<![CDATA[Susan Box Mann, Writer - Blog]]>Fri, 23 Feb 2018 04:03:54 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Success!]]>Mon, 09 Jan 2017 13:49:19 GMThttp://susanbmannwriter.com/3/post/2017/01/success.htmlAs per usual, life got into the way of consistent blog posting. Other priorities pushed aside the desire to blog here, although I have continued to post on my creative website, susanboxmannwriter.com.

Additionally, I have been inundated with freelance work. Initially I was concerned that I would not have enough work. Past clients have contacted me and also referred me to others. As a result, I have almost more work than I can handle. In an effort to keep up and weed out some requests, I have increased my rates considerably. One client I contracted with through oDesk (now upWork) over two years ago was willing to pay double. I feel that my increased experience and ability justify the increase and, apparently, so do my clients.

The research is my favorite part, so I charge less per hour for that portion of the job. Plus, that is the area that take me the least amount of time. I also charge more to clients if the information is out of my field of expertise. Charges vary for articles and web content as well. I prefer articles and they are easier for me, so I charge less. I do not feel bad charging more to a new client than an established one, either. It is easier to work with a client when you know what they want, that they pay on time, and are good communicators.

I learned to bill by using an PayPal invoice - a suggestion from a client. It is an easy process and takes very little time.

Much of what I have incorporated into my freelance writing business has come from blogs, websites, and internet postings. I firmly believe in not reinventing the wheel, so borrow the best from everywhere. I encourage you to do the same, whether blogging or writing for someone else.

So, on to a day of writing. Today it is on meeting the needs of a real estate client, horse transportation, and Easter trivia. Fun!
<![CDATA[Why I Decided to Be an Independent Freelancer]]>Wed, 28 Dec 2016 20:44:38 GMThttp://susanbmannwriter.com/3/post/2016/12/why-i-decided-to-be-an-independent-freelancer.htmlIn November of this year, I decided to leave upWork (formerly oDesk) and become an independent freelancer. The decision was, I feel, the next logical step in my freelancing career for several reasons.
First, the platform I was using to get employment changed. When oDesk became upWork, it no longer met my needs. Bidding for jobs seemed to increase. The problem with bidding for a job is that there always seems to be someone who will do it for very little money. This means either I bid below what I believe my experience level allows or I do not get jobs. Additionally, it seemed to take longer for money to move from pending to available. And, of course, the increase in fees for work increased, meaning I either had to charge more or lose work and money.

The other reason I left is because I want to spend more time on my other writing. I also want more control over my writing schedule and the type of writing I choose to do.

I have a confession to make. I contacted my some of my upWork clients and told them I was leaving upWork. I did not feel bad doing so, as I contracted initially with oDesk, and they had changed the parameters of my contract: increased the fees and no longer provided what I had contracted with them for - quality work referrals at a reasonable price. I only contacted my long-term clients, such as the one for which I worked with for over two years. Of the 200 plus individuals for which I completed work, I contacted less than ten. Those individuals provided a basis for my new career as an independent freelancer. They thanked me for letting them know as they did not want to lose my services. I feel it would have been less professional to have simply left upWoirk without any explanation. It has not been an easy transition, but I do have work and have managed to complete some of my other writing.

I have a comment about my last posting. I watched an excellent webinar that included a challenge for planning one's writing for 2017, and have set up a writing schedule for each month, with daily and weekly tasks to be completed. I am looking forward to a very busy and productive year.

Until next time . . .
<![CDATA[Some Thoughts]]>Mon, 19 Dec 2016 16:08:23 GMThttp://susanbmannwriter.com/3/post/2016/12/some-thoughts.htmlI know I said I would post more about upWork freelancing, and I will. However, today I am motivated to write something different. That is one thing I like about blogging; I can writer whatever I want.

A week or so ago, I posted a comment on a website posting about my indecision concerning what to do with my "platform." I have a number of writing projects in the works. I was advised to target one area by deciding where my passion lay. For the last week or so I have thought and prayed about that. and still have no answer.

I want to publish my novel by January first. I know it is necessary to promote my writing, and have another site, susanboxmannwriter.com for all of my creative writing. I also have a Facebook page labeled "Susan Box Mann" for doing so. I am learning to Twitter and how to use Pinterest as well.

I also continue to freelance, and this website is primarily designed for promoting that effort.

