Sunday, September 7, 2014

Let's Review A Freelance Writing Site: Writer Town

Joining and posting on the freelance writing site Writer Town should be considered a necessity for every freelance writer interested in making money online, building traffic and learning more about the freelance writing business. The benefits are incredible, and, in my opinion, there are no negatives. Admittedly, and sadly, I just now registered on this freelance writing site. I’ve actually known about Writer Town for a few months now, fellow writers have recommended it, and I’ve read numerous blogs and articles about it. But, for some reason, I just never checked it out. A couple weeks back, I finally did, and I’m kicking myself for not having joined sooner. If you’ve never heard of Writer Town, or you’re a procrastinator like me, allow me to list a few points to convince you why you should hop onover there and sign up.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Things I Learned About Freelance Writing While Working On My Truck

I own an old, beat-up pickup truck that’s seen better days. It’s got a ton of miles on it, rust spots and the interior smells like something from a high-school locker room, but it gets me from A to B. The other day, the thermostat went out, and it started overheating. I grabbed my tools and went to work on my rusted beauty, hoping to extend its life just a little longer. While I busted my knuckles and cussed liberally, I thought about how working on an old pickup truck kind of relates to freelance writing. These are the things I learned.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Changes To The Site, Building A Community And Other Things On My Mind

I've been working on the site over the past few days. You may have noticed some changes. I also added a forum and a small store. The forum is simple. It's meant to allow ya'll to connect with each other, trade ideas and talk shop. I also wanted a place to put job leads. I'm going to be posting the opportunities I find on the forum, and I hope you all will too. Another function of the forum I envision is a place where users can post mini-reviews or opinions of the various freelance writing sites. It's pretty bare right now, but I want the community to grow and build the discussion as they see fit. Creating a community of like-minded freelance writers is my ultimate goal. So, I hope everyone will participate.

The store is a way that I can provide everyone with guides and resources that I have found useful. I have personally read or used most of the items in the store, and I recommend them.

Ultimately, I am refocusing my efforts on providing ya'll with a helpful freelance writing site. I think that the forum and store will provide that little extra something that makes this website unique. With that in mind, I am also open to guest posters, guest posting, exchanging links and generally connecting with others in the freelance writing community. Contact me to connect. I look forward to getting to know everyone in the forum, and I hope ya'll like the changes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Something New I Learned About Freelance Writing Today

I learn new things about freelance writing almost every day. Some of these discoveries are pretty awesome in my own humble opinion, and I enjoy sharing them with my friends. My freelance writing – let’s call it “epiphany” for lack of a better term – epiphany for today involves a new avenue for client prospecting that ties in perfectly with the tried and true method of building niche expertise and online presence: good old fashioned community involvement.

And by community involvement I mostly mean participation in forums, blogs, Q&A sites and any other medium that will help establish your expertise in a niche. That’s the tried and true method I mentioned before, and it will aid you in growing your name on the Internet. However, certain platforms, especially the forum, offer additional opportunities in the form of potential clientele.

Monday, August 25, 2014

*UPDATE* The Perfect Freelance Writers Resume That'll Bring All The Clients To The Yard

*UPDATE* The FCCO Forum Discusses Freelance Writing Resumes

Hey freelancers! If you haven't joined the forum yet, get on over there and "Ask for an Invite". We're at about 40 members and the discussions are starting to update daily. With your input and questions, we'll be well on our way to becoming one of the best freelance writing forums on the Web. 

Here is a perfect example of the helpful things we're talking about over in the forum. This one was so relevant and useful, I had to update this freelance writer's resume post with the information. Check out the member advice and then don't forget to join the forum:

Iva Asked: "I have issues with resumes and maybe some of you can help. I have read from a few freelance writing gurus that you should never have to submit a resume when applying for a freelance writing gig but most of the jobs I come across ask for resumes. One of my issues is that I DON'T have a resume for writing as I am just breaking into the freelance writing field. How would I even make up a resume for these jobs? My other question is how many of you DO have resumes, what do they look like and can someone help??..:)~ Thanx guys!"

The community answers were just awesome. Here's a few:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Let's Do Freelance Writing Work: Job-board Sites

Taking the time to look for freelance writing jobs on ad sites like ProBlogger, BloggingPro or even Craigslist can sometimes lead to lucrative and long-lasting work relationships. Several of my most consistent clients have come from these types of freelance writing sites. The key to finding work on ad sites is to keep time-management in mind at all times. Also, approach each potential client as if you were querying a publication. In other words, bring you’re A-game as fast as possible.

