Thursday, December 24, 2009

I Wish For A Stocking Big Enough..

Dear Santa,

As I write this blog post Google tells me that you have already crossed over most of the eastern hemisphere and are now over Korea so I better hurry up with this!
My wish list aint all that complicated and I am sure you can manage it :)

1. Please get me some good client referrals the next year. I have been lucky enough to have some extremely good and valuable clients this year and a couple of new additions to the list surely will not hurt me!

2. I would love to work more with clients who believed in me and my talent and gave me the freedom to work on the assignment my way. Trust me I will not let you down here!

2. It would be great it you could just about add a couple of extra hours every day. Would love to spend it learning a new hobby.

3. Could you also sneak in some good leads of writers whom i would love to follow?!

4. Santa, I could so do with a separate room for my work so if you could magically make my 2 BHK apartment into a 3 BHK one then it would be awesome!

5. I would love to add to my collection of books so a one year free gift subscription of The Landmark would be the icing on the cake.

6. I am seriously not a sucker for electronics but if you are so insistent then a Kindle would be fine! ;)

That's about it. Did i not tell you that I will not be too demanding?! Also as a parting gift could you try removing chocolates and cakes from the unhealthy list and moving it to the healthy list ehh?!

Ohh that reminds me, do you need some new content on your website Santa?? ;) Feel free to contact me.. For you I can surely come up with a good negotiation price!! What say Santa??!! I am waiting!!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Year Of The Ox Gets Ready To Give Way To The Year Of The Tiger!

The year 2009 is almost gone. Yes, once more the time comes when we sit and wonder as to how soon the year went by. So while we do the thinking I thought of listing together what all was special at my end for the year 2009!

1. The year bought with it a good and a promising flow of projects for me to work on. Also, I got my 1st regular content writing client whose monthly pay checks are now responsible for the ‘almost visible’ savings in my account! Thank you Henrik! :)

2. My portfolio too was a witness to steady progress when it moved from its word format to a pdf format in 2008 to its latest online version in 2009. Yes, Niha Redhu got live in 2009!

3. 2009 also saw me getting introduced to the ‘all the while sitting there’ world of social networking. An account on Twitter followed and with it came a whole bunch of good connections and amazing friends. My account on LinkedIn created ages ago was also taken out of the cobwebs and dusted. Finally I had in place the means to get connected to the ‘right’ people.

4. The year was also dedicated to the memory of the ‘big fat Indian get together’ which had me and my husband jet hopping at regular intervals to the various longitudes and latitudes of the country.

5. We also finally managed the long awaited trip to Goa! Yeah well let’s not stray longer here as I might just give into the temptation of buying tickets again for the New Years In ago! Highly tempting I say!

6. Oh and yes, I finally have a designated space as my ‘office’ in my house. Though I share the space with the treadmill, the ironing board, the husband’s utterly precious, ‘highly loaded’ desktop as well as the shoe rack I STILL did manage to find some space for myself in that very room! Highly efficient I say! :)

7. I also finally managed to get rid of my pricing inhibitions and could start quoting rates for my writing services confidently! You might not believe but when I started freelancing, any new project always made nervous as to how much should I quote for the assignment and if I could actually deliver on the needed requirements! Surely practice makes a man perfect and in my case confident!

8. On my personal front, the year was a mixed bag. With the occasional bouts of illnesses we did have our fair share of visits to the clinics as well. Not disappointing us this time too was our frequent food expeditions and with the decent help of a fair amount of diegene tablets we did manage to dig out some fairly good eating joints in Bangalore! A complete foodie couple is what we are!

9. We also managed to take time out and do our share of travelling this year which included a trip to Goa( from here both of us came back looking like a native West Indies couple), a trip to Humpi( with limited electricity, no telephones and ATM’s it was a complete backpackers holiday) and our lip smacking French cuisine journey along with the shopping spree in Pondicherry(the wood fired Pizza’s and the melting garlic naans were absolute killers!).

Dear happy God ji, I look towards the next year with hope and lots of expectations. Hope that it has in store for me more exciting projects, more exciting (would surely not mind exotic too) vacations and the chance to meet a whole new bunch of friends and people. Ohh and yes, the occasional reassuring jingle from my bank account too would be appreciated!


Making The Most Of The Free Time

It is that time of the year again when festivities are in the air. As expected there is also a pitfall in the number of assignments up for grabs as probable clients in the US and Europe have virtually shut down their shops for the holidays. This left me with some good time on my hands to utilize on tasks which i felt had been kept neglected since long. To start with my website, i was since long wanting to update my portfolio as well as certain sections on the website. There was also the months old deliberation going in my head regarding putting up my prices on the website or not. Finally I did decide to do that. Results and effects on that change are highly awaited though! :)The work on the website was not all that much but yes the time was always a factor. Finally I got that sorted out and have the additions made to the website.

My reader too is about to burst to the seems with the huge number of unread blog entries that it is managing. I will be truthful when i say that in the recent months my reading time had reduced considerably owing to the number of assignments I was handling. So I am back with a vengeance to get back on my reading. I am also in the process of rearranging my list on the reader by removing some blogs and adding some new names to it.

I would also like to devote some time to my blog while I am free and try and pen down some good posts at regular intervals. I guess this is something that all of us should do when there is not enough work on our hands. I know so many individuals who utilize their free time writing down and creating a stock of blogs which they then go ahead and post later on at regular intervals. Smart move I say!

The other thing which i need to work on are my social networking networks. Connecting to new connections and getting back in touch with the old ones will help me get some conversations on! :)

But then i also advocate the fact that one surely needs some time to get out and spend some time doing things to fresh up and get back the energy. So it might be a day out with friends, or a night out at the club anything which you enjoy doing is something which you should try.

