How to Freelance Like a Farmer and Get More Done

~~~ Notes from Minnesota ~~~

Hey Freelancer!

Goodness gracious! Seems like everyone and their brother is in the process of a big “launch.” Their “tribe” is all excited. Whoda thunk?

Sigh.

Here’s the deal: I’ve mentioned this before but it bears repeating. Every time you feel your emotions stirred, it’s time to put on the brakes and examine the situation. Ask yourself what kind of qualifications this person has. Check out their track record. Verify claims.

Better yet? Freelance like a farmer. Doing this makes you nearly immune to the latest short cut to freelance success.

Don’t know what this whole farming metaphor means? Check out my latest podcast. In a little more than 20 minutes, you’ll be in the know. Here’s the link.

Enjoy!

Beth 🙂

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

jumpstart littleRumor has it, Amazon is messing with “buy” buttons again. Online magazines have lowered pay rates. Email opens are declining.

These bits of news can crush a writing career… if you rely exclusively on them for your income.

Check out how to freelance like a farmer, cultivate multiple streams of income, and thrive in today’s uncertain freelance environment.

Some highlights:

  • How to hone your writing skills until they’re razor sharp
  • Tackle the most lucrative branch of writing for income stability
  • Learn secrets of fiction (a blast to write, fun stream of income)
  • Organize your nonfiction articles to make them easier to sell
  • Write powerful queries to eliminate so many rejections
  • Promote your writing business for little or no money

Completely revised and updated, if you want to be a freelance writer who snags paying assignments, this book’s for you.

It’s currently 3.99 for the digital download. Nab yours when the getting’s good. 🙂

Get it at Amazon

Worldwide

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1932794034How to Do More in Less Time – Part 3
Robert W. Bly

The ability to work faster and get more done in less time isn’t slavery; it’s freedom. You’re going to have the same big pile of stuff to do every day whether you want it or not. If you can be more efficient, you can get it done and still have some time left over for yourself – whether it’s to read the paper, hike, jog, play the piano, or something else.

Here are more ideas that can increase your personal productivity so you can get more done in less time:

7. Protect and value your time. Productive people guard their time more heavily than the gold in Fort Knox. They don’t waste time. They get right to the point. They may come off as abrupt or dismissive to some people. But, they realize they cannot give everyone who contacts them all the time each person wants. They choose who they
spend time on and with. They make decisions. They say what needs to be said, do what needs to be done and then move on.

8. Don’t do everything yourself. Hire assistants or acquire equipment to eliminate repetitive and routine tasks. Going to the corner stationery store to make photocopies is a waste of your time. Buy a small photocopier and keep it near your desk or hire an assistant to make copies for you, so you never have to go out and do it yourself again. I haven’t been to the post office in 7 years, because that’s a task better done by my $10-an-hour assistant than by me, the $100+ an hour writer.

Despise inefficiency. I spent the extra money on a plain paper fax, because photocopying the curly thermal paper from the old fax machine was an utter waste of time and energy.

9. Don’t shy away from the Internet. Learn your way around the World Wide Web. It’s the most fantastic research tool ever available to writers. Information that used to require hours of research at the library to uncover can now be accessed online in a fraction of the time. Why get into your car and drive to read an article when you can bring it up on your computer screen in seconds?

I urge every writer to become Web-literate and learn how to search Web sites for information on the topics they write about. Not only will it save time, but the content (and therefore the quality) of your work will be improved too.

10. Don’t become addicted to Internet chat. The Internet has great potential for saving time, but also for wasting time – especially online forums and chat rooms. Limit your Web surfing and e-mailing to research and communication related to your business.
Otherwise, aimless online chatting can eat away most of your morning or afternoon before you know it. Use the Internet as a tool; avoid Internet addiction.

11. Don’t get up. You’re most productive when you stay in your chair. Arrange your office so that everything is within easy reach. Don’t, for example, work in the basement but keep office supplies in the attic. Going up and down the steps is wasted motion and energy.

12. Don’t go out. Or at least, be selective about where, when, and how often you go out.You can get so caught up in networking, lunches, and writers’ groups that you spend the whole week shmoozing, and consequently get little or no productive work done. Novelist Chaim Potok once began a talk by saying, “I feel guilty standing here talking about writing, because I should be home doing it.” Stop talking about writing and instead, write.

12. Don’t go out. Or at least, be selective about where, when, and how often you go out.You can get so caught up in networking, lunches, and writers’ groups that you spend the whole week shmoozing, and consequently get little or no productive work done. Novelist Chaim Potok once began a talk by saying, “I feel guilty standing here talking about writing, because I should be home doing it.” Stop talking about writing and instead, write.

13. Don’t undervalue your time. Assign a dollar value to it. If you work 40 hours a week and earn $1,000 a week, each hour is worth $25. Measure other activities you can do during writing time against that $25, and then make a decision whether these activities are worth pursuing.

A friend of ours, for example, will drive a 40-minute round trip to a distant store to redeem $5 in coupons the local store won’t honor. That works out to a savings of $7.50 per hour of labor. My hourly billing rate is many times that, so for me it makes more sense to pay the extra $5 at a local store, save myself the long drive, and spend the 40 minutes working at my hourly rate instead.

“Time is the most precious currency of life, and how we spend it reflects what we truly value,” writes Richard J. Leider in his book The Power of Purpose. “Once we have spent it, it is gone forever. It cannot be re-earned.”

Samuel Butler called time “the only true purgatory” and Emerson said time is “the surest poison.” But I disagree. How you use your time is up to you. Writers, who sell nothing but time, must use it wisely. The best time to start doing so? Right now.

NOTE: Bob’s got dozens more immediately useful techniques for successful self promotion in his book, “Bob Bly’s Guide to Freelance Writing Success: How to Make $100,000 a Year as a Freelance Writer and Have the Time of Your Life Doing It.” It’s available as an economical ebook here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, market smart, publish. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.” http://filbertpublishing.com

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You received this email because you subscribed at FilbertPublishing.com. You can easily manage your subscription by clicking the link at the end of this email.

You’ll receive 1 – 4 emails per month, lots of tips, articles, and announcements of our latest titles.

I don’t rent or share your email information with anyone. Ever. Period.

Please forward this message to your friends, writing groups, peers, and anyone who you feel will find this content useful. I think they’ll find the information helpful and I know I very much appreciate your support.

