Aug 20 2013

How To Manage Your Finances As A Freelance Writer

Finance

(Photo credits: www.myhardhatstickers.com)

People get into freelance writing for two reasons: they can’t get other work, perhaps because they have a young child, they are disabled or the job market is really bad, or because they love writing.  For some writers it is a combination of both.  Nobody ever gets into freelance writing for the money.

This is not to say that it is impossible to make good money as a freelance writer; indeed, some people have very lucrative careers.  It is, however, a tough business, and it demands dedication long before it starts to deliver rewards.  People starting out as freelancers either need to have other paying jobs or need to be prepared to get by on very little remuneration.  It is vitally important to know how to manage money; not only does this help to make a little go a long way but also it helps to save a lot of time and effort.  Good money management is efficient money management, and it frees up more time for writers to focus on putting words on the page.

Five steps to success

For people who want to succeed in the writing business, there are simple rules that can make all the difference.

  • Never write for nothing.  It can be worth doing unpaid work to increase visibility, but only if the publication in question has serious outreach.  It can be worth interning, but only if real education is provided.  Writers have to be wary of being taken advantage of.
  • There is always a job out there.  As long as low paid work does not eat up time that could be spent chasing more lucrative jobs, it is worth doing.  It is better to be earning something than nothing, and all paid work helps to build up a portfolio.
  • Find a niche.  Most writers work in a lot of different areas to get by, but having one or two specialist subjects or skills helps with building a reputation to the level where much better paying jobs are within reach.
  • Claim expenses.  What can be claimed varies by jurisdiction, but computer and stationery costs, a share of household bills and some travel costs can all potentially be declared against tax.
  • Aim high.  Too many writers undervalue themselves.  Making real money requires a proactive approach that includes contacting high-end publications and big businesses – they just might be hiring.

Keeping money simple

Freelancing can mean juggling a lot of contracts, especially with the smaller jobs needed to fill in between the larger ones, and it is often a good idea to sign up with an umbrella company.  These organizations can often help with sourcing contracts and, most importantly, can take care of all those tricky tax and finance issues.

For writers who choose to go it alone, the most important thing is to keep on top of accounts.  It is a good idea to set a day aside at the end of the month for sorting out invoices and chasing up late payers.  Accounts need to be kept neat and up to date – it is always possible that they will be audited.  Good organization pays dividends, as it ensures that no money goes unclaimed.

 

 

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May 21 2013

New Test Available At CloudCrowd

Hey Guys!

I wanted to give you a  heads up that there is a new (or new-er) credentials test at Cloud Crowd. This is for Marketing Writer – Product Descriptions.  These are super easy, 35 word product descriptions. Pay is equal to 2 cents a word, so you get about 68 cents, with the potential for a bonus of 19 more cents. Yes, pay is low, but you can do these so fast that I think the money will add up quickly.

I did the test last night and was approved this afternoon. So, it was less than 24 hours wait for me to find out if I passed this new test at CloudCrowd.  (My fingers keep typing Crowd Cloud!  LOL!)

I have lots of work to do today, so I  haven’t had a chance to go in and do any more of these descriptions, but I will be doing some tomorrow morning.

I still have a few concerns over at CloudCrowd. There was a fiasco last week where the title and keywords didn’t match. But, as many writers know, this isn’t uncommon. So I did a bunch of them and ended up being rejected. My credibility dropped to 20 and I was put on probation. There was a big to-do about this and CC said that they’d restore everyone’s credibility and to post on a special thread in their support forum. I did, and I’m STILL waiting for my credibility to be restored. I have three messages on that “special” thread, and it seems that the employee has just stopped looking at it.  So, I posted it in a few other places and still have not received a response.  Oh, wait.. as I’m typing this I see I have a message! Ohhhh..it’s another writer that is agreeing that the mods are MIA.  Oh well.

So, CC still has a few bugs.. but I still like the daily pay outs and the quick and easy work!

So, if you are not yet a writer at CloudCrowd, click on a link to join. If you are already a writer over there, check out the new test available at CloudCrowd.

Originally posted 2011-04-26 20:58:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

May 21 2013

Populis Create Review

I am happy to announce a new content company, called Populis Create. This company is based in Ireland and hires people from all over the world. It is considered Europe’s version of Demand Studios.

Taken directly from Populis Create’s website, they describe themselves as:

…one of Europe’s fastest growing digital media companies

With a network of over 500 web properties visited by more than 26 million unique users every month, we provide vibrant content to passionate communities, crowdsourced from a team of expert collaborators and published on our wholly owned and operated websites including Excite Europe, Nanopublishing and Better Deals….We are a truly European company active in seven languages and ten markets (UK, Germany, Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, United States, Australia, Brazil)

I signed up and have written two articles for Populis Create as of this writing. Here is what I can tell you about Populis Create at this time:

Pay Rate = The payment depends on the complexity of the article, and the article length. The majority of articles are 500 words for €6.66 ($9.45 USD).

Payday = weekly, via paypal, as long as you reach at least €15 ($21.28 USD). If not, your earnings will roll over to the next week.

Minimum/Maximum Article Limitations = Writers have no limitations as to how many or few articles they write.  New writers are restricted to claiming 5 articles at a time, including those in review. At some point, that restriction will be lifted, but at this time I’m not sure the guidelines on it.

Author By-lines = At this time, authors are not given a by-line. But, according to Populis Create’s website, in the future, outstanding writers will have by-lines.

