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Quick Win

Quick Win: Making My Mom-Life Easier

Quick Win: Four Tips for Making My Mom-Life Easier

In today’s Quick Win, Janine Kelbach is going to share four things that have made her freelance mom life easier. This episode is not just for parents trying to run a business, but for anybody who has a personal life outside of work.

Podcast Transcript

Janet:                                00:02                   Start your engines and get ready to power up for a quick win from the Savvy scribe team. Carol Bush and Janine Kelbach are here to take your freelance healthcare writing business to the next level with this powerful Quick Win on the podcast.

Carol:                                00:19                   Hi, Savvy Scribes! This is Carol. You know what? The idea of working from home can definitely be ideal, but for those of us who have taken the plunge, the reality of going solo can quickly turn really scary. Whether you’re a mom, a dad, or a crazy MeeMaw like me, there are plenty of challenges we face as a home worker. Thankfully, my pal Janine, co-host of The Savvy Scribe podcast has some great hacks that will give you a little dose of homeworking heaven in today’s Quick Win. So, let’s start the episode! I can’t wait for you to hear her for things that make my mom-life easier. Personally. I like number three.

Janine:                              01:03                   Hello everybody. This is Jeanine Kelbach, the co-host of The Savvy Scribe podcast. In today’s Quick Win, I’m going to share four things that have made my freelance mom life easier and this episode is not just for parents trying to run a business, but for anybody who has a personal life outside of work.

Janine:                              01:24                   That’s hopefully everyone listening. Let’s jump into this episode and get started. The first thing I have done is I have a planning app for my meals at home. Who has time to stand at the grocery store, trying to figure out what to eat that day or for the rest of the week? Well, not me. I use an app called e-meals for my family’s meals as well as good ol’ Pinterest. Whatever meals look good to me or recipes I pin. We get bored easily and my family does too. So, we try different meals and I actually love to cook. I make a giant list of meals and recipes. I categorize them and I pick three to four a week every single week. Do you know how easy this makes for my grocery planning and we save so much more money than just wandering around the grocery store?

Janine:                              02:16                   The next thing that not only saves us money but so much time is I grocery delivery. Those of you who know me know that I am far from a lazy person. I work out a lot. I complete races or fitness challenges every year. I promote fitness for my kids and honestly, I cannot tolerate laziness. That being said, there can’t be much of a lazier thing that I do than ordering my groceries online. But, let me tell you what a time saver it is. Last year I started with using Walmart grocery pickup in the winter. I ordered groceries in the morning and while my kids were eating their breakfast and then I would pick them up later on either when I got home from school or if they were just home on break, we’d hop in the car and go get groceries. My 14-year-old…it was so funny goes, “Mom, this is probably the easiest day we ever had. We went to McDonald’s drive-thru, did a mobile order, picked it up, and then did our grocery pickup.” And I’m like, “oh my gosh, we got to go to the gym or something.” So, that’s what I do. I’ve never had to step foot in the store. Now, Aldi does grocery delivery by me. For a whole $7, you better believe I jumped on board with that. It was the best decision ever, especially those with little ones that you have to pack into the cart, push the cart through the blustery parking lot. It’s wintertime right now in Ohio and we push the cart and it’s in slush and it’s just disgusting. The kids are crying. It’s never fun. It’s not something I love. And now I don’t have to do it.

Janine:                              04:01                   Another success tip for you, high performing savvy scribes. I want you to think of things in your home that you absolutely hate doing. That would be for me, the cleaning and the grocery shopping. Start to outsource those things and I promise you it will pay off. Let’s jump back in. The third tip is something called the Sunday folder. Again, with the craziness of the mom life, freelance life, still being a nurse at the hospital setting, pay my bills, the extra mail, all that keeps piling up. Recently my husband and I started this concept of a Sunday folder. Sometimes it turns into the Monday folder, but we try to do it once a week and we just try to look at our Sunday folder. Inside the Sunday folder contains mail from the week that’s important. Usually, if you’re getting something via snail mail, it’s never a very urgent thing because it’s in the mail.

