Finding Your “Niche”

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So you have cut the tether of your nightmare 9-5. You are establishing yourself and it is a journey of self-discovery. You do research to find areas to break into. What is lucrative? What can you do that will be fun or at least tolerable enough to make money? There are people that are natural writers. Give them a subject and they come back with a best selling novel. Some people love cooking. They can write about food as if you are the one tasting it. I think that talented writers are magical. Their passion flows and you can feel their love for their subject matter. A lack of passion is just as obvious. The words seem forced. You can imagine them pounding at the keys with their eyes bloodshot. They only create what is passable. It is people that can make everything sound passionate that I truly admire. In my opinion, they are a rarity. Sure, there are diverse writers. Stephen King is an awesome example. He can write terrifying horror novels or books that contain western subject manner. He also has many years of experience and this equals tons of soul searching to find where he could write with liberation.

So you are searching for gigs. You need money. There are hundreds of requests on freelance sites. I saw one requesting a ghostwriter for “erotic bbw syfy” material. I couldn’t make these things up! I also came across a man that wanted information on how to use subliminal messages and hypnosis methods to sway women to do kinky things. I have no idea how anyone could feel safe with writing a guide to hypnotize someone into a 50 shades situation but to each there own. Eh, whatever floats your deviant boat? You will either jump at any opportunity or you will click back, laugh, become appalled.

What is your favorite thing in the whole world? Do you love cats? That’s all me! I could write a blog a day about cats. They may not interest you but somewhere there is a lonely woman that browses the internet. She owns 100 cats, or so she thinks. She lost count awhile ago. This woman would love to read about cats. They are her life! My one friend collects action figures. They span the walls of his home. You may not care about superhero conflict but he loves it. What do you love that other people love? There is someone out there that loves your knack for crafting works of art out of wine corks. You can write about absolutely anything if you are passionate about. Maybe your neighbor will yawn at it but someone will see it and be back again and again. If you are lucky, they will want to hire you because you are their idea of a gold mine.

Write down your hobbies. Write about your personal life. You can always make it private. I recently watched a movie about a girl that was taking a year off before college. She blogged about her uncomfortable sexual encounters. Make sure to let your personality shine through. Be humorous. Think “entertaining.” Even your stamp collection can be spruced up to entertain the avid collector. Your love will shine through. Bingo! You found your niche! It may take time but it will come. Promise yourself that if you ever deviate from your passion, you will return to keep it alive. This is where you true self lives. Never lose yourself in a world that wants “what they want…and now.” You left the cubicle to break free from boundaries. Do what you love and love what you do!

Till next time.

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Cheap Skates

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In America it is the norm to turn our nose up to companies that outsource their work to other countries. Imagine the hypothetical sweat shop; tiny children,tiny hands,shackled limbs attached to tables. No one wants to buy a product that is made by people that are paid $1 a month. Sure there are tons of products that we know may not be ethical but we ignore it. Shame on us, right?

In the freelance world, it is easy to become a worker bee. In the beginning you will take whatever scraps you can take. As you navigate on bidding sites, you see people that are asking for a virtual assistant. There are people that are asking for a virtual assistant/writer/contract drafter/coffee gopher/back scratcher for those annoying shoulder blade itches. These people always want everything for a $1. They are seeking “freelancers with the lowest bid.” In other words, they want someone that knows English as a second language, or a monkey that can carry out the job for pennies. When you review where the employer comes from, it says the United States. How surprising! Outsource jobs to people that will gladly accept $2 and hour. Our greenbacks put food on their tables. These jobs go into bidding wars in minutes. By the end of the day there are over 500 applicants all seeking one thing….$2 an hour. That ladies and gentlemen is work ethic! Frankly, it pisses me off. What about ethics? Hell, morality.

Freelancers are taken for a ride every day because people will do anything for a dollar. We are hungry! There are mouths to feed and there are plenty of people that would love to employee you for under minimum wage. Buyers beware! Make it a habit to skip these bids! You are worth much more. When they try to
negotiate and it becomes insulting, there will be other people that will pay you well. Taking penny ante jobs will make you loose out on potential positions that are lucrative.

Be careful out there!

Till next time.

