If you’re a freelance writer and work from home (or even if you don’t), there are sure to be days where productivity is not as great as it could be. Speaking from personal experience, I know that no matter how “perfect” your home office may be, there will always be some kind of distraction. Whether it’s personal issues standing in your way, procrastination, or just pure laziness, it doesn’t take much to interrupt ones productivity.
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With that being said, using the proper tools for everyday tasks can always help to boost productivity. Tracking your time is important because you’re less likely to waste time if you’re keeping tabs on every working minute.
Being able to find freelance projects is of course a plus because of the income, but it also helps to keep you busy during down times – such as slow work days. It’s better to start building your your reputation on freelance work sites before those hard times arise.
Finally, having a secure way to share and collaborate on files is great for communication purposes (with clients) and also cuts down on email messages, thus keeping your inbox clean.
So in Part 1, we’ll take a look at some time tracking and invoicing tools, as well as 3 sites to help you find freelance writing jobs.
Track Your Work and Create Invoices
There are numerous tools available for freelance writers, but these are some of the top time tracking and invoicing tools around. It’s easy to lose focus and waste a day if you’re not keeping track of tasks or using your time wisely. Plus, if you have clients that you charge by the hour, it’s extremely important that you track your time so that you know how long a project took to complete.
A simple, free online time tracking and invoicing tool that can be used on the Web, or on the go via your iPhone. MakeSomeTime includes integrations such as Basecamp and can also be used to generate detailed reports.
An online tool for tracking your time, organizing your expenses, and sending invoices to clients. It even integrates with gateways like PayPal, Authorize.net, iTransact, and more so that you can get paid quickly and securely through the site.
An online billing software for small business owners and freelancers. It can be used to track your time and expenses, send estimates and invoices, receive payments, and to view finances at a glance.
Although this tool focuses on managing invoices, it includes many other features as well. Zoho Invoice is also great for creating and sending estimates, managing expenses, tracking your time, and organizing customer information.
Toggl is one of the easiest time tracking tools that you’ll find. In addition to the Web application, Toggl also has apps for Windows, Mac, iPhone/iPod, iPad, and Android. It also automatically syncs with Quickbooks and Freshbooks and is great for working with teams.
One of the best online tools for time tracking and online invoicing; it’s simple and fast. Harvest can also be used to generate detailed reports, send estimates to clients, and to manage your expenses.
Find Work and Gain Experience
As the number of freelance writers continues to grow, the competition for work increases. Due to this, it can sometimes take weeks or even months to find new work. This is where freelance markets come into play. You can search and bid on jobs, plus improve your skills, and build relationships.
At iFreelance you can bid on hundreds of project and keep 100% of the earnings; there are no commissions or fees to worry about. However, the catch to that is that you have to pay a monthly fee in order to use the service.
Guru.com makes it easy to find freelance work and get paid safely. Once you create a free account, you can create a profile, bid on projects and create proposals. Guru.com also offers SafePay, a payment protection program.
Freelancer.com is the world’s largest outsourcing marketplace. There are over 100 categories to choose from and new projects are posted constantly. Along with bidding on projects, there is also an affiliate program which is great for making extra money.
To continue with this post, be sure to read Part 2 of “18 Online Tools for Freelance Writers that Help Boost Productivity,” on Saturday, March 10.
How to Build Brand Authenticity Using Customer Generated Content
Creating quality content is the best thing someone can ever do for their company. When done right, it generates a lot of traffic towards the website thus giving a high likelihood of converting the followers into leads. Unfortunately, quality content is expensive and can use up a lot of money, time, and very exhaustive.
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Fortunately for us, there is another way to get quality content without having to go through all this hustle. When you make use of this strategy, it will turn out to be more powerful and accurate than other cumbersome methods. This solution is known as User Generated Content (UGC) since it is one of the simplest way to get results without getting tired.
What is the significance of UGC?
The moment you make use of content generated by customers, you automatically create trust with other customers. This is because more than 80% of consumers find content generated by their fellow customers to be convincing and true than what the brands can write about themselves. The assumption is that no one will ever write negatives about themselves unless third parties take over.
UGC is the most authentic type of content as 98% of it is true since customers have no interests in the customers creating profits. If something is bad, they will write it as it is. The reverse is also true. It is therefore recommendable to spend more time curating on the content written by consumers rather than the company itself. You can also use a tool like keyword.com to better create content for your audience and to also rank higher in Google for multiple keywords and search phrases.
