Archive for the ‘tips for writers’ Category

Managing Your Business Expenses

business expenses I hope you had a great Christmas and enjoyed the fellowship and gift exchanges with family and friends! Now that Christmas is over, in a few more days we’ll be celebrating the New Year, which means it won’t be long until we self-employed folks have to fork over some of our earnings to Uncle Sam. With that in mind, I thought I give you a few tips on how you can manage your business expenses. These tips will help you give as little as possible to Uncle Sam. Furthermore, they’ll help you keep your writing business more organized in 2011 and the years to follow.

Business Expenses You Can Claim

As long as your yearly investments had to do with your writing business, you can pretty much claim them. Some of the things we writers can claim are: mileage for any travel related to a writing job, any equipment bought for writing (laptop, computer, printer, fax, digital camera, flash drive, etc.), telephone expenses for interviews, research and fact checking, supplies (printer paper, ink cartridges, etc..), charitable contributions, books that you bought to help you learn more about the industry, advertising expenses, insurance expenses, postage expenses and more — visit the IRS Website for additional information.

Managing Your Business Expenses

  • Keep receipts of everything you buy (online and offline) related to your writing business.
  • Keep a record of all your business expenses. The easiest way to do this is to create a spreadsheet with four columns: purchase date (date you made the purchase), amount spent (how much you paid), what (the name of the product or service you bought) and for (what the item, service or etc. was bought for).
  • File all your receipts in a folder labeled business expense receipts or something similar.

I hope you found these tips helpful. Join me again in 2011 for another post. In that post, you’ll discover how to build a store on your writing website that will help you increase your income in 2011. I plan to share a list of writing-related products you can sell, so stay tuned! Until then, I hope you have a very happy, safe, blessed and prosperous New Year!

Photo credit: Mat Honan


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Using Pictures and Videos to Write Fiction

First, let me start by saying this post is overdue. I meant to have it written and ready for you to read two weeks ago. Unfortunately, though I became ill.

The week that I planned to write this post I ended up with nausea, abdominal pains, fatigue and low energy. Then the following week I couldn’t stay out of the bathroom, and the fatigue and low energy continued. I thought all of this might be related to a knot I discovered near my navel a couple months ago, so I decided I’d better stop ignoring the problem and call my doctor. She scheduled an ultrasound of the abdomen to diagnose what she believes is a Hernia. I now have a follow-up appointment for Monday to hear the results, and I pray it’s not serious.

Since I’m feeling better, I was able to write the post, so here it is…

Using Pictures to Write Fiction

In the beginning I had a hard time understanding the “show don’t tell” writing rule. When I did finally learn the rule, sometimes I would get stuck on how to describe something (showing) so my readers could actually visualize the scene or character in my stories and novels. For instance, I knew what a messy room looked like, but I had trouble finding the words to describe it. When this happens, I’ll look through photos I’ve taken or search Google or photo galleries for pictures of whatever it is I want to describe. To give you an example, below is a picture of a messy room followed by my description — photo courtesy of Rubbermaid Products.

A messy room to help me show instead of tell

Instead of saying she was shocked when she entered her daughter's room. It looked like a tornado had hit it! I would write this using the picture to help me describe the scene: Her eyes were as big as saucers when she entered her daughter's room. Clothes littered the bedroom floor and hung out of open dresser drawers.

Whether it’s a scene, place, person or etc. you’re trying to describe, pictures really help you paint the picture for your readers, so to speak.

Using Videos to Write Fiction

Videos help you describe a character’s actions. Let’s say, for example, your character had a little too much to drink at a social gathering, party or bar and you’re not sure how a drunk acts. No problem, head over to YouTube to search for videos of drunks. By the time you watch a couples videos of a drunk male or female, you should be able to describe it in words.

Have you ever used pictures or videos when you got stuck on how to describe a character, scene, a character’s actions, place or etc.? What tips can you share with writers to help them “show” instead of “tell?”


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Writing for a Living — 5 Ways to Earn an Active Income

You can be successful writing for a living!

Photo courtesy of LadyDragonfly from Flickr.com

I’ve been writing for several years now. Although I’m still not in the financial bracket that I’d like to be in, I do have many clients, and that list continues to grow. It took me a while to get to where I am today, because when I first started writing for a living, I spent a lot of time reading advice from more experienced writers. Furthermore, I started back when the Internet was just booming. At that time there weren’t many writing blogs to learn from, so I spent the majority of my time in writing forums. In addition, blog writing and SEO writing hardly existed. Therefore, I had to depend on assignments from magazine and newsletter editors to make ends meet, which meant writing and sending numerous query letters, and then waiting for editors to respond. On top of that, there was always the possibility of rejections.

