Thursday, May 31, 2007

Why Freelance Writers May Be the Poorest Internet Entrepreneurs (Part II of II)

Today’s post is a continuation of yesterday’s post. Without further ado, other reasons freelance writers may be the poorest internet entrepreneurs are:

3. Nobody wants to pay for content: I’ve written on this so many times, I just don’t want to go over it again.

However, I will point out that as outlets like social bookmarking sites and free article directories abound -- many just don't feel the need to pay for original content. And why should they?

They can link to an article, or as long as they put in the resource box, outright publish an article on their website, blog, or in their newsletter.

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4. Publishing is "easy": Easy is in quotation marks because as anyone who's ever started a publication of any kind knows, it's not. Yes, to start is easy. To make money from it is a whole other ball of wax. Why?

Because that means treating is as a business and marketing, marketing, marketing it to the hilt. I daresay that many freelance writers are introverts when it comes to the work. We don't really care for bugging people to buy an e-book, place an ad, sign up for a seminar. Who likes to be told no, no, no? No one.


BUT, to make a living from our words, that's what we have to endure, which brings me to my next point, marketing.

5. Marketing is not easy for most freelance writers: Many freelance writers drop the ball when it comes to marketing.

That’s why there are so many abandoned websites and blogs, why there are so many suspended newsletters and why many freelancers never finish and/or start that e-book, e-course, etc.

Give Freelance Writing Poverty the Boot!

How? By taking the following steps:

Make marketing a habit: To do this, with each venture – create a marketing plan. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it does have to be specific.

Eg, I will contact 25 new prospects a day inviting them to join my newsletter.

I will write and submit 1 article to five different article directories a day.

I will update my blog daily.

Whatever your plan is, write it down, look at it daily and get it done.

Think long range: Eg, pre-market. What I mean is, if you know you want to publish an e-book, start marketing it 4, 5, 6 months or more in advance.

This does two things: (a) it forces you to stick to a schedule to get the book done; and (b) it gets you in the habit of marketing before the product is even ready.

Once the product is finished, you’ll be even more motivated to market because that means money in your pocket right away.

Focus on building a brand, not making a one-time sale: For example, I’m known for writing about the “business of creative freelancing.” All of my e-books and e-courses focus on this.

I write e-books about it, I blog about it, I conduct e-courses and seminars on it and I publish a newsletter on it. I’m consistent – I’m all about the business of creative freelancing.

When prospects think of me, they don’t think of me as one-hit wonder. They know they can count on me again and again to deliver on one subject – the business of creative freelancing.

In short, target a niche and become the best in that niche. You want top of mind for something – not bottom of the drawer for everything. While I’m not saying you can’t be successful as an all-around writer, my sincere belief is that niche writing makes freelancing so much easier.

Don’t believe me? Read Nancy Hendrickson’s article entitled, Why Niche, Why Now? Nancy’s been a freelancer since 1987 and in this 2002 article she lists income of 35K from niche writing income.

Remember, marketing is a herculean task. It is behind-the-scenes, “unpaid” work that takes a while to garner a payoff. Many freelancers don’t stick with it long enough to get this payoff. Make sure you do!

For more on how to effectively market your freelance writing services, check out The Small Biz Owner’s Complete Marketing Kit! here.

Monday’s Post: I’m really excited about this topic, which is Publishing E-books for A Living: How to Ensure an Income for Life. Some great inside info will be provided. Stay tuned!

Sincerely,
Yuwanda Black, Publisher
InkwellEditorial.com
InkwellEditorial.blogspot.com
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Copyright Notice: May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to InkwellEditorial.com.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Why Freelance Writers May Be the Poorest Internet Entrepreneurs (Part I of II)

The war on poor freelance writers, that is.

Content, content, content – everyone wants it, but nobody wants to pay for it. And, freelance writers – poor suckers that we are – have thrown in the towel. How else do you explain ads like, “$2 for three 400-500 word SEO articles”?

This got me to wondering, “Are freelance writers the poorest “internet entrepreneurs?” And if so, how can we climb out of this mess?

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Why Freelance Writers May Be the Poorest Internet Entrepreneurs

1. Much of new technology is for tech people: It seems that every new piece of software that comes out is for tech people.

That's not to say that we as freelance writers can't take it and make it work for us. It's just that it's not invented with us in mind. Hence, we have to use "workarounds" to get maximum benefit.

Take social bookmarking sites like Digg. Many freelance writers use it as a marketing tool -- in one fashion or another. But, is there a category for freelance writers? No.

But, there is a category for technology, as well as science and gaming, among others. As a freelance writer, I get the feeling that I'm not welcome there UNLESS I'm writing on technology or gaming or science, for example. And, that's the freelance writer's workaround.

While I find many articles on Digg about freelance writing, it's not a main category. One has to Digg for the information -- pun fully intended.

Talking about Digg leads me to the next reason I think freelance writers may be the poorest internet entrepreneurs, free article directories.

2. Free article directories: This is only my opinion, but article marketing directories are a blessing and a curse for freelance writers.

They're a blessing in that it's a viable way for freelance writers to promote their products/services at no cost.

The flip side is that there is so much garbage in these directories that it's: (i) hard to get your message through to the masses; and (ii) even harder for potential customers to take you seriously if/when your message does get through.

Don't get me wrong, I think article marketing is a wonderful way to promote -- especially if you are just starting out and have little money. BUT, it's a patient marketing strategy.

Because many use these directories to promote junk, ie, Work 20 Minutes a Day & Make $200, most are skeptical about purchasing products promoted via free articles -- and rightly so.

So, how do you use these directories wisely? Look at it as a way to build your brand by submitting quality, in-depth material designed to help and/or inform the reader, not push a product/service.

If I read one more article that's only 400 words that tells me something I can find from 1,000 other articles on the internet, I'm going to scream!

This not only reflects poorly on you, the writer, but it does nothing to build customer loyalty and make prospects want to come back to your blog, website, and/or order your e-book, sign up to your newsletter or take your e-course.

NOTE: For more on how to effectively market with articles, request the free e-book, Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Article Marketing: Results of a 30-day article marketing experiment. Full details here.

Tomorrow: Part II of this topic. We’ll continue the reasons why freelance writers may be the poorest internet entrepreneurs, and explore ways we can climb out of this mess. Stay tuned!
Sincerely,
Yuwanda Black, Publisher
InkwellEditorial.com
InkwellEditorial.blogspot.com

Photo Credit: Peter Holderness Photography
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Copyright Notice: May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to InkwellEditorial.com.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

4-Eyed Writers & Free Ebooks!

I went to the eye doctor today, which got me to wondering, "Are there any writers with perfect vision?" I dare say if there are, it's due to laser surgery.

