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Archives for June 2010

How to Hire Freelance Writers from CraigsList (and Other Online Sites) to Outsource Work to & Grow Your Freelance Writing Business

If you want to grow your freelance writing business, one of the best ways to do it is to hire other freelance writers to help you out. BUT . . . this can be a whole other, time-consuming problem because most just won’t care about your writing business like you will.

Too Much Freelance Writing Work — Needs to Hire Help

I received the following email from a freelance writer with a good problem to have — she has too much work and needs to outsource, but is not quite sure about how to go about it. Today, I sent her an abbreviated response because I’m simply swamped for the next couple of days with deadlines.

She wrote, in part:

My point in contacting you – I have come to the realization that even when I’m swamped with work there is obviously only so much I can accomplish as an individual.

I would like to look into outsourcing my work. The main concern I have is how to have faith that a person will do the job with flying colors. (emphasis added)

If I have someone transcribing 5 hours of audio – I would want to go over the document to make sure everything is A+ – it’s my business name on the line after all. Another thing I’d be worried about is having someone ‘steal’ clients or working out side deals for extra work (not going thru my business but more of a one-on-one).

I have placed a few craigslist ads in the past looking for some great people (I received an overwhelming response) so I do have some people I’d like to try. (emphasis added)

When you first went about hiring people to represent your hard work, did you draw up a contract with them? If so, what kind of issues do you feel is a MUST?

The last question I have is how to decide what kind of pay rate for the people I’d be outsourcing to? I can’t offer the moon & the stars right off the bat & I don’t want to lowball anyone.

You must be a subscriber to read some posts on this site. Don’t worry, it’s free! You can read the rest of this post here.

FYI, we now accept guest posts.  Get the guest post submission guidelines.

free-freelance-writing-adviceGet Help to Get Paid to Do What You Love

Note: As of April 6, you must be a subscriber to read some content on InkwellEditorial.com and its sister site on SEO writing, SeoWritingJobs.com. New content includes all posts written after 4/6/2010 (4/7/2010 on SeoWritingJobs.com).

To subscribe, simply look for the subscriber box to the top right-hand side of the page. There’s one on every page of the site.

Of course, your contact information is protected — it is never sold, rented, leased or compromised in any way. It is used solely to send you information from InkwellEditorial.com (and its sister site, SeoWritingJobs.com) about freelance writing.

Why Subscribe? Get Real, First-Hand Advice from All Types of Freelance Writers

Week in and week out here, you get first-hand “freelance writing stories from the trenches.” I routinely relay my freelance writing experiences — everything from setting rates, to how to market, to knowing when to say no to a project. Also, I answer questions – in great detail (no fluff here!) — from other freelancers writers (new and experienced).

Recent posts you may have missed by not being a subscriber include:

Why I Turned Down a $2,000 – $3,000 Freelance Writing Job That Could Have Led to Even More Work and

How to Land More Clients by Making Your SEO Writing Stand Out from Others.

I look forward to having you as a subscriber.

seo-copywriting-trainingSEO Copywriting Training.  You’ll learn 4 ways to make money online using your newly acquired skills. Get full details on the SEO copywriting training this ecourse offers and sign up today.

Yuwanda
P.S.: Find this post informative? Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

P.P.S.: Want an easy, fast way to get started in affiliate marketing, making as much as $50, $100 or $150/day?

Get How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites (ie, Backpage.com). If you want to make some easy money promoting affiliate products on free classified ad sites, this ebook is for you. I’ve personally sold tens of thousands of dollars of e-products (my own and affiliate products) doing this since January 2009.

Copyright © 2010: All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without my written consent (linking to is fine).

Read more.

Freelance Writers: 3 Indicators That Your Client is Asking Too Much (and Not Paying Enough)

The following is a guest post from copywriter Jon Adam Green.

All freelance writers love a new client.

After all, a new client means new business, and new business sometimes turns into repeat business – the stuff that keeps food on our tables even during slow times of year.

BUT . . .

. . .  is it possible for a client to ask too much? Could there be a client whose demands go so far beyond what you’re willing (or able) to provide as a writer that you find it necessary to actually end your relationship with that client?

Freelance Writing Insight: My Story of Bending Over Backwards for Clients

freelance-writing-advice-on-stressful-clientsWhen I first started freelancing, I can remember bending over backwards for some clients – even when they were only paying peanuts for my services. By my (naive) reasoning, I should have been happy to have paying customers at all and if doing a little “extra work” for my clients meant keeping them, I was happy to do it.

Long story short: With all the phone calls I was making, spreadsheets I was preparing, and market research I was completing – all of which were completely unrelated to my duties as per the agreement made with my client – I wasn’t writing much of anything.

And I wasn’t getting paid for the extra work.

Freelance Writing Advice for Newbies: Indicators That a Client Is Asking Too Much

New freelance writers need to know that the writer-client relationship should be fair to both parties. Here are some indicators that a client may be over-reaching:

1. You’re not writing anything. If we call ourselves freelance writers, then that’s just what we are: writers.

When you see that the general tasks being performed for your client don’t have much to do with writing, he or she may be asking too much.

Examples of this may be a client who wants you to phone him or her after doing some research for a company presentation, working on a temporary marketing campaign that involves lots of phone calls but very little copywriting, or, in an extreme case, representing your client at an event.

2. You’ve acquired the company brand. It’s not unheard of for clients to give freelancers an email address associated with the client’s business so that they will look official and be able to maintain contact with people working in company offices.

If this just means setting up the email address to forward into your main business inbox and you’re only receiving an occasional note, it’s probably okay.

