Tag Archives: productivity

What is and what is not considered to be freelance working hours?

While a regular job would be more or less 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, what would a freelancer consider as working hours? One of the reasons why freelancers decide to be so, is the freedom that comes from setting their own hours. So, they can either wake up early in the morning and work until lunch, or enjoy the morning and work from lunch to evening, or work all night, or make a combination of them all and still have time for family and friends. Sounds really good, doesn’t it? But at the same time,

what is freelance working time
Mystery watch (Solved!) flickr photo shared by jhritz under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

when determining them. Is replying to an e-mail at 1 after midnight, searching for information online for your writing or learning how to write a particular text- working time? In order to distinguish this, we should take into consideration freelance writing for a fixed price or by the hour.

Working hours is time spent to any work that an employer permits an employee to perform. That would mean that any time the employee has spent to do work even if not instructed so or the work was done out of working hours, the employee should be paid. Thus, that would mean that a freelance writer that charges by the hour should include every time spent on research, not just the time spent on the writing itself. But then, how could an employer control that? Or even how could a freelance writer determine working time? Well, there are numerous tracking apps for freelancers. While Google Calendar helps you organize your time and to-do lists, Office Time is one of the many time-tracking applications that contains features as dashboard, spreadsheets data import and stat reports. So, you can start your freelance writing project, determine an hourly rate and generate the full invoice. Chrometa is another app that automates time tracking and records your software usage. You can therefore examine your daily reports, as well as your time spent on web surfing, Skype, coding etc. It isn’t as difficult as it seemed before, is it?

Concerning freelance writing for fixed price, it is quite easier to determine what your working time is. You get the same price as agreed no matter how much time or effort you have put into it. That is the reason why if you determine the price, you should take into account the research time you would spend on a specific topic, depending on your previous knowledge. It is rare, or almost impossible not to do research and write it all in no time. If, on the other hand, your employer suggests the fixed price paid, take it only if you think that price would be equivalent to the effort and energy put into it. Using trustworthy academic sources as google scholar among others will help you not only argument your writing, but it will also save your time.

Of course, estimating all that time spent in meeting or at phone, ordering another coffee while working from Starbucks, taking a small rest or eating your lunch is fairly difficult. Still, it all depends on your choice. That’s the beauty of the freelancing jobs, being able to decide for yourself and to recognize what can be considered working time, and what not.

Professional Development While Working at Home

Professional Development While Working at Home
Studying flickr photo shared by mer chau under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

While working at home can have its advantages such as flexibility and no commuting, it also means that you won’t have easy access to professional development resources and workshops that may be offered at some companies. In any case, professional development is an important part of any career, and finding a way to incorporate training into your schedule while working at home is a wise idea. There are many ways to do this. Although some things you can do on the fly while trying out a new type of work, you can also learn new skills more intentionally. This will help you keep ahead in your industry and be competitive.

Here are some great ways to keep up to date in your professional development while working at home:

Online Courses: One of the great resources in this day and age is the internet. You can learn just about anything online. The only problem is this often involves sifting through scams and not so trustworthy sources of information. Coursera is a great site that can help you avoid the task of sifting through the chaff. This site offers FREE online courses through universities across the globe. Courses are offered in a wide array of subject matter and even in different languages. Coursera is a gem – offering knowledge and a wonderful resource in a learning community. The courses do require time, so be ready to make an investment when you sign up in order to reap the benefits offered by completing the course.

Research: An alternative to taking an actual online course is to keep up to date with trends in your industry on your own. Following reputable blogs and industry leaders’ websites can help you keep your knowledge and skills up to date. For writers, following sites such as dictionary.com provide interesting information that will keep your writing tip-top. The site offers a word of the day and blogs that clarify common grammar mistakes and word mix-ups. Finding a site like this to keep you on your toes for the industry you work in will ensure that you are continually learning and improving as a professional.

Nearby Universities: Of course for those of us who work at home, it may get monotonous to include our professional development online as most work at home is also done on the computer and online. If you’re looking for an inspiring break, interaction with others and professional development all wrapped up in one, consider looking into nearby universities and local training services. There are often community courses available as well. Depending on where you are, prices may be quite reasonable. If money is an issue, consider asking the professor leading the course if you can simply “sit” the course, meaning that you will complete assignments and attend lectures, but not receive official accreditation for completing the course. Depending on your professional goals, this can be a very reasonable alternative that will give you all the knowledge, but keep your finances in order.