Good things come with four eyes is my mantra -- and I'm sticking to it! BUT, I digress.

My doctor put some drops in my eyes -- some kind of eye test -- and it burnt like the dickens. My point -- I can't see close up. It's going to take 3-5 hours for my vision to get back to normal (which, in reality, I should not be excited about).

Anyway, I will be posting the entry scheduled for today, Are freelance writers the poorest internet entrepreneurs? tomorrow. I had planned to finish and proof it today -- but I can't see clearly enough to do so.

Thank God for willing mates to bail you out (he wasn't about to stay still long enough to type and proof the entire post, however).

Here's something you might like: Get a FREE Ebook on Article Marketing. How? Click here for details.

Hasta manana and send up a prayer for me wee ole eyeballs!

Yuwanda (Don't know who she is? She can be a chatty matty; find out more here.)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Do You Regret Not Starting a Freelance Writing Career?

My 13-year old nephew graduated from middle school today. He's officially a 9th grader! Yeah -- I'm such a proud aunt. :-) So, what does this have to do with the question posed?


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Well, the commencement speaker was a minister and the title of his address to the young graduates was, "Life is a Series of Choices." This got me to thinking about the choices we as adults make -- and how many we would do over if we could -- or, make different choices.

While the speech wasn't profound -- as in groundbreaking -- it did shine a light on what I think many of us already know. We choose what our lives become because every choice we make has a consequence that leads to a series of other choices. Even inaction is an choice. How? The very act of not deciding is a decision -- to, in essence, leave to chance what happens.

For example, say you've always wanted to be a freelance writer. But, you choose to do other things with your time. Eg, work for years at a job that is not satisfying, veg out in front of the TV instead of taking a seminar, work on the book inside your head, learn how to market for clients, etc.

Every choice you make leads you closer to your dream, or farther away from it. I'd even expand upon the minister's speech by saying, Life is a series of choices -- and how you spend your time reflects the progress (or lack of it) you choose to make in life.

So, make your choices -- and spend your time -- wisely. For, as you get older, you will clearly be able to see what choice led to what turn that got you where you are presently. Make choices that lead you where you want to be.

To my American counterparts, enjoy the holiday upon us (Memorial Day).

Tuesday's Topic: Are freelance writers the poorest internet entrepreneurs?

Sincerely,
Yuwanda Black, Publisher
InkwellEditorial.com
InkwellEditorial.blogspot.com
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Copyright Notice: May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to InkwellEditorial.com.
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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How to Become a Freelance Writer: Get Advice in Inkwell's Freelance Writing Newsletter

Sign up to Inkwell Editorial's freelance writing newsletter for advice, tips and strategies on how to become a freelance writer.

Note: We've redesigned Inkwell Editorial. To continue to receive freelance writing help, you can subscribe to the newsletter from any page of the site. Just look for the "Newsletter Signup" box on the right-hand side.

The Most Important Thing to Look for in a Freelance Writing Mentor (Part III of III)

This article is the final part of a three-part series originally entitled, 5 Things You Must Look for in a Freelance Writing Mentor.

In Part I, we went over the first two things to look for, eg, tech-savviness and variety of projects. Part II discussed why your freelance writing mentor should give you specific answers to specific questions, and why they should be able to give it to you straight.

Following is the final thing - the single most important thing you should look for in a freelance writing mentor. It is, not surprisingly;

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5. Experience: I left this one for last because it seems obvious, but is perhaps the most important.

A mentor should have a certain number of years under their belt - I'd say three at least. Why three? The first year as a full-time freelancer, you are learning the ropes. You will make pricing mistakes - eg, undercharging (overcharging never seems to happen because most freelancers don't have the luxury of doing this).

Other mistakes that will happen during the first year:

**under-estimating how long it's going to take to complete a project;

**setting up an invoicing system;

**dealing with clients who don't pay on time, or don't pay at all;

**marketing for new clients;

**upselling old clients;

**expanding service offerings, etc.

There is so much to learn during the first year that a mentor with only a year's experience won't have encountered - hence, dealt with - enough situations to advise you on how to deal with it.

I've been a freelancer since 1993, and I've basically been through it all. BUT, there are still situations that pop up that cause me to go, "Hmm, how do I resolve this?"

No mentor will ever know the answer to every situation, but a seasoned one - one with 3+ years - will have enough experience to draw on to be able to give you some guidelines as to what to do when "x" happens.

So, what about the second year? During this time is when most freelancers will experience either growth or a drought. Eg, they will figure out how to effectively market their services and complete projects at the same time.

When you freelance, marketing is an on-going thing. Many freelancers make the mistake of marketing only when they have no work. But, during the second year, going into the third, is when most figure out a few marketing methods that work well for them. Then, they put it on autopilot (eg, market all the time), while still completing incoming projects.

The second year is when most figure out the peaks and valleys of freelancing as well. Many panic when there's no work. Conversely, they will also overextend themselves by taking on too much for fear of a drought.

Figuring out how to balance it all and still have a life doesn't usually happen until the third year. So, you want a mentor who has seen all of the seasons of freelancing - at least a couple of times before you ask them to mentor you.

Good luck choosing - and choose wisely.
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Copyright Notice: May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to InkwellEditorial.com.
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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

5 Things You Must Look for in a Freelance Writing Mentor (Part II of III)

This is a continuation of yesterday's post, 5 Things You Must Look for in a Freelance Writing Mentor. In this post, we discussed two things you should look for, ie, tech-savviness and variety of projects.

Following are two more. The fifth thing will be discussed in the final post tomorrow. Without further ado:


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3. Specifics, Specifics, Specifics: As in, a specific answer to a specific question. Why?

The web is rife with general information, but if you've taken the time to ferret out a mentor, 9 times out of 10, you're serious about your career and want specific, tangible information you can act on.

So, find a mentor who will honor this. Now, that means some work on your part. What do I mean?

Many ask questions that can easily be researched on the net. Don't waste your mentor's time asking broad questions and/or questions that you can easily find the answer to yourself.

Remember, successful freelance writers tend to be fairly busy. In fact, anyone in a position to mention has achieved some level of success, which means they are probably pretty busy.

For an example of some great questions you might ask your mentor, read the article, FAQs: Starting A Freelance Editorial/Creative Business.

4. Give it to you straight: This piggybacks on the above-mentioned point, but I wanted to separate it out so that it's meaning is not lost.

You want a mentor who will give it to you straight. As in, "No, that's not going to work because blah, blah and blah." Or, one who will say, "I have no experience with that, but I'll find out. In the meantime, why don't you try X."

