Freelancing, just do what you have to do

3 ideas for working from home
creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by koalazymonkey

It is common that when you are doing a copywriter task, you find that something can be done in a better way than the one that your client have asked. In this case the dilemma appears, what should I do? It can be hard choosing between the best option or just the one that the client have asked for.

First thing you need to do is communicate with your clients. Give them a clear description about the problem, you reasons to recommend another way to do things and wait for their feedback.

Most clients will be happy with this situation and will write back telling you if need to keep following their rules or not.

In case they accept your explanation, and ask you to do the job as you think is the best way there is no problem

But sometimes they don’t look life as you do, and they think you should follow the original instructions. In this case you should do what they are asking you. Is it moral doing something that can be done in a better manner? Maybe you think it is not. But the truth is that you aren’t the truth owner and they could have their reasons. And even if it is not the case, your job is do a work that makes your client happy. The only thing you need to be secure is that you have advice them about the way you think it is the best. After that, they have the right to decide.

Never do things against your client indications, even if you think it is better for their interest, because the final result will have effects in your client development, and you are not the responsible for that. You are responsible about your own work, and you are doing it as you was asked.

Remember that specially when working from home, trust is the most important thing between you and your clients. They need to be secure that you will the work as they wish, because they can’t see you doing it, and this makes them feel unsecure.


Spanish around the globe

Are you thinking about to create a Spanish version of your website? here a post that will help you to do so. Spanish is one of the most important languages in the world and also one of the most spoken ones. It is one of the 6 official languages of the United Nations. Spanish is a language from the romance languages family, alongside French, Italian, Portuguese, Occitan, Catalan, Romanian and others. The root of all these languages is the Indo-European languages family, an even more primitive group that was formed thanks to the immigration of people from the Indian Peninsula to Europe, and viceversa, between an estimated time of 3000 years, from 4000 BC to 1000 BC. The origin of Spanish itself takes us back to the 13th century, where the first written standard of this language was first developed, in Toledo, Spain. After that, Spanish has been spreading all over the world and its inhabitants, specially with the military interventions and invasions that Spain conducted to America, Africa and Asia, from the 15th to the 18th centuries, and after that the massive immigration of people from Spanish-speaking countries to another, such as United States and Europe countries.

According to Ethnologue[1], Spanish is currently positioned 2° in the ranking of languages by total number of speakers, with around 470 million speakers worldwide. These speakers are distributed in Europe, South America and Central America specially, where Spanish is the official language for almost every country in this areas (Except Europe). The most populated countries who are examples of the regions mentioned above are Mexico (117 million speakers), United States (around 52 million speakers), Colombia (47 million speakers), Spain (46 million speakers), Argentina (42 million speakers), Venezuela (29 million speakers), and many others, like Peru, Chile, Paraguay, Guatemala, Portugal, Cuba, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and Italy. Also, Spanish is spoken in other continents and regions, like Asia and Africa. For example, Equatorial Guinea (almost 1 million speakers), Morocco (3 million speakers), and Western Sahara (22,000 speakers) are cases in Africa. In Asia, Spanish is spoken in the Philippines (more than 3 million speakers), Israel (175,000 speakers) and Turkey (13,000 speakers). There are also 447,000 persons who speak Spanish in Australia, and 47,000 in New Zealand, both countries located in Oceania.

There are different dialects and forms to speak Spanish; the Latin American Spanish, Spain Spanish, Mexican Spanish, African Spanish and other examples, each one with different words and unique uses and phrase structure (in some cases).

[1] A web-based publication that contains statistics for 7,106 languages and dialects.

Proofread a Spanish text: written accents.

Proofread Spanish
Writing through the raincreative commons licensed ( BY-ND ) flickr photo shared by josemanuelerre

Proofreading a Spanish text is not just focusing the grammar and the spelling. There is another important factor that  you need to take into consideration, which are the written accents.

One of the basic rules to put written accents need you to classify the words into three categories.