 This can be tough, admittedly. Time-management and quality proposals aren’t always the most cohesive bed-fellows. It’s easy to get in a rush and slack-off on a sample or query letter for a potential client you may never hear from again. Let’s look at a few ways to work freelance writing ad sites so that you’ll get the most out of your time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Just Because You're a Non-American Doesn't Mean You Have To Settle For Less As a Freelance Writer

I get tons of questions from non-US writers struggling to find freelance writing sites that pay and pay well. Many non-citizens have excellent writing skills. But what it boils down to is tax difficulties and the hoops these sites must jump through to pay freelance writers in different countries. However, there are some excellent freelance writing sites available to those living outside the States. I am currently working on a more comprehensive E-Book that will cover this topic, and many others, that I am going to provide free to my subscribers. Until then, I’m going to toss this quick list up to help ya’ll get the ball rolling.

1.       Bukisa – If you were to compare this freelance writing site to another, it would be comparable to eHow and their compensation methods. Freelance writers will make money through page views on their how-to articles. Bukisa’s FAQ says this about their payment index: "It’s updated at least once per month based upon the overall performance of our websites revenue streams - this involves the following: contextual advertising, banner advertising, e-mail marketing, joint ventures and more." Bukisa also offers an affiliate program that increases revenue with each referral.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Let's Do Freelance Writing Work: Job-Board Sites

I feel, from opinion and personal experience, that working for what I call “job-board sites” is the beginner freelance writer’s bread-and-butter. When I found and joined my first job-board, I felt like I was in heaven. Compared to bidding a hundred times a day on Freelancer, which I was doing religiously at the time, I was in heaven, freelance writing heaven. However, the price per project on these sites is lower than what you can expect through other, more time-consuming prospects. But the ease of acceptance and ability to earn an income in a few days quickly makes up for any shortcomings in pay. Even if you have a list of reliable clients and a diversified revenue stream, it’ll pay literal dividends to be a member of a few job-board sites when the inevitable dry-spell comes. The key to success on these kinds of freelance writing sites is to understand how to work the system and get the most out of your time.

When I say job-board, I mean a freelance writing site that lists projects by topic or category and allows writers to pick and choose. The project will always have a word count and price listed. Some sites, like MyAms, pay by a set number of words - for example, five dollars for five-hundred words - while sites such as TextBroker pay a certain price per word, anywhere from 1 cent and up.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Let's Do Freelance Writing Work: Bid Sites

Lately, I’ve been trying to come up with some original advice to help ya’ll in your freelance writing endeavors. It’s harder than it looks. There are countless sites out there on the Internet that cover everything from pitch letters to site reviews and any obscure idea in between. I want to actually help. Regurgitating the same old blah blah blah ain’t gonna cut it. So, I thought I’d start a new Let’s Series about how to find success workingon a freelance writing site. Introductions made, let’s do work.

The first year or so of my freelance writing career was spent bidding day after day on projects at Freelancer. For those who do not know, Freelancer is a bid-for site like Elance, ODesk and others. I spent countless hours composing targeted bids for projects that paid pennies. I ended up getting a lot of jobs from these types of freelance writing sites over the years, and I’ve met clients that I still work with. However, you’ll spend a lot of time bidding on worthless projects. But there are a few simple things you can do as a freelance writer to cut down on the wasted time.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Renegade Freelance Writing Tactics: Be A Proxy

You'll never hear this advice from the more established freelance writing help sites. Keep this on the down-low. And I am not responsible for suspensions due to following this advice. Although, I never had any problems, but I wanted to give ya'll a heads up. Just read the sites ToS, and if it doesn't mention recruiting writers for off-site work is a no-no, you should be good to go. That's my unofficial disclaimer, so let's get on with what I'm talking about.

