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Friday Freebies #3 – Fabulous Finds for You

Friday Freebies #3 – Fabulous Finds for You

Freebie Friday #3
Freebie Friday #3 – Fabulous Finds

Hello and Happy Friday! In this third edition of the Friday Freebies, I am posting all of the great finds I found pertaining to blogging, social media, webinars, classes, ebooks, and more. And since we can’t be all work and no play, you might actually find a few fun freebies like recipes, printable materials, events, and craft projects.

Classes and E-Courses

How to Sell on PinterestBrilliant Business Moms

  • Learn how to attract people who will buy what you are selling
  • The secret tool that will spread your pins all over Pinterest
  • Lean how to create a gorgeous Pinterest account that gets you followers fast
  • Learn how to get you pins in front of thousands more people – even if you are just starting out

The Ultimate Blog Challenge

Sign up to join the July 2016 Ultimate Blog Challenge where you will receive updates, tips, and daily blogging ideas to help you build lists, get you more traffic, increase your exposure, and make building relationships easier.

Webinars

Self-Publishing for BloggersAuthority Pub

Are you a blogger or online entrepreneur hustling to find reliable income streams? Have you considered writing books, but you aren’t sure how to do it the right way or if it will really be profitable? Bloggers are uniquely positioned to be successful with self-publishing, and Authority Pub can show you the exact steps to leverage your platform, content, and expertise to build recurring income. The free webinar is July 6th starting at 1 pm EST.

E-books

At the time of this writing, these eBooks were listed as free on Amazon. Please double check the link before hitting purchase to make sure the items are still available at no cost.

Supercharge Your Life: 7 Habits to Increase Your Success and Happiness – Sandra Leon

Description:  Supercharge Your Life will transform you into the person you know you can be. You will learn the 7 habits that will transform you with easy step by step ways to practice them (even on a busy schedule). Rated 5 stars out of 5 on Amazon

Applications/Design

Adobe Spark

I have to thank reader Keely for recommending Adobe Spark. With Adobe Spark you can:

  • Create social graphics – pick a photo, add text, and apply design filters to instantly start a viral phenomenon
  • Create web stories – turn words and images into beautiful, magazine-style web stories that will impress readers on any device
  • Create animated video – record your voice, add photos, select from professional-quality soundtracks and cinematic motion, and voila spectacular video!

picjumbo

picjumbo is a free stock photo site created by photographer and designer Viktor Hanacek. Viktor says “you can use picjumbo images in a lot of way: app designs, app UI kits, web UI kits, web designs, web templates, web themes, and you can include used images in your web theme package”.  He also permits you to use his photos for book covers, print it as pictures for your living room or office walls, or use it to design postcards and greeting cards.

Just for Fun

At the time of this writing, these eBooks were listed as free on Amazon. Please double check the link before hitting purchase to make sure the items are still available at no cost.

Yoga: The Begginer’s Bible – Tai Morello

Description: With The Yoga Beginner’s Bible, you will embark on an inner journey that will take you back to the state of peace, joy and happiness you were born to inhabit. Rated 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon.

The Yoga Beginner’s Bible will teach you:

      • The top 30 poses you must know as a beginner
      • What Yoga really is
      • How to turn Yoga into a habit
      • How to meditate
      • The benefits of Yoga
      • And much more!

The Gray-Haired Knitting Detective Series (Book 1-3) – D.E. Haggerty

Description: Get all three books of the Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives series in one bundle! The bundle includes Murder, Mystery & Dating Mayhem, Jack Gets His Man, and Love in the Time of Murder. Join the Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives as they solve the murder of Izzy’s grandma, figure out who is stealing money from Jack’s store, and clear Dee of murder charges. But don’t worry. Solving crimes won’t prevent the knitters from matchmaking Izzy, Jack, and Dee. Rated 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon.

How to Knit for Beginners: 9 Free Tutorials – Prime Publishing

Description: With this free eBook, How to Knit for Beginners: 9 Free Tutorials, you’ll find tons of great patterns, tips, and step-by-step instructions that will make picking up knitting a breeze. Knitting for beginners doesn’t have to be complicated, especially when you have the right tutorials at your disposal! Rated 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon.

