Archive for March, 2008

Does history justify “spamming” a nightclub.  Fun comparison.

Let’s consider an analogy. Perhaps you have heard of Freecycle? Consider the precious items collected at this great humor blog, which we all know are genuine.

Freecycle — a fantastic community that’s also home to some of the most extreme social cluelessness and gaspingly funny avarice in the online world. This blog will document it all. Posts are reproduced unedited in their entirety, with only identifying information removed.

One might guess from this sort of phenomena that trying to find freelance work through a bidding website may not be a productive use of one’s time and energy. Here is one witness that such a guess is accurate. I’ll reproduce just a couple of his exhibits without his commentary:

I need someone to write 100 articles for a web site. I can only afford to pay $1 per article but this may lead to more work later. Also, all articles you submit will be checked through Copyscape.

I’m looking for someone to write 10 product reviews of (insert product type here). They need to be done quickly and I’ll pay $30. Just to be clear, that’s $30 for all 10, not per review.

I recently watched Arrested Development – Season One and got a sad chuckle at the mention of the video series, “Girls with Low Self-Esteem.” Wouldn’t it be great of sleazy productions would be that honest about what they are doing?

But it would also be a great title for one of these bid-for-a-writer sites.


The bottom line is that they are looking for people who think their work is of no value and their only hope for approval is to give it away cheap.

There are lots of howto books out there for those who want to be freelance commercial writers. Many of these books can be skimmed because, while quite helpful, they are also full of hype (or else they are simply trying to bulk up to be book length).

While this is quite do-able for reading, in my opinion, it is entirely insufferable in audio form. I have greatly benefitted from reading books that I think would have driven me insane if I had been forced to listen to them.

I bring this up, because it applies to my podcast listening. One essential element in starting a new (and it is still new to me) business, is feeling like one belongs to a new group. That is an intangible but highly necessary benefit which people crave, and it is the engine behind all sorts of networking, meetings, and professional associations. The attraction for these things cannot be explained simply by the purported value of the usable information one gains from them–even though without that information one might look elsewhere.

So I look for podcasts. And I have found that some types of formats are simply insufferable. Ultra-successful experts who claim they can solve all your problems simply don’t work for me. I want people who are still on the journey. Reasonably successful people who are honest about their lives their work and their needs for improvement are much more encouraging and helpful. (The other kinds of audio casts might be helpful if I could stomach listening to them.)

So, here are too “real” podcasts I have discovered recently and expect to keep up with.

  • Freelance Radio
  • Freelance America (warning: there is an “explicit” warning on this one in iTunes and, while that doesn’t seem exactly the right description, I would not listen to it with children in the room.)

Both of these are really encouraging and worth listening to.

What to blog about?

Since one of my hats is consulting with businesses starting a corporate blog, I sometimes have to jumpstart topic ideas.

I thought this post from All Freelance Writing was pretty helpful.

Do you ever get blogger’s block – feeling like you’ve already blogged about everything in your niche, where you just can’t seem to come up with new blog ideas to write about? I do. I’d bet most bloggers do from time to time.

No matter how much you’ve written, you probably haven’t really tapped your niche (even if it’s a pretty narrow one). So, when these dry spells happen, how can you come up with blog post ideas to keep your blog fresh? Here are a few suggestions (using the “making money online” niche as an example):