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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Writer Mini Clinic: Finding Ideas

What's on the iPod: It Doesn't Matter Anymore by Linda Ronstadt

Taxes are done. Amen. Alleluia. Am I done paying? Ha. Ha. Hahahaha... If you asked me right now who I'd vote for in the next presidential election, it would be the first person to simplify (fairly) the tax process. I'd even switch parties -- that's how much I hate tax season.

Over on the About Writing Squared Freelance Writer Forum, a member posted her frustration over a course she'd dropped recently. The course promised to show how to generate ideas for magazine queries, but once she saw the content, she realized it wasn't going to deliver. She cancelled and got a refund.

Good thing. I don't think you need to pay good money to know how to recognize an idea. It just takes a little detective work and a bunch of curiosity. Ideas are everywhere. I know you hear that all the time, but I'm going to show you a few ways to find them. Here are just a few places your ideas are hiding:

News articles. If Stephen King gets his inspiration from news, why not you? Let's look at today's news feed on Bing. You can pick any story at random, but I like to go for ones that make me click on them. This one from the BBC: New whale species found? The article says scientists have heard a whale song in the Antarctic that they can't identify, suggesting a new species. You could go straight to how many new species have been discovered in the past five years (plenty) and why. Also, why not a story on the advanced technology scientists use to identify various mammals/fish? How has that helped them understand the ocean population? Then that makes me wonder how climate change has affected the oceanic ecosystem and what species are now endangered. Or I could write a profile of a scientist who studies marine life for a kid's magazine (neat jobs type of angle).

Press releases. Often overlooked, press releases have hidden gems in them at times. Okay, sometimes they're nothing more than "Joe Smith has been promoted to Manager" but even those seemingly mundane ones might have ideas. But for this exercise, I'll take one I just received yesterday. "National Electronic Vehicles Sweden (NEVS) (formerly Saab) has exited reorganization. The District Court of Vänersborg has today, April 15, 2015 decided that the reorganization of Nevs shall cease as the purpose of the reorganization is fulfilled."

Where the idea is -- Saab (my car, and a favorite brand) went out of production despite multiple buyers and attempts to get some money behind it. New owners are concentrating on making it electronic. A million ideas here! What's the market currently for electronic cars? How can this company change the market for the better (can't you just see that on a cover of Fortune?), or the economics of bypassing fossil fuels. You could go into how to reinvent a brand or what US automakers are doing to compete with foreign automakers. Will your next minivan be electric? Should your family own a green car? Let the idea take over.

Studies and surveys. I love a study. Nothing gives you instant access to statistics to back up your query better than a study with facts and hey, statistics. I just typed "study" into Bing News -- up came this: Study: Acetaminophen reduces not only pain, but pleasure, too. Go no further than the headline, and you have plenty of ideas. Six Side Effects of Common Medications, Libido Killers in Your Medicine Cabinet (is Your Acetaminophen Taking Away Your Sex Drive?), Managing pain without side effects, natural supplements that can replace your over-the-counter drugs, when to talk to your doctor about chronic pain....

A conversation. I've found so many ideas just talking with people. My husband is a great source for topics as he's always mentioning something he's read or heard on NPR. But I have had conversation with people that have led to articles (sort of like this one, right?). One guy wrote to me about an article I'd written. In his one note were two ideas that became sold articles, and he went on to call me on occasion with other ideas. Another post -- Tuesday's -- was a direct result of a phone call from a woman with questions following an article of mine she'd read. Or it's the questions surrounding the current sex offender laws that label 18-year-olds who date 16-year-olds. Or maybe it's the safety of the chemicals your neighbor just had sprayed on their lawn (and the over-spray that's floating into your yard). Or it's how to tell a reputable offer from a scam, or when to fire your doctor and why.

