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When Freelance Writing Becomes A Business

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freelance writing business For some reasons unbeknown to me, the description freelance writer carries a sour bi-taste for some people. I suppose the actual “freelance” in the description is what makes certain people cringe. This isn’t a problem though until it happens to a potential client.

So what can a freelance writer do to have potential clients respect them as a proper business owner? This question needs to be considered in all its importance. I get contacted by many aspiring freelance writers asking me for help quite often.

Time and time again I see the same repetition how they present themselves as a young business owner. Unfortunately, they think they ruin a business, but in reality they make a cheap attempt to do so. What I’m going to outline in this post is what I normally tell my readers when they ask for help. It is in my eyes essential for a successful start to any freelance writing business.

Brainstorm – Start At The Beginning

While some of you might go duh right now, believe me when I say most aspiring freelancers fail to do exactly that. They throw themselves full steam ahead into the game without establishing the proper basics first.

The whole game starts with a master plan. What is your ultimate goal as a freelance writer? You need to have some sort of an idea to keep you on track, otherwise you will be like a train without its tracks – lost.

Sit down and brainstorm your desires, dreams and ideas for a great start. Whether you use pen and paper, or a full fledged brainstorming software isn’t relevant here. What matters is your dedication to do this right from the start.

Branding Is Key

Branding is key. I said it in the past, I say it now. Without a brand you cannot expect clients to take you seriously. Some freelance writers choose a business name to brand themselves, while others use their own name. Personally I have always branded my own business with my name. However, I also use the name of my signature blog for this purpose.

This was my intention right from the start, hence the domain name I chose. In the time I have run my freelance writing business, both of these have formed a marriage made in heaven and these days my clients recognize both my name and my blog’s name before they book my services.

Blog Your Business

As a freelance writer you need to keep writing. Especially if you are brand new and have no degree, you will need to show prospective clients how your ability can wow them off their feet.

A proper designed and run blog should have the following attributes.

  • It needs to be self hosted (You have to show your clients that you are serious about your business) While free blogs are ok, they are not the answer to running a business.
  • Your blog should be updated frequently. It is great practice for you as a writer.
  • You absolutely must have the following on your blog:
  1. A hire me page
  2. Client testimonials
  3. A contact me page
  4. An about me page
  • Alternatively, you can also separate your blog from a portfolio site (My personal preference). This allows you to keep the two apart, but whatever you do, link them together.
  • This one is major: Whatever niche you choose to become involved in as a writer, choose it to blog about. Compliment the topic with repeated topics fitting the purpose of your work if need be. The reason being, it is a sure fire way to pre-sell your services to clients!

Network. Network. Network – Like A Royal

A freelance writers holy grail! Networking to a freelance writer is what location is to a Realtor. It is money in your pocket.

You can’t expect people to bash down your door because you are so brilliant. At least not until you are established. Even then, it is still the same mantra, network, network, network. And then do it all over again.

Ah… and another thing. Stay away from interpersonal gossip. It won’t become your business.

Stay True To Your Word

If you tell your client you will deliver on Monday, then do so. Don’t get flaky on your communication. I know we can all fall behind schedule for various reasons. If you do, get in touch with your client ASAP and tell him honestly why and when. Most clients are lenient, they are humans too.

Communicate!

As a freelance writer you can’t communicate too little. Make sure the terms of your employment are absolutely certain before you start. Try to develop some kind of system to help you communicate easier and faster.

Keep Stock

Keep all conversations in a specified folder until you don’t need them anymore. Often you will need to go back and re-check on what has been said. By being able to easily access information will make life a lot easier for you.

Say Goodbye To Junk For Good

I mean it, get rid of your junk. Folders, files, email all need to be organized down to a T. After all, you do consider yourself to be a business person. Treat it as such. I use a backup hard drive and Google Docs to keep my own hard drive free of old stuff, while keeping relevant files.

I design a folder for each of my customers and all the work goes into it. When I need info fast, I find it fast by navigating to the particular folder. It is easy, but effective.

State Your Price

One of the biggest mistakes I made after being in business for a while was to undervalue myself. I basically sold myself short.