You don't want someone who feels like they have to know everything to be effective. If they don't know, you want them to own up to it. The writer was very specific in her questions, which allowed me to be very detailed in my answers.

Many mentors feel like they have to know everything - and, the truth is, freelance writing is such a vast field that it's impossible for him/her to do this.

Just as important as knowing the answer offhand, is being willing to find out the answer. And, this is what you're looking for - someone who will attempt to find out.

Successful freelancers usually have a vast network they can call upon - this is, in part, what makes them great mentor material.

Remember, mentoring is a two-way street.

You are not the wide-eyed student just waiting for your mentor to drop pearls of wisdom in your lap. To make sure that the mentoring relationship is beneficial, you must have a game plan of your own to steer it that way.

Like an interviewer in a presidential election, this means being prepared with the right questions.

In the last post tomorrow, I will reveal the number one thing you should look for in a freelance writing mentor - and why.

Tomorrow: Part III of this post will reveal the number one thing you want to look for in a mentor - and why.
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Copyright Notice: May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to InkwellEditorial.com.
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Monday, May 21, 2007

Want Face Time w/Employers Who Hire Freelancers?

You'll get face time -- and so much more -- in Inkwell Editorial's forthcoming Commercial Freelance Writing Seminar.

9/23/07: UPDATE. Registration is now open. Click here for full details and to register.

Want to learn how to start a successful freelance writing career? This seminar will tell you exactly how to go about it -- even if you have no experience. The bulk of it will focus on marketing -- a skill that most freelancers fail to cultivate, which is why so many don't succeed in this lucrative career.

Seminar will be an all-day affair (7.5 hours), which will include a one-hour Q&A period. Lite refreshments will be served. There will only be a 1/2 hour break for lunch, so feel free to bring it if you want.

Guest panelists will include:

(i) A web designer: having a website is a must if you are to succeed in this career. You'll learn exactly what makes a website successful, how to market it and tools/technology you should stay abreast of as a freelance writer;

(ii) Two employers who use freelancers on a regular basis: Employers will tell you exactly what they look for in a freelancer. Eg, how to get your foot in the door, what you should NOT do (which can be more important that knowing what to do), how to get more work from them, etc. This first-hand info is invaluable; and

(iii) Yours truly: I'll give inside information on how to create multiple income streams from your freelance writing career. From e-books to e-seminars, to product websites, you'll learn how to make money from more than just your writing skill.
To learn specifics about the panelists, click here.

Location: Atlanta, GA.

When: Saturday, October 20, 2007. Full details will be announced in September.
9/23/07: UPDATE. Registration is now open. Click here to register.

Cost: $74.95. Attendance is limited to 100 -- large enough to assure variety (in types of questions asked, types of writing, income goals, etc.), yet small enough for meaningful interaction.

P.S.: If you're looking to make a career change, and/or want a part- or full-time income you can make from home, this seminar is for you. If you can write and have good organizational skills, this is a career you can have for years to come. AND, from the comfort of your home.

P.P.S.: There are no barriers! Age is not a barrier, income is not a barrier, education is not a barrier. Almost anyone --with the right tools -- can start a successful career as a freelance writer. This seminar will show you how -- from A to Z.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Sincerely,
Yuwanda Black, Publisher
InkwellEditorial.com
InkwellEditorial.blogspot.com

5 Things You Must Look for in a Freelance Writing Mentor (Part I of III)

Over the years, I've been asked many times by freelancers if I would be their mentor. I'm always flattered, but have never done it simply because I don't have the time. I usually refer inquirers to my website and blog, as it is all about the business of freelancing.

For those who want one, following are some things to look for in a freelance writing mentor.

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1. Tech Savvy: You want a mentor who is tech-savvy. They don't have to be Bill Gates tech-savvy, but at least be up on the latest technology.

How do you determine this without outright asking? Look for their website, their blog, see if they publish a newsletter, or air material via a podcast.

Also, scour their writings. Have they written on tech, referred to it in a newsletter, eg, "I recently attended a teleseminar," etc.

Why is it important that your mentor be tech savvy? As I discussed in the article Lessons I've Learned from 19+ Years as a Freelancer & Recruiter in the Editorial Industry, "I had to know enough [technology] to be able to stay competitive. This meant not only getting a [web]site, but learning how to update it myself."

Technology saves you time and money - two things freelancers are usually very short on. If you don't have a website, how are you going to sell yourself? Potential clients expect one nowadays - it's like trying to do business without a telephone.

Updating Your Website: You always want to have the latest sample on your site. Also, things like media blurbs, speaking engagements, testimonials for clients, etc.

All of these are individual updates - and, it can get very expensive to have someone constantly update it. So, learning enough HTML, or creating a site with a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) software like FrontPage will save you thousands of dollars over time.

2. Variety: I don't necessarily mean across genres, although this is a nice bonus, but I mean variety in the types of projects they take on.

For example, I do freelance writing, editing, copy editing, word processing and copywriting. I also create newsletters, brochures, postcards, write sales letters and provide web content.

Why is variety important? Quite simply, clients will approach you with different projects once they are pleased with your initial work.

I started doing brochures and newsletters because clients started requesting them. For example, years ago I had a client who was a web marketer. She initially hired me to copyedit her web content.

One time, when I turned a project in, she asked me if I could develop a monthly e-newsletter for her prospect list. She asked because she liked the way I copyediting her material. Basically, I rewrote a lot of her stuff - rearranging material for more impact and deleting material that I thought was excess.

When she asked, I said sure. Although I had never developed a newsletter for a client before, I knew what they were and also that I could go on the Internet and find good samples.

NOTE: Never turn down work that you can easily find out how to do. Most small business owners (who are the majority of my clients) are very busy and usually whatever you come up with will be so much better than they expected that they will be forever grateful.

The web is packed with templates, how-to information, easy-to-use software, etc., that it is relatively easy to pick up a new skill/software and teach yourself how to use it - usually within a matter of hours.

This is another reason you want a mentor who is tech-savvy.

I heard a quote on the radio the other day that's stuck with me. It went, "Years ago, workers advanced in society based on how they performed their job; today, workers advance because of what they know, not what they do."

Technology has made this so, so true. So, choose a mentor wisely.

Tomorrow: Part II of this article will discuss two more things you should look for in a freelance writing mentor, and the third part will reveal the number one thing you want to look for in a mentor - and why.
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Copyright Notice: May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to InkwellEditorial.com.
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Friday, May 18, 2007

Inkwell Editorial E-book Sale!

Starting Monday, InkwellEditorial.com's e-books go on sale. From Monday, May 21st, through Monday, May 28th (Memorial Day), you will be able to purchase any of the e-books listed on InkwellEditorial.com for only $2.99.*

The e-course will be only $9.97!* That's a 90% savings!