Janine:                              04:59                   Since we’ve adapted this, the way it works, is we get the mail every day. I sort through it quickly, throw out all the junk, which is most of it, let’s be honest, and the rest of it goes into the Sunday folder because it’s again, just not that urgent. We haven’t run into an overpaid bill or a late document since we started this over a year ago. Now the final thing, the fourth thing is an envelope system. So one of the best things we also do to manage our money is the envelope system. Dave Ramsey coined the term and we use it but in a different way in our home. To give a little background, we have three different bank accounts. One is a savings account at my husband’s work where he works, he works at a bank. My checking account is at his old bank that he used to work for, but I have my business account over there as well.

Janine:                              05:50                   I have a business checking and a regular checking and then we have savings. A thousand dollars of my paycheck goes into a mortgage account. I guess that’s four accounts, so I don’t even, I don’t even see it, like in my paycheck at all. It goes straight to that account so that our mortgage has always paid. At the end of the month, I go to the bank account and I withdraw money for envelopes. Those envelopes we have in the house are for car insurance, vacation, childcare repairs, and for the car and gifts, those envelopes they do, they add up quickly. You have to, you have to decipher how much you want in each envelope every month. And again, you just take the withdrawal, section it up into those envelopes and then just don’t look at it again until you need stuff out of that envelope. We buy gas cards and our local gas station at Speedway and you get points. We go through those so that I don’t pay for gas. I just used the gas card every time I get gas in the car and then at the end of the month I go buy more gas cards and we get points on our speedy card so that at the end you get extra gift cards. So that’s usually what I do in Christmas time. I give those to my nieces and nephews or my son and I didn’t have to pay for the card recently when someone asked me what are some of the things I do to manage my freelance mom life, these are the four things that came to mind. So managing the house, the business a part-time job, a husband and kids sound overwhelming. It sure can be at times, but you have to start putting systems in place and everyone in the house to work as a team to get things done.

Janine:                  07:30, In the end, we learned to get things done and enjoy life at the same time. So I want to hear from you guys. Tell me how do you delegate or use time in your business wisely? I want to hear go to healthcaremarketingnetwork.com and leave us a message. We want to hear your voice on a future episode of the Savvy Scribe.

Janine:                              07:53                   Now take this Quick Win and go get your Write On! Take care guys.

 

Quick Win

Quick Win: 3 Simple Actions to Streamline Getting Paid

Quick Win: Carol Bush Offers Tips to Streamline Getting Paid

The Savvy Scribe Carol Bush offers 3 simple actions you can take to streamline getting paid so your business can grow and you can pay your bills

Podcast Transcript

Janet:                                00:02                   Start Your engines and get ready to power up for a Quick Win from The Savvy Scribe team, Carol Bush and Janine Kelbach are here to take your freelance healthcare writing business to the next level with this powerful Quick Win on The Savvy Scribe podcast.

Janine:                              00:19                   As, Freelancers, we’re always struggling with why we’re doing our jobs. We’re doing them because we love it, right? But it’s a job and we need to get paid! Today in this Quick Win, Carol is talking all about getting paid and how to make it so it’s a win-win for both parties. Take it away, Carol.

Carol:                                00:39                   Your business can only run smoothly when you’re getting paid and cash is flowing in and out. Unfortunately, in the real world of healthcare freelancing unless we set ourselves up for success, getting paid can be a real challenge. Wouldn’t it be nice to avoid all of this to get the money that we’re owed without all of the fuss and hair pulling? Exactly. Hi, this is Carol Bush co-host of The Savvy Scribe podcast, and in today’s Quick Win, I’d like to share three simple actions you can take this week to streamline the process of getting paid so your business can grow and you can pay your bills. Let’s get started.

Carol:                                01:20                   One, contracts are vital. Let’s face it guys, if you don’t have a contract in place, you don’t really have a leg to stand on. When a client ditches you. You can yell at them until you’re blue in the face, but if there’s nothing legal there, you can’t really see compensation when they’re late or even if they disappear.

