If you thought working from home was easy money - obviously, you thought wrong. Often, there are more working hours involved than there would have been while working in an office. And initially, the pay isn't all that great either. It may take years to succeed as a freelancer and even then, the sources of income through writing are not secure.
Remember: A regular client is not a permanent client.
2008 has been a nightmare for newspapers, magazines and other publications. The competition for online jobs is becoming fierce and there's no guarantee that your primary clients won't be affected by the recession. You may have a large client base and won't be affected much if a couple of your clients stopped sending work your way. But what if that happened with most of them? Don't make the mistake of thinking that you're safe just because you're working with big names.
Tighten your safety net.
To avoid feeling the pinch when or if your client base takes a hit, it is important to diversify your income stream. Know, that while you may be swamped with work at the moment it might not hold true in the future. Start getting prepared for it by looking into alternative sources. If you write primarily for newspapers or magazines (kudos to you if you're still getting most of your work from them) then think about online publication. Keep an eye on the Mediabistro newsletter for publications that may be shutting down, going online completely or even doing well. Don't let it depress you though.
Don't look down on low paying jobs.
This does not mean that you work for pennies. It simply means that you should think about setting aside 30 minutes to do something you wouldn't normally think of taking up because the money doesn't match what you're making per hour or per project. If it doesn't take much effort, consider taking the work and keep the money earned from it in an emergency or contingent fund.
Don't let the word 'recession' bring you down.
Recession is as much bad economy as it is a mind set. If you panic and start hyperventilating your freelancing business, you're going to hit rocky ground. Keep your head cool, plan ahead of time and remember, there is always a way out of a bad situation. Oh, and be flexible!
Read more ...
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 | 0 Comments
I have to say, I was ready to dish out up to $15 for a domain name. I was reading Blogging to the Bank and through there was directed to Hostazar. Then a friend recommended Domains Priced Right. I found a domain there for $7.69. I would have bought one there and then had my PayPal confirmed my credit card. Since there was time, I got back to my lazy browsing and read Elite By Designs 170+ Must Have Tools for a Beginning Blogger.
Through there I followed the various links to domain buying websites. None offered me a better price than Domains Priced Right till I noticed that 1and1.com had a sale going on! If I bought a domain before December 31st, I'd get a $5 discount the first year which brought the buying price at $3.99!
Needless to say, I bought a domain soon as my PayPal confirmed my credit card. I realize that once this one year is over, I'll need to pay around $9. Which is fine by me. It's still less than what I was willing to pay.
Keep in mind that this is just for buying a domain. If you're looking for hosting, there are other offers. So if you've been thinking about buying a domain, now is the time to do it! Go to www.1and1.com and get your domain. The offer ends on Midnight December 31st!
Note: Always keep your domain independent of your host!Read more ...
Tuesday, December 30, 2008 | 0 Comments
With my deadlines met, and no immediate work due, I am free to laze around and work on a few personal projects (aren't they the best kind?). In between enjoying the great weather that comes before the winter in UAE, pursuing my own projects and lots of parties and picnics, I've found enough time to spend time browsing randomly.
From all the end-of-the-year roundups happening across the web, Boston.com's The Big Picture was the best of my finds. They did a three part series which features 120 pictures in all, of the news throughout the year.
The pictures are breathtaking, awe inspiring and some were even horrifying. There are some that had a warning on them. I only clicked on one, and couldn't bring myself to click on the others because I didn't think I could stomach the horrific images the warning was about.
If you barely followed any new during this year, it will tell you some of what you missed.
Found any yearly roundups worth sharing?Read more ...
Monday, December 29, 2008 | 0 Comments
I know a lot of struggling freelancers won't be taking a break this Christmas. I won't be either. But even though, we think we'll be able to catch up with the tons of work we've got, its not going to help in the long run.
Our hearts and minds will be with our family, knowing we can't give them our proper attention and our work will suffer.
So how do we cope with the feeling of guilt and compulsion to perform? We compromise. Work in blocks. You know what times are most looked forward to by your family. Spend it with them, and then after a while, excuse yourself for an hour or two, close yourself in a room and work like crazy. You'll be looking forward to going back out to your family and would feel happier working because you wouldn't be ignoring it either. And trust me, your family would be much more understanding too.
Whatever you do, don't use these holidays as an excuse to work non-stop. Nothing, absolutely nothing is more important than family.
So get your butts off the chair, shut the lid of your laptop, get out and spend time with your family already! On that note, I wish you all a very, very merry Christmas and a prosperous new year! May all your dreams come true.Read more ...
