Freelance Isn’t Free.

This all brings us to the underlying message: you cannot expect top tier work from a native English speaker and pay them the same low wage you would if you were to outsource. Freelance marketplaces with workers from Pakistan, India, and other poorer countries have rock-bottom pricing.

From Merriam-Webster:

Free (\ˈfrē\):

: not costing or charging anything

Lance (\ˈlan(t)s\):

:  a steel-tipped spear carried by mounted knights or light cavalry

…okay, so maybe it doesn’t do the whole artsy Tarantino thing, but you get the picture. Ask any freelancer what their biggest pet peeve is, and they will more than likely all respond with clients wanting you to work for free.

This in and of itself is not altogether shocking; people with money and in a position of some degree of authority, i.e. some form of manager, is going to price shop. If they spend too much, they get yelled out by their superiors for going over budget.

The other factor at play is turnaround; most people who hire freelance workers seem to wait until the 11th hour, needing their project completed yesterday.

One of the few ways I have managed to carve a niche for myself is being able to meet tight deadlines. Not to sound haughty, but on more than one occasions I have been able to exceed expectations by providing at least a rough draft within a 24 hour window. Time is money, and when you can save them time, they perceive you as being of a higher value over other freelance options.

Unfortunately, short windows are becoming standard. Okay, not so bad, right? Just hunker down and bang out projects. No big deal; not a huge change from any other Monday morning.

Until you consider what they are willing to pay, and that becomes the bane of your professional existence. Case in point, a main client of mine who I partner with on a frequent basis had to turn down a job recently that would have included me, and it had to do with the perfect storm of what would have led us to hating life.

A company inquired about using us to craft entire packets of copy. Each order would be in bulk, nearing the 5,000 word mark. This would steady work, too; the company was growing and was actively seeking solid workers.

Sounds good so far. The best jobs are big jobs; yes, it usually requires me to work two weeks solid without a day off, but then you get downtime afterwards and a decent paycheck at the end.

Another requirement was native English speakers, which believe it or not, is a strong selling point for anyone looking to enter into freelance employment. The reason for this is everyone east of the UK claims to be fluent in conversational English, only to have an entire article written using Google Translate.

So what’s the deal? We have the skills, the have the work. Should be a done deal. But whenever things seem too good to be true, they always are. The company was netting $300 for these website packages. The writers, as can be assumed, would be getting fairly compensated, right?

One of the hardest things for me to communicate to potential clients is payment. Everyone wants me to charge by the page, but that simply does not work. A single page that is written in size 12 Times New Roman font and double spaced will have fewer words than a single space, font 11 Calibri page.

Simply put, I cannot compare apples to oranges on your project when you want me to complete it by the page. This is especially true if your instructions read “You’re the creative one; I’ll let you decide what’s best.

Another problem is that the Average Joe can’t picture how long a certain number of words is going to be. That is fair, and I get it. For reference, when I’m working on content pages for service trades, home pages generally take 1,000 words, and that gives a rundown of available services, their summaries, short histories about the company, and what sets them apart. You would actually be surprised just how hefty a 1,000 word home page is.

Back to the new client. As they receive $300 for doing little more than getting a new assignment into the To Do Stack, their writers are paid less than one cent per word. Multiply that times the amount of words, which I believe was around the 4,750 mark, and it is literally pennies on the dollar.

Now, it may seem like it’s still a good idea, but that amount would be for labor only. The amount of research that a freelance writer such as myself has to do can be borderline overwhelming at times. To go from knowing next to nothing about, say, poured concrete, and then to create a series of pages that sounds like I’ve been installing it for 20 years, takes a certain degree of Google skills and pure, and tapping into my natural B.S. creating glands.

Depending on how specific of a niche the job is, I may spend hours just researching a topic. This is time that can’t really be billed, either; freelance work is often for the completed project, and I can only really charge by the word.

Another client that recently had to be shot down was someone looking for a package that would essentially require advanced SEO techniques; the kind that one would hone via an advanced marketing degree. Again, the offer was for peanuts, and the niche was too specific. It was more adult-themed in nature; this isn’t immediately a deal breaker, but as is the case with many things in life, attitude is everything.