If it leads to your becoming a primary point of contact for your client’s business, however, you may have a problem. Likewise, if you ever find yourself making phone calls and saying, “Hi, I’m So-and-So with [client’s business],” and the call has little to do with what you’re writing for the client, you may have acquired the company brand.

Wasn’t not being associated with a particular company one of the primary reasons you started freelancing?

3. You’re undervalued. Even when you aren’t being assigned unorthodox tasks, maybe your client is asking you to do more work than what you agreed upon when you first decided to work together.

If this is the case, you’re being undervalued. Never do more work without being compensated. As with all scenarios in which clients overstep their boundaries, you should exercise caution when bringing your dissatisfaction to the client’s attention.

Don’t behave angrily or be overly emotional. Let him or her know that the work you’re doing is not part of the agreement that you both made in the beginning. If you know you don’t want to work with this client anymore, say you have too much work to do and won’t be able to get to them in the coming months.

Or tell them you’ve raised your rates.

Freelance Writing Advice on How to Handle Clients Who Overreach

What I’ve found, however, is that it’s best to calmly explain your concerns and be completely honest about why the client’s demands are troubling you.

Oftentimes, clients are very receptive to your concerns and are willing to re-negotiate. They’ve kept you onboard because they know how good you are, and there’s a good chance they’ll be willing to make some concessions in order to keep you around.

Sure it’s a cliche, but here it is . . .

Honesty is the best policy.

It’s what keeps us freelance writers professional and ensures that our best clients keep coming back for more.

About the Author: Jon Adam Green is a professional freelance copywriter and college English instructor. He maintains a blog at jonadamgreen.com.

Want to Submit a Guest Post?

Get the guest post submission guidelines.

P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

P.P.S.: Want an easy, fast way to get started in affiliate marketing, making as much as $50, $100 or $150/day? Get How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites (ie, Backpage.com). If you want to make some easy money promoting affiliate products on free classified ad sites, this ebook is for you. I’ve personally sold tens of thousands of dollars of e-products (my own and affiliate products) doing this since January 2009.

Read more.

A Freelance Writer’s Life Abroad: Inside Peek at My Life as an American Living in Jamaica for a Year, Part XII

In the last post in this series on living in Jamaica as a freelance writer, I promised to try to explain why settling into a routine is important to your income when you live abroad.

Freelance Writing on the Road: The Frustrations of Living Abroad (In My Case, Jamaica)

If you’re a Girl a Go Go and plan to take your career on the road – away from your home country – it’s extremely important to build in some “getting settled into a routine” time. From my limited experience here, I’d say give it at least two to three weeks. Following is why, based on what I’ve been through living here in Negril the last few weeks.

frustrated-freelance-writerAt my home in the states, I have wi-fi, a car, cable, a washer/dryer, umbrellas, extra mouse pads, etc. The reason I point all of this out is, you never know how NOT having what seems like the smallest thing can interrupt your work when you live abroad.

Here, I have to pack up every day and go to an internet café to work. So when I got there one day and my mouse was acting wacky, I couldn’t just go to my home office – where I have a supply closet – and pull out another one.

I had to stop work, hop a cab, go the computer store, buy the mouse, hop another cab back to the internet café and start work again. By then, I’ve lost 45 minutes to an hour. And if the rains have come and the internet is acting wacky — which often happens right after a storm here in Jamaica — I can’t just log back on and pick up where I left off. It might be another hour or so before I can get back to work. So that’s two hours or more lost.

If you’re a freelance writer – especially one as busy as I am between personal projects and client work – you know that’s a huge amount of time. And if you have interruptions like this a few times a week, it can really cost you – in lost income.

See what I mean?

Why My Income Has Dropped 25-30% Since I’ve Been Living in Negril, Jamaica

freelance-writing-incomeI’d say my income has dropped some 25-30% since I’ve been here. A lot of this has been due to situations like the one I described above.

After a few weeks here, I’ve learned some tricks of the trade that can help you perhaps settle into a routine quicker so you don’t lose money if you decide to take your freelance writing career on the road.

Freelance Writers: How to Settle into a Routine Living Abroad So It Doesn’t Cost You Money

1. Accept What You Cannot Change: I’m a very impatient person; always have been. And when things don’t go my way, I can get testy – especially when it’s f$%#ing with my income.

So the first thing I had to do was mentally accept that I wasn’t in the comfort and convenience of my home in the states. I had to learn to accept what I cannot change. It was like flipping a mental switch – a simple concept – and a very effective one. Once I did this, I relaxed more.

2. Work with Your Environment, Not Against It: Here in Jamaica, it’s the rainy season. It rains practically every day – usually between 1-2:30 pm. You can practically set your watch by it (although, it happened to pour cats and dogs this morning early).

When it rains, the internet signal gets wacky – no matter where you are. So I’ve learned to finish my “must get done projects” before noon or 1 p.m. This way, if I’m not able to get on until later, at least I’m not stressing because I haven’t uploaded my content or gotten a client project off or updated a blog.

Again, this has caused me to relax much more – and to start making more money.

3. Give Yourself Play Time: I don’t work nearly as much here as I work at home. This is for a number of reasons (eg, no internet service in my studio apt here).

BUT . . . the main reason is – it’s friggin’ Jamaica! With the beach a stone’s throw away, beachside cafes with soothing reggae music blaring every few feet and tons of new friends I’ve met, it’s hard to stay glued to a computer for 7, 8 or 9 hours a day.

And this is what people mean when they say “this is living.” This is how some people can be so content with so little – they have friends, family and social outlets that keep them busy (and happy) all the time.

