Saturday, December 31, 2011

Arts & Craft Websites - You Need One!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Okay now that that is out of the way...

Make it your new years resolution to get your own website up and running. Stop depending on Etsy and other craft sites. Just like free lance writers found out the hard way; never put all of your eggs in one basket. (so sick of that saying but its true)

If Etsy got a wild hair tomorrow and shut your store down (it happens!) What back up do you have? Have you been marketing yourself and your arts and crafts or have you really been marketing Etsy and then yourself?

Random Pony Picture




It takes time to get a new website going but its well worth it. Think about all the time you spend marketing your Etsy store and think about why you should be doing it for yourself.

Web hosting is so reasonable and with paypal etc you can easily add paypal buttons, shopping carts etc.

Etsy, Artfire etc are good tools, but they should just be a marketing strategy for you own website.

Take a look at Yahoo hosting, Yahoo stores (more expensive)Intuit simple store etc. All are reasonable and easy to build.

Okay some have a website but it links directly to Etsy. Which is better than nothing; but you still need to make your website a stand alone site. The goal of any site is to keep people there; not lead them to another site.

When you do this (link to Etsy) remember you are also linking them to a million other sellers. Especially if someone has never seen Etsy and you send them there; they could get to looking about and totally click off your store.

I will give an example I learned the hard way. I have a pony website where I sell ponies. Years ago I put links to other pony farms on my website to get links built. Stupid stupid stupid!!! What was I thinking? At the time it was all the rage to add links to build your google rating.

What I found out is I lost a lot of sales by sending people directly to my competition. Its a mistake I never made again. While I adore many other pony farms, I work too hard marketing my website and ponies just to link to other farms and basically advertise for them for free.

Remember once you send them off your site to Etsy, its anyone's guess whether they will buy from you or go to another seller. Very risky.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Etsy Tags and Keywords

Since the discussion of Etsy SEO, I looked at many people's listings. What I found is most are not using all of their tags and many are using tags that have nothing to do with what they sell.

Using tags that have nothing to do with what you sell, may get you views, but it won't get you sales.

Lets say you get 500 views in 48 hours. But no sales. Then basically those views were wasted. This is what happens when you use un related tags. I would rather get 30 views and 2 sales. Again don't get caught up in how many views you get, but pay attention to how many views to sales you get.

When possible use phrases as tags. Instead of "vintage" "book" use "vintage book"

Its also important to use keywords phrases in your description. For example some of my keywords might be "strawberry" "jam" "homemade" So I would type a sentence like this:

My homemade strawberry jam is made with fresh strawberries etc etc.

The next mistake I see is people using text that does not read naturally. Instead it reads like a bunch of keywords lumped together. Don't do that!

Another mistakes is glaring typing and grammar errors. Be sure you proofread your text. If your not sure put it through a spell checker.

And back to long titles. Several people have told me "but so and so does it and has a ton of sales" They probably got lucky and made their most valuable keywords in the beginning of the title. Or it worked for a bit until Google figured it out. But even for customers on Etsy don't you think a title like this is a turn off to your customers?

Black//Blue//Pink//Zebra//Cloth -- Baby/// print etc etc

It just looks unprofessional and it really is not an advantage. Heck my titles are very short and sweet yet I get sales.

Here are some of mine

Strawberry Jalapeno Jam (sold within 15 mins of listing the other day)

Triple Berry Jam

Bodacious Blackberry Jam

Why do these short titles work? Because that is what people put in search to find these flavors. They are short but they are exactly what someone puts into Etsy or Google search to find them.

If you are unsure of what your top keywords are use Google Keyword Tool.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Etsy Relevancy and Google

Okay so I said I would do some more posts on selling on Etsy and here it is. One of my friends at Demand Studios had posted her shop and I posted some ways to tweak her listings to get seen on Etsy.

Last night we had a fun discussion on the Etsy forums on how to use SEO in Etsy listings.

One of the biggest questions on Etsy is how do you get your shop seen. You have to be seen by both Etsy search and Google. Etsy relevancy has literally leveled the playing field in Etsy search. This helped some and put others in the 0 views rank.

The good thing is most tweaking will help both. I am not an expert but I will say I get asked a lot how a new store like my Etsy jam store got so many sales in a short amount of time. There are tons of other people selling jam and jelly on Etsy so I do have a lot of competition.

1. Clear concise titles
2. Original quality descriptions
3. Tags

Luckily with years of freelance content writing I already know what search engines are looking for when a person searches.

Titles:

Some disagree with me but having long titles with dashes or hyphens is not helping you. Stuffing a title full of keywords is also not going to help. Pick your top keywords and stick to those. You must think like your customer. What would they type in Etsy or Google search to find you?

Would they type "Steampunk necklace" or would they type in "steampunk - unusual beautiful -- curved black and blue 18" necklace" I would bet they are going to type in steampunk necklace.

I did a test this morning. I typed in steampunk necklace on Etsy search to see what it would pull up. (Danielle I was looking for your beautiful necklace!) I went through the first 6 pages and unfortunately Danielle's was no where to be found. What it pulled up was all the listings that had "steampunk necklace" in the first 3 words of the listing.

Then I did another test. I typed in large hoop earrings. Again Danielle's beautiful earrings did not appear in the first pages of search, even though she has a beautiful pair on her Etsy store. The problem is she filled her title full of extra words but never used "large hoop earrings" in the title. I have to think anyone that loves large hoop earrings will search with that.

To see Danielles beautiful jewelry click here

Sometimes less is definitely more. Don't over think it. Go back to basics.

Descriptions:

Google is big on finding good original content. Not copied content. Pick a "voice" for your descriptions (depending on who your customers are) Sprinkle keywords and keyword phrases through out the paragraph. It must read naturally. If it reads like a keyword stuffed mess, you are dead in the water.

Freelance writers call it writing "tight" that is writing clear concise descriptions that get the message across quickly. You do not have to write 10 paragraphs to get seen. You just have to write one really good one. When I write online content for Yahoo, DMS etc its usually 400 words or less. This is because people have a very short attention spans.

Okay this is so long I will stop here for today. Now that you are at the end of this very long blog post, take a minute to skim back over it. Look at all the keywords I dispersed through out this blog post. (Etsy, Google, SEO, Etsy relevancy, Demand Studios, Etsy forums, selling on Etsy etc etc)

Bottom line is this all applies whether you are writing for your website, blog or store.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas! Craft Casting Call

Came across this today and since we have a lot of my craft friends reading here I thought I would post this casting call for crafters.

Sorry I cannot get the link to work so you will have to copy this and paste it in your browser.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150453373081926&set=a.238208076925.138768.167674771925&type=1&theater

Really easy to apply as all you do is email them with pictures of your crafts, a paragraph about what you do and your contact info.

Prize money is $10,000.00!!! I know we could all use that.

I have been approached a couple times by reality shows but never agreed to be on one. But I would for sure do this one!

Wishing all of you and your families the best Christmas ever!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The New Yahoo Voices

I really am starting to hate Google. First Demand Studios tanks and now Yahoo/Associated Content (now known as Yahoo Voices) is sinking fast.

I have written for Yahoo/AC off and on for many years. Logging into my account this month is nothing short of depressing. I have never had views this low.

Anyone ever notice how every time Associated Content changes names; views go down? I don't think they can even sink any lower than they are now.

I haven't written my Featured Content for December as I am not sure its worth it. Yeah its a 15.00 upfront payment but then they get full rights. I am seriously thinking blogging pays more than Demand Studios or Yahoo Voices. I may just start a pets blog since and write all my horse, dog and cat articles there. At least then I have the freedom to write what I want and not wait on editors, featured articles that never arrive etc.

I really think more and more of us freelance writers will have to start paving our own way and leave behind the content farms.