Words called “agudas”

In these words the stressed syllable is the last one.

You need to put a written accent in these words when they finish in a vocal, or in “s” or “t”.

For instances: París, Colón, Jesús and Mamá.

Words called “llanas” or “graves”

In these words the stressed syllable is the second-to-last.

You need to put written accent in these words when they finish in a consonant different to “s” or “n”.

For example: Ángel, ábol or fácil.

Words called “esdrújulas” and “sobreesdrújulas”

In these words the stressed syllable is onte previous to the second-to-last.

These words always have written accent.

In the future we will talk about more rules for written accents in Spanish, but from now, try to don’t skip any of the ones commented above.


Tips to develop a content calendar

The work of writing content is not just about to write something every day. If you are a writer for a website, you probably need to create a content calendar in which you have to put the topics about you will write in the next post. Sometimes it is hard to imagine all the things that you will write about in the next month, so here I am giving some tips to help you to do it.

  1. Search for the next month in Wikipedia

Searching the name of the next month in Wikipedia you will get a list of the most important events that happens every year in that month. For instance, about march Wikipedia will notify you that it will be St Patrick festival.

This is a great way to be aware of the most important events in your society. It depends on your website and blog subject that you can get advantage of it, but it is easy that you will. Do you sell books? a post about books about St Patrick or Ireland, do you rent cars? a post about renting a car to go to party, etc.

2. Look for events in your city/region for the coming days

You need to be aware about the next concerts, congress, festivals, etc that will be ruling your city’s next month agenda. All these events bring people to your area and this people will look for information in the Internet, so you need to be there to let them know about your business.

3. Look for news in your sector

One of the objectives of having a blog is to become an expert in your clients’ mind about the thing you sell. So check the latest news about your sector and do a post about them. People that arrive at your website looking for that information is interested in your products.

How to save money when working at home

One that choose to work at home job usually has less income that someone that do the same job in an office. This is understandable since when you work at home, you have much more freedom and flexibility.

Working at home is a great excuse to buy things that aren’t strictly necessary. Avoid unnecessary costs is the best way to save money when you are working at home.

For example, avoid buying unnecessary software. Before taking the decision to buy a software ask yourself, do I really need this? If you work a translator you likely need a translation software, in order to keep your translations accurate and be faster doing your tasks. It is different if you just do some little translation as a complement of you income. In this case, you can survive without paying the high fees of a translator software. These softwares need a minimium volume of work to be worth. So don’t buy it too quickly. You will know when you really need it.

Heating and air conditioning. To be productive you need a room with a nice temperature, but this doesn’t mean that you need a fixed 20ºC every second. Don’t use the excuse that you are working to spend more than the necessary in the heater. You need to keep it nice and avoid sweating a lot or get a cold, but ask yourself would I have the heater on right now if I was in an office?

Lastly, avoid to eat sweets and snacks when working. First this is good for your health, second this healthy food is usually cheaper. If you need to eat something do a little break and eat. But don’t eat meanwhile you are working because this is a compulsive behaviour that will make you spend a lot of money in bad feeding habits.

Articles in Spanish, el, la, los, las Vs un, una, unos, unas

When writing in Spanish one of the hardest things for foreign speakers is when to use definitie articles like el, la, los, las and when to use indefinite articles such as uno, una, unos, unas.

There are a lot theory about this, but today I will explain the most basic rule, which is the most generic and the one that you will need to use more likely.

You have to use indefinite articles: uno, una, unos, unas…

…when is the first time that you are talking about your subject.

For example: Este verano fui a una boda.

This is the first time that you are talking about the wedding, so you need to use indefinite article UNA.

You have to use definite articles: el, la, los las…

…when the people that you are talking to have heard about the subject before.

For example: La boda fue muy divertida.

Now you are talking about the wedding that you have mentioned before and your listener knows it.

So if you say: Este verano fui a la boda

If you have never mentioned the wedding before your listener will ask you about what wedding. Because using definite article la you are saying that the listener already knows what wedding, so if your listener doesn’t know, he will feel uncomfortable, as your message is saying he should know.