Just remember before you cut your rates too far.

  • Freelance writers don’t get sick pay
  • They also don’t get holiday pay
  • Did somebody mention the 401K plan?
  • There is no guaranteed income

When I realized this, I gave myself a pay rise and it has been worth it. After all, I’m worth it!

Give Your Very Best – Even If You Work At 2AM

Yes, sometimes the nature of a freelance writing business will require you to work well into the night. Even if you are dog tired, don’t get sloppy, just check your work twice more before you deliver to the client.

Remember, sloppy work won’t get you repeats and referrals.

Testimonial Power

A freelance writer without testimonials is like a skier without skis. Unless of course you are brand new. Make it a habit to collect testimonials from every happy client (that would mean all, right?) and then use them to showcase your talent.

In Closing

To run a freelance writing business requires dedication and passion. It isn’t a hobby and if you treat it as one, it will pay you the same.

Despite all the musts, running a freelance writing business is a lot of fun and very exciting. I hope you will feel the same way about your business once you are set to go.

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3 Rewarding Benefits for Bloggers to Consider Joining An Honor Society

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Over approximately one million students are members of the National Honor Society (NHS). Many of which are likely bloggers, freelance writers, and/or have a passion for writing or pursuing their own path in life.

High school students with outstanding achievements are joining the organization every year. But you may not be familiar with the NHS and what it does, and also how it can benefit you as either a blogger, affiliate marketer, or an entrepreneur.

You may be asking, “should I join an honor society?” Is it really that important? Before you become an honor student yourself, you should weigh the benefits.

Here’s your guide to the benefits of the National Honor Society.

Should I Join an Honor Society?

In order to join the NHS, you’ll need to know what they do.

Established in 1921, the foundation recognizes students who have achieved excellence in several different ways. These include areas of service, leadership, character, and of course, scholarship.

Members need to meet certain criteria to join. Students who want to join should have at least a 3.0 on the GPA scale. They should also show great leadership and a commitment to volunteer work.

If you think you may be eligible, here are three rewarding reasons why you should join the NHS.

1. Making a Difference

One of the great aspects of the NHS is the opportunity to make a difference. Given the foundation’s emphasis on helping others, each student must meet a service hour requirement.

As a member, you’ll be a part of service projects whether individually or as a team.

This is not only an amazing way to get involved in your community but a way to meet new people. Volunteering opens up so many doors, personal and otherwise. It helps you find yourself and connect with people in the process.

The service you complete may also open other doors and interests for you along the way.

2. Building Your Resume

Every college and university knows what an NHS membership suggests about a student. This makes it a wonderful addition to your resume or college application. It makes you competitive and helps you stand out in a sea of students.

An NHS experience shows that you’re an outstanding citizen who’s engaged with the world. It shows that you have great academic standing and the potential to be a future leader. However, academics aren’t everything, and if you can compile all of your achievements and goals into an online resume website, you may win over some new audiences and personal opportunities as well.

Joining the NHS will help you turn your goals for the future into a reality and set your professional life into motion.

3. Developing Skills

To become an NHS student, you need to exhibit certain traits and character. But your experience as a member will also help you further develop your skills. The NHS is an excellent avenue for becoming even more well-rounded and capable.

The NHS helps students flex their skills as a leader and a part of a team. The volunteering component will help you develop great time management skills. It can also motivate you to maintain your good grades.

You’ll also learn a lot about networking and professionalism during the process. This will be indelibly valuable in the future.

Learn More

The answer to “should I join an honor society?” is a resounding yes. There are no downsides to becoming an honor student and so much to gain from the experience, and if you are thinking about launching a website or blog of your own, the experience and skills you will gain from such an environment and community will only help.

Not only does being in the NHS prepare you for what’s to come, but it’s also a nice way to celebrate what you’ve already worked so hard to accomplish.

To learn more about school and lifestyle tips, be sure to visit our blog.

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Blogging

The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing Your Very First Blog Post

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The Dos and Donts of Writing Your Very First Blog Post

The Dos and Donts of Writing Your Very First Blog Post

Your very first blog post is a very big deal.