Eventually, blogging and SEO started to grow in popularity, so after I honed my skills in those areas, things started getting better; however, I continued to send queries hoping for acceptance letters and steady assignments.

The good news for you is you don’t have to wait a year or more to really start doing well at writing for a living. Keep in mind, though, it will still take time, but if you follow the advice I’m sharing today, you should begin earning an active income within a few months.

Writing for a Living: Gaining Experience and Clients

1. Keep at least five query letters and letters of introduction (a.k.a. cover letters) in circulation. Create and send a minimum of five query letters to print and electronic publications. Also, send a minimum of five letters of introduction to websites, network blogs and publications that are within your areas of expertise. Coffee Break for Writers offers a three-part freelance writing exercise that will help you perform this marketing task in record-breaking time. The exercise also includes a sample letter of introduction.

2. Sell your writing services to potential clients (business owners, SEO companies, book producers, etc.). Scan writing jobs listed on writing-related websites and blogs. Respond to the jobs that apply to you. For example, if you want to write blog posts, articles and SEO content about the real estate market, parenting and green living, only reply to blog writing, article writing, ghostwriting and SEO writing jobs for those niche areas.

3. Don’t depend on content mills when writing for a living. Places such as Demand Studios (DS) and Associated Content (AC) are only good for when times are slow or you need a little extra spending money. I learned my lesson the hard way with these type gigs. Sure, if you write 25 articles a week for DS, you’ll earn $1,500 a month, but wouldn’t you rather earn $200 for one article instead of $1,500 for 100 articles? Here, let me give you a better example: You can write and sell two articles each week for $200 each and earn more than $1,500 a month. Plus you won’t be selling all your rights to the articles. Yes, when you write for DS and many of the other content mills, you’re selling all your rights, which means if they choose, they can make money off you by reselling your articles and claiming those articles as their own.

4. Resell your previously published articles. You can earn more money on articles you’ve already sold by searching for paying markets that buy reprints. Many times you won’t earn as much selling the reprint rights as you did when the article was original, but you can still earn a decent price by reselling those articles.

5. Market to local businesses. Mail a letter of introduction to local businesses. Along with the letter, include relevant clips or writing samples, your business card and a brochure about your writing services. Some things you can write for local businesses are blogs, obituaries for funeral homes and local newspapers, neighborhood guides, home buyer tips for real estate agents, columns for local newspapers, and contact schools with an offer to create newsletters for parents.

Words of Encouragement

No matter how rough things get, you must keep on writing for a living and marketing your services. Don’t let the big-name magazines and other publications scare you either. If you think you have an article that would benefit their readers, send the query letter. Yes, they may say no, but you’ll never know if you don’t try, and they won’t know if your articles or writing services are what they’re looking for, if you don’t let them know you’re out there.

Good luck and happy writing! May the Lord bless you with an abundance of words and many clients!


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How to Stay Healthy While Writing for Hours

As a full-time freelance writer I spend more than 10 hours a day at my desk, which is not good for the body. Having a desk job can cause numerous health problems: back pain, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, blood clots in the legs, edema and weight gain. Despite the disadvantages, we have to pay the bills. Therefore, we can’t avoid sitting at our desks, but we can learn how to stay healthy while we write for hours.

Yes, I know it’s hard not to break bad habits, but if we try hard, we can train our minds to break those habits. What habits am I referring to? Poor posture, lack of movement, eating while we write… the list could go on, but I think you get the picture. The question now is are you ready to learn how to stay healthy while writing?

Stop slouching! I’m just as guilty as you are, but it’s a habit we need to break to avoid back problems. If you’re anything like me, I catch myself propping my head in my hand while reading. What about when I’m typing and have to use both hands? Well, that’s when I find myself slouching almost as bad. To change this, we should train ourselves to sit up straight and place our feet flat on the floor or prop them on a footstool. Personally, I think I’m going to invest in a comfortable footstool that will fit under my desk.

Take a break every once in a while to move around. In between clients you could take a walk to clear your head, put the clothes from the washer into the dryer, fold the laundry, load the dishwasher, tidy up the living room, vacuum the floors or just stretch and walk around for a few minutes. Taking short breaks between clients to carry out one or more of these tasks is good for the body and will help re-energize you.