In the other hand if you say: Este verano fui a una boda

Your listener is aware that is the first time that you are speaking about the wedding, so he won’t feel bad about not knowing anything about it. If he is curious he could ask: whose wedding? (¿la boda de quién?) but he knows that it is the first time you are talking about the wedding so it is ok that he doesn’t know anything about it. In this case it would be normal that your listener don’t ask anything about the wedding since he is comfortable knowing nothing about it.

Are you looking for a Spanish copywriter, contact me please !

How to create a budget without fixed income

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

If you are working from home it is very common that you don’t have a fixed income. Telecommute jobs usually look for flexible workers and it means flexible incomes. Each month you get as much money as you work, and sometimes the workflow is not so high nor it is your income.

How to be ok with your finances in this scenery?

First, you need to create a budget. Maybe you don’t have a fixed income, but I am sure you have some fixed costs. Creating a budget will help you understand your financial situation better and then create an emergency plan in case difficult times come.

Let’s do it simple. A budget has two big sides: Incomes and costs.

Having an accurate idea about your costs

Costs are easier to calculate. Of course sometimes can happen unexpected costs, but  it is not an everyday problem. Let’s focus in the costs that you already know you will have.

Make a list of your costs. Order them regarding its importance. This doesn’t mean that bigger costs are more important than little ones. Put the costs you need to have first, regardless their amount, and the ones that you can avoid in the end.

Now that you have your costs ordered. Take a look and make a line under the last costs that you think are unavoidable. The costs above the line are your fixed costs. The rest are variable costs and you should be able to stop them in case you need it.

Doing this in a situation in which you are not pushed by the need to cut your costs, helps you to be more objective about the ones you can or can’t remove.

Looking the income

No it is time to think about your income sources.

Create a list with your income sources, and try to figure out how much is the average income you get from each source and how much it can vary each month (100% … 20%).

For example you can have a client that sometimes asks very big projects, but that is not regular in his demands. Imagine this client have asked you three works in last year for $1000, $400 and $1000. If you work 12 months per year this means you get $24000 in the full year and $200 per month from this client. However, the income from this client varies 100%. Other client could have tasks every month, for instance $100, and the variation rate could be 0%, if each of the 12 months in the year you have received $100.

With this work, you have a better idea about who are your clients, what is their seasonality and which ones you can think about as fixed income and which ones not.

Of course, nothing is secure in this life, and you always have to work to get brand new clients, but have a clear idea of your situation only can help.

With this little exercise you can think in your finances in a much more accurate way.

Good luck

How to Pick the Right Contractor

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

You need someone to write your dream novel, or someone to put your website together. Hiring a freelancer can be a great way to do that, but how do you go by getting the one who is the right fit?
First, make sure that your contractor read the job post in full. This can be done by having them put a certain word in the subject line, or asking a few questions that must be answered in the cover letter. This will filter out those who send out spam letters.
Second, ask them to provide samples. Looking at work samples can make all of the difference in deciding if the contractor is the right fit. However, if they don’t have any samples, don’t dismiss them just yet. There are plenty of people who have potential to do great work, but don’t have the experience needed. In that case, ask them to create a sample and see what they can do.
Third, look at their feedback at their profile. If they’ve garnered nothing but praise from similar clients, then you can almost be guaranteed for quality. If they’ve received negative feedback, hit that decline button and look at the next candidate. Tread lightly if the client has received mixed reviews.
Finally, don’t be afraid to increase your budget. The good thing about freelancing is that you can get the job done without shelling too much, but sometimes you get what you pay for. By paying peanuts, you might miss your ideal candidate. Put yourself in their shoes and realize that they might be doing it for a living. So if you want great story or an eye-popping website, you shouldn’t say your price is non-negotiable.
Finding the right contractor can make all the difference. By following these guidelines, you’re guaranteed to get the perfect fit.