Author: savvy

A Freelancer’s Guide to Everything ElanceA Freelancer’s Guide to Everything Elance



Why are so many freelancers jumping onto the Elance bandwagon, and buckling themselves in for a long and prosperous ride?

 

There is no one easy answer to that question. I could wax poetic about how Elance is by far the best site for freelance jobs on the net, but that tells you less than nothing about what truly makes Elance stand out from the crowd.

Since there is no simple way to sum up what Elance can do for freelancers, we’ll take the long route, I’ll give you the million-dollar tour, and I let the site features speak for themselves.

Elance’s main page sums it up with: Find work. Deliver results. Get paid. What they can’t tell you in a short catchy tagline are the large number of site features that go along with these three steps designed specifically to ensure that the freelancer thrives. So the first stop on our Elance tour is the Sign Up.

Plans

Elance offers four plans to suit every freelancer’s needs: the free basic plan, the professional plan, the small business plan, and the large business plan. For individuals, starting out with the basic plan is a great way to test the water, but you’ll soon want to upgrade to the professional plan in order to bid on more jobs and get priority in search rankings. The small business plan is designed for companies with five employees or less, and the large business plan is for companies of unlimited size.

Categories

The first step, once you’ve chosen your plan level, is to select a work category to be listed in from the following: Admin Support, Design and Multimedia, Engineering and Manufacturing, Finance and Management, Legal, Sales and Marketing, Web Programming, Writing and Translation. Choosing a work category allows you to submit bids for jobs that are listed in that category, and allow buyers to find you in searches for experts in those particular fields. But what if your skills span two or more categories? Not a problem. All of the Elance paid plans allow the option of choosing additional work categories for a small monthly price.

Connects

Next stop on our tour is Connects. Each plan gives users a monthly allotment of connects, which are used to bid on jobs. Lower budgeted jobs require less connects than bigger budget projects, and extra connects can be purchased at any time.

The connect system is a great way to weed out the riff-raff found on other freelancing sites, like the ones who spam every job post with useless bids. Connects ensure that the bids come from serious bidders who have read the job description and are really interested in the project. A nice change from those other sites. But what good are connects if buyers don’t know who you are and why they should hire you? That leads us to our next stop:

Profiles

This is where you get to strut your stuff, show off your skills, experience, and credentials, and make yourself stand out from …

Some Fun Freelance Jobs to Bring in Some Extra MoneySome Fun Freelance Jobs to Bring in Some Extra Money



Job downsizing, lay offs, cut hours – there isn’t anyone I know who has not been affected by the economy lately but what others see as a bad thing I see as a GREAT chance to try to develop another job (potential career) on the side. for me as a nanny (only working 15 hours a week) it’s photography that is my fun side job and I’m quickly building a reputation around town as the best budget photographer- which is so much fun. Anyhow here are some other fun freelance jobs that you could try on the side (or full time if you’ve gotten laid off)

 

PHOTOGRAPHER– as I mentioned above this is the secondary (or freelance) job that I do in addition to my normal day job and I hope to do it full time in the future. all you need is a good quality camera and a computer (with a cd burner, color printer and an editing program). to start with you’ll need to set up a portfolio and possible a website – for more in depth tips on how to start a photography biz see my article on the topic. 

MAKE-UP ARTIST
– there are so so many people out there (including myself) that can do basic makeup but have no clue how to do the more fancy stuff like the smooky eye or the flawless foundation- you can make a good little side job out off lending your services to brides, photographers (or their clients), highschool students getting ready for a dance and a number of other events. You’ll need a biz card and a bunch of really high quality make up (working with numorous clients you might encounter people with face allergies to the cheaper kinds of makeup so be sure to invest in the good stuff) – see if you can shadow and help out with a current makeup artist to learn some of their tricks and tips.

