How to avoid scam job offers

When you are working at home as a freelancer, one of the most difficult tasks you need to do is look for new clients and jobs.

Making this process as efficient as possible is very important because the time you spend looking for jobs, writing applications and answering clients’ questions is time that you are not getting paid. Of course, it is an investment in future paychecks so it is vital that you do your best in these endeavors. One way to make this process more efficient is to avoid losing time with scam offers.

how to avoid scam job offers
creative commons licensed ( BY-ND ) flickr photo shared by B Rosen

Typical features of scam job offers:

  1. Job conditions are great and the process to be hired is extremely simple.

Yes, it is true that you are probably the best freelancer in the world, your personality is very attractive and every client that knows your name is anxious to hire you. But take into consideration that if the work conditions are really that good, there are thousands of people interested in this job, so you could expect a long hiring process.

Some of these clients say things like, “I am overloaded with work,” “I need you because you are in the XXX country and I want to expand my business,” and “I need you because you look reliable.” I have no doubt that you are, but I am sure that there are many people with these skills, so why doesn’t your client spend any time to get to know you better?

  1. They ask you for data such as your phone number, credit card number, physical address, and they don’t share their own data with you.
  2. They don’t have a website, or the website is so poor that you can’t believe their workers are being paid at all.
  3. They speak very poor English even though they are based in the UK or US.
  4. They are in a rush to hire you, always asking you to agree to each step.
  5. They ask you for an online interview in a chat platform like Yahoo or MSN. Skype is a much more likely venue for serious clients, although not a guarantee.
  6. They want to send products to your home. Don’t you think that they could rent a post office box for about $50 instead of paying you $1600 to do practically nothing?

What could you do to minimize the risks?

  1. If they are a foreign client, it may be difficult for your country’s to help you, but a good idea is to ask for a contract (signed by hand, not with a drawing made with Paint).
  2. Research them on the Internet. If you don’t find them, this is a very bad signal. Some companies have a commercial name, which means maybe you won’t find the company name in the top of the website, but it should appear in the T&C page of their commercial name website.
  3. NEVER SEND MONEY to buy training materials.
  4. Ask for an advance payment for the first month or the first 15 days.
  5. Always research the legal responsibilities of your work. If you have to interact with products, what happens if you receive something broken?
  6. If you are in doubt, don’t take it. It’s better to be poor than to lose money on a scam.

Do you have any other useful advices?

Catch it!

creative commons licensed ( BY-ND ) flickr photo shared by (Mick Baker)rooster
creative commons licensed ( BY-ND ) flickr photo shared by (Mick Baker)rooster

When writing in a language that is spoken in several countries, clients usually ask for “neutral language”. A neutral language is a way to express things that sounds more or less natural for all native speakers regardless of where the native speaker was born.

Due to good luck in Spanish we have the Real Academia de la Lengua Española that helps everybody to know what is correct and what is not.

However, there are some expressions that, though are well explained in Real Academia Española’s books, it is hard to imagine how weird they could sound if you use them in them for the wrong audience.

One of these expressions is the word “coger” to catch, which in Spain we use all the time in an innocent way. The problem for Spanish content writers comes when a user from Latin America read it, because in the full continent “coger” is a vulgar way to say have sex.

So Spaniards say “Vamos a coger un taxi” (let’s take a taxi) whilst Latin Americans laugh hard about the idea.

Of course this is great and fun between friends, but when it comes to your website content, it is better if you are aware of it.

So, be careful with this verb if your readers will be out of Spain. As a tip, you can use “tomar” instead of it.

This is one of the reasons for choosing to hire a native speaker when looking for a copywriter in Spanish.

Work too cheap is counter-productive

Do you want to be rich? Choose another job.

Take writing as a job has a little problem, all people know how to write, so some clients want to pay just a little money for a text. And, yes there are only a few people that know how to write properly, but sadly this is less noticed by these clients that look at write content as an expense instead of investment.

There are two kinds of clients:

The ones that don’t want to waste time in writing.

These clients don’t give to the writing the importance it deserves. They just have a lot of things to do, and want their website updated for a low price. They want to pay $3 per 500 words of original content, and they are doing you a favor when hiring you.

They want you to follow SEO rules, search and upload an images with the text, post in their blog both the image and the text, and maybe do their laundry.

These clients are not real clients. If you want to be a professional freelance content writer you can’t take these jobs. And, it is OK for them want to pay that little. There are people who have writing as a hobby, and maybe they are OK with these low fees. Market and world are big enough to all kind o clients and writers.

But, if you want to have a proper lunch each day with the money you are earning with writing, you have to skip these clients. It is likely that you even won’t cover the time of writing them an application for the job.

The ones that want a professional writer working on their content.

These clients won’t hire you if you offer a fee of $3 per 500 words. Why? Because they want a good text and they know you can’t be a professional with that price.

