Category Archives: Work at Home

Learn from my experience working at home as freelance writer. Tips and useful information for those who want to work from home.

Why Knowing What Your Client Wants is Important

Perhaps one of the most important things to consider when taking up a new job is what the client actually wants. This sounds obvious, but there are several things to consider when applying for a job and discussing with the client what the job specifically entails.

Applying for the Post

You should only apply for jobs you are certain that you fit. Being a freelance writer you are likely to be drawn immediately to writing roles, or perhaps proofreading. If you have a flexible writing style, it is okay to apply to several different types of writing jobs, such as blog posts, news articles or product descriptions.

This said, it is important to make sure you are an appropriate fit regarding the content. Writing about something you know about and care about is one hundred times easier, after all. Some posts may require a little research, and that is not a problem. However, if you are being hired to write about business or use plenty of legal jargon, you must ensure that this is a field you have some experience in. Otherwise, you may struggle to write the content even despite research, and this will only cause trouble with the client.

Communication is Key

After you have applied for the post and received confirmation from the client that they wish to discuss your hire further, it is vital to establish a line of communication with the client. This may be via the messaging service of a freelancing website, via e-mail, or via a voice tool such as Skype. Different people prefer to communicate in different ways, and the client may prefer to dictate where you communicate in order to facilitate business and transaction. If you ask me, even when you chat with your client by Skype, it is a good idea ask they to write you an email with the instructions, so you have a place to look at when you have doubts about such instructions.

Before you even consider starting your work, you must discuss the job thoroughly with the client to understand fully what they want out of the job. Otherwise, it is easy to make mistakes which cause a lot of back-and-forth between yourself and the client, only creating more unnecessary work. Do not hesitate to ask questions! It is absolutely key to make sure you know how and what to write before you start.

Asking Questions

Throughout the process, it is okay to continue to ask the client about something if it springs to mind. You are not pestering them; in fact, it is likely that they will prefer someone who is dedicated and keen to complete the job to the best of their abilities.

It is better to check as you go along instead of wasting time sending off various draft copies to be marked and edited and sent back for corrections. This is why establishing a good line of communication early on is so important.

Criticism

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, there will still be things that the client wants to be changed. Do not take this to heart, it isn’t personal. The client is hiring you, after all. If you have followed all these other steps and done your best to satisfy the client completely before sending off your work, it will likely only be minor changes that can be finished very quickly.

This amounts to minimal time wasted and a high level of satisfaction with the client, probably earning you a good future reference when you require it.

Fulfilling a client’s needs is far from impossible. It’s simply all about communication, creating a better way to understand exactly what is being asked of you. I hope you heed this advice and that it serves you well in your freelance career. This is not to say that every future job will come up roses – some things just aren’t meant to be!

Technology and Artificial Intelligence in Freelancing

Technology is changing significantly these days, and with the world so focused on using technologies in our day-to-day lives, scientists are unsurprisingly eager to make everyone’s lives increasingly easier.

Artifical intelligence, or AI, is a relatively new field, but one that is expanding at a rapid rate. AI involves creating “smart” computers or machines that can, in a sense, think and learn for themselves to perform complex tasks. But how is this relevant to the world of freelance?

Proofreading

Already, there is a variety of sites and tools out there that proofread your documents and correct errors without you having to go through the effort of proofreading yourself. A basic example of this is SpellCheck and GradeProof, which points out simple mistakes to you. However, there are now also free sites such as Hemingway App, which goes into detail about your piece, including how lengthy and complex the sentences are, whether the words are over-complicated and can be simplified, and how many adverbs you have used.

This new kind of “smart-proofreading” is a good example of how AI can help in freelance work – it certainly speeds up the process of nit-picking!

Already helping us in our researches

AI-powered systems can also help freelancers with their research. Any freelance content writer worth their salt will know about SEO. Search Engine Optimization is a vital part of content writing, because there is no point in writing articles and posting them on the web if nobody is going to see them.

Ten or so years ago, web and article writing commonly featured keyword stuffing as a way to boost traffic through the site, because search engines were not able to detect this. In the last few years, however, the game has changed drastically. Now, search engines such as Google are integrated with AI in order to search for high-quality content, rather than just turning up sites that feature keywords. Search engines can now understand the content, and therefore push pages that are well-written and relevant rather than ones containing multitudes of keywords.