MASSAGE THERAPIST– you need to get a degree for this- but there are several schools where you can achieve this in just a few short months. I’ve got a friend who does massage and she takes her table to the clients house AND has space for clients to come to her home, you can specialize in a certain type of massage or market to a target audience (like pregnant ladies) or just try to get whatever jobs you can. Free massage coupons are great to start out and get some references and maybe throw in some fun promotions like a free massage when someone refers three paying customers

EVENT PLANNER- this one is one of those jobs that you’ve gotta really love, the stress levels can be high- read as much literature as you can, talk with fellow event planners, maybe even volunteer to help them out for a bit to get the hang of it. Weddings are the biggest events that are in demand for planners, you may have to offer your services …

Four Hidden Tax Deductions for Freelance WritersFour Hidden Tax Deductions for Freelance Writers



Nearly all freelance writers dislike taxes. One dreads it each year. It isn’t as bad as what many people think it is. You are actually in a win win situation with yourself each time that you file taxes. Why? You can have goodies which are a write off. Here are four hidden tax deductions for freelance writers.

 

Pens

Yes, that’s right! Pens of any sort can be a deduction on taxes. You love to collect pens? Make sure to keep the receipt. It doesn’t matter how much the pen costs. You can write off as many pens as you want for the most part. The more expensive pen then you will be more happy. Each receipt at tax time will make it look like you got all of these goodies for nothing.

Notebooks

Any notebooks that you buy throughout the year can be a deduction too. It doesn’t matter if you bought fancy ones or regular ones. You can use it as a tax deduction at the end of the year as long as you have receipts for the notebooks. You can buy as many as you like. Notebooks are great for writing down title ideas. Another good thing they’re good for are writing down favorite quotes or sentences. One reason to keep a little one handy is to write down the names of people that you need to contact to write article on.

Mileage

Make sure to keep a mileage log. This mileage log will help you long term. You want to keep the mileage log up to date for each trip that you take business wise. You want to keep track of the mileage all year long. You will be able to use your mileage as an deduction. You can even pay a driver and use it as a deduction that way too.

Camera

You want to invest in a camera. You need one to take pictures. Part of being a freelance writer is that you need a camera. You want to be able to supply pictures with your articles. Save the receipt for your camera each year. It doesn’t matter how much money that you spend on the camera so you might as well try to get top of the line stuff.…

How to Decide What Niche to Be a Freelance Writer InHow to Decide What Niche to Be a Freelance Writer In



Many people begin as freelance writers and try to write on every topic under the sun. They have determined that this is the best way for them to be successful as a freelance writer. After months of trying to make it as a freelance writer, they realize that they are not landing the higher paying gigs. The reason that they are not landing the higher freelance writing gigs is because they are not specialized or an expert in any topic or niche as a freelance writer. That is why it is important for you to decide now what niche to be a freelance writer in. This will set you up to be an expert on your chosen niche and to make more money as a freelance writer.

 

Step One

Sit down and write a list of topic areas that you are already knowledgeable in. To decide on what niche to be a freelance writer in, it is better to start with what you already know. You do not want o have to build a knowledge base for your niche from scratch as a freelance writer. Write down as any experience that you could write on. This will give you a long and varied list of niches to choose from as a freelance writer.

Step Two

Research each niche that you have written down on your list to see what type of web sites and blogs there are out there on it. You will also want to research keywords that you would use as a freelance writer when you write on this niche. By researching each niche, you will get an idea of how many people are searching for this topic and whether sites will need your services as a freelance writer to produce content on this niche. Begin a second list of niches that are highly searched and that there are sites that you could market yourself as a freelance writer to as you research each one.

Step Three

Choose one or two niches from your researched second list to focus on as a freelance writer. This will give you a niche to build yourself as an expert on to get higher paying freelance writing jobs. As you make your final decision on the niche to focus your freelance writing on, try to make sure that you have passion about the niche that you have chosen. This will make your freelance writing career much more successful.…

Tips I Wish a Freelance Journalist Had Told MeTips I Wish a Freelance Journalist Had Told Me



My route into freelance journalism was haphazard. Once I picked up these tips, everything fell into place.