Carol:                                01:41                   What’s that? Are you a freelancer without a contract? That’s okay. You’re not alone. A very interesting and actually also tragic fact from a recent Freelancers Union study, which is called Freelancing in America reported that nearly 70 percent of freelancers have struggled to collect payment for work they accomplished, and another staggering fact from that same study really has me feeling pain. Less than 20 percent of freelancers report using a contract to protect their rights. So let’s Contract Up, People!. There are plenty of free or low-cost resources out there guys, and in our show notes, we’ll share some of our favorite links. Here’s something to keep in mind about contracts. A contract actually protects both parties. It not only aids in efficient payment, but it’s also a great tool to detail as the scope of work and project deliverables, so here’s a success tip. Be as specific as possible with every detail within the scope of work, especially when it comes to getting paid.  [RESOURCE POST – 5 Steps to a Better Freelance Contract]

Carol:                                02:55                   Also a great success tip: In the Scope of Work, make sure that you detail what success looks like; Including when and how you’re going to receive money.

New Speaker:                  03:07                   Here’s another tip. Make sure to detail payment terms and timing. For example, what form of payment are you going to accept and what are the consequences for late or nonpayment to accept multiple forms of payment? How many times have you heard, do you take so and so as payment? I’m going to have to figure that out later. If your client pays all of their bills in a certain way, say via their business card, you don’t want to be the squeaky wheel who demands that they go out of their way to pay you via another method.  So folks, while you may already take Pay Pal, some clients won’t have that option and would like to pay you with a credit card directly.

Carol:                                03:55                   Plus the great thing is once you open this option, you can take on other clients who would like to pay with credit card, too! Your accounting software or invoicing system should have the ability for you to make this option live. The great news is it will broaden your horizons and help you get paid faster and who doesn’t like speedy payment?

Carol:                                04:18                   What’s that? You say you don’t have accounting software?  As CEO of your own business, it’s time to get out of spreadsheet land into using a useful tool.  Yes….again, in the show notes, check it out….We’ll share a few of our favorite links to low and no-cost resources for accounting systems that you can check out. So #SavvyScribes, don’t put it off. Start today.  [RESOURCE LINKS] – Accounting software we’ve used and love:  Freshbooks, Wave – (Its FREE!), Quickbooks.  Check out the marrvy invoicing and proposal resources over at ANDCO, too!

Carol:                                04:48                   Number three, require a deposit at contract signing. You want to get paid and the client wants their work completed on target and on time. How do you ensure everybody walks away happy? Requiring a deposit before you start. The work really ensures that everyone is actively invested in this great business relationship, and let’s be frank for a moment. Doesn’t this also give you more of an incentive to finish the work the best you can so that you can get the rest of the payment? Sometimes that can be a key motivator. Deposits can be a win-win, so both parties leave happy.

Carol:                                05:29                   There’s something to be said about the power of community. If you’re in business by yourself, sometimes it can feel like you’re on your own with no help at all. The truth is Savvy Scribes, that you have other people around you like us, members of the Healthcare Marketing Network who are passionate about supporting your success.

Carol:                                05:51                   So here are some thoughts about getting paid I have for you today. I’d like for you to think about these things:  What safeguards do you have in place to ensure you always get paid? And second, do you have a strategy that you’ve employed to improve your cash flow? We’d love to hear about it. If so, we’d like for you to share that story.

What I’d like for you to do is take some action, take a moment now and head on over to Healthcare Marketing Network.com and leave us a message. Take a few moments to share a tip or strategy that you have employed for getting paid faster. It will help you and help others as well. We’d love to feature your story on a future episode of The Savvy Scribe.

Now take this Quick Win and Go! Get your Write On! #amwritinghealthcare #GoGetYourWriteOn

 

Quick Win

Quick Win: 5 Ways to Beat Loneliness

Quick Win: Janine’s 5 Suggestions to Beat Loneliness as a Freelance Writer

Freelancing can be lonely, but don’t fret. There are hundreds of thousands of freelancers across the country and the globe who are in exactly the same boat and within the Healthcare Marketing Network. Janine Kelbach offers you 5 ways to beat the loneliness of being a freelance writer.

