The Freelancer’s Guide to Overcoming ProcrastinationThe Freelancer’s Guide to Overcoming Procrastination



Procrastination can be a dangerous habit no matter what your job, but when you work as a freelancer it can be deadly to your earning power. Putting off tasks that seem unpleasant or overwhelming may mean that less work gets done – and that can mean fewer dollars in your pocket. Procrastination can also do great damage to your reputation, arguably your most important asset. No one wants to hire a freelancer who consistently misses deadlines, so breaking free of this difficult habit is essential to your success.

Whether you're working as a part-time freelancer to bring in some extra money or have taken the plunge and work full-time for yourself, it is essential to get the procrastination monkey off your back once and for all. By changing the way you look at your work you can provide the temptation to put of these unpleasant or difficult tasks. And those simple changes can help put more money in your wallet and a more stable career as a freelance professional.

Look at the small picture

One of the chief causes of procrastination is a project that just seems too big and overwhelming. When confronted with an incredibly large, incredibly complex project our natural reaction may be to put it off. While it is certainly understandable that the professional freelancer would want to take some time to scope out the project and get a handle on it, the size of the project must not become an excuse for inaction. Putting a project off because it seems too large and overwhelming can result in missed deadlines, unhappy customers and reduced earnings for the freelancer.

Many times simply breaking a large project up into smaller and more manageable chunks can break the procrastination logjams and help the busy freelancer to get started. For instance, if you're faced with a months long project it may be helpful to break the job up into weekly tasks. By meeting this weekly goals you'll feel more in control, and more certain of your ability to finish the project on time.

Get feedback

Asking for feedback is always important for the professional freelancer, but it can be even more important if you're fighting the procrastination monster. Asking the client for feedback on a regular basis is a good way to keep yourself motivated, and a great way to make sure you are making steady progress as a project moves along.

Gathering feedback on a regular basis can do more than just help you fight your tendency to procrastinate. Asking for feedback – especially from a new client – is a great way to stay connected and to make sure all parties are on the same page. By going back to the client often and making sure everything is on track you can be more confident that your work matches the clients need – and you can avoid the procrastination that could wreck the project and cause you to miss those all-important deadlines.

Fighting procrastination is not an easy process, …

Scheduling Tips for FreelancersScheduling Tips for Freelancers



I don't understand why focus is so difficult these days. It never used to be. When I worked for someone else, I knew what time I started, what time I finished and I knew exactly what to do and when to do it in between. Now, working for myself, I just don't seem to know – when to start, what to do first, when to quit. It's frustrating as all hell. Grant proposals to write – for pay. Business plans to write for pay. A poetry manuscript to edit. A short story manuscript to compile. A website to complete, both personal and for pay. This whole blogging thing to work on. And then of course there are dishes, laundry, and cooking, cleaning, building relationships. On and on and on. Ahhhhhh! The whole thing about setting a schedule to work by is psychological. I get this feeling then that I'm no longer independent, once again on a timetable. Yet here's the thing. If there's no timetable, then nothing really gets done. Haphazard and scattered bits and pieces. I've had no customer complaints, except the one internal customer – me!

So, I've started something I've never done-a to do list. Not in any kind of order, the first thing to do is get it all down, brainstorm, everything that can be thought of that needs doing, keeping household separate from both personal and paid work. Then decide which takes priority. Sometimes this can cross over because sweeping or cooking can free up the mind to receive ideas for the others. It's gonna take at least a day to get everything organized, at least for me, to have all paid stuff ordered together, all personal, etc.

Then calculate at least an 8-hour day, just like a job. When I first became self-employed I used to get up and prepare myself just like I was going to the office. I've since gotten lazy and usually get up, grab a cup of java and sit down at the computer. Wrong! Shower, brush teeth, get dressed and then go to work! There's an old saying about saving money that you pay yourself first, otherwise it'll all be gone by the time you get around to you. The same holds true for work. While we think that we should do paying jobs first, because after all, that's what's keeping the roof over our heads, when we're done, we have no brain power left for our personal stuff. So, my choice is "me first." Read my email, gather ideas for writing & blogging, then do the actual writing and blogging. Spend some time marketing, checking out submission guidelines, publishers, etc. At least half of the 8-hour day should be spent on personal work otherwise the success will never come. And breaks have to come in somewhere. Breaks were taken at corporate so why not at home? Stretches, coffee breaks, lunch, and all away from the computer. Again, it frees up the mind to receive.

