1.07.2013

My failure in designing my own website (SPECIAL OFFER INSIDE)

Lyquid Talent website design for dancers (style 5)
(Be sure to read all the way down for a SPECIAL OFFER)

Since I started freelancing, I have taken on many roles. I am no longer just a dancer dancing for my big company employer. My roles as a freelance guest artist include teacher, marketing director, video editor, negotiator, travel agent, writer, editor, social media director, choreographer and so much more. Honestly, I often surprise myself with my ability to learn something foreign to me, often with repeated failure before triumph. I enjoy a challenge and love to relish in the subsequent success. But sometimes I don't have time to figure out something that is immediately important or I absolutely can't figure out whatever task I have in front of me. This is exactly what happened when I was trying to build my website.

As a freelancer, it is important to have a handful of items to market yourself. Aside from this blog, I have business cards, a performance reel, photographs, and my resume. One important tool that I had spent years without was my own personal website. These days people spend more time on the internet than they do most other things. Taking all of my above marketing tools and putting them together in one place on the web is not only efficient, but helpful in expediting my search for work. There was only one problem. I couldn't find the time to figure out the complexities of building my own website.

My partner has always been proactive in pushing me to do things, from completing my Associate of the Arts (AA) degree during my time at PNB to throwing my Contact event for freelancers. He started his own business back in April, Spaces Transformed, and bought a website builder for his business' website. The company that he purchased his site from had a (supposedly simple) drag-and-drop editor. After he spent weeks fighting with the program, he finally created his website (while very nice, it is still very glitchy when trying to edit). A month or so after he had completed his website, he was sent an offer to buy a new domain and one year of hosting from the site. The price was too good to be true, so I reluctantly purchased my domain in the hopes that it would inspire me to finally work on my site. Following that purchase, my domain sat unused for about 4 months. I was simply throwing money down the drain. Once I finally committed to making my site, I felt entirely overwhelmed by the daunting task of understanding the ins and outs of website design. After consulting with a friend who had recently created her own site using wordpress, I quietly gave up and started working on other things to cover up my unwillingness to fight the good fight.

I strongly believe that if you put effort towards making something happen, it will come to fruition in one way or another. In the process of putting together my Contact event, I came across a new website design company, Lyquid Talent. This Chicago-based company had reached out to me a few weeks before I began planning my event. I figured why not give them a call and see if they would be interested in donating a package to be given away to a freelance dancer. I was very pleased after speaking with Jeff Serani, Lyquid Talent CEO, to find that he was greatly supportive of my event and interested in helping current and potential freelance dancers (beyond his goal to give established and aspiring professionals a web presence).

One of Lyquid Talent's media-friendly styles (style 6)
As I said before, I had been struggling with the creation of my own personal website. I also wanted to see how the company worked prior to offering their services at my event. Jeff and his team offered to show me the simple process involved in making one of their highly versatile websites by taking away the burden of creating my own site. This was quite a relief! The first thing I had to do was visit the Lyquid Talent website and choose one of their 14 designs, ranging from elegant to edgy and simple to media-friendly. There is a wide array of options that offer a variety of subtitles (resume, photo gallery, contact form, etc). If I was feeling particularly picky, there is also a certain amount of flexibility with each design. Each style has multiple options for personalizing and customizing, which can be viewed on that particular style's info page. This allows each dancer to cater a site to their specific needs. After I decided that dance website style 5 suited my taste and needs, Jeff sent me a link where I could upload all of my information for him to plug into the website. Prior to uploading, most would usually decide on a domain name, which is usually their their name followed by .com (which Lyquid Talent generously offers as a part of their package). Even though I had already purchased my domain name earlier through another site, Jeff was able to assist me in transferring it into his care. I was lucky that I had already accrued dance photos, put together my performance reels, and written my resume. All I had to do was upload each file to the secure server with a short description of the item and let the Lyquid Talent team create the magic.

