Freelancing Online

January 13, 2010

I’ve Been Away – But I am back with Good News!

Hello! How have you been? I am so happy to have the time again to put into this blog. I really do miss writing for you and hearing back all the wonderful comments.

To catch up, I have been working for more online article companies including Bright Hub!, eHow, Triond, Bukisa, HubPages and probably a few more that I can’t recall at the moment. I have had some good experiences, bad experiences, lack of experience (read: cash in hand) with these places. So here is the deal, over the course of the next couple of weeks I will be writing short reviews on each of the online writing sites I have worked with. I guarantee you the good, the bad, the ugly, and an exact quote of money I have made from these sites.

Just to expand on the above. If you don’t want to hassle with strict deadlines, editors, and having to re-do and re-edit your writing and you only want to bring in enough to cover a basic manicure from the little known salon around the corner, then by all means these online writing sites can make that happen for you. If you want to make a little extra, say enough for a day at a nice day spa, then I will be giving some advice on bringing in $2-300 month easily.

Now for the juicy stuff. I just finished reading Peter Bowerman’s book The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Freelance Writer in Six Months or Less. If you don’t already own this book, you need to. I will be writing a review for his book here in a week or so along with a review of one of his other books The Well-Fed Self-Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living.

Thanks to Peter’s help and guidance I am testing the waters in the corporate copywriting waters right now. Peter claims in his book that if he can do it anyone can. Well I am here to say…If I can do it, you can too! You know me from Associated Content where we complained together about the low rates and how they just kept sinking as more and more people signed up to try to make a quick buck. We said then that there must be something better, we knew it, felt it, our hearts yearned for it. Hopefully now I have found it!

Now I sound like Christopher Columbus, exclaiming “I have found a new land.” When in fact others just like me have found it before me, and some have called this land their home for quiet sometime now. Take Bob Bly for instance he was an internet marketer and copywriter before the internet existed. Okay that’s going a little far, but he was the first to write a book on making a living as a freelance copywriter. I suggest you go to Bob Bly’s Website scroll down to the bottom to the For Writers Link and start reading the wealth of information by the Freelancing Wizard.

May we grow successful together!

Carla

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July 2, 2009

Photo Reflect Review

It was about 2 months ago that I stumbled across the greatest photography website for photographers, PhotoReflect.com. Photographers can sign up for an account that is essentially free. PhotoReflect does not make any money until you do!

Now that I have your attention, the PhotoReflect.com team has throughly impressed me through free webinars, Tips & Tricks newsletter, tech support, video training, consultation, software and website.

The software is Express Digital Darkroom and it handles everything – maintenance of the website, portfolio, photography events, orders. All you have to do it some data entry. I will warn you it can seem a little intimidating at first and that is where the free webinars come into play. On top of a very in depth instruction manual PhotoReflect.com provides a Getting Started and Advanced Tools webinar.

These webinars teach you everything you need to know to get your site up and running. If you are left with questions at the end you are invited to email your questions and the PhotoReflect staff returns your email or phones with the answer promptly.

You are probably wondering how the money aspect works, thankfully it is very simple. You are able to hook up with a large selection of different photo labs around the country. You can select one that is nearby and/or one that carries specialty items. The lab has all of their prices listed, from there you are able to figure out the price you want to charge on your photos. PhotoReflect.com takes a 15-20%  cut off the top. It may sound like a lot at first but if someone makes a $50 order your net proceeds are $41. The more you sell the lower the percentage PhotoReflect.com pulls out.

Designing your own PhotoRelect site is also very simple, they provide a wide variety of various templates and all of the information is fill in the blank. Your photos are easily uploaded using the Digital Express Darkroom software. These sites are very professional looking too. The site you are able to design are so nice that whether you are new to the field of photography or a seasoned professional you will be happy with the results.

One of the features that I absolutely love is email lists for future events. For example in three months you will be photographing the Smith Wedding & Reception, as soon as the event is booked you can create a photo catalog for the event(s). Instead the PhotoReflect site allows your customers to submit their email for instant notification once the pictures have been uploaded. For weddings this works perfectly because you can suggest the couple include a card in their invitations that mentions this feature. They enjoy it because everyone is able to purchase their own pictures after the wedding.

Another great feature is password protection. If the Smith couple does not want anyone but family members to be able to view their photos, you can password protect their event. This also works well for children sport teams, family photos and more.

