Friday, August 24, 2012

Coffee Sets the Mood Right for a Weekend of Writing

It's weekend again and like the last post I've written, I'm experiencing some downsides of freelance writing. We'll for one, the issue with my eyes caused me to stop accepting or applying for assignments from oDesk. My regular client for ghostwriting has a limited assignments for the time being which means that I won't be able to meet the quota I've set for the month.

hot caramel cappuccino for the weekend writer
Browsing around for potential jobs disheartening. My only pick-me-upper for today is my favorite cup of coffee from a quiet nook here in the mall. A hot caramel cappuccino that has a strong bitter-sweet blend, just the way I want my coffee. Saturday mornings makes me think of Baba and the coffee he fixes for me and the way he pushes me to start writing while he does other house hold chores. Anyways, I have to get right back to my search and some updates for ze blogs. Thank goodness for my sweet cup, nothing beats coffee for a weekend of writing.

Downsides of Freelance Writing Jobs

Working freelance and loving what you do can easily keep you motivated and passionate about your writing. It has indeed a lot of perks and advantages over any regular day jobs. But there also some downsides which you must prepare for.

Many articles and writers do rave about the perks, benefits and the great things about working online, but trust me it is not always like that. There are days that really suck! I do love writing, but well, like everything else, there's always a good and a bad side to it.

Keeping Yourself Motivated

Working without a boss or a superior can entail a lot of distractions and temptations. You are free to work at your own time just as long as you meet your deadlines and provide what your client needs. There will be no one else to tell you what needs to be done, there won't be anyone to push you around. Might be a great arrangement, but for those who are new to being their own bosses, this can be a big drawback. You must keep yourself focused and find ways to stay motivated to work for online writing jobs even during the laziest days.

Building a Clientele

Finding clients and keeping them is probably one of the most significant issues that freelancers have. You need to learn to promote yourself and handle difficult clients accordingly. Be ready to deal with clients who are not sure what they really want as well as clients who are never satisfied with anything you write. There will clients who suddenly disappears and those who will not pay for your work.

It was a lesson learned the hard way. So be cautious with whom you're dealing with and make sure you verify your clients capacity to pay, and understand what they want to ensure that you provide the best results for them.

Variable Income and Lack of Bonuses

Freelancers are not entitled to bonuses that regular employers receive from their companies. There are no awards or recognition given. Feedback may be great but they usually don't come in with any financial value.

Apart from this, you also have different income ranges each month. Depending on the flow of your assignments and your clients. Large swings in your monthly income can make budgeting difficult. For newbies in the field, earning and finding decent freelance writing jobs can be very frustrating.

Longer Work Hours

Contrary to what many people think, working on freelance writing jobs will also entail long and sometimes round the clock work hours. If you have clients from other time zones, you need to meet their schedules and probably sync your time with them as well.

Moreover, you also need to deal with marketing, billing and other administrative needs of your home business.

Lack of Job Security

Many businesses fail within the first two years of existence so if you want to move into full time freelance writing, you might want to hold on to your regular day job first. Make sure that your freelancing is already stable with an established client base before pursuing a full time freelance writing job.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Coffee Cravings of an Online Writer: Brooks "Dripresso"

Brooks Coffee, a recently launched global coffee sensation sent me samples of their famous European coffee blend and the Japanesque Blend which is a combination of matcha and coffee. I love coffee and I got curious about the "dripresso" thing and the drip bag coffee design of their products so I hurriedly opened the European blend pack. At first I was really clueless what to do with it, and the pack has Japanese characters written all over it and I cannot find the exact instructions. Luckily there were pictures around which is what I followed through to set it correctly.




The European Coffee blend is a definite hit. It has a strong aroma and it hits the spot the way coffee shop-espressos do. Brook's has a wide range of coffee products that lures coffee lovers like me to buy and try. Based on the samples I got, their products will be worth every penny of your purchases.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Fight with the Red Eyes: Conjunctivitis and the Weekend Writer

After being down for quite a time, the weekend writer is back on track! The recent weather disturbance in the form of monsoon rains have greatly affected the Philippines. Thankfully, oDesk had been considerate enough to inform clients and employers of possible issues with their Filipino contractors. My client understood my decision to simply withdraw my application after a couple of days not being online and unable to provide his requirements.

On the other hand, I didn't take any more clients from oDesk this month. The office has been quite demanding as well not the mention that emotional stress I've gone through for the past couple of days. Yes there was flooding and heavy rains, but what I didn't understand was my out-of-season Conjunctivitis (sore eyes) which was aggravated further by a seasonal allergy and made a freak show out of right eye!

It was only after 4 days of worsening condition that I decided to have it checked. Normally, sore eyes is treated with over the counter eye drops but in my case, it didn't work, frequent washing of the eyes didn't help either. I didn't like what the Ophthalmologist was doing but I really don't have any choice and he's the expert in here so I just let him abuse my eyes and take pictures that looked like it came from some horror movie.