Another red flag is when they come off having read an article about master-level SEO and now think that this is what they should be shopping for. Once they were asking for Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Marketing, I was out. Not only do I not know how to do this, but 1) this isn’t even proven to be effective and 2) this dips into David Blaine’s territory of misdirection. Basically, it’s using words that most people like to trick them into being super into what you’re putting down.

I am always happy to offer a free revisions for free. After all, without developing the ability to read people’s minds, there is going to be some room for adjustment. However, it was obvious that they had a specific idea in mind. Whenever this happens, nothing produced by my side is going to be completely satisfactory.

Picture it like this; rather than having a physical model or picture of a home, you merely tell the blueprint guy what you’re looking for. They may get close, but it will never be the true dream home that you had envisioned, and it’s because two different people are trying to imagine an abstract concept.

This all brings us to the underlying message: you cannot expect top-tier work from a native English speaker and pay them the same low wage you would if you were to outsource. Freelance marketplaces with workers from Pakistan, India, and other poorer countries have rock-bottom pricing, and then still charge a cut from the worker; unfortunately, due to technological and language barriers, most of the work then has to be paid to be corrected by a true English speaker.

Because they have the knowledge of the English language, they will be charging more, and you have not only paid for the same project twice, but now you have wound up paying more than had you simply gone with them in the first place.

If your project is so complex that it requires advanced metrics and techniques, you may be better off finding a salaried marketing manager to take the reins. The average freelance worker is only going to offer copy and copy-related services.

Finally, if your project is important, don’t cheap out. I’m not saying that you have to spend a fortune; just don’t expect someone to work for free. I charge $0.05 per word; that’s five bucks for 100 words, which is probably somewhere in the ballpark of two to three paragraphs for a website. With that, I include a free revision, two if I’m completely off base.

That also includes the time that I have to spend researching the topic, editing my own work (which is surprisingly difficult because we are all blind to many of our mistakes), and ensuring that it is returned within your specified deadline window.

Even at that price, and what it entails, most would look to drop that number down. Some even argue that larger projects should come with a bulk discount; while that would make sense in the manufacturing word, giving me more work to complete faster should not be billed less as it puts me on the expressway to losing the rest of my mind.

Freelance is a great gig, and if you haven’t contracted out some of your tasks to a freelance laborer, I would highly recommend it. To contact me to discuss your project, use the field below or visit me at my website or Facebook page.

 

 

War Never Changes: What Bethesda Taught Me About Writing

And considering how much I enjoyed their previous project, Skyrim, I’m beginning to actually apply what I enjoy about their games and have attempted putting it into my own writing. So while yes, reading is important to writing, maybe games, or at least, the skills of game designers, are going to be the new wave of writing influences.

As a 30 single dude with no kids and/or love interest, I get to enjoy playing video games sans nagging. And as much as I gripe about being single, it’s pretty great to just be able to kick back and play as much as I want at night, which is how I like to unwind. And honestly, I’ve been playing video games since I was two, so it’s something I’ve long enjoyed doing and it’s something I plan to do at least for the foreseeable future.

Any writer worth their salt will tell you that in addition to practicing writing, it’s just as important to read as it will help guide you towards techniques and styles you may have not thought of before; sort of a passive learning by doing scenario.

Unfortunately, it’s 2017 and it’s harder than ever to split your attention between things that you love doing that are engaging versus taking the chance on something that may be interesting, or maybe it’ll leave you going “man, I wish I spent this past hour completing that level”.

As a result, it’s pretty frustrating to get involved in a game, only to be let down by repetitive action, bland story lines, and worse yet, technical bugs. So when I bought Fallout 4, I was pleasantly surprised by how engaging it was, as well as all of the subtle details that are easily missed.

And considering how much I enjoyed their previous project, Skyrim, I’m beginning to actually apply what I enjoy about their games and have attempted putting it into my own writing. So while yes, reading is important to writing, maybe games, or at least, the skills of game designers, are going to be the new wave of writing influences.

World Building

One of the obvious strengths of Bethesda is their ability to craft a world. The game rarely feels like playing a game, but truly assuming the role of someone wandering a post apocalyptic wasteland, or a lone wizard traversing the countryside on their own hunting dragons. And this is reinforced through subtle nods and background stories that pop up everywhere.