The only good thing about Google Panda is it did even out the playing field. If you write good articles on timely subjects they will get read. Even without Yahoo or Demand Studios.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Selling Homemade Food at Craft Shows

Whenever I attend craft shows I try to show love and support for my co-crafters and especially food crafters. One because I love food and two because I know how hard it is to break in.

Recently I did a craft show with another newish food crafter. Their food was cake pops and cookies. I could tell they were very new just from the look of their table and display.

Their cakepops were cute but definitely not professional looking. The cookies again were cute but not decorated very well. But all of this can be overcome if the food tastes good.

When I first started with my jam and jelly, a businessman told me "you can get by with hardly any fancy packaging or displays as long as the food is good." I totally agree.

I felt bad for them as they barely had any sales by day 2 of the show. Im sure their display and decorating was a big part of that.

Anyway, to be supportive I bought 2 cakepops, 2 brownie pops and 2 cookies. Later my partner and I unwrapped a cakepop and a brownie pop for a snack. Ughh. Not good. The brownie pops were literally raw inside and doughy. The cakepops were so dry they crumbled off the stick as you tried to eat them. The cookies were stale tasting. What a huge disappointment.

My heart kinda sank as I knew they probably will not be around long. If you are going to sell food number one is it has to be outstanding. It has to be a thousand times better than what someone can easily make at home or buy at the big box grocery store.

Later I got a chance to chat with one of the owners. I asked her if they had to throw out all those cake pops and cookies after the show. She excitedly told me that no they just refreeze them. I couldn't help but think "ewwwwwww!" She then went on to say they can thaw and take them out in public and refreeze them 3 times. Wow. This must be why the cakepops were so dry and crumbly. I have my doubts that this is really how it is supposed to be done but I don't make cake. When I gently told her that this would for sure affect the flavor, she was adamant that it did not.

I feel bad for them because I know in my heart they will fail if they continue on that path. Again if you are going to make food the biggest requirement is IT HAS TO TASTE AWESOME.

The Handmade Jewelry Crafts Market

I have been working craft shows off and on for about 20 years and in 3 different states.

I recently reentered the craft show market with my homemade jam and jelly. (Shameless plug www.jamanarchy.com)

The biggest thing I have noticed is the FLOOD of handmade jewelry. Craziest thing I have ever seen. If you are thinking about selling handmade jewelry my advice is do not do it. Unless you have come up with something very unique, your chances of selling your crafts and making a profit are slim.

Every show I have attended this fall is approximately 80 percent handmade jewelry. One look at Etsy.com will show you how flooded this portion of the craft market is.

I am always one for following your passion, but if your passion is handmade jewelry, really check out your competition and make sure its a market you want to enter.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Selling Crafts on Etsy Part 1

A couple years ago I had an Etsy store selling tole painting patterns. Honestly I did not have enough to sell to get noticed so shut my shop down. People kept mistaking my patterns for actual items so I did more refunds than sales.

Recently I opened another Etsy shop for my jam and jelly. Boy have things changed on Etsy! Seems they are being over run by resellers and like everything on the internet, Google Panda changed things. This sounds real familiar if you have ever done free lance writing.

It does make me cringe that Google has so much power over the interent but thats a post for another day.

Back to Etsy. My opinion is that Etsy grew to big too fast and now the growing pains are showing. Who would have ever thought that Etsy (the site known for all things handmade) would turn into a smaller version of Ebay? With so many resellers from China etc selling on there daily, the charm of Etsy is being lost.

One common theme on the Etsy forums is that Etsy has just a tiny group of employees in the NY office and that is why you cannot call them. Hmmm. Really? Because a quick Google search shows that Etsy has 125 employees. I really doubt that the office is run by 5 people, which is what people on their forum will exclaim to anyone that complains.

And if they do only have 5 people in the office then something is definitely wrong. Add to this their new board member that also sits on the board of Walmart and well you can probably guess where this is going.

If I had the money I would start a real handmade website. Heck I will go one better and say I would make a made in the USA handmade only website. A girl can dream right?

But seriously I do think a top notch site could definitely give Etsy a run for their money. Problem is sites like Artfire are not getting any traffic so really are not a competitor of Etsy. Other start ups are obviously lacking financial backing and will probably fail.

But if someone had some deep pockets they could definitely get a good thing going.

More on Etsy later!

Demand Studios New Sections

I did get a bit of time to stumble over to the Demand Studios forum and catch up on what is going on.

Basically they announced 11 new sections with new section leaders. Which is ironic because they still say that basically there will be no new titles. So what is the point of having 11 sections with leaders? If you figure that out let me know. It could just be a show for investors to make it look like DMS is moving ahead.

I would like to write for the pet section, but I doubt I will qualify. Writing about pets of course is one of my major passions and I have done a lot of pet writing on Demand. But their stiff odd way of making everyone write always gave me grief. Maybe its best if I stay away from there but I do really miss the money. But even thinking of going back to writing the Demand Studios way, makes me a little sick.

Craft Shows & Making Money

Well we just did a 3 day craft show at a local mall. This was a very expensive adventure and I learned a lot.

Basically I learned that just because a show is at a craft mall does not mean you will have high sales. I also learned that malls will greatly exaggerate their foot traffic to get you to sign the contract and pay their extremely high fee.

Luckily we made out okay. We didn't lose money like most of the other crafters did but we certainly did not make enough to work 3 12 hour days plus the fees.

It is odd to me that we can make more at a one day craft show than 12 hours at a mall show. This is a new show for that mall and I would venture a guess to say they will be hard pressed to get crafters next year unless they greatly lower the table fee.

The good thing is I met a lot of new crafters and got a list of the better selling shows to attend for 2012. That was a bonus for sure.

Still saw a lot of new crafters over pricing their items. Like I have posted elsewhere in this blog price is everything! And you will not ever make an "hourly" wage. You can price it high and take it all home with you, or you can price it just a bit lower (in most cases) and not have to pack it all back up at the end of the day.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Turning Your Facebook Page Into a Store

So everyone knows about Facebook Marketplace but did you know you can turn your Facebook business page into a store? And did you know its free?

Its also very easy to do! Heres my Jam page on Facebook

www.facebook.com/pages/Jam-Anarchy/243895025665162

While your there give me a like :)

Okay now look to the left and see the little "show now" shopping cart? If you want to see how a Facebook store looks hit that and it will pull up my store.

To get this all you do is open the Facebook app "Tab Juice" and build your store. I had mine up and running in about an hour.

We have already had a couple sales off it and I am hoping for more as we get more people to see the page.

Back and Updates! Demand studios, 1-800 Flowers & Jam

My poor blog has been unattended due to Jam sales and Holidays.

Demand Studios has pretty much bit the dust for most of us. As I thought the First Look Program was really a last look program for most of us.

Many have moved on and found better paying writing gigs and for them I am so happy! Just shows that you can find other opportunities out there if you look hard enough.

I did get a gig with 1-800 flowers to answer calls from home but my dang phone wouldnt work right with their software. I would have had to purchase a new phone at the cost of about 85.00 and I just couldn't bring myself to do it for 3 weeks worth of work. Its not easy to find a corded landline phone that will work with a headset. They also require you to be available for 11 hours per day so I knew that was going to interfere with making jam and jelly.

Our newest flavor of jam is Damn Hot Pepper Jelly and my poor assistant about did herself in when we cooked this batch. We put 8 habanero and 8 jalapeno peppers in it and let me tell you that is when its time to break out face masks. LOL. We will know better next time!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Update on Ghostblogger.net

My article on non profits finally got approved. But now its just sitting.

I mistakenly thought that if I wrote a requested article and it was approved, then it was sold. Guess that is not how it works. Darn.

They put a price on it of 22.50 and if it sells I get something like 16.00

I am not happy with how long it takes to get an article approved. If someone posted on there looking for an article and it takes almost 2 weeks to be approved, they probably bought one somewhere else.

But again I suspect this site has been flooded with articles due to Demand Studios writers having nothing to write.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pricing Craft Items to Sell

As part of my crafting to make money series! A big question I always get asked is how to price your items.