Finally after what seemed like hours, he gave me a prescription for 2 eye drops and advice to come back after 4 days to see how I'm going. The eye drops seemed really effective - they we're pricey in the first place. But yes my eyes improved and the redness went away just 2 days after I started using it.

my meds - gatiflaxocin and pred forte suspension

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Down Times for Freelancers: Getting Sick and Out of Work

Freelancers and online writers do get the freedom they want. As a freelancer, you are you're own boss, you work when you want and take vacations when you wish. In my case, freelance writing jobs are best for my supplementing my income. However, getting sick is another issue. Most freelancers couldn't take much time off when they get sick, why? It is simply because, for each day you're ill, is a day without earnings.

jonathandallen.com

Every one is bound to get sick and succumb to illness sometimes. A couple of days of being is seems okay since you'd be able to make up for lost time and work over the weekends or a few overtimes into the evening soon as you feel well.

But if you need to take off a couple of weeks to recuperate, your freelance career could become a bit shaky. This is especially true if you have upcoming projects and you really need work your part. If you don't have any back up plans for such situations, your client may soon become an ex-client. They may decide to take another freelance online writer to handle projects meanwhile then just continue with the new writer even when you're back on your feet.


How to Deal with Sickness and Take Off from Your Freelance Jobs?

One of the best ways to take your much needed rest without worrying about losing a client is to contact other freelance online writers that you can trust. Make sure that they can provide the same level of service and satisfaction that you do. These people are the ones you can call for big projects as well as cover for you when you're sick and unable to work.

referrals


However, sickness cannot be planned ahead and your fellow freelance writers maybe busy and unable to handle more - thus you also need a small group of freelancers whom you can divvy your workload around.

Moreover, make sure that your freelance helpers don't charge less than you when they directly bilk the client!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Non-Stop Rains and Flooding in Metro Manila

August 7, 2012

Woke up with the sound of people scurrying and water being swept out. I looked out the window and noticed that flood waters have reached inside the apartment compound and is shin level already. Some neighboring apartments are quickly sweeping out water that have flowed inside their homes. We're lucky our place is about 2 steps higher so the flooding isn't felt. We turned on the news and saw a lot of other places in worse condition. There is no storm signal warning but the heavy rains caused Dams around Luzon to reach their spilling levels and soaked up the lands beyond their capacity. This kind of flooding happened before and we pray that everyone will kept safe despsite the danger.

Classes and work had been stopped in NCR and other neighboring provinces and Metro Manila Development Authority have issued a list of flooded areas around the Metro. 

The MMDA has compiled a list of areas considered flooded on their Twitter account @MMDA
  • Flood Alert: RMB Pureza as of 6:07 am Not Passable to All Types of Vehicles. #mmda
  • Flood Alert: Burgos Finance, Manila in-front of Manila City Hall, as of 6:10 am Not Passable to All Types of vehicles.
  • Flood Alert: Q.Ave Scout Schuatoco, as of 6:11 am Not Passable to All Types of Vehicles.
  • Flood Alert: Q.Ave Araneta, as of 6:11 am Not Passable to all types of vehicles.
  • Flood Alert: Q.Ave Delta, as of 6:11 am, not passable to all types of vehicles.
  • Flood Alert: BBB McArthur, as of 6:17, not passable to all types of vehicles.
  • Flood Alert: San Marcelino Taft Ayala, Manila, as of 6:37 am Not Passable to All Types of Vehicles.
  • Flood Alert: Q.Ave Centris EDSA NB, Not Passable To All Types of Vehicles.
  • Flood Alert: Q.Ave Brgay. Tatalon Kaliraya, as of 6:37 sm not passable to all types of vehicles.
  • Flood Alert: C5 Libis bypass Rd going to RiverBank, as of 6:47 am Not Passable to All Types of Vehicles
  • Flood Alert: Eagle St. GSIS Village Q.C, as of 6:53 am waist deep.#mmda
  • Flood Alert: EDSA Aurora and P.Tuazon Tunnels both direction, as of 6:56 am half tire.
  • Flood Alert: NLEX Balintawak, as of 7:00 am, not passable to all types of vehicles.
  • Flood Alert: Teneros Malabon, as of 7:00 am, neck deep.
  • Flood Alert: Quirino Sauyo, as of 7:04 am, not passable to types of vehicles.
  • Flood Alert: Q.Ave Maria Clara, as of 7:14 am, lagpas tao.
  • Flood Alert: Mandaluyong Maysilo, as of 7:18 am Knee deep.
  • Flood Alert: SM Sucat, ParaƱaque, as of 7:20 am waist deep.#mmda
  • Flood Alert: South Super Highway Buendia dela Rosa, as of 7:20 am, Not passable to Light vehicles
  • Flood Alert: Victory St. G.Araneta, as of 7:23 am Chest deep.
  • Flood Alert: C4 Lascano, as of 7:30 am 37 waist deep.
  • Flood Alert: Ortigas, POEA SB, as of 7:31 am half gutter.
  • Flood Alert: Capitol Balara EB, a sof 7:32 am gutter deep.
  • Flood Alert: Masaya St. Commo Philcoa a sof 7:36 am, lagpas tao.#mmda
  • Flood Alert: E.Rod Waltermart, as of 7:36 am not passable to all types all vehicles. (lagpas tao).
  • Flood Alert: C5 NB Ateneo as of 7:37 am, knee deep.
  • Flood Alert: EDSA Taft Metropoint, as of 7:41 am gutter deep.#mmda
  • Flood Alert: Mindanao AVe, and North Ave, as of 7:44 am, gutter deep. #mmda
  • Flood Report: Q.Ave Sto. Domingo as of 7:47 am knee deep. #mmda
  • Flood Alert: Biak na Bato as of 7:50, not passable to Light vehicles.#mmda
  • Flood Alert: SB and NB of NLEX Balintawak, 8:00 am, not passable to all types of vehicles.

