Freelance writer burnout is an occupational hazard for people who make their living with words. This condition is more than just feeling tired at the end of a marathon work session, and it is not to be confused with writer’s block. True burnout is born of feeling stressed out to the max, and it makes everything look bleak.
Archives for December 2013
Grants and Fellowships for Writers: Get Financial Help for Your Writing
Have you ever thought you could do more with your writing if you only you had some more financial help available? Grants and fellowships for writers are an often-overlooked source of money.
You may be thinking that grants and fellowships are meant for writers who are already published, but this source of funding is available to new and up-and-coming writers. People in this category are most likely to need help in their careers, and there are a number of sources of help available.
Who is Giving Away Free Money to Writers?
Professional freelance writers get paid for producing and selling their work. Grants and fellowships for writers are gifts of money that don’t need to be paid back.
A number of organizations offer this type of financial help. Look to foundations and institutions as sources of funding. The government may have some grant money available to writers as well.
Their motives for providing assistance are twofold: part of the reason is humanitarian. These institutions have an interest in promoting the arts, including the written word. The other motivation is that these organizations is promotional. The other reason for offering grants and fellowships is to promote the foundation or institution’s cause.
20 Grants and Fellowships for Writers
Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Inc. offers support grants of $500-$1,500 to feminist women working on fiction and non-fiction projects. Read guidelines and submit work at the time and in the manner requested or it will be rejected.
Mesa Refuge offers two and four-week writers’ retreats in Point Reyes Station, CA. Three residents at a time are welcomed at a time, and they are provided with quiet, comfortable accommodation. This retreat is meant for journalists, screenwriters, naturalists, essayists, and writers specializing in writing about nature, social equity, and economics.
JM Kaplan Fund’s Furthermore program is not available to individual writers, but freelancers can apply for funding in partnership with a nonprofit organization. Applicants for these grants, which range from $500-$15,000, must be a 501(c)(3) organizations. This program is meant to support nonfiction book publishing.
North Carolina Arts Council Regional Project Grants to Artists provide funding to artists in any discipline of between $300-$5,000 to help purchase equipment and materials, pay for workshops, and the creation of new work.
Olive B. O’Connor Fellowship in Creative Writing is offered to writers of nonfiction or poetry who need a year to complete their first book. Fellows teach a creative writing course per semester at Colgate University and give a public reading from their work in progress. They receive a $37,000 stipend plus travel expenses.
SFFS/Hearst Screenwriting Grant is given to a screenwriter who has been writing for at least five years and has previously written at least one feature screenplay. U.S. writers whose project expresses a personal perspective and an artistic approach to a subject are welcome to apply.
Spirit of Writing Grant provides grants in amounts ranging from $500-$2,500. See grant requirements and application online.
The Gift of Freedom Award from the Room of Her Own Foundationwill help to bridge the gap between the recipient’s “financial reality and her artistic creation.” One fellowship of $50,000 is awarded biannually.
Sustainable Arts Foundation provides unrestricted cash awards of $1,000 and $6,000 to writers and artists with a child under the age of 18. See guidelines online.
Cintas Fellowships in the amount of $10,000 may be granted to artists of Cuban citizenship or direct descent. Awards are paid quarterly, and recipients can pursue their activities as directed on their application.
Canada Council for the Arts gives away grants to emerging, mid-career, and established writers ranging from $3,000.00-$25,000.00. See website for eligibility and program guidelines.
The Academy of American Poets has several awards and fellowships available in varying amounts. Visit website for guidelines.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, also known as the Oscars, wants to encourage up-and-coming screenwriters by offering up to five, $35.000 fellowships each year. Get details on how to apply by visiting the website.
The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers recognizes talented teen writers. More than $250,000 in scholarships is awarded annually in partnership with leading colleges and universities. Scholarships range from $250 to full tuition. Most scholarships awarded are renewable every year for up to four years.
Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts provides grants to individual writers whose work “addresses contemporary visual art.” Amounts awarded ranges from $3,000-$50,000. Eligible categories are articles, blogs, books, new and alternative media, and short-form writing.
British Columbia Arts Council offers funding for creative writers. Professional writers are eligible to apply and up to $10,000 in funding is available.