Back to It

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I experienced what most writers would deem as “hell.” Writers block. It is like being frozen in time. It is daunting and depressing. Many emotions are easily hidden but it takes a mastermind to push through it and create content that does not yell “I bled through this and you can tell can’t you?” I was creating articles for a luxury skin care brand. I have never bought a skin care product over $60 in my life. Mind you, that was a whole bundle of acne fighting treatments.

It is all about getting a feel for the audience. I hovered over the other anonymous blogs and pictured being a Californian trophy wife. Fair enough. It was time to prepare tips and tricks for a summer party. I sprinted to pinterest. Some people think pinterest is annoying but it does give you inspiration. Half of the “pins” you never do or you do them and the results are similar to that of a kindergartener. I wrote an impressive piece about a DIY backyard party that featured cloth napkins folded into sail boats, chicken and fruit kabobs, and a bucket with flip flops for the guests. It was a fail. Remember, this is a “luxury” brand. Why would anyone lift a finger and fold a napkin when they have help? I could not tweak it. I felt like a liar. I huddled in the corner of my shower and cried (okay that is an exaggeration). I did some sobbing though. I ask myself, “what in the world am I doing?”

Meanwhile the application for admission to my MBA school is in process and I am writing to cat websites (yes cats!). I could write content about cats for the rest of my life. They are that damn cool! So I wrote my darling boss. She is supermodel gorgeous and told her that I wasn’t cut out. She understood. Hell, it was a TERRIBLE week. I sat at my computer yesterday and wrote a piece about tranquility fit for a diva, spa and all. I tried to put the shoe on the other foot. If you can’t DIY, you surely can get someone else to do it. A massage and body wrap is fitting. It’s boring but I am hoping it did the trick. Meanwhile, I have multiple projects going on. I am currently a game tester and in review for multiple virtual assistant projects. I also have an application sitting for a financial adviser position. I will take it!

I have had enough criticism in the past two months that I can handle but that is what writing is about. Rejection. Rejection. Rejection. Then one day someone reads your content and thinks that Ernest Hemingway was reincarnated into a 30 year old woman. Bam! You are back at it. This business will break you or make you. If you love it though, it is worth it!

Till next time.

Yahtzee!

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I mentioned before that the Amazon man has become my best friend after my sudden pink slip from the greatest boss in the world (insert extreme sarcasm). Truth be told, the Amazon man has been my friend for over a year but the last few weeks have been specially eventful. I plan on beginning my MBA in the fall. I have been out of school since December and I am hungry for information. I need fuel for my brain and my hustle. I ordered a book that I think every content writer should purchase.

Killer Web Content by Gerry McGovern is an awesome book. It is impossible to put emphasis on its usefulness. I am a newbie and I will take any advice that I can get. Luckily, this book provides advice that works. It is also helping me navigate away from the companies that pay a penny per word in order to pollute the internet with “filler” content. I just finished an 800 word product review and it bounced back. That company is a joke but that is a story for another day.

Please excuse me for telling you what you may already know. This book tells you that content is not king. Less is more. Quality over quantity is the new key to internet marketing. Companies are scrambling for content to fill their sites. A huge bulk of it is trash. Customers want the summary and they will take it or leave it. I should attach a note to the shady company I wrote a review for explaining that my work will be read 1/4 of the way if hell happens to freeze over. Bottom line, if your content writing is making you fall asleep, you bet your sweet butt that consumers will close the door before it even opens. Click the darn link and purchase this!

On another note, I got a gig. I sent a hundred applications in and got many responses. One was in reference to the penny pinching marketing job. I also was fortunate enough to receive a reply in regards to a position for a beauty description writer. The woman was impressed and I landed a job as a beauty blogger because the other position was filled. 32 people applied for the blogging position and I got it. I didn’t even apply. Score! This blog is titled Yahtzee! for that purpose. I guess my former boss underestimated me. Perhaps some of my content was “unusable garbage” but a bulk of it landed me a gig that pays slightly less but is not grueling or manned by a narcissist. One thing I’ve learned is never take any gig for granted. Job security it never guaranteed in this world. That is, unless you are “the man.” That is were my MBA will come in handy. I hustle and get my name out there. I will eventually be in a firm entrepreneurial position or working for a good company. I vow to continue to treat people kindly even when they slam doors in my face and if I ever do become the wo”man” I will be humble and leave cruelty at the door.