More updates are available via GMA Network News Online. Keep safe everyone!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Where to Find Freelance Writing Assignments?

I've been an online writer for several years now. I admire top writers and freelancers I've seen in Odesk, but I know they've also struggled to reach their status. Finding freelance writing jobs online can be a little daunting especially for beginners. My first try with some online job markets placed me on the lowermost level - with no feedback, means lesser chances of getting a job. So where can you really find freelance writing assignments that actually pays?

where to find freelance writing assignments?


Referrals

Mine was a lucky start. I got referred to someone looking for writers. They seemed satisfied with the articles I produce and became a regular provider for their projects. And because they are local clients, I also got to meet them personally. I think being referred is one of the most effective way to land writing assignments that pays. Ask your friends and colleagues about writing gigs, copywriters and editors who may need writing services you can provide.
image from http://www.inst.org

Bidding Sites

After months of having a writer's block, I slowly got back to writing and finding freelance writing jobs which are very demanding. I checked out Craiglist, eBay and Sulit.ph for possibilities. I know these are not the places where people looking out for jobs would probably check out, but I got one of the most productive job from a Sulit.ph job posting.

Online - Freelance Job Markets

After establishing myself back and learning more about writing styles, techniques and more about SEO, I tried applying for writing jobs posted in online job markets, most specifically - oDesk. There are other job markets that have hundreds of freelance writing job assignments that you can check out such as:


Among the many online writing job markets, I am actively pursuing oDesk. I was hired for several projects here and also got re-hired by many satisfied employers. I was really happy working for their projects and they seemed to be quite happy with the output too, thus I've raised my feedback score to 4.8/5!


One thing that you should always remember is to to accept only assignments that you can do and avoid overlapping your tasks to ensure that you write only quality articles. This way you can keep your clients happy and would never hesitate to give you more writing assignments in the future.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Online Writing Jobs: How I Started as an Online Writer

Going back almost 6 years ago, I can still remember my struggles to find a decent part time job to supplement my income. I had a growing baby and I need to earn a little more to ensure that I can save despite the ballooning expenses.

I tried a couple of rackets gimmicks including:


Starting from scratch truly is frustrating and depressing especially if you don't see any results at all. I earn a little by selling used stuff, but blogging was another story. I was overwhelmed by some of the technical stuff (page rankings, back links, SEO and a lot more). I keep a personal blog and ruled out monetizing it and just proceeded with online job markets where I also failed to make some income. The competition was tough and many other nationalities offer really low prices for their services.


I was lucky enough to be offered a  writing assignment by a local client. I was referred to her by one of my office mates and for the next 3 years my writing world revolved around the assignments she sends me.

I wrote different types of content - press releases, short articles, SEO articles and more. I wrote about different topics - freelance writing, shoes, bags, health, fitness, solar and wind energy and many others. I learned about writing original content, keyword placement and densities. I loved what I do and I was happy to earn and learn with my writing.

But at one point, I also went through what many would call a "writer's block." I felt I could no longer write - I struggle with words, much more in composing articles. Nothing comes out of my brain anymore and I wasn't satisfied with my writing. It lasted for a year, may be more.

I got my vibe back slowly and painstakingly. I started activating my blog once again and wrote little by little. Travel and spending more time with my son provided motivation and ideas for writing. I started applying on local online markets - Craiglist, Sulit.ph and eBay for content writer and got another local client with a good pay. It was a good motivation as well - money.



Soon I thought about having direct clients and tried one more time with Odesk. I elaborated on my extensive writing experience and provided some of my works. I also created a portfolio for clients to check. And this time I succeeded in getting more clients and assignments. I also got an overwhelming number of invitations for interviews and some of clients re-hire me with an upgraded contract.




But since I consider writing as a hobby and not as a primary source of income, I learned to choose my assignments and dealt only with topics that I like and I want to write about. This way I was able to give it my best and provide quality, creative and value-for-money services.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Writing and Beyond!

Hey there! This blog is about the usual day of a freelance online writer. Busy days with SEO articles on demand, zero article days, online writing markets, vents on crazy clients, coffee, cakes, foodies and trips in between!