In addition, a relatively new AI algorithm can summarize long documents, therefore saving you a considerable amount of time researching. Of course, for many topics, the research you conduct may have been brief skim-reading anyway, which is why AI tools such as this come in handy.

Some people even use this technology to sift through messy e-mail inboxes, helping them to better prioritize their tasks. Again, this is an extremely useful freelance tool.

Even Logos

AI has a lot of uses other than writing tools. For example, Logojoy is a company that uses artificial intelligence to produce high quality logos for any business. The logos are created instantly after the user answers a few quick, simple questions about their preferences, and thanks to the AI integration, Logo Joy creates unique, aesthetically-pleasing designs.

The Future of AI

There are currently scientists working on ironing out the kinks in AI writing tools, meaning that in the future there may be bots capable of performing content writing tasks. This is a pretty scary thought for those of us who make a living off content writing, but as of yet the technology is extremely underdeveloped. Furthermore, it’s unlikely that computers will ever be able to surpass the flow of human language use.

A fair handful of freelancers are not limited to just one field. Perhaps writing is not your only expertise and you like graphic design, or perhaps you are wanting to branch out of freelancing into running a business of your own.

The uses for artificial intelligence are endless already, and who knows what will happen in the future.

Tips that guarantee success when starting an online business

Starting and running an online business is connected to many difficulties and issues that should be considered. Secrets to success vary among the individuals engaged in cyber work and tips that warrant a success may differ as well. Yet, here is a hit list of some common hints to follow.

Getting ideas

The capacity of our brain is predetermined to thinking and observations. This is how creativity emerges in the process of acquiring, gathering and storing information. You may never know when the right time is for an idea to come out of the bubble. This refers not only to places but people as well. Never avoid meeting a new face that may give you a refreshing perspective and an entirely new way of thinking. You might have come across useful tips on the benefits of searching the net for solutions, though it can be hard to remember everything we find interesting. Sometimes our mind is crowded with loads of thoughts and data. That is why keeping structured and developed tracks of the records you want to keep. It may be a diary or a bookmark folder in your browser. Something that is easily accessed when work has started.

Sell your experience and uniqueness not your items

Online business is not a physical space where customers and clients can see and touch the products or the service. You may think you offer and sell a service but it is more than that. It is an entire process which involves a range of activities based on your experience that need to guarantee success. The best way to do it is to be different and not imitating others. The more areas you are different the greater chance you have to make progress. For example, you can have a few satellite web pages or projects revolving around one venture. Though, remember that even in the most popular attraction you need to find and launch a very peculiar part that will make others follow you. Do not copy, but let others copy you.

Keep track of the community following you

Even the most successful business might fall apart unless you a constant back up from the people giving assurance that your job is meticulously directed to meet their interests. Try not to rely on your good sense or perceptiveness. What you actually need is a valid metrics to see where you are heading or whether you need to change your trends. Also, do not hesitate to cut off ideas no matter how much enthusiastic that might have looked at the beginning. Keep watching what people like or detest as there is no universal rule about leading a successful on line business. Just like scientists collect data based on field work before they have come up with a revolutionary theory. Measure your impact and keep your eyes wide open for any fluctuation in the process.

The Importance of Deadlines

As a freelancer myself, I know how important it is to stick to your deadlines. Of course, deadlines are important in most if not all fields of work, but in the self-employed sector they can be even more crucial.

Impressing Your Clients

In a broad sense, deadlines are important because they are often set by or agreed upon with your client, in which case they will be expecting to receive your work by this date. To avoid being selfish, you should always complete work by the agreed deadline to minimise any negative effects that a missed deadline may have on either yourself or your client, or even on a third party.

If you freelance via freelancing sites such as Upwork, meeting deadlines may be even more beneficial to you, because previous clients can leave ratings or reviews. Efficiency level can be a huge factor in achieving a good rating, which is vital in drawing more attention to your skills. More attention and a high recommendation makes finding clients a whole lot easier, facilitating the process of gaining work online.