For me it will be adding some new books to my library, adding some new plants to my 'minuscule' garden up here on the first floor and of course catching up with old friends and the latest gossips doing the rounds now a days! Believe me it helps perk you help.. yes males and females both! :D

What about you? What do you do to spend your free time?


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Portfolio Updated!

It was long due for me to get my portfolio on my website updated. Finally got it done last week. Have added to it my latest assignments which include web content generation for websites as well as content for a brochure.

The other changes in there is the content for the 'About Me' section. There is so much to Niha than what I thought I had in there previously! So thought of adding some more content to it.. naah no self promotion for sure!! You get me as I am.. straight from the heart! :)


The Writing Price List Finally Goes Public!

I had been long contemplating and debating on the fact that should I or shouldn't go ahead and replace the standard and safe 'request a quote' web page on my website with my writing rates. The variable in consideration were plenty and so were the advices which came my way. I decided to take a fair perspective. So with a paper and pen I sat down and made 2 columns on the paper and started listing out the advantages and disadvantages which I could think of regarding posting my writing prices on my website.

Both the columns seemed to have equal number of points! But then deep inside i knew that it was the right time to bring out my writing rates. There was just one problem which was nagging me regarding it and that was the point that by posting my writing prices I would be reducing my chances of potential client interactions as they would now not be contacting me if they feel that my writing services prices are beyond their reach. But it did not take me long to realise that if these viewers did like my work and seeked quality work on their projects then they would by all means approach me!

The other factor that stood out was that now I would be able to concentrate my time only on a handful of clients who would be now knowing what price to expect for their project so that we could go ahead and straight away concentrate on the project. Believe me, when you work as a freelancer, the most time consuming task can be the one when you have to reply to queries regarding the prices charged and the ones which start a price negotiating cycle.

My profession of freelance web writing has many writers who provide content for as low as $1 per page. So by putting up my writing price list I wish to finally and once and for all declare it that no I am NOT one of them. I love my profession and I ensure that my work reflects the same passion and dedication. My writing price list is justified by the quality of my work that I deliver. So if you get what you want for your project I too have the right to charge logically for the same right?

After all, what I am bringing in is transparency and ease so that clients seeking a web content writer will know what to expect! You can check out the content writing rates at my website and let me know what you think!


Friday, December 4, 2009

Busy Was The Buzz Word This Week!

This week has been a hectic one for sure.. For starters my regular wok too came not in cart loads but in truck fulls and then along came two new projects too. The first project was content writing for a consulting website.

Client: Castle Consultants

The client wanted content on specific guidelines to be used for their financial consulting section. Since the client was expecting some good contracts in a couple of days there fore the requirement of having the content and putting the same on the website as soon as possible was a necessity. Having said that, the complexity aggravated with the fact that the topics I had to write on were completely new to me! The client did provide me with a foot hold to start on but I knew that i had to get my basics clear before i attempted writing.

Clients brief: The content should be crisp, targeting to a niche of customers, should bring out genuineness and credibility as well as sound professional.

I had expected before hand that the assignment was going to be a bit tough and yes it surely was. Tough as in the fact that i needed to understand the topics, understand the requirement and deliver on the same in a span of 2 days. The client was patient enough to go through my drafts and suggest modifications. 2 rounds of modifications followed before the final content was settled for. Now when I look back at this particular assignment I can analyze that what took me the most time here was to get in the right customer targeting. I was blocking my usage to a couple of words only which when I rectified saw things falling in place.

Since I cannot post the entire content here I will copy a part of the content that the assignment for you have an idea...

Government Liaising & Product Launch
Castle Consultants aspires to make your business dealing with various government agencies completely hassle free. We at Castle Consultants understand the difficulties that businesses encounter with government agencies for getting various approvals. We have the desired skills to understand government requirements, procedures, and paper work involved towards setting up new businesses and running them.

Our team of government liaison experts are very well equipped to provide you with government and business liaison services to your utmost satisfaction. The government liaison services at Castle Consulting are ideally crafted allowing us to take care of all the modalities and tasks involved while you can freely work towards meeting your strategic business goals and ensuring growth of your company.
Adding another feather to its cap is the sound marketing management skills that you can avail from Castle consultants. Coupled with adequate and in depth marketing research the business strategy development offered by Castle consultants ensures that your business product is placed in the right market framework and it gets the perfect launch that it deserves. First hand market experience along with the essence of sophisticated market planning gives our experienced and qualifies marketing consultants the extra edge that they need in order to make your product launch a winning one!

The other assignment that i wrapped up was for an image consultancy firm called Indihues.

Situated in Mumbai, India, this company also provides personal styling services and as a part of the same they are going to organize a workshop on "Power Dressing" for employees of various big corporate houses. The requirement here was a bit unique. The client has the entire literature ready but wanted help to convert it into a script. A script that the presenter would present in front of the crowd in the workshop.

Client Brief: The script should be conversational. The language should not be heavy email type but rather the funky sms lingo type. There should be enough punches to make the entire script funny and therefore be able to keep the audience hooked. The principle of connect and disconnect using live situational example too should be incorporated.

Since it would be presented by a young presenter therefore the tone of the script had to be young and fresh. The task involved me having to go through various fashion blogs and websites dedicated to styling of men and have in hand some funky instances and quotes which i could use. The best way that i thought was to approach the project was to imagine myself speaking the entire thing in front of the crowd. This bought sentences into my head. Since I was new to scripting the client also suggested a wonderful idea that i take each topic as a scene and then work on it. Working on in part by part really helped.

Find below a part of the script that I have sent to the client for his feedback.

If you wish to adorn you shirt with a cuff link then first you need to have crisp white French cuffed shirt to qualify! Remember, cuff links just don’t work on any other shirt.

When it comes to handkerchiefs (or pocket squares) your best bet would be one in dark blue or gray. But when in doubt, swear by the white!

A watch too is a perfect accessory. But formal watches can only be leather band watches. PERIOD. Silver or steel-band timepieces just do not work for formal occasions.