Okay first lets just get this out of the way. You will NEVER get paid for your TIME making crafts. Never. Period. End of story. Just get that out of your head. There is no hourly rate for crafting. You will make yourself crazy and probably not sell a lot if you are stuck in this mindset.

What you are doing is making money of the MATERIALS used to make your crafts. Now time is a consideration. Crafts that are more detailed and take longer to make do bring a higher price. But within limits. I talk to so many crafters who ask me why their product is not selling. It's usually the price. I tell them lower the price, and they throw a fit, which is usually followed by "but it took me 10 hours to make that!."

There are some exceptions but not many. If your crafts range more into "fine art" you can get more. But if your items are firmly in the craft market this is just how it goes.

You can mark your stuff too high and never sell it, or you can price it based off materials and sell your items. This is the difference between leaving a craft show with money in your pocket, or having to make up almost everything you made and leave with zero money in your pocket. Or actually a minus money in your pocket if you didn't sell enough to cover the cost of the booth.

Lets say I sell a birdhouse at a craft show or even etsy.com. First I have to know exactly what it cost me to make that birdhouse. When I was making and selling these hubby made them for me in our shop. I knew that it cost us 2.00 each in wood, glue and paint to make that birdhouse. For this example I will use one of my easier to paint birdhouses. This one was a real money maker and I will show you why.

Cost $2.00
Sell $16.00

Profit 14.00

This is a freehand painted project that I would paint 10 at a time to make it quicker. The only thing I varied was the color of the roofs. Hubby made them about 20 at a time.



Did I make money off hubby and mines time? No. But I made very good money off materials. 13 x 20 birdhouses sold = $280.00 PROFIT. As a side note we also sold them unpainted to other crafters.

The general rule of retail is to AT LEAST double your money. As you can see above I did way better than double. I made about six times on my money invested. This is the key to crafts. Not many retail stores can say they made 6 times the money. When I owned my own craft store and sold supplies etc I was lucky if I ever got double selling paint, brushes, etc.

Again anything under 20.00 sells well. Anything priced 10.00 and under (and good quality) sells fast. Anything 5.00 and under sells really fast.

Items above 25.00 sit a little longer but will sell if they are quality. I regularly sold my hand painted gourds in the 25.00-50.00 range. I could get that because they were unique and very detailed. So yes items that take longer to paint or make do command a bit more in price but not an hourly rate! Heres an example of a more detailed gourd that sold for a higher price.


So I am in no way saying sell yourself short. But you have to get rid of the hourly wage mindset.

If you would like to buy either of these craft patterns they are 8.00 each and come with color pictures, line drawing and directions. All patterns are emailed to you as soon as payment is received.

Making Money with Niche Websites

I have read about this for some time but never had time to try it yet. Did some interesting reading about it for the last couple days.

You find a good niche and make a website built around that niche/keyword(s) The key is to find good keywords. Today I was reading on nichepursuits.com about how to choose keywords etc.

Definitely worth the time to read about it.

His theory is to use those lower ranking keywords that do not have as much competition thus "niche"

I can see how it would work but have to ponder this some more. You would have to buy the .com names and purchase some hosting to do it.

Once you get that done, you pick advertisers and affiliates to run on the site to generate income.

If anyone has done it or tries it let me know how you are doing!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

First Look at Demand or Last Look?

So today Demand Studios announced that the writers that made it into the "first look" program got their emails today.

Your truly did not get an email. Surely its a mistake? Surely after 18 months of typing my fingers to the bone for DMS they didn't mean to leave me out?

Oh well. Such is the life of a free lancer.

I really think they should have called it the "last look" program because its probably the last look 90 percent of their writers will ever have of DMS.

Im not going to lie. It has hurt my budget tremendously. But when one door closes another opens. Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)Dont let the door hit ya on the way out. Blah blah blah.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Selling Your Crafts

Okay I am sick of writing about Demand Studios so have to do a positive post today.

I will preface by saying I worked in crafts full time for probably 15 years or more. I owned my own craft shop, taught painting at Micheals, Hobby Lobby and in my own store. I also had a gig painting live on the noon news in Illinois. I just want to give some background so that you know I am not yanking your chain.

A few days ago I attended a local craft show to sell my homemade jam. At this craft show were no less than 5 brand new crafters. And it showed. Because of the bad economy many people are starting a side business of crafts to supplement their income. Which is a great thing. But I see so many newbie mistakes! I really wish I could have gathered them in a circle and given them all some tips of what I have learned over the years. I didn't have the guts to do it so I am going to start a series of blog posts on owning a craft business.

Okay I posted previously that the real money in crafts is publishing your own patterns. But lets say you just want to make your stuff and sell it. This is for you. My top tips.

Color means everything. You must stay on top of color trends especially if you are painting or making any kind of craft that includes color. Should you make for example candles in the wrong color pallete you will have a hard time selling them. Heres a hint--jewel tones are always good. People love jewel tones. Midnight blue, deep burgandy, etc etc.

Price is everything. Anything over 20.00 is going to make people think long and hard about buying it. Anything over 25.00 they are going to think even harder. Anything 15.00 and under is going to sell well. Anything under 10.00 is going to sell really well and quickly. I am not saying to underprice your items as that will get you no where. But you have to have a variety of prices so that you hit every range. Have a few items in the higher range, many items in the middle and a ton of items in the lower range. Its all about variety.

Booth. Your booth is your first impression. A full booth is best but do not go crazy and fill it so full that buyers get overwhelmed. There is a fine line between the two. Hopefully you will star the day with a stocked booth and end the day with a semi bare booth. If you start the day with a bare looking booth people just walk on by without looking.

Okay this is getting long so I will end with this tip. If things slow down have a friend (hopefully 2 friends) gather around your booth and look at something intently. People walking then wonder what those people are looking at and they gather around. Pretty soon you have drawn a huge amount of attention to your booth. Now hopefully this happens naturally but sometimes you have to create it. I was lucky when I lived in Kansas to have a lot of family that always hung around my craft shows. Anytime things got slow they would gather around the front of my booth and create interest.

More later

Demand Studios Select Program

Edited 10-23-11 to say Demand Studios Sucks has now admitted this was a hoax. It was a damn good one! Sometimes you have to be able to laugh. I do want to point out though that the thread was deleted off the DSS forum. The DSS forum and the DMS forum may not be so different after all :)

Finally!!! Finally a leak about the Demand Studios Ehow Select Program. I had first read about this on the demand studios sucks forum and I knew it was true. Now we finally have proof. This is from the DMS forum that someone had the guts to post.

Edited to say many think this is a spoof and not a real message to the Select writers. I cannot say 100 percent but I personally believe its true.

Dear eHow Select writers,

Today, Demand Media Studios launched its new First Look program for regular eHow writers.

In an effort to further reward our best writers, we have decided to launch Premiere, a program that will allow eHow Select writers to claim high-quality titles before they reach the non-Select title pool. In effect, eHow Select writers who qualify for the Premiere program will get exclusive access to titles that have been released by our titling department for a period of 24 hours. After that period, unclaimed titles will then be made available to non-Select writers who qualify for the First Look program. 48 hours later, the remaining titles will make it to the general pool.

The requirements for gaining access to Premiere are a median structure score of 4.0 or above for the last 50 submitted articles and an average productivity score of 7 or above. To calculate the productivity score, we will divide your total number of accepted articles written during the past two months by 60.

As always, we ask you to keep this information, along with all other details about the eHow Select program, confidential.

Lydia,
Content Manager eHow Select


Now how funny is that? Why Demand thought this had to be kept super top secret is beyond me. Now we find out not only is there a select group of writers now there will be a Premiere group, then Select, then First Look and then us crappy low life writers. Dang.

I suspected the rumors were true all a long but always thought it was funny how DMS always acted like anything on demand studios sucks was a lie. Well theres your proof. Too funny.