I started freelance writing in my free time years ago. The very first thing I realized is that there are many writers from non-English speaking countries who can write English better than most people I went to High school with. However, most of the more lucrative freelance writing sites exclude them from eligibility on the simple fact that they're not from America or England. The cartoonish light-bulb sparked above my head. What if I was to provide a proxy for these people, taking a small percentage for editing and submitting their articles to sites where they weren't allowed to write because of their nationality? It worked and here's how.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Freelance Tip Of The Day: Punch Fear Straight In The Mouth

Uncontrolled fear or a lack of confidence is the number one contributor to why people don't succeed as freelance writers. The ego part of everyone's mind will always say, "You can't", "You're not good enough", and "Others know more than you". But freelance writing is the antithesis of this limiting viewpoint. We're freelancers so that we're not constrained by normal conventions. Why limit ourselves because of fear when we're confident enough to display an entrepreneurial spirit? If you want to succeed online, the first thing you must do is punch fear straight in the mouth.

The thing is, I struggle with this every single day. I've achieved a modicum of success as a freelance writer, but still my brain is insistent that I am not good enough. When I attempt to step outside what I'm used to, I hear the inevitable doubt between my ears. Trying something new is difficult for everyone. We, as freelancers, are not alone in this.

Diversify Or Die: A Freelance Writing Mantra To Live By

Diversification is the key to freelance writing success. Getting established in the market is just part of the game. Once you have your foot in the door, it literally pays to keep pitching, querying and looking for new avenues for profit. The major point to remember is that your goal is to pay the bills. Whether that involves writing or not doesn’t truly matter in the long run.

Establish a Steady Income

Whether this is on job-board sites like Textbroker or MyAms or through E-books and guest posts, you need to have an income to fall back on. Look, the winds of change blow through the Internet on a daily basis, drying up once lucrative rivers of income. Having a fallback plan is essential when working as a freelance writer.

Be Open to Opportunities

You’re a freelance writer to make money, but don’t limit yourself to writing. If you can make money in video or podcasts, do it. Also, look for consulting jobs, website maintenance, forum moderation and the myriad other opportunities available on the Web.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

*UPDATE* Answers To Your Freelance Writing Questions

So, I did a bit of research regarding Non-American authors on some of the most popular job board sites like TextBroker and MyAms. I was completely wrong in my earlier assumptions regarding TextBroker. They ONLY accept American authors. Which makes zero sense to me as some of the articles ask for Australian and British spellings and euphemisms. I guess an American can easily write in another countries slang, but it still seems weird to me. As far as MyAms is concerned, they accept writers from English speaking countries. The list is limited to the US, England, Canada, Australia and South Africa. There might be a few that I missed, but those are the major ones. The thing both of these sites have in common is that they will suspend or delete your account once they find out you're from a country not on their list. Short of writing through a proxy, I've yet to find a legitimate way around this. UPDATE END

A couple readers have commented recently asking questions regarding freelance writing. For some reason, I cannot reply on my own blog. It won't publish anything. So, I decided to answer the questions in a post because I feel it will benefit everyone.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

*UPDATE* Let's Review a Freelance Writing Site: Textbroker

So, I figured out how to get a 5 star rating, and I wanted to fill you all in on how to do it. The first step is to get a 4 star rating which is pretty obvious. If you didn't start with 4 stars, there is a quick and easy way to achieve it. Go to the Textbroker University and complete the courses. After you finish, write 5 articles. Make sure they're perfect, especially comma usage. Contact the TB admin through the link at the end of the exam. This will let them know that you completed the courses. The editors will rate your articles within a week. Now, you need to learn the AP style used by Textbroker. To write at the 5 star level, you must follow the AP rules. Once you have written several articles following the AP rules AND have completed the Textbroker University courses, you should be on the fast-track to a 5 star rating. *UPDATE*

Friday, May 30, 2014

Freelance Tip of the Day: Know your SEO

Understanding and keeping up with the latest SEO tactics is important for several reasons. Most clients want their articles optimized for search engines. As a freelance writer of web-based content, part of your job is to be able to provide this type of content. Knowing the proper way to create search engine-friendly content will land you more clients and raise the value of your writing.

Most freelance writing ads I see on BloggingPro and Freelancer all require a skilled writer as well as someone who knows SEO. The two pretty much go hand-in-hand. It's not hard to learn the basics of keyword densities and search engine aggregation.

There's tons of free material online about it. It's important to begin studying these freelance writing necessities as soon as you begin your career. Billing yourself as a talented writer and an internet marketing whiz will score you plenty work and help you make that bank from a freelance writing career.