This is a reward for all who waited so patiently for MONTHS while they were being updated/revised. All payments are accepted via PayPal.

Monday's Topic: What to Look for in a Freelance Writing Mentor (Part I of III).

Have a good weekend,
Yuwanda Black, Publisher
InkwellEditorial.com
InkwellEditorial.blogspot.com
P.S.: Stay tuned for a surprise announcement on Monday as well.
P.P.S.: Remember, all Inkwell Editorial e-books are written from first-hand knowledge. You get the benefit of hearing directly from those who are where you want to be.

*Offer does not include free website. All e-books and the e-course are delivered as pdf files within 24 hours of purchasing.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

WARNING: New Scam Job Site Targeting Freelancers

I Googled my name last night – as I often do – to see where my work is appearing. It’s a vanity/confidence boosting thing.

As I clicked through the links, I ran across an ad on Craigslist and what do I find? One of my articles – the whole thing – pasted in the body of a job ad.

The poster, fraudulently, had changed the title of the article and inserted their website address in the body of the article to make it seem like I promoted their site. The kicker? The copyright information was left intact. This is what infuriated me the most.

I’ve had my articles stolen before – outright copied word for word. BUT, in most instances, the copyright information was removed and the thief’s information was put there. This felt like so much more of a violation because they changed the article to make it appear as if I endorsed their site.

And, they outright lied in the article – inputting text that I hadn’t written.
Here it is – in black and white. NOTE: Italicized copy is what they changed/inserted.

Original Article Copy

The 7 Highly Effective, Profitable Habits of Successful Freelancers

I’ve been in publishing since 1987, have been a freelancer since 1993 and ran an editorial staffing agency in New York City from 1996 through 2004.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that successful freelancers, eg, those who make their living entirely from freelancing (writing, editing, copywriting, web design, etc.), have the following seven traits in common.

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HOW TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL FREELANCER AND MAKE REAL JOB MONEY AT HOME

I’ve been in publishing since 1987, have been a freelancer since 1993 and ran an editorial staffing agency in New York City from 1996 through 2004.

Now I do most of my work freelance online, and it is very lucrative. (try Getafreelancer.com) Over the years, I’ve noticed that successful freelancers, eg, those who make their living entirely from freelancing (writing, editing, copywriting, web design, etc.), have the following seven traits in common.


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Endangering Your Reputation & the Chance for Future Work

What was so disconcerting about this is the fact that my reputation is on the line. It’s one thing to outright steal my work and put your name on it – at least if you leave it intact, it’s still my (brilliant, I think!) ideas being distributed.

BUT, if you alter copy and leave my name on it, then it’s stealing from me. They’re using my hard-earned reputation in the industry to promote their crappy service. I’m forever linked to them. What does this do for my chances for future work – especially if they’re embroiled in some scandal? Arrgghhhh! The more I type the madder I’m getting.

Your Free Articles Used to Promote Other’s Ventures

The real shame in all of this is that the article was offered freely by me – as most of my articles on freelance writing are.

They could have just posted their ad anywhere near the article – even smack dab in the middle of it (think Google ads on a site) – if they had stated that it was an advertisement and the article was “Continued Below.”

So, beware of GetAFreelancer.com. The funny thing is, on their site, they write: “GetAFreelancer.com is one of the largest sites of its kind. We have earned a good reputation and you can trust us.”

As my father used to say, “You don’t have to say what’s obvious.” Why would you have to tell someone they can trust you – their policies would automatically convey that, don’cha think?

If they are willing to stoop to such low measures as stealing from others to promote their site – then what other unethical measures are they employing? Eg, not paying freelancers for work, posting fraudulent projects, listing fake testimonials, etc.

Freelancers are so hungry for work that many depend on the pay for job sites – which I’ve always thought were mostly bottom feeders.

The universe speaks to you in strange ways. I’d just read an article yesterday by Associated Content writer, Regina Paul, another freelance scam site, FreelanceWorkExchange.com, aka GoFreelance.com. She details in an article her experience with this site. Read about it here.

NOTE TO FREELANCERS: There is legitimate work out there that you can find on your own. Beware of sites that ask you to pay for memberships, job listings, etc. Most of them are not worth the money.

What action can you take if this happens to you? Notify the webmaster of the site where the material is listed and ask that it be removed. I did this and Craigslist removed the ad -- literally within minutes of me notifying them.

For all the grief they get for posting bogus/no-paying/low-paying jobs, they came through on my request. For this, they get my undying thanks – for me personally – and for all the freelancers out there who would have potentially wasted hard-earned money on this site.

Know of a scam targeting freelancers? Let me know and I'll gladly post it!
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Copyright Notice: May be reprinted with the following, in full:
Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to InkwellEditorial.com.
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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Why Ebooks Don't Get the Respect They Deserve ... And How to Ensure that Yours Does

Ebooks don't get the respect they deserve. In fact, many frown on self-publishers - especially ebook publishers. I know, I've published six of them, and one course.

This may have been a well-deserved reputation in its infancy, but, ebooks have come a long way. Following are three reasons why, and how they can help you achieve your goals.

NOTE: The following refers mainly to "how to", nonfiction ebooks.

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1. First-hand Knowledge: Most ebooks are written from first-hand experience. Usually, by the author.

My mother used to say, "If you want to know how to do something, ask someone who is already doing it." For this reason, ebooks are great tools for first-hand, "been there, done that" knowledge.

An Example: A few years ago a friend of mine wanted to start a painting business (residential/lite commercial). He had experience painting houses, but didn't know the ins and outs of what it would be like to have a full-fledged business doing it.

I logged onto the Internet and ordered an ebook for him. It was written by a guy who had almost 30 years of painting experience. My friend said it covered everything from marketing to pricing jobs to problem clients.

And, he said it went over things he hadn't even thought about - simple things that cost money. He said that unless you'd have first-hand experience with some of the examples given, you wouldn't even have thought to ask them -- never mind know how to plan for them.

This is why I like first-hand accounts. You can usually cover and plan for the biggies; it's the intangibles that come from first-hand accounts that make them invaluable. Also, the intangibles are those little pesky things that you will have to deal with daily -- things that may turn your like for something into a dislike.

As a matter of fact, this is exactly why I wrote my first e-book, How to Really Make a Living as an Editorial Freelancer. I was asked so many questions about freelancing --- and how to make a go of it -- that I wrote the e-book to (1) save me time from answring the same questions over and over again, and (2) to spell out to others how I did it.

2. Easy Reads: Ebooks are usually, short, easy reads because their purpose is to relay information in a straightforward, factual manner; not tell a story.