Moving to ties, i am reminded of a joke which says that “Yesterday I got my tie stuck in the fax machine. Next thing I knew, I was in Los Angeles."! So you see a tie CAN take you places!

A garish tie will stand out like a bad haircut. A solid black, silver or blue tie in muted tones would be your safest bet. You can tie your tie in three basic ways; the four in hand knot, the half Windsor knot as well as the Windsor knot.

I feel that if you are wearing a tie you should also go for a tie clip. It keeps your tie in place when you’re standing and out of your soup when you’re eating!

Would love to hear from you on this!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Stress Busters Any One?

Most of us take on to freelancing with the thought that finally one would be able to regulate and control their work schedule and work at their own will. But it is seen that even this free at will work regime crumbles under the toll of stress if not managed properly. I too suffered from the same issue a few months after I started working as a freelance content writer. But then slowly i also realised means and ways to control it. It is important to find that 'perfect' stress buster that works the best for you. Not because it will help you increase your productivity at work but also because it will keep you happy and spirited. In my case I have found the following work best for me to help control/combat stress.

1. I limit the work which I take. For any freelancer the chance to work on multiple projects seems to be the best that could be possible but one does not realise the amount of stress it gets with it. when you have with you much more work than what you could easily handle then you are bound to feel the pressure of delivering on time. I have also realised that when I am working on several projects at one go it kind of decreases my work output and the results too could have been better. I have therefore made it a point to work only on a few projects at one go and deliver my best towards them.

2. I now make a schedule and most importantly STICK to it. It is important to have a rough time plan for everyday when one starts work. What is more important is that one stops work when the time is up. This will ensure that you get some quality time for yourself.

3. I find taking small breaks thought my work schedule very helpful. I make use of these breaks to read a book, cook a quick snack or listen to some music. I refrain from using this time doing something sitting at my work place. What is important for these breaks is that that you move away from your work place and feel fresh.

4. I also get stressed when i see myself moving behind deadlines. In my case the major culprit here are the distractions in the form twitter, face book and emails. To control this I have now slotted fixed time slots in my schedule when i go and attend to them and therefore do not spend my time checking for mails and notification randomly.

These tips work for me but might not for you. what is important is that you identify those for yourself and then stick to it. You yourself will be amazed by the positive results that you see for yourself in your routine.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

A First: MBA Essays

Lately I have been occupied helping a friend with his essays for his MBA applications. With the list of institutes amounting to 4 there are good about 12 odd essays to tackle. Till now I had not worked on this kind of project because of 2 main reasons. Firstly, none came my way and secondly I was too scared to try looking for them! :) yeah.. i don't know why but the thought that the person's career depended on these essays was enough to scare me off! But when this my friend approached me for help I could not say no and therefore took it as a shot to scare the thought off.

Working with these essays there were some main things which stood out:
1. The word limit! This can turn out to be the most excruciating part of the entire exercise as it is very difficult to round up such elaborate topics within the said word limit.
2. The aim of grabbing the attention of the reader right from the first sentence. I thought of the fact that the aim here is to grab the attention of the reader in the midst of thousands of odd applications and for the same it was required that it have a good start. Also an impactful ending which can leave the reader curious will increase the probability of your application being selected.
3. Not making the essay sound drab and mechanical. It is very important to make it feel personal and something which is right from the heart.
4. Refraining from using too many big words. It is best to make use of simple words and short sentences in your essays. An overdose of too many big words will make it sound very artificial.
5. Never exaggerate and spin tales in your essays. You have to remember that your interview will very much be based on your essays so it is important to stick to true facts.
6. Keep in mind to keep all your essays in the same flow and ensure that you do not end up disputing your own thoughts in your essays. They should all have a common theme revolving around them.

Since the essays have not been submitted I cannot show them here. So it is going to be some wait till I can put them here. It will be a great opportunity to showcase that rare "before" and "after" moment! :)


Friday, November 6, 2009

The Link For The Not-For Profit Dance Foundation

My last content writing assignment, the not for profit dance foundation is up and live. I was emailed the link last night. Thought I will put it on the blog for all to view and share their comments!

The academy is called Guiding Star Dance Foundation and the link for the same is

A couple of changes( nothing major though) has been suggested by me to the client regarding the arrangement of the text on certain web pages. Apart from these web pages there will be the addition of 1 new page. It will have a membership form for willing guests to fill and become a member of this foundation.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Freelancing Is All About Decisions

Freelancing is all about making choices. Right from deciding your work routine to selecting clients and working on payment options, there are a lot of facets that you need to work upon and decide. My journey as a freelance content writer made me come face to face with my share of decisions too. I fumbled upon many initially but with time I surely got more wiser and understood the demands of the business. Based on my personal experience I would like to share some decisive moments that I came across.

1. When starting out initially as a freelancer your basic aim has to be to build on an impressive portfolio. For the same there is no harm if you would do some projects for free. This would help you provide the right kind of work exposure and at the same time allow you to settle down in your line of work. One should never assume that assignments done for free would be less creative. Use every opportunity that comes your way to help refine your talent.

2. When you come across a new project the best way to get off the predicament of accepting it or refusing it can be dealt by asking yourself as to what the project can help you with. Will it help you widen your already existing skill set or help you foray into new territories.

3. It is always a good choice to be the master of one area rather than being average at many!

4. You need to draw a line as to what is the amount of work that you can handle easily and deliver the best doing the same. It is very common for us to get drawn towards taking up more work than we can actually handle. In such a case we are not only unable to devote good time on all the projects but at the same time risk deteriorating our health too. Therefore LIMIT is the key!

5. If possible it is always a good idea to get into a contract with your client. Not only will this safeguard your interest as well as the clients but at the same time it will allow you to stop worrying about the payments and thereby you can concentrate more on your work.