Two of the books in progress are spiritual in nature and one is informative. (I don't want to convey the topic as it is timely and may be my "best" seller.)  So, do I go with writing on more spiritual topics? Additionally, reviewing Facebook postings from friends spawns ideas for articles dealing with parenting and coping with life, somewhat related to my book topic. Is that the area I should blog about?

So, to make what could be a much longer story short, I still have no answer about which area I want to concentrate on. (I know, end of sentence preposition - deal with it!.) For now, I am writing my blogs and postings for my pages, attempting to get a following for one or more of them, and learning new ways to promote my writing. I plan to let God lead me to what needs to be done next. For now, that is finishing two freelance writing tasks today.

I am excited to see what tomorrow brings!
<![CDATA[Some Tips for Using Upwork]]>Fri, 16 Dec 2016 12:51:31 GMThttp://susanbmannwriter.com/3/post/2016/12/some-tips-for-using-upwork.htmlI began my freelancing career four years ago. When I retired from teaching, although not willingly (but that is another story), my husband suggested I check out a platform called ODesk. So began a rather lucrative method of filing my days with something I love doing - writing. I want to take a moment to share some things I learned about how to use any freelance writing service effectively.

There are a number of services available for freelance writers. Although I have since left UpWork (formerly ODesk), I initially chose it for a number of reasons:
    No upfront fee.
    Ease of obtaining payment.
    Availability of reports.

All of the sites with which I am familiar charge a fee for jobs actually obtained. The charge is either a flat rate, or a percentage of what you earn. An experienced freelancer can, and should, request the client pay the fee. When you are beginning your freelance career, set your price so that you make what you consider your necessary renumeration after you pay the fee.

Another thing I liked about upWork was the ease of payment through Paypal. Additionally, their reporting was useful - transaction histories, all contract information, jobs in progress, etc.

I made the decision early on not to take hourly jobs. As a perfectionist, I found it took me longer than others to complete an article. I do not like watching a clock while working, but prefer to take as much time as necessary to produce an error-free, quality article. You may work better if you have a time clock going. That is purely up to you and a personal preference.

I also decided not to "bid" on articles. Again, this is a personal preference. I simply feel it cheapens my work to offer less than what I believe I am worth. In a bidding situation, the writer who bids the lowest amount usually wins.

The key to success as an independent freelancer is to stay active. Apply for jobs as soon as you see a spot opening for a new one. I tried to find ongoing jobs, where the client wanted continuing work. As a result, many of my contracts lasted six months or longer.

Other keys to success include:
    Make sure you have as many jobs applied for as you are allowed.             Respond to messages immediately.
    Check all job postings daily, and review those jobs for which you have         applied to delete those filled or old jobs (I wait thirty days) with no                 response.
    Complete assignments on time, or early if possible.

When you look at a job listing, there are some important clues to note. First of all, make sure payment method is verified. I have only applied and been hired for one job before payment was verified. In that instance, the topic was one with which I was familiar. Also, I was able to check out the client on-line and he had a quality professional website with other postings.

Remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I have found some questionable clients - and reported them. Do not supply any verification of your personal information. Do not provide your personal e-mail address or phone number. Do not accept payment outside of the platform. I also advise against writing a "sample article." I did so only once and found it not worth my time.

Although I have now left upWoirk and consider myself an independent freelancer, I believe using a platform such as upWork or Fiverr is an excellent way to get started. Next time I will share with you why I have decided to be an independent freelancer.

<![CDATA[Welcome]]>Mon, 12 Dec 2016 16:39:40 GMThttp://susanbmannwriter.com/3/post/2016/12/welcome.htmlThis is the first of what I hope will be bi-weekly blogs related to freelance writing. I am still learning to use all of the features for this web page, so your patience is appreciated.

I recently left the platform upWork (formerly oDesk) and started my independent freelance career. Over the next few weeks, I will share with you some tips for upWork freelancers, and a three part article on my upWork experiences - "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly."

I also invite you to visit susanboxmann@writer.com which  is my creative writing website. I have a full-length short story posted there for your enjoyment.

This web page is still a work in progress and I welcome your suggestions and feedback - both positive and negative. Christina, one of my granddaughters, does not like my profile picture and she will be taking a new one of me over the Christmas break.

Until next time . . .