Perform desk exercises to stay healthy while writing. Not all exercise requires you to go to the gym or get out of your chair. Although it’s probably best to exercise away from your desk, our job keeps us at our desk for hours. That said, here are seven exercises you can do at your desk:

1. Body Rotations: This exercise is courtesy of Break Pal. See their video below for instructions on how to do this desk exercise. If you’d like to see more of Break Pal’s desk exercises, visit their YouTube channel.

2. Chair Twists: While sitting straight with your feet flat on the floor, turn your body to the left, and then back to face your computer screen. Next, twist your body to the right then back to face your computer screen again. Repeat 10 times.

3. Butt Squeezes: Straighten up and place your feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your butt cheeks together using your butt muscles (like you would do if you had to take a dump but someone else was in the bathroom — pardon my language, but that’s the best way I know to describe it). Hold that position for about five seconds and release. Do this 10 or 15 times.

4. Leg Lifts: Raise and lower your left leg, and then raise and lower your right leg. Continue doing this until you’ve done 15 with each leg.

5. Heel Raises: Sitting straight, toward the edge of your chair, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, raise your heels until you come up to the balls of your feet. Then lower your feet back to the floor. Repeat 10 times.

6. Leg Spread: Scoot to the back of your chair and straighten your back. Spread both your legs as far as you can, hold for two seconds, and then close your legs. Do this 10 times as well. Yes, I realize this sounds horrible, but it’s also the best way I know to describe this desk exercise.

7. Sedentary Running: Once again, sitting straight but with legs together. Now raise both legs and kick really fast, like your running. Do this for at least two minutes.

Stay Healthy While Writing With Under-the-Desk Exercise Equipment

In addition to performing the desk exercises I described above, you can also purchase exercise equipment that will fit under your desk and use it while you’re working. Below you’ll find some exercise equipment small enough to fit under a desk that should give you a good workout and help you stay healthy while writing.

Are there other ways you stay healthy while writing? Share your advice in the comments area.


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Tips for Staying Motivated When Writing for Many Clients

Many of us have several clients we write for on a daily basis. We complete one client’s project and move right on to the next client’s project, and so on until our clients’ projects for that day or night is complete. The problem, however, is sometimes after we’ve completed the first client’s project we find ourselves unmotivated to move on to the next client. This is completely normal, but don’t stress out about it, because there are solutions.

Now, before I get to the solutions, I’d like to let you know that none of my tips for staying motivated will include heading over to Facebook or Twitter. Yes, I’m guilty of the doing the same thing. I’ve found myself chatting on Facebook or Twitter many times before moving on to my next client. I truly thought if I spent a little time reading my friends’ status messages, commenting on some and posting a few of my own, I’d be ready to tackle my next client’s project. Boy was I ever wrong! Facebook and Twitter are a big no, no when you’re trying to stay motivated, and here’s why: they’re addictive. You know I’m right. You get there and you just don’t want to leave. I have no clue why they’re so addicting, but they are.

Once I learned that Facebook and Twitter weren’t going to keep me motivated, I tried a few other things, and they all worked for me, so I thought I’d share them with you.

1. Take a walk. Taking a walk helps clear your head, and by the time you return, you should be ready to tackle the next client’s project.

2. Soak in a nice warm bath or unwind in the shower. There’s nothing as refreshing as a bath or shower. You’ll relieve any stress and re-discover the energy you need to continue working.

3. Walk away from the computer for 15 to 20 minutes. You can put a load of laundry in the wash, fold a load of laundry, load the dishwasher, dust some furniture or do anything else just as long as you’re not near the computer. Sometimes all it takes is a short break to prevent burnout.

4. Listen to a song that inspires you. Take a few minutes to listen to one or two uplifting songs. One of my personal favorites is I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me.

5. Say a prayer. When all else fails, ask the Lord to keep you motivated and bless you with words your clients and his or her readers will love. Trust me, friends, prayer won’t fail you.

Hopefully these five tips for staying motivated when writing for many clients will help you. And remember, you MUST avoid Facebook and Twitter until you finish everything on your client to-do list, because odds are you won’t stay motivated once you start Facebooking or Tweeting with all your friends, family, readers and fans. 😉


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Achieve Success Without College

Having faith will help you achieve success without college

Photo courtesy of Flickr user, Isolino.

Are you putting off your dreams because you lack a college education? Well, then, I encourage you to start following your dreams again. I’m serious; don’t put those dreams on hold any longer just because you don’t have a college degree or certification. Although college helps, if you don’t have the funds right now or are too busy at the present time, you can still work towards your dreams and achieve success without college. Then when you have the money and time to pursue your college education, go for it. Until that time, here are eight secrets that will help you achieve success without college.