Now, all is ready …

Be an Efficient Freelancer by Using Time ManagementBe an Efficient Freelancer by Using Time Management



Time bandits. Those little things around the house that can add up to major time loss over the course of a week. For anyone who freelances or works at home, you know what I mean. Chores, fun distractions, and personal business can all creep in and steal valuable time away from your freelance work.

Here are the top four time bandits in my life, and what I do about them to make sure that I stay on track with my freelance projects.

  1.  The Internet
    Oh, the glories that the World Wide Web has to offer. The web is my biggest distraction (aka: time bandit) because it is convenient, entertaining, and offers variety. Online gaming, fun articles, hobby sites, pictures of the Loch Ness Monster, dancing monkey videos on You Tube…and the list goes on. The point is, while browsing a few sites for article inspiration or research is a great idea, it can be pretty easy to get sucked into the wonders of cyberspace.

Before you know it, half of your workday is gone and you have gotten nothing accomplished.

So what do I do about it? Most often, I'll muster up all of the willpower I have, and force myself to stay focused on the writing project. Then, I'll give myself a five minute break each hour to stop working and explore the fun side of the computer. After that break is over it is back to work, with the promise of a fun break during the next hour.

Of course, there are always those days when the Internet is too much of a distraction, and I can't seem to stay focused on work.That is when I break out my notebook and pen, head outside, and finish my writing in longhand. I find that, being away from the computer for a while breaks the cycle, and I am able to put together an article much more efficiently. If I need to do a bit of research, I'll make a note of it and do it later. Or, I will head in, set the timer, and give myself 10 minutes to find what I need. Then I head back outside to enjoy nature and get some work done.

  1.  Household Chores
    Working at home can be like working in an obstacle course. You want to finish your work, but see all of these things around the house that you want to get done: a leaky faucet to repair, a shirt to iron, a floor to sweep, etc. It's great to get a jump start on household chores so that you will can enjoy a mop free weekend.

However, writing is your career, and it should be treated the way that you would treat any other job – with dedication and hard work.

Odd but true, I love to iron. So, some days I will give myself a break every few hours, to get some ironing and other household chores done. I'll set the kitchen timer for 10-15 minutes and focus in …

How to Regain Your Joy as a Freelance WriterHow to Regain Your Joy as a Freelance Writer



Many new freelance writers are excited at the work-at-home opportunities set before them, the flexible schedule that allows them to write at their convenience and other perks that they lose their joy over time, as writing becomes more of a chore and a means to an end, rather than the fulfilment of a dream. How can you regain your joy as a freelance writer?

Remember Why You Started Freelancing

If you have spent several years working as a freelance writer, you may have lost sight of the reason why you set out on your new career path. But one way to regain your joy as a freelance writer is to take stock of your job situation and remember just why you started freelance writing.

Did you want to have more time to spend at home with your children? Did you adjust your schedule so that you could have the freedom to travel more? Have you achieved your financial goals that you set for yourself? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this can help you to regain your joy, as you see that your efforts to change direction and work as a freelance writer have paid off over time.

Take Pride in Your Work

Freelance writers should take the time to actually look at their work, not just critically as they edit and proofread their work before submission to their client, but as a finished product that they are proud to put their name to.

Take time recalling your strengths as a freelance writer. Are you a strong travel writer? Are you fast and efficient at your work? Do you have a critical eye and attention to detail? All of these factors can help you to feel proud of your work and to regain your joy as a freelance writer if your work has started to feel more like drudgery than something to be proud of.

