Can You Manage?

Home (Not) Alone

By Julia Miller

So-called creative types are often thought to be the least able to efficiently market their services. That's exactly why a group of New Jersey professionals started the Self-Employed Writers and Artists Network (SWAN).

SWAN members include writers, illustrators, designers, photographers and multimedia professionals. Membership in SWAN means learning how to market your services, negotiate fees, prepare contracts, manage taxes, follow legislation, buy new computer equipment and capitalize on the latest printing techniques. Meeting formats range from panel discussions to demonstrations of new technology.

"Being part of a group has really helped reinforce my marketing tactics," says Robert A. Parker, a freelance business writer who's been a member of SWAN for six years. Parker, who writes for a range of national magazines, has won several regional writing awards from the International Association of Business Communicators. Distributing mailers that mention these awards to both existing and potential clients has helped him grow his business.

As a SWAN member, you're listed in a sourcebook that includes your address, phone and fax numbers, e-mail address, Web site and your description of your skills. The sourcebook is sent to 3,000 corporations, agencies, design studios and small businesses that buy creative work. You'll also receive SWAN's newsletter, Cygneture.

Over the past 12 years, SWAN has grown to nearly 150 members. Potential members must submit their portfolios in person. For more information, call (201) 967-1313 or visit the SWAN Web site at

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