A Fiverr Problem

fiverr logo

Hello, my dear readers!

Hope this week finds you well.

As much as Fiverr has its flaws, I’ve come to find it’s been working out for my business quite nicely. In, face, lately, it’s the source of a majority of my projects.

However, I feel there’s been an issue on the site that’s come to a head lately. There’s a section called Buyer Requests. The section acts as a meeting hub for clients and sellers. The client writes a short description of the work they want done and the sellers have an opportunity to make offers.

The Fiverr team’s made a great deal of improvements to this particular section in recent months, and I really appreciate it.

However, what I do not appreciate as much is sellers using the Buyer Requests section as a way to advertise their work. Here’s what I mean.

This is a typical Buyer Request:

Request

This is a seller ad:

Ad

I don’t know how well this works for other sellers, but frankly I find it at the very least rude. For buyers, it crowds out the rightful place of their request. For sellers like me, we read through each ad to see if we can apply. By posting what amounts to be spam, you’re wasting my time. And since time is money, you’re wasting my money.

It’s not the biggest problem in the world, but it’s an annoying one and I sincerely hope the Fiver admins have taken a look at what this particular section has become. It’s a nuisance, it’s unfair to seller and buyer alike and I really don’t think anyone who uses the site should stand for it.

Buyers of Fiverr, if you see these ads pop up along with your requests, please notify the site administrators. I don’t want to see sellers get banned necessarily; I just want the section cleaned up, and I’m sure you do, too.

Sellers of Fiverr, I’d really encourage you not to resort to this spam-like behaviour. I like getting ahead as much as the next guy, but there’s really no reason or profit to sharing your services this way. It hurts you, it hurts your fellow sellers and it could hurt the buyers we all rely on, too.

Ok, that’s my rant for the week. You may all go about your business and happy freelancing!

What do you think of sellers using the Buyer Requests section in this way? Discuss in the comments below!

Be sure to check out my portfolio and professional site here

My freelancing e-book, Dip Into the Ink Pot, is now available on Amazon by clicking here!
Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to the blog if you like what you see, and I’ll talk to you next week!

– Adam

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Work Music

Credit/Lakewood Music Boosters

Credit/Lakewood Music Boosters

Good morning, my dear readers!

I’ve been sitting here for the better part of an hour wondering what on earth I was going to write for this week when it hit me.

Some people like to work in absolute silence. For me, freelancing in my home alone is quiet enough; I need some kind of noise going.

It can’t just be any noise, though. It has to be something that plays in the background and stays in the background. Sometimes, and it shames me to admit it, I find myself distracted by the many media offerings of the internet. Please try to contain your surprise.

I recommend some kind of white noise or even some background music without lyrics (I suppose this is more applicable to writers than anyone else. Now, granted, that’s not the most entertaining environment. But that’s not really the point, is it?

You’re not in your “office” to be entertained; you’re there to work. And if you need some kind of noise to keep yourself moving forward (like me), so be it. Just make sure it stays where it needs to – minimized and in the background.

I’ve come up with a few recommendations that help me, courtesy of YouTube. There should be enough here to fill an 8-hour day!

Happy working!

What’s your favourite work environment? Discuss in the comments below!

Be sure to check out my portfolio and professional site here

My freelancing e-book, Dip Into the Ink Pot, is now available on Amazon by clicking here!
Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to the blog if you like what you see, and I’ll talk to you next week!

– Adam

Following Up 101: What to Say and When

success is in the follow-up

Credit/Oxygen.co.uk

Hello, my dear readers! I hope this post finds you well.

At some points throughout the month, work slows down, which gives me the chance to apply to jobs again. This brings up a question, though.

How do you handle the follow-up process?

Without further ado, here are my thoughts on how you can make the most of the art of the follow-up.

The key to effective follow-ups is knowing when to do it.

Generally speaking, I don’t find it especially productive or useful to follow-up on every single job application you put out. Then again, that depends entirely on how many you put out in the first place.

I could feasibly place hundreds of job applications per month. It would take more hours than are in a day to follow up on each an every single one.

I recommend placing the job applications in three categories:

1. Interest confirmed: If someone responds to your inquiry letter or application asking for a quote, send them one as soon as you can. If you don’t hear from them in, say, a week (maybe less if you deem it appropriate), it’s ok to send along a quick note asking if they have any questions about the quote, your work or just the status of the decision. It doesn’t have to be anything long; just something to reinforce the fact that you’d love to work with them and aren’t rushing them so much as doing what you can to gently nudge them your way.

2. Shows promise: This is really two kinds of client-freelancer interactions. First, this can mean jobs described as gigs that fit closest to your specific abilities. It can also mean clients who have expressed interest in your services – either you found them or, even more promising, they found you. If the client does not immediately ask you for a quote, follow up within a few days to see if they’re ready for more information.

3. General: If the client hasn’t yet confirmed interest or otherwise reached out to you, it’s ok to let it fall into this category. I find quite a few applications fall under this area, and I suspect you’ll find much the same. Please don’t let that discourage you! I’ve been a full-time freelancer for a bit more than a year now, and that status came after sending application after application after application. Keep at it!