Remember, just because you work at home doesn’t mean that you can sit back and relax as the work flows in and out. Continue to develop yourself professionally and try to improve your knowledge base and skills every day.

Do you have any other tips?

The Five Clients a Freelance Writer Should Avoid

freelance writer clients that are like monsters
flickr photo shared by Erik Charlton under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

As a freelance copywriter, you’ll run into a diverse cast of clients, from big publishing companies to an average Joe who just wants you to ghostwrite his novel. However, no matter how big or small the client is, they may exhibit undesirable traits that should raise you a few red flags, and if you see the warning signs, run away if they’re not paying you enough. Here are the top five clients to avoid at all costs.

  1. The Penny Pincher

We’ve all met this one. They want quality, yet will pay you wages that are absurd even in the Philippines. While all clients have budgets, they can’t pay their writers slave wages, especially if they’re freelancing to make a living. If your potential client doesn’t want to pay you a living wage, back away. They’re not going to give you an increase.

  1. The Clinger

A client and a freelancer need to have good communication if they want the project to succeed, but there is such a thing as too much communication. If your client is constantly messaging you over Skype like an insane lover, demanding updates every other hour, wanting your personal Facebook, or threatening to cancel your contract just because you didn’t respond to them within a few hours, toss them. Freelancers have lives and can’t answer right away at some times. In order to prevent a clinger, tell them your contact hours beforehand.

  1. The Client Asking You for Free Work

Clients should never ask you to do work for them before you apply. Some may ask for you to write a small sample of writing so they can “see your style.” That’s what your portfolio is for! If they don’t have good feedback and are asking you to jump through hoops to apply, don’t bother.

  1. The Unreasonable Deadliner

Deadlines are important within reason, but as a freelancer, you’re probably balancing your client’s job with a handful of other projects. That’s why you should never stress over unreasonable deadlines. You can’t give your client a quality novel within a week, nor could you give them hard-hitting journalism in a day. Good quality takes a reasonable amount of time.

Granted, some clients are more lenient about their deadlines, but if your client isn’t, stay away.

  1. The Perfectionist

No matter how many times you submit your piece, it’s never good enough. Your client sends it back with a list of corrections, and once you fix them, the client then moves the goalposts by sending out more.

Are you their writer or their editor? If you are both, then skip this. But, reality is that most writers have a hard time scrutinizing their own work, especially on a limited deadline. Before you set the contract, tell your client that they’ll have to fork up extra every time they ask for unnecessary edits.

Granted, there are exceptions. If your potential client is your big break, but has an unfavorable trait, still work for them. However, for the average-paying client, say sayonara and move onto the next client, as there isn’t a short supply of them.

Doubling Your Freelance Writing Salary: Beyond a Penny a Word

earn more working as writer at homeSo you’re an established freelance writer who is making enough money to live. However, you’re ready to take it to the next step. Freelance writers do hit those roadblocks where it seems like they can’t earn any more, that they’re destined to write for a penny a word.

Well, we’re here to tell you that you can earn more and have more cash to have fun! Here are ten ways you can double your rate with ease.

  1. Set a Rate and Stick With it

One of the most important rules when it comes to making more money is to have confidence in your work and show your client the rate you think you deserve. If you feel like you deserve more than a penny a word, tell your client that’s your rate.

They may try to negotiate with you to work for a lower rate, but don’t budge. Show your client that you have a portfolio to justify your rate, and don’t back down if they ask to do it for less. Most clients who want quality will bite and pay you what you want.

Of course, don’t make your rate too ridiculous. You should first look at your competition and see how much they’re charging.

Never forget that everybody can write, but most of the people can’t do it well.

  1. Don’t Stick With Hourly Rates

One of the biggest flaws of traditional jobs is being paid by the hour. No matter how much work you put into an hour, you’ll be paid the same, and your client will get angry if you take too long.

Instead, work with a fixed rate. By doing this, you’ll be rewarded the harder you work. If you have lots of projects, you can blaze through them and earn even more.

  1. Type Fast With No Distractions

You’d be surprised how much money you’re missing out on if you spend a few extra minutes on Facebook. Instead of doing that, eliminate distractions and type as fast as you can. Take typing classes to maximize your potential, and experiment with different keyboards.

