How to get known and be trusted when you are starting out as a tech editor

This is from a periscope that I did. If you follow me over there you can watch me talk about these topics live and join in with the conversation. This question was sent in from Twitter -- if you have any questions feel free to tweet me (@joelicreates) and I’ll answer them on a video or in a blog post!

Getting known:

There are three ways that I've used and recommend for getting yourself known as a tech editor.

1. Test knitting a.k.a. building relationships with designers

Test knitting helps you build relationships with designers. You can also practice editing on the test knit pattern and getting to grips with annotating a PDF. You can send your notes and tell the designer "here are a few notes that I made as I was knitting”. If the designer replies back "thanks that was really helpful” then you can say "oh no problem, I'm actually just starting out tech editing. If you ever need someone, I'd love to work with you." 

(I definitely wouldn't lead with "hey I'm an aspiring tech editor and I found all these errors, hire me!” Build the relationship first with a few conversations then mention it.)

I was asked how to find test knitting work — you can look in a couple groups on Ravelry, or follow designers you really like on Instagram and in their Ravelry groups.

2. Social media

Twitter: If you have a good following here you can tweet things like "I have some availability for tech editing -- if you know some designers who might need me I'd love for you to share this tweet with them!" or "I'm just starting out tech editing and I'd love to start building relationships with new designers. Please get in touch if interested!” (P.S. I checked and both these tweets are under 140 characters.)

Instagram: My tactic on Instagram is a little more subtle than on Twitter (because I’m not often looking for work) but still very similar. I’ll post pictures of my tech editing pile, or something like a cup of coffee with a caption “gearing up to take on my tech editing pile!” (okay, I don’t drink coffee but you get the idea). On Instagram it’s all about show and tell. You have to show people your business so that you keep yourself fresh in people's minds as a tech editor. If you are looking for work feel free to end with a call to action “If you are in need of a tech editor, I’d love to work with you! Leave a comment / email / visit my website.” 

3. Advertise in Ravelry threads 

You can list your name in this thread (http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/indy-pattern-designers-resources/66747/326-350#334) and this thread (http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/budding-designers/2315562/1-25#1) and there are similar threads for just crochet tech editors that you can find by searching.

I was asked "do I need a website?” -- the only thing I can say is that it doesn't hurt. It's a great place to list your skills and qualifications and it makes you look more professional. (Many tech editors nowadays do have a website so search the web and have a look at a couple.) You can make a site for free and very easily. I recommend looking at https://wordpress.com.

How to be trusted:

The best way to build up trust is to build good relationships with designers. I started out with two clients who knew me as a test knitter and I built up my business from there thanks to their references and recommendations. Designers are a close knit group and will recommend people that they've used to their friends. You can build good relationships by making sure you do the following:

1. Do the best job you can with every designer even if that means turning down work! Ask to have a look at the pattern before accepting. Make sure it’s something you can handle and then if it is you can give a time estimate so the designer knows going in approximately how much the job will cost. If it’s not something you can handle then then let them know this isn’t a job you can take on right now. If you’re in the middle of an edit and realise it’s too much, don’t continue on and end up doing a poor job -- that's going to hurt your reputation way more than having to back out of a job. Apologise and recommend other tech editors who might be better suited to that client.

2. Be clear with yourself about what you can and can’t do. Before you start taking work, think about the type of patterns you like to work with and what your strengths and weaknesses are. You might hate complex lace patterns but love colourwork. You might be really comfortable with shawls and accessories but not feel ready to take on seamed garments. That’s okay! You don’t have to be a jack-of-all-trades. 

3. If you make a mistake, apologise and do your best to fix it. If it’s something simple that you missed, then look over the issue with the designer and come up with a correction. Sometimes you’ll have messed up quite badly and the designer will want a refund and to use another tech editor. Don’t beat yourself up. Accept what happened and learn from it. 

I hope that helps!

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