Thursday, December 25, 2008 | 1 Comments
Twitter is all the rage these days. Just like Facebook was before that, Myspace I believe still is. Or maybe I've just gotten the hang of it these past few days, but Twitter be cool - and I am addicted!
While its easier to figure out Facebook and Myspace; Twitter is a whole new concept. To put it simply, Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that asks "What are you doing?" and expects you to answer in 140 characters or less. Apart from that, Twitter is whatever you make it.
I found Twitteroid at Terry Whalin's website. It doesn't delve into the deeper uses of Twitter. It simply tells you how to set up your account and how to use it sensibly. It covers everything one will come across while using Twitter. Setting up an account, public timeline, twittering through instant messaging services and mobile phones, changing profile background image or colors etc are systematically explained.
Twitteroid is a good, practical read if you're afraid of jumping into a new service that will take time away from your work. Of course if you're Internet savvy, it'll take you about 5 minutes to figure out twitter.
I use twitter in the most basic way. Simple updates with some links thrown in every now and then. I reply to other people's tweets if I find I have some thing to add and DM (direct message) some times.
Beware: Twitter is highly addictive once you get the hang of it.
Do you Twitter? Follow me @samarowais. I'd love to hear from you! How fast did you catch the Twitter bug? Did you get addicted immediately or did it take you time?Read more ...
Tuesday, December 23, 2008 | 0 Comments
It's that time of the week again. I came across a few gems!
- First up is Write to Done's '10 Free Resources Every Writer Needs'. While most of the resources don't apply to me or interest me. This post made the top of the list because I found a link to a free copy of Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr.
- Freelance Switch listed '9 Tips for Brand New Freelancers'. One, five and seven are areas I need to concentrate on.
- Do you know how many Google Apps there are? Neither do I. But here are 50 Useful Google Apps for Writers. Some of these I know and use, others came as a surprise! I'm going to have fun trying them!
- Robust Writing hands us a very effective 'Key to Concise Writing'.
- Scribbizy had an excellent post on productivity. Since I have a real problem with focus these days, this post about 'Ten Minute Online Productivity Strategies' is a god send. If you're doubting the strategies - don't. I successfully implemented them. My productivity in those 10 minutes was more than it would have been in 2 hours had I been left on my own.
There we have it. The five posts I found useful this week. I hope you do too. I'd love to hear about your favourite links of the week.
Till next week!Read more ...
Sunday, December 21, 2008 | 0 Comments
Every time I come across something about writing that I find I'm doing right and get smug about it - I end up making that very same mistake. My muse gets quite a kick out of it and doubles over laughing having the time of his life making an idiotic writer out of me.
If you're the lucky ones and have no clue what I'm talking about then let me give you a few examples.
I was going through George Orwell's 'Politics and English Language' and at the last page came across his five rules for better writing. The very first one states;
Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
At this point I was thinking, "Hey avoiding metaphors is going to be a breeze! I only use them to add some flavour to my writing anyway. It'll be fun to try and write with out them." So what happens the next time I let my fingers loose on the keyboard? I come up with a paragraph that is so filled with metaphors, I can't believe my eyes, brain or muse! Needless to say, the paragraph got deleted and since then I've been having trouble replacing metaphors.
Have you ever faced a problem with your writing? How did you get past it?Read more ...
Saturday, December 20, 2008 | 2 Comments
How cool is that?! All you have to do is subscribe to Yan Susanto's Thou Shall Blog's e-mail updates, blog about it and leave a comment letting them know you did. Of course the blog is worth subscribing to. I've been going through it for most of the afternoon and found quite a few gems. Love the lay out too by the way.
I have my eye on most of the stuff offered by the sponsors! Let's see, there's the Ipod Shuffle with free shipping anywhere in the world (yes, even to UAE!), Free domain and a 6 month free hosting (Me! Me! Meeeee!) a couple of WordPress themes, and a copy of Problogger book. Of course these are just the ones I liked. There are a few consultations up as well.
It was like I stumbled onto an early Christmas! All right, only if I win something but still! The idea is exciting! Still not convinced? Check out the top 10 reasons to subscribe to Thou Shall Blog.
Subscribe to Yan's blog now and you might stand a chance to win some awesome Christmas goodies courtesy of Blog for Beginners, Become a Better Blogger, Blog Setup for Beginners, Blog Blazers, Internet Marketing with Joe, A Blogger Blog, Site Flip Remix, the Marketing Vision, How To Blog, Extreme Ezine and the Ultimate Blogging Theme.
