First credit assignment and first contractor hire !

Wow, can’t believe its a month already since the last post!  Time really flies when you are trying to balance a fledgling freelance career with a home and a social life.

The good news is I have landed my first assignment which offers credit for the writing!   Its a real joy to see your thumbnail credit, especially after having only ghost written till now. Not only am I enjoying working with the client, the assignments themselves are very interesting. It’s for a company that writes on technology for small businesses , from the internet tools like email and mobile marketing, to social media and latest business applications. Its an open forum where readers can ask questions and point out mistakes on the article written, so I have to be very diligent in ensuring that the write- up is factually accurate.

There is so much to learn and I am learning everyday. From new concepts, to being able to research and write faster / better, use of website tools such as Twitter, WP and  blogs for furthering business, e-commerce ….almost makes me wish I had a great e-commerce idea of my own! Oh well …maybe some day.

The second  important development has been that I have ventured into hiring a contractor so that I could ramp up my billing. I use Elance for my project bidding, so I decided instead to use Odesk for my client profile. The process of creating a job, inviting possible applicants, reviewing applications and assigning the job to a contractor was fairly simple.  My selection criteria for hiring the contractor was a minimum of 100 billed hours on Odesk and at least a 4.5 out of a maximum of 5 as overall feedback ratings.  I also read through the individual client feedback comments on the contractors I was considering.

The first contractor I hired was a South African. I had prepared a detailed guideline sheet for the contractor to ensure that expectations were clearly understood.  Her written samples were quite impressive and she had very high client rating scores. I was rather surprised when she submitted her article to me within a few hours.  The lack of research was evident and I had to reiterate the changes needed 3-4 times before the article reached its final form.

Disappointed with the first experience I decided to hire a second contractor, an Indian lady this time with 7 years of corporate experience.  Thankfully she turned out to be more efficient and detailed in her research. Although am still exchanging 2-3 re-writes with her. She is a good stand-by to have, so I am going to keep giving her some amount of work every week and groom her style to be closer to what I want.

Also, I am keeping a watchful eye on my weekly billings. I am driving a target in my mind basis available contracts and time. It is important to drive this as any other business. And so far the month is looking better than the previous. I hope to close the month at about $480- $500 this month compared to $325 last month. I know the numbers are small, but its getting better every week. My ideal would be about a $1000 a month.  All I need are a few big contracts and I could easily get there. In the meanwhile will try to derive mileage from the contractor model.

As I head into the last 10 days of the month, I am hopeful of bagging another with credit assignment. Although its slightly less paying that I would like ( $30 for 1000 words), its a topic close to my heart – environment and humanitarian crisis in the world.  So I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity. After all I became a freelancer to be able to do things I enjoy and secondly its important to remember that not all jobs will pay the same amount. Nonetheless, here’s hoping it works out !

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