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Are Freelance Writing Jobs on Craigslist a Scam?

31 May

If you are starting out as a freelance writer looking for opportunities to earn a little cash, you may find that there are many jobs posted on Craigslist. These jobs can vary from one-time projects to ongoing work with content companies, web development firms and private people who just need some articles or blog posts. Pay rates also vary widely depending on the scope of work and what hiring companies deem as “fair” wages for freelance writing.

While Craigslist can be a great source of freelance writing work, it’s always better to err on the side of caution when applying for work there. Why? Because oftentimes scammers use this free advertising website as a place to steal information from job seekers. Craigslist is a place where people of all types post information annoymously. This means it can be a playground for unscrupulous scammers who use email as a way to gather information on citizens.

So what do you look for to avoid being scammed as a freelance writer?

1. Does the job sound too good to be true? If the job advertisement says something like ” Work from home part time and earn full time wages” or “Make $50 an hour in your spare time”, chances are you’ve found a scam ad. Do not apply to it, but rather promptly flag it so Craigslist will take it down.

2. Does the advertisement ask you to click on a link that takes you to a work from home website? If so, you may be dealing with a scammer who uses Craigslist to get traffic and steal information online. Again, avoid it like the plague and flag the ad as spam.You won’t get a job there.

3. Does the ad ask you to write a “sample” and send it in for approval (with no mention of pay)? This is a common ploy that some scammers will use to get free content to use as they please. You do the work, and never get paid. Instead you get a blanket email that says “thanks for your sample, but you are not what we are looking for”. Do yourself a favor, and never work for free. Get payment terms in writing before you send an unpublished writing sample in. Or send in something you’ve already published online under your own name.

4. Does the ad ask for your personal information (social security number, birthdate, home address, etc)? This is clearly a scammer who acts like a potential hiring manager but who is actually an information thief. Never send your personal information to anyone online, especially through email. Keep your resume neutral and leave off your personal information until a job offer is made by a real person.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Craigslist is not a bad place to find freelance writing gigs. In fact, it can be a very good source of work on a regular basis. Other career-oriented advertising websites can also fall prey to online scammers. The point is to be cautious when applying for any work online. Check out the company further by reviewing their website, pick up the phone and actually call to speak to a hiring manager whenever possible, and protect your information at all times. By following these “rules” you can avoid becoming a victim of online scammers.

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Benefits of Becoming a Freelance Web Writer

27 May

You are probably reading this because you are either looking for a part time career or you want to replace your full time career with a home-based job, right? Freelance writing is one of the best careers today, perfect for those who need more flexibility, freedom of expression, and a way to earn more money. Those are reasons enough to seek out alternatives to dull traditional careers.

Before you make up your mind to choose freelance writing as a possibility, here are some things you need to know:

1. You won’t get rich or famous as a freelance writer (think of how long it took King to get there!)

2. You must save money and learn to live frugally to make it as a freelance writer.

3. You need to have a back-up plan or another source of income while you are building a freelance writing business.

4. Learn as much as you can about writing, grammar and word processing tools before you start working as a writer.

With those things said, here are the benefits of being a freelance writer and why this may be the right career for you:

  • Freelance Writing is very flexible with no set hourly requirements each day. However, as a writer you must be able to set aside a certain amount of uninterrupted time daily to be successful (and earn enough money).
  • Freelance Writing is perfect for self-motivated people to earn the kind of living they desire. No more waiting for the boss to see your value and promote you. You must work hard to get where you want to be with your career and earn good wages.
  • Freelance Writing is family-friendlyand works well for people with other committments such as caring for children or elderly family members. You can make your own schedule, but again you must make time for your business too.
  • Freelance Writing is the perfect creative outlet for those who have dull careers or need a form of expression. You can write on any topic you desire and make a living. However, you will be expected to research and write on specific topics for clients often.
  • Freelance Writing can help you earn more than what you may currently be making in your day job. However, without constant searching for new clients, marketing your business and charging decent rates, you wont make enough to survive.

So take some time to absorb these things and consider whether or not freelance writing is the best choice for you? If you want to learn more, check out my 6 week virtual course  over at Freelance Writing Class to find out how you can earn as a freelance writer!

Happy 2nd Birthday to A Journey of Words!

14 May

Wow, I cannot believe it that my little space on the net “A Journey of Words” is turning 2 years old this weekend! What started out as a casual place to post updates for my web copy writing clients, has now turned into one of my favorite places to share ideas, encouragement and tips for making your business more successful through content marketing.

Over the past 2 years, A Journey of Words has been a source of inspiration for me as a writer and as a small business woman. As I struggled to make my way in the world, a career changer in my mid-30’s, this little blog has been a place where I have turned to over and over again to gather my thoughts in a creative way.

The recent WordCount Blogathon has given me a good reason to take fifteen minutes out of every day to share something new here. As a result, A Journey of Words has gotten some nice comments from others and for that I am very grateful.

People have asked me the following questions about this blog, which I would like to address:

Q. What does A Journey of Words mean?    

A. This phrase describes the personal and professional journey that I have been on as a writer. What started out as a part time effort back in 2006, ended up giving life to a whole new career for me. I went from being a disillusioned HR professional, to an inspired web copy writer that year. I made my dream of being a work from home mom a reality. I improved the quality of my family life, my professional life, and my community by being gutsy enough to take this journey. All that time it was the WORD that led me to where I find myself now, and this will be the way it will be in the future.