~~~~~

PRIVACY STATEMENT: We will not distribute your email address to anyone. Ever. Period.

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The benefits of freelancing like a farmer.

Lisa Jenson, a long time freelancer from Idaho, shares how a diverse portfolio helps prevent income highs and lows. In today’s Convos with Pros(e) we discuss:

* How she landed not one but two ghostwriting assignments
* How she broke into the national magazine market
* How to use zines to grow your reputation
* We also discuss dirt cheap marketing techniques

Enjoy this fascinating interview with this consummate (and fun!) pro!

Websites mentioned:
http://LisaDeeWrites.com
http://FilbertPublishing.com

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Tales of Travel

Once your creative career takes flight, expect to travel. Today Beth and Jackie share their battle scarred stories of:

  • Annoying travel mates
  • The power of asking (for nearly anything)
  • The importance of planning ahead
  • Travel tips for musicians with copious equipment
  • The joy of meeting other artists face to face

Enjoy! Don’t be shy. Share your own tales in the comments (if you’re so inclined).

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Convos with Pros(e): Why you Must Write a Book with Honoree Corder

As an expansion of Notes from Minnesota, I thought it might be fun to interview successful authors and freelancers to ferret out some of their secrets to success. To my delight, bestselling author, Honoree Corder (http://HonoreeCorder.com) agreed to be my first victim. Some topics we discuss:

  • What motivates her to write
  • What inspires her
  • Her greatest challenges
  • The best part of writing
  • Why every serious business person should write at least one book

