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

I Won Linda Carmical’s Contest!

A couple weeks ago I posted about Linda Carmical‘s month long contest. She provided several ways to win, including posting about the contest, leaving comments, and tweeting.  Of course I helped out my friend Linda and did some posting and tweeting as I like helping other freelancers get exposure. Well, after taking most of the weekend off, I log into my computer and see an email that I won! What a great way to start off the week!

So, I headed over to Linda’s site and saw that I won second place! Awesome! This is what I won:

Janis Bennett 2nd Place Winner (Thanks Janis!)

  • $5.00 Amazon Gift Card
  • Free Blog Post
  • Additional 5% 1st New Client Order (applied after the 1st 10% deduction)
  • Website/Blog Exposure

Actually, I won TWICE!! For my blog post I also won:

  • $10.00 Amazon Gift Card

Thanks Linda, for a great contest!

Linda mentions on her website that she’ll have another contest, with even bigger prizes.  I’ll post it here so you all can go join in the fun.

If you have a contest on your site, let me know and I’ll help spread the news.

 

 

Originally posted 2011-04-04 10:03:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

May 21 2013

Free To-Do List

Organization is very important in becoming a successful freelance writer. Many people find that creating a to-do list helps them be more productive as well as makes sure that nothing is forgotten.  When you see all the tasks you need to do written out, it helps to plan your week accordingly. And, nothing is better than a free to-do list!

I am an avid lister. I write lists for everything, from shopping lists  to packing lists, and from Christmas lists to task lists.  I used to religiously use Franklin Planners when I worked out of the home and have been looking for a free to-do list online to replace that tool.

I have tried several free to-do online tools, from Remember The Milk to Google Tasks.  Nothing seems to really get me as excited as my Franklin Planner… that is until someone recommend TeuxDeux, a really awesome free to-do list, on WAHM.com.  I am now in love!

TeuxDeux is a great browser-based, simple, clean-looking, daily task list manager. It is so simple to use! Keep the TeuxDeux window open right next to your email tab.  Add tasks for each day of the week, and then cross them off once you are done. You can easily move tasks from one day to another.  When you create an account, there is a very quick video you can watch to learn how to use TeuxDeux. The video is only about 2 minutes, so I recommend you view it.

If you are looking for a free to-do list, or know someone that could benefit from using a free to-do list online, check out TeuxDeux and you won’t be disapointed.

Please note that I do not receive any compensation of any kind from people using the free to-do list manager TeuxDeux. It is simply a great product that I wanted to share with others!

Originally posted 2010-12-06 10:18:32. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

May 21 2013

Avoid The Fluff: How To Write Clean And Consise Articles

Are you a fluffer? No, not THAT kind, we are talking writing here! When you are having trouble hitting your minimum word count do you go back through your article and add extra adjectives, separate contractions into two words, or maybe even add BS and meaningless words just to hit work count? Come on, we have all done it, and once and a while we might still do it. But now is the time to really think about how you write your articles and make some improvements to tighten up your words and improve your writing skills.

what are word for?

what are word for? (Photo credit: Darwin Bell)

Google changes are still making content companies and online business owners reevaluate their website content and article quality. Fluff is out of fashion. Companies aren’t simply looking for 400 words that sound kind of cohesive, just to fit 20 keywords in a 400 word article to boost Page Rank. Google is trying it’s best to stop these sites from reaching the top and instead encouraging high-quality, informative, interesting, educational, and CLEAN content. If you can follow these rules, you’ll be well on your way to improve your writing and land some great writing writing gigs. Since you are improving your writing style, think about increasing your rates to reflect your improvement! Heck, update your resume too, and point out your new writing style.

Take out useless and non-descriptive adjectives.
Do you really need to point out that something is “awesome” or “great” or “beautiful?” These types of words don’t really provide a meaningful description of something and is subjective. What one person thinks is beautiful, another person may not. Does the adjective really need to be there or does it sound  obvious, repetitive, or like fluff or filler words? Instead of saying that a piece of furniture is beautiful or awesome, say that it is durable or inexpensive, or even expensive.

Take out useless sentences.
If your sentence doesn’t state a fact, take it out. If your sentence states the obvious, take it out. If you are writing an article about kitchen redesign, and wrote a sentence that says something like, “Redesigning your kitchen can be expensive.” That is pretty much a given. You are stating the obvious and not providing any useful facts to a person that is looking to learn more about kitchen redesign. Take this sentence right out.

Every sentence should contain at least one fact.
This goes hand in hand with the above point, but it is so essential to writing crisp, clean, and concise articles that it is important to list again. Every sentence you write should contain at least one fact, and if it doesn’t, take it out. You don’t need to say things like, “Driving a Ford F150 truck is fun.” That really doesn’t prove any factual information to the reader.  And it doesn’t really tell readers much about the truck. Why is it fun? Instead, say something like, “The Ford F150 truck has 4-wheel drive designed for off-road adventures.”

Limit the number of sentences in every paragraph to 5 or 6.
Many website readers don’t want to sit and spend 20 minutes reading one article. In fact, studies show that most Internet readers only scan articles.Making your paragraphs no more than 5 or 6 sentences long helps you to make sure you stick to the important facts or points, while also making it easier for people to read. Have you ever started to read something, but skipped over those long paragraphs, maybe only reading the first sentence or two? I know I have!

Use sub-headers to improve readability.
Catering to Internet readers that typically like to scan articles instead of reading them word for word, use sub-headers to break up your articles and make it more “scan-able”.  Readers can then go to the sections they are most interested in, instead of skipping your entire article because they can’t find the information that they are looking for.

These are just a few suggestions on how you can improve your writing skills and reduce the fluff in your articles. There are  many great websites out there that will give you even more advice and tips. Here are some of my favorites:

11 Smart Tips for Brilliant Writing

How To Write Clear Sentences

Writing Concise Sentences (This article even has a quiz and a place to practice!)

 

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Originally posted 2012-02-23 11:12:01. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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