  1. Look for More Sources for Writing Jobs

If you’re just getting your jobs on a freelancing site, try looking for other sources. It’s nice having a comfort zone, but some of the most obscure corners of the Internet can be the most rewarding. Look around and find those higher-paying jobs.

  1. Don’t Let Your Doubts Get You Down

So you see a job that’s offering you an amazing amount of money, or a prestigious newspaper looking for freelance writers. You may think, “I’m nowhere near qualified” and not apply to it.

Don’t. You have enough experience and confidence to get the job! Feel free to send out as much applications as possible to the jobs of your dreams.

You may get rejected, and you it may be more than once. But just remember that some of the biggest writers and authors got rejected dozens of times before finding their big break. And you can too!

So what are you waiting for? Adjust your rate and start working for more today!

Games to Help with a Writer’s Stress

videogames for freelance writers
“Game Chair at flickr photo shared by thomcochrane under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

Sometimes, even freelance writers need time to cool down. Maybe your brain’s turned to mush after writing for hours, or writer’s block has stricken you. Whatever the case, you should take a few minutes from your session to calm your mind, and what better way to do that than with a few simple games that can stimulate your mind? Let’s look at some of the best.

Word Whomp

This game, hosted by Pogo, has been around for many years, and there’s a reason why. It’s exciting for those whose vocabulary is expansive, or for those who want to build onto their internal dictionary.

The game is simple. You have six letters, each held by a cute gopher. Your goal is to create as many words with those letters as possible. The longer the word, the better your score, and there is usually a word that implements all six of those letters. After the game ends, they do show you what words you’ve missed. Check it out.

Tumble Bees

Another one from Pogo, the goal is similar to Word Whomp in that you spell as many words as possible in the allotted time. This game, however, is a bit different. There’s an area that fills with honeycombs, each with a letter on them. You must spell out words with those letters before the honeycomb fills up. Each successful word fills up a jar of honey on the right of the screen. Fill up the honey to win. If the screen fills with honeycombs, you lose.

Hangman

Most of us have heard of this game, but for those who haven’t, it’s simple. The game provides you with a number of blank spaces which spell out a word, and you must guess which word it is by guessing a letter. If you guess the write letter, the proper space fills with the letter, but if you fail, the game starts drawing a man, which is hanging from a noose. It will gradually fill out the man’s head, body, and limbs, and when he’s complete, you lose.

There are many sites that host this game. Check it out.

Type Racer

If you’re looking to improve your typing speed, look no further. This game pits you up with other people online, and you must type a paragraph provided. Each player has a car, and the faster you successfully type, the further your car goes. Whichever car gets to the end first is the winner. So if you feel like you could type faster, this game is a good training tool.

Grammar Ninja

Looking to spruce up your grammatical skills? This game will help you with that. You’re a ninja in training, and the only way to make it to the top is to identify all parts of a sentence, from the adverbs to the clauses. Even if you’re picky about grammar, this game can provide a challenge for you.

So if you’re needing some time to unwind, these games can give you fun while stimulating your brain.

Do you know any other that is worth saying?

Writer’s block, just do it.

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

Working at home as copywriter can be the most exciting job that you ever had. But, it can be also the most irritating task that you will face especially when you experience having no idea about what to write. Yes, I’m talking about that big problem called

up from his head. It happens and when it does, it usually brings stress to the freelancers. But then, this is the right time to get ideas! Did you know that there are still many ways on how to write despite of being stressed at all? This is possible by following the simple ways to get the right idea.

  1. Read more articles online. Since freelancers write articles about anything under the sun, freelancers need to know more about the things that they deal with. Being exposed to articles about different topics gives one idea on how to come up with an article. Your chosen topic must be updated and new. It must cover the basic things that we need to know about this. This ensures you to be more reliable writer compared to a writer who just merely writes and knows nothing about the world.
  2.  Make sure to use only validated information when you present facts. Moreover, try being creative in the process of writing an article. Look at different aspects of your life. Looking at it gives you an idea of what to do. Sometimes, the answers in our problems seem nothing; yet, the ideas that we need are already around us.
  3. Stop for a while. Do not hurry typing just because you are in deadline. Search for more details on the internet. Then, weigh if its source if reliable enough to be used in your article. Some people find time in creating articles in the coffee shops. It is important to think and reflect; then go back again.
  4. Worry less. – This four word one liner gives you chance to be confident in writing. If you have done your research then your post will be useful. Most of the times you do not need to discover anything, but to help people to understand something with your personal point of view.