Suffice to say, you don’t always have to hand in work on the deadline. Getting your pieces in early can improve this rating even further, which leads us onto the idea of setting your own deadlines.

Self-motivation

The final deadline is the end goal for you to work towards; the finished piece to be submitted by a particular time. However, you can set yourself several smaller deadlines, or milestones, in order to make the workload seem more manageable.

It is essential to set plausible deadlines so that you don’t cause yourself more stress trying to cram in an unfeasible amount of work. That said, if the mini-deadlines are appropriately set, they can really help you to build up towards the end goal (the final deadline) without there seeming to be too much work at all.

The final deadline is, obviously, the most important, but setting these smaller goals will almost certainly aid you on your efficiency levels.

Be Strict with Yourself

The key to meeting any deadline is discipline. You have to stay motivated and disciplined in order to meet any goal you have set for yourself, because this will help you stay on task.

Staying motivated and focused is a skill which you can develop through a variety of ways. There are apps and desktop tools to keep you focussed, and practices such as mindfulness and the trait of determination will help you to stay motivated. Of course, if you enjoy freelancing and like what you do, it is much easier to remain dedicated to your work.

The discipline side is more down to you being strict with yourself, setting goals and sticking to them. You may choose to set small rewards for yourself, so that after each milestone you pass you receive something nice; this is a very good way to keep yourself going, because you will feel a better sense of accomplishment.

If you are strict with even the little goals, you will find that the completion of the end piece will come much easier and much faster.

Working from home -how to boost your self-improvement

Home working can be an amazing experience for everyone if you have in mind the commodity and flexibility of doing your job. In comparison to the office work, homeworking offers your more flexibility but probably less competitiveness. You are on your own as you dictate your pace without any stress produced by the environment. However, you should know how to become more productive and catch up with the latest trends.

The first thing that pops up in mind when talking about home working is “time”. Creating a schedule according to your needs can be awesome but it can also lead to procrastination and laziness. If you don`t have to wake up at 7.00 am to catch the bus for work, it does not mean that you can`t keep the habit when you work at home. Setting your working time and sticking to it is important to develop good working habits.

Dress code is something that you are bound to in your company so why not to go on with the habit. People often say it might be fantastic being able to stay in your pajamas during work but wearing the clothes that bring to your mind rest and sleep would not make any good. There is no need to dress up but some casual everyday outfit can cheer you up and break the monotony of the day.

When you work from home you are not stuck to work hours as you would be in the office. Though, you should set your specific working hours and stick to the schedule. Find out when you are most productive. Some people do better early in the morning, while others are night birds.

Make sure you set aside a specific place for work. No matter how handy is using your laptop it does not mean you can crawl around your home with it. Being disciplined when working from a particular place can make you get in the working stream right ahead once you enter this realm. It does not have to be a room- a small, cozy corner in a room is enough to be named “my office”.

Being in a place accessible and needed to use by all the family members is not a good idea so you need a quiet space and the possibility not to get interrupted. Make it clear to everyone around your household that you are working seriously and you need your privacy and complete concentration. If it is difficult, use headphones and pick up some good ones with sound cancellation option.

Finally, you can`t work without a break, so go ahead and use your time for a nice cup of coffee. You can do it even better, take the opportunity to stretch your legs and go to the nearest coffee shop. Just as in a regular office when having lunch time.

Remember-you can always change your workload, but always think about ways you can work smarter not easier or harder.

10 Useful Writing Tools for Content Writers

Useful writing tools
072 – Keys flickr photo by LaMenta3 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

One of the keys to success in the world of freelance writing is definitely making sure your use of language is good. Of course, you probably have a pretty good grasp of your native language anyway, before you start writing for your career. However, this is not to say that everything you produce will be perfect. There are always ways to learn and improve. Unfortunately, not all the tools in this article are free, but sometimes the cost is worth it if it will help you propel you further in your work.

Focussing

Even the best of us sometimes have trouble sitting down in front of the screen and just starting. We might get distracted by our favourite social media sites or YouTube videos, but luckily there are some tools out there to help us.

Write or Die is available as both a web version and an iOS app. This tool allows you to focus on writing by setting up consequences that happen when you take long breaks. You can set a word goal and write in-app to ensure you stay completely on task.