Q. Why is your blog build on the Word Press.com platform instead of as part of your website?

I get this one a lot. The straightforward answer is that the program that I used to build my website did not include the option to create a blog, still doesn’t for some odd reason. Other than that, I love everything else about my website. So, that left me with one option – to create a blog elsewhere. I actually first started out with a Blogger blog, but after getting fed up with some of the themes I was using, I was turned on to Word Press. Since then, I have enjoyed switching out the look and feel of A Journey of Words several times, but will always use WP as my blog format. So, to make it work with my website I simply set up a re-direct page from my website to here.

Q. Why don’t you monetize your blog with pay to click ads and affiliate buttons?

While I respect and appreciate that many bloggers include paid advertising sources on their blogs, it was a personal decision not to do so with A Journey of Words. First off, this isn’t a place to advertise for anything really. This is a place to leave the world’s clutter behind and focus on the words in front of you. I wanted this blog to be uncomplicated, easy to navigate and understand for all viewers. Besides, I’m not trying to get rich from my endeavors – just love what I do and the small business owners I help!

So there you have it. Let me personally thank  all of you wonderful friends and family who take the time to read my blog throughout your busy lives. I welcome your comments, ideas and feedback always. Thanks for making the last 2 years so much fun!

3 Steps for Maintaining Balance as a Web Copy Writer

8 May

If you are a freelance writer, do you often find it difficult to find that perfect balance in your life? Are you continually feeling guilty about not having enough time to do it all? A while back, I wrote a post about maintaining balance as a small business owner, which provided some helpful tips for anyone struggling in this area. Now I’d like to address the writing community out there specifically, to talk about some of the ways to find a better balance between writing work and a personal life.

First, let me start off by saying that being a full time web copy writer is by no means an “easy” job, like some of my corporate counterparts like to think. They seem to imagine me as this free-spirited person who has all the time in the world to dream up content for websites whilst I relax in my pajamas eating bon-bons all day. I suppose it’s because they wonder what it is that I do from 9-5  in my little home office. When I tell people I write for a living, I often get that puzzled look and then a question like, “So what books have you written?” My response is then, “Well, actually I don’t write books, I create website and print marketing copy that helps small business owners get their message out there more effectively.” Then it makes better sense and people realize that I work HARD all week long.

When I first started out in this biz, I had the same set of expectations which included: being able to roll out of bed when I wanted to, work on the projects I chose, and deal with clients on my terms. Instead, I found out very quickly that I had a lot of hoops to jump through as a service provider. If I didn’t spend time daily looking for new opportunities, they wouldn’t exactly be banging on my door. My world quickly got out of balance as I spent more and more hours glued to my computer.

Then I started taking a real hard look at my business and set up a 3-Step Plan to get myself back into focus and create a more reasonable work-life balance for myself (and my family). Here’s what I came up with:

1. Establish standard business hours. Without a clear schedule and work hours, it’s easy to let things get out of balance. The lines between work and personal time begin to blur. In addition, clients begin to think that you will be available at their command, any time of the day or night. When you get a call from a client at 4 AM on a Sunday, you know you have a problem with balance. So, I decided what work hours work best for my clients and I, and then I set them into action by stating them clearly on my business website.

2. Allow goof off time or mental health days. One of the ways that freelance writers get out of balance is by not allowing themselves time to relax. Spending 12 hours in an office chair  6 days a week is not a healthy way to conduct a business or produce quality copy. So now, I allow myself at least one hour of “goof off” time during the day, and take a mental health day off twice a month. I also frequently plan on-site client meetings and go to business networking events to get out of my home office. Getting away from the desk refreshes my mind and helps me to focus on work when I am in the office.

3. Learn to ask for help when needed. The biggest lesson I had to learn as a web copy writer in Charleston was getting help from other writers or creative professionals when the project called for it. The personality of an entrepreneur is to try to do everything yourself. But this is also an indicator of being a complete control freak! If a big project comes in, I quickly assess how much time it will take me to do my part, and then I get in touch with a couple of trusted entrepreneurs I have in my network to help out. This has created more balance in my business and life.

So, whatever you find yourself dealing with now in your writing career or as a home based business professional, know that you CAN find a better balance for your life. The key is to learn what your priorities are and establish clear boundaries so that you can focus on what’s most important to you. Don’t wait – do this now and save yourself a lot of stress and frustration.

How do you find balance as a freelancer?

Why Web Copy Writing is the Best Home Based Career

6 May

The most common question I get is “how did you get into copy writing?” Just a few years ago, if someone had asked me what I wanted to be “when I grew up”, I would have never considered working at home as a web copy writer! In fact, I had my heart set on working in human resources for a long time, being able to make a positive change in the lives of employees and helping others to develop long-term careers.

But, things change as things have a habit of doing, leaving me going through a period of transition as a professional. I found myself exploring various work from home careers and stumbled upon writing as an actual career. It was the best discovery of my life!

I fully believe that we copy writing is one of the best home based careers available to people today. For many reasons, including:

  • The ability to work remotely from anywhere with an Internet connection.
  • A flexible schedule that allows project work around other responsibilities.
  • Writing opportunities in every industry and on every topic imaginable.
  • Challenging tasks and projects that never get boring or monotonous.
  • The ability to be as creative as you want to be and enjoy the results of this effort.
  • Ongoing work with a multitude of really cool clients around the world.
  • No worry about noise factors or having to talk on the phone to rude people all day.

There are other benefits of having a home based career as a web copy writer, but those just come with the territory! I love the freedom of expressing myself through words. I love working with incredibly talented and smart people daily. I love seeing my name online whenever something is published. Nothing I’ve ever done in my past life as a corporate HR professional has ever compared to the absolute joy I get as a web copy writer in Charleston, South Carolina.

So, if you are thinking about taking the leap of faith and writing for a living, I encourage you to explore all the avenues that are available to you in freelance web copy writing!

Feel free to leave your questions or comments below – always happy to respond!