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This topic contains 13 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Emily F Emily F 1 month, 4 weeks ago.

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  • #27925
    Emily F
    Emily F
    Participant

    Hello everyone, since I’ve just spent pretty much the entire day reading through these forums, I thought I’d pop in and introduce myself!

    I’m still fairly new to the world of freelance writing, I’ve been doing it for just over a year, but there’s still so much to learn. I wish I’d have found this site earlier, a lot of the info in the Freelance Writing section I’d already gleaned from other sources over the last 12 months, but I also found some really useful gems, and if I’d have read it all when I started I would have saved myself a lot of time. Great site, and great forums :o)

    I started out on the dreaded content mills and the such like, just for some extra ‘pocket money’, and was never expecting to end up going for it full time. But I ended up getting the bug and moving on to better things, and it just snowballed to be honest. I had a day job, but it got to the point where I had no time for my creative writing, no time for my boyfriend and no time for myself! Something had to give . . . and it was my corporate day job!

    So, I’m just starting to really market myself, I’ve just set up my website (I know, I know, should have done it a long time ago!) and my plan is to get higher paying clients with the aim of working less hours. I already work less hours freelancing than I did at my day job, for roughly the same money, sometimes more, and another cut in hours would be perfect.

    Obviously my friends and family absolutely rave about my website (they have to!), and my current clients have good things to say – but I know it’s a work in progress. If anyone did have any constructive criticism it would be taken in a gracious, and appreciative, way.

    I look forward to joining in more with this fantastic community!

    #27928

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    Hi Emily. Welcome to the community. :)

    I’m sorry it took us so long to connect! If you’re looking for info beyond what’s here in the forum, be sure to check out the blog. The freelance writing section used to be a separate site — AllFreelanceWriting.com — and it’s been around since 2006. So there’s a lot of information there.

    Feel free to leave a link to your website so others can check it out and give you feedback. You can also add it to your profile and signature (click the “Profile” link near the top right corner of the forum, and you’ll find an “edit” link on the left side of your profile page; you can edit your website link for your profile and your signature both from that page).

    I’m glad to hear you made the break from content mills. So many writers seem to call it quits instead, so it’s always nice to hear a success story. And I’m sure it’ll get even better from here. :)

    The schedule you have to juggle sounds a lot like my own situation, balancing freelance work, blogging, creative writing, and a social / family life. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely doable. :) The same goes for cutting back on hours. When I started out (running a PR firm at the time, so writing wasn’t the only thing involved), I was easily pulling 60 or more hours a week. It wears you out. Eventually I was able to scale back to less than half of those hours, spread over a four-day work week. What surprised me at the time was that I actually made more money that way. It just took a lot of planning and finding more productive ways to operate. You can do it too, I’m sure. :) What kind of schedule do you hope to work in an ideal situation?

    I’d love to check out your website, so be sure to leave a link for us. :)

    Jennifer Mattern - Owner 3 Beat Media

    Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    #27929
    Emily F
    Emily F
    Participant

    Thanks Jenn, yes, I’ve been reading the blog too – fantastic resources! :)

    My website is http://www.emilyfowlerwrites.com/. Even though it’s my first site, I’m not precious about it at all, I’ve been changong it regularly and I know there’s still a long way to go!

    At the moment my schedule is 8am-4pm Mon-Thur and 8am-12pm Fri (my boyfriend finishes at 11.30am on a Friday so it’s nice to start the weekend with some us time). But I’d like to probably cut Friday out and finish earlier the rest of the week. I’ve learned A LOT of ways to avoid procrastination (I used to be queen procrastinator), and it’s working out well for me.

    #27946

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    It’s so nice that you’re able to work your schedule around his so you can enjoy more time together. :)

    Here are a few thoughts & suggestions regarding your website:

    1. I love the overall design. It has a clean and professional look to it. :)

    2. The image block used in the logo area is nice, but it feels a bit too small for the space. Have you considered expanding it? For example, if you remove the padding around the image, it can fill the white area without a white border around it. And by using photo editing software like Photoshop or GIMP, you might be able to replicate just the sky background in a longer image to turn it into a full header. It’s not necessary… just a thought.

    3. I strongly recommend adding two things to your professional site:

    • Your rates
    • A client-targeted blog

    I won’t get into the details for why these are important here. I covered them in past posts, so I’ll just link you to those if you’re curious.

    Why Freelance Writers Need a Blog

    A Case for Publicly Sharing Your Freelance Writing Rates (the comments in this one go into even more detail than the post, where I address some common arguments against it)

    Jennifer Mattern - Owner 3 Beat Media

    Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    #27948
    Emily F
    Emily F
    Participant

    Thanks for taking the time to check it out Jenn :)

    The logo area is what I’ve had most trouble with design wise – I’ve actually got a few different sizes of the image from my graphics guy, but it was a case of trial and error getting the best fit. I’d LOVE to expand it across the top, but I don’t know how to remove the padding? If you could give me a pointer I’d be eternally grateful :)

    A blog is definitely something I want to add, so that’s on my to-do list.

