Sunday, February 28, 2010

Freelancing and Unplanned Sabbatical - 3 Lessons to Learn by Samar Owais

Taking a planned or unplanned sabbatical brings forward a few unexpected lessons to learn from. In my case, it was an unplanned sabbatical that taught me a few things that everyone should keep in mind.

I decided to take a long break when I found out I was pregnant. I worked through the first trimester, after which I closed shop and went on a long vacation with every intention of coming back and picking up where I left off.

Fast forward 7 weeks of vacation and I came back with a completely different mindset. I didn't want to go back to work just yet and because I had referred other freelancers to my clients, there was no one waiting for me to get back. I had no motivation to start work again.

While I eventually went back to freelancing (there's only so long a freelancer can stay away from doing what she loves), I realized a few important things about the business of freelancing.

It is all about the quality of your work

Clients don't care who you are or what you're doing as long as you turn in the work on time. You could be a female working under a male pseudonym fooling the entire world and yet your clients won't bash an eyelid and will likely say "So what?" when they find out.

As long as the work is stellar and the bottom line is met, you could be Winnie the Pooh. And when you do come back after a break, most of them will be happy to hire you again.

What works for them might not work for you

Every freelancer handles sabbaticals differently. Some can't wait to come back and pick up where they left off while some extend their time off to figure out future direction of their business.

Whatever your decision, remember, what worked for one freelancer might not work for you; financially or creatively.

Even a closed business costs money

A sabbatical means that you plan on coming back at some point. You haven't disappeared completely from the freelancing world. Your website will still be up, if you have a blog that'll be open too. Another thing that you'll need to keep is your business email even though all it might be doing is sending back auto-responders telling anyone who emails that you're on a break.

All of these cost money to maintain even if they aren't updated.

Just the 'not disappearing' part will cost you money. The upkeep of a blog, hosting etc may not cost much, but when your PayPal or bank account isn't going Ka-ching(!) after every completed job, it starts to pinch.

Samar Owais is a freelance writer and blogger. She can be found blogging about the freelancing life at

Top 10 Twitter Sites for Entrepreneurs to Follow

With millions of Twitter sites and enough tweets to make your head spin, Selig Multimedia, Inc. today announced its list of the 'Top 10 Twitter Sites Entrepreneurs Should Follow.'

"There's only so much time in a day and only so much social networking people can do so we decided to help," says Justin Herndon, director of publicity and news for Selig Multimedia, Inc. ( "Entrepreneurs are busy building businesses. We compiled a Top 10 Twitter Sites Entrepreneurs Should Follow to save entrepreneurs some time and to get them started."

Twitter ( is a free social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read messages known as 'tweets.' Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on an account holder's page and delivered to subscribers which are known as followers.

Top 10 Twitter Sites Entrepreneurs Should Follow

"We hope entrepreneurs find the list useful and time-saving," says Herndon. "We wish them happy tweeting and social networking."

Free report on repurposing content to help generate more revenue

Successful copywriters, editors and publishers reuse, recycle, and repurpose content over multiple media platforms and formats in order to generate more readership and revenue. Email newsletters, special reports, and blog posts are just a few of the methods used for doing so.

In the Editorial Management Guidelines for Online Publishers: Email Newsletters, Special Reports, Blog Posts & Beyond free report, you will learn the best practices used to serve your online community effectively. The seven levels of the Mequoda Digital Media Pyramid are designed specifically for this and are highlighted throughout the free report.

Guidelines for email newsletters, special reports, email promotions, and premium information products show you ways to build an audience while offering your free information and paid products.

The Mequoda Group constantly strives to help publishers succeed online by providing them with an array of services, including free daily tips, free reports, webinars, live events, consulting services and software services.

If you have questions regarding online publishing, visit for a complimentary copy of the Editorial Management Guidelines for Online Publishers: Email Newsletters, Special Reports, Blog Posts & Beyond free report.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Recession No Killer Of Creativity For New Business

Whilst banks and lending institutions might be reluctant to part with their cash during the current recession, it seems that this is not sufficient to put a damper on the creativity of would-be entrepreneurs, many of whom have their redundancy payouts to help get them started. In fact, some are even looking to take advantage of the opportunities that the economic crisis has generated, with plans such as those to set up CV writing businesses which can be started at minimal cost and run online on a shoestring budget. For those with the creative ideas but the lack of know-how to set up an Internet business, the new website at and the Pathways programme could be just what is needed to turn those creative ideas into reality.