The Secrets to Success Without College

1. Create a plan. Sit down and write out a plan that includes how and where you’ll promote your products, services, website and/or blog(s). After you’ve created a plan, you’re going to need a work and marketing schedule to help you manage your time.

2. Set realistic goals. Setting goals gives you something to work toward and gets you closer to achieving success without college. Furthermore, if you’re anything like me, the goals will motivate you to move forward with your career.

Your list of goals should include your desired income, projects you wish to complete by a certain date and anything else that you’d like to accomplish. When you begin listing your goals, start out with small goals. If you try to dream big at first, chances are you’re not going to meet those huge goals, and this could leave you frustrated and uninspired.

Review your goal list every month/year to see how many goals you met. For the ones you accomplished, set a new goal to achieve even more. For instance, if one of your goals was to make at minimum of $1,000 a month and you met that goal, increase the amount to $1,500 or $2,000 a month.

3. Set aside time to learn. Even with over 10 years writing, editing, research and marketing experience, I still study books and websites. You must always be willing to learn more and keep up with the trends in the industry to hone your skills. After all, the more you learn the closer you get to reaching success without college.

4. Take chances. Don’t be afraid to take chances. Most of the time success happens by learning from mistakes. That said, if you think something could be successful in relation to your business, try it. If it fails, then you will have learned something from the mistake, and if you succeed, then pat yourself on the back. Not everything you try will fail, but you’ll never know what works and what doesn’t if you don’t try.

5. Have faith. Have faith in yourself and in the Lord. Most of my success has come from prayer. I always pray before sending a query and after responding to a writing job. I believe that if it’s what the Lord wants for me, He will do what He believes is best for me and my writing career. All I have to do is believe myself and leave the rest in the Lord’s hands, and He usually answers when the time’s right. It may not always be the answer I’m hoping for, but I understand and continue my relationship with the Lord.

Prayer really does work, friends. And the stronger your relationship with the Lord, the more he’ll watch over you and look out for you… in life and in business.

6. Be patient. Success won’t happen over night. As long as you have patience, continue studying to sharpen your skills, market your business and build your brand things should start happening for you over time.

7. Be kind. As your business grows, you will encounter clients, customers and/or readers that you may not get along with. Some will criticize your work, others will disagree with you, and some clients will be difficult to work with and please. Regardless, you must be kind in order to reach success without college.

If a client and/or reader criticizes you, listen and take notes. Many times you’ll learn from the advice they give. For those who disagree with you, everyone’s entitled to his/her own opinion, so just thank them for their comments, and if you like, feel free to explain why you believe the way you do, but do it in a nice way.

8. Share your knowledge with others. Write articles and/or create a blog to share what you will learn. By sharing your experiences and helping others, you’ll build a good reputation for yourself and your business.

There you have it: the secrets to achieving success without college. By no means do I believe I’m successful yet, but I have achieved many things and reached many of my goals over the years, and I’ve done it all without a college degree. All I do is apply the aforementioned advice in everything I do.

Do you have any further advice on how one can achieve success without college? Feel free to share what you know in the comments area below.


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Time Management for the Busy Freelancer

Is your schedule so overwhelming you can’t seem to find enough time in the day for everything? Maybe I can help by sharing my weekly schedule, which helps me complete clients’ projects, work on my personal projects, and market my writing services, websites and blog.

I’ve revised my writing schedule many times. Actually, I’d say I do this at least once a year. The only reasonable explanations I can give for changing it so much are (1) I’m always taking on new clients, which means I have to make room for them all. (2) Change keeps me from getting tired of doing the same thing repeatedly. (3) Regardless of the number of times I revise my writing schedule, midway through I always end up putting my personal projects on the back burner again, so when I redo everything, I’m able to work on those projects again. I guess you could say it re-energizes me. 😉

My Time Management Schedule, Which Should Work for You As Well

First, download the schedule. It’s a Word file so you can save it to your harddrive and edit it to your liking.

Now what you need to do is assign a day for each task. For instance, if you have several clients, then you need to mark three days out of your week as client days. Then you can pick the other days of the week as personal project and marketing days. To give you a better idea of what I mean, see my schedule below. (Replace what I’ve referred to as client A, B, C and D, and project A, B, C, D and E with the name of your clients and personal projects. Your hours may also be different, and you may need more or less time to complete what you’re working on.