It’s a fascinating discussion. Enjoy! 🙂

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I need your help! A cool tee. How to get more done.

~~~ Notes from Minnesota ~~~

Hey Freelancer!

I’ve got lots to share with you today so let’s jump into it, eh?

1. I need your help. If you’re a successful freelancer, I want to hear from you. I’m pretty pleased with how our Notes from Minnesota podcast is going so I thought it would be fun to expand and interview freelancers who love their life. This will be a video podcast, a short information packed interview, no stress, just a nice way to shine your light and promote your freelance services. Email if you’re interested. Be sure to include your specialty along with a short intro. I’m recording the first on next week and just wait ’til you hear who has agreed to be my first victim… er… interviewee. It’ll be fun and you’ll learn tons.

2. I’ve been a busy bee on my author page (http://BAEricksonBooks.com). Two cover reveals, a third on its way, three more full novels by the end of year, a novella… uff-da. It’s a blast. Surf over there and check out the VIP reader list. I’ve got tons of freebies, a private short story library on the way, journal entries in the queue… so much fun. Check ‘er out. If nothing else, enjoy those gorgeous covers. I’m pretty thrilled with them.

Garretts Tee3. Ooooh! I can’t forget. This one’s for authors. Garrett Robinson is a fantastic fantasy writer. His podcast is outstanding… laugh out loud funny sometimes… always intriguing. He whipped up some incredible t-shirts I thought I’d share. No. This isn’t an affiliate link. I don’t make a dime from this recommendation. I just like Garrett and his work. Enjoy! Here’s the link.

4. Finally, what’s your average word count per day? Writers in my world have claimed everywhere from 500 to 45,000. (Seriously… I know the person who broke the 45k mark. She didn’t do anything else but write but wow. If that were me, I’d hate to proofread that output… my first drafts most certainly qualify as “sloppy copies.”)

But this got me thinking. Perhaps I’m not fast enough. Perhaps I think too much. I run  a minimum of 2k words per day. Without fail. It’s rare to crack 5k. Then I edit. Then I finish assignments. Then I market. Then I read. Sometimes I skip some of those activities. 🙂

This might be a good podcast topic. Word Warriors… contact me. We need to talk. Online. 🙂

What’s your word output? You can email or answer in the comments section. Either works.

Onward and upward,

Beth 🙂

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

jumpstart littleRumor has it, Amazon is messing with “buy” buttons again. Online magazines have lowered pay rates. Email opens are declining.

These bits of news can crush a writing career… if you rely exclusively on them for your income.

Check out how to freelance like a farmer, cultivate multiple streams of income, and weather today’s uncertain freelance environment.

Completely revised and updated, if you want to be a freelance writer who snags paying assignments, this book’s for you.

It’s currently only 3.99 for the digital download. Nab yours when the getting’s good. 🙂

Get it at Amazon US.

Worldwide

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1932794034How to Do More in Less Time – Part 2
Robert W. Bly

(Note: You can read part one here.

The ability to work faster and get more done in less time isn’t slavery; it’s freedom. You’re going to have the same big pile of stuff to do every day whether you want it or not. If you can be more efficient, you can get it done and still have some time left over for yourself – whether it’s to read the paper, hike, jog, play the piano, or something else.
Here are ten ideas that can increase your personal productivity so you can get more done in less time:

3. Don’t be pressured to be an innovator. As publisher Cameron Foote observes, “Clients are looking for good, not great.” Do the best you can to meet the client’s or your
boss’s requirements. They will be happy. Do not feel pressured to reinvent the wheel or create a masterpiece on every project you undertake.
Don’t be held up by the false notion that you must uncover some great truth or present your boss with revolutionary ideas and concepts. Most successful business solutions are just common sense packaged to meet a specific need.
Eliminate performance pressure. Don’t worry about whether what you are doing is different or better than what others have done before you. Just do the best you can. That will be enough.

4. Switch between tasks. Even if you consider yourself a specialist, do projects outside your specialty. Inject variety into your project schedule. Arrange your schedule so you switch from one assignment to another at least once or twice each day. Variety, as the saying goes, is indeed the spice of life.
