoe specializes in broadcast publicity placement and personality profiles for small business owners and non-profits. Visit http://www.authorsden.com/conniewreichert or hear more ramblings on her blog at http://conniereichert.livejournal.com.