Despite the economic environment and the inevitable dip in the number of start-up companies compared to 2006 and early 2007, new business owners have remained remarkably undeterred when it comes to putting their creative ideas into action. The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) reported that the level of start-up activity during the first quarter of 2009 was in fact almost equal to that seen during the same period in 2008, albeit that the economy has worsened greatly in the intervening period. For many, the recession has provided them with the opportunity to forge ahead with creative ideas which have stayed on the back burner for years and might otherwise have been there now.

With the push for many to join the ranks of the self-employed still strong, Internet business still booming and levels of available financial resources variable, the comprehensive Pathways guide to setting up a successful Internet business provides everything that the new entrepreneur needs to know to get a business off the ground, and all contained within a single resource. Each of the 12 self-contained modules leads the user step by step through the entire process of setting up and running an online business, from conception to business development. Designed with practicality in mind, Pathways takes in how to set up and register an online business, create a merchant account, and build and promote a website so that it attracts high levels of traffic. For those who are entirely new to the world of business, it even tackles how to deal with tax and VAT, so providing a totally comprehensive guide which even those with basic Internet knowledge can follow and put into practice.

Past years of economic certainty and employer loyalty have provided little incentive for those with aspirations to become self-employed to make their move. With actual or threatened unemployment a greater reality nowadays, however, and with the practical tools available to make it happen, the country could see more and more creative ideas being taken down from the shelf and dusted off.

Only has this most recent economic downturn seen many over 50s ousted from their jobs, but some who have already reached retirement age have been forced to defer their retirement plans, whilst others who had already said their goodbyes to the workplace have had to make an unexpected return. To make matters worse, government’s efforts to cut unemployment in the under 25s has had a further negative impact on older workers, according to a recent study conducted by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), with employers now hiring in favour of the youngsters. With a wealth of transferable business skills acquired during their years in the workplace, however, and the help of the new Pathways guide to building a successful web business, there is hope yet for the over 50s to avoid financial worry or discomfort.

The Internet might well be viewed as the ‘young person’s domain’, and it is certainly true that the Millennials can find their way around today’s technology with the greatest of ease, but it would be unfair to assume that the older generations cannot navigate their way around a computer without a stick either. The last 30 years have seen the vast majority of employees exposed to modern technology in general and the World Wide Web in particular, and a basic level of skill at least is common to most. This knowledge, combined with the life and work experience of the over 50s, actually leaves them in a very strong position to be able to take advantage of online business opportunities.

The older generation is no different to anyone else when it comes to setting up an Internet business. What they need is a straightforward guide which leads them step by step through each stage of the process from beginning to end, and is not full of information which is both complicated to understand and largely, or even wholly irrelevant. Julie Arnold, the designer of the Pathways home learning course, understands this only too well, having spent a great deal of unnecessary time and money in trying to set up her own online venture. After making all the mistakes and finding her way through the fog of information, what she has been able to do is distil her learning into a totally practical and comprehensive guide which can be followed by learners at even the most basic level, regardless of whether their aim is to make a modest income through affiliate marketing or develop a successful online store. For the over 50s, the course represents a real opportunity to make up any shortfall that recent world events have brought about.

The website,, and the Pathways programme have been developed to provide an affordable tool to enable ordinary individuals to set up an online business quickly and easily.

The Ability of Twitter Networks to Help in Blogging in Your Market Niche

Social networking has taken the internet by storm, where people from all walks of life are now able to link up on websites like twitter and Facebook. If you are looking to learn and discover new online business ideas, then you need to enroll in these social networking websites and connect with profession thus making your journey towards making money online easy.

For example, on twitter you can learn more on internet marketing if you read hash tags like #blogchat. This hash tags are run every Sunday by MackCollier and here online marketing experts discuss blogging tips. The beauty of twitter is the fact that users are limited to the number of characters they can use, which is 140 characters. This element ensures that discussions are tips focused, also known as Crowd sourcing.

The minute you have established a good network and thus gather substantive information, you can crowd source on twitter posts. Rapport with a network means you can solicit blog topics from the real source hence have facts rather than assumptions. This can be done by receiving direct messages from other twitter users to your in-box or even via public post.