They want to pay as less as possible yes, but they prefer a little more expensive price and be sure you will be a good writer.

These ones are your real clients, the others are just a way to waste your time.

Think that if you work so cheap, you will need to write so many texts that you will hardly have the time to proofread your production. Work for nothing decrease your quality.

Take into consideration that whilst you are writing for almost nothing you could be looking for a real job.

Keep in mind that if you don’t value yourself nobody will.

I am not saying you have to be expensive, I am talking about a price that covers your costs. There are a lot of false advisers recommending writers to fix a high price. We are not talking about this, we are talking about to skip job offers for $2-3 because this is the price of your time to read the job bid and maybe write an email to the employer.

Here you can read some tips about what aspect you need to take into consideration when creating a budget.

How to create a long term relationship with a client

A long term relationship with a client is a real treasure, because have a more or less fixed amount of work is always welcomed when you are a freelance writer and also because when you work for someone for a long time, you know what he likes, how he likes it and in short you work more efficiently.

How to get a long term client as freelance writer

work at home as writer in Spanish
creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by n_sapiens

There is something obvious, if your client doesn’t need regular content, he won’t need a long term relationship with you. But sometimes clients that really need regular content don’t know it. Let know your client what a good content can do for him, maybe he just doesn’t know that regular updates are good for SEO, or that copy content is the best way to go to the bottom of Google.

Anyway, most clients know that content is important, so this first tip only works when you see that your client is not very well versed about how internet works. In case he knows the basics about internet you can try the following.

First, show your client that you are available for his needs. Sometimes people doesn’t ask for more job because think that you are too busy.

Second, be trustworthy. Even if this means that you have to say no to a task that you can’t do properly. It is better show a client that if you take the job you will deliver a high quality work, than take all the jobs and provide a bad result.

Third, let your client know supplementary services that you can give. For example, if you are proofreading, you likely are able to write too. If you are writing, maybe you know how to create cool infographics.

Fourth, don’t be aggressive. It is ok to show what you can do, but you don’t have to spam your clients. Don’t offer services each time you send a message to them. Do it when you see that you can give a real value to the services you are currently giving.

Fifth, get involved in your client’s project. Sometimes you are asked for a text and your client shows his website to you have a better idea where it will be published. Imagine you see that this website is lacking something important. Let your client know. Maybe you can suggest them to hire a graphic designer, and maybe you can’t do that service, but it will show to your client that you are a good person to run his site.

There is another important thing to take into consideration. There are people too sensitive that when you give a suggestion like improve this or that, can feel it as a critic. You have to play with that. Try to don’t sound offensive at all, say these things as a way to improve and always be careful.

To conclude always keep in mind that providing a high quality work is the best way to develop a long term relationship. Looking for freelancers is boring and requires time, so if you are a very good one, your clients will ask you the first when need something.

7 things to look at when giving a writing budget

When working as freelance writer,  one of the most difficult things is to calculate the budget. Let’s discuss some things to take into consideration.

tips to give a writing budget
“Calculating” by patpitchaya in Freedigitalphotos.net

When biding for a job, you always are afraid to ask too much, because in the end, if you don’t get the job, you don’t have the money, so you can be tempted to think “better a low price than nothing”.  It is not always true, we can talk about it in a future post. By now, let’s think that some clients are not interesting, and let’s discuss about the reasons in this same future post.

What to think about to set a writing price

1. How much time will you need to write the text? Each writer finds some subjects easier than others. If the text will take a long time to write, you can’t do it so cheap. Think in the time you will spend writing the application, researching, writing the text, proofreading it, getting feedback and maybe rewriting and generating the invoice. Your time is limited and each small job has at least these tasks, and likely more. It is a good idea set a minimum price and never bid for less, even if the task is small.
2. Are you an expert about the subject? If you are, value yourself. You can write about other subjects cheaper, but If you are the best SEO in the world and you are writing about SEO, your client has to pay for it.
3. Will you have to find an image? Some clients will ask you to find an image to post with the text. It is up to you if you accept this condition, but finding an image free of rights could be difficult. If you know where to search add 15-20 minutes more, if you don’t know, add an hour.
4. Will you have to post it? Post it always means that you need to fulfill the SEO widget, you need that the image looks good in the text, you maybe need to put some html codes. More time, more money.
5. What is the deadline? If you can do It when you want, you can low the price, because it is good to get some work to do when you don’t have more urgent tasks. If you need it for yesterday, the price is higher.
6. Is your client well known and regular? A long relationship means trust. The risk of not be paid is less, you always can give them a good deal.
7. Value your time, value yourself. It is ok, there is thousands of people ready to do the same job for less money but is it really the same job? If you are providing a good final result, you deserve a good payment. I am not saying you will be rich with that, but having good texts is a very important part of the company’s online marketing strategy.