PhotoReflect.com also provides you with the ability to sell more than just photos. You can make all your own packages, sell canvas photos, framed photos, photo albums, posters, christmas cards and you make all the choices. If you only want to sell 8×10’s that is your choice – it is not suggested, but you can do it if you really want to.

They handle all the credit card processing, provide discount options, gift certificates, it’s like having your very own 24 hour studio.

I normally do not praise places this much but I keep researching and I keep coming up with more and more satisfied customers, clients and employees. The only way I have found for someone to fail at PhotoReflect.com is lack of publicity.

You cannot simply put your photos up on the site and hope people show up and buy stuff – it just doesn’t work like that. One suggestion that I recieved from Walter at PhotoReflect.com is “print up business cards and on the back print something like: Thank You! Visit yourname.photoreflect.com to view and purchase your event photos!” Be sure to include a line for the event name and the event date. Everytime you take pictures pass the cards out.

Print up flyers to advertise your services then post them wherever you see fit. Make brochures that showcase your services and your website. Get the word out that you are a photographer and you have photos for sale!

Just like with any educated business endevor, you get what you put into it. If you love photography then this site will prove to be nothing but a blessing for you.

To visit my PhotoReflect.com site visit: http://carlamichelle.photoreflect.com aka Girl With a Pen & Camera

June 27, 2009

oDesk Review

oDesk is a freelance bidding site. If you have never worked with a bidding site before it can be very interesting and confusing at first but it gets easier with time. The way a bidding site works is much like a regular interview process for a normal day job. You search for a job you would like to do then apply for it by giving the client a price quote, estimated time and a cover letter explaining why you are the one for the job.

I know what your thinking – “This sounds complicated and there’s no guarantee I’ll get the job.” In some senses you are right, there is no guarantee you will be chosen, but there is a good chance you will be is you have your profile in order and you write a decent cover letter. The great news is bidding sites do not just work with writers they also work with web programmers, sales consultants, customer service representatives, accountants and so much more. If you have more than one specialty or if you just don’t want to be tied down to doing the same work every single day then you can bid in various fields.

I personally love oDesk because the community is nice, the people are helpful and the clients are great. I have landed at least 10 jobs in the two months I have been with oDesk and most of the assignments are long term. I have good working relationships with all of my clients and I get to set my rates. I have had a few prospective clients refuse me because of my rates, but I have others that have hired me because my rates were slightly above the norm. It also helps that I always direct potential clients to my website in my cover letter. My website is designed to be more of a portfolio than anything else and with the wide variety of topics organized by category tabs clients are able to easily get an idea of my writing style and my versatility.

Another aspect of oDesk that I absolutely love is their free skills tests – yeah you heard me right – FREE. I have taken quite a few of the tests and it helps clients to know where you are proficient. oDesk will even allow you to retake the tests after 30 days if you want to try for a better score. Some clients will only select applicants who have passed certain skills tests. For instance if you are proficient in English take the English skills test. This allows clients to know that you actually do know and understand English and you are not just going to write an article in your native tongue then pass it through a translator. I have taken the English, SEO, article writing and blog writing tests whereas these are my main fields. I plan to take more, just because I like taking tests – I know, I’m weird. The great thing is, if I do not pass or I get a score that I don’t want to advertise to the world I can choose to hide the results from public view.

oDesk is very different from other Freelance Bidding sites whereas it does not charge you any membership or upfront fees. They do however take a 10% cut from the money you do make. It is up to you whether you choose to take that cut or charge it to your clients. I personally take the hit because I think the clients appreciate it and if I only get $90 from a $100 job I don’t see it as a huge deal. Many freelancers have the client pay the 10% though by setting their bid at $100 then having oDesk tack on the extra on top.

There are two different types of jobs you can complete through oDesk: Hourly and Fixed-price. oDesk does not garantee payment on Fixed-price jobs whereas they are not tracked in any way. Hourly jobs are garanteed though because oDesk has a special program that you download onto your computer that tracks the amount of work you complete. You are able to easily take out times when you walked away from the computer or add “offline time”. On hourly jobs a client does not have to pay for the “offline time” though all the ones I have worked with have paid it with no questions asked.

I strongly suggest oDesk to anyone who is trying to find clients and decent paying freelance assignments. Click here to view my oDesk Profile.

The On Demand Global Workforce - oDesk

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