Tag Archives: blogging

Take Five – Rest On Your Laurels

Amanda Smyth Connor1241543_winner

I awoke one morning to a gentle knocking on my front door. I looked through the peep hole and saw no one on my doorstep. Minutes later, I heard the knocking again. I opened the door just a crack, and BAM! The holidays are violently upon me.

Here I sit and here I’ll stay, cowering in the corner, refusing to confront the travel plans, shopping, baking and the traditional family bickering. And to top it all off, I’m in the beginning stages of the Holiday Project Slump; the time of year when the flow of projects begins to go from a gush to a trickle and the number of incoming emails subsides. This time of year it gets harder and harder to get clients on the phone. From now until January marks my official “slow season.”


It is also during this time of year that I begin to feel a little down. “A busy Mandy is a happy Mandy. A bored Mandy is a miserable Mandy.” Or so the saying goes.

I begin hosting daily pity parties and complaining loudly to my husband. “Why won’t this client sign the contract? When is that project going to get started that they discussed? Why aren’t they calling me back?”

But this year will be different. I’ve made a choice not to let the slump get me down. I’m going to gently decline my own invites to those pity parties and instead throw myself a mini-parade. I’m taking time this year to evaluate old projects and accomplishments and to take a hard look at the big picture.

From personal achievements (launching my own business) to aggressive business ventures that paid off and promising new partnerships, I’m taking five to sit on my laurels. Instead of whining to my husband and friends about my slump, I’m taking stock of my Year in Awesomeness by beefing up my portfolio, spending time putting the finishing touches on projects that I’ve been putting off and in general, polishing my professional presence.

In staying positive during a down time, I’m empowering myself to go into the new year with a positive outlook and with high hopes that this new year will bring more good fortune for my business ventures. There are so any aspects of the freelance business world that you simply can’t control. What you can control is your attitude and your outlook.

This season, stay positive and remind yourself of your year in achievements. You’re a freelance rockstar. Don’t forget it. Take the time this season to celebrate that rockstar status.

Amanda Smyth Connor is a SEMPO-certified SEO specialist, has managed online communities and nationwide marketing campaigns for several start-up and  Fortune 500 companies, and has been an editor for more years than she can remember. She also runs her own wedding planning company, Hummingbird Bridal and Events, throughout the northeast.

This Is Not a Slam On Darren Rowse

joe wallace editor/writerI am a huge fan of Pro Blogger for reasons that go beyond the obvious. One of those reasons is because of the “hidden” messages a savvy reader can take away from Pro Blogger. I don’t mean things that anybody has purposely slipped in there in hopes that the cool kids will find them and learn, but rather the message that a series of seemingly unrelated posts all gang up to say.

A sort of generative philosophy, if you’ll permit me a total egghead moment here.

On the surface in the last few weeks, I’ve found a nice little contradiction in the posts at Pro Blogger. Something that, on first glance, seems to tell you two opposite things at once. Upon closer inspection (and introspection) you realize that not only are the posts NOT contradicting themselves, but actually make perfect sense.

In one post, one writer warns business owners not to be inconsistent with their blog content, saying unpredictability can potentially hurt the business. In another post, there is an admonishment that sometimes bloggers serve themselves better by posting less. Both pieces of advice are good, but it’s easy to see how one might be confused by the two. After all, how can you avoid being inconsistent when you’re trying to dial back your posting schedule to help boost traffic and make the site more readable?

The trick here is to get the bigger message Pro Blogger sends with both messages. There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all writing, blogging, networking or job hunting techniques in this business. It’s an individual journey. For some, posting every hour on the hour works like a charm. For others, it’s the kiss of death for regular traffic. There’s a sweet spot on every single blog out there–the specific place where you have to stand on your metaphorical stage to get your guitar to make that cool feedback noise.

Cut back, increase, slow down, speed up…longer, shorter, what’s right?

It all depends on you and the people who read you.

Pro Blogger rightfully encourages people to find their own voices, to hit that sweet spot and stick to it (unless it stops working for you.) There really is no one right way to go…and that’s why seemingly contradictory advice isn’t such a contradiction. It really works the moment you realize you’ve got to make your own way.

Continue reading This Is Not a Slam On Darren Rowse

Travel, Freelancing, and Six Lessons Learned

travel writers most important accessoryby Joe Wallace

I’ve been back from my Chicago to NYC trip for a while now, looking back over the journey and adding up the lessons I learned about freelancing on the road.

To recap–I went on a blogging road trip to New York and decided to experiment with my freelance work–could I maintain my existing clients while traveling? Make all my deadlines?

In the end, the answer was yes, but there were a few things I will do better next time. Looking back, here’s a list of things that went well and things that could have gone better with a bit of extra preparation.