A blogging tip worth looking into; is creating a twitter network of your target audience then ask them to forward blog topics that they would like you to write about. Post provocative questions and study the responses and feedback from your target audience. This is how you get to know the issues facing your target market, and addressing them on your blog or website.

As an additional benefit, as you address your target audience needs you will gain recognition in your market niche.

Stephen writes rich content on Online Business Programs. He is an Online Business Merchant and his webpage is on Money Making Ideas and Home Business Strategies. Visit his informative and insightful website at:- Money Making Secrets for Updated Internet Business Solutions.

Seth Godin Tops the List of Best Entrepreneurship Blogs for 2010

After an extensive search for the best blogs for entrepreneurs, Alabama Business Today declared that Seth Godin's Blog is the best of the Best Entrepreneurship Blogs for 2010.

Alabama Business Today announced that Seth Godin's Blog is the best of the Best Entrepreneurship Blogs for 2010. Calvin Bacon, host of the Alabama Business Today radio show said, "The blog has strong marketing content, but the blog is so well done that there is just about as much to learn from the way Godin blogs as from what he blogs about."

The Seth Godin's Blog was selected from hundreds of blogs with entrepreneurship and marketing content. In addition to being the best overall entrepreneurship blog, it also was named the Best Entrepreneurship Marketing Blog. Other blogs of note were: e-360 Blog named as the Best General Entrepreneurship Blog, VentureBeat, named the Best Entrepreneurship Innovation Blog; Entrepreneurs Journey, named the Best Internet Entrepreneurship Blog; Marc Gunther Blog, named the Best Social Entrepreneurship Blog; The Global Small Business Blog, named the Best Specialty Entrepreneurship Blog; OnStartups, named the Best Entrepreneurship Startup Blog; ReadWriteWeb, named the Best Technology Entrepreneurship Blog.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Timing is Everything For Successful Freelancing by Amy Twain

Whether you are a business person, a struggling actor or even a writer/journalist, you have to get the right timing. You see, timing seems to play such a significant role or function in any kind of success. It is so easy to see how timing is very essential for business people. They have to deliver their products and services in a timely and prompt manner-not very early nor too late to meet the particular needs of every client or customer. Also, it's easy to see how very essential timing is for actors and thespians. Usually actors are on stage or in one scene, with another actor or group of actors and each action and every bit of dialogue from the actor is created and designed to combine with the actions and dialogue of the other performers.

Even if only one actor in the scene or the group gets the timing wrong, it distracts and throws off the timing for the whole team and eventually the story falls flat also. For a writer or journalist, timing is also very crucial. It plays such a huge part in a variety of ways. The world of writing is extremely competitive. So first and foremost, writers or journalists have to be very quick at responding to ads for writing jobs or writing assignments. And to quote a famous adage, "he who hesitates is lost." And the writer or journalist who delay or does not fire off quickly a query or a cover letter in response to an available current job posting usually loses that job to a writer who did.

Then, writers also have to know how to pick up on the latest trends, events and happenings and then turn them into catchy and interesting stories and/or articles that would appeal not only to their readers, but first to the editors who would be interested to buy these kinds of pieces. Writers should also create and build a sense of "timing" by trying to keep up with different and diverse markets they wish to write an article or story for and then learning to "expect or anticipate" the needs of the editor for that publication. And that is why different and varied articles or stories out there regarding writing encourage and foster most journalists and writers to read and peruse numerous issues of any publication they hope to write for prior to querying or submitting anything.

Reviewing and perusing past and back issues aids the freelance writer see and understand what types of topics or issues have been recently covered and which ones would more likely to interest and appeal to the editor. It is actually such fun to have an editor that responds to your queries and say, Yes, I had been thinking about a story or article on that topic for such a long time now, but I just haven't gotten around to assigning it. I would be very glad to have you write for it. Your timing for this piece is just absolutely perfect!"

The author of this article Amy Twain is a Self Improvement Coach who has been successfully coaching and guiding clients for many years. Amy just published a new home study course on how to boost your Self Esteem overnight. More info about this "Quick-Action Plan for A More Confident You" is available at

Freelancing - A Great Lifestyle Choice by Noah Vincent

Freelancing is become a lifestyle choice rather than a career opportunity. Many people are becoming freelancing professionals rather than working for a particular company and doing a regular 9 to 5 job. This is especially beneficial to women who wish to stay home with their family while still making a good career for themselves.