Thanks to the Upwork team for the prompt!

Upwork is a great place to find clients and professional collaborators all over the world. I got my start on Elance and oDesk, and Upwork takes the best from both sites into one, tidy package. Their website also features guides for freelancers to help them advance their skills and connect with potential clients.

If you haven’t yet signed up with them, check it out today!

How do you follow up on job applications? Discuss in the comments below!

Be sure to check out my portfolio and professional site here

My freelancing e-book, Dip Into the Ink Pot, is now available on Amazon by clicking here!
Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to the blog if you like what you see, and I’ll talk to you next week!

– Adam

The Best of WritingPrompts

Hello, my dear readers! Hope this week finds you well.

I’m a latecomer to Reddit, and I find myself fascinated by the site for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the subreddit WritingPrompts.

I thought I’d try something a little more fun this week and give you links to some of the best writing prompts I noticed this week. Enjoy and if you find the time, give some a try!

[WP] A sentient virus destroys most of humanity. Many scientists tried and failed to communicate with it. You are the one scientist who succeeds.

[WP]: “I’m not SAYING that Robert’s nipples destroyed the Earth. I’m just saying, if he hadn’t worn that shirt, we would still have a planet to call home.”

submarine space writing prompt

[WP] Original Earth inhabitants, now space traveling beings, are returning home only to find humanity, their once lab rats, running the place.

[WP] As an Angel, your job is to keep people that hate each other from meeting in Heaven.

tumblr_mcqg42itxN1qee12to2_1280

[WP] you live in a universe where people’s physical appearance directly relates to their personality.

[WP] An infamous con-artist goes to hell and attempts to scam the devil for his soul back.

What’s your favourite writing prompts? Have any ideas? Discuss in the comments below!

Be sure to check out my portfolio and professional site here

My freelancing e-book, Dip Into the Ink Pot, is now available on Amazon by clicking here!
Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to the blog if you like what you see, and I’ll talk to you next week!

– Adam

Butterflies in the Sky…brary! A Reading Rainbow update

Reading rainbow logo I can go anywhere I can be anything butterflies in the sky yeah!

Credit/Reading Rainbow

Hello, my dear readers!

As those of you who have checked out my blog in the past may know, I’m a fan of the old show Reading Rainbow and promoted their Kickstarter last year.

Here’s a brief recap before the latest development. The campaign’s initial goal was to bring the series back online and deliver it for free to schools across the US.

The initial financial goal for the project was to raise $1 million. One year and 100,000-plus backers and more than $5 million raised later, Reading Rainbow introduces the Skybrary!

The Skybrary features hundreds of digital books for children ages 2 to 9 along with more than 150 video field trips to inspire children to go anywhere and be anything!

LeVar Burton, the show’s host, narrates each book. When a child opens one of the books, they have the option to listen to the story, to read along or to read by themselves, depending on their skill levels. Each book features interactive animations, hearkening back to the days of the CD-ROM books of the ’90s.

The site, much to my delight, offers old episodes of the show’s initial run as well.

Users of the Skybrary can sign up for an initial 14-day trial, and there are three subscription packages starting at $9.99 per month.

By the way, The $9.99 package is called the Voyager. I see what you did there, Mr. Burton.

Anyway, it’s so cool to see this site up and online. To me, it grows more and more important each day to keep kids engaged in reading. Reading opens whole new worlds to children, broadens their horizons and exercises their minds.

An expanded imagination and a hunger to learn are invaluable resources to a child, and there’s no telling what could come just by giving them the chance to read.

If you’re a parent yourself, based on what the show’s done for me and who knows how many others, I’d really recommend giving it a go. Give your kids a passport to the world of the Reading Rainbow!

“I was overwhelmed; I did not expect that sort of outpouring. In retrospect, people have said, ‘Are you kidding? There are so many adults who grew up with the show.’ But I never tried to quantify the size or the generosity of that generation. I underestimated the power, the strength of the brand. My takeaway has been, I’m grateful, absolutely, beyond measure, and really proud.”

– LeVar Burton, Host of Reading Rainbow for 25 years.

What educational shows did you watch as a kid? Discuss in the comments below! 

Be sure to check out my portfolio and professional site here

My freelancing e-book, Dip Into the Ink Pot, is now available on Amazon by clicking here!
Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to the blog if you like what you see, and I’ll talk to you next week!

– Adam

 

Overbooking and the Prevention Thereof

work stress woman office

femside.com

Hello, my dear readers; apologies for disappearing on you again the last two weeks. I just wrapped up writing another movie for a client, among other projects. I’ve been busy, and that’s certainly not a bad thing.

Good thing or not, though, negligence is negligence, and for that, I apologize.

I have a confession to make. The last month, I’ve overbooked myself. I don’t know when it started or how it got there, but there it is.

I’m not proud of it, because it’s cost me a great deal of sanity and gained me a great deal of stress. I’m working it out and it is what it is.

As such, maybe it’s time to address that on my blog – What to do to prevent overbooking.

Here we go!

1. Create a waiting list

Generally what happens in a typical month for me is I end up taking on projects of varying scales, between 3 to 5 isn’t out of the question.