Demand Studios First Look Program

Okay I have to admit I didn't see this one coming. I don't think anyone did. DMS is going to average out writers scores for their last 50 articles. If your grammar score is at least a 4 you get a "first look" at available titles before the rest of the lower scoring writers.

Another kicker is everyone's queues are going back to 10. Now that is something I can get behind LOL. Even after writing for Demand for 19 months and being approved for higher paying articles I still only had a queue of 10. So it really irritated me that some have a queue of 25 and can hoard articles.

I doubt my scores will make it. I used to have a 4 in grammar and A 4.5 in content but the latest rash of editor rewrite hell did a lot of damage to my scores in the last 40 days. Sucks to be me.

It would have made much more sense to average every writers grammar and content score, not just the grammar score. I still remember DMS telling us for months the scorecard was not a big deal and as long as you were over a 3 you were fine. And many people bought into that. Now look what a big deal scores are LOL. I understand it but it does seem a little unfair as the CE's introduce so many errors into articles and some scores make no sense at all.

I honestly think this is Demands way of getting rid of some more writers without having to send their "we don't need you anymore" email. Demand is getting so much bad press so I think they think this will avoid that. Probably won't work.

My big issue with this is we can't see this new score on our workdesk and so far I don't see anymore firm date of when it will appear. To me they should not have announced this until the score was on our work desks.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Review for Six Figure Blogging Free E-book

I am many times just roaming the internet looking for more good opportunities to include in this blog.

Tonight I decided to go to problogger.com and see what all the talk was about. I stumbled upon a free e-book on how to do affiliate marketing with your blog written by Zac Johnson. Last week I had done a blog post on affiliate marketing but unfortunately I failed to explain it very well.

I have to say this free e-book explains it in detail a long with a lot of other tips for bloggers and writers. I don't often recommend a free e-book as most are not worth the time to download them. But I was pleasantly surprised at how well written this one is and how it explains affiliate marketing way better than I ever could.

Disclaimer--I am not making a dime off this link! Just wanted to share it with others that are interested in blogging or making money with affiliates.

Well shoot the direct link will not work as you do have to enter and verify your email addy to get the free book. Go to www.zacjohnson.com and look for the sixfigureaffiliateblogging e-book.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Demand Studios Formally Starts Letting Writers Go

Most of us knew it was coming but some still thought things at DMS would work out. Demand Studios started releasing the first round of "your services are no longer needed" emails. Kinda funny as I had posted on the Yahoo forum that I felt sure this kind of email would follow the previous Demand email on the shortage of titles.

Some are calling it the "Demand Studios Firing Email" but come on people. We are all FREELANCE writers. You can not be fired!

Heres a copy of the email:

We regret to inform you that we are removing your Demand Media Studios writing permissions. As you are aware, we look at our writers on a number of dimensions - including but not limited to article audits by in-house editors, overall scores and rejection rates.

Taking into consideration the above factors, it has been determined that your body of work does not meet our standards for quality.

If you currently have any work in progress, these articles may be submitted for review and payment if approved. However, effective today, you will no longer be permitted to claim additional titles.

If you are currently approved for any other roles within the Studio, this decision does not affect them in any way.

We wish you luck with your future writing projects.

Best Regards,

Demand Media Studios Editorial Team



I really do feel bad for the the writers that believed things would go back to "normal" Heck I still wish they would go back but that is just not going to happen.

Today they also announced hiring for a new Golf section. But the requirements are pretty stiff.

I haven't gotten my farewell email yet but for sure it would not surprise me. Most writers noticed that their articles were being audited the last 2 weeks so it was only a matter of time until many were let go.

We need a blog brightening pony pictures :)


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Working with Ghostbloggers.net

Just read about Ghostbloggers.net this one this morning on the DMS forum. I thought it looked interesting so signed up there this morning.

Unlike other "writer for hire" websites this one looks to pay better rates per word than most.

You can look through the list of what buyers are wanting, or just submit an article you have written to sell.

I took one off the list of what buyers are wanting and wrote an article on organizing a non-profit organization. After I submitted it, I got a reply that their moderator would look it over for acceptance. I know they pass the articles through copyscape etc.

I will update on whether mine was accepted and how the rest goes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Working with Affiliates

I am old enough to still remember way back to the beginning of internet time when affiliates were all the rage. I made some money on some, got scammed on others and basically forgot about them.

One of my top paying affiliates in the past was Yahoo sitebuilder. Because I used to build a lot of Yahoo websites; I put a link to their webhosting on my farm website. For every person that signed up I got 60.00 For the first year it was a really nice little money maker. Then they changed the terms, payments etc and it got to be more hassle than it was worth. The one constant in affiliates is that they will change. What makes money one day may disappear the next. Never count on it for your bills.

Now they are making a comeback. I do have a few friends that make very good money with affiliate programs. Like most free lance income it is not overnight. It takes time to build them and nurture them.

Some of the top affiliate programs are of course Amazon.com affiliates and Google affiliates.

I am taking another stab at these and signed up for both. I am putting google affilate banner ads on my pony forum to see how it goes. I will say it is not easy finding ads that are a good fit for a pony forum. For sure if the ads do not fit your website audience they will not be successful. Google affiliates are very picky about what sites they allow to show their banners and link ads.

If you look to the right of this blog that is an Amazon.com affiliate ad. You can also make a whole Amazon.com affiliate website. Once you get an Amazon affiliate account they give you the steps to make a whole website of what you want to sell to your audience. Again I know quite a few people doing very well with these amazon duplicate websites. I tried to set one up but it is labor intensive. I haven't had time to finish it yet but hopefully someday.

So far my affiliates have not paid off very well but I only started about 40 days ago. Like I said previously some things take time and will not give you overnight success.

Monday, October 10, 2011

For My Demand Studios Colleagues

Lots of DMS writers are looking for other online work. Go back to the beginning of this blog as some of the better paying opportunities are at the beginning like Leap Source etc.

Now that the Ehow titles finally went to zero I think it is finally hitting many DMS writers that this is really happening.

Also there is a ton of work on Odesk for data entry, answering phones (must have a head set and in many cases must have a web cam) Do they pay as well as Demand? Nope but any money is better than no money.

Try thinking outside of the box too. I have been pleasantly surprised by my jam sales for the last month. Never in a million years did I think so many people would want to buy homemade jam. So while that may not be something you want to do it does show that sometimes things fall in your lap when you least expect it.

Best wishes to all the DMS writers out looking, keep your head up and your eyes open.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Demand Studios Laying off Writers? The Drama Continues

If you have read this blog long you know that I started this blog mainly because I knew that big changes were coming to Demand Studios. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that when the DMS stock was dropping like a rock; titles would become scarce.

I think many DMS writers were in denial and now are waking up to the reality. DMS was smart in how they did it. They didn't actually lay anyone off they just cut the titles drastically and then they will let the chips fall where they may. Of course most writers will move on on their own due to the lack of titles to write. Its a laying off due to attrition. This way DMS still looks good but gets rid of a ton of writers.

DMS in my humble opinion is not "closing" or going under, just reorganizing and cutting a huge amount of writers which cuts their accounts payable tremendously.

I also predict that when special titles come back they will be at much lower rates. I think the 25.00 articles are gone for good. But that is just my prediction.

Heres an excerpt from an article about DMS:

"We reached out to Demand and chief revenue officer Joanne Bradford (obviously) disagreed with this person's assessment.

She told us, "It's still one of the largest pools of writing assignments available in the world. We don't feel like it's that dramatic of a change because it's not like every assignment was being taken. It's all about quality for us."

Bradford admitted that some writers would be cut, but that is a part of the process. They are always looking to get rid of the lowest rated writers and replace them with better once."

Problem is no one knows who the "better rated" writers are and Demand isn't saying.

I fully intend to write there until there is nothing left.