6. It is always a good idea to maintain a gaod rapport with your clients. A small note once in a while will not only allow you to stay in touch with them but at the same time make your client appreciate your relationship.

7. It is extremely mandatory to stick to your work ethics! If you feel that this particular project is not suiting your work area but the client is persistent that you take it there is no point buckling under pressure. A polite denial along with valid reasons will help you sail through.

8. There is no written rule as to what is the best payment option between an upfront payment or partial payment. Though an upfront initial payment is always a good idea but the choice needs to be biased on a " client basis" and the relationship that you share with him.

You can now select the ones which apply relevantly to your sphere of work and do feel free to share your tips too!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Relevance Of Blogs- Why And How!

A friend of mine venturing into freelance writing recently asked me if it was the advisable for her to start writing a blog right at the start of her career in this field. Apparently she had been advised that it is better to establish oneself in this field first and then start with a blog. I do not believe the same. I rather suggested to start writing a blog as soon as possible and use this platform to promote her work and talent. yes, why not? The kind of reach that a blog can provide your business is enormous. The visibility that a blog gets to your business allows you to harness it to your advantage.

The process of setting up a blog is extremely simple. All you need is to join any of the free blogging websites( blogger and Wordpress are the most common ones), select a domain name for yourself, find yourself a hosting space if the blogging website does not provide you with one( blogger does) and follow the simple registration procedure. Once you have an account go about personalizing your blog by adding to it themes and backgrounds that you wish too. The choices towards personalizing your blog are endless! There can be so many reasons that I can list which makes blogging a MUST for an individual who might be working in any field.

1. Visibility: A blog gives you and your business the web presence that you need in order to be seen by the right people.
2. Publicity: A blog allows you to connect with other like minded people on the internet and gives your business the scope of expanding further. Use your blog to your advantage to advertise your talent and as an effective means of networking.
3. Showcase: By means of a blog you can showcase your expertise in your field and at the same time use it as a mean to put forward your portfolio. You could link your blog to your website or add a page of your portfolio to your blog.
4. Portfolio: If you are a beginner and have no portfolio to show then use your blog as your portfolio. In case of a writer use it to write good articles which falls in your area of expertise and then go ahead and forward the link of your blog to prospective clients.

A blog is reflective of your work and is an effective way of marking your presence on the internet. Try and make your blog as expressive towards your services as possible. Use of images, crisp titles and interesting, relevant content are the secrets of a successful blog. Do not write a blog just because everyone else is doing so. Realise the importance that is attached to it and consider it as a part of your business.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

One More Project For The Files

My content generation project for the non profit dance foundation is done. The foundation is named as Guiding Star Dance Foundation. The project was challenging in a way that non profit oganizations demand a little shift in tone while drafting their content and try and make it a little more persuasive and genuine. As discussed earlier, the client had provided me the freedom to structure their website by deciding on the tabs that should be there on the website. The only condition was that all the desired components should be incorporated in the content. The aim of the foundation - to promote Indian dance forms in US- should clearly come across as should the fact that the foundation is a 501(c)(3) oganization.

I looked on the Internet for several other websites working in the same functional area and got an idea as to what all should be there on the website. Also, it gave me a couple of ideas to structure the content on the website. Based on the same as well as the inputs that I got from the client i chalked the skeleton and sent it to the client for his approval.

Once I got the approval from the client on the same I started with my work of structuring content for it. I decided to keep it to the point and concise but since it was aimed towards getting in sponsors therefore it HAD to have some marketing punch too. Not too much but of course! I structured the website to have a Company page, About Us Page, Education page( it further would have 2 parts- mentors as well as schedules and archives) Foundation Page( it would be divided into board of directors, sponsors as well as mailing list tabs), Donate as well as Contact us web pages.

I decided to draft the 'Company' page first as being the landing page it would need to be impressive and take the most time too. Related on similar lines were the 'Foundation' tab as well as the 'About Us' tab. Effort was therefore put in towards trying to bring in a clear distinction as to what content goes in where. Since the client already has a dance academy website( which was drafted by me only, therefore the cleint has asked to pick some content from it and use it towards the 'Education' tab.

Though the task took me 4 days to complete it but the end result was up to my satisfaction. Am yet to hear from the cleint for his final word so there is still the last YES awaited to consider the project DONE! :)

As always, the link of the website will be duly posted once it is live for all you guys to have a look at the final drafted product.


Friday, October 2, 2009

How Much Information Is Too Much Information?

When talking to a client most of us face the dilemma of how much information should be shared with a client when he approaches you with a project? I have always advocated the fact that one should be responsive to all the client queries and try and make him comfortable enough so that he gives you the project. For the same I would go ahead and share my opinion, my views towards his project and what would be the best approach forward. In most cases the client would appreciate my vision and honesty and that would allow me to put his doubts at rest. But then in certain situations I would wonder if that was the right move.

What if the client decides to use my suggestions by taking on board a cheaper writer and asking him to implement all that I had recommended! This could be sure possibility. So what should be the right way ahead?

I say, when a client approaches you try and provide him with a basic skeleton of your ideas leaving behind your actual plans. Leave small teasers for him regarding your vision which would make him interested to take you on board so that you could implement the same.

Providing him with complete samples could be the worst thing that you could do as he could use the same your sample without informing you! In such a situation when a sample is desired from your end it would be a good call to inform the client that you would be submitting just a small paragraph of content and not the actual article. By doing so not only can the prospective client get a look at your creativity and at the same time the length of the sample would not be enough for him to use as such. Never overstretch your offering. Make the client inquisitive for more. This will make him come back to you!


Saturday, September 26, 2009

A New Day A New Project!

Assignment: Website and marketing collateral for a not-for-profit dance foundation.