Don't slack on the SEO when you write content for your own sites either. Try to write each post with the search engines in mind, creating them to be easily "crawled". Doing this from the start will ensure your site gets placed high in search results later down the road.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Freelance Tip of the Day: Don't undervalue your skills

This is a hard one. I struggle with it everyday because it can be difficult to determine pricing as a freelance writer, especially when you're first starting out. There's a fine line between growing a client base by undercutting a competitor, and completely undervaluing your talents. Breaking out of the "I'm getting experience" or "I need more clients" phase can be tough, but essential if you want to turn this freelance writing thing into a career.

When you first start out as a freelance
writer, setting your rates low to gain clients can be the quickest way to bring in some cold, hard cash. Typically, it's important to find a niche, and establish yourself as an authority. You'll want to spend time learning trade nuances, gaining experience and clients, and honing your writing skills. These are all integral steps in starting a freelance writing career. However, once you've found the perfect niche, and researched and written numerous articles on the subject, raising your rates becomes necessary.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Freelance Tip of the Day: Study, Study, Study!

Recently, an editor for a freelance writing site critiqued some articles I submitted. He explained that I'm confused about proper comma usage. This didn't surprise me considering I don't exactly have a college degree. But it did get me thinking. No matter how skillful of a writer you are, there's always more to learn.

After his comments, I began Googling proper comma usage. I even asked for help on Facebook. I realized that besides commas, I'm confused about many things grammatical. However, this is easily fixed with an old-school study hall.

Now, I work in an hour of studying into my daily routine. I usually do this in the morning while I check emails. Finding help on grammar is as easy as a Google search.

Even if it's just a refresher, studying and understanding proper grammar is invaluable as a freelance writer. Committing time to this endeavor will help open doors to more lucrative and demanding clients.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Freelance Tip of the Day: Present your writing talents with a blog

A website can take time to establish, so it's best to start early in your freelance writing career. Using a blogging site like Blogger, Wordpress or BlogJob can make it easier to begin. Be sure to write about topics that
interest you or in which your educational background lies. However, also use the site to present yourself and your freelance writing work to potential clients.

Include About Me, Portfolio and Hire Me pages. While you're writing on whatever topic you choose,
be sure to advertise your services. Create pages that inform potential clients where your interests and education lie. Show examples of your work on a Portfolio page, and make it easy for employers to contact you on a Hire Me page.

Remember, the blog is a way for you to display your talents as a freelance writer while writing on subjects you're passionate about. Feel free to make work samples and information available to potential clients in a simple to use format.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The First 5 Steps to Take as a Freelance Writer

There are a lot of elements that go into making a successful freelance writer.  Taking the first few steps into the world of internet content creation can be daunting. However, if you set out a definite plan and follow it, getting a foot in the door can be a lot easier than it seems.

Setup a Paypal account – Most sites and clients pay their employees through Paypal. It can take time to link Paypal to your bank account. Getting a head start on this means no lag in payments.

Keep printed and scanned W-9s – This is important because most legitimate freelance writing sites require authors to submit a W-9. They typically do this for tax purposes and to prove that you live in the United States. Having them on-hand can save time and ensure you get paid as soon as possible.

Write for “pay upfront sites” – These freelance writing sites typically have a job board from which you can pick and choose projects. They will show the price they’re paying per job upfront and pay for completed jobs either at the end of the week or when you request a payout. These sites usually pay pretty low but they can be the quickest and easiest method of jumpstarting a freelance writing career. Also, they will keep money in your account when other, higher paying jobs are scarce.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Freelance Tip of the Day: Determine your niche (or niches)

It’s important to write about what you know and love. This can be tough at first, as jobs tend to be few but as you gain momentum begin narrowing down the list of topics you find easy or enjoy freelance writing about.

Take stock of your background. Make a list of topics that are similar to your education or experience. Check each off the list until your left with 3-5 that seriously interest you. Remember, as you complete projects for clients you’ll begin to be associated with a certain area of expertise. Ensure this is something you can write about for years to come.

Don’t feel like you must limit yourself to similar niches. If you have a degree in psychology but also enjoy fashion as a hobby, write about both and anything else that seriously interests you as long as you're not overwhelmed. However, the more you already know about a subject, the less you’ll have to research and learn in the future. As we've discussed before, profiting from freelance writing is all about time management.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Freelance Tip of the Day: Organize your workspace

A messy office by www.organizesimply.blogspot.comOrganisation can help in many aspects of life. Freelance writing for profit is no different. Even if you don't have a dedicated home office, you should still designate and organize an area as your work-space.