It is a very good idea measuring the time it takes to you writing each kind of text. Knowing that is the first step to calculate your prices accurately. So, when you have a new task, take your watch and control your times.

3 sites that pay you for writing

work at home how get money
creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Bohman

If you want to work as writer, you are likely looking for someone that wants to pay you for your texts.

My recommendation is get real clients, but today I will share

3 sites that pay writers for posting texts on them

Shvoong: UPDATE this site is closed.

Do you like writing summaries and reviews? This is your site.

Shvoong doesn’t want original texts as articles, poetry, etc. This site wants to be a reference when you are looking for a review. However the accept almost all texts without looking at the quality. They pay 10% of the revenues they get from your articles.

www.shvoong.com/

Squidoo: If you want to write original texts, this is a more accurate site.

Squidoo tries to develop a high quality content creator community, so they encourage high standards to their users. Writing for Squidoo you can add to your texts features as pictures, maps, quotes, etc. They pay 50% of their earnings, which comes from Amazon and Ebay adverts that are added to your content,.

www.squidoo.com

Triond: Like Squidoo, this site gives you 50% of the revenues they get from display and contextual advertising that appears on your content.

www.triond.com

Is it worth?

If you ask me no, it isn’t.

How much does it take to write a text? How much do you think you can earn in these sites?

The time/effort-income relationship is so low that I don’t think these sites can be of help. Besides, there is another thing you have to take into consideration. Let’s think you write awesome texts and you get a good income from these sites. If you are able to do a text that generates high incomes from any of these sites, be sure that you could get more money publishing it on your own blog or selling your texts to specific clients.

So, why am I sharing these sites?

No I am not receiving money from them, nor because I am an affiliate. I am not.

I’m sharing this because these sites, could be a place to publish an example of your work, Triond is a good page for that. And you can learn a little about the job in them. For example in Shvoong you can learn about what kind of topics that you are ready to write about generates more traffic; in Squidoo you can learn to create SEO friendly texts, because they ask you to do so, and until your text is not ready they don’t allow you to publish it.

And of course if writing is just your hobby instead of your job, you can give a try and have a dinner from time to time thank to one of these sites.

How to be hired to work at home

tips to get hired and work at home
creative commons licensed ( BY-ND ) flickr photo shared by marksaplenty

The main problem of all kind of workers is to find a job. Freelancers are not exception.

This post is about a situation in which your client doesn’t know you. If you have done a previous work, being hired again should be much easier. I will discuss about extend a relationship with a client in other future post.

Let’s take a look to some tips to increase your possibilities to be hired for the first time.

 

1. Be visible.

Of course this is the omnipresent need. You want to sell oranges, you need to be in the best commercial street and in the first position in Google, you want to sell clothes, you need to be in a commercial street and in the first position in Google; you want to sell your services you need….well at least you can work at home, but you need to be in the first position in Google.

Sadly be in the first position in Google requires lot of money, so try to be visible in freelance platforms related with your job.

2. Think as your clients do.

Ok, you have done it!

There is someone looking at your site and now this person has lot of doubts about if you are the accurate person to hire.

Try to put yourself in your future client shoes. What would you look for? Experience? Testimonials? Kind person?

It is a great idea hiring someone to check this. If, for example, you need a website, look for someone to do your website in a similar way that your client will look for you. What things do you look at?

I hired someone to do a task with this website and while I was looking for the right person, I learn a lot about the process to hire.

If you are going to use a freelance platform, then try to hire someone through it.

3. Give all the information you can, including price of course.

Give all the information your client could need. As your client can’t see you, you need to be more transparent than if you were physically there.

Sometimes you will get propositions as “hey I need my website text, how much does it cost”.

Then ask for more information. Keep in mind that is better loose a client because you are asking too much, than loose it after almost all is done and a unexpected issue appears.

4. Answer as quick as possible.

Again, as your client is not able to go to your office to ask for things, you need to show that you will be there at any time (in your work hours).

If you don’t answer messages promptly, your clients will think that you won’t answer them when they need something related to the job, so they will prefer anybody else, that is ready to keep communication fluent.

Work at home, can it be real?

Are you in a computer? Look at the bottom right of your screen, what does it say?

Yeah, we are in 2014 !!

Don’t you think that in 2014 is possible to work at home?

It absolutely is. There is only one kind of person that still doesn’t believe in working from home: managers, chiefs, bosses or as you know them the person that thinks you are a robot that hates holidays.

work at home as writer in Spanish
creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by n_sapiens

Rest of the people understands that today, with internet, phone and will power you can work at home as good or bad as in an office.

In some works people is more used to work at home. For instances, translators, virtual assistants, graphic designers, programmers and writers, yes even in Spain where it is extremely rare working from home… All of them have the two versions, people working in offices and people working at home.