Freelance writing can be a thankless job, especially as you do not have a manager or a performance report telling you what a great job you are doing or how you are in line for promotion. If you have lost your joy, take stock of your situation and be determined to turn things around. Remember why you started freelancing and take pride in your work.

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How to Find Article Ideas for Freelance WritingHow to Find Article Ideas for Freelance Writing



If you are new to HubPages, you may find yourself like me and be limited with ideas of what subjects to write about. In three months of being on the site, I have found five different ways to generate ideas.

One of my favorite ways to find subjects to write about is Wikimedia Commons photographs. The photographs sometimes remind me of a memory that provides a cute story. The added bonus with this option is the photo that inspires your idea can be used with your article on HubPages. Yesterday one of my thus far more successful articles was inspired by a picture of a panda bear found on Wikimedia Commons. Beware that this website consists of photos people volunteer. I was a bit surprised to see several photographs of male and female private parts with one in the act of masturbation. Use the random photos option rather than searching by category.

Another way I have found ideas for articles is in researching a subject that catches my interest that day. An example of this is an article I wrote on cellular memory. In reading the research for what you are learning about, take notes. Try to understand the subject well in your own mind and then convey it in an article for others to enjoy and also learn from.

The assignment desk on HubPages helps stimulate ideas. Be wary of releasing too many topics because your list of assignments will shrink to near nothing for quite some time. I am guilty of claiming assignments, finding ones that sound more fun to write and releasing the others. As a result my assignment desk usually consists of eight or nine articles inappropriate for me, a lot of picture assignments, some video assignments, and pod casts none of which I have the ability to complete.

If you are looking for an article that you can write quickly then check www.yahoo.com. On the right side of the site, there is something called "web pulse" that shows subjects people are commonly searching for on that day. Choose one of those subjects and write about it on HubPages. Use the display only option to have it released quickly and hopefully people will find it when they are searching for those topics. How successful this is will depend on how quickly your article is indexed but common topics are often the same for a week or more.

Lastly, everyone has heard an author writes about what he or she knows even when it is embedded in fictional stories. For me, I write a lot about health issues, my children, and problems as a disabled person because they are a large part of my life. `I have written reviews of items we have bought and places we have visited.

These are ideas a rookie had that have somewhat worked and I just thought I would share.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Pictures_and_images

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How to Win Bids as a FreelancerHow to Win Bids as a Freelancer



When you become a freelancer, you have to find a way to create an income every single day. Many freelancers do this by bidding on freelance job boards. The problem they come across is there are millions of people bidding on the same job as they are. So how do you make your bid stand out, how do you win the bids so you can earn money?

The first thing you need to do in order to win a bid on a freelance site is to understand your skills, what are you offering. If you are a writer, it is important that you focus only on writing jobs for the time being. You do not want to waste your bids on jobs that you are not qualified to do. If you decide you would like to get into another niche, study it, and learn everything you can about it, but always stick to what you know.

Second, you need to decide what your work is worth. I see thousands of posts for transcribers for example. These jobs offer one dollar to nine dollars per audio hour. Now that may seem okay for some, people may think hey, nine dollars and hour that's not bad for working at home. In reality, these jobs can take anywhere from four to six hours to do so you really are making pennies. So how much is your work worth? Once you determine a price, you look for jobs that are within that price range. For example, if you work as a copy typist, and you charge $.04 per word, only bid on jobs that will average out to $.04 per word. You must ensure you are making money.

The third thing you should do if you are trying to win bids is to make sure your profile is filled out. What is your education, your skills, your job history? Do you have a portfolio? Have you ever published anything? These are all things that should be filled out on your profile.

Next, you need to begin taking test. Each freelance job site has tests that can be taken in order to show employers that you are skilled for the jobs they need you for. Some of the sites provide these tests for free while others will charge a fee for them. It is very important that you spend some time and take these test. There are some jobs that you can't even bid on if you have not taken the relevant test. Make sure you score as high as you can because employers can see your scores.