Podcast Transcript

Janet:                                00:00                   Okay, start your engines and get ready to power up for a quick win from The Savvy Scribe team, Carol Bush and Janine Kelbach are here to take your freelance healthcare writing business to the next level with this powerful Quick Wins on The Savvy Scribe podcast.

Carol:                                00:19                   Hi, Savvy Scribes! Are you ready for today’s Quick Win? When we’re going to talk about something that not a lot of people like to bring to the forefront, that the reality when you work for yourself, you’re often based at home and therefore you can feel alone and also lonely. Think about it as a freelancer and entrepreneur, a CEO of your own business. Everything you do to make your business a success is dependent on you and you alone, which can leave this feeling overwhelmed. Honestly. All the problems and issues that we face are tackled by ourselves and no one else and make no mistake. Freelancing can be lonely, but don’t fret. There are hundreds of thousands of freelancers across the country and the globe who are in exactly the same boat and within the Healthcare Marketing Network. That’s exactly one of the missions that we created, the community to give one another strong support. Feeling isolated is really quite normal for anyone who works for themselves, but have you ever thought about how do you stop yourself feeling this way? So today in this Quick Win, Janine’s going to speak from our own experiences and she’s put together five ways to beat loneliness and help you tackle isolation and become a happier, healthier freelancer. My favorite is number three. Take it away, Janine.

Janine:                              01:52                   Hello everybody. This is Janine Kelbach, the co-host of The Savvy Scribe podcast. And here’s a Quick Win episode. I’m going to share five ways to beat loneliness while you work as a freelancer. Some of you might ask, why did I choose this topic? There’s actually two reasons when I recorded this. It’s literally 20 degrees outside, gray and dreary here in Cleveland, Ohio. The second reason is that many of us are introverts as writers, and being alone doesn’t sound so bad at first when we started the business, but it will eat at you if you let it.

Janine:                              02:32                   So let’s jump right to this topic. The first thing to do beat loneliness is to try to go to work somewhere else. Personally, I have a very cozy Home Office that I love to work out of, but sometimes I just want to be around people so I’ll hit up a local coffee joint library or even like a cafe just to have people around me. If you are really a people person and you don’t find that people energize you. Co-working spaces are available as well in my area and many areas around the nation that people can go and actually rent a space to do office work every day. I once knew a freelancer that needed that because she was too distracted in her home environment and I fully understand that because I have two kids, two great Danes, and a husband and there’s always somebody knocking at the door or laying by my feet, the dog or a kid who knows somebody who’s like doing work next to me. Like my little guy, he likes to draw while I do my work, so it. But it’s all distracting, so try to go somewhere else.

Janine:                              03:41                   The second one, join a networking group, so many of you are members of our Healthcare Marketing Network, Facebook group, and you know that we often have a Freelance Friday so you can create the same atmosphere outside of the Internet, so I know at many office jobs they do like Fridays they go get a drink after work so maybe you can find a little club or something that you are interested in, even if it has nothing to do with your business to find those things. You can look at those when you go outside and work. You can kind of check out fliers at the library or those cafes or coffee shop. You can join those clubs and groups and gain new friends and just talk to different people.

Janine:                              04:23                   I consider myself an introvert and let me tell you why it’s not because I don’t like people, but I often recharge myself when I’m alone so I get up early. I have my coffee. Sometimes I read, sometimes I exercise, etc. While my kids and my husband are still asleep, it doesn’t mean I don’t like them. I do like people. I love people. I love being around people, I love helping people, but when I need energy and I need to regroup, I have to be alone. And, it took me a long time to figure that out. Honestly. I think it started when I realized like if I had gotten in an argument with somebody, I always had to go away. I had to go walk and think and sometimes pray or whatever it is to get, gather my thoughts together in a lot of people are extroverted in the sense that they don’t need to do that.