TV and radio.  Or NPR One (their app). Ted talks. YouTube videos. Facebook posts. Twitter links. Anything you see is a source of ideas. Here's something from my Facebook feed right now - Beechnut recalls baby food, a video of tips for improvising while on vacation in a hotel... Food safety - how many recalls this year/last year, and what does that say about the safety of our food supply? How to ensure your meal tonight is safe, creating a safer, healthier kitchen... video - simple ways to pack less, most useful hotel perks /least necessary, the essential travel guide for non-travelers, Easy, affordable weekend getaways, Life hacks that save you thousands a year....

Trade shows, course descriptions, workshops. I love looking through conference session lists for ideas. If they're talking about it to an audience, then there's an idea that needs some more attention brought to it. The same goes for courses you see online, at colleges, in seminars, etc. Even a workshop can be a springboard for at least one article idea.

Your own imagination. Read your next article and watch your next video with the goal of finding at least two questions you want answers to. Those could lead you to larger questions, which could become your next article ideas. How and when to force tulip bulbs, how to upholster arm chairs, easy fat-cutting switches you can make to your meals.....look at what you do all day and ask yourself what you'd like to do differently or learn to do.

Or just use a random idea generator and try to come up with three questions on whatever idea appears on your screen.

Writers, what's your process for locating ideas?
Do you have a process or do they come to you naturally?
Where have your best ideas come from?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How to Win at Marketing Every Time

What's on the iPod: Already Gone by The Eagles

Yesterday was a day of planning. I finished a ton of work last week, and now I can take a much slower pace to finish other projects. Plus, I worked on setting up in-person meetings at the upcoming conference. I had one person cancel -- not unexpectedly, but without a single word accompanying the cancellation. Not terribly professional. Probably a good thing we couldn't come to an agreement.

I had a call from a lovely woman who sells insurance. She had read an article of mine on how agents can market more effectively. She had specific questions, and she had some frustrations. Like a lot of people trying to attract more customers, she'd listened to advice from this person or that person, paid too much money for a list of names/addresses, and came up lighter in the pocket for it. She's doing everything right. But it's not working.

So how was she to attract customers, she asked? Sally, this post is for you.

It doesn't matter what business you're in -- you have customers. In only one case did a client ever tell me he didn't really want to attract customers (yes, he really said that), and in that case there's no helping (and I still can't quite get the logic behind his approach).

The goal is to reach as many clients as you can without spending a fortune doing so.

So for all the Sallys out there -- whether you're an insurance agent or a freelance writer or a landscaper -- here's the best way I know to win at marketing:

Be consistent. I told Sally this, and it applies to all of us. It's like hockey-- the more you shoot at the net, the better your chances of scoring. But you have to keep shooting. If you contact that client six times and hear nothing, you'll never know if the seventh time was the one time they were looking for just what you were selling. I tell this story to the point of redundancy -- I had talked with a client in email and in person who was interested. Nine months after our first contact, I sent out one more "checking in" email. She bought. My persistence resulted in an extra $24K in my pocket that year.

Be helpful. If you go at this marketing plan of yours with the idea that you'll give them this can't-pass-it-up offer and not build a relationship, you're going nowhere fast. Think about how you like to buy. You want to buy from someone who's nice, helpful, and who gives you information that can help you solve a problem (or entertain you). Think relationship first, sales after the fact.

Don't be pushy. I remember winning a lease on a new car from one of the trade shows. The lease was for two years. At the time, my daughter had just turned 16, so I checked the insurance rates. That "free" lease was going to cost me $7,700 for two years of insurance on a teenager, no matter what car she drove. I called the dealer and told him I couldn't take the lease and why. For the next two weeks, he called me incessantly, pestering the hell out of me to try to change my mind. I was polite on his first call, but when he refused to hear what I was saying and talked over me, I hung up. Each subsequent call went right to voice mail.  If you're pushing something someone doesn't want, you're going to become the newest plague to hit their lives. No one ever wins people over by wearing them down.

Don't forget to review your message. I told Sally that if she sends out postcards or emails or newsletters and doesn't see any results, she should look at the product, the targeted customer, and the message to see why. And as I said to Sally, chances are it isn't the product but either the people you're trying to sell to or the words you're using to convince them to buy. Marketing is an active pursuit; you can't simply create a plan and then never do anything else. You have to get used to watching how people respond or don't respond and adjusting your approach as you go.