  • Scout constantly for news. Editors rely on freelancers for extra news. Train yourself to find it for them. Look for potential stories around you, and then research them for newsworthiness. The first time I pitched stories to an editor, I emailed her five ideas. She selected the fifth idea, but I had neglected to research that one, and it turned out to be a dead end. Once you have dutifully researched, scout on to find the right publication for your ideas.
  • Generate clips any way you can. The first newspaper I wrote for was a “penny saver” I grabbed on the way out of a grocery store. I wrote three articles for free for that newspaper and used the clips to legitimize myself to paying editors. When you draft story pitch emails, include links to your published clips. If the clips are not online, upload them to a personal webpage and link to them there.
  • Specialize for your benefit. By freelancing, you can employ your wacky hobbies and career sidesteps. If you did a stint in the rodeo, you may have expertise to write about the rodeo circuit. If you work in a restaurant, you could become a food critic. You may even want to maintain a day job in your specialty to scout for stories and establish yourself as an expert in the field. Then you can target industry publications with your story pitches.
  • Set expectations with editors. Before beginning an assignment, make sure you are in sync with the editor and publication. Resist the urge to be obliging and instead resolve any uncertainties you have. I like to get expectations in writing, usually in email, including the pay rate and formatting guidelines.
  • Go for it! I would have saved lots of worry and garnered many more clips if I was simply confident that I could do this. It is doable to be a freelance journalist. Any of the wonderful Yahoo contributors could tell you that. Get to work, freelancer. You can do this.

FreelancingFreelancing



Times are bad. There is an economic slow down and many employees are being given the pink slip. Getting another job has become a tough proposition. They are just not available. Now what are you going to do? Wait till the depression lifts? Why not try freelancing?

 

When you do freelancing you are called a freelancer and a freelancer is one who is not committed to any employer and is on his own. Basically he or she is selling his or her skills as a specialist service. It is of course not necessary that you should be an expert at your job, but it helps.

Freelancing is a good way to start a business. Your own. Common areas where freelancing is prominently practiced include

journalism,

article writing,

proofreading,

copywriting,

computer programming,

graphic design,

consultancy, translating,

transcription and many other professional services.

What freelancing business you do depends on the knowledge and the expertise that you have. The advantages of starting a free lancing business is that you do not really need a separate office space, though if you have one it would be helpful when your business grows. You work from the comfort of your home. There is no 9 to 5 grind. Minimum equipment and all you need is a PC or laptop, an Internet connection (preferably broadband) and a telephone. And since you are working from home, there will be the opportunity for you to spend quality time with your family, if you have one.

You also do not need a lot of capital unless the business you intend to start has to carry an inventory. You could, of course, buy equipment that will make running your business a lot easier, but this should be deferred for a later day when your business has grown. It is better to start with minimal investment.

But there is one thing that you should have in mind. Just like any other business, freelancing will also have its hiccups and starting troubles. It will not start working for immediately. You may not even get a job for quite a long time. The good news is that you are in control and how you run the business is up to you.

You cannot afford to be complacent. Just like any other business, you have to work hard at it to make it a success. Put all your skills into the first job that you get and complete it to the complete satisfaction of your client. In freelancing, your reputation mostly grows by word of mouth and the quality of your work.

You will have to do some sort of marketing because your business does not have a store front and a prominent banner to advertise your wares. This is a business where you sell your skills rather than physical items. A well designed website is the best kind of advertisement that you can put up for your freelancing skills.

There are no set hours in freelancing. You will be working on your own …

How to Create Job Resumes for Freelance VideographyHow to Create Job Resumes for Freelance Videography



There has been a new market emerging for videographers who want to expand their freelance gigs. Many people have started to send video resumes to potential employers. While this practice may not be widely accepted in every industry, these newly developed employment tactics can increase revenue for your video business. Resumes on a recorded video disc can be emailed or shown directly to employers. The following tips will help you to make money by providing a freelance video resume service.