Janine:                              05:13                   My husband’s one of them if he thinks of a relaxing Friday night, it’s going out with people, you know, sometimes I like to do that. But really to me reading a book on the couch is really nice. So, trying to figure out for you, high performing savvy scribes, trying to figure out. I challenge you to think about yourself and, and what energizes you to see what you are an introvert and extrovert. And then there are those ambiverts that are in the middle. I sometimes consider myself as well because I know a lot of people that are way more introverted than I am. Okay. The next one, three, a lunch date, break up your day with a lunch date or even a coffee meeting. I must admit I have a very hard time with this at times because I don’t want to stop working. I have workaholic tendencies. I don’t want to call myself a workaholic, but I do have those tendencies.

Janine:                              06:06                   If I have a coffee date in the morning with somebody, all I’m thinking about is what I have to do in my office before my kids come home from school so that I can be present for them and that’s where I prioritize my life. My life is my family, my work and then my friends. If I know I got to get work done and I’m with a friend, it’s going into that space so I know I have to do my work. Then, my family and then a friend. If I have time, if I have a lunch date that I scheduled is because I scheduled it in advance and I’m going to be fully present there because I left that day pretty open, so I make it like a catch up day for myself, whether that’s my grocery shopping day or I just got to do some laundry or cleaning or household things or even mindless things for my business that are not pulling me in a different direction because I like to be fully present with people and my business when I’m doing that.

Janine:                              06:59                   The fourth thing: Join a group of like-minded people, so if you are a healthcare writer, come join us at the Healthcare Marketing Network by going to healthcaremarketingnetwork.com. And if you aren’t in the healthcare niche, you must know that there are many groups out there for business and for writing. So choose one that fits you perfectly. So if you already mom, writer, if you are a food blogger, try and find people that do the same thing as you engage in those groups, answer questions and ask questions. It makes you not feel alone. You’re with somebody that understands you and that leads into my fifth and final tip for you guys and it’s my favorite one is find a BFF, so you might be a solopreneur like many freelancers are, but after you join groups, you will connect with like-minded people. These people understand you and your business, the struggles, the ups, the downs, the in-betweens, and someone with the same type of business ideas as you or even sometimes the same kind of business that you know, it might be a competitor in a sense, but not us as healthcare marketing network people.

Janine:                              08:03                   We’re all the same. We know there’s the work out there, but we find those kinds of people with the same kind of lifestyle and YouTube can be each other’s, go-to people. Let me tell you, Carol is mine. She knows more than a lot of people in my life about my family, my work, my interests, etc. But she’s my number one cheerleader for my writeRN.net business. So think about that. Try to connect with them. And sometimes Carol and I just talk about life. We talk about our problems. We talk about our families and it’s relieving.

Janine:                              08:37                   That’s all I got for you guys. So I hope these tips can help you step out of the office, find out what’s out there to keep you from feeling lonely this winter and every other season of freelancing. Can you add to my list of how to stay away from loneliness? I love to hear it you guys, and do you have a business BFF? I’d love to hear that too. So go to healthcare marketing network.com and leave us a message. We love to hear your voice and share it on a future episode of The Savvy Scribe. And if you need more, check out our show notes for these tips and more so go ahead now. Take this win and go get your Write On. Take care, you guys.

 

Quick Win

Quick Win: Four Marketing Tasks to Do This Week

Quick Win: Four Marketing Tasks to Do This Week

Quick Wins are short action-packed episodes that Janine and Carol have prepped with highlights for you to take and put to work right away in your healthcare writing business. In this episode, Carol Bush shares four marketing tasks you can do this week to make the next 90 days your best ever.

Podcast Transcript

Janet:                                00:02                   Start Your engines and get ready to power up for a quick win from the Savvy Scribe team, Carol Bush and Janine Kelbach are here to take your freelance writing business to the next level with this powerful Quick Win on The Savvy Scribe podcast.

