Having Trouble Defining Your Specialty? How To Determine What Makes You An Original

Struggling to pinpoint a blog niche? Grappling with how to present yourself to editors or clients? Still looking to settle on one particular area of expertise, but unsure of where you really shine?

Even those of us who have clear obsessio-… — oops! I mean passions — (in my case, the publishing industry and… um… cats) can have a blind spot when it comes to our own strengths.

If you’re thinking of starting a blog, but don’t know what to write about… if you’re struggling with pitching yourself to others… if you want to build a business, but are having trouble figuring out what, exactly, that business should entail… it could help to ask yourself the following questions.

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Link Love: March 14, 2010

What a week! I announced the winners of my Career Coaching for Word Nerds contest, and have my very first appointment scheduled for this coming Wednesday. I’m way excited to start helping people find career fulfillment, and am also interested in seeing how the balance of editing, writing, and coaching shifts in my own life.

Not only that, but I managed to tear myself away from the computer twice this week in order grab drinky drinks with fellow entrepreneurs. On Monday, I met up with a former colleague who just resigned from her full-time job in order to throw herself into full-time freelance writing. As we’ve both been on the editing and writing sides of the table, I had a great time talking freelance strategy with her, and sharing on-the-job stories. And on Thursday, I headed to Ginger Man for happy hour with two fellow tweeps who had driven up from NC for a short vacation. So great to put faces to tweets!

I’m not sure yet whether this Sunday will be lazy or productive (I have an ebook to work on, and a new copywriting client) but, before I decide, let me give you some weekend reading:

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Work 2.0: The Deterioration of Professional Decorum

I know. It’s nothing new. Work attire has been devolving for years now, in addition to office environments and professional communications.

In fact, I’m part of the problem. From the very moment I entered the corporate world 5 and 1/2 years ago, I was completely unable to keep up a sense of professional decorum. My business attire became business casual, before eventually becoming an odd mix of too much cleavage + too much frump. My work e-mails were breezy and flip. I couldn’t bring myself to wear dress pumps (I figured black sneakers were close enough…).

Still, those who have work to offer are still appreciators of traditional practices, and an adherence to these practices nowadays can make eager professionals stand out from the rumpled crowd.

After all, aren’t we supposed to be dressing for the job we want, and not just the one we already have? (she says, as her toes dig into the fleece lining of the boot slippers her brother bought her for Christmas…)

After the jump, how to retain your spunky sense of self (we’re freelancers for a reason, after all…) while still maintaining an air of professionalism:

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My 7 Favorite Things In: The Boss of You

Seal Press is a goldmine (I swear, they’re all I’ve been posting about lately) and, though the press is aimed toward women, many of their how-tos and handbooks are relevant to men as well. Which is why I don’t mind bringing up another one of their books, Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears’s The Boss of You.

After reading this book, I feel prepared to rethink and re-tackle the way the way I went about starting up my at-home business and, after reading the 7 things I love about this book, you’ll see why:

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Coffee Break: Home Ec for Entrepreneurs

coffee break

Earlier this week, Jezebel had this interesting post, in which the writers tried to recall what bits of knowledge they had actually retained from early-childhood home ec classes.

They went on to ponder what sort of knowledge they would have actually benefited from.

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