Freelancing gives women the flexibility of work timings. Plus they can work from their homes all the while being close to their children and working at the same time. This helps them to strike a balance between their family and career. More are more women are leaving their full-time day jobs to make a freelance career.

There are many benefits of freelancing for women. Firstly there are tons of options. There are variety of assignments that suit women who like to work from home. This is one of the main reasons why most women opt for freelancing. Internet is a gold mine for those looking for different career opportunities as a freelancer. Plus they are higher paying jobs than regular office jobs. You can work for as long as you want each day and earn more money. You can work at any time that suits your convenience.

Freelance jobs are mostly based on project turnarounds. The moment you complete the project, you get paid. Due to the time-bound aspect freelance jobs are done faster and service providers can more on to a new project.

More over the flexibility of freelance job is the number one reason why many women opt for this career. There is no employer-employee contract per say. You get jobs from your clients, you complete the project on time and you get paid. As simple as that! You get to choose your own work time and be your own boss!

Women find freelance jobs quite fulfilling as they can look after their family and earn a higher income at the same time. They can contribute a big chunk towards their family income and improve their lifestyle.

Noah Vincent is a freelance journalists and writes about freelance opportunities at

Freelancing: How to Keep Your Writing Engine Going by Harriet Hodgson

Many things in life are uncertain, but I know one thing for sure: Freelance writers are not lazy people. As a freelancer I have to watch book trends, do my own research, do my own marketing, write daily to retain my craft, and find new things to write about. There have been times when I asked myself, "Why am I doing this?" The answer is always the same, "Because I love it." Here are some of the things I do to keep my writing engine going.

1. CALL TIME OUT. When I am discouraged it usually means I have been working too hard. So I force myself to stop writing and do something completely different. Last summer I decided to knit a sweater, though I had not picked up knitting needles in decades. This summer I decided to focus on home repairs - things my husband and I had been ignoring for months.

2. GO FOR A WALK. Like many writers, I have found that walking stimulates ideas. When I start my walk I am usually thinking about my family, grandchildren, nature, or current events. I let my thoughts roam freely. At the end of my walk I have usually found a solution for my writing problem. Walking also helps me think of new article and book ideas.

3. FIND A NEW SLANT. New ideas are generated all the time, but some ideas have their time. In other words, many authors are writing about them. I wrote two books about Alzheimer's disease and, to make them different from others, I based them on my caregiving experiences with my mother. The books included many stories about my mother and I used the stories to bring research findings to life.

4. WRITE ABOUT SURPRISING TOPICS. Breaking out of your writing mold will help you to get your creative juices flowing. I used to freelance for my local newspaper and accepted assignments I never dreamed of accepting. These assignments included articles about roofing, motorcycle trends, and woodworking. Writing these articles forced me to switch my mental gears, learn about new things, and meet new people.

5. JOIN A WRITERS GROUP. Interacting with other writers will also help you to keep your freelance engine going. Since I am a health and wellness writer I belong to the Association of Health Care Journalists. I also write about grief, particularly anticipatory grief, so I belong to the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Both of these associations publish newsletters and I find them very helpful.

6. CHECK YOUR EZINEARTICLES.COM TRAFFIC. Several times a day I log onto Google to track the migration of my articles. Imagine my surprise when I saw a recent article, "Writing: Turning Your Rejections into Sales," was the feature in the June 21, 2006 issue of "Worldwide Freelance Writer." Until I saw their listing on Google I did not know the group existed. Today I subscribed to their free newsletter.

These steps work for me and I hope they work for you. Freelance work is demanding, but I like the freedom it provides. I choose the topics I want to write about, research the topics, write at home, set my own hours, and am my own boss. It's a good life.

Copyright 2006 by Harriet Hodgson

Harriet Hodgson has been a freelance nonfiction writer for 28 years. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and the Association for Death Eduation and Counseling. Her 24th book, "Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief," written with Lois Krahn, MD, is available from A five-star review of the book is posted on Amazon. You will find another review on the American Hospice Foundation website under the "School Corner" heading.