Finally it is time to place a bid. How do you make your bid stand out? If everyone is bidding around the same price and same time period to deliver, you can stand out by offering better. Over to do it for a little less money than everyone else, do it in less time. The way I work, is I will bid on projects, but only accept …

Freelance Authors: Tips on Testing an Creating a Story IdeaFreelance Authors: Tips on Testing an Creating a Story Idea



Are you looking for ways to test or create a idea for a story? Then, look no further than the internet, since there are many writing communities that can join. Once, you sign up, you can submit your idea or story and receive feedback on your work. Many writing communities offer a way to talk with other aspiring writers, who can help you form the idea. Some of these websites also offer tips and advice that can help strengthen your writing skills.

If you don't have a computer or internet access, then try discussing your idea with people that you have met at work or in the community. This way, you can count on an honest opinion from them and add their advice…if needed. Never ask your family or friends, since they are bias and will not give you a neutral opinion. Therefore, look for people that are in the age group that you plan to write for and ask them about their opinion.

Also, you can visit a local library for more information about the local writing groups that has been formed in your area. Most of these writing groups will offer you a chance to meet other aspiring authors. Plus, you can have the members review your idea or a story, in order to give you an honest opinion about your work. So, you can adjust your idea and story as needed, in order to make the idea better.

There are many ways that you can test your story idea from people, who you talk to everyday or by joining a group of writers. Either way, you are bound to get some great tips and advice to use, while putting your story together. Another way, to truly test your idea, is to write and submit it to magazines and other available markets. Plus, you can also submit your completed story to a contest, besides the results may surprise you.

Always look for ideas that can capture your interest and your heart. Keep little notebook with you at all times and jot down the ideas that come to you. Many writer's gather their story ideas from many aspects of their own life. Some writers even write about their loved ones struggles and accomplishments, in order to help others to overcome their problems. No matter where you visit, you will find story ideas lurking around every corner.

Some authors will choose to write a story that is based on a real life and others will use their imagination to create a timeless story. The internet is a great research tool, which can allow you to find an endless supply of story ideas. You can also, use the internet to research the facts or to assist in creating the right setting. Every writer knows that the setting of the story is just as important as the storyline.

Also, you can gather story ideas from the newspaper or television, but you will need to give it a fresh and unique slant. For …

Freelance Bidding Online: Selecting the Right Projects.Freelance Bidding Online: Selecting the Right Projects.



This is Step Three in the freelance bidding online series for writers. We've covered setting up your profile and daily scanning of project lists. Now it is time for us to talk about to select the projects with the highest potential for successful bidding.

Most freelance sites provide you with a limited number of bidding points per month, depending upon the type of membership you have with them. You can easily use up your bidding points and waste a lot of time bidding on projects that aren't really worth your time, so you will need to be selective. Here are some tips for choosing those projects.

  • If you're a writer in the U.S., look for projects that originate there or are targeted towards U.S. writers. Employers who plan on hiring U.S. writers are more likely to offer a liveable wage for you.
  • Look at their project budget. If the amount of work required can't be bid within their budget and still make a decent wage, don't bother bidding.
  • Look for projects that list the subject matter and demand high quality writing. If you can deliver factual and well written material, they'll be willing to pay you a decent price for it.
  • Look for subject matter that you have related life experience to or have written about before. This can give you an edge over other writers submitting proposals.
  • If the project description is vague about details, such as word count or time frame, post a question about these details to clarify the terms before bidding, if you have that option on the site.

Picking quality projects to bid on, will give you quality projects to work on.

 

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Navigating the Freelance FreewayNavigating the Freelance Freeway



Sifting through the vast number of freelance writing websites for job opportunities can feel like walking through the desert without a water bottle. There is an abundance of sand but without direction there is a very good chance of getting lost in a dizzying sandstorm. The internet is chock full of gigs for freelancers in a variety of genres but knowing which sites to choose from can save you time, money and potential heartbreak.

Some sites require nominal to high membership fees to access job listings. The temptation to subscribe to high priced sites under the assumption that high paying assignments may follow is understandable but not entirely practical for those without paid credits. In fact it can result in financial losses if you are unable to land jobs outside of the unfortunately predominant no to low pay range. Knowing from experience, accepting jobs that do not pay is a great way to bolster a portfolio but eventually you have to be cognizant of those looking to milk your talents for their gain at your expense.

