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!