I haven’t been this social since I lived in New York. I’m constantly on the go here – meeting this friend for a rum punch, this one for a beachside lunch and that one for some “fish from the sea.”

Now, I do get my work done; I have to because I have tons of bills. But many days I do what has to be done and scadaddle to “live.” Just in the last week, I’ve seen my income slowly start to creep back up to where it was before I left home (and good thing to, cuz I was starting to worry if it ever would with all adjustment problems I’ve had).

If you’re a travelling freelance writer, whether it’s to another country or the next town over, keep these tips in mind from the time you leave home. You’ll stress less, probably make more money – and enjoy yourself from day one.

Note: Learn how you too can live and work from an island paradise!

Up Next in this Series on Living in Jamaica: Let’s Talk about Money!

make-money-freelance-writingAs in, how I prepared myself financially to live abroad – and some things I wished I’d done.

FYI, this site now accepts guest posts.  Get the guest post submission guidelines.

Living life irie, mon!
Yuwanda
P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

P.P.S.: Want an easy, fast way to get started in affiliate marketing, making as much as $50, $100 or $150/day? Get How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites (ie, Backpage.com). If you want to make some easy money promoting affiliate products on free classified ad sites, this ebook is for you. I’ve personally sold tens of thousands of dollars of e-products (my own and affiliate products) doing this since January 2009.

Read more.

Freelance Writers: 3 Reasons Not to Panic — and Advice on What to Do — When Things Get Slow

It’s summer and a lot of freelance writers are experiencing dry spells. If you’re new to the game, this can cause you to panic. You may be wondering if you made the right decision to start this career and if you can make a go of it.

To be sure, you definitely want to know when things are going to turn around. Well, following is some sage advice to relieve your mind if you’re worried right now.

I’ve been doing this since 1993 and have seen all the economic cycles as a freelance writer. And I’m here to tell ya, you have nothing to worry about. Following is why — and some ideas on how to weather this nerve-wracking time.

FYI, we now accept guest posts.  Get the guest post submission guidelines.

You must be a subscriber to read the rest of this post. Don’t worry, it’s free!

free-freelance-writing-adviceGet Help to Get Paid to Do What You Love

Note: As of April 6, you must be a subscriber to read new content on InkwellEditorial.com and its sister site on SEO writing, SeoWritingJobs.com. New content includes all posts written after 4/6/2010 (4/7/2010 on SeoWritingJobs.com).

To subscribe, simply look for the subscriber box to the top right-hand side of the page. There’s one on every page of the site.

Of course, your contact information is protected — it is never sold, rented, leased or compromised in any way. It is used solely to send you information from InkwellEditorial.com (and its sister site, SeoWritingJobs.com) about freelance writing.

Why Subscribe? Get Real, First-Hand Advice from All Types of Freelance Writers

Week in and week out here, you get first-hand “freelance writing stories from the trenches.” I routinely relay my freelance writing experiences — everything from setting rates, to how to market, to knowing when to say no to a project. Also, I answer questions – in great detail (no fluff here!) — from other freelancers writers (new and experienced).

Recent posts you may have missed by not being a subscriber include:

Why I Turned Down a $2,000 – $3,000 Freelance Writing Job That Could Have Led to Even More Work and

How to Land More Clients by Making Your SEO Writing Stand Out from Others.

I look forward to having you as a subscriber.

seo-copywriting-trainingSEO Copywriting Training.  You’ll learn 4 ways to make money online using your newly acquired skills. Get full details on the SEO copywriting training this ecourse offers and sign up today.

Yuwanda
P.S.: Find this post informative? Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

P.P.S.: Want an easy, fast way to get started in affiliate marketing, making as much as $50, $100 or $150/day?

Get How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites (ie, Backpage.com). If you want to make some easy money promoting affiliate products on free classified ad sites, this ebook is for you. I’ve personally sold tens of thousands of dollars of e-products (my own and affiliate products) doing this since January 2009.

Copyright © 2010: All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without my written consent (linking to is fine).

Read more.

A Freelance Writer’s Life Abroad: Inside Peek at My Life as an American Living in Jamaica for a Year, Part XI

This Girl a Go Go is homesick.

I know living and working in the paradise that is Jamaica is a dream come true for many (me included), but every time I go away, I get this way about a month or so into the trip. I know it will pass – and I’m still having a blast, but I miss the comforts of home like:

An American in Jamaica: Things Back Home I Long For

Sleeping in My Own Bed: Even though my bed at home is not as comfortable as the one in my little studio apartment here in Negril, it’s still MY bed.

Fluffy Towels: I hand wash and line dry my laundry here. So the towels are sun-dry “crunchy” when fluffy-towelsthey come off the line, not dryer-soft fluffy.

Air Conditioning: Even though I can stand heat of up to 90 degrees with no problem, I get tired of being hot all the time.

Hot when you get in the shower, hot when you get out, hot when you’re getting dressed, hot when you’re cooking (which I don’t do a lot of at all), hot when you’re sitting — it’s just darn hot here in Negril! As I said in this post on living in Jamaica, I’m quite frankly scared of August.

Food Variety: Jamaica has some wonderful cuisine – the fresh seafood, veggies and fruit available here are second to none. BUT, I’ve been craving a steak and cheese quesadilla with jalapeno peppers and sour cream (with a big margarita) like a pregnant woman.

There is no Mexican restaurant here in Negril – not that I’ve seen. I’ve also been craving sushi. Again, no dough.