To apply = visit http://www.populis.com/create and click on Apply Now. Then, register by providing the requested information. Your application will be examined and if it is accepted you will receive your login details and a user guide via email.  Note: that at the time of this writing it is taking between one and two weeks to receive notification that you are  hired or not.

My Personal Experience

I have written two articles for Populis Create, both travel type of articles. I really like the format of entering in the required information in specific areas in the writer’s CMS panel. Actually, I like it a LOT better than Demand’s workdesk. Each section gives you the rules, word counts, and any other pertinent information needed for that section.

Pictures And Tags

Like Demand Studios and many other writing sites since Google’s Panda update, Populis Create requires writers to insert a picture and add tags to every article. The pictures can only come from Flicker and YouTube, and have a size limitation of 355 x 120 and 8kb. I had a hard time getting my first picture to load. Finally, the trick was:

  1. Download the picture from Flicker onto your computer.
  2. Upload that same picture from your computer to Picnik.com.
  3. Go to the Edit tab and click on resize.
  4. Enter 355 x 120 in the dimensions boxes
  5. Uncheck the “keep proportions” box
  6. Hit “okay”
  7. Go to Save & Share tab and verify at the bottom that the size is 8KB or less
  8. Save back to  your own computer. Use the same name and replace original file
  9. Go back to Populis Create and upload photo. Continue the process to complete and submit your article.

Review Times

I wrote one article yesterday, and the other one today. Neither have been reviewed. Word on the street that review times are rather slow, but keep in mind that this is a new company and they may not have  a lot of editors yet.

Please Provide Feedback

If you apply to Populis Create, leave a comment and let us know what you think! If you have been writing there for a bit and have received a payment, let us know what day payday is on, and how long your average review times are.

There are  not many weekly paying writing jobs out there, and non that I know of that pay this well.. so I’m pretty excited about this opportunity and I hope it continues to do well!

Originally posted 2011-06-16 16:48:54. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

May 21 2013

What’s Coming Next For Me As A Freelance Writer?

future

Image by Sean MacEntee via Flickr

I have been pondering my freelance writing career lately and I feel it’s changing and evolving. This is partly due to me being let go from Demand Studios, partly because I have new writing opportunities, and partly because I’m trying to step up my affiliate marketing earnings. I am also in the process of completing transcription proofreading job training. To top it all off, it’s almost summer and I’m thinking about how things are going to go with my 10 year old home from school all day (and my two year old)… without a car.

As I’ve said before, a freelance writer must have a thick skin. You are rejected often, be it from print publications or internet content companies. Sometimes it is a sign that your work isn’t up to par, but other times it simply is that your writing style doesn’t match the other companies. I think this is what happened with Demand Studio. I was put into the Writer’s Enrichment Program and my limit knocked down to three articles. The editors would change my article, for things that were more about style than meaning, incorrect grammar, or poor writing. This is something I’m working on. So, after those three articles, I was let go. The notice stated that I was a good writer, but my style wasn’t what Demand Studios is looking for. I can’t help but wonder if Panda had anything to do with this.

I admit I have a lot of trouble writing in the passive voice and this is a big no-no at Demand Studios. I’ve set Microsoft Word to flag anything in the passive voice so I can see it and then fix it and learn how to avoid writing in the passive voice. I have a lot of flags. But this process is helping me learn about active and passive voice and helping me to improve my writing.

What is “funny” is that while one place says that I’m not what they are looking for, another company or client will tell me that I’m great and that I exceeded their expectations! This is why I can’t stress enough that you can’t take this type of rejection to heart. Don’t let it ruin your day. Learn from it and move on. Not everyone can be perfect for every job.

I have a new private client that I’m thrilled about. I wish I had more like her! And I got this gig from a message board posting! You never know where you’ll get a new client from! I have a few other new things going on too, like I Need A Writer. I’ve been getting steady work at Fiverr, but I hate the delay in getting payments. And, I completed two articles for the New Hampshire Herald, an online newspaper, so I’m looking forward to getting more assignments as that gig is challenging.

Last on the work front is my affiliate marketing adventure. My total affiliate marketing earnings are about $55. Though the places that this money is coming from have minimum payouts and I haven’t reached it yet! This is coming from my Transcription website, Freelance Transcriptionist Road. So I’m trying to build that site up more and start to promote it more. That site has been siting there, unfinished, for like a year! I would LOVE to have my three blogs be so successful that I can concentrate solely on them for income. This means I’d be writing for myself instead of others. My dream of working from home came true so I think this dream is attainable too!

It’s almost summer and my 10-year-old son will be home with me and my 2-year-old son every day. Daddy will be at work, with our car. Luckily, the library and the playground is within walking distance. But I also have to get some work done, it’s not summer vacation for me! (I wish!) I’m going to set up a new schedule where I can get work done while also making sure my older son isn’t too bored. I’m also in the process of making a special “tent” for my computer so I can work outside and still see the screen. So we can all be outside and the boys playing or swimming in the little pool. This means I’ll be working late nights a lot this summer so I can play with the boys during the day. I hope my earnings won’t suffer!

I am feeling a change in how my freelance writing career is going. I now have a couple private clients. I’m really figuring out what type of schedule works best for me. I have new projects in the works. There are a lot of things going on and I’m learning new things every day. I wonder what’s in store for my freelance writing career? I wonder how the next few months will pan out? Will my blogs start earning me more income so I can cut down on writing for content mills? All of these questions are flowing through my brain throughout the day. Do you ever have these thoughts? Do you ever “feel” when your freelance writing career is changing or evolving? How do you handle it? Right now I think I’m just along for the ride!

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Originally posted 2011-06-06 20:40:35. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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