Arts Council Literature Bursary Awards provide support to professional artists to give them time and resources to conduct research, reflect, and engage with their work. The award is open to practicing artists who were either born in or are living in the Republic of Ireland. The maximum amount of the award is €15000.
American Antiquarian Society provides visiting fellowships for historical research for writers, journalists and other creative and performing artists. Fellowships provide recipients with opportunity to conduct research, read, and participate in discussions at the Society in Worcester, Massachusetts. Three residential fellowships will be awarded annually. The stipend is $1,350.00.
The American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize for new writers offers a $3,000 award, publication of a book of poems, and distribution by Copper Canyon Press.
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators offers a a number of grants and awards to members. Visit the website for guidelines.
How to Increase Chances of Getting a Writing Grant
Find the current application form and the guidelines and read them through carefully. Application forms and guidelines are usually updated a couple of months before the program deadline.
Even if you have applied for funding from a grant in previous years, read through the guidelines to check for changes. If your proposed project does not fit with the grant program’s eligibility requirements, you may want to make a decision not to apply for it. Some applications require that applicants pay a fee, and all of them take time to prepare, and you will want to make the best use of both of them.
When you are preparing your grant application, keep in mind that you will need to break down the activities in your writing project into several stages. Look at the initial idea, research, marketing, and the time for writing as separate components. Depending on the program, you may be able to apply for specific financial help for a part of your project.
Don’t wait until the last minute to start working on your grant application. You’ll want to take your time to make sure that you are presenting yourself and your project well.
Some applications can be submitted online, while others must be sent by regular mail. Be sure to read the instructions so that you are sending yours in the correct manner. If you don’t follow the instructions, your application will not be considered.
Submit your application only during the application period. If it is postmarked too early or too late, it will not be considered.
Review and edit your submission before submitting it for consideration. You want to make sure that you are clearly pointing out how you could benefit from the grant or fellowship and why your project fits with the organization’s theme or goals.
The best advice we can give you to increase your chances of getting a writing grant is to apply, apply, apply. If you don’t apply for available funding, you have no chance of getting this type of financial help.
Want to see more options for free sources of funding? Check out these 19 Grants for Writers and other Creative Types.
image credits: <a href=”University of Central Florida
How a Follow-Up Email Landed Me a Freelance Writing Client Worth $450+ Per Article
It’s frustrating, isn’t it?
Life as a struggling freelancer is hard enough.
You send out pitch after pitch, scrambling to get a hold on the writing markets. Squeezing your fingers into every little crack you come across, praying it’ll be the handhold you can use to hoist yourself into the future.
And then you come across a job posted by THAT client.
You know the one I’m talking about. Your dream client.
The big fish.
“This is the one,” you tell yourself. “If I can just get through to this ONE guy, I can free up some financial breathing room, get some experience under my belt, and before you know it I’ll be writing for Copyblogger and beating off new clients with a stick.”
No more Ramen for dinner.
No more feeling embarrassed when you tell someone what you do for a “living,” knowing you’re not really making a living at all.
No more wondering if you’re the laughing stock of the family dinners. Like the awkward uncle constantly trying to sell his nephews and nieces on the multi-level marketing scheme he’s been duped by.
This one is different. The guy even said right there in the ad what he’s willing to pay, and it’s nothing to sneeze at either.
So you jump into your email account and you pull the trigger.
Off goes your query into the ether.
And the Worst Part About Pitching Dream Clients Begins
And you wait…
And you wait…
But you never hear anything back.
And doesn’t that just suck the motivation right out of you? You try not to count on anything too much in this game, but hey, we’re all human, right? And when your pitch doesn’t even warrant a reply, it…stings.
And sometimes, just sometimes, you can’t help but wonder if there’s some way to salvage the pitch that fell short.
Maybe you could have pleaded a better case. Maybe you should have sent better examples. Or maybe your timing was just off.
I went through such a freelance writer crisis a couple weeks ago, and against my usual prospecting policy, I went ahead and sent a follow-up.
And landed a client who is now paying me $450 and more per article.
The highest rate I’ve earned yet.
From a client I almost let get away…
How to Send Pitches Without Going Insane
Before I explain how I did it, let me explain my usual rule or there’s a risk I’ll send you down a dark path. Whether you start out in low-end content markets, where marketing your writing services is a numbers game, or higher-end markets, the best policy is to set and forget.