For businesses, it’s their way of attracting more clients by creating content that resonates with your target audience.

For hobbyists, it’s their chance to of sharing to the world your thoughts and ideas about their topics of choice.

Either way, nothing validates your online identity more than a well-written blog post.

Therefore, you need to make the most of this opportunity by writing the best possible blog post. Assuming that you don’t have much experience in writing, you can always keep things simple by following the basic do’s and don’ts of writing a blog post for the very first time.

Do: Come up with a topic that your audience would like

The success of bloggers stems from the ability to determine what their audience wants to read. To reach their primary goals, bloggers must appeal to the need of their target readers for useful and relevant information. Doing so allows them to attract lots of visitors with the content they publish, resulting in increased conversion rates.

Therefore, you need to approach blogging deliberately. You can’t just pull a topic out of thin air and expect your audience to come in droves. You must find out what makes your readers ticks and what their wants and needs are.

That means research, research, and more research!

First, you need to come up with a reader persona that you will target for your post and the succeeding ones. The persona you will develop will embody your demographic such as age, gender, hobbies, and others. Researching these factors will help you refine how you will write your post and what you will write about. From here, unearthing blog post ideas to write about will become much more convenient for you.

Don’t: Veer away from your branding and persona

Your brand is what defines you online. Your audience will associate all your online activity with the brand you’ve developed. Part of your brand is the persona you project from the blog posts you will write.

The best blogs exhibit unique voices that set them apart from the rest. The Onion is popular for its tongue-in-cheek humor veiled in satire. Lifehacker is famous for producing informative blog content geared towards readers who want to find ways to simplify their lives.

The brand and persona these sites exude help bloggers develop consistency in their writing. By observing their persona on all the posts they write at all times, they allow readers to create a level of expectation every time you publish a post. By meeting their expectations with every post you write, you can develop a sustainable stream of blog traffic over a period.

Therefore, it is crucial that you develop a writing voice that resonates with your readers and then sticking with it. You need to play your brand and persona across all your blog posts, starting with the very first post you’ll be writing.

Do: Edit before publishing

Before hitting the “Publish” button, you need to make sure that there are no grammar mistakes and errors in your writing. Your command of the language is crucial if you want to send the right message to your readers.

A post that’s filled with errors will cause readers to leave your blog and possibly not read another post from you. If you can’t write correctly, then why should your audience read your posts?

Double-checking your post and reading it again can do wonders for your edits. It’s best to take time between finishing the post and reading it for review. The time allows you to get your mind off from writing so you will have a fresh perspective on the post, which lets you spot errors easier.

If you’re not comfortable with your editing skills, then you could use tools like Grammarly and Hemingway Editor. Both will make recommendations on how to tighten your sentences and improve your blog post. Keep in mind, however, that these tools are meant to complement your editing process and not replace it entirely.

Don’t: Worry about word count

If you’re counting words when writing your post, then you’re blogging for the wrong reasons.

When writing, your focus should be communicating ideas as clearly as possible.

For SEO reasons, you want your post to be as long as possible. According to the latest studies, your post should be at least 1,890 words if you want to rank on top of Google Search.

However, if you can’t reach that many numbers of words, you don’t have to beat yourself up about it. Having lots of words doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a great post.

What’s more important is that you can share everything that your readers need to know about the topic. By focusing on the quality of the post and not the number of words, you can engage your audience and keep them longing for more.

Do: Promote your post

Promoting your post is not part of the writing process. However, part of your job as a full-fledged blogger is to be a marketer as well.

Sharing your first blog post is your step towards reaching out to your online audience. After all, your post won’t promote itself. You need to proactive share your blog post to the right channels, so you show it to as many people interested in your topic as possible.

One of the best ways to promote your post online is to hop on Facebook and Twitter.

“If you have created high-quality content on your blog then social media is a great way to your blog to go viral.” said Scott Chow of The Blog Starter.

You can also submit your post on platforms that allow you to reach out to your audience more effectively. I have detailed the best sites where you can send your post for promotion in this article.