I have read them from 7 pages to over 200 pages. They tend to move pretty fast and give you the information you need in a pretty concise manner.

3. Burning the Midnight Oil: Like those infomercials on TV in the middle of the night, I gravitate towards ebooks for information I want because I can go online at 3am and be reading by 3:05 am.

Sometimes, when you want to know something - you want to know now, not when you can make it to the bookstore or for a delivery.

3 Tips for Writing a Successful Ebook

a) Professional:
I think ebooks have a bad reputation because many are not written professionally. I've learned to overlook this if the information is good. But, if you are writing one, have it edited and proofed by a professional.

You want readers to form a favorable impression, as many are not forgiving if there are typos, spelling mistakes, bad grammar, etc.

b) Tightly Focused Topic: One of the things that ebooks have going for them is that they are usually niche specific. As in, they cover one topic in detail.

Don't try to cram too much into your ebook just to create extra pages. Give readers what you claim they will get from your ebook. Give it to them straight, honestly and with examples/samples.

This will be sufficient for the majority of readers (you won't be able to please everybody, so don't try).

c) First-hand Information: As mentioned in the beginning of this post, this is what most readers want - and what will set your ebook apart from others.
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Copyright Notice: May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to InkwellEditorial.com.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

How Online Banking Can Help Freelancers Become Debt Free

Getting out of debt is more than a dream for me - it's a mission. I want to have the option of retirement at 50, be free of all debts except for my mortgage within the next 12-18 months, and pay off my mortgage -- in full -- within 10 years.

Aggressive, yes. Impossible, no. IF you take control of your finances. And, online banking has been a big part of helping me to control my finances and reach my financial goals - and on a freelance salary, no less. Here's how:

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1. Organization: I know it sounds old and redundant, but before you can accomplish anything, you must get organized.

Paying bills online keeps me organized because I can see, at a glance, what's going out and coming in. This eliminates missed payments, guesstimates as to what's due when, and how much money is left over at the end of the month, which leads me to my next point -- free money.

2. Free Money: As in, money that's left over after all the bills are paid. I use the "bill pay" feature of my online bank account to schedule bills for payment. For example, when I receive my electric bill, I immediately log into my account and schedule it for payment.

This way, week in and week out I know exactly what's coming due; hence, what's going to be paid. As I deposit a certain amount* each week, I know exactly what's going to be left over after everything is paid.

*If you are a freelancer, your deposits may be irregular. To combat this, put yourself on a "paycheck schedule." What do I mean? Pay yourself the same amount every week/month -- no matter what your income is. This will achieve two things: i) force you to budget your money; and ii) get you in the habit of treating your freelance career as a business.

You will also be more ambitious in reaching income goals because if you know that "pay day" is coming, but you don't have enough money to pay yourself, you will start to look for ways to make more money.

"Paycheck" Tip: To find out how much you can/should pay yourself each week/month, go back over last year's income and see how much you brought in, on average, each week/month. Pay yourself a percentage of this (75%-80%). Why only a percentage?

Until you get used to paying yourself this way, you may be short of funds, and/or have a hard time allotting yourself money this way. So, for the first 3-6 months, pay yourself less than what you actually average each week.

This does not mean you should spend/blow the extra, though. Let it sit there. Then, once you are used to getting a "paycheck" every week/month, you can up what you pay yourself. Right now, you just want to make paying yourself like this a habit.

3. Track Income & Expenditures: Piggybacking on the above point, online banking forces me to keep track of my money. How?

With online banking, you have payment history at your fingertips. Want to know how much you've paid Visa the last six months? How much, on average, you spend on electricity? Ho w much you deposited last month?

Instead of digging through paper statements and receipts, you can pull up account history information going back months - in most cases, up to a year's worth of information. This has helped me tremendously.

For example, I recently switched to a level payment plan* for my electric. I did this because it allows me to create a more effective budget. So, for example, instead of paying $100 one month for electricity and $168 the next, my payments are the same every month - this is huge if you're trying to effectively track expenditures.

*A level payment plan is one where you pay the same amount each month for 12 months. It's re-evaluated every 12 months and your payments are adjusted up or down based on the amount of electricity used over the previous 12-month period.

Getting out of debt is like any other goal - you have to take control of it, instead of letting it control you. Online banking puts my finances under my control - with one simple click of the mouse.

Whatever your financial goals - online banking can help you achieve them - quicker than you ever imagined.
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Copyright Notice: May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to InkwellEditorial.com.
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Monday, May 14, 2007

Why Downsizing Hurts Those Making 50K+ More than Others

I've been a recruiter since 1997. I owned an editorial staffing agency in New York City from 1997 to 2004. In addition to freelance writing, I still do some recruiting.

I relay this upfront so that you will understand where I'm coming from with the following take on this subject.

In the course of my networking, over the last few weeks I've spoke with two mid-level managers who were down-sized. One worked for 18 years with a large telecommunications firm that was recently acquired. The other worked for 15 years at a Fortune 500 publisher that was recently bought and restructured.

Both were making between 55-65K/year and were lamenting about how hard it is to find other positions. If you find yourself in the same position, following is a market reality you must face as you go about your job search - and tips for landing a new position.

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Soft Skills are Not Valued: The publishing manager was telling me about her people management, team building and project management skills.

I told her that, while valuable, they are not as valued as "hard skills" that add directly to a company's bottom line, eg, software, accounting and market analysis abilities.

Directly is italicized because these are skills that employers can quantify. They use the software that a technician installs, maintains and upgrades; their budgets are set by the numbers that accounting pumps out; they develop products and revenue goals based on a marketing analyst's trend reports.

In short, these touch their daily working lives. Contrast that with soft skills like people management.

The Director doesn't see that it took the project manager to coordinate freelancers in three different time zones, call in a temp to cover a sick employee's time off to keep a deadline and/or recognize and get employees to implement time-saving procedures.

All the Director sees is that the project got done - on time and within budget.

Because middle managers tend to be facilitators, much of their value is behind the scenes. In essence, out of sight, out of mind. So, when a company is acquired, for example, they cut out this layer of "fat," and keep those employees that add directly to the bottom line.

How to Prove Your Worth to Potential Employers

So, what can middle managers do to combat this "layer of fat" mentality. Following are two tips.

1. Get concise: As in, lay out specifics of what you did in your last position - and how it contributed to the bottom line.

For example, the publishing manager told me that she implemented use of a new software on a newsletter her company published. This saved time and money.

Instead of saying it "saved time and money," quantify it, eg, how much time and how much money. Her resume might read, "With the use of this new software, production time was cut by 40%, equaling savings of $10,000 on each print run."