Be on social media. Sally said she liked Facebook, and that someone told her she has to be on Facebook in order to get customers. Those of you who know me know how I get when someone says we MUST do anything. There is no requirement or magic bullet, period. I don't have a Facebook page for my business, and I have lots of clients. I told Sally (and I'll tell you) as long as you're comfortable with the platform, it's the right one. I love Twitter. Sally doesn't, so it's not going to work for her. Some writers love LinkedIn, while others think Google+ is the way to go. If you're able to find a way to reach potential customers via social media, it doesn't matter the platform. What matters is you keep it up.

Be consistent. Yea, I know. I said it already. But dammit, it's the most important part of marketing, and it's the part that's going to get you results.

Writers, how do you win at marketing?
What can you tell Sally and others like her about reaching potential customers?
How often do you change up what you're doing?

Thursday, April 09, 2015

33 Places to Learn New Writing Skills for Free

What's on the iPod: Late July by Shakey Graves

It's been a productive week so far. I've managed to write five articles for one client (complete with interviews, so I had to be efficient about it) and two blog posts for another client. There's one more feature article due to the first client, so that's today's focus. Plus I had to market for my upcoming conference.

I've had zero time to market for it, too. But I've managed two client meetings and a few I have yet to arrange. If I can meet with four new people in sit-down meetings at the conference, I'll have reached my goal.

I was reading a LinkedIn group and I saw a freelancer asking about a particular type of project and what it pays. Right away, the sales people came out. "My course is here and costs just $600!" (I'm paraphrasing.) It's the sort of response that serves one person -- the sales person.

Mind you, if you're selling something like that, more power to you. But when someone asks on a public forum for advice, it's a little tacky to be shoving your course in front of them.

So why not offer free help? That's what today's post is about -- free training and education to help you improve your freelance writing business. It's not a comprehensive list, but I did try to include a little bit of everything.

Attracting Clients: From Freelance Writing Tips, probably the most comprehensive post on exactly where clients are and how you can reach them.

Business Foundations certificate course. When it comes to business, there's nothing to compare to The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania. And when you can get certification from the best program for free? Why wouldn't you?

Business Leaflet writing: Sharon Hurley Hall has a lot of great information on her blog. This is one example.

Business Planning: Follow the "business plan" tag to get to my series on putting together a business plan.

Business Writing. Another free course, this one from UC/Irvine.

Case Study Writing. The most fun you'll have writing about user experiences. Academic Help gives you a free guide on how to start.

Creating a Writing Portfolio: Sharon Hurley Hall does it again. This time, she tells us what goes into a winning portfolio.

Cleaning Your Copy: Thanks to a grant, this one is free from the Poynter Institute. Brush up on your grammar, style and more.

Competitive Decision Making & Negotiation: MIT teaches you how to negotiate and make decisions that help you be more competitive in business.

Digital Marketing. Great e-textbook that walks you through the digital marketing experience from concept to analytics.

Entrepreneurship 101: MIT teaches you - for free - how to identify your customer.

Ethics in Journalism: This course should be mandatory for anyone writing for a living. The Poynter Institute offers this one.

Free Reports. This course shows you how to build free reports into your marketing strategy. And yes, you should.

Freelance Site that Delivers Leads: From FreelanceLift, learn how to get more oomph from your site. Not totally free -- this course costs $1.

Marketing 101: Right here. Just follow the Marketing Series tags and get going on a new approach today.

Online Business Building certification. Alison, a free certificate-based education source, helps you get your business online.

Online Media Law. Learn about copyright infringement, defamation and invasion of privacy. A must if you work online.

Power Writing. I love Udemy. Not only can you get low-cost courses, you can get free ones like this one, which teaches how to create business opportunities through power writing.

Press releases: A basic primer via PRWeb, and a good place to start.