Have you found other Christmas offers that made you rubs your hands in glee?Read more ...
Wednesday, December 17, 2008 | 2 Comments
I first heard about Site Build It! at Problogger where Darren had put up a glowing user review. To be honest, I was skeptical reading the review. The review was altogether too praising and there weren't any disadvantages listed. Then I started reading the comments and realized that there weren't any cons pointed out because people hadn't found any.
Site Build It! targets everyone who is confused by keywords, search engine optimization and ad placements. If you want to focus on your writing and not spend weeks trying to grasp the countless aspects of monetizing your website then SBI! is for you.
SBI! is on my list of things to get as soon as I reach a few goals and complete the timeline I've set for myself. But you don't have to follow my timeline. They have a great 'Buy-1 Get-1 Free' Christmas offer going on. When you buy one SBI! they give you another free of cost. It would make for a great Christmas gift to someone, or you can use this offer to set up two sites.
The cost of Site Built It! is not too high, but it costs enough to make you look into it thoroughly before making the purchase. You will have to renew your SBI! every year. If the testimonials are anything to go by, that's not an issue if you're hosting your business through it as the returns make up for the yearly renewal.Read more ...
Monday, December 15, 2008 | 0 Comments
Nothing like a weekly post to tell you how fast a week goes by. I've recovered from the flu which saw me sleeping for 10-12 hours a day, thanks to all the flu meds that seem to have so much sedatives in them. All that's past me now and I'd much sooner forget being weak as a babe. This week saw me reading and loving the following posts.
- The Renegade Writer's Blog has an excellent post about distracted writers. It was like Linda was inside my head when writing the post. Of course, I was no where near as constructive about my lack of focus as Linda. Must learn.
- Robust Writing tackles the problems of overstatements in writing.
- Thinking of starting a freelance business? Freelance Folder has an excellent post that covers the basics of starting a freelance business.
- I've been curious about e-books for a while. So it was a joy to read Confident Writing's guide to compiling a free e-book. Joanna offers great resources that got her started. I'm thinking it will make for a great fun project!
- This one's my favourite. I love books and can never have enough of them! Allena Tapia has an excellent list compiled about writing books. Check out her top ten books to get your freelance writer for Christmas.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! And with these gems SLOD takes your leave. Till next Sunday! Before then watch out for a post about a certain stubborn muse I know.Read more ...
Sunday, December 14, 2008 | 0 Comments
As bloggers, our worst nightmare is waking up one day and finding out that our blog has disappeared. The mere idea is enough to make me break out in a sweat! There are quite a few online services that store back ups of blogs. I found Blogbackupr to be the most hassle free. A quick rundown of its important features.
- It runs over the Internet.
- Requires no installation.
- Stores media, template and images.
- Support WordPress and Blogger.
- Makes daily back ups.
To back up a blog, all it requires is an email address and the blog's URL. The back up starts immediately after which an email is sent which contains the password. This procedure is as simple as it gets. For a service that's still in its beta version, it works surprisingly well.
Note: For a blog to be backed up by Blogbackupr, it must have an RSS feed.Read more ...
Saturday, December 13, 2008 | 0 Comments
Not the best of names but I'm drowning in cough syrup. Why do they have sedatives in them anyway? I also have a killer flu and I do not have the energy to post anything that would take more effort than this.
When I did a post on '5 things I'm doing wrong at the base', one of the things I acknowledged I wasn't doing was a weekly round up of links I loved. I've decided to remedy that. Therefore, every Sunday, I'll be featuring (not necessarily) five links that I've found helpful.
Therefore, presenting you with my very first SLOD.
- Blogger dad talks about going from a blogging newbie to pro in three months - A tongue in cheek post it may be, but he just described what I do as a blog reader perfectly. Well, except for the pictures bit. I never have any time to look at them.
- You have to check out Rachael's Words on Writing. She has excellent posts about Ten proofreading tips and 16 proof reading errors our brain doesn't want us to see. I missed out
quite a fewall the errors except one! Be sure to check the comments. There were a few more mistakes that Rachael pointed out in them.
- As a new freelancer, Davina's post about fear closing in struck a chord. Right now, I'm scared of so many things regarding my freelancing that its making me mad!
- Blogging without a blog has an interesting post about the unseen benefits of commenting. I hadn't thought of commenting in quite that way but it's certainly motivation to comment more!