Making Money with Fusion Cash--No Writing Required

This is very similar to Inbox Dollars but a friend say they pay better. And I like that you can direct deposit to your paypal account instead of waiting for a check. Nice.

You select surveys and cash offers etc. Again not going to get you rich but will put some extra cash in your pocket for Christmas etc. I had my sons girlfriend start a couple of these to save for their baby due in April.

Free Money at FusionCash!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

CloudCrowd Facebook App Update

Okay you all have heard me say I am not a fan of Cloudcrowd even though I have friends that love working for them. I did get an email update yesterday that they now have practice tests you can take to learn how to pass the real tests better. This is something they should have done a long time ago. Better late than never! I may give it another try or I may not.

My issue with Clowdcrowd is the way other people score your work. The ones I received were very unprofessional and anytime you pay people to find mistakes in other people's work, they will go on a power trip. If they find a mistake you don't get paid but they do. See the issue? My credibility went 50 something to 28.

Anyway if you decide to try it please use my referral link!

http://www.cloudcrowd.com/i/l87h0y

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

When is an Announcement Not an Annoucment? Demand Studios Email

When your Demand Studios of course! So funny after the post I made this morning and now we get the big announcement.

Problem is the "announcement" really didn't say anything except that things are going to change and Ehow titles will be reduced. We already knew that.

Many people saw this coming and some were right on the money. No I dont think DMS is going under but I do think they are going to totally restructure. And that in turn means they are not going to need nearly as many writers and editors.

More telling than the announcement itself is the replies given in the forum. 

My biggest gripe is the ads proclaiming that DMS would always have work and you could make a full time income. And I did and I was thankful for it. Apparently some of those ads are still running. I kept wondering over the last month why Demand didn't just pull all of their writers/editors wanted ads. What a waste of everyone's time. They obviously are not really actively taking on new writers or editors.

I do think many writers will get to stay and continue on but I think they will see a decrease in pay.

As for me I will keep doing what I do and keep putting one foot in front of the other! I was writing long before DMS and I will be writing long after.









The Demand Studios Drought Contines and Their Stock Drops

I hate conspiracy theories but it does seem to me that the lower the Demand Studios stock price drops; the less titles are available. Hmmm. It did go up a bit today but so did everything else. Makes you wonder for sure.

Available titles today is hovering around 1000. Out of that most are not writeable and are titles people keep claiming and throwing back. Unless of course someone can write how to disassemble and reassemble a John Deere Tractor in 400 words for 15.00. Too funny!!!

By not dropping any new titles Demand Studios does greatly reduce their accounts payable that's for sure. No writers or editors to pay.

The good news is I got a bonus article at Yahoo/AC this week so that will help. And of course I am always looking for alternatives to DMS. I have to get with Tammy and get my account at Elance going again. Now that the wedding is over and things are calming down, I am determined to tackle it.









Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Demand Studios Title Drought

So I come back in town and log into DMS and I find literally almost nothing. Crazy stuff. I have been writing there since May 2010 and have never seen titles this low. This morning the total count was like 1200 titles and most of those are not writable. This includes the other titles I am approved for like Ehow money and Chron.

Having worked in freelance most of my life I know nothing is ever "for sure." But you would think Demand would give their writers at least a small hint of what is going on. Morale is so low there its not even funny.

I have been applying like crazy for other writing jobs and beefing up my Yahoo/AC articles.

The timing really sucks with the holidays right around the corner. Everyone thought the title drought was just the usual summer down time but apparently that wasn't true.

Demand used to be such a fun place to write for. Not so much now. Between the stress of the Writer Evaluation Program, needless edits and re-writes and now the lack of titles; its quickly becoming not worth it. 












Finding Work on Problogger.com

I am finally back from the wedding and back to work. The wedding was beautiful but exhausting!

I tried a new blog template this morning but it didn't look so great so we are back to our old format. 

Just got a tip today about Problogger.com  For those that like to blog and make money check out their list of blogging jobs. I applied for a couple good fits for me this morning and will update on the results.

http://jobs.problogger.net/jobs/category/blognetwork


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Selling Jams & Jellies

Thought I better update so people don't think I disappeared. My friend and I got a wild hair to sell our jams and jellies at a local festival so we have been cooking like crazy all week! I am happy to say that our jams were a huge hit! Who knew?

The wine jellies were a huge hit as were the hot pepper jellies. I have to say though it was a huge amount of work with setting up at 9 am and working till 7 p.m. Lots of fun though!

I will upload pictures hopefully later.

I am really lucky to live in a cottage law state so that allows us to sell some homemade foods. For anyone else interested check out your state laws and see if you have a cottage law. Most of them are very similar outlining what you can and cannot sell made from your home kitchen. And like Ohio, most stipulate you can only see these foods in your own state.

My daughter's wedding is also this week so we will be out of town Thursday thru Sunday. 








Sunday, September 18, 2011

Gourd Craft Patterns

I have received a couple emails of people wanting to buy my gourd patterns. Apparently Ebay no longer allows instant download sales. I had no idea!

I currently have 3 gourd craft patterns for sale. All patterns come with line drawings, color picture, materials list and tips. Each pattern is $7.00. You can send payment to paypal using kay@baxterspaintedpasture.com  As soon as I receive payment I will email the pattern. These were my top sellers at craft shows. Remember since these take a little longer to paint and are unusual you can get higher prices! Do not undersell them. You can also leave out some of the details if making a lot of these to sell. If you are making them as gifts I say paint in all the details!

Gourd Snowwoman Pattern



Ghost Gourd Pattern



Easter Bunny Gourd Pattern

This picture wont post for some reason so here is a link to the picture

http://baxterspaintedpasture.com/images/eastergourd.JPG






Saturday, September 17, 2011

Making Money from Homemade Food & Cottage Laws

My family and friends know I started canning fruit and my famous spaghetti sauce last fall. To me it is so relaxing and fun. I love peeling the fruit, cooking it and having the house smell wonderful all day. Last year I tried my own spiced peach recipe as you can no longer buy them in most stores. As a kid we always had spiced peaches for Thanksgiving and Christmas so I had to make them.

This year I got my peaches and then had trouble locating my canning supplies. By the time I got them the peaches were too ripe to can. So a friend suggested I make preserves instead. So I did. And the results are mouth watering. Then my friend came over and showed me how to do some really neat preserves like Blackberry pepperflake.  This stuff is rapidly disappearing!

My friends family had previously owned a restaurant where they sold homemade jelly and preserves. While we were canning she kept saying what a shame it was we couldn't restart it.

So I investigated and was shocked to find out that Ohio is a cottage food state. That means that we can make jelly, jam, popcorn, granola bars etc and non perishable baked goods without a license.  The biggest catch is we can only sell it in the state of Ohio. I immediately called my friend and she was estatic. Even though she has always lived in Ohio she had no idea it was a cottage food state. Currently there are 24 states that have similar cottage food laws. However there are explicit rules on what is prohibited such as salsa, vegetables or anything that is low acid.

With the holidays approaching I think its a good time to try it out and see how it goes. The great thing about a home food business is the start up cost is very low.  For the cost of some fruit, sugar, jars and pectin we can give it a go.

I am hoping to try some new recipes this weekend. I am lucky that I live close to an orchard that has the best apples, pears, peaches, figs etc.







Thursday, September 15, 2011

Something Different! Working with Threadless (T-shirt design and Slogans)

This sounds really fun! Have you ever thought you had a great T-shirt design or brilliant slogan? Now you can get paid for it.

The t-shirt design pays the following if yours is picked:

  • $2,000 in cash
  • $500 Threadless Gift Certificate (can be redeemed for $200 cash)
  • $500 in cash each time your design is reprinted
Slogans pay $500.00 if yours is picked. ($400.00 cash $100.00 certificate) and then $100.00 every time your slogan is printed.

Once you submit a design or slogan the community votes on them to pick the next t-shirts and slogans. I have a slogan in mind I am going to submit.