Freelance writers, more than any creative artist, must be keenly aware of and responsible for their work. This goes beyond procuring proper copyright. Legitimate outlets for exposure aren't as visible in the writing field. There are no open mic nights for a columnist working on a piece comparing small cap and large cap investing. However, writers shouldn't be discouraged for there are reputable and profitable resources both online and in traditional media.

The Writer's Market should be the first guide you pick up. The 2017 edition offers thousands of markets looking for freelance material. Agents and book publishers are also included in the print guide but the impact of the Writer's Market is best felt through its website. Writers can obtain a free one year membership upon purchase of the print edition. Standard memberships are $29.99 annually and $3.99 monthly. Market listings are updated on the site daily and payments range from low to very high. Many of my published assignments originated from their postings.

The Writer's Market is not the only option for freelancers. Since the term freelance encompasses all areas of writing, there are skill specific websites with excellent reputations to choose from. Screenwriters can upload scripts and list short screenplays on Inktip.com. Inktip.com can get pricey but when you consider screenplay contests and festival entry fees can cost upwards of $100, a $50 charge to post a screenplay for bona fide agents and production companies to read seems fair. Poets can refer to the Poet's Market while playwrights can find listings on backstagejobs.com in addition to the Writer's Market.

Freelancers are not limited to creative pursuits. The new economy, heavily influenced by the growth of the internet, relies on independent contractors to create web content and complete a wide assortment of copy and technical writing assignments. Jobs in the new media are more lucrative and searchable on mainstream career minded dot.coms like Hotjobs, CareerBuilders, Dice and Monster. They require …

Lose the Freelancer Bulge with a Low Carb DietLose the Freelancer Bulge with a Low Carb Diet



Adopting a low carb diet is a great way to attack the freelancer bulge. It is also useful for anyone who has a job that requires you put in more time in a chair than standing or moving around. A person can individually tailor his medical needs into a low carb lifestyle, or simply follow a plan like Dr. Atkins has already established.

Getting Started

Before you run out to the store and buy every low carb book on the shelf, you must determine if you are really ready to start a lifestyle change. A low carb diet requires commitment. It is not something that a person can do half heartedly. Implementing high protein and fat into your diet can actually lead to weight gain if you're not cutting carbohydrates. It can't be stressed enough that you have to be committed.

Ask yourself, am I ready to lose weight, feel fabulous, and get back into the size I wore before I became as mobile as a snail? If your answer is yes, shout it out so that it resounds throughout the room, tell yourself you can do it, and lay the groundwork.

Preparation

Since you have decided that a low carb lifestyle is right for you, it is now time to start the grocery fling. If you are like me, you have a bag of Oreos, stuffed somewhere in the cabinet for emergencies. You may even have good food items like, oranges or grapefruits tucked away. On the first leg of your low carb diet many foods are strictly forbidden.

Clear your pantry of fruits, potatoes, pastas, rice, sugary snacks, corn, flour, sugar, and bread. You don't have to toss these food items. If you have canned food or unopened food packages, donate them to your local food pantry, or pass them along to a friend or family member. Remember, these small sacrifices are important in order to keep temptation as far from you as possible. To slay a dragon you must have the right weapon, so arm yourself for your new lifestyle!

Grocery Shopping

In the first few weeks, Dr. Atkins recommends two weeks, you are going to eat very few carbohydrates. This causes your body to go into a state called ketosis and allows your body to start burning your stored fat. This is completely awesome, for those of us who have been saving fat for a rainy day.

The best way to combat the most miserable days of the diet is to have good, low carbohydrate foods stored in the house. The first few days of the diet is the hardest, because anytime you limit something you like, your body wants it. I could go without a potato for six months, but when I tell myself I can't have one anymore, all I want is a potato.
Be prepared!

Make sure to have low carb foods that are easy grab-and-go type foods, as well as foods that require a little preparation. It is important that you purchase …