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How Long Is Too Long

How long do you wait before asking for help in getting a client to pay?

I am going through a bit of a struggle with a client who owes me money on a couple of projects. I completed the first project, sent them an invoice on the 1st of April and was asked to do two more projects in the meantime. I completed those and was then told I would be receiving payment within a few days. Long story short, I haven't seen payment for even the first project, much less the other two and they haven't responded to an email since the 11th.

It isn't a vast amount of money, just a couple hundred dollars, but to me it makes a difference. I have bills that need to be paid out of that money.

It has been suggested that I go to Angela Hoy of Whispers and Warnings, but I am not wanting to make the move too soon. How long would you wait before asking for outside help to get a client to pay.?

A Trip Down Memory Lane

As part of her 3 year blog anniversary celebration, Deb over at Freelance Writing Jobs just posted a piece from the archives about making her move from keyword content to professional blogging. I remember this post well, as it inspired me to take on some new challenges, which have certainly paid off. I can't say that I will ever be as bold as Deb, to completely walk away from keyword content, but I find now that it makes up much less of my income.

The nostalgia got the better of me and I started to pour over my own archives, for the first time in months. What a rollercoaster ride my freelance career has been, up to this point. From my first post about my reasons for working at home to my mother's heart attack to the challenges I took on after returning to the freelance world after having my youngest. I have grown so much as a writer and have learned a heck of a lot about the business.

Blogger friends, take a minute to walk down memory lane and see just how far you have come. It will give you new inspiration to keep pushing toward your goals and to continue to grow as a writer.

Image: Flickr

Work, work, work, and more work...what a crazy couple of weeks! I am finally caught up on everything after wrestling with deadlines for the past few days.

I have some regular client work due later in the week that needs attention, but I'm taking a step back tonight to breathe, regroup, and enjoy life for a few hours. Who knows, I might be able to get to bed at a decent hour.

Even with all the hard work and stress I have been under, I am still feeling quite confident about the way things are going. I am starting to put together a mental plan for my professional website and am looking to develop my business even further in the coming months.

I have some small financial goals that I am trying to meet, as well. The first is to finish catching up the bills that have been behind since I took my "hiatus" after having the baby. I should hit that goal within the next few weeks. Yet another pile that I will have crawled out from under. Once that is cleared up, my extra cash is going to purchase a laptop and router, so that I can start taking the kids outside while I work.

Of course there are big financial goals for the future, but I feel like setting these smaller goals and meeting them will help me keep the drive I need to take things to the next level.


Today has been declared the Unofficial Blogger Appreciation day, courtesy of Darren Rowse at Problogger. He was inspired by a few random emails of thanks from some of his readers to ask each of us to take a few minutes to show our appreciation and support to a blogger who has an impact on our lives.

I wish I had the time to mention each and every blogger who I enjoy, respect, and admire, but deadlines call and my time this morning is very limited. There are three, however, that I really would like to mention:

Diane Penna, currently of Crazy Mom's Journal and formerly of The Write Path. This amazing woman has been a huge inspiration to me since early in my freelance career. She is trying to get her bearings back, after returning to working at home from a "real world " job, and I don't think there is anyone happier to see her return than I am. I am looking forward to her amazing insight once her writing blog is reestablished.

Nikki Smith, of Chaos In The Country, The Guilty Parent, and Mommy Know How. I just want her to know how much I admire and respect her, both as a writer and a friend. She has been dealing with some difficult situations lately, but has continued to offer some wonderful advice and inspiring words, both on and off her blogs.

Dana Prince, of The Writer's Blog, Momphabet Soup, and Cook It With Love. I have known Dana passively through her writer's blog and message boards for quite some time, but have only recently begun reading some of her other blogs. This lady provides a wealth of great ideas and tips for freelancing, working at home, and life in general through blogging.

There are so many more bloggers that I admire and enjoy. I wish I had time to give them all the recognition they deserve. Make sure that you take the time today to show some love to a blogger or two who has had an impact of your life!

Freelance Frustration

I know what you're thinking...oh great, another whine about deadlines and clients and irritating keywords. While I can't say I've completely finished beating that horse in my career, today's frustration is a little bit different.

Will someone please explain to me why people are under the impression that freelance writing is easy? If I have one more person say to me how easy my job must be or see one more error-laden post on a message board about "Oh, I passed middle school English, I bet I can make a fortune writing online!" I am going to blow my top!