You do have to spend a few minutes voting for other slogans and t-shirt designs to participate

As usual if you decide to join heres my referral link :)


http://threadless.com/?from=kay.baxter

Once you sign up you can get your own link to get points to use toward free t-shirts etc.

Vote for my slogan!

http://www.threadless.com/slogans/mine






Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Demand Studios Writer Evaluation Program or WEP Strikes Again

Sadly another round of writer's at Demand Studios got notice that they were put into WEP or Writers Evaluation Program today. I also noticed that some just special titles taken away. I would really hate to lose my Chron and Money articles as the $25.00 is nice pay.

Seems like the house cleaning of letting writers go is on-going. Many of us thought they were done after the last round about a month ago, but apparently we were all wrong. They do seem to come in waves or groups though as you can tell from the people posting that it isn't just one or two here and there.

Everyday I fear I will get the dreaded email. It seems to me the harder I try; the more my grammar score drops. My research score is never an issue and hovers around 4.3-4.5. But my grammar score has dropped to an all time low of 3.6. Not good.

Since DMS will not really tell writers how they choose who goes into the WEP program, everyone just keeps guessing. (just vague innuendo about scores and percentages) For sure if you have high scores and a low re-write/rejection percentage, you probably have nothing to worry about. But if you are like me and  have a low percentage, good research score, but a crummy grammar score; you could be in trouble. 

Reading the DMS forum is getting too depressing. Problem is if you don't go to the forum you miss a lot of updates.

I wish DMS would just treat the writers with a little more respect and give us a firm outline of how this is done. They also should consider that someone that has written hundreds of articles, cannot bring their score up quickly since it is all done on percentages.

The ever changing guidelines don't help either. The new guidelines say passive voice is okay when needed, but just try doing it and see what you score drops to. I don't buy it for a second. 

I do have other places I write content for (and that are way more fun like Yahoo/AC) but they do not have nearly the income potential of DMS. I guess all I can do is my best and if I get let go, life will go on and move forward. They can't take away my birthday!

I do wonder if DMS ever considers what all of these WEP rounds have done to writer morale there. Or maybe they just don't care. Every time I go to my DMS work desk I inwardly cringe and my stress level shoots sky high.



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Save Money with Ebates.com

With the holidays fast approaching (UGH!) I wanted to post about Ebates.com   I posted this on my pony forum last year and got reamed by some friends for not showing it to them before the holidays.

When you shop on Ebates you get cash back from every participating store. I got some really good cash rebates from JC Penny last year for doing my Christmas shopping on ebates.com

The rebate amounts range from 2 to 5 percent back of the total you spend. So it adds up pretty quick when you are Christmas shopping.

My friend Fran uses it all year long and just told me that Bath & Body is on there now too.

You just sign up for an account (and you get $5.00 for signing up) and then just shop as normal. Their page tells you what percentages your favorite stores are offering on a given day. For example if you want to shop at Walmart.com you just click on the Walmart icon and it takes you to the Walmart website. But it keeps tracking the order through ebates so that you get your cash rebate.

I will warn you that it takes a couple days for your first order to credit to your ebate account but it always does. Everyone I have referred there gets their rebates.

As usual if you decide to try it please use my referral link

http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=4f6VqSUgjsDKsxY1510yZQ%3D%3D

Blog Brightening picture! This is what we have to look forward to lol










Sunday, September 11, 2011

Update on Cloudcrowd 2

Cloudcrowd finally posted some work that you don't have to test for. I decided to try it as I have so many friends raving about it.

It is pretty simple work once you get the hang of it. All you do is click links and review the site using the guidelines they give you. For example determine whether the site is a product, category, information etc site. Count the pictures, count the videos, etc.

It only pays 11 cents per site that you review. Some can be done in just a few seconds while others can take up to 10 mins. Not going to get you rich for sure but will give you some pocket money.

I did notice someone rejected one of mine so I guess I won't get paid for that one.

Im still trying to figure out this whole cloudcrowd work so I will keep updating.

If you want to give it a try please use my referral link

http://www.cloudcrowd.com/i/l87h0y 









Demand Studios Title Dumps!

Woohoo! Maybe the Demand Studios drought is over? I sure hope so. They have been dumping great titles all weekend. I am trying to unfreeze myself from the DS standstill I have been in ever since the latest round of writers being let go.

There really seems to be no rhyme or reason to the Demand Studios scorecard, but I have to get over it and just write. My income has really suffered this month. While I love writing at Yahoo/AC, the income potential of Demand Studios is just not there.

I posted about my DS woes on the DS forum and someone gave me this link to check over your work

http://www.polishmywriting.com/

I am going to try it later today.

I have written for DS for 16 months and never seen so much score card craziness as there is right now. I am approved for higher paying articles as I normally have very high scores. But the last 60 days as seen my grammar score plummet to scary levels. Hopefully I can get it back up.

If you haven't logged into Demand Studios lately, its probably worth logging in and seeing the new titles.





Saturday, September 10, 2011

Working with Consumersearch.com

Got a hot tip that this website is looking for freelance researchers, writers and editors. From their website:

"Are you the kind of person who spends 25 hours researching toasters before buying one? If so, we’re looking for someone like you to join our team of freelance writers."

I do not know the exact amount they pay but was told its higher than average.

For their application and more info

http://www.consumersearch.com/write-for-us

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Making Money From Home Blogging

It was just so obvious that I missed posting about it. Last night a friend emailed me and asked me about the ads on my blog such as how did they get there, did I make money from them?

For those of us that have been on the internet forever, its the simple things we forget. We assume that everyone knows what google adsense is when actually a lot of people new to this may not know.

I started this blog truly to help other people struggling with the economy and finding jobs. And again because I am lazy and got tired of typing the same thing over and over.

Now having said that, I also put google ads on this blog and hooked some Amazon.com ads here. Have I made a killing in two weeks off this blog? No way!!Have made a couple bucks? Sure. But to really make money off a blog you have to have a huge number of hits and clicks. I have neither. But heck who knows, maybe someday this blog will take off and make money. Maybe it wont. Either way I am good as I love to write and mix my love of writing, ponies and family.

Speaking of ponies, here's a beautiful watercolor of Feature that my friend Abby did. Abby should start a blog about her art, family and horses. Hint hint. If you want a portrait done of your horse/pony/dog/cat see Abby's website at http://www.abbysartwork.com/






If you start a blog be sure to sign up for Google Adsense. Blogger makes it really easy to apply if you do not have a Google Adsense account. Just start your blog, make about 10 posts and apply for Google Adsense.

However, be warned that Google is very picky and if they think you are gaming their system you will be banned for life. Everyday on the Blogger.com forums there are people screaming that their blog was taken down and their Google Adsense account terminated. You cannot spam people and you can never ever ask people to click on your ads. Doing this will get you a life time ban from Google.

Remember you have to have a real blog first and foremost. People have to connect with you and feel that you are a real person. Not a spammer trying to make them buy something or click something. You also have to stick with it and blog. I cannot tell you how many blogs I have started over the years and then abandoned them. Seems to be a blogger curse that many of us struggle with. I am determined to keep this one going as the feedback has been great. I get a lot of private comments and that keeps me going.

Having a blog is cathartic for me. I get to write whatever I want. After a full day of writing for DMS or YahooAC etc it is such a freeing feeling to come here and just write and not worry about editors etc. Unlike Facebook I don't have to worry about word count limits etc.

And ultimately I do hope it helps other people to make some income from home.







Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Neat Google Keyword Search Tool

For those that write for Yahoo/AC and other places where you write your own titles. Using this Google tool can be a big help.

Google Insight Tool

You can put any keyword in and see how many are searching for it. Or just look at their main results and you can see what is trending upward etc. This can be a huge help in getting views for your Yahoo articles just by picking the right keywords to put in your title.

I know a lot of the newer writers at Yahoo don't understand that keyword is the main dictator of whether your article will get views. If no one is searching or you don't have relevant keywords in the title, your page views generally go no where.