Rain-Free Days: It’s the rainy season here in Jamaica. Every day between about 1 and 2 pm, you can expect a rain shower that lasts anywhere from 15 minutes to a half hour or 45 minutes. Even though this is not long, it’s the interruption it causes. Usually the internet signal gets wacky, so I have to constantly move around to chase it.

Then once the rain subsides, it gets all hot and sticky again – and the mosquitoes come out in full force. And boy, they’re vicious. As I said, I’m a Florida native, so I know about mosquitoes, but when the ones here bite you, it seems that the itch lasts for an hour or so. I get these big, red bumps that just drive me crazy.

Forget wearing perfume – insect repellant – with a “spring fresh breeze smell” is my perfume of choice these days.

In spite of being a little homesick, I have continued to have my share of fun.

Fashion Show in Negril on the Beach

Last Friday night, I went to a fashion show. Remember the post I wrote about not being the only American to pick up and move to Jamaica? Well, the woman I talked about in that post and her friend from England (who also lives in the same building as the both of us), opened a boutique at the Traveller’s Beach Resort here on seven-mile beach in Negril.

The fashion show was the bomb!

The deejay was rocking (mostly American hip-hop music which is one of my favorite musical genres), the fashions were fly (although, you have to be 18 and a size 0-2 to wear them), and there were free rum punches!

I went with some friends and we had an absolute ball. When I was younger, I did a little local modeling and my mom used to drag us girls (she had 3 of us) to fashion shows, pageants and girly stuff like this all the time. So it brought back a whole slew of good memories.

I’m going by the shop this weekend to pick up a Muhammad Ali t-shirt that was featured in the show for my 17-year-old nephew. I knew it was “him” when I saw it (heck, I may even get one for me it was so cool!).

The Young Men and Women of Jamaica

Let me just say, most of the young women here (18-25 or 30) have the sickest bodies (and for those who don’t know, that’s slang for “slammin!”) .

Tyra needs to look for America’s Next Top Model here because these girls have physiques that just won’t quit. And the guys – you could get whiplash trying to keep track of all the six-pack abs you see on a daily basis! And these are young and old men.

Most of them are way too young for me, but it’s a parade of good-looking specimens you can’t help but shake your head at sometimes.

The World Cup Here in Jamaica

world-cup-argentina-vs-brazil-2010Football (soccer) is huge here! Everywhere there’s a TV or radio on carrying the World Cup with guys and girls alike glued to the program. I daresay that commerce has stopped for the most part and won’t resume until July 11th, when it’s over.

Most Jamaicans seem to be rooting for Brazil. I’m rooting for Argentina (and the U.S., of course).  When there’s a score or a good play, you can hear a collective sound from the crowd no matter where you are on the street.

It’s actually kinda cool because it reminds you that you live in a relatively small community who all come together to share in the joy that sport is.

Training for the Reggae Marathon

reggae-marathon-jamaicaI’m training for the Reggae Marathon here in December. I was going to do the full because my sister wanted to. She’s mostly a walker, not a runner. After she did a 16+ mile walk this past weekend in the heat (I managed 9), she changed her mind and has decided to do the half.

So that’s what I’m training for.

I went for a long run this morning; stayed on the road instead of on the beach because I wanted to get a good, hard run in. No matter how fit you are, there’s only so far you can fight the sand. It tires you out way sooner than you want to be.

People see me running and walking all over the place here. A few guys have commented, “You’ve lost weight since you’ve been here. I can tell. Lookin’ good guurrrrlll.” I smile and keep running.

Jamaicans tend to draw this word (girl) out. Coming from anybody else, being called a girl would be an insult. But when the Jamaican guys say it, it makes you feel oh so special and cute!

Sundays at the Beach

As Sunday is family day, I spent most of it at the beach with my sister and a few friends – after putting in a few hours work. Last week I had some schedule interruptions (ie, the dentist, internet outages, lunch date with friends) that caused me to get a little backed up.

So I HAD to put in those Sunday hours to stay current.

In the next post, I’ll talk more about settling into a schedule while living here in Jamaica – and how my income is shaking out. It’s been a huge adjustment for me. If you ever choose to live abroad, it’s something I think you’ll need to prepare yourself for mentally.

It’s kinda hard to explain, but I’ll do my best to encapsulate it for you in the next post in this series.

Best,
Yuwanda
P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

P.P.S.: Want an easy, fast way to get started in affiliate marketing, making as much as $50, $100 or $150/day? Get How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites (ie, Backpage.com). If you want to make some easy money promoting affiliate products on free classified ad sites, this ebook is for you. I’ve personally sold tens of thousands of dollars of e-products (my own and affiliate products) doing this since January 2009.

P.P.P.S.: Find this post informative? Follow Me (Inkwell Editorial) on Twitter.

Copyright © 2010: All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without my written consent (linking to is fine).

Read more.

Freelance Writer Resume Tips: How to Put Together an Effective One to Start Landing Freelance Writing Jobs

Today is Freelance Friday Tips day. And, as the economy is still in the dumps and causing many to look for work as freelance writers, I thought I’d focus on the all-important freelance writing resume.

I get a lot of questions from wannabe freelance writers about transitioning from full time to freelancing. Most want to know about putting together a “writer’s resume.”

I personally don’t believe in having a “writer’s resume,” so to speak. I like to call it a professional profile.

Why I Don’t Believe in “Freelance Writing Resumes”

The reason I prefer professional profiles to resumes is . . . read the rest of this post.

free-freelance-writing-adviceGet Help to Get Paid to Do What You Love

Note: As of April 6, you must be a subscriber to read new content on InkwellEditorial.com and its sister site on SEO writing, SeoWritingJobs.com. New content includes all posts written after 4/6/2010 (4/7/2010 on SeoWritingJobs.com).