- A blog to read daily and over and over again is Daily Writing Tips. For some unexplainable reason...every time I comment on that blog my English goes out the window - literally! Want an example? Check out my two comments at DWT's latest post about irregular verbs. Then come back and find the faults in the sentence I corrected. "Correction: I refuse to even imagine a time where such (bad) grammar was a norm." Go on, don't spare my feelings.
On a closing note, I added the word link to the title because the abbreviation of Sunday Overdose was SOD which might not be funny, but in my current state, I'm very amused by it!Read more ...
Sunday, December 07, 2008 | 10 Comments
Today was a good day. In fact, an excellent day. It rained all night which, in my desert land is almost a once a year occurrence. The chill in the air and gentle warmth in the sun had me dragging my desk in front of the window to enjoy the day while I worked on the new template.
Remember I offered 5 hours for Thanksgiving? Well there were no takers and so I was thrilled to give those hours to myself. The result of 3 of those you can see. I have to say I'm mighty proud. Even if all I did was follow instructions! I forgot to screen capture an image of my old blog template so new readers won't have anything to compare
There's still quite a lot to be done. The banner at the top is not mine. It came with the template, which came for free. However it's very cool as the ads keep on changing with every page which is why I haven't removed it completely. I need a little help with figuring out how to place ads or if affiliates would be better. But since I barely get enough traffic signing up for affiliates might be too early.
I couldn't wait to update my weblog style in Windows Live Writer. The blue and grey looks great! All right, I'll stop gushing about the new template. I need you guys to tell me how it looks, what I can do to make it better and/or if something is not working like it's supposed to. The help would be much appreciated!
Small changes and tweaks will keep on happening so if you happen to come by and find something horribly out of place, please don't think its bad designing. It would just be my rusty html skills!Read more ...
Thursday, December 04, 2008 | 5 Comments
Tony tagged me with a meme. And since he very sweetly said that he was tagging me because he wanted to learn more about me, I'm obliging. According to the meme, I get to list seven random or weird things about myself. This one came to me (in the form of 5 weird things) a few years ago when I had braces and was in college - I'm now married and have perfect teeth. How time changes! The following list is in no particular order.
- Till I was five, I couldn't string two sentences of English together. All of that changed in a matter of weeks once I joined grade school. After that, as is quite obvious, there was no stopping me.
- I don't like chocolates, dislike chocolate ice-cream and absolutely hate chocolate chip ice-cream. But, I love chocolate chip cookies and I'll fight you over a brownie.
- After spending years trying to gain weight, I finally gained enough to need to lose a few pounds.
- I'm forgetful. But if I scribble something down in my own hand, I'll remember it. Which, by the way, is a good thing because I've been known to lose my notes.
- I love mornings yet my best work is produced at night. It's been a love hate relationship so far.
- You'll never find me without my cell phone. It's my address book, alarm clock, browser, planner, calendar, camera, recorder and anything else I can use it for. But I've never played games on my phone.
- I plan on learning Arabic.
The last part of the meme was to tag seven people. I'm tagging everyone who wants to do it. Just leave a link back so I can read yours.Read more ...
Wednesday, December 03, 2008 | 0 Comments
The triumphs and trials report will be published at the end of every month to record my (you guessed it!) triumphs and trials as a freelancer. Did I land a gig? Missed a deadline? Impressed an editor? Had a difficult client? etc. So without further ado, I present to you my report for November.
- Landed my first gig. Pay is less, but it comes with editors and online help. Perfect for a new fish in the pond.
- Got my first freelance work enquiry through my blog. I polished my blog to some semblance of respectability and within a few days of publishing it, I had someone email me making inquiries about my rates.
- Will get my first pay! I'll update this point once the pay is in my account. But I'm due a payday!
- Clients who hire you, ask you to sign up someplace and then disappear. This seems to have happened to me for the 10th time! I keep wondering if I'm doing anything wrong.
- Gigs that only offer revenue share as compensation. This was a lesson only time and experience could have taught. Or a mentor, but since I don't have one, I figured it out only after I'd accepted the work.
- Spam Filters. As heaven sent as they are, every now and then they become responsible for major goof ups. I'd been waiting for an assignment for four days and Had decided to mail my contact on Monday. By chance, I decided to check my spam on Sunday, and there it was! It had been in my spam filter for four days and it turned out that the deadline was for Monday! Phew. Close save!
Monday, December 01, 2008 | 2 Comments