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


Kay's Crochet Mystery Boxes/Bags Update

We have been getting a lot of questions on our Mystery boxes so here you go! First some have asked why we are now shipping in bags. USPS...