Time Management Schedule for the Busy Freelancer

More Time Management Tips

  • Take advantage of email reminders and scheduling features. Let’s say you’ve planned three days of the week for client projects, but you have a few clients that require daily blog posts or articles from you. Well, on the days that you’ll be working for those clients, write those blog posts and articles ahead of time, and then use the schedule feature in your email or on the blog platform to submit your submissions on the days they’re due.
  • If you only work on your personal projects one day each week and you have too many to fit into one day, pencil in some of the projects for one week and the others for the following weeks.

Do you have a time management schedule or tips you’d like to share with Life of a Writer readers? Will my schedule help you manage your time better?


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5 Ways for Authors & Writers to Gain Buzz

Ways to Gain BuzzDo you remember the thrill you felt when you finally published your first book? How about when you landed your first big writing job? Well, what’s even more exciting is when you read an article about yourself or your book that another writer wrote. I know exactly how much joy you feel when your the one in the spotlight, and I want you to feel that same joy too, so here are five ways to gain buzz for your book and/or writing service business.

1. Share your knowledge with the public. Talk to the public about something relevant to your book. For example, if your protagonist is a domestic violence survivor, you can discuss domestic violence. Or if you’re promoting your writing services, share writing and/or publishing advice with other writers. Churches, local groups, colleges and schools are just a few of the places that welcome guest speakers. If they don’t send you an invitation, contact them. Be sure to mention the topic you’d like to discuss and your expertise on that topic.

Each time you schedule a speaking engagement, send a press release with a bit of information about yourself (you must show you’re an expert on the topic you’ll be talking about, so mention your book and any other expertise related to your topic). The info about yourself should be one or two paragraphs, and then you can include what you’ll be talking about. Also, don’t forget to mention the when and where related to the speaking event. If you’re like me and learn best by example, feel free to check out the press release I sent announcing one of my speaking engagements.

The press release announcing your upcoming speaking event could earn you some buzz, and you could receive more buzz after you speak. After I spoke to the Southern Illinois Writers guild in May, two writers wrote an article about me. One of the articles appeared on Sue Glasco’s Woodsong Notes blog, and the second article was published in John A. Logan College News.

2. Pitch radio shows and online chat rooms. If you’re invited to be a guest on the radio and/or in chat rooms, don’t use the time to promote yourself. Instead, offer free advice related to the product or service you’re trying to promote.

3. Volunteer in your local community. Become a regular volunteer for a local group or organization, and then blog about everything you’re doing to help the group or organization. Also, keep your Facebook fans, MySpace friends and Twitter followers updated on what you’re doing.

4. Host a book or author event. Get together with other authors and/or writers to share the cost of giveaways and food for the event. They may also help you plan the event, and, of course, everyone involved should share their guest lists.

5. Plan a fundraiser for charity. Fundraisers for special causes always get the media’s attention, so why not plan a fundraiser for your favorite charity. Make sure that you donate all the proceeds raised to that charity, and it helps if the charity you choose relates to your book in some way. For instance, if the main character of your book has breast cancer, you could pick a local charity that raises money for breast cancer research or helps breast cancer victims.

Like the speaking engagements, you should send press releases with news about what you did to help a group or organization, as well as press releases announcing your book events, author events and fundraisers for charity. Furthermore, don’t forget to keep your social network buddies updated, because there’s usually reporters, journalists and writers who watch status updates for news they can write about. 😉

What do you do to gain buzz for your book and/or writing service business?


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Getting Started as a Freelance Writer

I was supposed to write this post on February 8, which was the eighth annual Doing Business in Your Bathrobe Day. This special day is a time to celebrate the freedom home business ownership offers people, and it was created by Kristie Tamsevicius, co-founder of Webmomz.com, a site that empowers women who have chosen to work from home. My purpose for this post was to help aspiring writers who want to enjoy the freedom of working from home by finally beginning their freelance writing career. However, some family emergencies and fast-approaching deadlines kept me from posting on this day, but like the old saying goes, “It’s better late then never.” So without further ado, here’s the information that will help all you aspiring writers who are ready to begin your freelance writing career.

Instead of reprinting two articles I’ve already written and published that will help you launch your freelance writing career, I’m going to provide the links to those articles. You can read them first and then come back here to discover the tips on what you should do after landing your first client. The links to my previously published articles will open in a new window so that it will be easy for you to return here for the final advice.

