The Newbie’s Guide to WriterAccess: Part 1

Hello, FWG readers! This post is a little outside of my normal approach to freelance sites, and that’s because I have a little confession to make: I’ve kinda been keeping WriterAccess to myself. It’s an amazing platform, and frankly I didn’t want to flood it with new applicants and risk crowding myself out of my own job, even it was for the greater good. However, since so many new writers are coming on board there and hitting the WA forums for answers, I figured it was high time to write a guide on my favorite freelance writing site.

Planning on applying to WriterAccess? Please let me know if I steered you that direction, and please mention that Delany M. sent you! I don’t get any $ for doing this blog, and a few referral bonuses would go a long way in the WordChick household – THANK YOU! ❤ 

Here are the basics:

  • WriterAccess accepts American writers only. (Sorry, overseas friends!) You will need an SSN to apply there, and you will also need to fill out a W-9 form. Get the jump on that W-9 requirement by filling one out, scanning it, and having it ready as a file to email.
  • WriterAccess rates its writers from 2 to 6 stars, similar to the rating tiers at sites like HireWriters, Voldemort.com “The Site That Shall Not Be Named” and Textbroker. When you first apply, the highest you can be rated entering in is a 5, though most applicants will land at a 4 or below, so don’t be discouraged! That coveted 6 star is earned over time through professional, high-quality work, which we’ll discuss a little more at length later. Think of 2 stars as “Cats are pets you will like to have around.” and 6 stars as more of “If you’re considering adopting a pet, felines are a smart option for even the busiest household.”
  • WriterAccess pays twice a month, and only pays through Paypal, so you must have an account. Check out the graphic below to get a better idea of how it works:

WriterAccess_Pay_Chart

For work submitted between 12:01 am EST on the 1st of the month through 11:59 pm on the 15th and accepted by the client without a revision request that falls after that cutoff time, you’ll get paid out sometime between the 22nd-26th. (“Period A” / Green in the graphic above)

For work submitted between 12:01 am on the 16th through 11:59 on the 30/31st and accepted by the client without a revision request that falls after that cutoff time, you’ll get paid out sometime between the 7th-11th. (“Period B / Blue in the graphic above)

Why the rangeWriterAccess is at the mercy of Paypal’s slow-as-syrup transfer times when shifting over the money to pay us. The 11th/26th end dates for the range come pretty often because, unsurprisingly, Paypal likes to hold onto money so it can earn interest.Bear in mind that, as of this writing, we will never be paid on weekends – so if those end dates fall on a weekend, you can pretty reliably plan to get paid on the Friday prior.There are no specific times of day we get paid, and they can vary from early in the morning to late at night with no indication beforehand, so be prepared for that. You can read more about it in the WriterAccess Writer FAQs.

WriterAccess absorbs the Paypal fees, so what you see in your on-site dashboard is exactly what you’ll be paid. They also take their 30% site cut of earnings out before the rates even display to writers, so you’ll never need to do math to figure out what’s coming to you – what you see is what you’ll get!

Ready to learn more about this awesome platform? Part 2 is now up!

 

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Interesting Tips on Pricing Your Work

This video, created by David Picciuto for his Youtube Channel DrunkenWoodworker, discusses how craftspeople should approach pricing their work. There are sound tips in here, including viewing your work on a holistic “day” block for pricing purposes, as opposed to hours or minutes.

Pricing Your Work : DrunkenWoodworker

Dealing With Problem Clients

Whole libraries have been written on the subject of speaking to a member of the opposite (or same, or other – it is 2016, after all) sex, but precious little covers how we, as freelancers, should chat up our source of income if things start to go sideways. Realistically, we’re also all competing with one another for work, so cards are held pretty close to the vest. It’s not easy to peek at what others are doing in real time to mimic, as you might in other industries.

So what now? Wing it? That’s what most fledgling freelancers are forced to do, in the absence of clear instruction. More established writers have uncovered the trip wires and learned to see the red flags on a problem client from miles away, but those skills were probably dearly learned. I feel that the “new blood” in freelancing needs guidance on this, even if it’s at the cost of a smaller work pool. Why? Well, because it isn’t just about educating them – it’s about empowering them and bringing them into the fold to stand firm against industry-wide issues like scope creep, which affects every writer regardless of skill level.

redflag

Here are my “three truths,” to dealing with potential “red flag” clients, fledgling writers:

1.) Clients will test you. This means that they will often try to get something for nothing, more for little, or everything for a fair amount. The trick here is to master being a willow tree in a sea of oak trees – that is, firmly rooted but willing to bend a bit when it suits your needs. Don’t agree to take on non-writing tasks like backlinking, image-gathering or distributing press releases unless you’re being paid accordingly – these are not typically part and parcel of a writing job, and they certainly shouldn’t be free. If client-requested “edits” are sounding more like “additions” that are going to take you beyond your maximum paid-for word counts, ask politely if they’d like to increase the word count (and pay!) or have you remove some previously-written work from the piece instead. Now, they don’t want to lose work of course, they wanted the new stuff for free, but this is a polite way of acknowledging that you know what they might be up to and stopping it before it has a chance to manifest.

2.) Set the rules of engagement before they do it for you. Unless you’re being paid a staggering amount of money, you are not on call 24/7, so don’t be afraid to set time and communication boundaries. It’s reasonable to expect that you are available 9-5 Monday through Friday in your home time zone, it is not reasonable to expect you’re available at 11:30 pm on a Saturday unless it was previously discussed and agreed upon. Never give a new client your home phone or cell phone, because rest assured they will use it – and use it, and use it. Keeping things confined to email or Skype gives you some measure of control over when and where your client contacts you, and that is important for setting boundaries. If a call is absolutely necessary, offer to call them and frame it as a service benefit – “I would be happy to call you to save you the trouble, what time and number is best to reach you?”