Once you send off your pitches, you’re done; you don’t wait around or go chasing after the client, tugging on their pant leg and crying out for “just one chance.”
For one, chasing after uninterested clients positions you as a desperate writer rather than someone who dropped them a line to see if you’d be a good fit. This kind of desperation not only diminishes your value in the eyes of the prospect but weakens your negotiating leverage.
It’s always best to hide it when you need a client more than they need you. On top of that, chasing after clients who don’t respond to queries can do a number on your mindset. It comes from a scarcity perspective. And once you cross over that line, you’re playing a losing game.
Each writing pitch becomes a plea for help. Each email a cast into barren waters that you don’t actually expect to garner any bites. It’s typically best to spend that time sending out pitches to new prospects.
Just move on – that’s my motto.
Why I Shredded Up the Rule Book and Threw it in the Trash
All the above aside, I’m just as human as you are.
I hadn’t done any proper marketing in a long time, and my biggest client, a national insurance giant that was ordering fifteen $105 blog pieces per month for a year and a half, suddenly stopped ordering.
Poof – gone, just like that…
It was time to pick up some more work…fast.
I spotted this particular client on a job board during a frenzied bidding spree. He was calling for writers that could write intelligently about online marketing, he was offering $0.30 per word for 1500-word articles, and he appeared to have a lot of work.
I knew I was qualified for the job.
“Man, if I can land this one…” I said to myself, slipping into that same old mantra, “I’ll be set!”
As usual, I moved on and forgot about my email, but in an insecure moment, when I couldn’t seem to find anything online worth bidding on, I opened up my sent-box to see how many pitches I’d sent out over the past week.
When I saw the email to the job for $0.30 a word, I opened it, out of curiosity, and looked over my proposal again.
That’s when I saw my mistake.
The client specifically mentioned he wanted articles about online marketing strategy for attorneys. Yet, my entire email introduction focused on my freelance experience and all the huge corporates I had worked for – most of which were big insurance companies or investment firms.
Not once did I mention any of the companies I had worked for in his niche. And, in fact, not once did I mention any online marketing experience whatsoever!
This was a serious client willing to pay serious rates and I essentially sent him a cookie-cutter email in haste that focused on myself, ignoring his needs completely.
It might as well have been one of those spam messages from Nigeria, “Hello, Sir, and a good day to you…”
For a moment, I thought to write it off as a lesson learned…
Then I thought better and took action.
A Split-Second Decision That Yielded a Big Payday
My sudden epiphany about my mistake got me thinking, and decided to try something new. I scratched out a quick email…
“Hey [CLIENT NAME],
I thought I’d take a moment to check back in on this project. Are you still looking for writers?
To expand on my initial email, in case it wasn’t clear, I have plenty of experience writing about online marketing as well. In my time, I’ve written extensively on a wide range of different ecommerce subjects, including social marketing, web conversions, copywriting, email marketing, mobile tech, and a lot more. You can find posts published under my name at [WEBSITE], where I’m a regular blogger.
If you’d like some direct links, please just let me know.
Attorney marketing is not exactly a specialty, but I have worked for clients in this niche in the past as well.
All the Best,
That was it. I sent this message off and committed to my usual set-and-forget philosophy.
And believe it or not it worked!
The very next day, I received an email back from the client asking for specific examples.
This is one thing I love about pitching freelance services. You almost always know if you’re doing it right because the clients who need you really, really need you and get back to you right away as long you’re a good fit.
My samples weren’t quite as meaty as the client wanted (as tends to happen when you start out too cheap), but he could see I understood the niche and gave me a shot.
My first article cleared a good $450, and the second was well over $500.
And the next cleared me about $600…
These are the most profitable articles I’ve ever written, and I must say, it’s interesting how exciting writing becomes when you start making real cash…
What are the Takeaways?
Lest you misunderstand, I’m not making it my new policy to chase after every email that doesn’t get a reply.
“Hey, it’s me again.”
“Hey, it’s me again.”
No, no, no – that won’t do at all. But there are some takeaways to learn from this successful little experiment.
1. Evaluating When A Follow-Up Does Make Sense
Does a follow-up always make sense?
Of course not.
But a second email can make sense if:
a) you’re extremely qualified for the job
b) you can improve upon your original pitch with additional value
2. The Easiest Way to Save Time and Energy on Bidding
Get the bid right the first time!