The other advantage of UGC is the ability to track all the conversations and mentions. This mostly helps by finding out what the customers think about your services and products. In case of any problem, you can address the same issue. You are allowed to comment on the same wall towards their plights.
The other advantage is to help a company in saving time meant to write content. This time can be allocated to other issues that help in accumulating profits for the business.
Ways to Build an Effective UCG Marketing Strategy
1 – Choose your platform wisely
You do not just create a CGC in any area. The first thing is to ensure that you have a good number of active followers in online platforms. In addition to this, remember that each platform works differently; Facebook users are known for sharing content whereas Instagram is more of visuals. When you ask people for content, remember to be specific with what you want since a lot of us are ready to talk about anything we wish.
2 – Collect independent customer reviews
Customers’ reviews are very vital to any business as they act as personal recommendations to other people who are yet to try your brand. In fact, a lot of people prefer to read a number of reviews before making a conclusion on whether to buy or not. If someone comes across two or more negative comments, a good number will pull away from your page. Remember that savvy customers will always spot fake reviews hence the more reason to stick to authentic customers. The only way to win their hearts is by offering what you promised in the first place.
3 – Offer rewards
There is nothing as encouraging as being rewarded for doing something. Offering rewards attracts a lot of people towards your page as everyone is eager to get something. Don’t try too hard by getting expensive gifts. You can promise that a winner will have their tweets retweeted or you feature their article or business on your page. Not only will they feel happy that they are part of your success but will also attract new users to subscribe.
Neil Patel is often preaching about the process of offering rewards and getting users to submit an email address on your site — which you can then follow up with afterwards. You can read more on Neil and his most recent resources here.
4 – Support a charity event
You need to remind your customers that your brand is not after making profits but rather in helping the community in different events such as acts of charity. Let people know that you have a greater vision for them too.
Online platforms can either break or boost your business. This is because a lot of people have turned to recommendation on social media by strangers or friends. If you want better reviews, ensure that your products are quality and services are up to standard.
User Generation Content is the Way to Go!
With more than a billion active websites and blogs on the internet today, content overload is happening daily. The same is true for brands and bloggers that are struggling to create original content on their own.
The better option is to build a platform or content creation and marketing plan that relies on content being created from other users. After all, how much content has Facebook or Instagram ever made… and look at how huge and massive their brands are!
Be Careful Who You Ask for Blogging Advice
I retired to a life of travel through blogging.
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Do you want to travel the world through blogging?
My eBook lays out simple, step by step tips to follow for you to travel the world through blogging.
I know how to do it. I teach you how to do it. Easy. Simple. Smart, too; you ask a blogger who lives their dreams for blogging advice on how to live your dreams.
Imagine if you asked people from a blogging tips themed Facebook Group about how to travel the world through blogging? Who are these people? Do these bloggers know specifically how to retire to a life of travel through blogging? Have these bloggers written eBooks and created courses on the topic? Have they lived their dreams?
What ensures said bloggers offer good advice?
Do many of these bloggers offer terrible advice?
Are many of these bloggers experienced, skilled, knowledgeable bloggers, being tops in their niche, like me?
Most bloggers mean well. Some bloggers offer solid advice.
But many bloggers offer terrible advice to struggling new bloggers who follow terrible advice and all of them struggle horribly, following bad advice from bloggers who only know how to fail, versus knowing how to succeed.
Be careful who you trust.
How to Get the Best Blogging Advice on Earth
Follow the top blogging tips bloggers.
Hire them to coach you.
The best blogging advice on earth flows through premium blogging products and services created by the top bloggers on earth.
100% of the time, following this advice leads to success. Fool proof way to get only good advice because pros teach folks how to be pros.
The only reason why you’d get bad blogging advice is if you follow anybody other than the top blogging tips bloggers on earth.
Beware Free Advice Because it is Often Cheap
Free advice sites like Quora and Facebook Groups require no vetting.
Any blogger can offer terrible advice.
This was from my trip to Fiji.
Beware trusting advice from these spots; well-meaning bloggers often guarantee your struggles by offering failing, inexperienced, terrible advice.
Vet Bloggers Who Offer Advice
Gaurav Kumar offered excellent advice via a comment responding to my live Facebook Broadcast.