What you say yes to and when depends entirely on your schedule. Think about what you’ve done on a project so far. Do you think you can continue at your given rate and meet the deadline on time? Would taking on another project cause you to miss a deadline?

If the answers are yes and then no, respectively, don’t take on that project. Ask them politely if they would like to be placed on a waiting list. I did one for a week, for example, and the woman waited because she had faith in my abilities and I communicated honestly.

2. Renegotiate

There was a project I took on for one of my clients that increased in scale during my current overbooked phase, which caused additional stress for both of us.

As such, I wasn’t going to be able to meet our originally agreed-upon deadline. So what did I do?

I contacted my client to explain this situation – I overbooked myself, I still want to do quality work for him, but that’s going to take some time. It worked out just fine. Sometimes deadlines can be moved, and in this case, I had a good rapport with  my client, he had some projects to finish up anyway, and we’re set for a new deadline.

It might work out well for you; it might not. The worst thing you can do, though, is to not communicate; to fall out of the loop and disappear into your work cave without another word.

Keep the lines of communication open. Sometimes the deadline problem isn’t as big as it seems.

3. Keep Calm

I used to be pretty good about keeping my work and home life separate, but since they’ve become one in the same, this becomes quite a bit more difficult.

As such, since work stress bleeds into my home life even more than it normally would, I was a generally unhappy guy. It took me longer than I’d like to admit to realize that.

Day and night, I worked, I stressed about work, I complained about work, and I got called out on it.

It was like a slap to the face I needed. There will always be a level of stress I have to deal with – we all have to deal with – in our professional lives, but we shouldn’t let it take over us. We have to work through. Life goes on.

So in short, my advice is stick to a strict schedule, create a waiting list if needed, and above all, work through one step, one day at a time.

Thanks for reading! I’ll do my utmost not to disappear on you again.

How do you prevent or deal with overbooking? Discuss in the comments below! 

Be sure to check out my portfolio and professional site here

My freelancing e-book, Dip Into the Ink Pot, is now available on Amazon by clicking here!
Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to the blog if you like what you see, and I’ll talk to you next week!

– Adam

 

Cell Phones Have Ruined Everything: The 5 Things I learned from R.L. Stine

Credit/Buzzfeed

Credit/Buzzfeed

Good morning, my dear readers!

I was thrilled to note the lovely writers over at Buzzfeed recently hosted an interview with R.L. Stine, author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series.

I read nearly every book of the old Goosebumps series when I was a kid, so I was thrilled to note that not only is he still writing at age 70, but a Goosebumps movie is scheduled for release this August!

With that in mind, here are a few things I learned from the YA scare master himself in his recent interview:

1. Life can take you on entirely different-than-planned paths.

“So I always say when I talk to young people and talk to people in school, you can’t really plan your life because things don’t just work out the way you think. You always end up somewhere else. …I never planned to write scary stuff ever. I liked it when I was a kid, but I always wanted to be funny.”

2. Author ideas evolve in unusual ways (I might have to keep this one in mind).

“I kind of work backwards from most authors, and my trick is to think of a title, not an idea. A year ago I was walking my dog in Riverside Park and these words flashed into my head: Little Shop of Hamsters. It’s a great title, right? So then I think, Well how do you make a hamster scary? This was the challenge: Do you have maybe a thousand hamsters somewhere, or do you have a giant hamster? And it sort of leads me to the story; it’s what happens almost all the time.”

3. There are ways to make even “cookie-cutter” characters work for you.

“I’m always criticized for not doing much characterization. One of my editors said that I’m great with full-blown, cardboard characters; that’s my real talent. But you want the reader to think they’re the protagonist, so I don’t do much in the way of description so the reader will assume that it’s them in this situation.”

4. As culture and technology evolve, so, too, must stories, for better or worse.

“You know, cell phones have ruined everything. They’ve ruined every plot, seriously. You used to have this plot where the girl is getting these frightening phone calls and she’s trying to figure out who’s calling her. You can’t do that story anymore [because the name is] right there on the phone. In the first new Fear Street novel, Party Games…they arrive on this island, they’re all invited to a birthday party, and the guy who’s giving the party collects all the phones and said, “We’re not going to have phones this weekend.” I had him collect all the phones to get them out of the way so they couldn’t just call for help, because now you can just call for help. So you have to find some way around it now.

5. If you love writing, no matter how old you get, keep going.

“I still love [writing], I enjoy it. This is what I’ve done since I was 9 years old. I was a weird, weird kid. I would be in my room typing and I don’t know why, but I still enjoy it. It’s so much fun for me. Someone once asked me, “What’s the worst advice you ever got?” and I thought back and I remembered my mother. I’d be in my room typing and she said, “Stop all that typing and go outside and play.” That’s the worst advice I ever got.”

Read the entire interview here. If you’re a big R.L. Stine fan, you can also check out this article.

Who are your favourite authors? What’s the best bit of advice they ever gave? Discuss in the comments below! 

Be sure to check out my portfolio and professional site here

My freelancing e-book, Dip Into the Ink Pot, is now available on Amazon by clicking here!
Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to the blog if you like what you see, and I’ll talk to you next week!

– Adam