Press Releases Made Easy. Jenn Mattern's free e-book that explains the fundamentals.

Pricing your services. Thanks to Cathy Miller for pointing out the website, which is loaded with free training and advice. This webinar can help you understand how to price your services.

Query Writing: Easy approach I use. Adapt it to suit your own needs.

Resume Writing. Another great Udemy freebie, resume writing can give you a steady income stream.

Sales Page Writing. Great primer from Writer Mindset's Simon Townley

Social Marketing. A great learning resource from OpenLearn.

Social Media Marketing diploma. From Alison, a free certificate-based education site, learn all about the web, files and affiliate marketing for increasing traffic.

SWOT Analysis Worksheet: If you've never conducted a SWOT analysis of your writing business, here's an easy worksheet via All Indie Writers. In fact, check out all of Jenn Mattern's free resources.

Technology for Professional Writers: A great offering by Utah State University.

Top Tips Series: Brought to you by some of the best writers I know, this is a great combination of ideas and strategies for writers at all career levels.

Trade Magazine Writing: Mark Lamendola does a great job explaining how to break in to this lucrative area.

Travel Blogging: Grab the free Travel Blogging 101 from Travel Blogger Academy.

Writer Website Building: Ruby Bayan has a sensible, easy plan for writers building their websites.

Writing White Papers. Jenn Mattern outlines the basics of white paper writing.

Writers, what free resources can you recommend?

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Raising Your Professional Rates

What's on the iPod: Blue Skies Again by David Mayfield Parade

Head over to Freelancer FAQs to see my guest post. Thanks, Elna!

What a week. I'm working with a new client on a project launch, which means they need content. Lots of content. The launch is in two weeks. They need eight articles by Monday and three more by April 29th. Most are short articles, but three are features, and two of those are due in less than a week. I'm out of my mind with getting interviews for the larger ones organized and the writing for the smaller ones completed.

Then there's the other project, which was just ramped up from two projects to eight per month. Caffeine -- that's how I'm getting through it.

In the middle of it all, I'm getting other offers from various clients. It's when I'm faced with that glorious dilemma we freelancers live for -- how much can I accept and still keep the quality up?

There's another dilemma that arises out of it, and it's one I have much less trouble with these days -- what to charge.

A number of years ago I was juggling a similar workload and receiving multiple offers for work. It was my husband who put it into perspective quite succinctly:

If you're overworked, raise your rates.

Seems like a weird concept, but here's how it makes sense:

You look serious. You should already look serious, but nothing says "This is a real writing professional" than a busy writer whose rates are acceptable to larger companies. That's the perception you want clients to have.

You identify serious players. Not every client who gets in touch is going to have the $150/hour you require. Those who do are clients worth building relationships with. Not that clients whose budgets are lower aren't desirable -- they are, and for reasons we'll get into -- but building a business involves increasing your value and your rates.

You gain more negotiating power. When you're at your busiest, it's much easier to assert yourself the way you need to in order to get to a better place in your business. If you've nothing to lose in the immediate future, you'll be more inclined to increase your rates (when was the last time you did, anyway?), turn down work that doesn't fit, and get a dialogue going with client prospects you'd like to work with in the future.

You impress clients who won't pay you enough. There's always one client who won't be able to pay you a ton of money. That's okay, though it's not okay when you're taking on more work than you can handle. Still, some of the lower-paying clients may also have a lot of projects for you, so you don't want to deter them completely. The goal is to send the message that they'd be smart to hire you before someone else does. If the message is lost on them, they weren't your client.

Writers, when was the last time you raised your rates?

Friday, April 03, 2015

Monthly Assessment: March 2015

What's on the iPod: Raised by Wolves by U2

What a week. I've had no time to think beyond the two projects in front of me. My workload is rather massive, and I'm digging in and managing to make an impact. Now is when time management is my friend -- thank God and my mother for the punctuality gene. I'm making headway.