2. Draw a Picture: Human nature is to be lazy. How does this affect your new job search? If you run across advertised jobs that you know you could do, but your skill set is not an exact match, spell out for potential employers how what you did in your last position is transferable to the job at hand.

Use language from their job description. This is a modeling technique taught by the self-help guru Tony Robbins. In essence, you are subliminally seducing the potential employer by feeding their words back to them.

When you've reached a certain level in your career, it's hard to replace that level of job with another. A fast food worker can just move on to the next fast food establishment - and make a comparable wage.

But, for mid-level execs, $50,000/year+ jobs don't just come along. It usually takes some time to land them. Knowing why the market is that way goes a long way towards preparing yourself for the hunt.

Good luck.
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Copyright Notice: May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to InkwellEditorial.com.
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Friday, May 11, 2007

$132,994.97 in Google Earnings!

It's Friday and I'm still in my writing funk. BUT, like a junkie with a drug habit, I felt the need to post today -- something I usually don't do on Friday's.

So, I'm bringing you this little missive.

What about the Google earnings you mention in the title? I'm gettin' there.

Alas, the check didn't belong to me -- it belonged to Jeremy Schoemaker, the brain behind ShoeMoney.com. Of it, he writes, "This was the bigest paper check I have ever recieved. It was way back in August of 2005 and since I have moved to wire transfers so dont look for anything bigger from me."

I ran across Jeremy's site in Paula Mooney's blog -- specifically, her post on blogger salaries, which, if you read yesterday's post, will see that I referenced. Paula -- geniously I think, compiled a list of blogger salaries.

While some moan that it's incomplete, it's a good snapshot on who's making what in the blogosphere.

For grins, giggles and "I want that" envy, click here for more Google checks featured on ShoeMoney.com. Now, does that inspire you to get going on a site!

Enjoy and be inspired.

Until Monday,
Yuwanda Black, Publisher
InkwellEditorial.com
InkwellEditorial.blogspot.com
P.S.: Have you checked out Inkwell Editorial's work-from-home ebooks yet? The are some great deals on this first-hand advice on how to succeed as a freelancer, and it makes great weekend reading (hint, hint: buy today).

Monday's Post: Are you making 50K or more? Do you worry about being down-sized? Have you been down-sized? Career advice for mid-level managers.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What to Do When You're Tired of Writing

I'm going through a phase right now where I'm tired of writing. Literally, it's all I can do to update my blog and turn out client projects. It's not spring fever - that usually passes in a few days - this is something more like exhaustion and boredom (not for client ears!).

So, when freelance writing is your job, what do you do when something like this happens? Following are three things that help - until you can take that week off and head to the beach.

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1. Examine the Slump: If you find that "I don't feel like writing" feeling turning into a "I don't like writing" feeling, then it's time to examine if your slump is something more.

For each person, the timeframe for examining when it's more than a slump will be different, but listen to your gut.

Every writer goes through periods where they can't stand their computer. This usually passes in a relatively short period of time.

But, like every other profession, maybe your "writing" career has run its course. Or, maybe it's time to take your skill in another direction. Eg, instead of business writing, maybe you'd like to try fiction writing. Or, maybe you'd like to be a researcher instead.

Freelance writers may experience some sense of guilt if they find that they don't like their job because everyone thinks they're crazy - after all, you get to work in your jammies and be home all the time. Who wouldn't love that?

But, this life is not for everyone. So, don't be afraid to face this possibility if that's what it really is.

2. Just do it: Like any other job, you just have to sit down and get to it. I can be the biggest procrastinator in the world, especially when I'm working on a project that doesn't interest me.

I will find 90 different things that need my attention - except for the one that pays my bills. BUT, eventually, I plop my derriere in a chair and bang out what I need to bang out.

And, you know what? Once I get started, I usually find the inspiration to do more than is required. Sometimes, just sitting down and getting started is all that's needed.

So, just do it!

3. Work on Other Stuff: I've been wanting to update my website, but haven't had time to. I still don't really, but, I've allotted a portion of my week to working on this now that I'm in this little "I don't want to write phase."

I don't have the luxury of outright not writing, much like many don't have the option of not going to work when they don't' feel like it. BUT, I can shift my attention. As for writing, I do only what's absolutely necessary, then work on other projects.

Make these projects work related, so you don't feel like you've abandoned your career altogether. Eg, tackle marketing.

Many freelance writers shove this to the side all too often. So, if you don't want to write - for whatever reason - make marketing your priority. Submit old content to free article directories, re-design your website, send out copies of your free e-book, etc.

This serves a double purpose: (i) you get the word out about your product/services; and (ii) you get inspired when you start getting orders and/or more work from your marketing efforts.

Sometimes, all you need is a little push, a little validation to get you inspired again.
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Copyright Notice: May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to InkwellEditorial.com.
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Start a Successful Freelance Writing Career

I did it -- I finished! The e-books I've been promising to re-list on InkwellEditorial.com have all been officially revised and uploaded. I may look like the guy pictured here, but I don't care -- I finally got it done -- woooohooooo!


FYI, in the e-book Advice from Successful Freelancers: How They Built Their Careers & How You Can Too!, which I wrote in 2004, all of the freelancers interviewed then are still in business. This was inspiring and lets me know that others can learn a lot from their success. Read an excerpt here.

OTHER TITLES:

How to Really Make a Living as an Editorial Freelancer

How to Get Your Biz on the Web Quickly & Affordably: An Easy-to-Follow Guide in Plain English for Those New to Internet Terminology & Web Technology

How to Break Into Medical Editing/Copyediting

NEW -- Recently Published! Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Article Marketing: Results of a 30 Day Article Marketing Experiment

NEW -- Recently Published! 7 Ways a Freelance Writer Can Expand Your Profits – No Matter What Your Business Is! [FREE giveaway to potential clients, subscribers, seminar attendees, etc.]

And more! Click here to access the full list and to read detailed excerpts.
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P.S.: There are some combination deals that save you 50-70%.

P.P.S.: All e-books are written from first-hand experience, or are told from first-hand accounts. So, you get concrete advice straight from those who have been where you are -- and are now where you want to be.

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NOTE: All e-books are delivered as .pdf files within 24 hours of purchasing (excluding weekends), usually much less.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Blogs That Make You Think . . .And/Or Do Other Stuff

On April 26th, Lillie Amman awarded this blog the Thinking Blogger's Award. As described on her blog:


Iker Yoldas at The Thinking Blog* created the award and describes the award and the rules in Thinking Blogger Awards. The award recognizes blogs that make people think, and those who receive the award then pass the award on to five blogs that make them think.

