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Guest Post: Ten Main Conditions To Get Success in a Freelance Career by Richard Nolan

Today I’d like to welcome guest blogger, Richard Nolan. He’s sharing the Ten Main Conditions To Get Success in a Freelance Career.


Becoming a freelancer is easy, right? You just leave the security of your full-time job and set yourself up in your home office and wait for the work to roll in.

Wrong!

There are a lot of advantages to being a freelancer, and it is an attractive proposition, sure enough, but it certainly isn’t easy.

So first of all, we’ll take a look at the advantages, then the pitfalls; and then, we will describe how to become a successful freelancer, which is the whole idea of it in the first place. This is a career that you have chosen, just like any other, and it is up to you if you make it a success or a failure.

First, you have freedom to do what you want when you want. You can work your own hours with nobody telling you when to start and finish.

There is no commuting backward and forward to work every day. You can work from the comfort of your own home with all the advantages that that includes. And here are the ten ways that should help you succeed as a freelancer, should you choose this appealing career path.

The Right Reason

So, you’ve made the decision that you are going freelance. This could be for a variety of reasons, all of which are probably valid in your mind.

You may be a stay-at-home parent, wanting to supplement the family income. You may just have had enough of the daily grind of going to work and feel that you can make it on your own. You may be unemployed at the moment. Or you may have come up with a really smart idea and want to see how it works out by going freelance.
Whatever the reason, make sure it is the right one.

Finance

You really should have some money behind you, if possible, before embarking on a freelance career. This doesn’t include stay-at-home parents or the unemployed, of course. But if you are leaving the security of a full-time job, then you need some financial back-up until things take off or, in the worst-case scenario, don’t work out.

To start with, things will not be easy at all. It will take time to build up a client base, and it could be that you will be struggling financially for a while.

You should also learn some basic accounting skills so as to manage the financial side of your new career.

Planning

You definitely need to plan your moves in advance. This is vital at the start, but it is also something that you will need to keep doing all the way.

Plan every day, every week and every month! Remember how your days were mapped out at work? Well, you are the boss now, your own boss, and you need to make sure that your time is used as efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible.

Don’t set yourself unrealistic goals or deadlines. You need to be firm with clients about this because if you promise something and then can’t deliver, it will just harm your reputation. Self-discipline is a must. It takes a lot of discipline to force yourself to stay at home and work. There are quite probably a lot of distractions around that can easily make you put off something that you should be getting on with now!

Dealing With Clients

Remember that clients are your bread and butter. Without them, you are lost so learn how to deal with them in a respectful, professional and business-like manner. Deal with them honestly and efficiently and work to the best of your ability and they will keep coming back. Word will get around, and your reputation will grow.

Marketing

It is very important that you market yourself well. Have a marketing strategy, using all the usual tools that will get you noticed. This includes advertising, social media, e-mail campaigns and, of course, word of mouth. Get yourself out and about and let people know what you are doing.

Pricing

This can be tricky and will take some research as to what is the market value of your product or service. Whatever it is, it is important not to undersell yourself and just as equally important not to oversell yourself. If you are charging too little for your services, then not only are you cheating yourself but you may dissuade potential clients who think you are cheap and nasty. Charge too much and clients either won’t come in the first place or they won’t come back.

Saying No

Saying no to potential clients can be difficult, especially when you are starting out. You must do it, though if you can’t do a particular job, rather than promise something and then not be able to deliver.

Your Workplace

You need to be comfortable in your workplace. This is of the utmost importance if you want to work to your full potential. Nothing will put you off more than working in an environment where you can’t concentrate and feel relaxed at the same time. This independent lifestyle will suit a lot of people but not others, so it is important that you are doing it for the right reasons.

If you are working from home, it can be a very lonely affair. Many would-be freelancers find that they miss the workplace atmosphere and just the fact of having other people around.

Website/Blog

Get a website. This is not only a valuable marketing tool, but it is a good place to get feedback and also let others see what and how you are doing. A blog is also a very useful tool that can be used to your advantage. Ask people to leave comments and posts about you and your services.

Take Time Out

Remember to relax once in a while! It can be very stressful being a freelancer at times, so try and get out of the house or the office at least once a day. Meet up with friends and just have a coffee or do something to unwind.