I'm also making money, which is the subject of this post every month. Since I've no time to waste, let's get to the assessment. For those of you new to the blog, please feel free to leave your own assessment in the comments and build your own accountability -- it's exactly why we're here.

I sent out three in February. Two assignments in March were the result. One wasn't what I'd proposed, but the editors called and gave me the lowdown on something else they were wanting. I love that.

I lost count of the letters of introduction/follow-up notes I've sent. Since I've been trying to get to 10 people a week, I'm going to guess I'm at 35-40 (I'm also counting a few people I sent notes to and have gotten responses from). A few have been converted to meetings at the upcoming conference.

Social media:
I used this to make contact with what's turning into a key source for articles. I haven't done much marketing on social media this past month. No time.

Job postings:
I applied to one job posting on a vetted site (vetted meaning both the work is vetted and the freelancers allowed to join). I got a quick rejection. I don't mind because it didn't take but five minutes of my time to apply.

Existing clients:
I finished a large web project with a favorite client, and did some smaller jobs for him. Also, I had those two articles from two of my favorite magazines. Plus, a third editor came back and offered some more editorial space for the article I'd sent in February, so I was able to increase the payment on that one, as well. Plus, a newer client bumped up his project needs from two a month to eight.

New clients:
Here's where I scored a deal -- one of the aforementioned editors referred me to her work colleagues. The result -- a nine-month project and guaranteed income through December. Who wouldn't love that?

I've sent off a manuscript to a publisher, and I've written four new poems with a specific theme I'm working on. No sales, but I did get a poem published this past month. That makes two total since I started down this path.

I slammed this past month out of the park. Not only did I meet my earnings goal, but I went over it by 22 percent.

Bottom line:
I did a ton of marketing last year and most of this year, and it's paying off. The client whose project paid the most was one I started working with in October. That one-off project has turned into numerous projects and a great relationship with the client.

My plan going forward -- more of the same. Despite my insanely busy schedule right now, I'm not banking on anything being permanent. The LOIs will continue going out, as will the lumpy mail campaign, and I hope to connect with more clients at the trade show in three weeks.

That's it for me. How did you do?
What worked this past month?
How have you changed your strategy?

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

4 Freelance Writing Truths for Beginners

What's on the iPod: All You Ever Do is Bring Me Down by The Mavericks

What a productive week so far -- I've finished two magazine articles and started on four more website articles. I'm a little toasted (and it's only Wednesday), but I'm determined to get 16 articles to the two clients I'm working with by mid-April.

Also, I'm getting brochures and marketing aligned for the trade show at the end of the month. While I'm thrilled to have two long-term projects in front of me (through December), my days just got longer. Marketing happens before and after my work days are done.

As I was talking with a friend, I realized just how many misconceptions new writers can have entering the freelance writing profession. While it may be the hundredth time a more experienced writer hears the question or statement, it's the first time that new writer is saying it. With that in mind, I'd like to help out by clearing up some of the more common misconceptions new freelancers may have. Let's start with the conversation I was having with my friend.

There is no such thing as "overflow work." If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me to funnel my leftover work to them, I wouldn't need regular work. Yes, we freelancers get busy sometimes -- and we may even have more than we can handle at one time -- but it's not common enough for most writers to consider it an "overflow." In my years of full-time freelancing, an over-abundance of work has happened three times. In those cases, most freelancers will put in extra hours or get help from a trusted writer friend.

Don't ask other writers to give you work. First, if you're an unknown writer, that means you're not known by the person you're asking for work. Don't expect any writer to simply subcontract to you. That's expecting way too much trust where you haven't done the work to establish the trust. Those projects are given to the writer because the client knows that person's work. It takes a lot of trust for any writer to subcontract to a friend -- to a stranger? That's not happening.

Passive income takes work. I think most writers hear the word "passive" and think that tossing up a page with a bunch of ads and affiliate links will generate a livable income. You should certainly consider passive income streams, but don't think they're going to solve your financial problems. Passive income should be considered supplemental income.