Keep reference material, office supplies and hard-files handy and close to your computer and work area. Time management is a key aspect of freelance writing for profit and the ability to quickly grab a pen or a notepad will make creating content easy and efficient.

Be sure people in the household understand that freelance writing is a job like any other. Fortunately, working from home is more common than it was a few years ago. With that said, family and friends living in the house should respect your work-hours and treat your work-space as they would an office even if it's just the kitchen table.

Efficiency is important when freelance writing for profit. Set yourself up to be as efficient as possible everyday.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

*UPDATE* Let's review a freelance writing site: BlogJob

UPDATE: I spoke with the web master, Sheridan, over at BlogJob. He wanted to clarify his vision of the future of BlogJob. This is what he had to say:

I really appreciate that….thanks. I do realize that I haven’t been clear enough in describing the vision and purpose of the site well enough, so I’ll be working on putting something together that does that. I agree that it would be difficult for most people living in first world countries to make a living simply by relying on the amount of reward points that are given out at the present time. The plan is to increase the amount of reward points given, as the revenue of the site increases, so that possibility may one day exist. There are also additional ways to earn which can provide enough

Friday, May 16, 2014

*UPDATE* My personal experiences with freelance writing sites

UPDATE: I wanted to update this post with some new information about Textbroker and Scripted. First let me start with Textbroker. I've been writing for them for a week and a half now. There pay-level is a little lower than I thought when I initially wrote this post. However, compared to MyAMS, it's WAY higher.

There are 5 levels of writers at Textbroker. 1 to 5 stars. Based on my sample, I was rated 4 stars when I began. They are strict about comma usage, and I found out that my grammar isn't the best. The star ratings determine how much per word you're paid. 3 stars earn 1 cent per word, 4 stars earn 1.5 and 5 stars, I assume, earn 2 cents. However, there are teams that earn more. I applied to and got accepted for a team that manages a single clients work. This team only writes about drug and alcohol addiction. For a 475 - 525 word article I make $11.03. It comes out to 2.76 cent per word which isn't too bad

Freelance Tip of the Day: Keep your social networks social

Social networking is a great way to promote your content. With each new post or article be sure to share across all your networks. But Facebook, Twitter, etc. aren't a one-way street. Set some time aside from your routine to cultivate your connections. Read posts and like, comment. Follow people with like minded ideas. Be genuinely interested in what they have to say and more often than not they'll return the favor.

Also, always look out for new networks or old ones that you're not a part of yet. Connecting with people doesn't have to be about getting them to read your content. It can be a great way to get new ideas and meet other freelance writers. Keep that in mind the next time your cruising the social networking scene.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Freelance Tip of the Day: Work-it like a job

If you're serious about writing for a living, then you must dedicate you're time to the endeavor. This means at least an 8 hour workday, 5 days a week. If not more. Think of freelance writing as a small business with one employee, yourself.

Plan a routine and follow it everyday. The great thing about freelance writing is that this can be done at any time, any where. If you're an early riser, start you're morning with a cup of coffee and a glance at the daily to-do. Then move on to social networking, emails, knowledge and new income growth. Finally, end the day concentrating on paying projects, blogging and content creation. The point is, whether day or night, at home or in an office, what you get out of freelance writing is what you put in.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Freelance Tip of the Day: Remember your affiliates

Freelance writing for the web is all about diversification. One personally proven method that I use as much as possible is to include links that route through affiliates in content I produce. For example, I write for Examiner about all types of PC games. Whenever it's natural I'll link the name of the game through an affiliate site using my unique id. Then if any interested reader decides to click through and buy the game, I get credit for the sale at whatever percentage that particular affiliate pays out and also paid by Examiner for the pageview. If your associated with pay-per-click or pay-per-form providers, I'm quite sure this could be used as well. Easy, efficient and quickly implemented in all your past, present and future works.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Two Fresh Ideas to Earn Money as a Freelance Writer

I've been away for a few months, life and all, but have decided to fire this old blog back up and see who I can help. Since I've been looking into the state of the freelance world only briefly upon my return, I have found two interesting ideas on how to expand our income sources. They're both websites but they work completely different.