Skyrim had in-game books your character (and you) could leaf through that described the history and lore of the land, while in Fallout you can find computer entries and scribbled notes that describe the rise and fall of civilization. It’s the extra effort that truly makes you feel like you’re living the story rather than just playing through a level.

Details Make or Break It

As is the case with anything, too much world building can be a curse. Back to the world of Skyrim, some of the books you find are just a few paragraphs in length and offer a welcome reprieve from the constant random battles. On the other hand, there are some that feel as long as real books, and I find myself bogged down with too many details that don’t impact my life in the slightest.

However, in Fallout 4, there are tiny little stories of a world gone by; you just have to know where to look. For instance, the nuclear bomb that decimated the country happened in the month of October. As you start making your way through the ruins of Boston, you can find small phone booth-like safe spaces, like public safe rooms.

In one I found the other night, there was a small plastic jack-o-lantern with candy at the bottom. Within two seconds this went from a novel discovery to my mind running wild with the heartbreaking story of a child’s last trick-or-treating.

Make the Scary Parts Scary

Neither Skyrim nor Fallout are horror survival games. That said, there are plenty of spooky parts, and a plethora of monsters, demons, zombies, and other creatures you’d rather not tangle with. However, tangle you must, and usually in a setting that is just plain unsettling.

Despite the games not falling into the horror genre, and in fact, finding plenty of lush naturally beautiful areas, they don’t shy away from ratcheting the suspense. And it works – it forces you to be on your guard, and it makes you appreciate the safe areas all the more. And it’s something that I’ve tried incorporating as well. After all, life isn’t always roses and sunshine; sometimes it’s being in a dark sewer full of flesh eating zombies.

Live in the Gray

What has become Bethesda’s bread and butter is their lack of forcing you to be a fully “good” character or a fully evil character. Each and every situation, conversation, and interaction has an option to be a hero, a villain, or someone in between. And this is refreshing; life isn’t always so black and white.

Having the ability to not only be in the gray, but stay there, is more human. And in today’s jaded society, it’s nice to have something that influences your own characters to strive to be more realistic.

Be the Person You Want to Be

Bethesda does a great job of giving you plenty of freedom to not only design your own character, but essentially have a virtual Dungeons and Dragons character sheet. You control their physical appearance, their name, and as you progress, you get to choose what their strengths, weaknesses, and aptitudes are. As a result, you can play almost any type of character you want.

If you want to make a psychotic villain that looks, and acts, like Negan, the main baddie in The Walking Dead, you can. If you want to make a goody two shoes quasi-super hero (like my affectionately nicknamed Trashcan America), you can. If you want to just make an Average Joe trying to complete his own personal quest, you can. There’s no right or wrong answer; there’s nothing the game really tries to force on you. And as a writer, I am constantly thinking of new characters I’d love to design and try on my next play through as a result.

 

Have you found any non-book entertainment offerings that influence your writing? I’d love to hear about them. And if you need any assistance with your next project, I’d love to help out!

Agree to Disagree: the Dreaded Agreement Talk

I love being a freelance writer. I truly do. There is very little I do not like about the job, and even those things are very minor annoyances at best. It is a job I enjoy doing and it’s work that I am proud of and passionate about. I honestly can’t see doing any other type of work that would make me this enthusiastic about working.

And as you’ve been expecting, there’s a “but” to that sentence: the signed written agreement. People get weird about having to sign a dated agreement. Clients act as if by signing a piece of paper that literally says “I am going to write the thing and then you’re going to pay me” that I’m somehow tricking them into purchasing a car.

The signed agreement is necessary. As a freelance writer I am my company. I am my boss. I am my employees. The work I do is in a Word document and then emailed. My works does not leave much of a paper trail and every transaction, even from those I have worked for already in the past, carry with them the small possibility of someone getting over on me.

I have not even seen the majority of my clients. 99% of my job is done via receiving an request from my website, discussing the terms over email, and then me completing the job. It’s a fast process; I would venture to say much quicker than hiring someone to perform a service at your house even. In a matter of hours I have the job done. And if I don’t have something in writing holding them responsible for payment, what’s to guarantee that I’m getting paid for my work once I hit “send”?

If you have not used a freelancer before, please understand that signed agreements are not used because we think you are untrustworthy. We do not ask you to sign a contract because it’s the wild west and you’re clearly looking to screw us. We do it because we’re professionals and we need that safety net should something happen. Conducting business online contains a lot of variables. We’re just trying to element one of them.