Asking for advice has its limits. Most writers I know are helpful to newbies. However, there's a limit to how much time we can spend helping you. Don't expect an established writer to drop everything to answer your email (especially if they've never heard of you before). We help when we can, but we also help those who are willing to do at least the basic homework themselves. If you don't know where to look to learn the basics, that's a good question -- "What sources would you recommend?" It's so much better than "How do I start in freelancing?" which is impossible to answer in one or two sentences (or pages). If you need more help than an email could fix, ask for recommendations for a writing coach.

Writers, what other truths can you impart to our beginning colleagues?
What one habit is least appreciated by you? Most appreciated?

Monday, March 30, 2015

This Job Not That Job

What's on the iPod: Songs About Roses by Owl John

I finished the week strong and start the week even stronger. There are lots of projects on the desk, and all of them are begging for attention. Right now, the focus is to get one more article out the door by tomorrow so I can concentrate on a slew of articles due in two weeks.

KeriLynn Engel sent over a great contender for the This Job Not That Job series. This one is particularly interesting in many ways, all of which add up to a really smelly offer.

I give you one of the worst ads of the new year:

Experienced Business Writer Needed

Our company is a media centric business looking for a FIRST CLASS business writer who has a corporate grade American English proficiency including great mastery in sentence structuring, grammar, and corporate vocabulary. Your writing style is CONCISE, no verbiage, no wordiness, no useless style effect and straight to the point. It is crucial that you can deliver assignments in 24 hours. If you feel you cannot meet the Native American Corporate English Writing requirement for this position, do not respond to this ad.

Business content you will sporadically produce includes offers, strategies for the most part and research analysis if needed. The reason why we need a business writer is because of your business intelligibility to fill in gaps where the information provided is not sufficient and your ability to comprehend intricate businesses when needed. Secondly, you should build on the information provided to include an analytical edge in the content you will produce. Third, the content produced should naturally flow in a concise way.

Each assignment is 500-700 words long.

We are really looking for someone dedicated, with a strong of integrity and passionate about writing, preferably a professional freelancer. Payment are made through Paypal every Friday for all the assignments completed by Thursday since last payment.

- MBA diploma or equivalent
- Must be available by email from 9 am to 5 pm EST time
- Must have your own PC/Laptop with a high speed Internet connection

To reply to this ad, you need to:
- submit a short cover letter explaining why you are suitable to do these assignments and the
type of work done by you as a business writer
- submit your resume
- submit three samples of business writing you have done in the past (please do not submit articles)
- confirm that you can ensure a 24 h delivery turnaround time
- whether you can start immediately working on assignments
- confirm that you have an MBA diploma or equivalent

If the job is done in a quality and timely manner, we can provide you with a stream of assignments. Our staff working for us remotely have done that for years for the most part. Please only apply if you are looking to work on a per assignment basis. Professional writing freelancers are welcome. We will only respond to the individuals who are suitable for this ad.

Compensation: $20 -$35 per 500 words

Let's start with Lori's Golden Rule of Lousy Job Offers -- The ratio of pay decreases in direct contrast to the amount of required steps needed just to apply for the gig. This job excels at creating numerous, unnecessary steps and requirements. But let's shred this ad (we're not dissecting this stupidity, but ripping it to bits) and see what falls out:

Our company is a media centric business looking for a FIRST CLASS business writer who has a corporate grade American English proficiency including great mastery in sentence structuring, grammar, and corporate vocabulary.

If the sentence structure alone doesn't deter you, the caps should. Real clients who aren't afraid to pay real money wouldn't put together such shlock, nor would they use caps unless their lower case was broken. And not even then.

Your writing style is CONCISE, no verbiage, no wordiness, no useless style effect and straight to the point.

You know, like they are. Right.

Business content you will sporadically produce includes offers, strategies for the most part and research analysis if needed.

Sporadically? Say again? What is the job exactly? You'll not know until you apply. Then maybe they'll tell you. It's their way of enticing you. Lucky you.

The reason why we need a business writer is because of your business intelligibility to fill in gaps where the information provided is not sufficient and your ability to comprehend intricate businesses when needed. 