Till next time 🙂

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Well Hello There

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Hello World!

Here I am. A 30 years old recent graduate of a kick-butt school. The price tag attached has brought me here. I spent most of my working life in a cubicle, at a call center, answering or making calls. I was the lucky person you spoke to when you purchased that “just gotta have it” doohicky that is collecting dust in your attic. I may have called you on Super Bowl Sunday a few years ago to encourage you to apply for a credit card. I once was a saleswoman that moonlighted as a suicide prevention operator. That was a project that required me to sell an expensive self-help program. The commercial promised a “free tape.” My duty was to convince you that it would change your life. Have you ever requested a balance transfer? I may have assisted you. I may have scheduled your appointment for your sick child from the comfort of my own home. I started in brick and mortar companies and moved home. Perhaps I could tolerate customer service if it was in my own home. I made an awesome space. Unfortunately, the work still sucked.

My experience molded my love/hate relationship with customer service. I have a special appreciation for the person assisting me as a customer. I loathe situations that make customer experiences terrible. Case in point, two coffee packages in an upscale hotel room, both are decaf. I know customer service like my back hand but I hate having to conduct it and take accountability for the person that was too lazy to resolve the problem ten transfers before me. I can sell ice cubes to an Eskimo. My sales projects were propelled by my mantra that everything was the “coolest thing since sliced bread.” I have that down pact. I hated the 9 to 5. I was desperate. I needed a solution. Hrmmmm.

Freelance! That was the answer that I searched months for. After endless Google searches and sleepless hours, I decided to offer my services. But what would I offer? I went on a popular freelance site and navigated endlessly for opportunities. I came up with an impressive introduction and one day later, I became a product description writer for a social media company. It paid well….really well. I was stoked because the opportunities were endless. I was paid per 100 words. My employer told me that I had the creativity and that I was going places. I was promised at least a year worth of work. I was his “go to girl.”

It started with 1,000 words. I could bang them out in a few hours and the pay hit my account. This was cake! I drank so much coffee that I felt my heart pumping through my temples. I hardly slept. This was the perfect gig for my type a personality. Two weeks in, a new project slides in. It required 3,000 words. I scrolled through the Google doc with trepidation. I was already burned out. I clicked on a picture of a faux pearl. I nearly sobbed to my husband about the impossible task of completing 65 words worth of description. “It’s a freaking pearl!” I kept going and finished way before deadline.

I woke up in the morning and saw an interaction that my boss was having with himself in our chat box. He was wigging out. He told me my work was crap. He returned and said it was “okay.” Nope. It was still garbage. It was a conversation that appeared to be between him and me. However, I was in bed at the time and was lucky enough to view it after it was already a wrap. The same guy that assured me that I was destined for a position at Nike as a marketing consultant had berated me in an instant. My email prompts me that my “contract was ended by the client.” I had pumped out 15,000 words in under three weeks. I screwed up on the last project. Was it crap? Sure it was. I admitted it. I also admitted to myself that I was tired and that I pushed myself too hard. After negotiation, he removed negative feedback from my profile but gave me a rating that was a hair under the standard requirements set by clients. I cried about it to my husband for three days. It was comparable to being dumped by your first love via Facebook messenger. I was thoroughly convinced that I sucked. I only sucked under terrible conditions. I dusted myself off. I wasn’t going to let this experience define me. Heck, it got the ball rolling!

Amazon packages of freelance guidebooks came rolling in. I submitted tons of new applications and have spoken to several clients. I learned that my whirlwind experience would be hard to come by. I even considered kissing major butt for a chance to come back to my boss. Talk about desperate! Welcome to freelance. Keep reasonable deadlines and set appropriate expectations for your clients. You will be taken for a ride that can set you back a thousand steps. Do your research. Swallow rejection with a spoon full of sugar. This is a competitive world baby! It is also a learning experience that I am prepared to partake in for the rest of my working days. I am a creative writer. Sometimes it just takes several repeats to convince yourself that it’s okay to follow your dream. Destiny is knocking. I will be damned to ignore it.

Till next time..