To subscribe, simply look for the subscriber box to the top right-hand side of the page. There’s one on every page of the site.

Of course, your contact information is protected — it is never sold, rented, leased or compromised in any way. It is used solely to send you information from InkwellEditorial.com (and its sister site, SeoWritingJobs.com) about freelance writing.

Why Subscribe? Get Real, First-Hand Advice from All Types of Freelance Writers

Week in and week out here, you get first-hand “freelance writing stories from the trenches.” I routinely relay my freelance writing experiences — everything from setting rates, to how to market, to knowing when to say no to a project. Also, I answer questions – in great detail (no fluff here!) — from other freelancers writers (new and experienced).

Recent posts you may have missed by not being a subscriber include:

Why I Turned Down a $2,000 – $3,000 Freelance Writing Job That Could Have Led to Even More Work and

How to Land More Clients by Making Your SEO Writing Stand Out from Others.

I look forward to having you as a subscriber.

seo-copywriting-trainingSEO Copywriting Training — Class is Now OVER Half Full. The next SEO writing ecourse commences on April 26th.  You’ll learn 4 ways to make money online using your newly acquired skills. Get full details on the SEO copywriting training this ecourse offers. Class has limited enrollment.

Have a good weekend!

Yuwanda
P.S.: Find this post informative? Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

P.P.S.: Want an easy, fast way to get started in affiliate marketing, making as much as $50, $100 or $150/day?

Get How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites (ie, Backpage.com). If you want to make some easy money promoting affiliate products on free classified ad sites, this ebook is for you. I’ve personally sold tens of thousands of dollars of e-products (my own and affiliate products) doing this since January 2009.

Copyright © 2010: All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without my written consent (linking to is fine).

Read more.

A Freelance Writer’s Life Abroad: Inside Peek at My Life as an American Living in Jamaica for a Year, Part X

In yesterday’s post, I responded to an American who wondered about finding work here in Negril “under the table/off the books”. Today, I wanted to add a little bit more to this post as I had to log off in a hurry yesterday and didn’t answer her entire question (ie, what’s going on with the upheaval in Kingston).

Editor Note: Learn how you too can live and work from an island paradise!

How to Work and Live Abroad from the Caribbean: It’s Easier Than You Think to Make the Move to an Island Paradise

The Unemployment Rate in Jamaica

I did some web surfing and the latest figures on the unemployment rate for Jamaica (2009) was 14.5%. Again, this seems low to me based on what I see on a daily basis here. And, when you consider that underemployment is as much a problem – maybe more – than unemployment, it makes it that much harder.

Following is some insight into poverty in Jamaica that may shed a little more light on what the people here face every day.

unemployment-rate-jamaicaJamaica’s poverty line in 2005 was US$2.60 per day (Knight 2006). Poverty in Jamaica is measured by the ability of households to attain a given level of consumption expenditure in keeping with minimum food and non-food requirements. . . .  

a more nuanced picture lies behind statistical generalisations. Take for example the variable of gender: the conditions of men and women differ significantly and the situation of urban women may be more comparable to that of rural women than that of her male, urban counterparts. In 2004, the labour force participation rate for men was 73.1% and 56.2% for women; the male unemployment rate was 8.2%, while that of women was 18.8%. The job-seeking rate for men was 4.6%, and women’s was 9.8% (Planning Institute of Jamaica 2005b). In 1999, 67% of “female-headed” households reported unmet basic needs, compared to 58% of “male-headed” households. [Source]

What’s Going on In Kingston? Is It Safe in to Come to Negril (or Jamaica in General)?

is-jamaica-safeAs I’ve said all along, it couldn’t be more safe here in Negril, which is about 5.5 hours away from Kingston. My personal feeling is that because Negril is a tourist haven, the powers that be go through extra measures here to keep this area safe.

But because Negril is far away from Kingston, we haven’t felt any of the upheaval here – at all. I haven’t felt one whit less safe than I have in all the other times I’ve come.

Negril, Jamaica: Apartment Scams on Websites Like Craigslist, Et Al

The person who emailed me said that she was paying $650 for an apartment and wanted to know why my accommodations here in Negril were so much cheaper than hers.

Here, I’ll use Craigslist as an example. I only point out Craigslist because I’ve had personal experience with scammers on this site when I placed an ad back in the fall looking for a rental/sublet. In reality though, it can happen no matter what site you use to find an apartment if you want to live abroad.

The reason this stands out to me now is because of the $650 the person who emailed me said she was paying. That’s exactly what the scammers tried to charge me. Please, please be careful if you go this route looking for an apartment in Jamaica – or any foreign country.

How Many “Renting in a Foreign Country Apartment Scams” Work

Most will say that they have a perfect place right in the area you’re looking in. They’ll say something to the effect of they’re going to study/work abroad and need to rent the place. And, that’s why the rent is so cheap (if it is).

They’ll also say that because they are “out of the country” you’ll to wire them part (or all) of the money to secure the place. Once they get this money, they’ll say that they’ll send you the key and you can pay the rest once you receive it. Don’t do it!

“Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, send a stranger money to rent a place in a foreign country – ever!”

No matter how good, tempting, etc. the offer sounds. Their goal is to get money out of you – any amount of money. Usually, from what I’ve read, once they get the first payment, you’ll never hear from them again.  

Tips for Avoiding Apartment Hunting Scams in Jamaica on Craigslist (and Other Websites)

Dhow-to-avoid-apartment-scamsON’T Send Money: Never ever send money beforehand (as many will ask you to do).