I had mentioned in my last post that work on a website for a non profit dance academy was due to start, and yes it is on! This assignment would allow me to work towards drafting the entire content for the website as well as working on their marketing material too. The dance academy wishes to go the non profit way and wishes to collect money from shows and use the same money towards sponsoring children to enroll themselves in dance schools. An absolutely noble thought!

What is particularly great about this project is that the client has given me a free hand to even structure the skeleton of the website! This made me suggest tabs we could use, the content which should be put and structuring the same. Since the website is for a non profit use therefore it will not be investing all that much on the designing part. The ‘attraction grabber’ therefore has to be the content.

To work on the structure of the website I browsed the internet for other websites on similar lines. Taking an idea from them on as to what are the important elements which it should have and how to structure the same. Once done I set down and made a structure which suited the clients need. I decided to keep it simple and yet effective. I liked the concept of having a main tab with sub tabs attached to it. By doing this not only will the content have flow and at the same time I will be able to add all the content that should come without creating mess in one single tab.

Client’s brief: The content has to be based on the fact that we are promoting and creating awareness towards Indian dance forms in the US. The content should be to the point and try and include bullet points wherever possible.

As mentioned, the project was bifurcated in two parts; the website as well as the marketing collateral. The marketing stuff is taken care off as the client has provided with a sample of what he actually wants and will be working on the same line. It would be including an introductory letter, a couple of application; the sponsorship levels available as well as info on the upcoming shows. Here too marketing collateral= Punch lines!! Something which my assignment with has taught me good enough! Since I could manage that I expect this to be a breezer.

Once done with the marketing requirement I will start structuring the content for the approved website skeleton. I have made some rough notes on what I would be putting there. Need to talk to the client on these and see if it works for him too. The website has yet to be registered and will surely upload here the final product.

A new theme, some new energy.. I love my work!!


Friday, September 18, 2009

The World Of Presentations!

I mentioned in my last post that I was working on making a presentation for and boy what a process did it turn out to be! I was used to making presentations for my personal use but never for a company. And believe me there was a huge difference in it! Now once I am done with it I can look back and visualize myself as to how I managed to nail it and mind you with good and encouraging feedback! :)

The first draft that I sent was good but yes for a in house presentation. This I can say now after I compare it with the final product that I delivered. Even though I did try to make it creative but the punch was missing. Same was the feedback. I was back on a clean board! Went through a couple of sample presentations and saw where I was lacking. I discovered that it was the beginning. I had to make that IMPACTFUL. Something out of the ordinary. For the same I created an idea board wherein i jotted down words which came in my mind when I thought of the brand. Using them I made 3-4 small yet catchy slides as an introduction. And believe me it worked! Things simply fell into place! All I did was to combine these slides with the ones that I had sent previously and voila I had my presentation ready!

And the result was something that made me excited too!! It is all about words. And in presentations the lesser the better. Create impact. Use words as a double edge sword. Something that will make your reader to hook on and go to the next stage. Believe me it is possible! Keep this as your motto when you have to make a presentation. Highlighting key points on the slides too adds to its visual appeal. It is also a great idea to incorporate box diagrams instead of filling all your slides with plain text.

Also, it is very important to keep in mind the fact that the ending of the presentation too is as important as the beginning. You have to make your readers leave excited and with a thought in their mind. It is a good idea to end your presentation with a thought provoking slide or may be with a summary of your presentation in a fun filled way. Anything will work as long as your audience is hooked!

I so wish that I could share the final presentation with you guys here but we have the issue of copyrighting!


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Work Has Been Good...

I know it has been time since I blogged about my work and projects. Things have been pretty hectic here. With my regular work I have been tied up with new assignments and projects. The most significant being getting into a contract with A deals directory I have been roped in to take care of their marketing needs and delivering content on the same. Am on a contract with these guys for an year now.

By saying a deal's directory what is inferred is that it is a one stop platform to showcase all the store as well as well online deals available. Kinda cool concept for sure!

Am done with a couple of business letters for them and am on working on their marketing presentations right now.This assignment has bought with it a couple of firsts for me. Business writing was not something which I had tried before. I am more of a copy writing guy. So drafting business letters and business proposals liberally doused in marketing punches took me to a new area. I did manage to sail through good with the letters but the business proposal came back wonderfully rejected! :) will have to work hard on it now. Works well for me... I get to explore new facets of writing.

Client's brief: Marketing punch, Creativity. Marketing punch, Creativity! That sums it up!!

Being a start up the first impression surely has to be impactful. Have started work on the presentation and have sent the first few slides for feedback. I have always felt that the difference between a normal presentation and a powerful presentation are the simple one liner messages which can make the readers to think. I like creating impact with words. That is my style. I like to inject a couple of these one liner slides in between the regular content. By this way I am able to control the attention of the reader.

Will await feedback and then proceed forward. Since the content here is copyrighted I will not be able to post it but yes will surely update you on the journey.

Meanwhile there is a website for a non profit dance academy in the US for which i will start working from next week probably. So it is hands full right now!



Saturday, September 5, 2009

How To Price Your Work

The most common issue with most freelancers is the process of deciding the price for a project. All of us wish to get compensated adequately for our efforts towards a project. The right strategy forward should be an ideal combination of adequate compensation to the freelancer as well a happy client.

My way forward is simple. I base my projected calculations for all projects keeping in mind the amount of work desired by me and the time it would take for me to complete the same. If the project includes comprehensive research then that too is taken into account. I consider it to be a good trick to divide the entire project into smaller projects. Once done with that you can move on and see the time that you would take to complete all of these smaller projects.

Combine the hours of all the small projects together and multiply it with your hourly price rate and voila you have a price ready to be quoted to the client! :) If you foresee that you would be needing to stay in regular touch with the client on the telephone during the due course of the project then you could include the expected charges for the same in the total estimated cost for the project.

It is also a great idea to regard the future prospects that you could be involved in with the client. If you foresee good and regular work from the client you can always go ahead and reduce the price you would have otherwise quoted.