So if this is your dream

What do you need to work at home?

  1. Work hard. If you are at home your customers or managers, can’t see how hard you are working. Best way to show them is to give a great result.
  2. Computer and internet. It depends on your country internet services, but you will need to choose a good internet connection.
  3. Choose a job that you can do from home. This includes a job that people believes you can do from home, because if it is possible but the culture says you need to be in an office…it will be hard get customers.
  4. A website.
  5. Research for freelance platforms.
  6. Research your country laws. Taxes are a brainteaser for all freelance. When your customers are from all over the world, it could be even more difficult.
  7. Use the free time. First steps are always hard. If you don’t have clients, your work is to find them. If you are working at home, there is not free time during your work hours. Don’t have a task to do for your clients? Improve your website, look for new clients, udpdate your ledger books. Don’t waste time. If you are wasting time, maybe you aren’t ready for working at home.

Some common ideas to work at home.

  • Have a blog and earn money with the adverts.
  • Have a youtube channel.
  • Work as freelancer.
  • Sell your hand-made products.

Obviously each of these options are broad enough to write a book. I will develop some of them on the following posts.

Why a Spaniard doesn’t use the Spain’s official flag

When I was creating this website, I thought that one of my characteristics I wanted to stress was the fact that I am a native Spanish writer from Spain.

So putting the flag of Spain in the homepage seemed a good option. However, I was in doubt because we, Spaniards, don’t use the flag as freely as the other countries do.

In Spain’s history there is a dictatorship and, though it happened several years ago and we live in a democracy now, some people stills identify the patriotism with a similarity with the dictatorship ideas. The flag is sometimes more linked with a political point of view than with the country.

Of course it doesn’t make sense and all people in Spain should be proud of its flag. But politics wounds are difficult to heal.

 

Can I use the Spain’s flag?

Since Spain won the football (soccer) worldcup in 2010, people get used to show the flag with a wholesome feeling. I would say that the weird feelings about the flag are no longer there.

Anyway, if you are foreign, use the flag is always welcomed. You can use it to show that you speak the languages, that you like the country, that you have positive feelings about it. There won’t be a problem.

If you are of national origin you can use it, but there could be a little proportion of the population that will suspect you. So it depends on the context, on what you are saying, etc, but sadly you still need to be careful with it.

As a conclusion, we are still working on restore the flag to normal feelings, and we have recently done some steps, but the task is not finished yet.

So if you are writing for your company, you likely don’t want to open this kind of political discussion. If you are big international company, the flag is ok, if you are not; my advice is beinfg careful with the context.

It is necessary hire a native to get a good text in Spanish?

do I need a native to produce content in Spanish for my website?
creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by basheertome: en Flickr

As almost always in this world the answer depends on your needs.

First of all you need to be aware that if your writer is non-native, native readers will likely notice it. I have met really good Spanish speakers that weren’t native, but you always notice something in their expressions. Is it bad? It is not necessarily bad, but you need to look at some points to decide if this situation is ok for your texts.

When should I hire a non-native Spanish speaker to write a text in Spanish?

Easy and short answer: When this writer will add more value with his ideas and knowledge than the value that will be missed because of the fact the text is not 100% natural.

If you need a text about a specific topic in Spanish, and you know a non-native speaker that is the best in this topic, I am sure your readers will be ok learning from this expert. No matter if there are some little mistakes.

When is a bad idea to hire a non-native Spanish speaker to write a text in Spanish?

When you decide to do it, because it is cheaper.

Actually, this bad decision would be the same if you choose a bad writer that is a native speaker. If you give a cheap text to your readers you are saying them that all your products/services will be created in a low cost way, which is not usually a good marketing technique.

So first rule is to avoid bad writers, no problem where they are from.

Now, let’s think you have a good writer, but he/she is not native. If this writer isn’t the expert that I have talked about before, my advice is to choose a native one, because for Spanish speakers read a text written by a native is always friendlier than read a text that looks kind of not Spanish.

Show you reader you are worry about them being comfortable and make it easy for them.

What Spanish location is the best to produce a text in Spanish?

It depends on the target of your texts. If your texts will be mostly read by people from a specific location, the best option is choose a good writer from this location.

Argentina, Mexico, Cuba, Spain, each country have its own expressions and, of course, very good writers, so take it easy and choose one that is accurate to your target.

But always keep in mind quality. I, as Spaniard, would always prefer a well written text by someone from Mexico that a bad one from my neighborhood. A good Spanish, no matter where it was produced is understood by every Spanish speaker in the world. Bad text is hard to understand even when the culture and history is common with the readers.

If your target is international, I would recommend hiring someone from Spain. The language is as good or as bad as in any other place, but it is taken as more neutral by many readers. Maybe this will change with time, I am not saying Spanish from Spain is better or purest, just that historically we were looking at it in that manner.