DO Google the Email Address of any respondents who contact you. That was one of the first things I did. And guess what, the scammer was so stupid that it took me right to a site that listed email addresses and other info of people who run Craigslist apartment scams like this.

DO Ask for Photos: Just be aware that many will take photos from legitimate ads and send them to you. I did and got THE SAME PHOTOS from two different respondents. Talk about stupid criminals!

DO Ask for Referrals: From previous tenants, from current residents who live in the building, from the landlord.

DO Ask for Surrounding Information: For example, you might want to ask for neighboring street addresses and close supermarkets, cleaners, restaurants, etc. Then, Google this info to see if it checks out.

DO Listen to Your Gut: No matter how good the offer sounds and how scared you may be of losing “a good deal,” listen to your gut.

As I do business online, when anyone asks me for money up front, that’s a major red flag. Remember in a previous post about living in Jamaica when I said living in a big city like New York prepares you for some things travelling will throw your way? Well, this was one of those times.

As soon as I started getting responses to the ad I placed on Craigslist, I knew I wasn’t going to find a place that way because the scams came fast and furious – and most were remarkably the same (with bad spelling and grammar to boot!).

In My Opinion, the Best Way to Find an Apartment in Jamaica (or Any Foreign Country)

If you don’t know anyone, budget for a hotel for a week or so. When you get here, then do your looking. It’s the only way you can be guaranteed NOT to be taken advantage of.

Hope this helps.

I’m so far behind in my work that I’m going to have to put in some hours this weekend. Hope yours is work free. That’s it for this Girl a Go Go this Friday!

Best,
Yuwanda
P.S.: Want to start a successful freelance writing career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore.

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A Freelance Writer’s Life Abroad: Inside Peek at My Life as an American Living in Jamaica for a Year, Part IX

The day before yesterday, I received an email from an American asking about finding work “under the table” here in Negril, Jamaica. She asked:

I’ve read a few of your articles – very informative & enjoyable. I am considering coming to Negril for a few months (found a studio for $650 – why so much more than yours, I don’t know).

Anyway, my main question is how difficult do you think it would be for me to find some work “under the table” as an American?? I don’t really care what it would be , whether service industry, garden/yard work, whatever. I just wan tto keep busy & really just keep my head above water! (I’m a 43 yr old woman, very friendly, smart, etc…)

Due to the BP oil spill here, I am taking the rest of the summer “off”, going on an adventure. Jamaica is definitely in the running. (Oh – any word or fear of the recent drug-lord upheaval deal?)

I hope you have some insight to my question, I realize that you have not tried to work under the table there. Any other insight you could offer would be great, and hopefully help me make my decision! I hope to be on a plane Friday or Saturday!

Thank you very much,

K-

Finding Work in Negril, Jamaica as an American with “No Papers”

In light of her question, I asked a friend of mine here in Jamaica who I had a late lunch with yesterday about finding work here in Negril as an American.

He said that if you knew someone, it would be easier. For example, he asked me what my friend did. I told him that I didn’t know her personally; hence she wasn’t my friend, but she was in her mid-40s, white and would “do anything that was legal.”

His response was:

I know a few rich, white people. They would probably hire her as a domestic as they’re from the same culture and would probably feel comfortable with her.

Not wanting to count on anyone here finding anyone a “job”,” I said:

What if she came here on her own without knowing anyone?

He said:

It would be better if she wanted to open a business, ie, a grocery store. That would do really well here.

I told him she probably wasn’t interested in (or positioned to) open a business here.

Negril, Jamaica: Types of Businesses That Would Do Well Here

FYI, there are a few types of businesses that would do well here from my observation, ie:

An internet café (with no music playing and no “blunt” smoking);

A taxicab service (in my observation, it’s the quickest, easiest way to make money here as a business owner);

A sushi bar (several Americans I’ve met have expressed a desire for this type of establishment; me among them);

A MailBoxes, Etc. (or similar type of business) where you have fax, printing, international calling and mailing services; and

American food & service (eg, burgers, fries, chicken salads, etc.): I know as an American living here on an extended basis I’d appreciate this type of “comfort food from home” from time to time. If it’s served with fast, courteous American service, that would make the establishment all the more successful.

On a personal note, the way we do things in America is different than here, of course. For example, our service tends to be a lot quicker. Hence, I think businesses that cater to what “travelling” Americans need – and like – would do well here in Negril.

The Unemployment Rate in Negril, Jamaica

I Googled the unemployment rate in Negril, Jamaica and it was much lower than I thought.

BUT, overall what I see every day is people struggling – especially during this, the slow (low) season. The only people that seem to thrive are the restaurant owners and the taxi drivers (the route drivers that focus on local fares  — not the ones that cater to tourists; although they can do well too if they establish themselves with hotels). 

The Low Season in Negril, Jamaica: When You Can – and Cannot – Make Money

The slow season here is roughly mid-April through the beginning of December (a few weeks here and there in some of the slow months can be good). But the businesses here thrive on the high months, which is really only about half the year. That’s why it can be extremely difficult to make a living here as a foreigner — even in the best of times —  as the bulk of Negril’s economy depends on tourisms.

The Bottom Line on Finding Work in Negril, Jamaica as a Foreigner

Don’t count on it. Jamaica is a very poor country overall. The economy here in Negril depends on tourism. So if you want to live here and make a living, you have to be independently employed (eg, making a living as a freelance writer, or some other vocation that doesn’t depend on the economy here in Negril).

Note: Tomorrow I’ll post some more detail about this as my sister’s sweating me about going with her to meet friends for a drink right now, so I have to log off!