What I have mentioned here is my way of arriving at a solution. All of us have our own ways, what is important is that we, the freelancers, are paid for our hard work at the end of the day.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Learn To Say NO

Even though how much ever we might wish for not all clients fall in the same category. And when I say that i mean the good category! There are plenty of chances that you might land up with clients who might leave no stones unturned in making their project a real trouble to get over with. The issues could be plenty.

Your endless corrections might not be approved, they might still be looking out for answers towards what they are actually seeking out from you or worst that they decide endless times during the due course of the project to introduce changes.

Whatever be the reason the fact is that you are now tied up with a tough nut to crack. Solution? Get out of it!

  • Fortunately, as a freelancer you have the choice of weeding out projects and rejecting them if you start feeling uncomfortable in the initial stages itself. Believe me, that is the wisest thing to do. Understand this that if you end up taking that project you will be most probably hurling yourself towards a project which will not be making you happy for a long time. So it is better to refuse early on.
  • However if you have still somehow managed to put yourself in the midst of trouble and now wish to find a way out then the most workable solution is to politely convey your sentiments to the client. Agreed that in our line of work client referrals are very prized but then the refusal can be done in a very polite and courteous way too.
  • It would be a great idea if you could provide the client with alternatives like say names of other freelancers who might be interested in doing the project. By doing this you will not leave your client feeling that you deserted him midway.

So how do you just know that the project you are doing is just not good enough to be pursued further? The following points may be of help.

1. You realise that you have way passed the initial deadline that you had set towards completion of the project.
2. The main theme of the project has changed ever since you started working on it.
3. You are spending way too much time on the project than what you had decided to spend on it.
4. The client still seems confused and uncertain regarding the path on which the project is moving.
5. It is becoming very difficult to maintain regular contact with the client as he does not seem to be easily accessible.

If its a Yes for most of these points then it is better that you stamp the golden word NO and move on!


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Freelancing: Is It Really For You?

The idea of freelancing brings in images of working from home, at will schedules, relaxed work conditions and a complete stress free environment. These conditions are sure to make the job look very attractive and alluring. But what is necessary is that you give freelancing a good thought before considering it as your profession. Need a checklist? Well here it is!

1. Be prepared to multitask! Working from home might make you feel that it would be a tension free job but believe you me when you work from home it is anything but that! You would be expected to take care of your household chores along with your job.

2. With most freelancers it is seen that an absence of steady income is the biggest grouse. This become all the more important when you have a family to support. The initial periods can be pretty choppy as a freelancer and you need to be prepared for it.

3. When you freelance you are a brand in itself. You have no secretaries and juniors to help them manage those for you now. When you freelance you are a one man army! You need to take care of all your advertising needs to make your name visible in the freelancing market. This can prove to be a little too much when you already have chores to handle, deadlines to meet and emails to take care of.

4. Making a schedule is not difficult, what is tough is sticking to it! As a freelancer there are times when you might just find this all very overwhelming. In the absence of a 9 to 5 schedule which you had back in office this might be a bit complicated! The inability to manage your time constructively can prove out to be very frustrating for most freelancers.

If you are game for the mentioned pointers then simply hop on! The world of freelancing is eager to greet you!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Take Your Freelancing Career From Good to Great

Being a freelance writer is a career option that anyone with a flair of writing can get into. You could make it your part time jig or you could opt for it as a full time career. It is in the latter case that you really need to put things into perspective. If freelance writing is your full time job option then you need to treat it as one.

Most of us in the line of business fail to generate this sense of seriousness and therefore find themselves fighting deadlines and working overtime. This should not be what you should be facing ideally. As a freelance you do have the liberty of working at your own will but one needs to be clever enough to make the most of the time.

I too faced similar situations when I started up as a freelance content writer. As I was working from home I had to handle my work responsibilities as well as the responsibilities back home. and believe you me this was not easy. The mantra which worked was ROUTINE.

  • You might be working from home but you need to follow a routine, something that you follow in the office. Till the time you do not infuse a generous amount of professionalism to your freelancing it will not succeed. Try and set a time schedule for yourself. Waking up at a fixed time, getting dressed, eating your breakfast and sitting down for work at an appointed time. This will tune your body and allow it to get into a routine.
  • Prioritize your time. You could designate a time slot during the day for checking mails and replying back, similarly a time slot for rest.
  • Since you are working from home you should also be prepared for unforeseen activities which you might have to cater too. Getting some repairs done, picking up or dropping guests or maybe having to pay a visit to the bank or post office. what is important is not to get irritated by these small changes. A bad mood could lead to a completely unproductive day at work!
  • Be regular on your blogs and websites too. You need to update your portfolio regularly as this is what your clients will look at when they visit your website. Any casualness here can result in clients turning back.
  • It is a good idea to have some personalized stationary printed for yourself. business cards, letterheads can add the needed touch of professionalism to your freelancing.
  • In freelancing it all boils down to networking. Make ample use of forums and blogs to interact with fellow writers. this would help you increase your base.
  • There could be no better advertisers and marketing options than your old clients. Once you are done with the project for your client does not mean that you do not remain in touch with them. It is always a good idea to maintain a regular follow up with them.
  • If you are in your initial stages of starting as a freelance writer and you are being offered to do some notable work for free then it would be a good idea to take it on. Building up a portfolio is what you should be concentrating on initially and for that you need to regularly keep on adding work. This does not imply that you take up any free project that comes your way. If you feel strongly towards a project and sense that it could help you to showcase your creativity then only opt for it.
These pointers might sound to be very basic and simple but they can do wonders to help you establish your self in your choice of field.


Friday, August 14, 2009

I am LIVE!

I have finally managed it. After months of deliberations and work my website is up and live!!! yes.. I am now officially stamped at ! It surely feels great to have a website. My identity, my profile and my portfolio all at the click of a mouse.. Convenience guys convenience!

