Thursday, April 27, 2017

Am I that boring?

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A view of  a single tower may be boring but offering
your opinions should not, and you can get paid for it
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Today, actually yesterday, I was looking at some Haro assignments.  In case you are not familiar with this website, the purpose of the website, according to them is actually Haro stands for Help a Reporter Out.  Reporters, of course, have assignments, and instead of them going around looking for people to comment on their articles, they actually sign up to temporary hire people like me to give their opinion on a topic.  New drinking game, everyone who reads this, takes a drink of their favorite beverage when you read the word “actually”-JK.
So, for example, if a reporter is looking for people who actually (take a drink) decorated with some of Nate Berkus' products, he may request a short review of the products and be as descriptive as possible.  The best answer will win a shout out on his article.  From all the answer that reporter gets, say, 100 people, he may pick 5 people out of that 100.  Of course, the reporter by law has to notify you that he is using your information.   Once he uses that information, you get paid. There are several sites on the internet like that.  I am subscribed to Haro, as well as guest blogging opportunities, and a couple other sites in that category.
The questions are all the same and I sometimes wonder if my life, as I know it, is that boring.  So far, I have not answer one single question, except Quora.  There is one catch with this site, you do not get paid for your opinion.  I will talk more about this site in a moment.
How to use Haro, Quora, and other sites like these?
If you are a least curious about these writing sites, I can answer that.  First of all, you have to sign up for an account.  Most of these sites are free to sign-up.  Once you get the approval to become a member, you can dive right in to find your assignment.  Don’t forget to fill out the rest of your account, which allows you to fine tune things like, what is your writing style, what topics do you write about, and some may even have you take a little test to make sure that English is your native language, or you speak it well enough to pass the test.  You may also have to tell them a little bit about yourself.  In that section, do not write a whole book, but write enough to make you at least appear to be human.  Also, if you want to receive these assignments on a regular basis, give them a valid email address.
Pay me NOW!
Payment depends on the type of service you signed up for.  For Haro, it is up to the amount that a reporter wants to pay you.  For other sites, it depends on the people who run the website.  Usually, a person gets paid through Paypal or through a direct deposit into their bank account.  I prefer Paypal. Why?  For protection reasons, and less likely for a company to have your banking information.  As I mentioned earlier Quora does not pay people to answer questions and I am not sure if they will ever pay for an opinion.
OK, that sounds good, but how does this help me as a writer?
One word, exposure.  The more you write, the better you become.  I do not suggest that this is a permanent thing you do.  After all, you have things to do, people to see, and mouths to feed.  This is not the ticket to the holy grail of writing.  This is a stepping stone in your writing career.  When I mention earlier if my life is boring, it is not boring at all.  I may not have interesting to say to that reporter on that site, but I have answered thousands of questions on Quora on my experiences with Disney, YouTube, writing blogs, writing journals, even being an aunt, not having children of my own.  The problem I have with Quora is the paying part.  My answers are now too valuable to not get paid for it, at least in a gift card or two.  When I first got started with the site, it was the thing to do to get my feet wet and to see if I want to make it as a writer.  Remember, I earned a degree in marketing, and I wanted to be an actress and preschool teacher.  I do papercrafts and graphic design as well. The writing was the furthest thing from my mind when I first started in this industry.  I only started because I was writing in my own journal and this industry can be relaxing.  Don’t you think so?
You are still putting your work out there for someone, in some company to see it.  Maybe you are not looking for a job in the industry, but it could happen.  Someone in that same company could see a writing piece you wrote for some small-town newsletter and say, “I want this person as my next employee. They could make a great asset to my company.
It is all about the delivery, my friend, you never know.  It is the same with anything you do on the Interwebs, as I like to call the internet.  You do not have to write, this happens to be a writing blog.  At the moment, you may not be able to demand your own price for your work.  This is where the word “freelance” comes in.
Payment part 2
Once you are recognized for that work, you can demand that price, but I have read in some articles not to work by the hour.  I have tested this theory myself and I have to agree with it.  When you start naming your price, quote per piece/ article.  Here is why.
Let start with my handmade work that I do.  If I work on a scrapbook album and give the quote of $50/hour and I work 40 hours on the book (which is roughly a week), it would cost the customer $2,000 for the scrapbook.  Most people would not be able to afford this book.  On top of that, I have not figured in the materials used in the book. I usually spend about $80-$100 on supplies alone because I do not want to run out, or in case the paper I select or what the client selects is discontinued.  The same goes with writing.  If a client hires me to write 10 articles, and I work that same $50/hour for 40 hours, the client may not be able to afford me either.
However, I can put a set price on a scrapbook, and my books run about $200 per book and higher, I can throw in the cost of supplies, and I can work as many hours as I can.  I can charge $7-$10 per page, depending on the size of each page and the album.  So, a typical 20-page, 12 x 12 scrapbook album at $10 + the cost of an album may run about $210, and it also depends on how much the other materials cost, so about $310. It may take me 3 hours, or the full 40, but I have a set price.  Writing prices can be set by the word count.  A 1,500-word article would run about $750 (1,500 x $.50/word =$750).  Please do not be ashamed of naming your price, but also be prepare to hear the word, “negotiate”.  If they want you bad enough, the client will pay that price.  If not, you can always turn them down as well.
Also by the hour limits you a well.  Another term for “price by product” is “price by project”.  This is where you could turn that $750 quote into, “I will do 5 articles for $750”, but the bottom line is to have a repeat customer. ($750/5 = $150 for each article)
Whatever you do to get to the end goal of having a sustainable income, remember to start out with these smaller stepping stone that is the start of your writing career.
am I that boring?  I don’t think so.

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