  • I let my clients know in advance that I’d be traveling and that some deliverables might come in at odd hours, but still on deadline.
  • I worked ahead where possible to pre-position some of my freelance writing and blogging. This wasn’t possible in many cases because of time-sensitive material, but some of the evergreen content I did manage to write in advance.
  • I got up early and put in freelance hours before hitting the road, then hit the freelance writing trail again over lunch and dinner. This gave me an advantage over simply trying to cram it all in after stopping for the day, tired from driving and reviewing record stores, restaurants and hotels.


  • Buy into the iPhone tethering option rather than hoping to find a Starbucks for free wi-fi. “Tethering” lets you get an Internet connection by hooking your iPhone to your laptop, in case you didn’t know.
  • Planning my overnight stays better–I spent more money than I needed to because I didn’t book ANY of my hotels ahead. On a trip that requires as much spontaneity as this one did, that was a necessary evil, but having a few well-researched oasis-style stops with wi-fi and known amenities would have been a big help–even if I didn’t end up actually using them due to time issues.
  • Posting more from the road–I was doing a lot of blogging about the trip, but I really could have saved myself some additional work post-journey if I had found a bit more time to squeeze in a few extra blog posts, reviews and other details while still on the road. Also, I should have archived the 1000 + photos I took on the road as I went instead of doing it only twice, 500 images at a time, spending too much time sorting and sifting.

Travel writing, blogging, and managing freelance clients at the same time is NOT impossible from the road. It does require you to be a bit of a “type A” personality, but that’s the nature of the beast. Continue reading Travel, Freelancing, and Six Lessons Learned

Philly Bloggers Are Hopping Mad

Philadelphia South Streetby Joe Wallace

When I was freelancing in Philadelphia last week, I had no idea of the controversy that was about to smack my Philly-based freelance colleagues right in the face. According to several reports including this Associated Press story run on Stars and Stripes. It seems that local bloggers are being classified as business people, regardless of how much actual income a blog generates. According to  AP writer Joann Loviglio’s story, bloggers in Philadelphia are required to apply for a business license. “The city’s so-called business privilege license costs $50 a year or $300 for a lifetime. If a blog takes money for advertising, or sells photographs or other goods, it’s a business and must pay for a license – no matter how little it makes – plus taxes on profits.”

This is not a new idea, to be sure, but it’s the first time I’ve ever heard of a city ordinance being applied to people who barely make the cost to apply for the license, let alone enough money to supplement an income earned elsewhere. But Philadelphia local government–like many others–is desperate for cash and figures they can squeeze a few extra bucks out of a previously untapped demographic.

Reportage on this issue is a bit spotty–I could swear I saw at least one story that claimed the tax was $300 instead of the AP’s reported $50. That $50 is for one year, but Philly does, according to the AP article, offer you the option to pay $300 for a lifetime permit.

Le’s be realistic here–$50 a year isn’t screamingly unfair for some. It IS a write-off and if you live in Philly you could possibly get a bit of extra mileage with local clients by waving your Philly licensure around as a form of street cred. By the same token, the people who think it’s not so bad are the ones who are actually making money from their blogs. The majority of those affected by this are probably hobby bloggers and trying to scrape a few extra coins together to pay for their hosting and connectivity expenses. It’s these people who shouldn’t be taxed as a business; you might as well try to tax a yard sale or a kid’s lemonade stand—who, let’s face it, probably make more in one summer than some newbie bloggers do.

What to do? The only thing you CAN do is be the squeaky wheel, but this might be a case of not being able to fight City Hall. What do YOU think? We’d love to get some comments or even a guest blog post or three from people directly affected by this Philly business tax issue.
Continue reading Philly Bloggers Are Hopping Mad

Blogger Beware!

199 laptops bill kurtis AT&Tby Joe Wallace

I literally just got off the phone with one of my writing pals who was filling me in on the latest gossip; she told me a story that should serve as a cautionary tale for new writers and bloggers, so I’m sharing it here (with all names and vital details changed, of course.)

Since I got this information second hand, regardless of the source I must relate it in a way that screams “fiction” instead of “reportage!” So bear with me.

And please note that I did NOT write “bare with me” as so many of the kids today seem wont to do. Continue reading Blogger Beware!

Holiday Terrorism, Checkbook Journalism, and Transparency

airplanes suckby Joe Wallace

The holiday terrorism incident involving Northwest Flight 253 has effects that go far beyond some additional hassles in the screening line at the airport. One example–the tempest started over what’s known as “checkbook journalism”, where in at least two cases networks were exposed as having paid to get access to a news story. This little controversy even extends to the exclusive interview with the hero of Northwest Flight 253, Jasper Schuringa aired on CNN,

Want to know why Schuringa hasn’t been on the news in person since that day? He asked for additional payment beyond the licensing fee CNN paid for one of Schuringa’s cell phone images–more money or no further questions, please. That’s according to a report at Mediate.com. Continue reading Holiday Terrorism, Checkbook Journalism, and Transparency