Bruschetta! The Ultimate Recipe Guide – Over 30 Delicious & Best Selling Recipes – Jonathan Doue
Description: A compilation of the most delicious and best-selling bruschetta recipes from all over the world. From the classic favorite to Shrimp Mango Bruschetta and even Bacon Chocolate Bruschetta; over 30 unique bruschetta recipes for every event. Rated 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon.

Stay tuned for next week’s edition of Freebie Fridays were you will find a lot me free ideas for your business, blog, and you. Please feel free to comment and leave any freebies that either you are offering on your sites or feel the Pursuing My Dream readers might be interested in.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend (and Canada Day for my Canadian friends!


Freelance Writing – Learning From My Mistakes

Freelance Writing – Learning From My Mistakes

Freelance Writing - Learning From My Mistakes
Freelance Writing – Learning From My Mistakes

Learning From My Mistakes

In 2010 I was laid off from a job I held for almost 20 years. Without a backup job and knowing that unemployment checks would not cover all of my expenses, I knew I would need money and fast. I decided to look into other ways of bringing in a paycheck while still passing out tons of resumes and being on the job hunt for a regular 9-5 job.

I started off by making a list of things I liked to do and had the skills to do. The first things scratched off my list was doodling, coloring, and kids projects. Unless I could get hired as something related to drawing with kids (which I don’t have the patience for), I knew that I had to look elsewhere.

The skills that kept popping up on my list all had to do with writing and research. It was not a surprising discovery as I had a previous background working at a library and a few years as an administrative assistance behind my belt. Having been taught by a master (highly regarded reference librarian), I not only knew the Dewey decimal system but also how to research things without a computer. That is when the lightbulb went on over my head and I said: “I could do freelance work as a writer and researcher”.

Freelance Writing?

Not know the first thing about freelance work, I typed in “freelance writing” on Google and came up with hundreds of pages of topics from work from home, online writing jobs, blogging, article writers, and content writing.

Let me say that with my inexperience (and need for money), I got lured in by content mills. Oh, I didn’t know that is what they were known for in the business, nor did I know that any reputable freelance writer would avoid them like the plague. So, there I was signing on the dotted line to become a freelance writer for Demand Studios, Guru, oDesk, and Elance.

It was hard work trying to get a client as many were looking for the lowest bidder and there are thousands of other desperate writers trying to get the same gig. If you did win, chances are you were being paid to write a word a cent article. With all the research, writing, and editing that went into the article, this meant I was making $5 for about 1-3 hours of work.

All I can say is, if you haven’t done any writing before and you want to gain experience (but not money), then a content mill might be a good learning experience. Otherwise run as fast you can away from the content mill jobs!

No Experience Needed

Three months (YES, three whole months) into the content mill type jobs, I knew I could not do it anymore. I was making about $50 – $75 a week and the bills kept piling up.

That is when I saw an ad that said: “no experience needed – writers wanted”. A company called Examiner.com was looking for local writers to write in the niche of their choice for their new online newspaper. The pay was per click, but it would give a writer the experience of working with editors and copywriters along with learning how to market their talents and gain followers.

Much like the content mills I was not making quality money, but I have to say the experience alone made it worth working for the Examiner. I was quickly hired on as the local arts and crafts writer, which allowed me to introduce my readers to local shops, crafting events, DIY projects, and so much more. Nothing could contain my excitement of having my own page and column, which I could post to multiple times a week. My editor (a patient millennial) introduced me to Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms that I could “advertise” my column and gain followers. She also helped me with my grammar issues and gave feedback on all my articles before they were published online.

Opportunity Knocks

Three months into my job at the Examiner, I got an email from a local CBS.com rep. At first, I thought it was just an advertisement or some kind of joke, but an editor saw my Examiner column and loved my style. He asked if I would be interested in writing a few “top 5” local articles for their Chicago online news site. The pay would be $10 an article and they would give me the topic, which I had free reign to run with. Jumping at the chance, I spent six months writing every top 5 article you can imagine. They even spotlighted for 3 weeks my article on “The Top 5 Places to Go in Chicago with Your Dog”.

