Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Typing in My Sleep

OK, you've heard of faling asleep with your eyes open, or talking in your sleep, right?

I pulled a twenty hour day and was up till 3 AM working on some articles for a Hungarian Real Estate site.

As the witching hour neared, I began to nod off at my keyboard,and dreaming strange, disjointed dreams. This resulted in sentences like:

"The real estate market in Hungary has been unprecedented in recent years, with Oreos for the baby to eat in the woods while the wolf came by and the tree had green and gold leaves...."

....and so on.

DELETE. Start over. SIGH.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hello Heliumites and Fellow Freelancers

This is a skinny. He's ferociously hungry! He can be tamed, however, with a kind word and a good meal. Feed him, pet him, take him home! Tell your friends about him and help tame a skinny!

Make the world a better, safer place. Adopt a skinny today!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

You have GOT to be kidding me...


Now I am a little ticked off. The customer is always right, right?

What if the customer can't make up his mind? I 3/4 of the way through a project , which at fiirst seemed fine - I had done work for the client before, and now he wants articles on alcoholism. SO I write eight articles on various aspects of alcohol abuse, dependency, stats, etc.

He responds that he wanted articles to encourage people to go into rehab. I rewrite six of the articles. He responds that he needs the articles to target young people and encourage them not to drink. I rewrite four articles.

Sigh. Then he tells me that I am not doing enough research, and tells me to go to a specific website, which is basically a lot of bulletted lists. So I practically copy the lists, and send them back.

Ah, yes. That was what he wanted. "This is real research" he says.

Funny, it's the exact same info, you nut, just in a dry list form. All my user friendly text had exactly the same information, but he doesn't even see that.

Once again, the lists and bullet points rule. Good luck on holding anyone's attention with that!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Seriously, this SEO stuff will kill me. I'm up till all hours, worrying that Matt Cutts will read the posts - I better kill myself now. Learning as you go is all well and good, but I am in overdrive!

Who is Matt Cutts? He's the guy who makes sure evil people don't try to trick Google. I think he's responsible for making sure you don't type in 'dog show' and get a porno clip.

Something like that.

Anyway, I just posted on his blog in hopes that someday, if I have a question that I don't think he will totally laugh me out of the park by asking,I will have hung around the fringes long enough that he might take pity on me. One can only hope.

Matt, if you read this, I'm depending on you.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Leaps and Bounds

Hello, World Wide Web!!!!!!!

It's 7:00 AM, and I have been up since 6:00...and I went to bed at 2:00, which seems to be happening more and more these days!

Summer has arrived and school is out, and I LOVE my munchkins but if they don't quit squabbling I'm going to lose my mind! I can't get anything done, 'cause every five minutes I have to settle some type of dispute.

I think I found a solution - daycamp. Twice a week, 8-5, local trampoline and tumbling institute. That way I can get caught up and hear myself think.

The baby, after merrily cutting teeth # 1-7 without a hitch is miserably stuck on #8, and I must go buy some green onions for him to chew on (or so I am instructed by an old and wise friend).

Now for the part you want to hear: How is the freelancing coming?

Excellent! - (except for the 2:00 AM thingie)

I have contracted work closing in on $2K per month, and still quite a few little jobs on the side. I've picked up some new clients, and continue to have a wonderful working relationship with my old ones - a whopping 2/3 of my business is repeat.

RECAP: (Client's names changed to protect their privacy. Nicknames are creative, LOL!)

Acne Guy. This is monthly work, 30 articles, easy, written to specific keyword phrases and only about 300 words long, almost $7 each. (approx $45 per week)

Health Guy. He has a trickle of work for me to do, so far centered around such issues as diabetes, cancer and aloholism. 350+ words each, $10 each. ($40+per week)

SEO Man. Ten articles a week, 6 month contract. 500 word posts, 1 each per day on search engine optimization for news site and blog. $8 each. ($80 per week)

Pearl Lady. Five articles a week, 300-500 words, about pearls and fashion for linking to sales site. $10 each. ($50 per week)

Mom Blog. Three articles a week, comments on the blog, proofing as needed. ($50 per week) I GET MY NAME ON BLOG ARTICLES

The 'How To Guy'. 15 or more "E-How" style articles per week, 200-300 words $5 per article. ($75+ per week)

The UK Gentleman. Editing and tagging press releases and annual reports on energy companies @ $12 per hour for approx an hour per day. ($50 per week)

The SAHM. Two batches weekly of one 800 word article plus two 500 word rewrites for $25 per batch about Stay At Home Moms (get it?) and debt management. ($50 per week)

The VA. Work for paralegal who runs virtual assistant firm - 5 articles per week approx $10+ per article ($50+ per week) MY OWN BYLINE!!!!