Approximately 70 to 90 percent of what I am doing at any time is in familiar tasks within my area of expertise. This keeps me highly productive. The other 10 to 30 percent is in new areas, markets, industries, or disciplines outside my area of expertise. This keeps me fresh and allows me to explore things that captivate my imagination, but are not in my usual schedule of assignments.

5. Don’t work on projects you don’t have. Working on assignments that you
have not yet received is a waste of time. Get letters of agreement, contracts, purchase orders, and budget sign-offs before proceeding. Don’t waste time on projects that may not come to fruition. An official approval or go-ahead from your boss or customer makes
the project real and firm, so you can proceed at full speed, with the confidence and enthusiasm that come from knowing you have been given the green light.

6.  Make deadlines firm, but adequate. Of 150 executives surveyed by AccounTemps, 37 percent rated the dependable meeting of deadlines as the most important quality of a team player (Continental magazine, Oct. 1997, p. 44). Productive people set and meet deadlines. Without a deadline, the motivation to do a task is small to nonexis­tent.
Tasks without assigned deadlines automatically go to the bottom of your priority list. Say you have two reports to file: one is due a week from Thursday, and the other is due “whenever you can get around to it.” Which do you suppose will get written first?
Often, you will collaborate with your boss or client in determining deadlines. Set deadlines for a specific date and time, not a time period: for example, “due June 23 by 3 pm or sooner,” not “in about two weeks.” Having a specific date and time for completion eliminates confusion and gives you motivation to get the work done on time.

At the same time, don’t make deadlines too tight. Try to build in a few extra days for the un­expected, such as a missing piece of information, a delay from a subcontractor, a last-minute change, or a crisis on another project.

NOTE: Bob’s got dozens more immediately useful techniques for successful self promotion in his book, “Bob Bly’s Guide to Freelance Writing Success: How to Make $100,000 a Year as a Freelance Writer and Have the Time of Your Life Doing It.” It’s available as an economical ebook right here
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.” http://filbertpublishing.com

Enjoy!

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Profanity and Publishing. Uff-da!

Boss Yelling 2aWhen is profanity acceptable in creative works? Today, Jacklyn and Beth discuss…

  • The apparent rise in profanity in titles
  • Whether it’s frowned upon in some spheres but not others
  • Various audience reactions
  • Using profanity in titles versus in content
  • Whether profanity can divert discussion from the relevant topic
  • Profanity in professional vs personal communication
  • How profanity can influence your legacy
  • Using profanity as a tool
  • And one thing that’s scarier than the f-bomb.

Wow. That’s a lot to cover in 12 minutes, eh?
Enjoy!

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How to Come Back After a Life Changing Event

Uff-da. Another downer episode? Hardly.

Everyone faces life changing events. Blessing or curse, Beth and Jacklyn discuss the Big C, the Big D, tips to get back into the creative game, how to live with the new normal and more.

Sadly, Jake the 16 year old Mini Pinscher has a lot to add to the conversation in today’s particularly noisy episode. 🙂

No vid today. Youtube was too slow.

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How to Do More in Less Time – Part 1

NMN~~~ Notes from Minnesota ~~~

Hey Freelancer!

Our little Notes from Minnesota Podcast appears to be going swimmingly. If you like listening to short (generally under 15 minutes), hard core freelance information, be sure to check us out. You can find everything you need to know at http://BAEricksonBooks.com

Next, I’m spit polishing the Writing Etc. Minis. I want to make them uber-useful… as always. As I’ve researched, I’ve found scads of zines popping up. That’s great. That said, I feel just a bit of satisfaction knowing we’ve been around for so long. Kinda cool, really.

Second, tomorrow is my third cancerversary. In honor of the occasion, I’m relaunching my fiction career. I explain everything here: http://bethannerickson.com/what-have-you-reclaimed/

Third, I’ve missed you! I discovered I tend to retreat from anything public when I’m feeling down, challenged, sick due to all this cancer stuff. It’s sometimes overwhelming. But I can mention that life on the other side is pretty sweet… and I glimpse “normal” life more and more these days.

Tomorrow I go in and get my new tumor numbers. Crossing my fingers. Either way, I ready for a productive ’16.

Hope you’ll join me,

Beth 🙂

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

jumpstart littleThink it’ll take forever to earn a great living as a writer? Think again. With Jumpstart Your Writing Career and Snag Paying Assignments, you’ll discover how easy it is to:

  • Think like a writer
  • Hone your writing skills until they’re razor sharp
