Social media is a marketing powerhouse, and no matter what platform you want to use, there are benefits all the way around. Put simply, the short answer to “which is better for business?” is that you should be using all three; but for the sake of this article, we’re going to compare Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter in terms of marketing benefits, company growth, and the ability to help brands reach a wider audience. [Read more…]
Depending on your niche and how hard you hustle, being a freelance writer can be relatively lucrative. For many writers, though, finances are tight and quick cash infusions are welcome.
Luckily, there are a variety of ways to boost your freelance income without going on a pitching spree or turning to a content mill. From contests to tutoring and transcription, these 4 side projects can help increase your earning potential and add some variety to the daily grind. [Read more…]
I don’t think it’s necessary to emphasize just how important it is for freelancers (or any business relying on storing data on computers for that matter) to back up their files on a regular basis. From pending articles to book manuscripts to invoices – all of these documents are essential to running your freelance business successfully.
Imagine your hard drive suddenly crashing. You know how that goes.
Thank goodness for technology that offers storage that makes it easy for anyone to back up data, and not only does present technology make it easy, it offers more security as well.
So I ask you this question: when did you last back up your hard drive?
If you don’t really pay attention to this task – which should be done on a regular basis – maybe this article can serve as a wake-up call. [Read more…]
As every freelancer quickly realizes, the competition for online writing jobs is fierce, and it’s only going to get stronger. As more and more millennials develop an affinity for flexible, remote jobs, these positions will become increasingly hard to find. That means you either have to choose a new career or find a way to stand out.
Which will it be?
Writing Specialization: The Key to Differentiation
While some freelancers will throw in the towel when times get tough, don’t let this be you. Instead, do your best to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Many successful freelancers have discovered that specialization is the best way to stand out. By zoning in on a niche and developing a specific set of skills, you can position yourself as knowledgeable and proficient at servicing a particular industry. While this may limit the number of job opportunities available to you, it simultaneously boosts the amount you’re able to charge. The payoff can be tremendous.
Specialization Isn’t a New Trend
While it may be a new concept to some of you, specialization isn’t a new idea. If you think about it, virtually all businesses and professionals specialize at one point or another. For example, Green Residential, a Houston-based property management company, points out that real estate investors must focus on a niche or they’ll fail: “There are dozens of unique specializations including apartment complexes, flipping, luxury home rentals, multifamily housing, vacation properties, and many more.” You can’t invest in all of these and expect to be successful.
This is what the Harvard Business Review calls The Age of Hyperspecialization. Everyone from the neighborhood grocer to the stockbroker on Wall Street is specializing in something. Shouldn’t you?
How to Choose a Writing Niche
The question most people inevitably ask is: “How do I choose the correct specialty or niche?” Well, it depends on a number of important factors. For starters, consider the following:
- What are you knowledgeable about? This is the first question to think about. For example, if you’re a residential real estate agent or you have experience in this area, you’re obviously pretty knowledgeable about market trends, financing, sales techniques, and other processes involved in the sale and purchase of homes. Real estate would be a natural specialization for your writing career.
- What interests you? You also have to consider your personal interests. What’s the first thing you think about in the morning? What do you love to do when you have a free weekend? When a topic interests you, you’re much more likely to find your career satisfying and fulfilling. If you can find a niche that you’re knowledgeable about and interested in, this is the perfect combination.
- Where is the demand? You also have to think about the demand for your specialty. You may love underwater basket weaving, but does anyone else care about it? Is anyone willing to pay for content in this space? It’s critical that you pay attention to demand and choose a specialty with this in mind.
- How much competition is there? Finally, consider the competition. If there are already thousands of other writers in a niche, you’re going to face an uphill battle when it comes to making a name for yourself. On the other hand, if you can find a specialty that only has a handful of proven names, this can be a fantastic place to invest your time and money.
If you’re able to answer each of these questions, you’ll naturally stumble upon a niche that’s right for you. But don’t worry about committing to a specialty. Over time, you’ll find that your career will evolve. You’re not committing to a lifetime of writing the same content. You’re simply choosing an area of expertise in order to give yourself a solid footing and stable career.
As a freelance writer, you may already have your own strategies to find writing jobs that fit your profile.
These strategies may include pitching editors, answering job ads and attending networking events.
But what do you do when nothing seems to be working? What’s next when you don’t hear anything back from your pitches, job applications or your new contacts?
The good news is there’s always more than one way to do something and that includes looking for your next writing gig.
Here are seven other ways you might not have tried. [Read more…]
We all know that freelance writers run the risk of falling victim to fraud. While there are a lot of legitimate freelance writing jobs with trustworthy companies and individual clients, there are also many scammers out there.
As freelance writers, it is part of our duty to practice due diligence in order to avoid being victims of fraud. However, there are times when, in spite of being careful, we still get scammed. Daniel A. Perlman, a criminal lawyer, advises that in these cases, freelance writers should seek redress in court. There are different factors which come into play in order to win such cases, so you may want to seek legal counsel to get the best results.
It is better to be ultra careful when taking on jobs. Before you reach the stage of having to file a lawsuit, why not identify red flags so that you can stay away from shady job ads?
Here are some tips to avoid freelance writing job frauds.
Watch out for clients who avoid contracts at all costs.
