Working from Home| Storytime

After the birth of my first daughter, I think what bothered me most was being a full time stay at home mom. Of course, both my husband and me decided that it was best for our situation as we don’t have any family close by to help out and I was not about to put my newborn baby in daycare. Not that I have anything against people who do so, but it was just not right for my family at the time. Firstly, daycare costs an arm and a leg in my area, I would be working just to barely make that payment. Secondly, we knew that we wanted another kid close in age. Last August my youngest turned two, and within the last year I have been wanting to get back to work.

Most of my work experience and all of my education was done in my home country so it was a matter of sitting down and figuring out what I wanted to do. I majored in Information Technology but it’s something that I’m not interested in getting back into. Too much time has past and I’ve lost my zeal in that field. So I did research and tried to analyze what kind of job to get or what course I should do to enhance my skills. But there was the matter of paying for daycare, and before and after school programs for my kids. After doing the calculations, I realized it wouldn’t be worth it, unless I could land a really nice paying job right off the bat. Having not been in the work force for a number of years, we all know how rarely that happens.

So again, I sat down and thought about the things that I know how to do best, my skill-set and how I could utilize that to make money from home. Working from home is a decision not driven only by making some extra cash. I’m at a low when I’m unproductive and feel very sad or depressed if you want to call it that. My husband often argues that I do a lot for my kids by being very present in their lives doing this and that but still, I was raised with a strong work ethic and I needed to get back into it. What I do know, is how to write and I’ve been working on books for years and years. However, it’s hard to make an income as an author. The book takes years, then it takes years of networking to get people to notice your book. Even then, it still may never work and  I don’t want to treat my stories as something to sell. At the end of the day, I write for me. For self-fulfillment and if someone happens to like it, then I’d be elated.

Around the same time I was researching working from home(this summer), one of my friends messaged me about a website that basically hires freelancers of various kinds. Graphics, virtual assistants, and writers among others. I saw it as a small window to start offering writing as a service. It hasn’t been that long and the money isn’t that great but I’ve learned how to balance working from home and family time. Although, it’s difficult and I’ll create an entire post about my experience. I’ve also gained some exposure to working with clients, and experience in the field that I’m pursuing. I know I’m not on it as much as I should but for the mean time, it works for my and my family. I’m available to drop my kindergartener off and pick her up, be present for different things that I’d most likely have to skip out on. The last several months has definitely been an eye opener, a learning curve in my life.

Reading over this post, I realized I haven’t mentioned what it is exactly that I write. I write copy for websites, specifically sales copy of various kinds. There’s a list of other services that I do offer and a website is currently in progress for that. I just wanted to share my not-so-spectacular story about how I derived at the decision to work from home. Hopefully it all works out in the future but one thing I can take from this entire experience is that you really have to want something and you have to work hard at it. There’s always so much more you can do to progress.

Have a great week ahead guys, thank you for stopping by and stay tuned for another Work From Home post.

xo Kat

Can Content Mills help your Writing Career?

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What are Content Mills?

In layman’s terms, content mills or content farms are websites that hire freelancers to generate large amounts of textual content. In most cases, a freelance writer has to bid the lowest to get hired. Because of this, many writers as well as employers don’t find the services rendered from these sites credible. Questions to explore are, “How qualified is this writer I’m hiring?” or “How reliable is this person if I know nothing of their writing background?”

Read on to get my take on content mills and you decide whether or not it can benefit you as a freelance writer.

If you’re a newbie writer, and have no experience in the writing field, or maybe you have personal experience but no portfolio to show for it, content mills can be a start for you. Although the money will seem like a disadvantage to your and you talent on most days, here’s what you can learn by using content mills.

Experience

As a writer who is just starting out, trust me when I say you have a lot to learn in the world of writing. Writing is an ever flowing kind of job. Your knowledge should be an expanding work in progress at all times. There is no “know how” or “know enough” in writing. Be mindful at this point you don’t necessarily know what kind of writer you are. You may choose a niche or topic and feel you can handle it but you won’t really know until you put yourself to the test. Signing a job through content mills can help you gain that experience. Many experienced and established writers advise against using content mills and tell newbie writers to just plunge head on into pitching for jobs.

Consider the scenario of you landing your first client and not being able to deliver because you don’t know how to assemble yourself and your skills as a writer. I will go in depth into what it takes to get into writing in another post. What I will say here, no writer knows everything. There’s a lot of research, rewrites and dealing with unsatisfied clients. This is something that you’ll want to be eased into before attempting larger jobs with a higher commitment.

Portfolio/Published Work

When you browse through job posting, you’re bound to see several potential clients asking for samples of your published work. Crafting an awesome pitch is key but with a portfolio in your pocket, you’re about to ace that proposal. Clients want visible proof of what you’re capable of doing for their company as well as your writing style and voice. Again, as a beginner you have none of these. Using content mills for a few months to a year can seem tedious and daunting, like your writing career will never kick off. Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day and at the end of that year, you just might have a full portfolio to show when approaching the kind of jobs you want to be doing.

Finding Your Voice

Another question I’ve seen on forums is, “I want to be a writer but how do I find my voice?” Here’s how you do it…try different things. Writing is art, creativity, it’s not meant to be a straight line. Maybe you’ll fare better as a business writer or medical writer, or fiction writer. But you won’t really know until you explore your true potential. Picking up small scale writing jobs in content mills can help you find your own voice. By the time you’re really ready to put yourself out there, you have a full understanding of the kind of writer you are.

Potential to Meet Ongoing Clients

Content mills have lots of ongoing jobs and once you build a relationship with a client, who’s to say you won’t be doing business with that company for a long time outside of a content farm?

Time Management

When you’re just starting out, the only things on your mind are landing jobs and making a buck. Pretty soon it can get overwhelming. You have the opportunity to learn how to manage your time in a day in order to get the amount of work you need to get done. You also get to learn your own work process, how long it takes you to write an article and how many articles you can research and write in a day. All these are things to be mindful of when deciding to become a freelance writer.

How to Approach and Converse with Clients

Another way to prepare yourself in dealing with future clients, is actually dealing with clients. Taking up short term jobs can help you with long terms jobs in the future. In freelancing writing, a lot of your meetings are done via messaging and sometimes Skype. It’s few and far you may have an actual sit down meeting. You need to develop your people skills, how to approach clients, the language you need to use professionally. Getting your point across and also understanding the client’s vision is crucial in delivering a satisfying article.

 

I may be in the minority but I believe there are a lot of things you can learn from content mills to shape yourself as a confident writer. Money shouldn’t be your driving force at beginner level. You have to be prepared and accepting of your mistakes, clients’ negative feedback and how to fix the problem with a level head. As with every talent and skill, writing should be nurtured. Starting off with content mills is a way of getting your foot through the door without a wide gap in not writing at all.

Hope you enjoyed this piece. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think and what’s your approach as a freelance writer or if you’re considering dipping your toes into the writing pool.

xo Kat

(c) 2007 Kat Degnich. All rights reserved.