Even though this story has a happy ending, it just as easily could have gone the other way. And no pitches are more wasteful of your time than the ones that get completely ignored.
If you don’t have the energy to bid right, you shouldn’t bid at all.
3. The Missing Step That Gets You in the Door
Make your pitches relevant! Even if you use a prewritten template, edit it first. Because no matter how good you sell yourself, a pitch sent to a high-value client that doesn’t take their needs into account is about as useful as trying to sell teenagers cassette tapes.
Pitch more qualified clients and tailor each to the job at hand as much as possible.
That’s how you close deals with real people.
4. A Weak Link That Can Make Any Bid a Wasted Effort
So, there I was…
Foot in the door thanks to my follow-up. Got the client’s attention, and he’s reading my email this time.
Nice work! Right?
Well, kind of…
Because I almost lost this job again. Why? For the stupid reason that my samples weren’t quite up to par. In my case, probably time for a portfolio update. If you’re new, get your online “face” looking nice and tidy so you can pursue high-dollar clients from the get-go.
5. Hot Freelance Writing Niches That Pay
An unrelated thing I learned from this incident is a niche to target that’s just as lucrative as writing for offline companies.
And that’s other online companies that ALREADY serve these businesses.
In this case, it’s marketing companies who sell to attorneys, but marketing companies who target any other specific, lucrative industry are no doubt doing very well for themselves right now too.
I’ll be pitching more of them in the future. And so should you.
It just so happens I’m negotiating with another as we speak.
The Bottom Line
One thing I am reminded of over and over again as I stumble and fall and get back up is this…
If you want to make real money with freelance writing, you’ve got to approach REAL businesses. They might be online businesses or they might be offline businesses, but they’ve got to be making serious enough cash to pay you what you’re worth.
And the bottom line is that if you want to work for real businesses, you’ve got to be a real business too.
That means not just haphazardly casting a net full of holes out there and wondering why the big tasty fish swim right through it.
It means putting time and effort into your marketing. Using your email not like a scatter gun but like an actual attempt at human-to-human communication.
Consider exactly what the client is looking for, figure out if you can be that somebody, and then tell them why you make the perfect fit.
One careful word at a time.
Get it right and you really can land those big fish clients. Treat it like a business, and you really can be proud to tell people what you do for a living.
Now go pitch like you mean it…
James Druman currently lives in Southeast Asia, where he uses his writing skills for complete location independence. Click here to access his free report, “World Wide Words: An Introduction to Real Opportunities in the Online Content Markets.” Or, for client queries, contact him here. (Google+)
How to Break into the Greeting Card Market
According to the U.S. Greeting Card Association, we love sending special messages to our nearest and dearest. About 1.6 billion Christmas cards will be purchased this year to send our best wishes to friends, loved ones, neighbors, and coworkers. These very healthy numbers mean there are many opportunities for freelance writers who can master a turn of a phrase to capture a person’s interest and make a greeting card feel as though it were written to express the thoughts or emotions of the person who wishes to send it.
This kind of writing is very precise. You have a very limited space in which to work, and you will need to choose every word with care. Either your card is going to grab a person’s attention and fit exactly what he or she wants to say on a particular occasion, or it will be left on the shelf, so to speak.
Study the Market Before You Submit
This market is like any other, so you will need to do your homework before you submit any verses to a greeting card company. Go online and do some research. Find out what types of cards different companies offer and click on the most popular ones.
Get a feel for each company’s particular style before you start trying to compose anything. Look at the length of the verses, the type of wording used, and the subjects that the cards deal with. If you excel at writing humorous greeting cards, your contribution may not be the best fit for a very traditional publisher.
Follow Submission Guidelines Carefully
When you are ready to submit your work to a particular greeting card market for freelancers, make sure that you follow the instructions to the letter. Some of them still want to receive submissions by regular mail, while others are open to hearing from writers by e-mail. If you are asked to send in your idea for a card on a cardboard card in a particular size, then that is the size that the publisher wants to see. Don’t send in your submission on plain paper.
Do tell the editor exactly to whom your card is directed. If you are writing a greeting card for a father, mother, sister, brother, grandmother, grandfather, friend, husband, wife, or sweetheart, you will want to set this up by sharing some directions with the reader before starting the verse.