Cold Turkey is an amazing app for your computer and your phone that blocks various websites. If you try to access websites during the time limit, you will be met instead with a motivational quote to keep you on track. Not only can you block websites, but also every other distraction from games to email clients. Additionally, they have a ‘White Listing’ option which allows you to exclude certain websites from the block. And if you have trouble forcing yourself to take regular breaks, you can block yourself from your laptop for a designated time limit.

Ommw

riter offers a distraction-free environment while you write, creating a tranquil space in which you can write freely. There are natural, neutral backgrounds, soothing audio tracks and sounds when you type to keep you calm and relaxed during the creative process.

Forest app is not only a great tool to help you focus, but also an incredibly innovative and wholesome app. Whenever you decide to focus, you plant a tree in the app, and it grows for as long as you leave it on the screen. If you leave the app, the tree dies, but if you keep the tree alive you can plant it in your own virtual forest. And when you reach a certain number of points, Forest gives you the option to plant a real tree, thanks to partnership with Trees for the Future. Your productivity can save the planet!

Proofreading and Avoiding Plagiarism

A large part of writing is the proofreading. It’s a dreary task, and often one we don’t particularly want to do. However, there are now online tools to help us as we go along, saving time instead of worrying about it all at the end.

Hemingway seems to be a popular choice amongst writers nowadays. This app, available as a desktop app, allows you to write clearly with a variety of formatting options, and marks your work as you go along. You receive a grade that tells you just how good your writing is, and the editor highlights your work in various colors to show different things: red shows where sentences are too lengthy and complex, purple shows where a shorter word can be used, and so on.

Small SEO Tools Plagiarism Checker. Assuring you have avoided plagiarism is extremely important, especially if you have written about a product or done some research before starting your piece; sometimes our brain tricks us into using dangerously similar wording. This free plagiarism checker tool can help you avoid that!

Quetext is another plagiarism checker, with a slightly more professional layout and deeper search capabilities.

All-in-One Apps

These tools are useful for writers in that they help you gather all your pieces, build portfolios and better organise your work.

Scrivener can help you to organise your work better, allowing you to edit multiple documents at once, store certain works in various files and take ‘snapshots’ of your work that save an earlier version while giving you the confidence to edit freely without fear of losing your work.

Ulysses allows you to create a focused workspace by hiding their advanced tools until you need them. Additionally, the exporter tool allows you to take plain text from your mobile and format it properly into word documents and other files for a cleaner look.

Mellel is a tool is described as a tool for “serious writers”, due to its ability to handle long, wordy documents. It allows you to focus and handles all the formatting for you, including footnotes and references.

There are a variety of tools out there designed to help writers. These are just a start to help you in improving your writing. After all, practice makes perfect, and these apps are simply there to offer a helping hand.

I hope that these tools help you in your work. Happy writing!

Some basics of affiliate programs and affiliate marketing

Global Network - affiliate marketing
Global Network by fdecomite, on Flickr
Global Network” (CC BY 2.0

Affiliate programs are used for businesses when you want to promote your product or service to affiliates.  It can be done either through companies and networks like Awin and Tradedoubler or individually.

Affiliating through networks can be rewarding though it has a few drawbacks. Indeed your business can grow up quickly as there are teams who look for affiliates for you. However, this can be costly, around 30% of your charge of affiliates.

On the other hand, building your own affiliate program can be an enjoyable experience and also beneficial for your online business. You can affiliate people and groups via different sources. LinkedIn is one of the best know social networks for connecting and affiliating. If you want to recruit affiliates you need to advertise your business with a few words. You can mention your conversion rates as well as your preferences what you are looking for. For example, affiliates with product review experiences might be preferable to you, though you should opt for possible testing to each interested party.

So what are the benefits of having an affiliate program?

First of all it is much cheaper, around 5 % for each commission. Also, contacts are more direct because key affiliates can be contacted immediately to arrange promotions. This makes it easier to get a better understanding of the product and the needs of the customers. Also, you can have a complete control of the affiliate program.

