Thinking About Becoming a Freelancer? Here are Three Tips

by Sabrina Ricci, Digital Pubbing

Being a freelancer is great. You get to set your own hours, choose what to work on, and help people directly. It’s also a lot of hard work, and you have to hustle in order to get consistent work and earn a living. If you’re new to freelancing, or considering taking the leap into the freelance world, here are three tips to help you get started.

1. Celebrate your wins.

Give yourself small milestones to reach, whether that means setting up a simple website, reaching out to your first potential client, or getting your portfolio together. When you’ve accomplished your goal, give yourself a treat. Spend some time with friends, have a glass of wine, or just do a little happy dance. All these small steps will add up to big wins, and it’s important to stay positive and focused along the way.

If you’re on the fence about whether or not to jump into this freelancing thing full time, Cathryn Lavery shares on Medium 22 books to read before quitting your job. Rizwan Aseem on Quora also recommends that if you’re trying to turn your hobby into a career, you should take at least six months to work on it consistently and learn the ins and outs.

2. Keep track of your progress.

Have big-picture goals, and then break them down into manageable tasks. One way to do this is to set up Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) every quarter. OKRs can be things like grow your email list by x% or reach out to three new potential clients. Then break down these OKRs into weekly or daily tasks. Use a tool such as Todoist, where you make a list of daily tasks and earn karma points for each task you mark as complete. As a great bonus, once you finish your list you can be done for the day and feel good about it, and enjoy time with family and friends.

3. Have clear payment policies.

Let your clients know up-front what to expect. Will you only accept payment up-front or will you accept down payments? When do you send the client the final work—before or after the final payment? Are there penalties for paying late? Do you accept cash, credit, or other forms of payment like PayPal? You should also include any fees, such as PayPal fees, and send clients clear invoices. One affordable service for creating and sending invoices is Invoice2go (costs $50 per year for up to 50 invoices).

Not sure how much to charge? Jory MacKay on Medium recommends charging by value, not an hourly rate. And Erin Flynn gives a breakdown on how to figure out how much money you need to earn a livable income.

Sabrina Ricci likes to experiment with digital technologies in the publishing world. She has an obsession with (e)books, dinosaurs, bad grammar, and amateur photography. And, of course, writing about everything. The goal of Digital Pubbing is to cover interesting publishing start-ups, highlight indie authors and their books, and be a resource for people who want to learn more about ebooks and self-publishing. She also likes to write about industry news and trends, and sometimes throws in a quirky science or grammar-related post.

Mixing History, Fantasy, the Outdoors, and Kids an interview with Jeff Alt

13775412_10157241439475232_742584107470564715_nThis year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. The best way to develop adults who care about the environment is to teach kids what nature can provide. It can cultivate a lifelong love of the outdoors. How can reading a book get kids outdoors?

To get kids interested, it has to be fun, Alt says, and it’s never too early to start. He should know—he and his wife hiked through Ireland with their toddler. Get the kids interested in the planning, too. They’ll look forward to the trip and you’ll have fewer “Are we there yet?” and “There’s nothing to do” comments headed your way. Continue reading

Interview with Travel Writer Mary Bartnikowski

by Sandra Murphy

Hawaii MaryMary Bartnikowski used to photograph weddings and events. When her son graduated from school and decided to travel, she wondered, “Why does he get to go and I don’t?” There was no answer for that, so she worked hard for six months, banked the money, and traveled for the next six months. “I live in Hawaii, on Kauai now,” she says. “I’m also spending time in Mount Shasta, California—a magical, special place. Over the years, I’ve used Airbnb worldwide and other creative spaces to rent and live in homes, ashrams, temples, campers, boats, and apartments, in thirty-two countries.”

Mary says her best rental was on Hawaii. A creative homeowner rented tents in his backyard for those traveling on a budget. “It was a little weird with people coming back late and headlights shining in, but I fell asleep. Then I woke up with a huge weight on me, felt a lot of hair and kisses. I thought someone was in the wrong tent or worse. Instead, it turned out the owner had forgotten to tell me about his big chocolate Labrador retriever!” Continue reading

Food, Gardens and Kvass

celeste-authorby Celeste Longacre

Food is a basic necessity of life. I was lucky to have read Adelle Davis’s Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit just before entering adulthood. Her premise in this book is that if you want to be healthy, you have to pay attention to what you eat. Wow! That made so much sense to me.

Our body constantly rebuilds and heals itself. We need to provide it with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients necessary to do so. Our awareness that many foods found in the supermarket are not able to properly nourish ourselves is growing. What to do?

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The Super-Quick Guide to Breaking into Magazine Writing

8ba632cb-533f-42bd-8719-0151bffac34aby Linda Formichelli

You want to write for your favorite magazine…but you don’t know how to start, so your writing dreams go unfulfilled.

Or maybe you’ve written for a few mags already, but could use tips to polish your queries and get more gigs.

A LOT goes into pitching an idea to a magazine—so much that it can be overwhelming, even for an experienced writer. So I boiled the process down to a concise (701 words, in fact) guide on exactly what you need to do.

If you need more information on any of these points, you can find it pretty easily online, in books, or in classes. Continue reading

Going Ashore

marshall_rby Roger Marshall

I design boats for a living and originally worked as an independent designer. When I moved from my native England to America to work for a large corporation, I was told that all my design work had to be for the company. I planned to go independent again after leaving this company, so I began writing magazine articles to keep my name in front of the boating public. It worked, and I ended up writing more than a thousand boating articles for magazines all over the world. At one time, I had stories in American, Japanese, Australian, English, Swedish, and Danish magazines in the same month. (This was in the days before the Internet.) I also wrote fourteen boating-related books in addition to designing boats under my own name.

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A Good Index Turns a Book into a Library

indexing1By Matt Weilert

A well-constructed index is what transforms a book into an entire library, a gateway to learning. Those who think they are “published” when they have but jotted some words on paper and found a vendor to print them, do both themselves and their audience a grave disservice.

Kathleen, SPAWN Executive Director, invited me to write this whitepaper on indexing and I was eager to accept, having spent hour after hour wrangling with MS-Word to get it to produce a halfway decent index. While this is not the final word on the subject (pun intended), the points here should help you complete your book index much more smoothly. Continue reading