Finally, make sure you enjoy what you are doing. You have a great opportunity that a lot of people wish they could also do so don’t let the enjoyment go out of it!


About the Author

Richard Nolan is a blogger and a private tutor, sharing his experience in spheres of blogging, self-growth, and psychology. Richard writes for numerous blogs and gives useful tips for bloggers, students, and teachers. At the present moment, Richard works as a general editor for ProWritersCenter. Learn more about Richard on Facebook and Twitter.

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Author Spotlight: Pumpkineater: A Maven Fairy Godmother Anthology by Charlotte Henley Babb

Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight! This week Charlotte Henley Babb is returning with her anthology, Pumpkineater.

charlotte-henley-babb-250Having big feet, gray hair, a mischievous twinkle in her eye, Charlotte Henley Babb loves fiction for strong women with a sassy attitude and a flair for magic.

She began writing when she could hold a piece of chalk and scribble her name–although she sometimes mistook “Chocolate” for “Charlotte” on the sign at the drug store ice cream counter. Growing up in the red mud and sweet tea Carolinas, she played with the fairies in the woods and the aliens in the back yard. She has studied the folk stories of many cultures and wonders what happened to ours.

When her third-grade teacher allowed her access to the fiction room at the school library, Charlotte discovered Louisa Alcott and Robert Heinlein, an odd marriage of the minds. These two authors have had the most influence on her desire to share her point of view with the world and to explore how the world might be made better. Her favorite authors now include Sir Terry Pratchett, Robert Aspirin, and Esther Friesner.

She has taught English in high school and junior college, written procedure manuals, and edited writing association newsletters. Her presentations at education and writing conferences on using the Internet, blogging, using social media, and writing science fiction have been well-received.

Her first novel, Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil, was published in 2012 and won 2014 Sharp Writ Book Awards for Sci-fi/Fantasy and an honorable mention in the 2014 National Federation of Press Women communications contest for adult novels.

She brings to any project a number of experiences: technical writer, gasket inspector, wait staff, fabric and craft retail associate, craft artificer, secret weapon, and telephone psychic.

Currently working as a writing instructor, she writes fractured fairy tales, steampunk, and Southern fiction for people who have survived love’s last kiss.

Connect with the Author

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Amazon Author Page
Smashwords Author Page
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About the Book

pumpkineaterI love fracturing fairy tales and these are based on Jack and the Beanstalk, Peter Peter Pumpkineater, and (very loosely!) the Robber Bridegroom.

Maven Fairy Godmother deals with kudzu, Giants and a very large pumpkin. She brings her usual channel-the-chaos style to deliver the happily ever after her clients desire.

“Kiss of the Kudzu” begins just after the end of Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil. Maven hasn’t recovered from her first week on the job, but she has her hands full with the wishes of a sentient Palace.

In “Beans,” Maven follows her client up the beanstalk to raid the Giants and steal her way out of abject poverty, but the client finds out there are better ways to solve her problems.

In the title story, “Pumpkineater,” Maven meets a kept sorceress and must find a way out for both of them or risk being kept forever.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for more from Charlotte:

How to Fracture a Fairy Tale
A guest post by Charlotte Henley Babb

My favorite cartoon as a young child (think late 1950s) was Rocky and Bullwinkle, and the feature “Fractured Fairy Tales.” Raised in the McCarthy era (Google it, millennials), I wondered how the political satire of this show got past the censors. It was then I realized that the people who ran the TV shows had no idea about kids and that we had brains even before we went to middle school.

Those fractured fairy tales had a smirk to them, and rarely a moral, other than you get what you deserve by how you treat people, which appealed to my innocent sense of justice. For example, in the twisted Red Riding Hood story, she was trying to kill the wolf to make a coat from his pelt, but instead, she ended up as a coat. She shrugs and says, “It’s a living.”

So when picking a fairy tale to fracture, it really helps to pick one that is familiar, and if you spend any time on fantasy offerings on Amazon, you can see that this field is well plowed. After all, the entire romance industry is “Cinderella,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and for thrillers, “Snow White.”