A few disadvantages should be considered with this type of affiliating. You will have to take care of all the payments and commissions. It might be difficult to monitor the performance and variables as it can be time consuming for one person to do it.

When affiliating, it is important to set your aims and objectives. You may want to increase sales over a year or to increase the order value in a defined period of time. After you have defined the aims you need to build the strategy of how to find the right affiliates. There are a few steps of this strategic engagement. You must clarify how the affiliates can promote you. Then, you must define what will be promoted through cost-per click and one of your aims can be to increase your visibility within search engines. There are other things to think about, like linking to your website straight away or by using your URL.

Next you will have to define the cost you are ready to spend on a new customer. Calculating the commission is important because the profit and costs must relate to visitors, leads and sales. It means you decide how you want payment to go: per click, per lead or per sale so that you improve your conversion optimization.

Speaking of affiliating marketing strategy, there are many more details to take into consideration, such as customer retention rate, customer lifetime value and  the ability to calculate the optimal commission without putting your business into a financial risk.

How to Write a Fluent Piece

Writing a fluent piece of work is something that all writers, freelance or otherwise, aspire to achieve with every piece they undertake. Fluency engages the reader, draws them in, and encourages them to read through the entire thing. Perhaps, in the long-term, a good writing style, captivating prose and a well-planned layout can earn new readers, expanding your capabilities as a writer, be it in finding work or growing a fan-base.

This article will teach you the do’s and don’ts of writing a fluid piece that will improve freelancing prospects.

Plan Ahead

Planning is a vital part of writing. Usually, when undertaking freelance work, you might need to do a little research. This may be in the form of conducting actual research around the topic, or this may be researching the client and looking into their past work to get a feel for the work you should be producing. Researching and taking notes will later become important in developing a writing style.

Once you have an idea of what you want to produce, write out a brief plan of exactly how you want the article to go. What will the title be? What will you include in the post? Should you break the article up with sub-headings or write a solid piece? If the piece does include subheadings, what will these be? And what content will go under each heading?

Choose Your Style

This relates back to the research step: you should gain an idea of what style to use whilst doing your research, particularly if you have seen examples of what the client wants.

A style is extremely important, because without it your piece may look disconnected and it certainly won’t flow. Depending on the type of article, the style will differ slightly, and for this reason you should know your audience fairly well and know how to write targeting them. For example, writing a viral article will require more use of colloquial language and shorter sentences to maintain the attention of a variety of younger readers. On the other hand, a professional article might be more complex. Either way, the style must be consistent to avoid confusing or boring the reader.

Switch it Up

Although a style is essential, it is also a good idea to vary your language. Using sentences that are consistently the same length makes the article seem disjointed; persistently small sentences contain too many full stops, and if you read the piece aloud you will notice how broken up it sounds, but persistently long sentences are too complex and cause the reader to lose focus. In addition, you can also change the sentence function occasionally – in this article I have written statements, questions, and orders.

The same goes for language. Always using the same adjectives and vocabulary becomes tiresome, and will make the article seem less professional or well-written, which is likely to deter the reader.

Writing with Rhetoric

Not all articles require rhetorical features such as alliteration, onomatopoeia and rhetorical questions to make them memorable. However, sometimes these literary techniques can add rhythm to the piece and make them easier and more fun to read.

Triadic structure, for example, can quickly become your new best friend. Writing in list format with three words or three examples is incredibly rhythmic and it also reinforces the idea you are trying to put across.

Conjunctions

Additionally, you should always make good use of conjunctions to start or join your clauses or phrases. Adverbs at the beginning of a sentence help to guide your reader through the piece. “Firstly,” signifies the first of many ideas to come, while “however” implies that you are about to contradict a prior statement. These words provide a very helpful map for your readers to navigate through the piece, and overall add a much better flow.

Practice Makes Perfect!

Finally, the best thing you can do as practice. The more you write, the easier it will be to develop and adapt your style. Find your writing voice and use it to put all your points across clearly. By following these tips and putting your all into writing, you are certain to produce a piece that makes the words fall elegantly right off the page.

What is AdWords?

AdWords is a system for advertising provided by Google where advertisers bid on specific keywords so that their adverts appear in Google`s search results. It`s an online advertising platform and the most widely used online advertising network. If you want to advertise your business. This tool is the right place to reach new customers and let your business grow.

