The Most Evil Boss Ever


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Me and FlexJobs

In recent, I've been looking into places that will help me in my major which is Marketing/Merchandising.  Love copywriting but the market is a little saturated with people willing to work for pennies.  Anyway, I heard that FlexJobs was a decent place to find online or offline work.  The only catch was that services are fee-based.

I got the 3-month subscription to get an even feel without a real commitment (which is around $40-50 a year).  Testing is free, there are decent articles and a few small perks just for being a member (consumer goods with a minor discount).  Like most reviews say, there's no spam or pressure to join some fake college or anything that does not pertain to actual work.

While I was not terribly active (I've got school and client as I type), I saw that Lionsbridge saw my profile and felt I was a match for a position.  I've heard good things about them, so I wanted to keep things going.  My subscription expires next week so I wanted to renew early.

But their system would not take my payment.  I even tried different cards but nothing. So I write them letting them know what was going on.  I got a message stating to contact Jeremy in Billing.

Now speaking as a marketing person, it would have been nice if Jeremy had contacted me to walk through the process and they can make a sale.

But nooooooooo.  I had to go through their tiresome phone menu and leave a message, again.

This is to make those aware that some of these places may have good intentions but lack the right due diligence to stay in the game.  I'm on the lookout for another "FlexJobs".

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Learning to Write So I Can Make Cents...NOT!

Like most writers who have few print credits to their name, I take non-credit classes from every so often to sharpen my skills.  As technology takes over, I will probably do this until I retire from working.  So this means at least 25 more years of me paying for writing courses.

While I have no problem paying, I do have a problem with high prices based on a brand.  If you're saying 'Well that's just business, toots', you are correct.  However, me and other hard-working consumers can speak out on anything that is not fair.

This summer, I had some time to myself but instead of taking a vacation, I decided to take a writing class.  Not just any class but one that would help "up the ante" when it came to charging clients.  A good investment, if you will.

Those brands on my brain were the Writer's Digest tech writing class, Writer's Village University membership, and UCLA Extension.  The latter cost the most but I thought would bring the best return.  Then again, I read reviews on Yelp and also remembered that they also accepted my junkie cousin into their alcoholic counselor program (no disrespect to those who have taken the class or are staying on the wagon).  My point is that they will take anyone with money.

Writer's Village University was my first paid print assignment so I felt that I owe them something, even though they were slow to process after submission.  While they were the least expensive option, they only seemed to have more fiction than genres used in business communication.

That leaves Writer's Digest.  I will stick with facts from here on.

The program is called the Essentials of Technical Writing, meaning the absolute bare bones. There is no certificate. Formatting is not part of the curriculum.  Research basics are taught but more info can be found at other resources for less.  I was impressed with how to translate tech documents into everyday language.  I got feedback on all of my submissions but my last, where I broke down how gender roles changing in today's society and how it should reflect in government data stats and forms.  I was shot down with blanks.  Meaning the instructors had no basis for their opinion.  Why are there always articles about gay and women's rights in the workplace and other areas of life? Not to mention bills being passed that reflect these changes.

So if you're bored and have the money, you can spend on WD but it will not be an investment if you know a little about technical or business writing.  Otherwise, take college courses or try a single class with ed2go or a free writing class.  Some content sites (like Authorr - and they pay on time, in case you want to write for them).  Personally, this has scared me from Gotham and UCLA Extension.

Right now I'm back in school and my instructors are great. I hope to get the right training at a fair price in this lifetime.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Latest 411 in Content Writing

For those of you that are still getting used to Yahoo Contributor Network disappearing, I just got an email announcing that HubPages and Squidoo were merging.

I sort of remember trying Squidoo years ago and from what I recall, they had "lenses", which were a synopsis of different subjects (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).

Now, HubPages I do remember and once had a good relationship with them.  However, I guess around the time I began to get private clients was when they decided to change their requirements so as to comply with Google's new/revised algorithm.  What I do remember is that most of my articles got pulled (after years of being public) because they weren't long enough and did not have enough accompanying images.  We couldn't come to mutual terms so I recently pulled the articles.

As far as other venues go, I'm working on a list of hot leads as I'm typing.

