Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

So yeah, I’ve been busy these past couple of months. It seems just like yesterday it was January. I’m sorry to my followers that I didn’t say Happy New Year. So there you go.

Holy crap, slow down time. Here it is already the 10th of March and a lot of things have gone down since I last wrote. Where do I even start. Well I think you might want to stick around and read this one.

Freelancing has been going pretty well with the exception of a few bad things that have happened. I’ve honestly looked at all the opportunities online and I can tell you that Elance has been the best option for finding decent work and getting decent jobs. If anyone knows me, I’m against the low slave wages that most clients offer for writing on Elance. Which brings me to an incident that happened in January. A client offered me an hourly wage of $480 a week to write articles. I didn’t have to produce an ungodly amount of words either. The client also told me that the work would be ongoing. Well this is great I thought. The client wanted 10,000 words per week. Hey that’s not really bad for the amount they were paying. So I took the job. This was my first mistake. The client had no intention of paying me, but instead took my work and vanished from Elance. Here is where things got tricky though. The client asked me to wait a week before I logged any time so that the ‘books’ wouldn’t be off. But the real reason was so that the client wouldn’t have to pay. I’m a nice guy and I’m easy to work with. So I agreed. Second mistake. However, I did use the Elance Tracker software and I was paid for a few hours of the 25+ hours I worked. Not all was a total loss. Now the reason I am telling you this is because I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did. So here is my list of things to DO and NEVER do on Elance.

  • Never ever do work for free – Well this seems logical, but if a client is asking you to not log hours, you tell them that you aren’t working until you are able to log hours.
  • ALWAYS put your work into the workroom on Elance – You are doing this as proof of the work you have done. If they want their work emailed to them, fine, email them the work but also show Elance that you have delivered as well. Let your client know that they can get their work from either source.
  • Always use the Elance Tracker – I don’t like the Elance Tracker because it screenshots every 5 minutes or so and distracts me showing me notifications etc. But what this tool does it verifies and GUARANTEES your hourly jobs you do on Elance. You better do it. It is how I got paid for a client who skipped out. Be careful though. If you’ve not been paid after a week by the client, stop work until you have been paid. Elance only pays up to a certain amount to protect you. I was told $2500 for a week maximum. But after that its all on you.
  • To Skype or not to Skype – Some clients are always asking me to get on Skype and do everything from there. And while it is more convenient for the client, its a place that is OUT of the workroom on Elance. Anything goes in Skype including a client that threatened to leave me bad feedback if I didn’t complete her job for her. Yeah this was the same one that had no intention to pay. Use Elance workroom and keep all conversations and transactions and files in here. You need proof to show Elance in case something goes wrong. If your client insists on using Skype, then just make sure to keep the important stuff in the Elance workroom.

These are the things I find most important when dealing with clients because I have had a bad experience. I won’t let myself have anymore bad experiences because of this. Another thing I want to mention is that there are people out there that do not care about you at all. They want to get paid $1000’s of dollars and then pass the work off into someone else and pay $5 for an article. This is bullshit. Stay away from these kinds of people. I have seen many jobs online where a smart client is paying $25 per article. Just even today I submitted a proposal to a decent client that KNOWS that great content and great articles are going to have to be properly compensated. These kinds of clients draw people like me. Like minded, professional, and offers quality writing. Not some $5 gibberish from the Philippines. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got nothing against India or the Philippines. But if you are willing to pay $5 then you are going to get a $5 article. And I’ve pressed clients to come read my blog. My readers know how I get when I get on this subject. It turns into a full-blown rant and I’ve got to find the shut-off valve before I explode. Nothing is more frustrating. So I’ve hammered that into your heads. If you’re a good writer, then charge good money for what you produce.

I’ve also decided that I need to spend a lot more time here writing some things. So, I’ve got some topics I’m going to touch on here soon. I’m thinking about doing a case study of all these different freelance companies like Elance and showing you the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.

I’m also wanting to touch on different writing styles like sales copy, article writing, and technical writing so that I can help you find your niche. Some people love to write about electronic gadgets, and some like to write about losing weight. You might be like me and can write on any topic. But just as me, you will have one area of expertise that is going to make you the authority on what you write. This can make you a lot more money per article than you know. Some clients are looking for experts in a certain field and if you can show them that you are the expert, you can make decent money.

So I think that is all for now. I got through this one with little profanity and my blood-pressure is still normal 🙂

Until next time girls and boys, I wish you much success this year!

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The life of a freelance writer

Posted: October 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

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It’s funny how I started off this blog on a sour note. Yes, I was complaining about the way things are as a freelance writer, and the fact that we seem to be taken advantage of more and more these days. The influx of cheap, mechanically spun, and unreadable content is flooding the internet like an overflowing taffy machine. The cleanup is going to be brutal. And hey, that is why Google keeps changing their algorithms so much. And those people that post jobs for such little money don’t realize that they are part of the problem. But I digress…because I have to right now. The idea of this post wasn’t to come whining again. No ladies and gentlemen, it’s due time I put together some sort of testament to where I am and how I got started. So grab yourself a tea, or a beer, whatever suits you and enjoy the read. It’s actually pretty interesting if I say so myself.