*NOTE: This blog is no longer online, but the award lives on. Tres cool! {NOTE: Cartoon courtesy of www.weblogcartoons.com.}

Needless to say, I was flattered beyond belief. So, for my five picks:

1. Problogger.net: If you want to know about blogs, this is THE blog to go to. Darren (the blogmaster) is a six-figure blogger and the depth of information to be found on this site is astounding -- especially about monetizing a blog.

Other things I like about this blog -- it's professionally written; the topics are timely and relevant; and the best thing about this blog -- the information is in-depth and helpful.

Darren doesn't gloss over topics like a lot of blogs do. He really goes into detail so you always come away feeling like you got a new, better and/or different take on an issue.

2. The Golden Pencil: This blog reminds me of my own in the sense that it relays helpful information to freelance writers via articles. It also lists jobs for freelance writers and has links to other blogs on freelance writing.

3. Paula Mooney's Blog: I first encountered Paula's writing on AssociatedContent.com. A black woman who knows tech stuff -- I was jealous and incredulous all at once.

Paula writes across a broad spectrum and her pieces have great headlines that just suck you in. Eg, a recent entry is Paula's List of Blogger Salaries...Are you on the list? Who wouldn't click on that?! NYU School of Journalism, you should tag her blog to teach how to write effective headlines.

FYI Paula, I'm going to tap you to help me cowrite a book on tech stuff -- as soon as I can finish formulating the idea in my head -- this should be before the year 2020.

4. Hot Diggity: This is Jenna Glatzer's blog. She's a successful freelance writer who's collaborated on a book about Celine Dion, has authored children's books and was the founder and editor-in-chief of AbsoluteWrite.com, one of the best freelance writing sites on the web.

Even though I first ran across Jenna's writing while doing some research on freelance writing for an article a few years ago, I read her blog not because she is a fellow freelance writer, but because her sense of humor cracks me up.

On her blog, she writes about almost everything but writing -- which is the blog's purpose -- to get away from writing about and promoting writing.A sample of Jenna's humor can be found in the following missive from her 2/7/07 post:

I love my electronic toothbrush, but it seems I can't handle it. I manage to get toothpaste on myself about every other day. And toothpaste has this supernatural quality-- you can rinse it off, really rubbing the fabric so it looks like it's all gone, and when it dries, poof! The toothpaste is still there. Taunting you. Like those birthday candles you can never blow out.
5. Jason Kottke's blog: I rarely check in to Jason's blog anymore, but for a while it held me spellbound because he made a big splash in 2005 when he quit his job as a web designer to blog full time. Stories were all over the net and in newspapers about it.

Jason's been blogging almost daily since 1998 -- which is a major feat, when you consider that most bloggers give up after a few months. During the year that he blogged full-time (he gave it up as a full-time gig in 2006), he raised $39,900 from 1,450 donors. Read an update in this piece.

Jason blogs about any and everything and his blog is neat and well organized -- always a big hit with me. I check it out from time to time out of loyalty and admiration.

So, there you have it -- my picks.

I don't spend too much time reading blogs because as a full-time freelance writer, time is money and I'm usually trying to beat a deadline.

To Darren, Anne, Paula, Jenna and Jason -- continued success with your blogs.

Sincerely,
Yuwanda
InkwellEditorial.com
InkwellEditorial.blogspot.com
P.S.: Re the freelance writing e-books that I've been promising will be back online forever and a day now. Finally, finally got them proofed and ready to upload. BUT, what happens. Software problems -- arrgghhhh! Got the kinks worked out last night and -- fingers crossed -- just have to put in the PayPal codes for payment and back up they will be by tonight (I pray!).

P.P.S.: Look for the great discounts!
Tomorrow's Topic: What to Do When You're Tired of Writing (Advice for Freelance Writers)
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Copyright Notice: May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to InkwellEditorial.com.
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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Update: Editor-in-Chief's Job Offer

I'm sorry this post is a day late, but here it is.

In my March 29th post, I wrote about an Editor-in-Chief's job offer I received. I was a bit hesitant and took a few weeks to make up my mind. Like the little guy in picture, I was left scratching my head -- what to do? What to do?

Well, I finally decided and I'm not going to accept the offer. Why not?
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What about the work-from-home ebooks I keep promising? Software problems. Am having the bugs worked out as we speak so they can be back up before day's end.
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As flattered as I was, I thought about all I'd have to give up to take this position and I decided that, although it was a fabulous opportunity, it wasn't a fabulous opportunity for me. Why?

1. My Career: I've worked pretty hard to get to this point as a freelancer. I would have had to cut back on a lot of that -- possibly losing long-time clients in the process. It's not the clients I feared losing so much as the rebuilding I would have to go through if the position didn't pan out.

As many of you know, publishing is a very demanding industry and start-up magazines have a high failure rate. While I believed in the project, it was not something I was willing to pour my heart and soul into. It wasn't a passion. I was excited about the opportunity more than the project itself.

A venture like this needs -- at a minimum -- goo-gobs of passion, along with a heck of a lot of hard work. I'm a hard worker -- that was never the problem. BUT, the sustaining passion was not there.

2. Life Choices: A few years ago, I wrote down what I wanted out of life -- what was important to me. I did this so that I could structure my life in that direction.

I'm an entrepreneur at heart and tend to be a bit schizophrenic in the things I want to try. One day I want to start an online company selling ethnic art (did that), the next I want to start a virtual recruiting firm (did that to a limited degree) and the day after that I want to be a magazine publisher (even wrote a business plan for that).

After reading a book about writing down life goals to make them happen, I did this to keep myself structured and focused on what I really wanted out of life.

Regarding work, a few of the things I wrote was stability, working less hours and the option of retirement at 50. I'm not saying I will retire then, but I want that option if I so choose.

This opportunity ran contrary to all of these life goals. As previously mentioned, start-up magazines have a high failure rate (there went stability); require long hours; and you must put those in over a period of years.

Once I realized all of this and compared it to my life goals, it sealed the deal for me.

I've learned a few things about myself in this process, which I'll expand upon in another post. BUT, perhaps the thing that stood out most to me is how important it is to have a life plan. Write down what you want and continually remind yourself of it.

Life pulls you in so many directions that it's easy to get off track. Knowing what you ultimately want -- having a picture of what your ideal life would be -- will keep you focused on the end goal.
Tomorrow's Post: Even though I'd promised to address The Thinking Blogger's Award post along with this missive today, I'll do it tomorrow. Deadlines, deadlines!

Best,
Yuwanda Black, Publisher
InkwellEditorial.com
InkwellEditorial.blogspot.com
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Copyright Notice: May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to InkwellEditorial.com.
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Friday, May 04, 2007

Why is There so Much Bad Writing on the Web?