The other day I took a glance through Yahoo and Google hot trends for searches. Noticed right off the bat that Sjorgen's Syndrome as hitting like crazy due to Venus Williams pulling out of the US open due to having Sjorgen's. So I quickly wrote an article on Sjorgen's Syndrome (symptoms etc) just to test the keyword theory. I had previously read about this disease as it is commonly seen in RA patients and my hubby has RA. I published this article on Yahoo as Display Only knowing that there was not enough time to wait for it to be reviewed for upfront pay. For many of these keywords you have to strike while the iron is hot.

To date this week this is my highest page view article on Yahoo/AC. So yes the theory works.  It literally PAYS to know what is trending in Yahoo and Google search!







Working with Seed.com

The holiday weekend is over and I am back! Hope everyone had a great holiday.

A couple years ago I signed up to write for Seed.com  Seed is the content and photo generator for AOL. Previously their articles paid a very good rate. Most were from $20. for short articles to 350.00 for feature articles.

I tried writing for AOL kids pets channels. I wrote about 10 titles that were in their list and the directions said to write to a young audience.  AOL titles are very specific like "Top 5 ways to care for your cat" etc. I thought mine were pretty good but all 10 were rejected. And it took almost a month to get the rejection. Most of the articles I took and published on Yahoo/AC so at least it wasn't a total waste.

I do know people that got published there for some of the higher paying articles. Seed.com is more like gravy money. They never have a lot of consistent titles so it would be hard to make a steady income there. When I checked this morning they had zero available work so not sure what is going on. Their blog hasn't been updated since May of this year. Strange.

They used to pay pretty good for good clear digital photographs but I didn't see any assignments there either. For sure its worth checking.

www.seed.com









Saturday, September 3, 2011

My E-books are Finally Kindle Books!

I had to post as I am so excited. After all of these months all 3 of my miniature horse e-books are finally converted and on Amazon.com live. Woohooo. Happy dance!!!

Like a proud momma I have to show a link

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=kay+baxter&x=0&y=0#/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=kay+baxter+miniature+horses&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Akay+baxter+miniature+horses
I really wish Amazon would give you one transfer to your own kindle to make sure your book converts correctly. I am still a little worried about that even though the free preview looks fine. 

It was a long  hard road but I finally made it. And for once I actually stuck to one of my New Years goals and that was to get my own e-books on Amazon.com.

I am one happy lady!


Friday, September 2, 2011

This Blog Now Has Its Own Domain!

I decided this morning to upgrade this blog it its own domain name. My thought is this winter when I have more time I may make this a whole website and have people show their work, get guest articles etc. It may happen or it may not.

The old link will forward to the domain but if you want to re-bookmark it

www.kayslistofworkfromhome.com

Since I did that I am having issues signing into my own blog, but hopefully it will work itself out.

Blog brightening picture! Baxters Black Fashionista and her little man. Now lovingly owned by Lori Luther and Karen Craven. I so love this picture!






I have been researching some exciting new work from home opportunities but will have to wait to blog those. Today is hubbys birthday and I have company coming in town.

Please feel free to ask questions on any of the previous links I have given. Some have emailed me questions (and thats fine!) But I am thinking if you post your questions in comments on the blog, it may help someone who is too shy to post.

If you have tried any other previous free lance work, be sure and leave a comment on whether you like it, don't like it etc.

Most of all have a wonderful holiday weekend!!!! 



Thursday, September 1, 2011

Publishing Your Own E-book Part Two

When I left off I finally had my three e-books in PDF format but not Kindle. I have been selling them on my own website and marketed through banners on different horse forums, facebook, twitter. Sales were good the first two weeks but have now slowed down. Reviews have been very good so that makes me happy.

I am hoping to get some print ads in association magazines. This is the time consuming part of self-publishing. You must promote and market your own books.  I have to say though, having worked with traditional publishers in the past, the good far outweighs the bad!

I am going to list some links here to help people get started converting their book to an e-book.

Amazons Page of Tips This page is Amazon's tips to Kindle publishing.

Amazon Converters  This page has some of the newest Amazon Kindle converters. This was not available when I started. This gives the download link to mobipocket creator and instructions. Warning: it is not as easy as they make it sound! Again if you can afford it, skip the headache and pay someone. Especially if your ebook like mine has a lot of images.

Kindle Help Forums  This link is to the forums where you can get help publishing your kindle, marketing etc.

When I decided to sell them in PDF format on my own website, I had to find a download software. This enables people to get the book as soon as they pay. This way they aren't waiting for me to email the book to them and I think its much more professional. I wasted 8 hours trying to figure out how to implement Paypals free download software. Do not bother with Paypal unless you are an HTML expert.

Thankfully someone on Demand Studios forum told me about E-junkie. I was leery at first but I have to say I am thrilled with E-junkie. For $5.00 a month I get to use their download software on my website. Its very easy to use and makes neat reports etc. If you decide to use E-junkie please use my referral link below :)You can also affiliate with other ebook sellers and sell their books on your website.

http://www.e-junkie.com/?r=178981
E-junkie Shopping Cart and Digital Delivery

As of this morning I finally got all 3 of my e-books loaded on Amazon.com as Kindle books! I am so excited but a little scared. You really do not know how your kindle book looks until its live and  you buy your own book. One of mine has gone live and I already found errors so I just republished it this morning. Ugh. I am really hoping the other two publish without errors. Once you republish it takes another 24 hours to go live. Once they are all 3 live I will give a link to them.

Next I am going to try to conquer Nook and Smashwords. I have tried to upload my books to Smashwords with zero success. I made a Nook publishing account and got a cryptic email to call them before they would approve my account. Problem is no one at Nook ever answers the phone or calls back.

Like I said this is an ongoing journey. I just wish I had started this blog when I first started as I know I am forgetting a lot. That could be on purpose LOL. I have learned so much the last 4 months about publishing, formatting, converting, promoting. I think my head is going to explode.







Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Working With Odesk.com

A friend told me about this one today. Looks kinda interesting as they have a lot of variety of work. Web design, graphics, customer service etc.

I clicked into the customer service jobs and it looks like they average 7-9.00 per hour, which isn't bad considering you do not have to leave home.

Heres a link to their customer service jobs

https://www.odesk.com/jobs/Live-Chat-Email-and-Calls_~~3af296968d5b9e16?tot=330&pos=4

This is a little different in that it has a time clock that you clock in and out of anytime you work for an Odesk Client. Even the writing assignments are done on a clock.

Some of the writing assignments look like really low pay but the customer service stuff looks doable.

https://www.odesk.com/






Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Publishing Your Own E-book Part One

Yes part one because there is way too much to this to make one post. And this is an on-going adventure.

Over the last couple years I have been just itching to write and publish my own e-books, but I kept hitting brick walls and would give up. 

My 2011 goal in January was to finally just do it and get them written and formatted. Little did I know it's not quite that easy. Unless of course you are a formatting guru. I have read other blogs and sites where the formatting issues brought much more experienced people to their knees. So at least I know I am not alone. My ultimate goal is to get my e-books on Amazon.com as Kindle books. I am getting close!

I am lucky in that I am selling to a niche market, so that is my expertise. But many can use some of these tips no matter what market you are writing to.

I am so hopeful that in the next couple years we will see the big e-book outlets all settle on one or maybe two main formats. Until then know that they all have a different format with different requirements. For example Nook, Kindle, Google Ebooks, and Smashwords all require a different format. 

First of course you have to actually write the e-book. Be SURE you write it in an older version of Microsoft Word like 2007. For some idiotic reason this is what e-book converters prefer. Especially if you want to convert your book to Kindle. I cannot help anyone with formatting images because I failed miserably.

Cool 3D cover someone made me for my first E-book. The only thing I don't like is it is hard to read the title so not sure I will use it. I have paid to have about 4 different covers done so far because I suck at graphics.