Best,
Yuwanda
P.S.: Want to start a successful freelance writing career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore.

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A Freelance Writer’s Life Abroad: Inside Peek at My Life as an American Living in Jamaica for a Year, Part VIII

As I reported in this post on living and working as a freelance writer in Jamaica, Sunday is family day. So yesterday, my sister and I went for a 7.5 mile walk – yes, 7.5 miles in the hot boiling sun! We’re training for the full marathon here in December. But, that’s a side point. FYI, a listing of all entries in this series can be found here.

Note: Learn how you too can live and work from an island paradise!

How to Work and Live Abroad from the Caribbean: It’s Easier Than You Think to Make the Move to an Island Paradise

We packed our backpacks with our beachwear so we could spend the rest of the day at the beach. FYI, we started walking at 8 a.m. and walked for just over three hours.

At any rate, my sister says, “I know this cool little beach area that’s not too crowded where we can rent beach chairs for 300 JMD (about $3.50).” I said, “Cool. Let’s do it.”

Well after our walk, I was dog tired (the heat here is friggin’ unbelievable – I’m quite frankly scared of August) and ready to flop my behind on somebody’s beach chair – anybody’s beach chair – anywhere! We get to Cosmos, the name of the beach place . . . what a friggin’ rip! I’ll never frequent the place.

You Have to Pay to Pee In the Beach!

My sister and I were all excited because the nice young lady at the booth informs us that chairs are only 100 JMD. After finding this out, we went and scoped out the menu to see what the food prices were like because we were thinking, “Maybe we can get some lunch if it’s reasonable.”

Note: Some of the places here on the beach can be a bit outrageous in their prices on food and drink.

take-a-beach-peeWhile the prices on the menu were good, there was almost a 30% surcharge on every check (17.5% sales tax and a 10% tip). Even though we were a little bummed, we were like, “Okay, it’s not sssooooo bad. Let’s go get our chairs.”

So we go back to the nice young girl and tell her that we want to rent two beach chairs for the day. Then, she promptly informs us that it’s an extra 300 JMD if we want to get in the water.

I uttered a Scooby Doo like “Huh?” My sister piped in with:

Are you saying we can’t get in the water if we rent the beach chairs? And, who’s going to stop us if we do?

The girl responded:

No, you can’t get in the water – even if you rent beach chairs. Someone is assigned to watch guests who haven’t paid the extra 300 JMD to prevent them from getting in the water.

As a native Floridian who has never paid in my life to get in the water at a beach – I was apoplectic! I was like:

You mean to tell me you have to pay to pee in the beach?

The girl burst out laughing, but I wasn’t kidding. My sister said:

But that’s God’s water. You can’t control who gets in and out of it.

While an extra 300 JMD was not a big deal – it was the unmitigated gall of the place to say you can rent a chair and look at the water, but someone will physically prevent you from getting in that unnerved both of us.

After barely uttering a civil thank you to the girl helping us – we left.

Negril, Jamaica: Discrimination against Locals by Beach Establishments?

no-beach-accessIt was then that we realized, a lot of places on the beach are like this. Unless you have your own beach chair and umbrella, it’s hard to find a place to just hang out on the beach where it doesn’t cost you anything.

Immediately, I thought of the locals. As in, Jamaica is a poor country and a lot of the hotels and establishments along 7-mile beach require you to “pay to play,” so to speak. For example, we finally wound up at a place where we paid $10 to rent beach chairs. You either had to pay $10 or drink at least that much in order to use the chairs.

Luckily, neither of us had a problem (or mind) spending that much on drink, but it weighed on me. It’s like the beach establishments here don’t consider the locals. This is, after all, their country.

Now of course, you can plop down any place if you don’t care about whether or not you have a chair and/or umbrella. But most of the beach establishments set their beach chairs and umbrellas out and don’t allow those who aren’t guests to set up within a defined area. And forget getting close to a tree if you’re not a guest in a hotel. All the choice areas are taken.

So while theoretically a local (or anyone else) can set up anywhere they please, it’s not possible without infringing on “hotel/restaurant guest space” in most places.

It seems that no matter where so-called progress happens, it always shits on the people who were there first!

And that’s the rather downer of a report from this Girl a Go Go today.

Yuwanda
P.S.: Want to start a successful freelance writing career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore.

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Freelance Writing Jobs: The Type of Writing Where One Page Can Make You $1,000

The site I’m recommending for today’s Freelance Friday Tips was chosen for a couple of reasons, ie:

I. Make $1,000 for Writing One Page: Yep, there is a type of freelance writing job where you can make this amount of money – believe it or not. It’s writing white papers. The site featured today explains what white papers are, how to write them, and a whole lote more. If you want to start out as a “high-end” freelance writer, this is one niche to look into.

The site also featured some interesting insight into how to grow your business using social media, ie . . .

II. The Power of Social Media: Do you believe that you can grow your site’s traffic exponentially JUST by using social media? I have to admit, I haven’t had a great amount of success with social media. But I think that’s my fault, not because social media doesn’t work.

The case study cited on this site not only proves that you can drive tens of thousands of visitors to your site – in only a few short months – it tells you how and why you should really invest in this form of marketing.

Social Media Marketing Tip: . . .

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You get first-hand “freelance writing stories from the trenches.” I routinely relay my freelance writing experiences — everything from setting rates, to how to market, to knowing when to say no to a project. Also, I answer questions – in great detail (no fluff here!) — from other freelancers writers. Recent posts you may have missed by not being a subscriber include:

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I look forward to having you as a subscriber.