Stop laughing so I can tell you something serious -- if you weren't completely turned off at this point, then perhaps you don't have the "business intelligibility" needed for the job. Sorry. You'll just have to take that intelligibility elsewhere.

Secondly, you should build on the information provided to include an analytical edge in the content you will produce.

Wait, secondly? Where's firstly? Oh wait. That's right. Business intelligibility. Guess that rules me out. Doesn't matter. I'm not quite sure how anyone can include analytical edges. Do they look like isosceles triangles?

We are really looking for someone dedicated, with a strong of integrity and passionate about writing, preferably a professional freelancer. 

And someone who can write stellar sentences like that gem, right?

Payment are made through Paypal every Friday for all the assignments completed by Thursday since last payment.

Wow. Way to make something easy seem complicated.

And now we get to:

- MBA diploma or equivalent

An MBA? For what? To write with intelligibility? Or to understand the payment process?

- Must be available by email from 9 am to 5 pm EST time

And right there is the million-dollar phrase, for this chump thinks you're an employee. If you play your cards right, you might be able to prove it in court and get some benefits out of him -- maybe even a pension.  Note to poster -- no, your freelance writer does not have to be available during your work hours. That's against most state laws to require it, and it's not up to you to tell someone how to run their business.

Now to answer this ad, you must:

submit a short cover letter explaining why you are suitable to do these assignments and the
type of work done by you as a business writer

Well, since it's not clear what kind of work you'll be doing, that might be some trick. 

- submit three samples of business writing you have done in the past (please do not submit articles)

Huh? If not articles, what? Free samples? Bite me.

If the job is done in a quality and timely manner, we can provide you with a stream of assignments. Our staff working for us remotely have done that for years for the most part.

What bothers me about this -- they're referring to remote workers as "staff" when it's pretty clear they're contract workers. While it may not matter to them what they call the likes of us, it matters greatly to freelance writers because this is a person who is already assuming your relationship will be employer/employee instead of client/contractor. And you don't get the perks of being an employee, so why let someone boss you around for nothing?

Professional writing freelancers are welcome. 

But not copy editors, for this copy is just crystal clear.

We will only respond to the individuals who are suitable for this ad.

Still hopeful after all those words.

Compensation: $20 -$35 per 500 words

Good luck with that. In fact, good luck warding off all the "F*** off" notes you're about to get in response.

Wow. I'm spent just trying to choke back the rotten taste that one left. Obviously, this is not a job any serious "professional writing freelancers" should consider, nor would we since we're all busy gouging out our eyes attempting to erase the memory of this one.

Instead, look for projects that offer a bit more of a sensible business relationship. Something like this (via AllIndieWriters):

B2B Reporter to Cover Associations and Advocacy (freelance)

CQ Roll Call is seeking a driven writer to create stories for its content marketing program on a freelance basis. For the right candidate, we can be a rock-steady client with weekly assignments, and the potential for a great deal more.

Working under the direction of our Managing Editor for Marketing, our writer will cover advocacy groups and associations as a beat. This is a B2B writing job, creating content for people in these industries, and not just about them. We’ll start at two stories a week.

To carry this out, we are looking for someone who has journalism chops, or who has a B2B reporting background. They will be writing for the Marketing Department, but we’re serious about content – we come from journalism backgrounds, ourselves.

We are looking for a solid writer with a good nose for stories, who understands beat work and can generate story ideas. We’ll ask them to write stories that help association and advocacy professionals improve how they do their jobs. Profiles, how-tos, case studies and explanatory work will all be part of the mix.

This is a great job for a professional freelancer who is seeking a steady client, or for former full-time reporter who is raising a family or otherwise requires flexible (but engaging) part-time work.

Salary: $30,000-35,000

Yes, Virginia. You can get more than $35 for your hard work. Clients like these are out there. 

Writers, what kinds of awfulness have you seen lately?
What's the worst job you ever took?
What advice for beginners do you have?

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