If you take your car to the mechanic they’re going to review what you need, go over the work and how much it will cost, and then they make you sign an agreement. They aren’t worried that you’re going to peel out of the parking lot with smoking tires as Anthony comes running out covered in motor oil waving a wrench and shouting “AW MAN, NOT AGAIN!” They do it because they are professionals and any type of service should come with a written agreement signed by both parties. It keeps both sides honest.

If you are a freelancer and you are not at minimum using a signed agreement you really ought to. You may not have encountered a problem yet, but it’s honestly only a matter of time. I make everyone sign an agreement before any work starts, and I mean everyone: college students looking to have a paper typed, the owner of the company looking for content pages, a sole proprietor looking to launch a new website, everyone I am going to be doing work for.

Written agreements seem to have a negative connotation, and people need to understand that they are very positive things. By you signing the agreement you are legally stating that you agree to the terms of work and payment. When I sign it I am legally agreeing to the work. It’s the closest equivalent I can have to a firm handshake with eye contact.

Don’t be afraid of the written agreement. Embrace the contract knowing that a professional like myself is actually looking out for your best interests by having you sign it. With it completed I now have the confidence to work on your academic, creative, or professional business writing gig and you now have the confidence to know that I am going to do the best job possible.

Contact me today for your writing needs today. Yes, there will be a written agreement, and it guarantees fast reliable service you can trust.

 

I’m Available for Your Projects Write Now!

Write Now Logo

 

I’m completely out of gigs to work on for this week. But that’s great news for you, because that means I can tackle your project immediately!

I do academic research papers, creative writing proofing and editing, and offer professional business writing services. I have researched and typed several senior-level academic papers this week and I have also recently rewritten content pages and training tutorials.

For a full list of services and pricing please visit www.writenowfl.com. And if you’re unsure about hiring a freelancer see what my current clients have to say about me here.

You won’t find a writer who works harder for you. I don’t stop until you’re fully satisfied and I am very fair with my time. Send me a request today and let’s get your project done!

 

 

4 Reasons to Hire a Freelancer

Over the last few years freelancing has exploded into a huge market. But many people, maybe even yourself, are still skeptical about the merits of hiring out their work to a stranger. And that it understandable; for every good freelancer experience there’s a few not so great ones out there. But as a quality freelancer myself I’m going to give you some reasons why you should try my services.

Time Management

Sometimes your boss just piles on too much onto your plate. You keep looking back and forth from your to-do list to the deadline reminder blinking on your phone and you break out into a cold sweat. You keep muttering how you wish there was two of you.

There can be! You can hire out some of your work, just as your company does, and meet your deadlines. You just have to make sure the person you hire is skilled, knowledgeable, and isn’t happy until you’re happy. Lucky for you, I am one such freelancer. Don’t hire someone just because they are the cheapest; hire someone who is going to exceed your needs.

Peace of Mind

When you hire a professional it lets you rest easy knowing that the job is going to be completed on time and done right. There’s no stressing about deadlines or issues with the quality; just a job well done and on time. Don’t lie awake at night thinking about all the work you have to get done tomorrow; hire it out to a freelancer instead!

Better Quality Work

Maybe you’ve been tasked with something outside of your wheel house. Maybe you’re more of a math person but your boss wants you to help write the monthly newsletter or send a professional email to a potential new client. If you aren’t confident in your writing, don’t sweat – hire me to write it instead! Let someone else give you the confidence to hit “send” knowing that it’s going to be professional and high quality.

You Need a Second Set of Eyes

People generally don’t understand the value of proofreading until someone points out several mistakes in an email that was sent out to the entire company. Or when a client asks why there are so many misspelled words in their proposal. Mistakes like this make you look less professional and educated and it will cost you clients and your reputation. Even if you’re happy with what you’ve written, it never hurts to have someone else proofread it. Hire me today and take the guesswork out!

Hiring a quality freelance writer saves you time, stress, and money and helps improve your work. There is no better way to improve your own writing or subbing your work out than by hiring a fast professional writer to meet all your needs. I am currently accepting submissions for all writing projects. Visit www.writenowfl.com today to see why I’m the perfect fit for your needs!