    I did think about adding rates (more of a range), but what stopped me was the fact that I’m a UK writer, but a lot of my clients are from the US/Canada/Australia. Do I put them in $ or £? I do have UK clients, and I’m building my local client base (I have lots of links to the local business community and I’m trying to capitalise that).

    Thanks again :)

    #27951

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    I can see how that would be a challenge in posting your rates. How about two separate rates? You could list them side by side, or you could even put them on separate pages. You might even include samples for both markets separately (showing that you can write in both styles of English and transition between them easily). If you actively target both markets, I’d treat them like two different verticals with marketing material on your site specific to each group. I don’t think there’s any need to do the whole site in two ways, but those key areas of a rates page and portfolio might benefit from it.

    FYI — If you want the link in your signature to be live, I’m pretty sure you can do that using HTML from the profile edit screen. (And if you see anything there about courses, please ignore it. It’s showing up after I moved the new e-course system onto the site, but the courses don’t exist yet. I didn’t even see that in the profile area until just now — I’ll try to remove it.)

    For your website’s logo graphic, you current have this in your theme’s stylesheet (style.css file):

    .logo-area {
    float: left;
    width: 69%;
    padding: 1% 0 0 1%;
    }

    You should be able to strip the padding by simply changing that to:

    .logo-area {
    float: left;
    width: 69%;
    padding: 0 0 0 0;
    }

    Copy the original so you can paste it back in if it doesn’t work. Then try the new version (clearing your browser’s cache first to make sure you load the new version properly). It should remove the padding and take the image to the top-left corner of the white header area. You’ll still have white below it though because the image itself isn’t big enough to fill that vertical space.

    Let me know if that doesn’t work, and I’ll take another look when I wake up (after 3:00am here and I haven’t hit the hay yet, so it might be a few hours before I can check it again with fresh eyes). :)

    Jennifer Mattern - Owner 3 Beat Media

    Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    #27956
    Emily F
    Emily F
    Participant

    Thanks Jenn, I tried removing the padding but it doesn’t work for me :( It definitely saved the changes, because the new code is still there, but it still shows up the same. I do actually have a version with more sky, that was meant to be for the header, but I ended up using that version because the long version came out teeny-tiny. I’ve just tried it again and still teeny-tiny.

    #27963

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    If it’s coming out smaller than the actual image size, you probably declared the image or logo area’s height and width somewhere in your stylesheet or html. If so, your site will try to resize the image to fit those dimensions.

    What browser are you using? I just looked at your site in Chrome, and the padding is gone. The image is at the very top-left corner of that white area now. If you’re not seeing it, make sure you cleared your cache / browsing history. Otherwise your browser might be showing you the last version it saw and saved.

    Looking at your stylesheet, it looks like you’ll want to upload a version of your header graphic with a width of 980 px.

    Jennifer Mattern - Owner 3 Beat Media

    Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    #27967
    Emily F
    Emily F
    Participant

    Rightio, I’ve fiddled about with the logo – I actually ended up changing the original and uploading rather than changing the sizes on the actual site. It definitely looks better (bigger!), but I’m going to have a play around with the mechanics of the site a bit more to make it perfect :) Thanks for the help!

    #27973

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    See how this works for you. The first is a version using your image, just carrying the right gradiant out like an extension of the sky. This would be the simplest option.

    The second includes a white cloud-stylized thought bubble. If you use that, you could use the space for a marketing message. Just add text to the image using Canva.com, or any photo editor.

    I’ve sized it so it should take up your full logo area.

    This won’t remove the space at the bottom of the image though. Apparently that’s a separate div altogether, set aside to display social media icons by your theme. You aren’t using the feature which is why it’s blank. You could leave the blank white line. You could use the social media feature in your theme. Or you can hide that section completely by doing the following with your css file (just make sure you back up any changes you make or make them to the custom css section of your theme if it has one (many do not).

    Find this:

    .social-media {
    float: left;
    width: 28%;
    text-align: right;
    padding: 30px 2% 0 0;
    }

    And add a line to make it this:

    .social-media {
    display: none;
    float: left;
    width: 28%;
    text-align: right;
    padding: 30px 2% 0 0;
    }

    If you decide to try that, let me know how it works out. It’s not always easy for me to pinpoint the stylesheet changes when I’m not playing with it myself. So if it needs to be changed in another area I can give it another quick look if you’d like.

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    Jennifer Mattern - Owner 3 Beat Media

    Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

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