One thing I can say is that maybe not all paid places are bad. I heard about FlexJobs on Real Ways to Earn Money Online and another blog I can't remember.  Anyway, they told the truth about some of the FlexJobs leads being visible online for free.  However, they are not all CL ads and the service does save some time.  They have monthly, 3-month and yearly options and I think the yearly is under $30.  I used the promo code SAVE30 to get 30% off the membership price.  One thing that have to add is that skills tests are free and navigating  their site is very easy.

On the flip side, I've had a account for years and recently, I upgraded to their paid option.  Not only does a person have to pay for each skills exam but they have a dozen annoying windows, pop-ups, constant email reminders that go out more than once a day...and the cheapest clients.  I just finished IM someone who wasn't paying much (ok, it's seo and not a tech paper), wanted a superfast turnaround (it's possible but on my terms...please don't monopolize my hours) and wanted for me to worker earlier than when the coffee kicks in (only for an hourly job as this was a flat fee).

As they used to say, back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

YCN No More!

Just got an email from Yahoo Contributors Network announcing that they are shutting down shop effective, July 31, 2014.

I guess all good things come to an end.  Going all the way back to the Associated Content days, it seems there was nowhere for good content to go but up.  Though the name changes have been a bit much to keep up with, there is nothing like revenue payments for search engine quality articles.

Maybe you're like me where you may see YCN's closure as way to improve removed articles (the email indicates that there will be some exceptions) and sell them to another content company.

Thing is, that it seems content companies come and go at a breakneck pace these days.  While some say the only place a person can call home is a personal blog, hosting changes can affect one's income as I am still in battle with

Thoughts?  Ideas?  I'm here all weekend as I have online summer school!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Great Resource Book and a Place to Avoid

If I find leads in other things besides writing, I will post them here.  Right now, I have no active sponsors so these are true accounts with no monetary gain attached.

Though the cover title is different from the search title, this Kindle book is less than $4 and has plenty of resources.  Not limited to writing or surveys, there are gems (inside over 700 leads) that may lead to passive income or lazy revenue.  Now, from reading the reviews, the author may or may not be Pat Flynn.  Also, I personally cannot attest to whether a person can make $28K monthly.

One place where you may be lucky to make $28 is PayLoadz.  I signed up for the free digital upload program during the early days of my 'zine.  Made zero sales but I didn't have much of a marketing strategy other than placing a few random links on my blog posts.  Well, they contacted me with an invite to join their paid program.  Problem is they never told me how much everything would cost until the end when I got tired of chasing links .  Here are several accounts from former users.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Way to Beat Writer's Block and Get Paid for It!

Right now, I'm in a position where I really want to write and am working on a new concept in content writing but my days are unpredictable with this chemo thing.  Normally, I deal with writer's block by doing the following -

  • Rewriting old articles
  • Reading an industry trade that is unfamiliar to me
  • Recycle old articles as sources to cite
  • Look up new words in a vocabulary builder

Not real exciting but its effective for me.  Now, the other thing than can start the creative juices is comment posting. Small business issues, celebrities, and personal interests are things I can talk about for hours.  If this is you, click here to see how anyone can Earn Money Posting.  There are many moneymaking opportunities that not only pay via PayPal but allow flexibility so if you get that wonderful client but need a break, this is the perfect place to get it without pressure.

Earn Money Posting in Forums

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Best .99 You Will Spend on a Writing Book

Thanks to Real Ways to Earn Money Online, there are free Kindle downloads that relate to working at home/freelancing.  Some are redundant but every so often, there is a gem.

Now, I say this with the sentiment that content writing is becoming oversaturated.  The companies, Google Panda, and clients want a damn academic paper or ebook for pennies.  This book by Brian Fenwick has given me a little bit of hope.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Getting Around to Expand Your Business

Many of us freelancers enjoy the online opportunities that are out there.  However, we also know there are many prospects that are offline.  The question is how do we get to them and still find time to work effectively?

Unless a person lives in an area with reasonable public transportation, they need a car to get around so they can visit prospective clients.  Though gas costs a pretty penny, look at networking events, cold-calling and other methods as an investment.

It is also a good idea to look into full coverage auto insurance that does not break the bank.  Many companies out there offer flexible payment plans and will give a fair quote on your used vehicle.  Like anything else sold online, cheap insurance can be found for almost pennies on the dollar with companies that are reputable and rank high in customer satisfaction.

