04
Jan 14

Can You Freelance with No Experience?

working

Can you freelance with no experience?

Yes, that’s a question in my mind, when I first “thought” about freelancing. It was years ago and somehow it feels like only yesterday, when I asked myself the question.

After searching Google for some time, I noticed that there are many experts discussing the same subject.

However, I love these 3 articles:

  1. Mashable – http://mashable.com/2013/06/09/freelancing-getting-started/This article is excellent. 5 pointers to get anyone started in the freelancing business.
  2. Freelance Folder – http://freelancefolder.com/how-to-start-freelancing-with-no-experience/FF came up with 3 key questions to help anyone who wants to jump into the freelancing industry.
  3. Wikihow – http://www.wikihow.com/Become-a-Freelance-Writer-Without-ExperienceThis article is dedicated to teach anyone to be a freelance writer.

If you are thinking about joining the freelancing industry, you might want to check these out. It is never too late to freelance.

Good luck!

ps: Just so you know, I started freelancing with no experience!

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Image by bokica


01
Jan 14

Elance as a Freelancing Platform

Elance is no stranger in the freelancing world. Whether you are an old timer or a new freelancer, you should check out Elance as freelancing platform.

Personally I have tried different freelancing sites such as freelancer.com (previously known as Get a Freelancer) but in the end I decided to stick with Elance (because Elance is the only site that can get me gigs, that don’t make me feel like I am a slave).

Get started with a free “basic” account to get used to the platform.

It is easy to use.

1. Register an account.

2. Log in and fill in your details.

3. Browse for jobs.

4. Bid for interesting jobs.

5. Keep trying until you land your first job. For some, this might take a few days, for others, it might take a few weeks or months, so be patient.

 photo elance_zps732be786.png

However, there are certain things that you might not like about Elance.

For example, their fee. They charge about 8.75% for every transaction from clients (when clients pay).

Having to pay 8.75% might be too much, especially for new freelancers.

For basic account (free account), you get 40 connects (free!) – which means you can send up to 40 proposals (although sometimes it takes more than one connect point to send a proposal).

UPDATE: This has changed recently, you will not get connects immediately after registration.

Here’s what they announced,

Effective January 15th, 2014 freelancers on a Basic Membership plan will be required to complete a series of tasks towards building a comprehensive profile before accessing their Connects.

You can read more here.

Once you are registered, you have the option to add more connects, but you will have to upgrade your basic account to a paid account such as “individual” account ($10/month) to get more connects (60 connects).

Apart from that, upgraded accounts have the option to buy additional connects. It costs $5 for extra 5 connects.

For most cases, it takes like weeks or months to land your first job (a decent paying job) on Elance and this is probably the biggest annoyance.

I would suggest to use Elance as a stepping stone to get started in the freelancing industry but once your freelancing career has stabilised, you might want to start finding freelancing jobs without going through agents like Elance.

Have fun freelancing!

—–

Verdict: I find Elance a great freelancing site with better reputation than other freelancing sites. Still, feel free to experiment!


30
Dec 13

5 Free Online Writing Courses

Introduction

Writing is important especially if you are a freelance writer. It is never too late to learn about writing. In fact, the more we learn, the more we practice. Thanks to the Internet, we are able to access online writing courses for free at our own pace.

Online Writing Courses

Here are five free online writing courses anyone can learn (not listed according to preference).

1. Writing What You Know

This course is by The Open University, under the OpenLearn section. The study material is adapted from the Creative Writing course (paid and online course). This short course is a great introductory course for anyone who wants to improve in descriptive writing. At the end of the course, you will:

  • be able to articulate your own thoughts on the notion of ‘write what you know’;
  • be equipped to write ‘blind’ descriptions of known objects and note new observations;
  • have an enhanced ability to list sensory perceptions;
  • be able to write short texts about a personal memory of either a place or a character.

2. Diploma in Basic English Grammar

This course is by Advanced Learning Interactive Systems Online (also known as ALISON). Grammar is essential in writing. With this course, you will be able to learn the proper use of grammar and identify common grammar mistakes. You will have to register to enroll.

3. Creative Writing: A Master Class

This course is by Academy of Achievement. If you are into creative writing, this would be a great reference, and you can easily gain the material using iTunes. To download the material, you just need iTunes.

4. Advanced Essay Workshop

This course is by MIT Open Courseware. You don’t have to register to access the course material. It is available here. Study the material at your own pace!

5. English Composition I: Achieving Expertise

This course is free but slightly different than the previous four courses. To enroll you have to register on Coursera. In order to complete this course, you will have to complete the assignment according to due dates. It takes 12 weeks to complete, so make sure you have enough time to complete assignments on time. English Composition will explore academic reading and writing.

Conclusion

Take some time to research and decide on the best course for your personal development. Feel free to sign up all if you are up for the challenge!

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Images from 123rf.com


30
Nov 13

Freelancing in Malaysia

freelance

Definition(s) of the word “freelance” from Google

Freelancing is generally unheard of in Malaysia.

However, freelancing in Malaysia is slowly gaining recognition in recent years. In fact, the number of Malaysian freelancers is increasing in Elance.