 

Watch Video Resumes

It is important to research these items prior to adding them on your service list. Video resumes can be easily found online. Browse through various clips and pay attention to the overall presentation. This will give you an idea on how to produce a video resume on your own. Basic technical skills obtained from previous freelance jobs can be applied to your resume service. Once you have become familiar with how video resumes are laid out, it will be easier to begin searching for customers.

Start a Video Resume Website

If you do not already have an online presence, one must be established for this type of freelance opportunity. Create a website, listing pertinent information that will encourage people to contact you. It may even help to create a pre-recorded example and upload it to your website. While using free video hosting services will help cut costs, select one that has a more professional appearance. Youtube videos may be entertaining, but the quality and logo spells “Amateur” to potential customers.

A video resume service does not have to be limited to those looking for corporate positions. You can make employment videos for aspiring TV hosts, actors, models and salesmen. These specialty areas have an additional list of online groups where customers can be located. Make sure to identify the destinations that will bring in the most sales. This is where more of your time and energy should be spent.

Join Employment Groups Online

There are tons of online groups and forums that offer advice and leads to job hunters. By joining the most relevant and active groups, you will be among those who are looking for ways to stand out from others. These are the people who will eventually be paying for video resume services. It is important to make sure that you are the first one that comes to their mind. There are business related social networking sites that may bring some sales your way. Myspace is not the ideal place to set up shop, but a simple online search will yield helpful results in locating professional networking websites.

Market Locally

A video resume service can be advertised in your local newspaper. Many of the smaller publications charge less than $100 for classified ad listings. The Craigslist website could also be used to bring in video resume sales. This online bulletin board is a great way to market your services without spending a lot of money. Local educational publications are also a good place to advertise …

How to Format a Freelance JournalHow to Format a Freelance Journal



Earlier I discussed why one should keep a freelance journal in my article “3 Reasons to Keep a Freelance Journal”. Now I will tell you how to keep a freelance journal.

 

Materials Need to Keep a Freelance Journal:

-Journal or notebook

-Pens and/or pencils

That’s it! Of course, you can use a number of decorations and such if you want, but they aren’t necessary to actually keep the freelance journal.

How to Set Up Your Freelance Journal

Here is an outline of how I keep my freelance journal. I date and number the entry and then use a series of subheadings, numbered lists, and bulletins.

1. Ezine/Hubpages

Under this second, I keep track of how many daily page views I received, the total page views for the month, the total payment for page views, any new offers, feedback, or assignments that I claim if any.

2. Email

An email can be very important in the world of the web. Keep track of important emails from the sites you produce for, potential clients, current clients, and any emails that you send.

3. Article Ideas

This is pretty straight-forward: write down new article ideas. Leave a bit of space in case you think of more throughout the day.

4. Daily Goals

This section is also fairly straight-forward. Write down what articles you want to produce, how many of them, etc.

5. Other Jobs

If you write for other places, keep track of your other jobs in this section. Write down if you take down any new jobs, the requirements of the assignment, the date, the payment, etc.

6. Other Goals

All freelancers have to do things that aren’t just writing. You know the ones I’m talking about, the housekeeping stuff like promotion. I also write down other types of content I want to produce here (slideshows generally for me).

7. Other Articles

Keep track of articles that you write that aren’t on your goal list. Sometime you decide not to write the topics you picked out, and write something else.

8. Overall Daily Statistics

Write down the number of articles you wrote during the day, how many were published, how many pieces of other types of content you produced, the total number of articles you have published overall, your biggest PV earner daily, how much money you made on offers and PV, etc.

Tips on Keeping a Freelance Journal

Do this every single day or the purpose of keeping track of your successes and failures and making yourself a better freelancer is lost.