Janine:                              00:18                   Whether you’re just starting out in your freelance business or you’ve had them for a little while, marketing into something we can not ignore.  This week, Carol’s bringing you guys four marketing tasks that you can tackle this week in this episode. She’s going to give you an awesome link to a cool tool called Hunter. Take a listen and take it away, Carol.

Carol:                                00:39                   Hi, this is Carol Bush, co-host at The Savvy Scribe podcast. Around here, Quick Wins are short action-packed episodes that Janine and I have prepped with highlights for you to take and put to work right away in your healthcare writing business. Today, I’m going to share four marketing tasks you can do this week to make the next 90 days your best ever. Are you ready? Let’s get started.

Carol:                                01:08                   One, create a list of potential new clients. Okay guys, if you only do one task this week, please pick this one. Here’s how you do it. Set your timer for 30 minutes, put your phone on airplane mode, block all interruptions, and spend some time thinking about your ideal client. What’s that? You don’t know who your ideal client is? You don’t know who you’re serving?  Well, then it’s time to write out the details about at least who you think you are serving or even better…..Who you want to serve?

Carol:                                01:41                    Do you need some help getting started? We’ve got just the tool for you. [RESOURCE LINKS – We love this Customer Avatar Worksheet  & nifty blog post from Digital Marketer]  There are a lot of tips to get you started and focused in on who your ideal client is.  And… it’s okay, while you’re looking at the potential new client list, I give you permission to spend some time on this important step!   You don’t need to go it alone. What about asking your healthcare writing pals for recommendations or referrals? Let them know who your ideal client is. I bet they know someone who could use your help. How about also asking your friends who are connectors like me, I always know someone who needs help with x, Y, Z.  Yes, you can even get referrals from family members!  Like my Dad says it’s not always what you know, it’s who you know.

Carol:                                02:45                   Two, now it’s time to locate emails for every potential client on that list. This can take some time and yes, it can be really complex, so it’s a fantastic task to do while you’re binge-watching movies or maybe basketball. I recommend using LinkedIn to find the right person to contact, and then I like to use a free email finding tool called Hunter. To find the email for those potentials on your list.   Third, review your letter of introduction or as we like to call it around here, your L-O-I.  Yes, your L-O-I should be unique and customized for each potential client on your list, but the most successful freelance writers I know have systems and templates in place and they often have created a basic template that they use to convey their expertise and experience.

Carol:                                03:49                   Take some time, look at your L-O-I template and make those needed tweaks. If you need a little help, here are a few questions that you might think about as you’re going through your L-O-I. Does it accurately represent your experience and current expertise? I bet you’ve done a lot of projects or pieces in the last 90 days that could help you tweak that L-O-I. How can you add personality to the letter? As I said, it’s very common to customize and make it unique, so why don’t you do your research on that potential client and then put some personality in that letter of introduction. Take a look at the length of your L-O-I. Do you need to shorten it? I really like to see letters of introduction remain in the range of five to seven sentences. Yes, I know that’s very short, but what a perfect way to showcase your writing skills by making it succinct, and here’s an extra tip for all you high performing savvy scribes.

Carol:                                04:59                   If you have multiple niches, this is also a perfect time to create an L-O-I template for every single niche. Yes, why not? Because those are your focus areas. Having a template will position you for success going forward.

Carol:                                05:16                   Number four, update your LinkedIn profile. Yes, you hear us preach the power of LinkedIn constantly. There’s a perfect reason for that because, for many freelance writers, 85 to 90 percent of their best leads come through LinkedIn. However, we hear all the time writers mentioning to us that they need to update their LinkedIn profile. It’s something they don’t always put on their calendar because sometimes it can feel overwhelming.  That’s exactly the action you need to take. Set an appointment right now, 15 minutes a day for the next week, and optimize your LinkedIn to reflect keywords of the niche that you are looking to move into with your ideal client.