Take Cinderella for example. It’s been done and done and done…not to make a dirty joke here. So make the heroine an arsonist (women are not usually arsonists but then again, Carrie), and make up a reason why she is so hot to burn—perhaps she does that as a sideline for her assassin gig, or she is a fire mage, or she’s menopausal and when she has hot flashes, so does everyone else. Now find someone who puts her in a position that she loses control of who and what she torches, so that the “hero” is a target, is a fireman, or in some other way, helps her to gain control again. Hmmm, that would make a pretty good story.

There are several elements to look at: character, setting, point of view, plot twists, satire, and theme.

Gender bending of characters is always fun. I have one story where there are seven female dwarfs, and my lone hero suddenly finds out what it’s like to be the rooster in the henhouse when the hens are in charge. CinderFella is a Jerry Lewis (look it up) movie based on this idea.

Change of setting to modern and urban is a current kick, whether there is a secret, hidden fairy world (e.g. Harry Potter, Dresden Files, Neverwhere) or if the Fae attempt to keep a low profile in the real world (Lost Girl, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, American Gods). Take out the magic, and you have just another mainstream novel with a familiar plot, so finding the magic, the wizard or witch, the fairy godmother, the inept would-be magician, and re-tell the story. Make magic messy, use whatever is available (see Terry Pratchett’s witch novels), and a fair amount of placebo con artist (headology) work as well as actual spellcasting to get the plot moving.

Change of point of view can be fun. Make the wolf the hero, well-motivated to want pork for dinner, and perhaps framed for something he didn’t do (Randy Ingermanson’s How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method incorporates this trope as part of a fairy tale-based novella that presents his novel planning method being taught at a writer’s convention. Hilarious, especially if you have been to half a dozen such events. ).

New plot twists are good: The prince is gay, so even the most beautiful woman is uninteresting unless perhaps she too is gay, and they can have whatever they want on the side while discussing something of mutual interest…perhaps wine or avant garde music (check out Yentl with Barbara Streisand) . What happens if the wicked witch does not melt when she is doused with mop water…perhaps she rusts, causes an electrical fire, or just gets angrier?

Satire is good. Make the character resemble well-known celebrities and just let the story play out on their foibles. Imagine Ivana Trump having to marry Kanye West? Of course, the problem with current events is that they are only current for five minutes. What happens if it is the princess who is being forced to marry is more of a harridan than (Taming of) The Shrew Katherina? What sort of Petruchio would be fun to play with? One who is a rake, truly out only for Katharina’s money, or maybe a street rogue who could actually make the princess happy (Disney’s Aladdin with or without Robin Williams)?

Theme is one place that I start off. I get tired of the obedient, pliant, blonde, D-cup soprano with the size zero foot being the heroine. My heroines tend to be big, loud, resistant to authority, and used to being put down. They get back up and keep on trucking. Returning to Cinderella, it is the stepmother who is the villain, but it is the sisters who are punished. How would the story change if one of the ugly sisters found a fairy godmother? What might she wish for?

What if the highest goal for a woman was not to marry a man of high standing, but to build her own business, to discover her own secret powers and use them, to be single, cis, bi, gay, or trans, and be happy doing what she chooses to do? There’s a fracture in that theme.

It’s time for some new fairy tales, ones that don’t repeat the patriarchal past when women of high standing were married off to a family that secured an alliance with her person, when the idea of marrying someone for love was a fairy tale indeed.

So pick your tale and get out your chisel and hammer. Fracture that fairy tale.

Author Spotlight: Chaste: A Tale from Perilisc by Jesse Teller

Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight! This week I have Jesse Teller returning with another of his novels, Chaste: A Tale from Perilisc.

brick2-rectJesse Teller fell in love with fantasy when he was five years old and played his first game of Dungeons & Dragons. The game gave him the ability to create stories and characters from a young age. He started consuming fantasy in every form and, by nine, was obsessed with the genre. As a young adult, he knew he wanted to make his life about fantasy. From exploring the relationship between man and woman, to studying the qualities of a leader or a tyrant, Jesse Teller uses his stories and settings to study real-world themes and issues.