I was told to download the free Mobipocket player and convert my word documents to Kindle from there. It sounded so easy!! I was so naive. It is real easy to upload your word document to Mobi, but then you look at preview and see the jumbled mess that is supposed to be your e-book and the headache starts. If your book doesn't have pictures it is probably pretty easy. Pictures seem to throw a big old wrench into converting to Kindle.

I will cut to the chase and say I never could get mine to convert. I then met some awesome people on the Demand Studios forum that helped me get going. One special person is Jamie. She converted all 3 of my first books to PDF format so that I could at least get started selling them myself without Amazon. She will be open for business soon to help others so I will update when she gets her site up and running. Although I downloaded the PDF converter, I also failed miserably at that.

My best advice on the formatting issues is to pay someone to do it. Especially if you are not code savvy.  I wasted two months trying to format my own and it just wasn't worth it. All these format issues go back to coding, which I have never had the patience for. Be careful though choosing a company. At this point the only person I can recommend is Jamie and shes not up and running yet. Average range of prices is 5.-250.00. Its pretty much all over the place.

I will end here for now but much more later!




What is Your Klout Number?

I touched briefly on Klout on another post and promised to post more later. Well - later is now.

I do think Klout scores are going to become important for free-lancers so you may want to run over to their site and see what your score is. Especially if you are a blogger.

You sign up and give them access to your Facebook, Youtube, Blogger, Fickr, etc etc. From these stats they use some magical formula to generate your Klout score. This score shows how much influence you have in your "network" 

I am not sold that the formula really works. For example mine says I am an expert in Holland. Hmm. Not so much LOL. It would have made more sense if it would have said I was an expert in Miniature Horses or Shetland ponies since this is what I talk about the most. How it got Holland I have no clue.

Blog brightening picture!



If you get a high enough Klout score, you are offered Klout perks. One current perk is getting to read Stephan Kings new book before it is made available to the public. Another one was getting to try a car for a weekend with a gas card and give reviews on it.

And like I posted previously some free-lance work is already asking you to list your Klout score to qualify for work.

Mine started at 35 and in a week I am at 57. There are some glitches though. I cannot get my Youtube account to show up on Klout. I guess they are working on it.

I am a little fascinated with these Klout numbers so if you have one please comment and tell us what your Klout number is and if you think it is accurate.

I have to say - I do think its a little bit creepy.

 klout.com/




Working With Clickworker

This is another writing and editing opportunity. I have friends making money there so this is legit free lance work. The company is based in Germany but people say they have no problems getting paid or getting work.

Last night I took the editing test which was really easy except there are computer errors in the test. I had several questions that had no answers that were viewable. Just the little circles to choose the answer. So I just guessed. Even with those I almost had a high enough percentage to pass. I did write them a note that the test was messed up.

There is also a general writer's test that you can take by writing a 90-120 word article on given keywords. I haven't done that yet as I have to write some Yahoo articles today for my deadline.

I f you decide to try it please use my referral link:


http://www.clickworker.com/become-a-clickworker?utm_source=124991&utm_campaign=CW4CW&utm_medium=email



Monday, August 29, 2011

Writing for Interact Media

I just got my approval email to write for Interact Media. My friend Cate told me about this one on Facebook.

Based on my writing sample I was given a 3 star rating out of 5. I really didnt like the sample so I guess that is good. (my sample was write an article around the keywords "editing services")

So I ran to the open job board but all jobs for this morning were already taken. There has been a ton of people on the Demand Studios forum applying and working at IM so I am sure they go fast.

Looks interesting though. When I finally get to claim an article and submit it, I will update! 





Sunday, August 28, 2011

Making Money on Fiverr.com

This is a fun little website and I have friends that make quite a bit of money there. You can post anything you will do for 5.00. For writers you can post to write descriptions or other small writing assignments for 5.00.


Or you could do image resizing for 5.00 a picture etc etc. Christmas is coming and I know last year lots sold little Christmas stories personalized with peoples kids names.

I actually  use it to buy work like banners etc that I cant do. I have had really great results on there.

I did post once that I would answer a horse question for 5.00 just to see if anyone would bite. Got zero response. But I have seen where relationship questions seem to be a hit on there.

http://fiverr.com/






Facebook Marketplace How Did I Not Know??

I feel like a real idiot. Here I am supposed to be so internet savvy and I had no idea that Facebook has a Marketplace where you can list things for sale for FREE. Crazy!! How could I have not known that?

I can see all kinds of opportunities using that! I just put one of my ebooks on to test it. Way cool and super easy to use. This could be better than Ebay as there are no fees to pay.

You can sell stuff on their locally or nationally. I found a ton of listings in my local area for cars, houses, rentals, dogs, horses, tack, crafts etc etc. Way better than Craigslist!

Just type "marketplace" into your Faceook search at the top of your page and have a look. Or maybe I am the last one to know there was a marketplace LOL



Making Money on Flixya--No writing required

I have been searching for money making opportunities that do not involve writing. I know a lot of you do not want to write so here you go.

In order to use Flixya you have to have a Google Adsense Account. If you don't have one the Flixya site will lead you through setting one up after you have uploaded 10 pictures or videos.

I highly recommend setting up a Google Adsense Account! Even if you don't like Flixya you need a Google Adsense Account. Yes Abby I am talking to you!!!

This is a  way to generate "passive income". Meaning once you upload pictures or videos and Google ads are installed, you are done. Anytime someone views your picture/video and clicks an ad; Google pays you. Of course if you take the time to promote your pictures on your Facebook or Twitter account, you will get more views; which in turn means more money.

Be sure you only upload pictures or videos you took so that you do not violate copyright laws.

Heres one of my favorite photos that I uploaded today. Dale pulling Jims tail and living up to his name Baxters Black Intimidator.



Of course interesting photos and videos are going to make the most money. You have to be sure and give your photos good descriptive titles, always type in the comments section and ALWAYS add relevant keywords.

I uploaded 10 quick photos this morning and hooked it to my Google Adsense account. Later I will upload some videos. I already have some Youtube videos that make some money thanks to Google Adsense. But generally this is much easier. They are very picky on Youtube what videos they will put ads on and you have to be invited. I was invited to put them on videos of Annie as her videos got so many hits. At least with Flixya you can add whatever you want and see how it goes.







Saturday, August 27, 2011

Making Money From Crafts

Many people do not know that I used to be a huge full time crafter. Even owned my own craft store many years ago. I taught tole and decorative painting and sold patterns to magazines. My sisters and I used to set up craft booths and sell all weekend. Man those craft shows are so much work!

One of my top selling gourd patterns:




The best way to make money in crafts is to sell your own original patterns. I still sell mine on ebay and other crafting sites. It doesn't matter what craft you do. Quilting, crocheting, painting etc. If you can come up with original designs and write clear instructions - you can sell the pattern. 

For sure the internet has made this so much easier. You can either put together a file on your desktop for the pattern or use free downloadable software. I have my painting ones in  a file that includes color pictures, a list of materials and instructions. They sell for 7.00-8.00 dollars each.

You can also sell your patterns to magazines. The last pattern I sold to a magazine I got 350.00 plus the retail price of the finished project. and that was 10 years ago! Magazines are always looking for new fresh craft ideas.

Christmas Birdhouse pattern I sold to Better Homes & Garden 



It drives me crazy that Demand Studio writers write quilting and crochet patterns for a measly 15.00!! Why do people do that? Just say no! Once you turn it in to Demand you can never resell that pattern. Crazy stuff. I hate it when people short change themselves.

Many are afraid to write craft patterns thinking they have to go to the court house and get a copyright. They don't realize that the second you produce something, you have an automatic copyright. That applies to pictures, quilts, paintings, drawings etc. I always date every pattern and then use the copyright symbol.

I got so burnt out painting the same thing 50 times. I would much rather paint something once and then sell the pattern. 

Snow woman gourd pattern