  • Tackle the most lucrative branch of writing
  • Learn secrets of fiction
  • Organize your nonfiction articles
  • Write powerful queries
  • Promote your writing business for little or no money

Completely revised and updated, if you want to be a freelance writer who snags paying assignments, this book’s for you.

It’s currently 3.99 for the digital download. Nab yours when the getting’s good. 🙂

Ebook available here:

Amazon  Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU

Kobo  Nook  iTunes  Smashwords

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1932794034How to Do More in Less Time – Part 1
Robert W. Bly

Excerpt from Bob Bly’s Guide to Freelance Writing Success

The ability to work faster and get more done in less time isn’t slavery; it’s freedom. You’re going to have the same big pile of stuff to do every day whether you want it or not. If you can be more efficient, you can get it done and still have some time left over for yourself – whether it’s to read the paper, hike, jog, play the piano, or something else.

Here are first two of ten ideas that can increase your personal productivity so you can get more done in less time:

1. Master your computer. Everyone who wants to be more productive should use a modern personal computer with the latest software. Doing so can double, triple, or even quadruple your output.

Install on your computer the same software that your colleagues, other departments within your organization, vendors, and business partners use. The broader the range of your software, the more easily you can open and read files from other sources.

Constantly upgrade your desk-top to eliminate too-slow computer processes that waste your time, such as slow downloading of files or Web pages. If you use the Internet a lot, get the fastest access you can. DSL is getting cheaper by the month and is well worth the money at its current price levels.

2. Don’t be a perfectionist. “I’m a non-perfectionist,” said Isaac Asimov, author of 475 books. “I don’t look back in regret or worry at what I have written.”

Alfred De Musset wrote, “Perfection does not exist. To understand this is the triumph of human intelligence; to expect to possess it is the most dangerous kind of madness.”

Be a careful worker. But, don’t agonize over your work beyond the point where the extra effort no longer produces a proportionately worthwhile improvement in your final product.

Be excellent, but not perfect. Customers do not have the time or budget for perfection; for most projects, getting 95 to 98 percent of the way to perfection is good enough. That doesn’t mean you deliberately make errors or give less than your best. It means you stop polishing and fiddling with the job when it looks good to you – and you don’t agonize over the fact that you’re not spending another hundred hours on it. Create it, check it, then let it go.

Quality improves with effort according to an exponential curve. That means early effort yields the biggest results; subsequent efforts yield smaller and smaller improvements, until eventually the miniscule return is not worth the effort. Productive people stop at the point where the investment in further effort on a task is no longer jus­tified by the tiny incremental im­provement it would produce.

Aim for 100 percent perfection, and you are unlikely to be pro­ductive or profitable. Consistently hit within the 90-98 percent range, and you will maximize customer satisfaction, as well as return on your time investment.

NOTE: Bob’s got dozens more immediately useful techniques for successful self promotion in his book, “Bob Bly’s Guide to Freelance Writing Success: How to Make $100,000 a Year as a Freelance Writer and Have the Time of Your Life Doing It.” It’s available as an economical ebook right here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.” http://filbertpublishing.com

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You received this email because you subscribed at FilbertPublishing.com. You can easily manage your subscription by clicking the link at the end of this email.

You’ll receive between 1 – 4 emails per month, lots of tips, articles, and announcements of our latest titles.

I don’t rent or share your email information with anyone. Ever. Period.

Please forward this message with your friends, writing groups, peers, and anyone who you feel will find this content useful. I think they’ll find the information helpful and I know I very much appreciate your support.

~~~~~

PRIVACY STATEMENT: We will not distribute your email address to anyone. Ever. Period.

 

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Our Epic Fails Revealed

Well, this is embarrassing. Today, Beth and Jackie reveal their grandest and most epic fails. Think everything goes slick in the creative world? Ha. They discuss instincts, marketing vs being a marketer, the inner voice, mentors, and dirt roads. It’s a horrific jaunt through the painful path to a lesson hard learned.

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