Advertising through Google AdWords can be done across the two central networks –the search net and the display network. The search network is the advertising when clicks are paid. Advertisers make offers on keywords connected to their business. Thus, users who are searching a particular item or service will be able to see the advertisement for a keyword they have put in the search field. This is also known as paid search as what customers do is paying per a click. With the display network, those who advertise can put advertisements visually looking like banners on websites that are part of the display network. The display network is used by millions of global internet users.

How to use AdWords

The question is how to stand out of the crowd when the world in a highly competitive online business world. Here are some helpful copywriting tips that will enable you to create desired ads that will attract customers. The very first thing you should keep in mind when you start using AdWords is that the number of words is limited to 130 characters. It means, you have 25 characters for your headline, 35 for the URL, and 35 words for the first and second lines respectively. These are the lines where you give the description of your ad.

Be purposeful when you decide what keywords to use in the search for your target audience. Be familiar with them using “you” so that they know you speak directly to your audience. Also, tell them what they will achieve of your product/service in a specific way. For example, instead of saying “How to become a good portfolio writer” you can title it “How to become a good portfolio writer in ten steps”.

Make use “camel case”. The words “PowerPoint” and “SlideShare” are examples of camel case as well as “AsWords”. They are compound words and each of them begins with a capital letter. This is related more to the URL than to you as combination of long and multiple words are easier to be read when word beginnings are marked with capital letters. For instance, if your website`s URL is creativecontentblogger.com, it`s easier to read if you write it as CreativeContentBlogger.com.

Creating attention grabbing Adwords is not that much difficult if you consider the above hints. A catchy logo design with some ASCII characters, like percent sign, registered trademark, plus sign and the asterisk can be all used at one place and can do a great job. Finally, do not forget that people want to know what they are supposed to do. So, let them use a Call-to Action and you may have an online order of your dreams.

If you want to make money from home, this tool allows promotion and advertising controlling your budget, so I think it is very useful foor all the projects that are just starting.

How to get your freelancing tasks done when away from home

When the Internet emerged into our everyday lives and many of us did not have Internet access, we started getting used to Internet cafes. They were a kind of combination of a coffee shop and an Internet access point.

With the spread of online working, the cyber cafe is beginning to transform into a new type of office as a novice of modern world. You can simply take your laptop and join the army of freelancers working in cyber offices named the coffice since they it serves as half an office and half a coffee shop.

How does the coffice work?

The coffice is mainly meant to freelancers though it can be used for other purposes as well. Freelance working offers a more relaxing lifestyle with a flexible schedule, though it often means being attached to your home. How many times have you thought about the idea of travelling and still catching up with our work but you were unable to risk a reliable internet access? Today you have the privilege to literally drag around in space  your job as a freelancer. You only search for the nearest coffice in the destination you are heading to and work goes on.

The coffice is a shared office in cities usually located on convenient, easily accessible places. It is a destination with co-working offices for individuals, business people, entrepreneurs and other like-minded people. Unlike traditional internet cafes, this is a larger area encompassing separate compartments equipped with desks for freelancers. Fast, unlimited Wi-Fi, work stations for PC and tablets, and scanners and printers are at your disposal.. Depending on the coffice design, there may be a conference room as well. This seems very handy if you have a meeting but lack a conference room to hold it. There are also various option regarding the time you need to spent working. You can rent your place for a few hours or choose among the various packages of renting service. You can even make a long term contract in case you have decided to stay in some place for uncertain time. Providing you travel around Spain, you have the possibility to submit a desk online. This is very convenient for people with a busy, and beforehand planned schedule.

The relaxation area is what provides you with some quality time off from your busy schedule. Again, depending on the site, you may find a wide range of refreshments and snacks from the buffet.  If you want to stretch your legs and lose your body you can attend the relaxation area and use their sofas and comfortable chairs.

No matter what your intentions are when searching for this type of cyber working, it will provide you with an experience you have never encountered before. Additionally, you may meet people who are on the same wavelength with you in professional profile. Who knows, you may find a new client, or coworker, or at least a friend sharing your priorities.