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Friday, 08 April 2011 13:52

Women Without Borders-A look into a writer’s life making connections and making life work.

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By Elizabeth Huber


For the Prairie Post

Years ago, while living in Northern Canada taking correspondence classes on topics such as communications and, marketing, Jansen would have never predicted her current career and the path she has taken to becoming a busy and connected freelance writer.


Seven years ago Jansen was a full time mom living in Medicine Hat when she decided to enrol in a creative writing class.  She established a great rapport with her instructor and together they formed a book club.  Through their conversations the instructor became familiar with Jansen’s writing aspirations and educational background.

 “It was networking in a nutshell,” described Jansen, adding “Networking is the number one thing that has grown my business.” While taking the creative writing course, Jansen wasn’t cognitively “networking.” She was simply a person interested in people and “their story.”

 If her creative writing experience had never gone beyond the student/teacher relationship the instructors would have never known about her background and seen her as fit to take over the Newspaper and Education Coordinator Position at The Medicine Hat News.

That was the first time Jansen really became conscious of the power of connecting. 

“But once I saw how just talking to somebody and telling them a little bit about my career aspirations ... how that opened a door ... from then on in, I was very conscious of it,” she said.

While working as the Newspaper and Education Coordinator Jansen continued to reach out to others at the newspaper and that is how her freelance career got started.   For example, one job came to me when a frustrated editor complained he didn’t have competent freelancers he could rely on, to which Jansen replied, “you didn’t try me.”

In time, she would expand her freelancing writing endeavours to include corporate writing, magazines and newspapers – You will recognize here name from the Prairie-Post – and her outreach continues to expand nationally.

Jansen now works from her home office in Swift Current, is a mother of two active teenagers, 16 and 14,  who getting used to not yelling, “Mom, I’m home,” when they come home from school. On that note, as a way to find a balance working from home she tries not to schedule interviews for the hour after the kids come home because they will want to talk about their day.

One of the tools enabling Jansen to work from her home office and be connected is the use of social media tools.

“I love social media ... part of that is because I am very isolated as a freelance writer in my home office. I am not out at the water cooler making those connections in the business world like most people would be.”

For example, just the other day a conversation was carried out via twitter between independent and home based entrepreneurs about taxes and creative professions. Jansen was able to distribute a booklet she had received at a conference to everyone and in return she received the contact information for a person skilled at doing financial books.

 Involvement with professional organizations such as the Professional Writers Association of Canada has also linked Jansen to opportunities. It isn’t necessarily people looking through the list for a writer, it is other writers referring me when they have too much on their plate, she explained.

Whatever your networking style, Jansen has one piece of advice.

“If you go out networking for networking sake ... that is when you are going to be disappointed  ... if you go out to meet people and learn something new. That is when you are going to see the benefit.

“If you want an end result that is tangible, you are not going to get it ... I look back now and I see tangible results. But, if I had tried to plot a course for networking I would have never come to this conclusion,” she finished.

Jansen will be one of the panellists at the Women Without Borders Networking Conference on May 25, 2011. For more information about the conference visit HYPERLINK "http://www.southwestsask.ca"www.southwestsask.ca


(This is Part 1 of a four part series leading up to the Women Without Borders Networking Conference which goes May 25. For information or to register, visit www.southwestsask.ca)

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