OK, so the message board posts are a bit exaggerated, but I just can't understand why people think that writing is so easy. I had the opportunity to do some editing for a friend who has a content writing company and was astounded at the things that I read. Half of the articles had to be scrapped due to plagiarism and a large part of the rest could have been written better by my 13 year old. It was just unbelievable! I know I make occasional spelling and grammar errors, everyone does, but when you have to read a sentence 10 times to even come close to figuring out what someone has to say, they might want to consider the idea that writing is not for them.

I am certainly not trying to deter people from attempting a career in freelancing, but please do not jump into it thinking you can throw some words on a page and get paid. Writing takes time and effort, and developing a freelance career takes hard work and perseverance. You might get a luck break from time to time, but in the beginning it can be a tremendous struggle.

If you are considering a career in freelancing, educate yourself on the rules of writing and grammar, then learn how to research properly. While you may be able to throw a few random sentences on a page and get paid from certain sites or clients, the only real way to make money in this business is to take the time to learn. Talk to some people who have had success in the business and learn from their achievements and mistakes. Understanding how much work it takes to build a client base and a reputation is very important to your future as a freelancer.

I hope that my little mini-rant made some sense and my advice helps someone who is thinking about giving freelancing a shot.

Over the past week or so, I have decided to try a couple new approaches to finding clients. I have a solid client base at the moment, so branching out and trying some new tactics is something I have room for. When things are tight, I usually go with the tried and true client searches, afraid of losing opportunities that will keep my head above water, but right now I feel as if I can take chances and not lose out on anything.

I have signed up for Entrecard, which so far has increased traffic a bit, but they are in the middle of updates and changes, so I'll reserve commenting on its effectiveness for awhile. I haven't yet posted on their network offering my services, but I plan to in the future. For now, I'm finding new writing blogs to read, as well as dropping cards on blogs in other markets that may have the need of a writer.

I've also jumped on Twitter, though I haven't quite figured out how that is going to get me business. Quite a few freelancers are testing these waters and if nothing else, it is a lot of fun for the camaraderie and banter between us. Laura, at Writing Thoughts, is journaling her Twitter experience on her blog, so follow along to see what influences it has for her.

Should things continue to go well, I plan on working on my own professional website within the next month or so. If anyone has recommendations on hosting services that have easy to use design templates, I'm all ears!

I'll keep you all posted on my new experiments in stepping outside my daily routines!

I'm having one of those weekends that has me completely torn between family and work. I have fought with myself over where I should be and what I should be doing since I woke up this morning.

If I was working, I felt like I should be spending quality time with the kids and hubby. When I stopped to spend time with them, I felt my deadlines creeping up on me. Even right now, the kids are asleep, its past 11, and hubby is alone in the living room watching TV while I work, and I have complete and total guilt.

I know that the current situation won't last forever. I have to work when he is home to watch the kids. Let's face it, nothing kills your productivity like an 11 month old who is in love with the computer's reset button.

My choices right now are: suffer through the next however-many months until I can accomplish more during the day and have more family time on the weekends or put the kids in daycare and go back to a "real" job.

Even though I know that dealing with the next few months is the lesser of the two evils, it sure doesn't make the weekends any easier.

Anyone else in my boat? How are you dealing with the guilt you feel when you have to work when you really want to be spending time with your family, or else risk not being able to pay the bills?

Productivity can be the downfall of many freelancers and finding the right formula to crank out the necessary amount of work in a day is tough. Those of us who work from home, particularly those with small children, have dozens of factors that can mess with our productivity for the day. For instance, today my middle child has decided our house needs a bit of seasoning, and half my morning was spent cleaning up that mess.

I have learned to not count on daytime hours, when I'm alone with the babies, to get anything major accomplished. If they are content or napping, I might squeeze in some research or work on a project for a few minutes, but I try to make sure that there is nothing pressing me to complete it during the day. I write at night, after my hubby is home and after everyone goes to bed, so that the daytime distractions have less of an effect on how much I turn out in a day.

The thing that seems to get me the most is procrastination. I tend to put things off, for a variety of reasons. Kristen King wrote a wonderful post about beating procrastination a couple of weeks ago, that I somehow missed until last night. She talks about finding your root cause to help combat the problem of procrastinating. Within her list of causes, I can identify with each at different times. For me, there is no one solid answer as to why I procrastinate. I'm just glad that I work well under the pressure of a deadline!

I have found that if you know a certain time of day or a specific situation is a complete productivity killer, plan your smaller projects for that time. Leave the bigger things for times that you can concentrate and work uninterrupted. If you do that, then you will only have to fight your own personal demons, rather than battling the outside interruptions on your work.

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