Carol:                                06:05                   What makes me even sadder is when I hear writers say they don’t even have a LinkedIn profile or it’s not at all optimized for their healthcare, freelance writing business, so don’t waste any time. Set a calendar appointment with yourself 15 minutes a day for a week. Don’t be overwhelmed and remember, my motto: “Done is better than Perfect”.   I think it is absolutely even more important as a healthcare freelance writer because you want to make sure that your potential client can easily find you on LinkedIn, and can easily identify your subject matter or clinical expertise based on your LinkedIn profile. So what about it?

Carol:                                06:50                   Now it’s your turn! We’d like to know….are you marketing your healthcare writing business this week?  If so, what are you doing? Did you land new assignments or even better, a high-value client. Did you try anything new? What did you do that you were able to switch it up and got results? We’d love to hear from you.  All you need to do is take some action right now and share. We’d love for you to go to Healthcare Marketing Network website and leave us a message. We’d love to share your tips on a future episode of The Savvy Scribe!

Now, take this Quick Win and Go! Get your Write On! #amwritinghealthcare #GoGetYourWriteOn

 

How I’ve Used National Novel Writing Month to Crush Writing Goals

NaNoWriMo

My fourth fiction novel, entitled Not a Chance, was published on October 31, 2018. It’s a little fitting that NaNoWriMo eve is the release date since I wrote the first draft of this novel during 2014 National Novel Writing Month. Overall I can claim 6 NaNoWri wins, despite crawling to the finish with 2 of them and in my excitement, I forgot to upload them to get official credit. I succeeded in writing more in those months than I thought possible, and that’s all that matters.

I’d tried, and failed, NaNoWriMo several times before that. The difference was that I didn’t find other people to hold me accountable, and I didn’t make writing a priority. NaNoWriMo gives permission to put writing first. Writing is often a very solitary endeavor. It’s all too easy to procrastinate or to unintentionally allow other tasks to fill the day, and say there’s no time to write. NaNo says yes there is, make the time. I could use the same guidelines any month to increase my word count, but there’s something about crushing word count goals in November—one of the months that writing seems almost impossible when the holiday craziness begins. It validates that with passion and persistence, and a little bit of cheerleading and support, many impossible goals become possible.

Aha Media Group 30-Day Challenge

If you’re not ready to start the Great American Novel, try the 30-Day Challenge from the Aha Media Group. This writing challenge promises to make you a better writer in just 5 minutes a day! These are great writers tips worth practicing. Make it a priority and schedule 5 minutes a day to accomplish the tasks.

Are you a Healthcare Freelancer?  

Join our gated Facebook community for an accountability challenge hosted by our SavvyScribe Mastermind members!

Our community is all about supporting one another in our freelance business!  Providing Community, Support, and Accountability so you can take Action to take your business to the next level!

Several of our members, like Maureen,  are focused on their next book and joining #NaNoWriMo.  Still, others are bloggers, vloggers and even brand new at writing!  They will be joining our friends with AHA Media in their 30-Day Challenge.

Our Savvy Scribe Mastermind members are providing daily #FreelanceWriting prompts in our community – plus sharing hacks and tips for achieving success!

Join our sassy community, we’d love to have you!

Hired a Coach, Gained a Community (2)

Hired a Coach, Gained a Community

Community. It’s commonly used to describe where we live, a feeling, or a sense of belonging. This feeling can be based on common attitudes, interests, beliefs or goals, but it isn’t always what you think it will be.

Sometimes it’s better.

A Business Coach Changes Everything

I wasn’t searching for a community when I happened to stumble upon my now beloved business coach, but I certainly found one when she led me to the Healthcare Marketing Network.  

After  writing for a content mill for a few months I had gained experience and built up my portfolio, but it was clear that something was missing.  I needed vision. I acquired said vision as I was searching for business coaches late one night and came across an article about top nursing blogs that Janine Kelbach (my soon to be business coach!) was mentioned in. I emailed her that night, she got back to me the next morning, and just like that the future of my business was forever changed. We started with a short 45 minute meeting and before I knew it, she had given me more than just a few business tips; she’d given me a community full of like-minded entrepreneurs with a thirst for growth and a strong desire to lift one another up.  