Hope you’re having a fabulous beginning of the week. I’m so stressed with my impending move to Jamaica I can barely think straight. I’ll get it together soon though.
Yuwanda
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A Freelance Writer’s Life Abroad: Inside Peek at My Life as an American Living in Jamaica for a Year, Part VII

Yesterday was an absolutely horrible day.

First, the dentist started on my root canal. The procedure itself was not too bad, but the pain afterwards will make you a junkie. I was prescribed pain medication – 1 pill, 3 times a day after meals. Yesterday, I took 4 at one time – my tooth was hurting that bad.

After I got done, I came to work – around 11 a.m. Time enough to put in almost a full day if I worked late – which I was fully prepared to do. But, the internet had other plans. For some reason, even though my friend who was sitting right next to me was able to get on, my adaptor couldn’t find a connection. I don’t know what the hell happened!

THEN, it started raining and the internet was slow as methuzela. So I just gave up and called it a day.

It put me behind in my work – which is becoming a real problem for me here. I NEED to put stuff out almost every day to maintain my income. And to not know one day to the next if I’m going to be able to put in a full day is becoming a source of frustration for me.

But, that’s life in the tropics. You have to learn to roll with the punches. I really don’t know if it’s something I can get used to. Since I’ve committed to a year here though, I’m going to have to figure out something.

I’m Not the Only American to “Up and Move” to Jamaica

Travelling-Freelance-WriterYesterday, I met a woman about my age (40s) who lives in the same building. She gave me a ride to the dentist because I happened to be leaving at the same time she was to take her daughter to school.

She’s a New Yorker, so we hit it off on several fronts right away – fast walker, talker, outgoing, etc. She said she’s been coming to Negril for about 7 years and just fell in love with it. One day, she just decided to move here and “Give it a try; see how it goes.”

I asked her if she had any regrets and she said, “No, other than I wished I’d saved more money before coming.” She’s in the same boat as I am, meaning that she’s paying bills back home (ie, mortgage) and here as well.

As I recounted in this post about living in Jamaica, while the accommodations can be cheap, you can spend almost as much per month because you’re out so much more here.

Other than that though, she said she’s really enjoying her life here . . . and her daughter is getting an excellent education. She’s opening a boutique with a British friend of hers who’s been living here for 4 years, after having visited for 10+ years and falling in love with it.

FYI, that seems to be the story with a lot of transplants here . . . they visit, fall in love with the country, they move. So the commercial about Jamaica is really true, ie, “Once you go, you know.”

As for the schools here  . . .

The Educational System in Negril, Jamaica: Good, Bad, Better, Worse than America?

educational-system-in-jamaicaI’d estimate that my friend’s daughter is 11 or 12. She said she’s in “4th grade.” Of course, this means something different than it does in the states. My new friend explained that the school system here is on the British system (Jamaica was a British colony until 1962).

She said her daughter is ahead of the stuff they’re studying on her level in America (Long Island, New York School system) — and she goes to public school here.

Negril, Jamaica: What’s in a Name?

The British influence is all over the culture here, eg, the names of the people. You’ll meet a lot of Patricks, Byrons, Georges, Sheldons, etc. (all names of actual people I know by the way).

I have to admit, this is kinda funny for me because Jamaicans have such strong, beautiful African features. So I expect to meet Khalils, Malcolms and Sefus. So when I meet a “Matthew,” for example, it kinda doesn’t fit in my head. It’s kinda like imagining my name being “Lisa” instead of “Yuwanda.”

But that’s my disconnect; not theirs.

About Patois: The Language of Jamaica

Last night I was at my favorite country western bar with the best, cheapest rum punches on the cliffs in Negril, Jamaica and I asked the proprietor, Dawn, about Patois, the native language of Jamaicans. I asked what it was derived from.

Sidebar: I went to Dawn’s and had two shots of Jack Daniels, which did more to calm my aching tooth than four pain pills.

The reason I asked Dawn about the origin of Patois is because I’m pretty fluent in Spanish (I got really good at speaking it when I married my now ex-husband, who is from Argentina (hola Marcelo!)). On previous trips, I’d always notice in the airport here how there seemed to be a lot of signs in Spanish, so I wondered why (as opposed to Creole, French or German, for example).

Jamaica: A Brief History of This Beautiful Island

Dawn said Patois was a mix of African, Spanish and English. When I read up on Jamaica this morning, I learned why. In the past, Jamaica has been ruled by Spain and Britain, and a lot of African slaves came through these islands. Some stayed, some were bound for America.

Interesting how history is always relevant — even hundreds of years later. It’s one of the reasons I love travelling — you learn so much – and it’s so much easier to remember than reading it in a book in history class, which you tend to promptly forget right after an exam. If I’d had a child, I think I would have strapped her to  my back and globetrotted with her rather than send her to traditional school.

But once again I digress.

That’s it for this Girl a Go Go today.

Have a great weekend everybody. I’m planning my sister’s birthday party here next month so this weekend I’m scoping out hotels for some American friends who are flying in. One is really picky about hotels (no flowered bedspreads for him), so I promised to visit a few, take some shots and send them along so he can choose.

Jah guide (A Rasta farewell that means more or less, good-bye; literal translation is “God shall guide.”)

Yuwanda
P.S.: Want to start a successful freelance writing career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore.

P.P.S.: Want an easy, fast way to get started in affiliate marketing, making as much as $50, $100 or $150/day? Get How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites (ie, Backpage.com). If you want to make some easy money promoting affiliate products on free classified ad sites, this ebook is for you. I’ve personally sold tens of thousands of dollars of e-products (my own and affiliate products) doing this since January 2009.

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