Baby Dude. 5 or more articles per week on baby related keywords at 3 cents a word = $12 per article ($60+ per week)

Wow, I hadn't sat down and added it up. And a lot of those are lowball estimates where the clients have indicated they will have more work for me than that, so we are looking at upward of $550 per week, maybe as high as $700.

Holy Guacomole. Now I can afford avocados.

:) Slainte


Thursday, May 22, 2008

For Crying Out Loud!!

Well, I have really got myself in a pickle!!!

I took on a job which I was informed would be a snap: Find a bunch of men's forums and blogs centering around relationships and dating for an Aussie dude and post with his sig leading people to his blog, which offers insights on the mistakes men make with women, etc.

What do you know. Most of these forums (and even the blogs) have been spammed so much they won't allow a url even in the profile, let alone the sig.

I was stumped. And disgusted. And humiliated.

And the Aussie wouldn't even let me quit! I e-mailed him very frankly and said I had spent nearly 15 hours already looking for appropriate venues that would allow him to do what he wanted to do, and it was looking bleak.

He didn't want me to quit, and gave me a lot of motivational "You are so awsome" compliments... I let it slide for a few days, and when he contacted me again I informed him politely that the internet community regarded his requested action as spam, and that his escrowed funds would be returned to him in full.

Thankfuly, he was nice about it, and we parted friends.

Lesson learned. :)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Prowling Paid Off Almost Too Well!

I have gone and done it again... bid on a whole heap of projects. Only this time, even though I raised my prices substantially, I ended up winning most of them!!

Last time I would bid on two or three for every one I was awarded. I am even getting invitations to bid on jobs from people who saw my profile!

So I am going to be too busy to breathe for at least the next three months, as almost all of my primary customers contacted me yesterday and asked me to do repeat projects for them as well....

Be careful whatcha wish for, right?

Not that I'm complaining, no sireee....

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Good Ole' Texas "Yeehaw!"

So horribly ashamed... my vow to blog daily has already gone kaput.

Update...Blew by the $1000 mark today. Finished a huge pile of assorted projects and was knocking out 3000 to 5000 words per day for a few days. Man, I love Elance!

I know, I know, but I had to make up for taking the weekend off! Two of my munchkins had birthdays.

Vivien Grace turned 9 on Saturday, and Duncan Ray celebrated #1 on Mother's Day.

Chance Delany will be 7 this coming Sunday, and my sister and bro in law will be here, so don't expect to see too much of me next weekend either!

I have so many varied things I am doing... The SEO news and blog are teaching me so much. I loved doing articles for Karina at MomRelief, and Joy (whom I helped with migraine related research - thank you Joy!!!) was a delight as we knocked out her project. (Everybody, just look at her lovely comment on my last post!)

I am still doing the stories updating news on petroleum companies as well, and may start a new blogging job soon. I knocked out a batch of articles on diabetes, and am still rolling out pages out for the acne website.

Hmm... does that cover it all? I know I still have a little one in the works, but I am on the prowl again for still more projects.

See ya later!



Monday, May 12, 2008

Is it Possible to Expire of Tiredeness?

I typed that, and then remembered the famous Arctic explorer who disappeared. Blimey if I can remember his name.

His and his men's bodies were found in a tent at their encampment, and it was put about that they had died of sheer exhaustion in their noble exploration efforts.

Later it came out that they had been burning a coal lamp inside the closed tent whilst sleeping, and had died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Stupid, and not nearly as romantic.

Carve on my tombstone:

"She lived by the pen, and died from falling on her ass out of the chair when she fell asleep."

That should qualify.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fun contest

We are doing a fun contest at Helium, and here is my entry- you have to write a story based on a song. Click on the title above to learn more!

and here is my entry...

Sonny and Sherry inspired by the song The Road goes on Forever (by the Highwaymen)

And I am sooooo awesome for figuring out how to put that clickable link right here in my blog...yeah, that's right. click on it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Reached First Milestone

Hallo all!

Yes, I am going to be completely uncouth and post my earnings as I reach my personal milestones. I want to remember these!

I started my first Elance project at the end of March, and now, 6 weeks later, I realize I am almost right on top of the $600 mark.