So in other words. Do not lose time thinking that you are stuck. Research, take your time to relax, when your mind is relaxed put your information in order only taking the one that is worth reading and write it.

 

Is it worth to take a small job when working at home?

Applying for small jobs, is it worth?
Scrabble Position by Flazingo Photos

When you are starting a work at home career it is very likely that you have to try freelance platforms such as Upwork or Elance, which soon will become Upwork too. In these platforms it is common that you have a fixed amount of points per month, and you need to spend the points when you want to apply for a job.

If you apply too much, you can buy extra points with a premium account and the platform has a little extra revenue. These points make applying for small jobs more expensive because you are spending points that maybe you will need in the future to apply for other bigger job.

What a freelance should take into consideration when applying for a job

First, you should look at your client credibility. Will they pay? This is an important question and the answer is not always yes. In freelance platforms this is easy to know. Do they have a profile with good reviews? Then, they pay. Are they new and haven’t the payment method verified? You are in risk. But, all the clients were new one times, so, sometimes you need to just trust in them.

Second thing to think about is whether the effort/time to write your application is worth for the job. If you are applying for a 10 euros task, you can’t put more than 5 minutes in the applying because there are chances that they choose another freelancer. Actually, even if they hire you, you need to write the application, get information about the job and then do the tasks. All these things take time. And, this is not all, likely when you finish the job you will have to record your income and generate an invoice for your taxes (more time!). So in the end, how much time do you spend for this 10 euros? I guess too much if you want to survive. Remember that a day has 24 hours, and you spend about 8 sleeping. So it leaves 16 hours to work, eat and exchange some words with other human beings.

However, sometimes it can be worth to apply or this jobs

But, life is hard and work at home is not easy. So maybe you might try to take one of these small jobs. Let’s see why.

One of the most important things to be hired is your own credibility. If you do a small job, and you give a nice value for your price, it is likely that the client will ask you first the next time he will need something done. And, it can become a regular project!

So, sometimes you get a high value to do a first job that at a first glance seemed a waste of time.

I would suggest freelancers that work from home applying to small jobs when:

1. Client has credibility. It can be due to he has a good profile in a freelance platform or because you know them or at least their website seems that he is serious.

2. The job description is clear and comprehensive. So you know what you will have to do, and you can be sure that it won’t be the typical “I need someone to rule the world by 3 euros per hour and also needs to speak ancient Greek”.

3. You see that the client usually posts small jobs so there is a chance for they deciding to keep you as the one to do it each time they need something to be done.

5 Healthy Habits to Develop if you Work from Home

Many people would argue that working from home is ideal in every way because it is convenient and comfortable. Although there are notable benefits to getting your job done within your own four walls, working from home can also lead to the development of poor habits. In order to assure that you can get the most out of your stay-at-home-job, here are 5 healthy habits you should try to develop:

            1) Stay active

It can be easy to fall into the negative habit of not getting enough exercise when you do not have to leave the house to get to work. For your overall health, it is important to make sure you move around throughout the day. Try taking a short walk around the neighborhood every few hours or shooting a few baskets to break up the monotony of the day. Exercise is great for rejuvenating your mind and helps your body to feel more energized.

            2) Make a space for yourself

When you work from home, it can be difficult to separate work time from personal time. One way to combat this issue is to establish an environment within your home that is dedicated to work. If you create a separate space for yourself, it will likely be easier for you to adjust your mindset in order to be able to differentiate between work and play.

            3) Be presentable

As tempting as it may be to stay in your pajamas all day, getting showered, dressed, and ready to take on the world will make you feel more awake and more engaged during your workday. If you feel confident and fresh, you are more likely to perform at a higher level.

            4) Maintain social contacts

Working from home can be very isolating because it often prevents the type of face-to-face water cooler talk that many experience at work daily. Therefore, it is important to intentionally interact with others throughout the day in order to meet your social needs; however, be cautioned—too much social interaction that is not related to work may become distracting. Be sure to limit your conversations that are not related to work so that you will not fall behind.