We have over 7,000 Malaysian freelancers on Elance.

Please refer: https://www.elance.com/r/contractors/cry-MY/ind-true

We have over 300 Malaysian companies on Elance.

Please refer: https://www.elance.com/r/contractors/cry-MY/biz-true

However, there are many people who do not understand the meaning of “freelance” or “freelancing”.

They hear me speaking alien when I say I am a “freelancer” or I “work from home”.

They thought I am “just a housewife”, simply because I “work from home” or “work at home”.

One can be a housewife and works at the same time, but working doesn’t mean you have to leave home at 7 am and reach home at 6 pm.

These days, you can work at home or work from home as long as you have a PC (or laptop) and internet connection.

You can be a freelance writer or a freelance designer (depending on your skills).

It is sad to say that most Malaysians have no idea about freelancing or being a freelancer.

In fact, I believe there should be more women freelancers in Malaysia, considering most women are housewives.

I have known some women who started their own home business by selling cakes & cookies or sewing clothing & curtains.

However, majority of them have no side income.

Living cost in Malaysia is rising (very quickly!).

You might want to consider working part time on the internet writing articles or designing logos.

Freelancing in Malaysia is possible but it takes time to learn. It is not possible to be good in something without taking the first step to learn.

Here’s your first step: Register on Elance


22
Dec 12

Blog Engage: $1000 USD Best of the Guest Blogging Contest (2012) Qualifying Posts

It’s 2:00 am in Malaysia.

Here I am composing this post, not because I want to participate in this contest, but merely to collect all qualifying blog posts in one page.

I can’t find a page where I can check out all the qualifying posts for The Blog Engage 2012 $1000 Best of the Guest Blogging Contest.

Then I realise that there’s a tag on some blog posts:

Qualifying Article for Year End $1000 USD Contest

Here’s a list of qualifying blog posts based on the tag above:

  1. How to (NOT) Be Successful: Get Rich (POOR) Quick with Your Blog by Jason Mathes

  2. Should You Give Up on Blog Commenting? by Justin Germino

  3. Don’t Take Blogging Seriously And This Is What Will Happen To You by Raaj Trambadia

  4. Idealist or Pragmatist: Can a Blogger Be Both? by Holly Jahangiri

  5. How did I win my first 3 blogging contest back to back? by Abhi Balani

What you can do?

  • Tweets, 20 points per Tweet
  • Pins, 20 points per Pinup
  • Linked In Votes, 20 points per Share
  • Facebook Likes, 20 points per Like
  • Google Plus, 20 points per Plus
  • Engages at Blog Engage, 100 points per Engage
  • Comments on Blog Engage Guest Article that provide value, 30 points per comment
  • Comments on Blog Engage Story Page that provide value, 40 points per comment

—–

Did I miss out on any posts?

Let me know by leaving a comment.

Thanks!


14
Dec 12

3 Reasons Why You Are Heading Nowhere in Freelancing Industry

You have decided to join the freelancing industry months ago.

You join every freelancing sites, thinking that you will be hired in no time.

Boom!

You are wrong.

Months passed by (maybe even years!) and you are heading nowhere, being a freelancer.

It is sad but it happens.

Why?

  • You have no skills or talents or even the slightest interest in learning something new
  • You are wasting time
  • You think you can earn money by staring at the monitor

Seriously, time to sort out the priorities.


01
Dec 12

Freewriting: What is Freewriting

Have you heard of freewriting?

What is freewriting?

Free writing is a prewriting technique in which a person writes continuously for a set period of time without regard to spelling, grammar, or topic. (Free Writing, Wikipedia)

How?

Free writing is when you:

  • write non-stop
  • don’t correct your writing
  • keep writing, even if you have nothing to write, just to keep the flow of writing (imagine writing something that means nothing)
  • don’t judge or censor your writing

Why freewriting?

  • It helps to generate ideas before expanding
  • It helps to gather information before rearranging
  • It helps to unblock “writer’s block”
  • It helps to get comfortable with writing
  • Just for fun

Freewriting is the best way to start your writing, especially when you are suffering writer’s block. It helps to get into the writing mood.

You can free write when:

  • you feel that ideas are flowing in your mind
  • you have nothing to write and want to write something
  • you feel angry or sad and you want to let it all out on paper (or typing on your computer)
  • you want to sleep but cannot sleep

Example of freewriting:

1. http://web.mst.edu/~gdoty/classes/concepts-practices/free-writing-example.html

2. http://home.earthlink.net/~khatzi/essay/freewriting.htm

Resources on freewriting:

1. http://grammar.about.com/od/yourwriting/a/freewrite.htm

2. http://www.wikihow.com/Freewrite


17
Nov 12

Blog Engage

I used to be a member of Blog Engage. It was a long time ago but recently I decided to take a peek at Blog Engage to find out what’s new.

First of all, I was surprised that I can no longer log in. After digging around the site, I noticed that I have to pay $19.99 for a standard account. There are other advanced packages available ranging from $9.99/month to $199.99/month.

Memberships, RSS, Blog Engage

Naturally I became curious. I NEED to find out HOW to get this standard account for FREE.