3.) Don’t let them use price or volume as a dangling carrot. Remember that, in freelancing, promises of “more work,” “ongoing higher pay work” or “bonuses” aren’t worth the digital non-paper they’re printed on. A lot of clients will use this tactic on newbie writers to get really great work out of them….once. You work hard, turn in a great article, and wait. And wait. No bonuses, the client is MIA, and there’s no work in sight. All of a sudden, that above-and-beyond effort for that “carrot” was actually for a run-of-the-mill one-off article with average pay, or worse, lower pay. As I’ve mentioned in the Freelance Writer Guide, even new writers should not agree to less than .01 / word – $1 for 100 words needs to be the floor when it comes to fluent English writing. Don’t accept less…a reputable client that actually has fairly-priced work for you will not ask you to work for less than a penny a word, even on a “trial” basis.

Let me be clear: most of the clients you’re working for will be agencies and middlemen, and any promise of “exposure” is hollow or a flat-out lie. If they are an agency or a middleman, they aren’t authorized to allow you to stick the end client’s name or the work you’ve done for them in your portfolio.

If you enter into every project with an (polite!) attitude of self-worth, clear boundaries and a firm price in mind for your efforts, you’ll be able to avoid a lot of problem clients – the most egregious/abusive individuals in the bad client roster are looking for an easy, too-eager pushover they can exploit, not someone that knows what their work is worth.

 

Hashtag All The Things: Free Marketing Through Social Media

Recently I’ve found myself explaining my social media marketing process to a lot of friends and peers – it’s simple and it’s a catchall solution for everything from real estate to eBay to, yes, freelance writing. Here it is, in a nutshell:

Step 1: Get a Facebook account and a Twitter account. For those of you already forming the words to something like “But I don’t get it…” or “I don’t have time to…Hush. Hear me out.

What you name your FB/Twitter account should be at least semi-related to what you’re doing, or easy enough to spell/say/remember that it isn’t impossible to find. JohnWritesStuff = Good. InadvertentCephalopod418 = Bad. Even if you already have these accounts personally, it’s probably a good idea to make new “junk” ones so you aren’t overwhelming your friends and family with posts.

Step 2: Do your “thing,” whatever it happens to be. Write your article for Constant Content, post your eBay auction, list your house, sell your stuff on Craigslist. If you’re at least passingly comfortable with any of these things, you should have a title that uses the most room that platform allows (e.g. you have very minimal leftover characters in your eBay title, like 5-6 letters max) and has lots of keywords about that item. Let’s use eBay for an example. I’m going to list a vase, and I use this title:

“16th Century Large Green Ming Dynasty Vase China Ceramic Rare!”

Step 3: Highlight and copy the title you just wrote.

Step 4: Go onto the social media marketing platform of your choice – say, Twitter, and paste that title in the update box. Do not publish/send it yet.

Step 5: Put the # (hashtag) symbol in front of important words in that title, ones that people are likely to search.

  • Leave out any vague terms that people looking for your item probably won’t use – in our example, “Green” is a little too generic.
  • Take out the space between words for words that would probably be searched as a whole phrase, like “Ming Dynasty” so that it shows as a single clickable link instead of one each for “Ming” and “Dynasty.”
  • Don’t want to put a # in front of numbers because it won’t link correctly – in our example, I would swap out “16th Century” for “Antique” – it’s a term that gets the same point across, but has no numbers.
  • After your hashtags are done, copy and paste the URL (the http://www.blahblah.com thing in your address bar when your listing/article/page is up) after your hashtagged creation is finished.
  • If you’re selling something that can only be picked up or sold locally (like furniture on Craigslist), be sure to hashtag your city name or your city name and state if you have a common city name like “Smithtown”.

    My finished product might look something like this:

#Antique Large Green #MingDynasty #Vase #China #Ceramic #Rare! http://www.ebay.com/item#123456.html

Step 6: Submit it. Copy and paste that whole finished line into Twitter and Facebook – Yes, you can use the same line! Cool, right? – and voila. You’ve just successfully used social media marketing. Make sure the privacy on these posts is set to “public!”

But what does this do for me, ThatWordChick?

On both Facebook and Twitter, hashtags are used to denote a searchable term – so if someone plunks “Ming Dynasty” in the Twitter or Facebook search box, for example, your entry will show up and they’re likely to click through to check out your auction. These searchers do not have to be friends, following your page, etc – that’s the beauty of hashtags! If you want to have a little fun with it, open a tab that shows your current hits/views on the auction/article/listing etc. , post your status update, then refresh this stats page a minute later. You can watch the numbers jump up before your eyes!

I use this method to advertise my Etsy listings, my eBay auctions, my Freelance Writing services, my Craigslist items, my Constant Content articles – essentially anything I’m looking to sell. It’s been extremely helpful for me and my sales, and I hope it’s just as helpful for you!

 

 

Follow Me!

Despite numerous requests from readers on my blog, it didn’t occur to me until today to look for a WordPress follow widget for my sidebar. Lo and behold, it took about two seconds for me to find one and pop it in there – I need to get better at keeping up with the trends, apparently! Thanks for nudging me about it guys 🙂

If you’d like to follow the Freelance Writer Guide and receive an email each time I post an update – typically about once a week or so – be sure to sign up by clicking the “Follow” button over on the right!