If you wanted to vet his advice, checking his Facebook profile and clicking on his eAskme blog link immediately proves he is a top blogger who offers sensational advice for succeeding.
Following blogs, investing in eBooks and hiring bloggers by scanning their blogs is the easiest way to:
- vet advice
- trust advice
- get awesome advice
- accelerate your blogging success
Research bloggers who offer advice on free forums. Some genuinely offer success-promoting advice through their blogs. Trust said bloggers.
If you click through to see no blog, or a blog hosted on a free platform, or thin, weak content, beware these red flags.
Follow advice only from top bloggers who put their advice in action and succeed from an abundant, generous, calm, confident vibe.
Go to the Top
Follow only the top blogging tips bloggers on earth to get the best blogging tips and to accelerate your blogging success.
Matthew Loomis at Build Your Own Blog offers success-promoting advice. Follow him. Hire him. Succeed.
Why spend hours asking for advice from folks who may or may not have any idea what they are talking about?
Go to the top.
Google popular search terms, vet guest posters on Blogging Tips, follow the best, get the best advice on earth, use the advice, succeed.
Blogging gets easier and easier when you only follow the top bloggers on earth and invest in their premium offerings because getting the best advice from the best bloggers positions you to be the best.
What Does Your Blog Need?
I wrote an eBook explaining what your blog needs:
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Success finds bloggers who cover all bases.
If you need nothing and feel your blog needs nothing, you succeed and live your wildest dreams.
Successful bloggers know adding the right elements to blogs and beginning blogs the right way accelerates your success. Plus it feels good to begin blogging intelligently.
What does your blog need?
1: Domain and Hosting
Invest in a domain and hosting.
Accelerate your blogging success.
Domain names make you stand out.
Observe how Pat Flynn invested in Smart Passive Income.
Of course you know immediately; the blogger covers smart passive income. Passive income seekers know the resource because Pat bought a domain name.
He also invested in hosting to ensure he owned his blog.
Take this step to control:
- income potential
- blog voice
Own your site. You need to own your blog to be in control of your blogging campaign.
2: Premium Theme
Invest money in a premium theme.
Stand out from the crowd.
Circulating money on a premium, eye-catching, clear theme emits a professional, impressive, powerful message.
This was from one of my many trips to Thailand.
Readers see you are a serious, successful or success-seeking, blogger. Of course you gain trust and grow your readership quickly by investing money in a premium theme.
Why do you need a premium theme? Would you trust a blogger who uses a cheap-looking, heavy, non-professional theme? If someone cannot afford to invest $60 in a premium theme you better not trust their advice, their insight and their sharing. Why? Serious, skilled bloggers never allow $60 to dictate their life’s direction and failing, struggling, unskilled bloggers make the foolish decision to not chase their dreams over $60.
Content drives blogs.
Your blog needs content to:
- prove you know your stuff
- spread your presence online
- inspire readers to follow you
- inspire readers to trust you
Visit Blogging From Paradise.
Look around for a few minutes. Read 3 of my recent posts. Do you see why content drives the blogging engine?
Imagine if you saw only 1 blog post. Every blogger begins somewhere but publishing helpful content from a generous, success-focused energy distances you from most bloggers in your niche.
Imagine seeing 1 to 5 blog posts on a blog. Good introduction no doubt.
Imagine seeing 50 to 100 blog posts on a blog. Massive impact.
Focus less on post numbers and more on being generous with time and talents. Content just shows off what you know.
As folks see you know your stuff thru your volume of helpful posts you begin to:
- increase traffic
- boost your blogging profits
- expand your presence
- increase brand awareness
- help more folks
- make a big impact in your niche
Content makes everything grow.
Publish content on the regular to become a successful blogger.
Focus on Your Dreams
Concentrate on your dreams from a relaxed, chill energy.
You need dreams to feel the calm, detached confidence of bloggers who invest in:
- a domain and hosting
- a premium theme
- creating helpful content
See your blogging wins now. You succeed now. Own it.
Feel good about your blogging career. You are rocking it out.
Succeed, being the blogger who covers all blogging needs.
Invest in a blogging course.
Your blog – and you – need a blogging blueprint to follow in order to succeed from a calm, confident, orderly, relaxed energy.
Blog like a success.
Learn from the best to become a successful blogger.
Courses just give you a structure for learning in the proper format.
Imagine sitting down in a classroom to learn disciplines from a professor.
You do the same thing through a blogging course.
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