One of Lyquid Talent's more artistic options (style 11)
Once Lyquid Talent had all of my data, it was only a matter of days before my site was up and running. After reviewing my site and requesting a few minor modifications, they passed the reins over to me. I was given a username and passcode to self-edit my site. After signing in to edit my page, I found that Jeff had uploaded a handful of video tutorials that easily walked me through editing each area of my site (e.g. how to edit and update my resume). At this point, I wasn't left alone to figure everything out for myself. A friend tried to connect to this blog through my website and it wasn't connecting properly. Within hours of putting in a customer service request, the Lyquid Talent team had fixed the glitch and my link was up and running again.

Now that my site, BarryKerollis.com, has been up and running for a few months, I have had time to see the many benefits in having a website. When I contact companies to let them know I am available for work, instead of uploading my resume, photos, and providing a link to my performance reel in each email, I just offer the link to my site where each of these items is cleanly organized. This saves me a great amount of time, allowing me to contact more companies. On more than one occasion, directors have complimented me on my beautiful website. I also have a calendar to tell my friends, family, and fans where I will be performing next. Lastly, there is a contact form that allows anybody that wants to reach me, whether a potential employer or fan, to get in touch with me. The benefits of my site outweigh the modest monthly cost for the company to host my site.

As I gain more experience, it becomes more apparent that I can't figure everything out on my own. Lyquid Talent came into my life at the right moment to help increase my visibility, decrease my stress level, and fill a great need. I needed help promoting myself as a freelancer dancer. For company dancers, it could be giving oneself a way of promoting their image beyond the company with which they dance. For students, audition season is quickly approaching and mailing out audition packages can be extremely expensive. With all of this in mind, Jeff and the Lyquid Talent team are allowing me to thank my dedicated readers by giving any dancer that reads my blog a special New Year's offer. From the moment this blog is posted until February 1st, 2013, Lyquid Talent is offering to create your personalized dancer website for $19.99 (88% off), plus the $15/month hosting fee. Just follow this link (SPECIAL OFFER for Life of a Freelance Dancer readers), pick your design, and sign up. Thank you and I hope that this offer will help you start your dance year off on the right foot! Happy New Year!

14 comments:

  1. Thank you for your post Zeeshan, but I ask that any endorsements of products on my blog go through me personally prior to posting.

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  3. This is a really interesting blog and made me want to read more. I have worked with website design columbia sc before and I know some of the roles you have had are not easy. Hope to see more posts like this one in the near future.

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  4. I visited your website and I think you did a very good job at it. It is easy to browse and find information about you. Your pictures are also captivating in a way that makes people want to find out more about you and what you do. Overall, I believe it is an effective way of marketing yourself. Good luck on your future performances!

    Lesli Dyson

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  6. Wow, Barry! Your website has really taken off. So how’s the dancing career coming along? Have you auditioned for any productions recently? I’m not really sure about how you get “hired” as a dancer, although I like the fact that you have a tab dedicated for your performance reels. That’ll help you showcase your talent without having to go on a physical audition. Make sure to include all of your best performances!

    Lyndia Blue

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  7. Your website looks great! It’s a good thing that someone was able to help you in making your own website. It is easy to navigate and your pictures are really amazing. Good luck on your next performances!

    Bryan Douglas

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  8. Thanks for all of the comments guys! Yes, Jeff Serani and the Lyquid Talent team did a great job with the site! I've been really busy over the last few weeks prepping for a program with Alaska Dance Theatre, which opened to rave reviews last night (http://www.adn.com/2013/02/22/2799055/review-cash-cline.html#storylink=cpy). Finding work is always a challenge, you have to be very proactive in your search. Having updated footage in my reel really helps!

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  9. You are quite the inspiring figure in online business. I can’t believe you took on so many roles on your own and were able to withstand challenges and overcome obstacles, and now look at how far you’ve reached.

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  10. I totally admire your determination. The feeling of achievement that you get when you've put something that massive up on your own is nonpareil. Still, the greatest could never be the greatest if they didn't ask for help every now and again. I think your website is amazing, and it's definitely worth every cent you pay every month.

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  11. its looking nice too express your though through this blog. keep it up

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