Around that time I got a call from a company that was interested in hiring me for a regular 9 to 5 job doing my previous line of work. Needing a full-time paycheck, I had to abandon my writing gigs to focus back on a “real” job.

Today and Beyond

That was 4 years ago and there hasn’t been a day that I don’t miss writing. I didn’t know the path that should be taken to become a full-time freelance writer and I allowed my fear of not having a paycheck rule over my dreams.

So here I am today starting over! While working my regular 9-5 job, I am taking every free course that I can find, reading every article and book, and signing up for all the free webinars about freelance work.

In the next weeks and even months, I will share with you the courses, webinars, blogs, books, and articles that I have used and found helpful in my journey to becoming a full-time freelancer. I will also share with you all of my triumphs and failures as a learning tool for anyone just starting out in the freelance business.

I welcome feedback from longtime freelancers and newbies too! Do you have a story to share? Any triumphs or failures? How is your journey going with the world of freelance writing and freelance work? I would love for you to share your experiences by making a post in the comments.

 

 

Is Freelance Writing the Right Career for You?

Is Freelance Writing the Right Career for You?

Is Freelance Writing the Right Career for You?
Is Freelance Writing the Right Career for You?

So, you are thinking about becoming a freelance writer? When you first start out, it is more than a life without a boss to report to, a time clock you no longer have to punch, or working wherever and whenever you want. Freelance writing is not for the faint of heart. It takes hard work, dedication, persistence, and the ability to self-manage your time and tasks.

But don’t let me scare you away from your dream of writing. Freelance writing offers you the opportunity to make money working part time to pay off some debts, full time to make a decent living, or something in-between to afford you the extras in life.

Just the Facts

Did you know that the average pay for established freelance writers is $28.50? If you work 40 hours a week, every day of the year that is roughly a $60,000 annual salary. The salary goes even higher for skilled bloggers and technical writers that are able to create SEO quality materials for specific niche markets.

A Freelance writer has many career options and can branch out into several different career paths including:

  • Copywriter
  • Skilled (Niche) Blogger
  • Editor/Managing Editor
  • Technical Writer
  • Marketing/Sales Manager
  • Creative Director
  • Editorial Director

What it Takes

Are you tired of the lack of creativity in your current job? What about the mundane 9 to 5 routine and boring work?  For me, add in a job that is not well-paid and you have my current working situation.  Freelance writing opportunities can open the door to a fulfilling career of stringing words together like music and outputting quality work with solid information that consumers want.

If you were to look at the typical job description and tasks for a freelance writer, you might see the same theme of buzz words:

  • Strong drive
  • Solid organizational and time management skills
  • Flair for words and the ability to pitch stories
  • Must be able to write books, create/update websites, develop brochures and scripts, and conduct research
  • Must have the skill to promote (advertise) and distribute (market) written and electronic materials
  • Has the ability to conceptualize books, stories, brochures, manuals, and website content

The typical skill set of a freelance writer includes:

  • The ability to spell. If you can’t spell, then invest in a great dictionary and utilize an effective spelling-checking tool on your computer.
  • Know the rules of grammar and follow them. If you aren’t sure when to use punctuation or when to start a new sentence, you might want to take a college course in grammar. Also, consider installing a free application such as Grammarly on your computer.
  • Must have the ability to write well. If you can’t write well, take a college course, free online course, or start off with a blog to learn how to craft well-written and clear content.
  • Make sure you can proofread your work. Your grammar and spell-check software can only do so much. Make sure you know how to spot errors, fix them, and create the best-finished product.
  • You must know how to research and fact check your information. Before you quote a source, hit post on your blog, or submit a project to your customer, you must always make sure that you have thoroughly researched your topic, cited your sources, and have factual proof for any claims that you make.
  • Know how to market yourself. Freelance writing is one field that requires you to not be modest about your work and abilities. You need to be able to sell yourself and market your talents.
  • Have the ability to communicate both written and verbally. Freelancing requires you to be able to send pitch letters to potential clients, communicate with editors and/or other writers, and have verbal/written interactions with clients about current projects and stories.

If everything you read seems like the dream job,  then freelance writing is the right career path for you!

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