The first step to expanding your business is to determine what type of company or individual you want to do business with.  Find out what their needs our and analyze whether you can meet or exceed those needs better than the competition.  Write down 3-5 of these, so they may be included in your elevator pitch.

Develop your elevator pitch by condensing what you can do for them in 30 seconds or less.  Once you have a couple of drafts that will work in a social setting, try to memorize at least one.  Remember to look for a reaction so you will know whether to continue selling services or let the receiver lead the conversation.

Create promotional documents that may be handed out in person or online.  Some people may go with a whitepaper or newsletter but the objective is to make it unique and as fitting to your brand as possible.  Be prepared to give these away both online and offline.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Writer Watch...Before You Apply

Recently, I went through a ton of  writing leads with still quite a few to go.   I like to mix up content companies with private clients so as some are changing or going under.  Anyway, there are a few companies that have been around for a while buuut...

there is something that should not be overlooked.  Free work.

Now, everyone should have clips, even if the work is unpublished or rejected (you can always revise for the next set of eyes).  I, personally, don't have a problem sending a prospect a 100-200 word sample.

Anything else is a waste of your precious time!

Article Marketing, BKA Content and Scripted may operate on the up-and-up but I will never know because they want samples of 500 words or more.  No bueno!

In the near future, I will add to this list of people/companies to avoid.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Why I Stopped Paying for Writing Advice

The occasionally scathing feedback that comes with editors and private clients cannot be avoided.  It happens, it stings and if a decent writer hears it enough, they will either take note and correct it or throw in the towel.  

I say this because I was discouraged by content writer sites and wanted a way out, so I joined WOW (aka Women on Writing).  Now I got okay advice and other resources but the only lead that worked for me was Textbroker.  While TB occasionally paid the electric bill, my membership was hardly worth the $48 charged to my credit card.

Fast forward four years as my writing has improved and I feel confident about sharing my skills with others, I decide to try an experiment.  As WOW sent out monthly newsletters, I saved all 12 issues as PDFs and one weekend, I decided to go through the writing leads.  Just about 80% of the companies listed were no longer in business.  This was in 2013 and I got the listings in 2008/09.

Last year, I re-joined LinkedIn with better success than before.  My groups are larger and I'm feeling my way around the marketing perspective.  In one group, there are posters raving about this e-book, Writing For Money: The Online Writers Path to a Full Time Income by Stephen Davies.

While it sounds nice, I have to be honest as some are being misled about this industry.

Anyone looking to get rich (or comfortable) from online writing needs a plan because relying on TB or Break Studios alone will bring disappointment, regardless of how good a person is.  I can't give this advice because each niche has different needs and there are many profitable writing styles.  However, anyone looking to make an investment in a worthy career should start with a book like this one.

Here's why - 

Davies gives good advice on how to go after online writing jobs as well as simple explanation about SEO writing.  Whether a person writes content for backlinking or Build My Rank (BMR) style links, there is really nothing too technical about writing these if the writer understands the objective.  However, I must disagree about a 5% keyword density that the author encourages as the standard is 2-4% per 100 words.

There are many writing leads here.  I mean hundreds. There are also many UK companies that accept writers from the States. However, I did find broken links in the PDF (more on that below) as well as many companies that have either closed their doors or do not have an online presence.  

I don't fault Davies as sometimes the frequent contributors are the last to know that their services are no longer needed, effective immediately.  My issue is that about 80% of the leads listed can be found anywhere online - AT NO CHARGE!  But to be fair, it does take time to gather this many leads.

Some people do not have $5 to spare and this is not to make light of what may be a serious situation.  However, there are many in the States (I believe the author is from the UK) who need to make a full time income by the following week, not the $7-10 they may get from a content company that may or may not pay on time (it happens, even with the reputable ones that have been around for a few years).  

Making a full time income requires the writer know their audience and the needs as well as overall demand.  They also need to take into consideration their resources so that can plan an effective marketing strategy.

Davies may have covered this but the reason why I'll never know for sure is that the PDF version of this book only allows accessibility three times.  No copying (unless a person has a paid Adobe account) or saving to a hard drive for later reference.  So the best bet may be to get the Kindle version as it is the same price.