If your concept involves a specific image, share this as well. You will need to set the visual scene so that your idea will be implanted in the editor’s mind before he or she starts to read your idea. Simply sharing a verse without this extra information may not be enough to clearly convince the person reviewing your work that it will be enough to get your point across.
Submit Several Poems for Submission at Once
To make it worth your while to submit your work to a greeting card company, do submit several poems at once. Since this type of submission is relatively short, it makes sense to wait until you have a number of poems to share. Some freelance writers send in a batch of 10 or 20 at a time to an editor to review and have the chance of getting a larger pay if they have multiple submissions accepted at once.
11 Greeting Card Markets for Freelance Writers
If you feel that you have the chops to break into this highly-structured type of writing, here is a list of greeting card markets that accept outside submissions.1.
1. Amber Lotus Publishing E-mail pdf with sample of your work.
2. Artists to Watch Submissions are reviewed quarterly, so you will need to be patient if waiting for a response.
3. Avanti Press Fill out form to be considered for future writing opportunities.
4. Designer Greetings Accepts submissions from writers by mail; no electronic submissions for greeting cards accepted.
5. NobleWorks Submit online form to request copy submission guidelines.
6. Moonpig Review online guidelines before submitting by regular mail or electronically.
7. Comstock Adult humor greeting card company. Download submission guidelines from website.
8. Freedom Greeting Card Company African-American greeting card company. Send e-mail query for creative submissions.
9. Warner Press Christian greeting card company. Read submission guidelines online.
10. Calypso Cards See submission guidelines on website.
11. DaySpring Cards Christian greeting cards. See submission procedures online.
Consider Submitting Art to Greeting Card Companies Too
If you are a talented artist or photographer as well as a writer, greeting card companies are also looking for people who can provide images for their cards. Check the submission guidelines to see whether the greeting card company you are interested in will accept both types when you are looking for this type of freelance writing gig.
photo credit: Cranky Pressman via photopin cc
photo credit: TexasEagle via photopin cc
6 Resume Tips for Freelancers
It may seem a bit strange that a freelancer, who is running a business, is preparing a resume to present him or herself to a client, much like someone who is applying for a job would do. While freelance writers and other professionals do bill by the word, hour, or project, and don’t get paid a salary like an employee, clients do need to have a way to evaluate whether someone would be a good fit for a particular project.
Build a Devoted Following for Your Blog With These 3 Tips
It’s often said that starting is the hardest part of any journey. While that’s true of many an endeavor, that’s not the case when it comes to blogging.
Starting is a relatively painless affair, and every corner of the Internet is stuffed with niche blogs authored by aspiring writers, aficionados of a subject, or simply people with an opinion they want to get out there … and the majority of those blogs have lifespans not much longer than that of the average housefly.
No, starting is not the hardest part when it comes to blogging. Scratching, clawing, and writing your way to a loyal and devoted fanbase is, and that can only be accomplished through persistence, self-promotion, a little bit of luck, and most of all, quality content.
While just about any blog could enjoy some flash-in-the-pan success with a little luck or the right marketing, only quality content will ensure that flash in the pan simmers into a long-term triumph and a steady or growing readership.
What makes for quality content and keeps readers coming back for more? Well, a few things; consider the following four. [Read more…]
How To Market Your eBook
Book marketing is on the rise! With the advent of tablets, digital books are getting more and more popular. Self-publishing author community is growing fast as well. If you haven’t considered book marketing yet, it’s a great time to start!
Honestly, there is no one way to market an ebook. But there are tips you can use to create the perfect campaign to fit your needs. Here are five bits of advice to do just that.
1. Put It On Your Site
This is going to be the easiest way to let people know about your ebook. Make it immediately accessible on your website or blog, with a button right there on the front page that leads them to the download or sales page. You can do this whether you are offering it for a price or for free, as long as any visitors you have are aware of its existence. Obviously, this works best if you have a steady flow of daily traffic. The more people who visit your site, the more likely you’re going to be to sell your book. Try occasionally posting about the book, as well. Just to remind reader that it is there, and what it is about.
