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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 Get payment terms in writing before you send an unpublished writing sample in.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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How Writing for the Web is Different than Other Forms of Writing

24 May

Today, I would like to share an excerpt from my Freelance Writing Class on the topic of web copy writing vs. traditional creative writing. I hope you learn something here that can help you develop more web worthy writing skills.

Writing for the web is a true form of expression, just as any other form of creative writing is. It takes a great deal of imagination and introspect to piece together sentences and keywords in a format that is interesting to readers. Nothing could be more challenging than trying to keep an audience with a 30 second attention span intrigued enough to read through an entire article. This is the absolute uniqueness of writing for the web and why it appeals to people who are trying to create income as web copy writers today.

When it comes down to the actual differences in web writing versus other forms of writing, the simplest answer can often be the most confusing aspect of web writing. As each project is different, there is no one “set in stone” method to write for the web, but there is a system that can be applied to each web writing project which will guarantee the best results from your efforts. Without this system, no amount of writing or keyword placement is going to help you get traffic to your website or blog. 

Writing for the web takes planning ahead. This is where many traditional writers get stuck. While creative writing depends on the right side of the brain to come up with the ideas, twists and turns of the story or poem; writing for the web means using the left side of the brain simultaneously to actually plan out the content itself ahead of time. This can be as simple as a template for writing web friendly articles. Or it can mean actually mapping out a website ahead of time to determine the way readers will navigate through the site and what will peak their interest and in what order.

Want to learn more about the best system for writing for the web and how it can help you learn to earn? Check out my 6 week course today!

Click here to go to FREELANCE WRITING CLASS

Copy Writing 101: Getting Started as a Freelancer

23 May

Ever since I made the leap of faith to become a web copy writer over five years ago, a lot of people have asked me, “how I did it?”  To be honest, it was not an easy transition from being a corporate HR manager to that of a home based freelancer. There have been a few bumps in the road, but I knew if I stuck with it long enough I would see the fruits of my labor. And over the years, I have.

 So, if you are wondering if this may be a valid career choice for you, here’s some quick advice on getting started!

1. Keep your day job for at least six months. One of the biggest mistakes many work at home wannabee’s do is quit a perfectly great job right away. Not only is this foolish financially, but what if you realize you don’t really like being at home full time? Stay in your current job and write on the side for a while. During this time, develop your skills, pick up clients and learn the ropes of copy writing. Before long, your freelance work will outweigh your outside the home job and you can put in a notice.

2. Devote time to write daily. While you are working on building a nice career in copy writing, start developing the habits which will make you successful for the long-term. Most copy writers spend between 4-8 hours daily at their desks, researching and writing copy for a variety of clients. Many work longer hours to meet deadlines or manage multiple projects around other responsibilities. To do copy writing on a full time basis, you must LOVE writing a lot and you must be able to do this 30-40 hours a week or more.

3. Learn all you can about copy writing. One of the best ways to ramp up your career as a freelance copy writer is to learn from other writers before you. That means taking classes, participating in webinars, reading great books on writing, and studying the masters of marketing copy. A good low cost alternative to a college class is my 6 week freelance writing class where I teach you everything I have learned over the last 5 years as a web copy writer and how you can get started (and find paying work).

4. Select a writing mentor. Just as you would starting out in any other career, finding a good mentor is a critical aspect of becoming a highly compensated copy writer. A mentor should have at least five or more years of writing experience and be able to answer your general questions about freelancing, give you advice on locating work, and provide feedback on your written work. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to my mentor(s) with questions and found the help and encouragement I needed to make sound decisions as a writer.

Well, that’s about all I can tell you about getting started as a copy writer. There is a HUGE market out there of businesses and clients who need supperb copy – so go out there and grab ’em!

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About the Author: Tess C. Taylor, Owner of Taylor Resources Writing, is a skilled web copy writer from Charleston, South Carolina who specializes in helping small business owners project the right message online. She has personally written over 2,500 articles, managed 100+ web copy projects and is regularly featured on The Chamber of Commerce, FindVenture, WiseGeek, US News, Yahoo and more as a business and careers writer. You can find out more by visiting HTTP://WWW.TRWRITING.COM today!

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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!

Career Opportunities for Web Copy Writers

5 May

In addition to writing, one of my favorite activities is to post opportunities for web copy writers on my Freelance Writing Class website, home of a little virtual course I wrote last year about getting into freelance writing as a career. There are literally thousands of ways in which copy writers can earn a decent living, either part time or full time.

The advantages of being a freelance web copy writer are endless, including:

  • The freedom to work from home or anywhere an Internet connection exists.
  • Flexible schedule that fits well with family life or other responsibilities.
  • The ability to take on as little or as many writing projects needed to earn an income.
  • Being your own boss has many perks and increases confidence.
  • Experiencing different industries and cultures around the world.

For me, becoming a web copywriter has been the single-most rewarding aspect of my adult life. Despite having worked in human resources for well over 14 years, I found that my transition to becoming a freelancer was a positive one. While I won’t paint a completely rosey picture because this choice has had it’s ups and downs just like any career, I can say that I am more fulfilled as a career-woman and feel much more in control of my family finances than I ever did working outside the home in a corporate day job.

If you are exploring the many opportunities in web copy writing work, in addition to my freelance writing  jobs page at Freelance Writing Class, here are some resources to help you get started (and where I found a lot of inspiration over the years!) :

Freelance Writing Jobs – one of the largest and well-respected sources for information on freelance writing and career opportunities. Multiple job postings and information to keep you in the know.

Freelance Writing – Helping freelance writers succeed since 1997, this website will give you insight and information about freelance copy writing opportunites and contests around the globe.

Online Writing Jobs – Find organized lists and sources of information on freelance copy writing gigs all over. I return to this list time and again for updated opportunities.

Writing Career – posts updated freelance writing job leads from Craigslist and other online job boards. Nice resource and fun way to find work online.

FlexJobs – This is the only membership freelance writing job resource I recommend. Why? Because I personally worked for FlexJobs when I was first starting out as a freelance writer!  I know from first-hand experience that all of the freelance writing job leads are legit, well-researched and updated on a daily basis by real people to make sure only the best jobs are listed.

So, if you are trying to find your way as a freelance web copy writer, or you are searching for new opportunities – be sure to check out the above sources for fresh job leads and inspiration!

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About the Author: Tess C. Taylor, Owner of Taylor Resources Writing, is a web copy writer in Charleston, South Carolina who has been featured on The Chamber of Commerce, Yahoo and US News. She has been writing for 5 years and has published over 2,500 articles and 100 websites on business and career topics around the world.