            5) Set limits

For those of you who tend to be perfectionistic in nature, it can be difficult to ‘leave your work at work.’ Working from home can make it challenging to draw the line between working time and taking time to relax. One important habit to set is to give yourself a cutoff time for work and sticking to it. Everyone needs rejuvenation in order to be their best the next day.

Working from home can be an excellent experience; it saves time that many people waste each day with long commutes and offers a level of convenience that most people do not get to enjoy. On the other hand, working from home takes a lot of self-discipline and drive. Establishing these five healthy habits can help you to have a positive, productive at-home work experience.

How to find the best freelance copywriter for your site

how to find the perfect worker
Shattuck_49641-final, ANIC32-053386, Notoncus hickmani, near Bungendore, NSW” flickr photo shared by SouthernAnts under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

Are you looking for someone that generates the content of your website in the long-term?

When a company is about to hire someone, it likely develops a long hiring process. However, when choosing a freelance some people just pick one that seems OK. Why choose one that is OK, when you can choose one that is perfect?

Ok, perfection maybe doesn’t exist, but you can try to go close to it.

The truth is that you won’t know if someone is accurate for your needs until you hire him or her. Let’s see some tips to improve your chances to select the best one.

How to find the best freelancer

1. Take your time when writing the job description.

Most of freelancers that fail giving an accurate work claims that they didn’t know what the client wanted until they deliver the job done and they saw his claims.

Think about everything you will need done. Be realistic and decide if there are chances to find someone with all these skills. Maybe you should hire more than one person to do the job in small pieces for different areas of expertise or maybe you just need to assume that you need a superhero and your budget is not enough.  But is a really good thing if you are aware of that, even if you can’t afford it because it will give you a better idea about what you can get.

Important things you have to take into consideration:

  • Skillset needed
  • Volume of work
  • Job particularities
  • Deadlines

If you take some minutes to write a good job description you will get more suitable applications and a better idea of your real needs.

2. Ask to see a portfolio

It is a good idea ask for some examples for freelancers, but take into consideration that each client is different, so maybe they don’t have something really accurate for your needs. If that is the case, you should ask them for a test because in the end each job and client is different.

When looking a portfolio, you should look at how the copywriter has adapted his work to the job needs, not how similar this job is to what you need. Someone that knows how to adapt the work is better than someone that only knows do one thing.

3. Ask for a test

The easiest is to ask for a free small test. However, my recommendation is trying to agree for a paid test for a lower price. Of course, this is only applicable to long term jobs. But, if you want to hire someone for the coming months, can’t you pay for 5 or 10 examples of different freelancers?

A paid test is more real, and let your freelancer know that you are taking this job serious. In the end, most of freelancers work for money, and they do their best for something that will let them pay their bills.

4. Try to get some opinions about the freelancer

This is easier now that many freelance work platforms exist, but if you are not in one of them, you can ask for recommendation letters or references.

5. Do not hire the first one that applies

When you publish a job offer, you will get applications very quick. Some of them will look great. But, wait for some days, and be patience. Maybe one the first application seems very good and reliable, and when you hire this person, you get another application for someone that seems equally reliable but also have more experience doing the tasks that you need done.

 

Cooperate and win!

freelance cooperation to increase your services
“Lemur giving hands” flickr photo shared by Tambako the Jaguar under a Creative Commons ( BY-ND ) license

I am freelance copywriter, but sadly I am not very good creating graphics. The truth is that you can browse the internet and get some images that are free and which rights only ask to put a link to the owner. This is easy and cheap.

However, some clients want a more comprehensive work and are open to pay for someone to create the images that will be published in their content. In these cases, you can just say ‘no, I am not able to provide original images’ or you can cooperate with graphic designer freelance and offer the full pack.

Well cooperation has one disadvantage, if one of the worker fails, the two of them will be affected. If you commit to collaborate with someone you commit to have a post and an image ready for the deadline. You can’t come to your client and say ‘man, it was the other freelancer who fails, I did my part of the job’ because someone that is paying, doesn’t want problems, but solutions.

However, if you find someone reliable and hard-worker, you are in disposition to offer a work that has its value increased.

My experience says that most clients just want a text, and the ones that ask for an image have the nonsense idea that it will cost the same as just a text. Well that is not possible. An image is very important for content, and you can’t just get the first one and hand it in.

Happily there are also a lot of people that like things well done, and understand the work that an image requires. In these cases, have some freelancers colleagues that are able to do it, is a great plus of value.