You might want to tweak the formatting, obviously, but this is a good place to start and covers all of the bases.…

Guide to Wildlife & Nature Magazine Markets for Freelance WritersGuide to Wildlife & Nature Magazine Markets for Freelance Writers



If you know a thing or two about wildlife and nature, your niche in the freelance marketplace might be well served in these types of magazines. Many of the top wildlife and nature magazines are written primarily by freelancers, which is fortunate. They often accept unsolicited manuscripts and queries and are likely to take a chance on a newbie.

 

There are hundreds of wildlife and nature magazine markets if you take the time to browse the shelves. Of course, each focuses on a particular area of this broad subject, but that doesn’t limit the opportunities. You could write a kid’s nature article for Ranger Rick, then switch gears and write about kangaroos on Rottnest Island for National Wildlife Magazine. The possibilities are nearly infinite, specially if you like researching nature and wildlife.

Focusing on a Particular Region

Since you will need a unique topic to pitch to wildlife and nature magazine markets, you might consider specializing on the natural wildlife of a particular region of the world. For example, Amy Hentley is a UK-based freelance writer who has penned dozens of articles for major wildlife and nature magazines on habitats in Scotland. You could choose to write about your own neck of the woods or branch out to learn about somewhere else.

Focusing on a Particular Animal or Plant

Many freelance writers who target wildlife and nature magazine markets focus on a specific animal or plant. This can make your options less broad, but it can also earn you a popular name in the genre. For example, if you grew up raising horses on your grandfather’s farm, you could easily write about wild horses for Equus or Horse Illustrated. The same thing goes for a botanist who has studied rare vines and wants to publish a series of articles in Organic Gardening.

Focusing on Natural Resources

A very hot topic in the world of wildlife and nature magazine markets is natural resources, as well as the ecology surrounding the hunt for new fuel options and habitat destruction. If you consider yourself a wildlife activist — or even if you don’t — you could form a lucrative career writing for magazines about natural resources. Just make sure you stay on top of the news and include new developments in your articles.

Focusing on Photography

Perhaps you don’t enjoy writing so much as taking beautiful pictures of nature and wildlife, which could be a great way to target these magazine markets. Creating photo essays of a particular region or animal or plant is a great way to support yourself and gain national recognition. You’ll need to be able to write colorful captions and you’ll need professional photography equipment, but that doesn’t mean it’s beyond your reach.…

Freelancers and Consultants May Need Established Work HoursFreelancers and Consultants May Need Established Work Hours



One of the joys of working as a freelancer and consultant is knowing that you can work whenever you want to, right? Many of us are drawn to freelancing or consulting work because we crave a more flexible schedule and do not want to be tied down to established work hours. What many of us find out rather quickly, however, is that if we do not set some regular hours, we are working around the clock and our clients and customers assume they should have free access to us at any time of the night or day. In reality, established work hours can be beneficial for freelancers and consultants too.

 

Keep in mind that establishing set work hours does NOT mean that you need to work 9 – 5. For example, someone who works as a financial consultant from her West Coast home may find that she is up early (5:00 am) so she can be working when the markets open on the East Coast. This may mean that she is finished working by early afternoon. A freelance writer may find that he or she works better when the house is quite; this means working evenings or early mornings and using the rest of the day for other tasks.

Establishing work hours can also keep you from losing perspective and working too much. Likewise, many of us find that when we DON’T have to work set hours, we slack off and do not get much work done at all. Establishing hours for work can help us to stick to a schedule and create a culture of productivity where we might otherwise find excuses not to work.

When you do decide to establish work hours, decide how flexible you will in regard to taking phone calls, checking emails and other “work-related” tasks outside of those work hours. Some freelancers and consultants find that they can break up their work hours and tasks instead of working straight through for several hours. This can be a good way to stay fresh and focused and mix in other activities and errands during the day. For example, you might want to check e-mail first thing in the morning and make a work plan for the day. Then, take a break and have breakfast, exercise or run errands. You then might be back at work at 10 am and start returning calls and emails. Be sure to let those you work with know when you are working and when is the best time to reach you. This will also cut down and being contacted OUTSIDE of those established working hours.…