Connect with the Author

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Goodreads
Facebook
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About the Book

chaste-cover4When her devout parents died, Cheryl turned her back on her god. Years of denial and self-loathing have defeated her. Her life consists of taking orders and succumbing to abuse. A group of strangers stops in Chaste for the night, but an unnamed threat is preying on the town. Tragic deaths have become more and more frequent. Cheryl wants to protect these travelers, expose the evil force, and save her fellow citizens, but she must find a way to believe in hope.

Get it today on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and Smashwords!

Keep reading to learn the story behind the story:

On October 5, 2016, my book Chaste was unleashed upon the world, and I have come here to make peace with that, to find a way to ready myself for the onslaught of reviews and criticism it will receive, and in some way prepare myself for this beast being free to roam into the life of anyone who might be interested in it.

Chaste has a mind of its own, a mind dark and deviant, and it is my most terrifying creation to date. It scares me. It always has. It is too honest, too revealing to ever let anyone read it. It reveals all my secrets, and it will affect the reader. To what end, I do not know.

Chaste was written by a broken man. I wrote it in 2004. The four years before, I had delved into my past with a very intelligent, very capable therapist who was like a father to me. I had found a darkness that my mind could barely stand. I had found abuse in every form, abuse enough to bend and twist a man.

One day, I asked my therapist how bad it was. I had reached the point where I was beginning to think I was whining, that I was making things out to be worse than they ever could have been. I asked him how bad it was, and he picked up my file. By this point, his notes were grand enough to stand four inches thick, and he set it in front of me. He said these words:

“If I were to show this file to an FBI profiler, the question they would ask is, ‘How many? How many victims had this serial killer produced?’” He said he had never heard things like I was telling him. He said that it didn’t get any worse.

When you see evil, it gets in your bones. It was in mine. It was deep in me, and it had scarred me. It had stained me, and I never thought I would get that stain out. It had me in its grasp and I felt weakened by it, felt crushed under the weight of it.

I was in love and trying to make a life with a woman who cherished me. She knew it all, all the horror and the insanity, and she wanted me anyway. But I was stunted by the memories I had found, and I had no way of getting past it. Then I started writing Chaste.

I set out to write a fantasy novel. I had an idea. It was a simple thing, a concept that might take me through a whole book, might end after 50 pages. I didn’t know. I had never written a novel before. So I just got to work.

What came out of me was a horror fantasy.

There were broken characters. They were powerful and shiny, bright spots in the world, but they were locked up by shadows, past obsessions, and pain.

One of them mirrored my past in such a way that to write her was torture. She had suffered abuse and horror and had locked it away in her mind, as I had, for decades. She broke my heart and scared me more than a little.

There was a character on a quest for love. He was fighting to get to his love and had dedicated himself to being with her. But he had wars to fight before he could make it to her arms.

There was a deformed man, a man who had grown wrong. He hid himself from the world because he was a freak, and he was haunted by the things he would never be able to do, never be able to be.

They were all haunted and jaded. These, and many more, characters walked into a darkness that was all-consuming and fought to get free of it, to right it, to survive it.

When I wrote Chaste, I was insane. I was twisted and wrong, bent in a way that I could not see myself getting out of. I poured it all into that book—all my fury with God, all my loss and confusion, all my self-loathing and my pain. I put it all down, hammering out the worst I had, so that I might one day heal.

And heal I did. My woman and I built a world of happiness. We fought back all my demons and I found peace. I found love. I found hope.

Chaste is part of that healing. It is where I laid all the darkness. I thought I would never go back, thought I would never bring it out of its rough draft form. I would leave it unclean, a thing unfit, a beast dead and rotting that I would not bury.

Then a friend fell in love with it. I let her read it, and she adored it. She said it was her favorite book she had ever read, that it gave her hope, that it gave her peace. She said it had the power to heal, to bring people from the dark. She said it was beautiful.

And I believed her. I took it out, and I washed it up. I found that the thing I had thought dead and reviled is actually powerful and real. It has a message. It has a place.

Chaste will always be a terror. It woke up screaming. It will always be hard for me to look at, hard for me to live with.

It knows me and it displays me in ways no other work has ever. I thought to hide it forever. I thought to let it rot in a dark corner somewhere and try to forget about it. But I can’t.

Chaste is hard to look at and unflinching. It is brutal and dark. But I think it will help. I think it will make people feel understood, that it will make people feel heard.

It might even bring people peace.

It did for me.

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