While there are certain situations when you may take on work without a contract (although this is really risky for you), when taking on new clients, make sure you have a written agreement. Essential elements to include in the contract:
- Pay rate
- Number of revisions
- Scope of work
If a new client comes across as defensive when it comes to a contract, then it may be best to decline the job.
Here are more tips on writing freelance writing contracts.
Avoid paid job databases.
Aside from FWJ, there are other job databases where you can find freelance writing gigs. Companies also post their own job openings on their websites. There really is no reason to pay to look at a job board. The chances are that your money will just be wasted.
Be wary of clients who ask for unpaid samples.
Not all clients who ask for unpaid samples are scammers, but you’ve heard of horror stories about writers who don’t get hired after sending samples in and then seeing their content used elsewhere.
What you can do is tell the client that you have a lot of published samples and that you can send those as proof of the quality of your work. Alternatively, you can ask to be paid for the samples, even if it’s not the normal rate. If this doesn’t work out, you can also ask around freelance writing communities about the company or person.
Stay away from “unpaid for the first x articles, then get paid after that” setups.
This is similar to clients asking for unpaid samples. Usually, the reason given by the client is to have a trial period to determine if you are a fit. While that makes sense, the trial period should be paid, and you should ask for that. If the client does not agree, then you’re better off finding another gig.
Have you ever been scammed as a freelance writer? What happened? Did you go after them in court?
Share your stories with us so that we can learn from them.
I could be wrong, but most – if not all – freelance writers dream, or at least think, about writing a novel and getting it published. Whether you’re writing content for clients, doing copywriting work, or even ghostwriting, the chances are that you have a novel somewhere inside you.
We all have to start somewhere, though, and one of the ways to do so is to know what genre you want your book to fall under. Sometimes, you won’t have to decide – your ideas and characters will come alive without you having much control with regard to genre. They’ll practically give you the finger and say “F” genre! Write our story! [Read more…]
We’ve all read romance novels at some point in our lives. Now, as writers, perhaps some of you want to enter the romance novel scene. Whether as a ghostwriter, using your own name, or using a pen name, there will be times when you face a roadblock in your writing.
There are solutions for that. You can wait till your muse comes to visit. You can force your way through the block. Or you can coax those juices with some writing prompts.
Here are some creative writing prompts for romance novels.
1. What is your favorite romantic comedy movie and why? What would change about the movie if you were inserted into one of the main or supporting roles? Talk about these changes and go into extreme details.
2. They were at the altar, about to say their vows. Suddenly, she imagined them as a couple facing issues of divorce. What happens next?
3. You’ve been in love with a high school friend for as long as you can remember but the feeling was never reciprocated – until your paths cross again decades later. Create a scene where chemistry develops between the two of you.
4. Write a romance that is developing when the main character is dealing with intense suicidal thoughts. In some ways, the romance helps her and doesn’t help her. What happens next?
5. Two strangers meeting at an addiction recovery group meeting and how they connect because of one party sharing his/her story. Write about that person’s story.
6. Write a story about two best friends who are fed up trying to find love on their own. They consider trying to start a relationship with each other since they both find each other attractive and know they are great people. However, there is no romance or chemistry between them.
7. Who is your favorite television or movie couple of all time? What is it that made them such a fantastic couple? What can you learn from them in your own life and relationships?
8. Write a romance which starts with the line “I was struck by the horrible stink that seemingly came out of her every pore”.
9. Write a scene starting with the words “He was the kind of person, despite what he thought, who never really knew what love was.”
10. “It all began when her car hit me at full speed while I was crossing the street…”
11. Write about two people meeting at an old abandoned house, getting stuck there overnight, and how they fell in love.
12. Write about two seemingly ordinary people get married only to find out later that one is a murderer.
13. Start a scene with “Dining alone, I ordered the most expensive bottle of wine they had on the menu. Little did I know that would change my life.”
14. I woke up in a surreal world without any idea where I was, and then this shadowy figure came out of nowhere…
15. Even though Jake the last of the pancakes, Leonard couldn’t find it in himself to get worked up about it.
16. He loved here. But he feared her more.
17. He did something wrong in the past, period. Although she wasn’t the victim, it was pretty bad. How can she be sure he’s changed? (Via)
18. They met on a trip almost a decade ago, and sparks flew. They live worlds apart and haven’t seen each other since then, only keeping in touch now and then on social media. Now, they’re planning on meeting up again.
19. You’re at the aquarium when your boyfriend, a diver, jumps into one of the large tanks holding a plastic sign that reads: “Will you marry me?” Just then the woman next to you shrieks and bursts into tears. (Via)
20. She walked up and down the beach every day at 6 A.M., a red shawl always wrapped around her. What’s her story?
Don’t miss: Ways to Get in the Writing Zone and Horror Writing Prompts
Editor’s note: This post was written by Kenneth Waldman, a freelance writer and English tutor. You can get in touch with him on Linkedin.
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Many of us started our freelance career by taking on odd jobs here and there while having a day job at the same time. Others may not have a day job but take on freelance writing work sporadically.
For some freelance writers, however, there comes a point when freelancing becomes a full-time business and not just some activity on the side. At this point, the story goes in a different direction. Suddenly, you have more responsibilities, potentially acting as CEO, CTO, CFO, and every other “C” you can think about. [Read more…]