Tip: This Web site will normally be your primary book/ebook sales channel, out of the three channels in the Online Publishing Model.I REPEAT. You MUST have a dedicated sales-mini-site to sell your ebook effectively online. (Courtesy of writinghelp-central.com)
2. Sell It Through Amazon
Amazon it one of the best places to sell your ebook. The royalty percentage is decent, you get reviews from people who have already read it, and it is a more affordable option compared to many other retailers. Plus, it will come up in searches based on genre, keyword, ect. You can even offer it as part of their Amazon Prime lending library service. Which means you can still let some people read it for free if they are Prime members, but also sell it to those who aren’t (which will be most users).
Tip: Write a compelling promotional copy: It is meant tease your reader: build curiosity instead of satisfying it. (Courtesy of cartridgeink.co.uk)
3. Give It For Free
I recommend to all writers with their first ebook at least that they offer it for free for a certain amount of time. Just to get reviews and ratings, and maybe help spread the word a bit. To help propel your visibility while doing this, try offering it only on your site for free at first for a Like on Facebook or a Tweet on Twitter. That is a great way of getting more people introduced to the book without you having to do a thing.
Dedicate a certain number of books to the free period, and once you reach that number and have a steady foundation of readers, start charging for it. A lot of self-published writers will offer around ten to twenty free ones on Amazon, but more popular blogs or sites might go as much as fifty to one hundred. It depends on your preference.
Tip: Amazon’s “Give a Gift Feature” allows you to send someone a free copy of your Kindle book via e-mail. Offering e-books free for a limited time or a limited audience is an effective approach to e-book marketing. (Courtesy of Small Biz Trends)
4. Use Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Google+…these are all fantastic platforms for you to promote your book. Hype it up in the weeks prior to its release. Engage with users more directly by holding conversations on your page and other pages.
Retweet or share content. Hold a giveaway for a copy of the book for free before it is launched. You can even create a “trailer” for it on YouTube, or something similar. Also try to get interviews, affiliations and reviews from other social media users/pages, or even blogs. It is time to start calling those contacts.
Tip: Some of the hashtags are guaranteed to give you increased exposure, retweets and interaction. Some of the best one for eBook marketing include: #MustRead, #FridayReads, etc (Courtesy of Social Media Sun)
5. Use MyBlogGuest eBooks Gallery
MyBlogGuest lets you upload your eBook cover and let hundreds of bloggers review your (e)Book for free! This is one of the most unintrusive ways to promote your eBook and get some additional exposure from bloggers.
Have a tip for promoting an ebook? Let us know in the comments.
Introducing the FWJ Resources Area
Freelance Writing Jobs was born out of a sense of community, of freelance writers helping each other out in various ways. With the passing of time comes change, as we all know, and in the past years, we have had to cut back on regularly publishing fresh content other than job listings.
What we’ve got for you
One thing you may not have been aware of is that we have been wanting to bring you more in terms of resources for freelance writers. Earlier this year, we started working on the idea that our community ought to have a special, dedicated section wherein everyone can gain access to articles offering practical information that will enable freelance writers – experienced and otherwise – to get ahead in their career. After some months of planning, researching, and writing, we’re finally ready to let everyone know (officially) about the FWJ Resources Area!
The Resources Area is where you can find all sorts of tips for freelance writers, and we’ve chosen six main categories for the Resources Area:
- Business Tips – where you can find articles on taxes, money saving ideas, etc.;
- Job Hunting Tips – we cover everything job-related, from resume writing tips to dealing with clients;
- Writing Tips – whether you need help with grammar or writing style you’ll find what you need here;
- Online Portfolio – because an online presence is essential these days;
- General Tips – the catch-all bucket;
- Downloadables – templates, free software, and more!
We’ve got a handful of resource articles up, ready for you to devour, but we are on a mission to continue to give you resources that you will find useful in the most practical sense.
Welcome back, Jodee Redmond!
Another thing we’re really excited about is the fact that we have one of the original FWJ crew members at the helm of the Resources: Jodee Redmond. Oldtimers and new friends, please join us in welcoming Jodee back!
How to get to the Resources Area
It’s very easy to find the resources we’ve prepared for you. Just visit the homepage, and either click on the Resources link at the top of the page or click specific articles displayed in the box below the most recent posts.
I cannot put enough emphasis the importance we place on the community, so we’d love to hear your input. Whatever you have to say about the Resources, we’d love to hear! And, if you have specific topics that you need help with, just drop us a line, and we’ll do what we can to assist you.