Academic, Professional, and Creative Writing Needs Done Right, Write Now!

As David Coverdale once said, “Here I go again on my own!” I am now a full-time freelancer and available for any writing project you have. I have experience in academic research papers, professional writing, and creative writing.

Most recently I have written two senior-level academic papers and proofread and edited training templates for a non-profit. I also have experience in the following services:

  • resume writing
  • proofreading & editing
  • emails, newsletters, and flier creation
  • SEO content writing
  • blog posting
  • And more!

To see my creative writing skills a sample of my 2nd draft can be found on Wattpad.
I have received a few great reviews from recent clients if you are still on fence. They’re over on Thumbtack.

Finally for all of my information, including pricing, visit my website. I am available immediately to tackle any project you have, and I guarantee you’ll be satisfied. I do not quit until I have it the way you need it and I am very fair in what I charge. Don’t write it alone and don’t hit send until I look at it first! Go to www.writenowfl.com today!

 

4 Things to Know About Freelancers (Like Me)

freelance1

Image from Infoaedia

As you know recently I’ve really been pursuing freelance writing through my company Write Now (and I love every minute of it). But looking around I feel like there’s still a lot of misconceptions about freelancing and freelancers, especially in regards to the writing field. I know it’s a little weird to read a job post where someone like myself is offering to proofread for you. The knee jerk reaction there is “it’s just looking for typos. I can do that myself”. Yes. Yes you can. But you know what? You will never see things as objectively as a second set of eyes. So today I want to tell you about four things involving the freelance process.

1) There’s a lot of competition.

  It seems everyone and their brother is a freelancer nowadays. And it’s honestly refreshing; in a way it’s like the good ol’ days where everyone used a local service provider rather than a major company for everything. It keeps prices competitive and it gives you the client a better variety than hiring someone in-house and being stuck with them if they aren’t quite what you were looking for.

I recently found a client who asked if I was willing to provide a little further revision even though we’re past the due date, as well as do more work for her. I told her I would be thrilled to because I prefer to find a client that I like and keep them happy rather than hunt down a new lead. She loved my honesty and she can’t wait to send more work my way Wednesday.

2) You get what you pay for.

The downside of a bustling online freelance market is many clients want to pay the cheapest possible price. I understand that; working online there’s no travel costs. There’s no discussing things over a lunch or a cup of coffee. There are no physical inventory items being chewed up as it’s all typed out on a laptop. There are plenty of ways we cut costs doing what we do.

However, there are also a lot of freelancers from overseas who took an introductory English course and are offering to write your big academic research paper for $2. I’ve seen it time and time again where the client has already paid to have it written and then has to hire someone else like me to fix several pages worth of information. And the client is upset and angry because they are essentially paying twice to have the same paper written. Do yourself a favor, find someone professional who charges a fair price and use them. Someone like me who is a native English speaker with a Bachelor’s and lots of experience writing. You’ll save yourself a lot of headache later.

3) It’s a little intimidating at first.

You are discussing a job and pricing with a complete stranger via email. You are sending over documents/resumes/papers/manuscripts to someone you don’t even see, and I’m telling you how much it’s going to cost. Yeah, there’s a certain degree of anxiety on both sides that goes into discussing projects with potential clients.

It doesn’t have to be scary though. If you find someone who knows what they’re doing they will not only understand your needs but know approximately how long it will take to complete. I make sure both parties involved sign a dated agreement just to cover both of us. A good freelancer isn’t concerned with coming out on top, they’re concerned with developing a new business relationship.

4) Know what you want.

Nothing is more frustrating to both sides than when I give a price and begin work only to have the client tell me that they either got the project mixed up with another or the scope suddenly changed on them or they just simply felt like changing it. Prices were discussed, work was started, and now we’re both annoyed.

A good freelancer will keep his cool and roll with the punches. A good client will understand why they would need to adjust the price. Open and honest communication is key to making sure both sides get what they want.

I am now taking project submissions.

I have experience in writing academic research papers, proofreading and rewriting resumes, emails, and fliers, and rewriting training templates. I offer my services for academics, professionals, and creative writers. I am working on a novel of my own and I understand the writing and editing process. I am experienced in all three areas and I would love to write for you today! Visit www.writenowfl.com today and send me your projects. I offer fast professional work at competitive prices.