I have kept the content short and simple. This was not an easy task! I mean I am used to writing volumes for others but when it comes to writing for self there is so much i wanted to put in that it was difficult to be selective. Using my personal experience i deliberately kept the content short and precise.

Would love to hear from everyone as to what they think of the same.. Since it is my baby so I don't see any short comings in it so I would value your suggestions!

Would not have been able to do so without the help of Megha... My words and her design made this a reality! :)


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Make Your Work Area Work For You

Working from as a freelancers allows me to work from home. A boon for someone like me who constantly worries about the house, the maid and home cooked food. I can now afford to to take care of all these; have a clean well home and have the luxury of cooking warm healthy meals too and at the same time work too! It does sound very appealing but believe me, it took more than some solid effort to make things work.
  • Working from home is good BUT getting into a routine is tough. when you are at home you are expected to multi task and yes you NEED to do it. But it is always good to have a routine. A routine will allow you to assign a time limit to all your activities and therefore not leave you hassled at the end of the day with a TO DO list still left to complete.
  • Working from home does not mean that you can work from the dining table. For a small time assignment that is feasible but if working full time at home then you need to have a work space of your own. If an extra room is beyond your reach at your home then a small well ventilated corner with ample light will do the needful. It is also advised that your work area should be screened from noise. A pair of sound proof headphones can do wonders to help you keep away from the noise.
  • It is always a good idea to keep your work area clean and organized. Removing unwanted papers and items can free the are and give you an area of space, something which can help you get that Eureka moment that you have been waiting for the entire day! Having a pen and paper handy to jot down those sudden idea's is a good idea!
  • Since working from home gives you the liberty to work you at your convenience( you can afford to go to an afternoon brunch and then work on till early morning!) you can go about fixing a time frame to handle your emails and then move on with your work and family priorities. The Internet too is a storehouse of several software tools which can help you managing your work tasks. Uploading files, HTML codes as well checking emails is not all that tough with these software's.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Useful Tools For Twitter

Twitter, the social networking site has now reached exceptional heights of popularity. Keeping up with same I came across this blog entry which lists out 15 useful Twitter Tools to extract the maximum from Twitter.... I myself am a regular tweeter and am infact using some of these listed tools.. Could relate to this information so thought of sharing it with you too! :)


Article: 15 Useful Twitter Tools.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pick Me!

Yes, this is what all of us wish for when applying for an assignment. There have been instances when I had been so sure that I would definitely land up with a project but somehow at the end that never happened. Someone else was picked up instead of me. this bought me to realise that what is it in my, my skills that sets me apart from the others in my field. Once I could get to know these points I could then work towards making them work in my favor. trying to find out this is not at all difficult. All that is required is that you carry out a careful assessment of certain points and be the judge yourself.

In order to know your plus points ask yourself some hard questions; questions relating to as to why should clients pick you for their projects. Are you dependable, are you available, are you flexible with your approach, do you adhere to time lines, are you a pro at something, do you have good client testimonials to back your work, do you work cheap? These are some questions which can lead you towards the answer and the discovery of what is unique in your writing talent.

The next step? Hardcore Marketing!

Yes, in freelancing what is visible sells! once you know your positives which set you apart from the herd you need to go out and make your clients know that too! Send emails to prospective clients highlighting your plus points; discuss about these on your blog; emphasise on these points when you talk with clients; showcase client testimonials on your website. having said all this what remains the number one rule to follow is to DEMONSTRATE your skill to the client! With action speaking louder than words you need to prove it to your client that you HAVE the skill in you..

It is all about discovering and sticking to it... Every client likes to work with people who are not only good at their profession but at the same time are worth their salt too!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Twitter and You

The buzz doing the rounds amongst everyone in any kind of field is 'networking'. There is nothing new with it as networking was always around but was something that was done in closed rooms and by exchanging visiting cards. With the Internet booming and opening new avenues the term networking has suddenly taken a whole new perspective. there are now present several forums where you can meet like minded people and interact with them at your convenience. Further these networking websites also allow you to separate your personal as well as professional interests by having both social as well as professional networking websites. A regular search on networking websites is bound to provide you with results which could leave you amazed. The latest entrant here is Twitter. The kind of buzz that twitter has generated amongst netizens is fantastic. So what is all the chirping all about?!

Twitter is a communication media which allows you to interact with other Twitterian's in short 140 character messages. This free to use tool allows you to interact with other people in the form of messages called tweets and you can find people who are either of your field or someone you wish to know more about.

So what is the connection between Twitter and Freelancing? Well, why freelancing, it could be any profession for that matter! Twitter allows you several advantages which you can harness and use to help you grow and spread your business needs.. How? Well, you got to read on!

Twitter allows you read the tweets/updates of other people which is referred to as following in the Twitter terminology as well as allows other to follow you too thereby providing you with followers. This is what you can use to your benefit.

1. Find your old clients using the search option and start following you.
2. Find contacts who can be prospective clients and follow them too.
3. It is always a good idea to market yourself. Tweet about your talent and thereby get the visibility.
4. Twitter comes with various job search options where in people DO tweet about their needs. Regularly check these search options and scout for openings of your like.
5. Make the most of the 'bio data' section on your twitter profile and convey the best about your profession. It is a god idea to use the major keywords relating to your profession here so that you appear on a search when done by someone looking for a person with your expertise.
6. Customise your twitter homepage in tune with your personality.
7. It is never a good idea to spam your followers. NO. NEVER.

Make the most of this 140 character tool and harness its potential for your benefit.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Let People Honor Your Talent

Freelancing can be tough. With the market full of people selling their writing skills it can prove out to be a challenge for anyone wanting to establish themselves full time in this field. The scope available for freelancing is huge but so are the number of people who wish to try and attempt their skills at it. If you wish to make creative freelancing as your full time profession then you need to be all the more cautious because the work available in the market is shared between full time and part time freelancers.