Wow. I barely started, and $100 a week average is not peanuts. Actually, though, I earned over half of that in the past ten days, so it's really over $200 a week now.

Lets see. What have I got lined up?

One (two year?) contract for $ 50 a week - one 300 word keyword oriented article per day.
One (one year?) contract for $ 100 a week - approx 7 news story edits and postings per day.
One (one year?) contract for $ 80 a week - One 500 word each blog and news post per day.

Thats $230 right there. Call it $200 after fees. And that's only about 4 hours a day.

I am chasing another long term contract that will round out my steady work roster, and have about half a dozen 2-10 article gigs I am knocking out at the rate of 6-8 articles a day in addition to my daily assignments. Even then I am far from working at full capacity.

I have virtually stopped working my other job, letting my residual income continue to coast; it only requires about an hour a night to maintain.

Methinks I have arrived.

Now, I know this post looks like a brag, but hey. It's my blog, and I'll crow if I want to!

Seriously, though, if I can do it, anyone can. I am the most self defeating person I know, I don't believe in myself or take risks, so this is a giant step for me! I never could have done it without all of my supporters, so thanks again, y'all.

Now, I have to go... I have three deadlines, and the baby needs lunch!

Slainte ~Grace

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Muffled Noises From Under A Pile of Projects...

...and she's coming up to breathe!

Wow! I have to add 'time management' to my list of things to get better at.

I now have a news article plus a blog post to write every day, around 45 press releases to edit and post each week, 30 short articles a month and a host of other assignments.

Glad to see my fellow writers taking the plunge; woot woot!

So, what's next? This is an open blog, so jump in and tell us your stories; encouraging others with your successes is the way to pay it forward!



Monday, May 5, 2008

I Expand My Horizons: More Projects

And here I am a few days later, buried under a veritable pile of projects!

I have expanded into writing blogs and news stories for a SEO site, and the stuff I am learning will stand me in good stead!

Writing to keywords has proved easy for me, and now I am writing about writing to keywords!

Search Engine Optimization is the science of getting yourself noticed amongst the hordes clamoring for attention at the gates of Google, Yahoo and other giant spiders of the web.

Soon I will be a veritable expert in the field, or so I tell myself when the words on the screen start to blur (usually around 2:00 AM).

I have also landed a little gig utilizing my knowledge of diabetic cool to find a job posted that matches an obscure area of my mongrelized expertise.

Another website needs keyword based articles done as well, and promises to be another long term contract.

I doubled my rates already as I am beating off buyers with a stick... I will be able to tell my boss where to go in 6 months if this keeps up!

Slainte, all! I'm buying rounds at the Writer's Guild tonight...see you there. ~Grace

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Beginnings: from Helium to Elance, and a brand-new writing career!

Wow! Here I am at last, with my very own corner of the web to call home...

And here is where I start my story.

On February 15, 2008, I somehow stumbled on a community called Helium - a group of writers from all walks of life. They welcomed me with open arms, and I rapidly came to think of them as family.Helium is an experiment of sorts; you write, you post and you rate. If your article's material and delivery is top quality, it rises like cream.

As I began to find success within the Helium walls, I began to think I might actually be able to make a living from my writing, and I decided to find out.I ventured out cautiously from the Helium nest where I was hatched, and was confronted immediately by an enormous monster known as Elance.

At first I was overwhelmed. This meeting place for buyers and providers is huge! After a few false starts, however, I tamed the beast and started my first project; re-writing some articles for an ESL based site.This was followed by the rapid capture of two more projects; more rewrites of organizational tips for a West Coast professional, and fresh keyword oriented articles for a brand new website in the health field. All three buyers asked me to do repeat projects.

Emboldened, I bid for more, and raised my rates substantially. My feedback was very positive, and I began to receive invitations to bid on projects from interested buyers. I expanded into news story managing and blog posting.

So far, I have landed what looks like two one-year contracts, one two-year contract, and several buyers who also hope to have steady work for me. Pretty soon I will be able to fully support myself by doing something I love! And it all started with one click.

So take hope, all ye who enter here; there are prospects for those willing to spread their wings and fly afield! I only hope I can point the way for other would-be freelancers. Keep an eye on this blog for updates and helpful tips as I continue to blaze my trail!

Note: I still write, rate and post at Helium...check out my page there!

Slainte (and yes, that’s an Irish toast - the equivilant of ‘cheers’ - but ever so classy!)