. . . And What Can Be Done About It
I owe readers of my work a big apology. Why? Because I've contributed to bad writing on the web. Now I know, to a certain degree, why this is - and what can be done about it.


If you regularly submit content to the web - whether it's for your blog, an e-zine, a newsletter, website copy, etc. - read and heed!

POST CONTINUED BELOW
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WORK-FROM-HOME E-BOOKS: Freelance from home! Inkwell Editorial's work-from-home, how-to freelance writing e-books have all been updated -- finally! They'll be uploaded later today. Thanks for your patience. Stay tuned!
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Why Is There So Much Bad Writing on the Web: Reason #1

Volume: In the last year and a half, 25-30% of my workload has become web copy. I also have a blog, a website and a newsletter - all of which require regular updates.

In short, I turn out a huge volume of text on a regular basis; it's not unusual for me to write between 3,000 and 6,000 words a day. In terms of articles, that's the equivalent of 10, 600-word articles a day.

This can take 10, 12 or 13 hours. In between, there's research, fact checking, interviews, formatting, etc., to be done.

So, what gets pushed back? What we in the publishing industry used to call QC (quality checking). This is the editing, proofreading and rewriting.

Because the web is in "real time," freelance writers are almost forced to respond in real time. There's a constant need to update content, respond to content, produce new content, etc. Again, what gets pushed to the side - copyediting, editing and proofreading.

While this is certainly no excuse, the amount of time spent on copy has a direct bearing on a freelance writer's income, which brings me to my next point - balancing time to make money.

Why Is There So Much Bad Writing on the Web: Reason #2


Money: As any freelance writer will tell you, time literally is money. Because our income is directly related to how much copy we can produce, edit, rewrite, etc., we have to maximize it to the fullest.

The writing has to get done. The interviews have to be conducted. The web pages have to be updated. What can usually slide? The copyediting, editing and proofreading.

Why IsThere So Much Bad Writing on the Web: Reason #3

Laziness: Yep, I'm going to put this right out there - plain old laziness. Many times, as freelance writers, we're just ready to get a piece off our desk. We get tired of looking at it, tired of the concept and tired of trying to make it "just right."

So, we publish it without doing a final proof, a final edit, a final rewrite.

And, while there is certainly a time when you should "let a piece go," it should never be before the quality check is complete.

Solution to Bad Writing on the Web

There's only one way to stop this - and that is to get back to good old-fashioned copyediting and proofreading.

And, while spell check is a great tool - it can't read your mind. That's why "write" for "right" will get through.

So, to readers of my work - who I value and respect immensely - my promise to you is that my work will get better. While I can't promise to never write another piece without errors, I do promise that the quality of what I put out will go up - markedly - from here on out.

Now, I'm off to proofread this before I hit "Publish."

Coming Monday: Monday will be wrap-up day. What do I mean? On 4/02, I posted about an Editor-in-Chief's job offer I received. I've made a decision on that.

AND, for my post on 4/26, Lillie Amman awarded me The Thinking Blogger's Award (yeah!). So, I have to tag five other bloggers whom I think deserve this award.

Have a good weekend,

Yuwanda Black, Publisher
InkwellEditorial.com
InkwellEditorial.blogspot.com
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Copyright Notice: May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to InkwellEditorial.com.
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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

How to Make More Money from Clients You Already Have

Upselling is a skill that most freelancers don't use nearly enough. What exactly is upselling? Simply put, selling a client another, usually closely related product, after you've made an initial sale.

For example, if you complete a brochure for a client, you might pitch them on adding it to their website, in the form of web copy.

When most small business owners outside of the publishing/advertising/communications realm first start to use freelance writers, they have no idea how they can grow their business.

So, it's up to you, the freelance writer (graphic designer, web designer, illustrator) to let them know. All that being said, how do you upsell a client? Following are 3 things I've found that work well for me:

POST CONTINUED BELOW
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WORK-FROM-HOME E-BOOKS: Freelance from home! Just a reminder, Inkwell Editorial's work-from-home, how-to freelance writing e-books will be back up this week. Stay tuned!
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1. Make it a Habit: Most freelancers will finish a project, turn it and say something to the effect of, "Keep me in mind for all your freelance writing needs."

This is not upselling! To effectively upsell, you need to make it a habit, and this means having procedures in place so that you don't forget. A good way to do this is a Project Follow-up Calendar.

What is a Project Follow-up Calendar? It lists specific actions that you take each time you turn a project in. For example, if you vow make three follow-up actions every time you turn a project in, it might look something like this:

2/12: Turn Project in

2/19: Follow up Action #1: Call to make sure all was well with project turned in last week and ask about brochure* I sent along with project. Depending on answer to this, do the following:

2/26: Follow up Action #2: Do follow-up on brochure I re-sent after last week's call

3/5: Follow up Action #3: Touch base to see if they want to move ahead with e-book we discussed last week

*Do a brochure that lists all of your services - and include it with every project you turn in. A week or so after you turn the project in, follow up and ask if they've had a chance to look over the brochure with the other services you offer. If they say no, offer to follow up again in another week or so. [Follow the actions outlined in your project follow-up calendar].

2. Get Specific to Their Business: While including a brochure listing all the services you offer is a great idea, one that works even better in my opinion is to get specific to their business.

Eg, I noticed an article on your website about the benefits of Flood Insurance. Have you ever thought about making this a direct mail piece and/or or a full-fledged e-book detail the pros and cons of this type of insurance?

Research has shown that the more serious prospects are about buying a product, the more information they want about it. Having an e-book and/or mailer done about this can dramatically increase sales.

A 7-page e-book on the above can be completed within a week. It can be a wonderful promotional tool for homeownership seminars, networking conferences, stand-alone giveaways, etc.

I'll follow up in the next three days about this, after you've looked over this project. This type of follow up shows clients that you: i) have researched their business; and ii) are proactive in thinking of ways to help them grow it.

Did you know? NOTHING can happen with a contact unless you stay in touch. Waiting for them to call you is a crap shoot. They may meet another freelancer who does stay in touch, or lose your card, or forget your website.

3. Stay in Contact: Most freelancers - in fact, most small business owners - fall on their sword here.

To repeat, NOTHING can happen with a contact unless you stay in touch. Waiting for them to call you is a crap shoot. They may meet another freelancer whodoes stay in touch, or lose your card, or forget your website.

The onus is upon you to stay in touch because when someone needs a writer (graphic designer, illustrator, web designer, etc.), you want to be among the first they think of.
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Copyright Notice: May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to InkwellEditorial.com.
*************************
Like what you read here? Find the content useful and informative? Subscribe to the Inkwell Editorial feed (under the LINKS section to your right) to receive new content immediately upon publishing.