I Have a Boss Overseas – How to Work Effectively as a Content Writer and Editor, as Told by a Filipino
I am a freelance writer and editor, and I’ve been working with overseas employers for years. This is to attest that being a Filipino – or any other nationality for that matter – does not hinder, in any way, opportunities of being hired by international employers.
So, if you’re someone starting out in the freelance world and need a guide on how to get started and thrive as a freelancer, I’m sharing with you my personal experience and thoughts.
Being a Filipino freelancer doesn’t have to be different at all. As long as you meet the qualifications required, you are free to apply for any freelancing job you wish. The only worry here is that some American employers prefer native English speakers. However, as based on my experience, the constant practice of writing every day will help you develop the skills to write the way they want you to. Anyhow, here’s what I had to go through to learn and thrive as a freelancer.
1. Building Experience
I have been a freelance writer for five years and it’s only in the last years that I started earning better. I devoted the earlier years building my experience. This includes fine tuning my writing, familiarizing myself with the work, knowing how to deal with clients and many more.
The thing is, online employers can only assess your skills and credentials through the cover letter, resume and sample works alone. And even if they ask for an interview, the process is different from the real-life hiring process. Thus, if you want to make an impact, your body of work should showcase your skills which is something you can enhance through years of writing.
2. Choose Jobs Wisely
As a freelancer, there’s always the risk of not having work in a day. And what I’ve noticed is that I kept looking for more employers just to guarantee that I have a full load of work every day. It’s really not a bad thing at all as long as you manage your time efficiently. The only problem is when you choose employers hastily.
The fear of not earning may force you to jump on any job offer in front of you. This is a huge no-no. You have to choose your jobs wisely. It should be based on your available hours and your productivity. Pick jobs where you can be more time efficient and you’ll earn better.
3. Use the Right Tools
Personally, I don’t use a lot of tools as a freelance writer. I just use the basics, plus some additional tools if an employer requests for it. Ever since I started writing, I’ve been using MS Word. It really gets the job done for me.
I use Dropbox to share files with one of my employers. He prefers it to receiving the articles through email. Also, I really like the share link feature. I can insert links to my resume and sample works in my cover letter.
A recent tool I was introduced to was Windows Live Writer. It’s an offline blogging tool. My employer prefers that I write from this tool before uploading my posts to WordPress. It makes it easier for him to format and make minor edits to the posts.
Also, when you’re out hunting for new gigs, check out Bidsketch. It’s great for building structured client proposals without the need to be a design or typography specialist. Having your proposals look professional can go a long way in this business.
4. Being Productive
Only you can determine how productive you are and what can make you productive during work hours. For me, I stick to a regular work shift and it really helps me manage my time better. If you’re a morning person, that’s better as you can start early and finish early.
What can make you more productive? Perhaps drinking coffee and working in a quiet environment? Well, this will really depend on you but make sure you maintain that habit. And one more thing about productivity… know how much work you can handle on a daily basis. Don’t ever bite more than you can chew. In the freelance world, if you can’t meet deadlines and deliver what’s expected, your clients/employers will terminate your services in a snap.
5. Get a PayPal Account
Having a PayPal account is almost mandatory right now if you’re a freelancer. Most overseas employers prefer transferring payments through PayPal since it’s very easy and convenient. You receive the money within minutes and you can withdraw it to your bank account right away.
In fact, most international employers require this from job applicants. Don’t let this specific requirement hinder you from landing a good-paying online job.
Before we end, I’d like to share something with you on a more personal note. When looking for freelancing jobs, be very cautious about scammers. I have been burnt several times. There’s a certain risk that comes with this job and the only way to protect yourself is to do a background check on the employer. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for information like the company’s website and payment methods. You have to know what you’re getting into before accepting the job offer.
Most importantly, know how much your services are worth and don’t allow shady employers degrade your efforts with measly rates. If you feel the need to negotiate, do so. Employers will be considerate if they know the value of work you’ll be putting in.
About the author: Azalea is an experienced, passionate writer involved in the newInternetOrder.com project – a place where online business is taught to normal people. No hype, and no constant product pushing. In her spare time, Azalea is interested in action-packed movies, MMA, volleyball, food and harnessing positive vibes for a well-balanced lifestyle.
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