Setting Up Your Home Office

You’ll need concentration, because noises may distract you, which is why it’s important for you to set up your home office in an extra room or space that’s quiet. After you’ve chosen a peaceful location to pen your novels and articles, you’ll need to know how to shop for your home office.

Building Your Writing Portfolio

When you first begin your freelance writing career, you may find it difficult to land writing jobs. Yes, you may be able to write well, but the problem is your experience. Without a writing portfolio many companies may not take a chance by hiring you. In fact, if you try to gain exposure by offering your services free, companies may even turn that offer down. Read on to learn more on how you can build a writing portfolio that will attract potential clients.

Landing Your First Client

It will be an exciting moment when you land your first client, but during all the excitement and after your happy dance, it’s important that you do your very best to build a great relationship with that first client. A happy client could lead to additional rewards: referrals, additional assignments, positive feedback to use on your website as well as in marketing materials and a whole lot more. Here are some tips to help you build that great relationship that could earn you many rewards:

  • No matter how difficult or easy the client may be to work with, follow the client’s directions and don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything you don’t understand.
  • Keep the client updated on your progress with his or her project.
  • Meet all the deadlines.
  • Check the content you wrote for grammar and spelling mistakes before you send it to the client.
  • Don’t discuss personal problems with your client. Keep everything on a business level.
  • Offer your client discounts. After you complete the assignment, offer your client a discount for additional content he or she may need. Also, consider offering your client a discount for referring others to you.

Keep in mind that it takes time to build a big enough clientele to support your household, but once you’ve conquered that, you too can enjoy a full-time career doing what you love. Just follow the aforementioned advice and you’ll be a step closer to your dream, a dream that you should never give up on.

Additional Reading to Help You Get Started as a Freelance Writer

How to Make Freelance Writing a Full-Time Job
How to Gain Local Clients for a Writing Business
How to Discover Timely Topics to Write About
How to Discover Writing Jobs on the Internet
How to Request an Interview

Photo credit: DDFic


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Seven Ways to Increase Clients With oDesk

Increase clients with oDeskBack when I first signed up for oDesk I didn’t know if they’d really help me gain new clients, but today I’m happy to report that thanks to oDesk I’ve been able to increase my clients. Not only have I gained new clients through oDesk, but I’ve gained friendly clients who have been great to work for. The clients that oDesk has blessed me with have been very helpful and provide great instructions, and this, my fellow writer friends, is something we all want with clients.

I’m sure you’re wondering how you, too, can increase your clients, and since I enjoy helping others, I’m going to share a few tips with you. These are the things I do to increase clients with oDesk. Remember, oDesk guarantees payment on all hourly jobs!

Seven Simple Ways to Increase Clients With oDesk

1. Check writing job listings daily. If you don’t want to visit the oDesk site on a daily basis, you can subscribe to be notified of new listings via e-mail, or use the search feature on your left to search for the jobs you want, and then subscribe to the RSS feeds for each search you perform.

2. Apply for jobs that only pay by the hour. This guarantees that you’ll be paid for your time and work.

3. Create and save a pre-written cover letter on your hard or flash drive. Then when you run across a writing job you want to apply for, edit your pre-written cover letter to match the writing job your applying for, and then follow oDesk’s steps to submit that cover letter to the potential client.

4. Use your best clips on your oDesk profile,and update every so often with more recent clips.

5. Post your resume on your oDesk profile, along with any client testimonials.

6. Follow up with potential clients who requested an interview but never got back to you.

7. Take the free oDesk skills tests, and when you score high, make the results public so potential clients can see you really do have the experience you say you have.

Disadvantages

While oDesk has been making improvements, there are still a few things I believe they could improve. For one, if you’re writing in Microsoft Word or researching (reading through information), the software that tracks providers’ hours doesn’t always log the time as “online.” Instead, it logs it as “offline,” and pay for “offline” time is not guaranteed. I guess it logs it as “offline” time because it considers you idle since you’re just reading and not typing. That said, if oDesk could improve this, it would be great!

Finally, there’s no guaranteed payment for fixed-price jobs. Personally, I don’t understand how oDesk can guarantee their providers payment on hourly jobs and not fixed-price jobs. Although I’m already grateful to oDesk, they would earn my respect more if they’d change this policy.

Rest assured that this won’t be my last post about my success with oDesk, because I plan to continue sharing my oDesk experience with you. To stay up-to-date with my oDesk experience, subscribe to my full RSS feeds or opt-in to receive free updates via e-mail.

Do you use oDesk to increase clients? Feel free to share your oDesk experience in the comments area.


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