Then, it came to me – http://www.blogengage.com/blogger/get-your-free-19-99-blog-engage-account

The title says it all.

This is my chance to have a fresh start on BE.

These are the features for a standard account:

What’s Included in a Blog Engage Standard Account?

  • Manual Submission:

With your manual submission account you have full access to the blog engage community. Your articles will need manual submission but all features and functions of the site will be available for you to use.

  • Adsense Revenue Program

On all your manually submitted and or syndicated Articles we will display your Google Adsense ads! this is set up by modifying your profile.

  • Groups

You will have the ability to create or join groups for your blog. During the submission process you will have the ability to submit targeted articles into these groups. This is a great way to get your content in front of an audience that wants to read it.

  • The Wall

This is a great place to keep up to date on all your friends activities. This will show all their status updates, submissions, comments and everything you need to know to stay updated on what’s happening in the blogosphere.

  • Community Blog

You have full access to and are welcomed to guest blog on our community blog as often as you like. You can introduce yourself to our community, show off your blog and so much more.

  • Blog Forum

Our blog forum is a great place to meet new bloggers and to introduce yourself to everyone. You can ask for blog reviews, look for guest bloggers and so much more.

  • Blog Directory

The blog directory is another way to help you rank in the search engines. You can add all your favorite blog links with tags and titles to help you rank higher for targeted keywords.

  • Free e-Book

SEO Marketing E-Book Written by me Brian Belfitt.

  • EasyRetweet Bonus (500)

EasyRetweet in partnership with Blog Engage offers all Blog Engage Standard Account holders 500 Credits. EasyReTweet is an excellent Twitter Web App and traffic tool that helps Twitter users pull huge traffic to their links.

~ from Blog Engage

What are you waiting for? Get your free standard account by following these steps:

http://www.blogengage.com/blogger/get-your-free-19-99-blog-engage-account/

I can’t wait to get started, that is if Brian activated my account :-)


14
Nov 12

Dream Job

Hello,
My name is Kieran Flores.

I am trying freelance writing jobs, and that’s how I found your site. You provide interesting and practical information, thanks!

I would like to know whether you will write about writing as a dream. I mean, when you ask a kid “”What do you want to be?””, he or she would hardly answer “”A writer””. But you certainly have an experience in this field. I’m sure you have something to say. Is it the job you dreamed about? Is being a writer dreamy? It’s just a suggestion, but I really think it would be an awesome post. Your opinion is very important for me.

Thank you.
I highly value your feedback!

Best regards,
Kieran Flores

I apologise for overlooking this.

This has been sitting on Google Drive for months.

Kieran, you have raised an interesting topic for me.

Is writing my dream job?

YES.

I knew it since I was 12 years old.

I used to write poetry and short stories.

In fact I had a very old blog on creative writing when I was 13 years old, but the blog is unpublished at the moment.

So, there you have it. My answer is yes and I will write for as long as I can, although it has been difficult lately due to the commitment (work, study & family).

Have a question? Ask here.


01
Nov 12

Identifying Freelancing Scams

I have written in general about Freelancing Scams in 2009 and this post is an updated version.

*****

In 2009, I have discussed a few ways to identify freelancing scams. However, 2013 is approaching and this is the perfect time to revise some of the most common scams in the freelancing industry.

Common Signs of Scam

Unique Article as Sample

Situation: Employer will request a unique article sample (NOTE: if you are a designer, you might be asked to present a unique logo design as a sample).

Reality: You are providing a piece of unique work for nothing.Personal View: Personally I have experienced this in my early months. I have written a few articles, sent them to the so-called employer and never get paid.

Payment Out of System

Situation: Freelancing sites such as Freelancer.com and Elance.com require payment through their system. Any payment out of the system is a breach of their terms and conditions. Now, some employers prefer to pay out of the system to avoid fees.

Reality: Most employers who seek payment out of the system are scammers. They do not have the intention of paying at all. It is not recommended to accept payment out of the system for first-time clients (employers).

Brief Job Description

Situation: The job description is too general.

Reality: It is usually fake (although not always).

Low Pay

Situation: You are being offered low rate (e.g. $1 for 500 words).

Reality: First, they just want to save money. Secondly, they are fooling you into thinking that you are worth such rate because you are “new”.

Too Good To Be True

Situation: You smell something fishy.

Reality: Trust your instinct. Chances are you are right, there’s something wrong.

Pay First Scheme

Situation: You are required to pay in order to “secure” the job.

Reality: Once they received your payment, they will disappear into the thin air.

Revenue Sharing

Situation: You are required to submit articles and your earning depends on the traffic to your articles and the number of clicks on the ads.

Reality: If you don’t mind writing for peanuts, you might want to try this. However, in most cases, they are fraud.

Personal View: I have tried on Triond. While the earning is rather low, but at least they pay as promised, every month.

Newbie Trap

Situation: In exchange of “experience”, you are required to work for low pay or no pay.

Reality: They are insisting on the fact that you are “new” and to lure you into thinking that you are gaining “experience”, you are required to work on low pay or no pay. In other words, this is a waste of time and total scam.

Conclusion

Please beware of the signs when looking for freelance jobs / gigs / work