Don’t: Set unrealistic goals

Starting at the bottom and working your way up to where thousands of blogs are also vying for the attention of your readers will be a tumultuous journey. Therefore, you have to curb your expectations as a blogger. It is ideal to set the bar with attainable goals in mind instead of aiming for the moon.

Don’t get me wrong – reaching thousands of visitors for your blog post in a day is not impossible. However, like catching lightning in a jar, it’s more improbable than anything else. In fact, this problem is what plagues most bloggers. They set high goals that are difficult to achieve. As a result, they get discouraged once they realize that they can’t fulfill them and stop blogging altogether.

Therefore, it’s always better to follow a tried-and-true template that you can sustain for a long period. You don’t want to be one of those flash-in-the-pan bloggers who fizzle out as fast as they started.

Did I miss any other tips for first-time bloggers in preparation for their very first post? Chime in with your advice by commenting below!

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Writing

4 Tips for Effectively Training New Hires and Freelance Writers

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You’ve been interviewing prospective job candidates for weeks. Whether this has been for adding talent to your existing company, or if you’ve been looking for some qualified blog writers, the process is quite overwhelming, yet one that needs to take place. You’ve narrowed down the field, compared resumes and extended an offer. Soon, you’ll have a bright-eyed new employee walking through your door, eager to get started. Are you prepared for the onboarding process?

Handing each new employee, a packet to read at their desk doesn’t cut it these days. In order to help new hires hit the ground running with their duties and acclimate to your work environment, you’ll need to utilize more dynamic methods for effectively training new hires. Here are four tips to help you get started.

Prioritize Need-to-Know Material

Training includes a veritable avalanche of information—like a general company overview, employer-specific policies, human resources information and specific job duties. It’s your job to equip your team members with everything they need to thrive. So, where do you start? This is also usually simple enough when looking to hire freelance writers or new blog team members, as there are many online job boards that allow you to fill in the needs and requirements you are looking for, while also having the ability to weed out any leads that don’t fit.

Create an outline that breaks down different training sessions into manageable chunks. This way, you’ll provide some foresight to the new hires and keep them from getting overwhelmed. For example, on their first day, you could start with job-specific information: frequently used programs and files, chain of command within their team and department and the location of hotspots like bathrooms, break rooms, conference rooms, HR, etc. The next day, the new hire can easily see that they’ll be learning about a broad company and departmental overview, project management and communication best practices within the office. After that, they’ll tackle short- and long-term goals and KPIs that show they’re doing well in their new job.

Take it one day at a time, based on order of importance.

Make It Interactive and Engaging

Passive presentations make it all too easy for new hires to forget material almost as soon as they learn it. Remember, they’re encountering new information left and right. To make it stick, you’ll have to make it extra engaging. Delivering an interactive presentation with crowdsourcing tools like Poll Everywhere will wake them up, collect their honest thoughts and make them feel like part of the team right off the bat. Instead of listening to a one-way stream of information, new hires can grab their mobile devices and get involved.

Create a Longer-Term Plan

Whew, you survived the first day of training. Your newest batch of hires are basically onboard, right? Not so fast. You need a long-term plan to ensure a smooth process over time. One HR manager uses an onboarding checklist complete with agendas for the first week and first month—including future training sessions, group lunches and manager check-ins. This way, the employee knows that they’re not suddenly on their own after the first round of introductions; they have resources, a plan and scheduled times to ask questions and provide feedback.

Assign a Concrete Task

Training often feels theoretical for new hires; they’re left wondering “but how does this connect to my job?” One way to drive the points made in training home is to assign a relevant task after a learning session. It should relate to their daily duties and allow them to learn (and make mistakes) as they go. They will be able to put the principles they learned in general training into actual use on an actual assignment! At the end, a manager can go over the results with them in a helpful way, pointing out things they did well and how they can improve in the future.

These four tips for effectively training new hires should help you with the onboarding process, but be sure to experiment and come up with a system that works for your company. After all, onboarding is the first impression new employees get and it factors heavily into company culture. If you want to build a success blog, brand or business on the internet today, you need to make sure you are building a quality and talented team around you.

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