So how can you make your mark? What sets you apart from the others? What can you do so that you can put forward a better impression to your clients than others? How can you convince your clients that you are the best that they can get for their project? It is not tough. I wish to take up my case on the same..

1. Work on your Identity and increase your visibility. It is always a good idea to have a website for yourself. Not only does this make you look professional but at the same goes a long way in projecting your seriousness in this profession. You need not shell out big bucks to get this done. There are available several templates online which can get this done for you for practically free. A simple website with honest, well written content is what your website should portray! You should also make your presence felt through various professional networking websites on the internet.

If you still just have a resume to provide it is a good idea to have it as a PDF file. An impression here goes a long way. If you really wish to spread the word around you could go about and splurge a little and get yourself some visiting cards made.

2. It is a very good habit to be easily accessible to your clients. Provide them with your contact details where you can be contacted easily. Though you can mention them the timings when you can be contacted so that your life does not feel intruded. Try and be quick when responding back to emails as clients like to be in touch with quick and responsive professionals.

3. I also think that it is a good idea to try and make a personal connect with your client and try and interact with him as a friend. By this it is not meant that you drop your professional guard. There is a thin line separating professional behavior and getting personal. Clients will like when you try and go the extra yard and talk about their project as their own with genuine inputs. believe me, IT WORKS!

4. Put together an elaborate portfolio of all your work along with the feedback from your previous clients to showcase to all your potential future connects. This will help the client to bridge the trust bridge and help him in developing confidence in your work and talent. If you have your website make sure that you integrate these items in it and highlight them prominently.

5. Watch your price negotiation timing. Do not start negotiating on the price at the first go. Doing so will project an image that it is only money that you are after. Project an image that you are doing this work of freelance writing for the sheer love of writing. Put forward a price looking at what the project is all about and once quoted stand by it. If you lower your price too often it will do no good to your serious professional image of a web content writer.

What ever be your strategy, the bottom line remains that you have to make your client believe that you have what he wants. You have to justify your talent as well your price and at the same time bring on an image that there is no one better than you available. Believe me, with a few tips this is completely achievable!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Brand Marketing

This interesting article was doing the rounds on twitter. It goes on to illustrate what made Michael Jackson the brand that he was. A must read for all who wish to market themselves/their skills in the respective sphere's of work.. Very simple and too the point. Do read it and try to implement it as and when you can..

How Michael Jackson Became a Brand Icon : From The Harvard Business Review

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Thoughtful Read

While surfing some blogs today I came across this simple yet good article. What I loved the most about this article apart from the message that it wished to convey was the simple language used in it. I truly feel that simple language can prove out to be more impactful than heavy words laden sentences. This piece conveys my thoughts!

The article is about tips and advices to make your writing powerful. Yeah I know.. you must be feeling that been there seen that but what is the harm if you get to read it all again and refresh your writing principles too!! :) Enjoy!!

Article: 7 Simple Ways to Dramatically Improve Everything You Write

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Fun of Freelancing

It has been almost 3 years now since I quit a regular job and took up freelancing. As expected I was a bit hesitant in the beginning as to where it would lead me but then as I settled into freelancing I really took a liking for it. For me getting to work as a creative writer was the best outlet that I could get to do something that I truly loved.

Believe me, it makes a lot of difference when you get to work on something which you are truly attached too. You do not need any kind of motivation to drag you day after day and love the challenges that comes along. Freelancing as a content web writer did this for me. I have loved every day ever since I got into it. ( OK I have Monday blues here too :) )

Freelancing has bought with it a whole big bag full of advantages for me:

1. It allowed me to work on something which was my passion.
2. It introduced me to variety in writing through all kinds of projects that came along.
3. It made em grow socially by introducing to me a whole bunch of new people who not only bought me new work but also fellow writers whose writing master pieces left me in complete awe.
4. Freelancing bought with it flexibility. I could finally work on my terms and at last had NO boss over me!
5. It made me more responsible as now I was wholly and solely responsible for the work that I delivered to my clients.
6. Most importantly it is making me learn on how to negotiate! I would say that I am still learning this trade and have lots to learn here..
7. And of course, it brings in some real quick bucks! :) Believe me, you can really do some good cash counting here in this field once you have some good experience and a varied portfolio to back you.

A pen and paper (or a screen and a keyboard) having so much advantages??? Now that makes freelance web writing worth a try... What say??!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Virtues of my trade

As a freelance creative writer I get to do writing assignments for clients who stay in different corners of the world. I do not get to meet most of them personally and it is my communication with them and most importantly my work which I deliver which projects my image to them. This makes it very important for me as a writer to be able to reach out to my clients. In this profession it works well to establish a good relationship with your client as they are the best advertisers that I can get for my work.

This makes professionalism an extremely integral part for my field of work. And let me tell you it is not at all difficult to inculcate professionalism in your field. Its actually very simple.

1. Deadlines and time lines form the back bone of my profession as a creative writer. An immaculate record with deadlines would speak a lot of good for me and would help me in routing in new prospective clients too. A dependable image is what is conveyed by it.

2. Maintaining a regular and a timely communication pattern with your client too plays a very important role in conveying your professional attitude. You have to understand that the project on which you are working is your clients and he has the full right to get involved with his project.

3. Be respectful and courteous in your communication as this will help your client to relax and instill in him confidence towards you.

4. Be completely honest in your approach and always put in your best in all your projects. If you are time bound and really do not have the time to take on a new project then it is always a good thought to convey it clearly to your client. Also, if due to any reason you are unable to deliver the deliverable to your client on time then be honest and do not come up with lame excuses. Your honesty towards your work will provide you with reliability.

These tips have worked for me and I am sure that anyone wanting to excel in any field too can use them to make the most of the situation. So all the best guys! :)