It all started in 2005 when I had been online for a few years and was just learning about computers, internet, and all the cool things that started happening. At that time, Google had just launched Adwords which was a pay per click advertising system. Why was this so awesome? Well it meant at that time, that you could easily build some simple landing page with a product to sell, then post some ads with the keywords for that product, and if you bid enough for each click you would get, you would show up on the first page in Google search results. It was a time when had I known what I was doing, I could have made a lot of money. I remember telling my friend Joe that we were both going to have Porsche’s. Did I get my car? No. Did Joe get his car? Well yeah, a few years later he got a Volkswagen. My point is that we didn’t know what we were doing and we didn’t have a chance. I lost a few hundred bucks not knowing what I was doing wrong. And those online guru’s who were selling all those cool ‘get rich overnight’ schemes got, well…rich overnight and left people including myself with nothing but spaghetti in our wallets. I learned things the hard way. I lost money the hard way. It wasn’t cool at all. But I didn’t give up.

I was born in San Diego, California where the sun shines all year around, and the beach is not so far away when you need to get away from it all. Apparently this wasn’t good enough for me. I ended up in Seattle, Washington somewhere with a crazy idea to go to Russia to meet the girl of my dreams. Yeah, I had already met her online and I was madly in love with her. At that time I have 30 websites up and running and was using Google Asense which is a free advertising platform you can use on your websites. If someone clicks on the ad, you gain some of the ad creators revenue. Sometimes it’s pennies and sometimes it’s more. I shouldn’t get ahead of myself here. I was also working on some project that had to do with Twitter. Twitter had just come out a few years before this and although it floundered like a fish on dry land for those first few years, it was starting to become popular. I had also learned a neat trick called affiliate marketing. I was not working for anyone else. I was working for myself online. I was making enough money that I was able to get my passport, get a Visa to Russia, and buy my tickets to go see this girl I was head over heels for. Did I do this? Yeah. I told myself every single night ‘You can do this, and you will do it’ and I did do this. Not only that, but while I was in Russia, there was some terrible fires one summer. The smoke in Moscow from the peat moss fires was bad enough that you couldn’t breath. So, I sold one of my websites, bought me and my girlfriend two round trip tickets to Spain. We stayed for 25 days. How many people do you know take a 25 day vacation? Those were the days and to be completely honest with you, one day I made $1500 cash in hand from affiliate marketing from one tiny free ad I wrote. The next day I had another $800, then the next day $400. Not too bad for some creative writing and selling the right product to the right crowd of people.

But things change, and the internet changes. Suddenly those sites where I was able to post free ads, saw the money they were losing. Instead they pulled all commenting and posting of links. Now these sites post their own ads and the little guy like me, ends up being the loser. Suddenly my income dried up and I was not so cool anymore to my Russian girlfriend.

In 2011 I ended up going back to San Diego with 2 suitcases and my ‘not-so-bushy’ tail between my legs. The Russian girl waited until I got home to email me and tell me goodbye. So yeah, that was terrible, and I learned some terrible things about the real world, and to never trust someone if they say they love you. Game over.

So it’s been a few years and I still haven’t had a day job. I’ve been online making money. Not a lot of it, but I have been selling my services as a writer for SEO content, doing creative writing here and there, and trying to get myself back in the game. Currently I study search engine optimization and how it affects writing. I am learning about guest blogging, and anywhere else I can use my skills, and my talents as a writer in the real world. I’ve always been good at telling stories, and you’ve not even heard the best. My life has been one wild ride. I have been to Russia, Germany, Spain, Romania, Hungary, Poland, Moldova, and I now live in Kiev, Ukraine. I was here during the revolution, and I’ve been sitting here in Kiev knowing that a huge Russian army is sitting on the border just waiting. How is that for fun! How I got here, I’m still not sure. The funny thing is I am a Taurus and we really hate all that moving around and no real place to call home. I guess I was meant to travel, and travel good I have. I’m a freelancer at Elance. It’s not a glamorous job. It’s more like the McDonalds of freelancing where it’s up to the freelancer how much they want to humiliate themselves. Me, I’d prefer to stay on top of things. I don’t take jobs writing 500 words for $1 and not even $5. I’m better than that. I’m a real world writer, and I’ve got the vocabulary and the skilled to prove it. What will I do now? It’s hard to say where fate will take me. Perhaps I will be as good of a writer as Stephen King one day. Well, maybe not…that guy is creepy! But one thing is certain; I’m keeping my head up. My father, the retired US Marine said to me once ‘chin up and eyes forward’. Good words that I live by. Words that keep me sane, and keep my spirit lifted.