Janine, also known as WriteRN, recently told me that her goal when working with new clients is to help them create business goals and a vision for their future. She said that steering new writers towards the Healthcare Marketing Network has been invaluable.

She said, “New writers need accountability, and that can be found through the community at the Healthcare Marketing Network. Writing can be a lonely business, so having others who are willing to help with brainstorming, pitches and keeping us on  track with our goals is very important.

It amazed me that after one coaching session Janine knew exactly what I needed; a community! She told me how to find The Healthcare Marketing Networks website, as well as their gated Facebook Group filled to the brim with people just like me.  

Shortly after ending our first session, I looked up this Healthcare Marketing Network group on Facebook to see what it was all about, and what I found left me nothing shy of exhilarated. Not only did I see a community, but a  successful one full of healthcare writers! I also found great videos with tips and tricks of the trade, helpful articles tailored to writers, other members getting their business questions answered, and everyone enjoying one another’s company. And if that wasn’t enough to have me in awe, what came next was.

Out of the blue, I received a Facebook message from Carol Bush simply stating she thinks she could get me a gig. Being a nurse, I was shocked. Many times in nursing, the common theme is that we eat our young, not that we build one another up. Where was I, Kansas? Nope, but Carol was! After our encouraging exchange via Facebook Messenger we decided to meet.

I now know why she lives in Kansas! She’s like a small, mighty twister all unto herself. She was dynamic, excited, and offered up a wealth of knowledge. She shared pointers with me as well as ideas for several gigs. By the time the phone call ended, I had 3 potential leads and we were planning to meet again. I was still blown away and kept wondering how this small community would continue to touch my journey.

Community Matters

A few days passed and a familiar name showed up in the Facebook Group. Ashley Hay, a fellow writer. I had seen Ashley’s work and her story on another site I frequented. Even though I had never actually spoken to her, I started to feel a sense of belonging again. I was seeing a common theme of people in my writing life. I did get to connect with Ashley and she has experienced a similar journey to mine. She shared with me that the Healthcare Marketing Network has helped her in many ways along her journey, and the message of community was alive and well as we talked. She described that through the Healthcare Marketing Network she has found the “value in connection.” She stated that she often sits down in the evening and goes through the videos on the Facebook page just to continue to grow and learn as a writer. She has been able to connect with clients through the networks Gig Board, as well as build upon her own community. She also feels that accountability is a huge bonus of being a member and has really enjoyed the friendships she has built along the way.

The missing piece in my foundation of community was to meet Janet Kennedy, the other founding member of the Healthcare Marketing Network. She shared her journey of meeting Carol through a Twitter chat and out of that a collaborative friendship with a vision was born. I told Janet my story and she quickly replied that stories such as mine and others are “everyday validation” that the Healthcare Marketing Network is needed by clients and writers alike. She described the network as the missing link to the connection between writers and clients that she’s glad they’ve been able to provide.

Enjoy the Journey

My journey leads me to one of my favorite quotes by Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”. I no longer feel alone in my journey as a healthcare writer and I am thankful that late one night I hired a coach, and gained a community.

If you’re a healthcare writer looking for a community to lift you up, help you get gigs, and push you to be better, click below to join The Healthcare Marketing Network today! 

 

Working With Freelancers: 7 Tips For Hiring Writers

There you are, looking around wondering how you’re going to get everything done on your to-do list.

You look down and see a writing task, then sigh, or maybe silently scream, because the truth is, you just don’t love writing. However, you know it’s an important part of the communication your business has with the world and needs to be done.  

An idea pops into your mind; you could hire a freelance writer to help you!

Hiring freelance writers to help with the tasks you don’t have time for is a great option! They can use their talents to help your business grow to the next level, while you focus on what you do best; running said business!

It’s not that simple though, is it? I mean, where do you even start? Have no fear, answers are here! Read on for a few points to consider before you hire a writer.

1. Clear Scope of Work

Before you hire a freelance writer, be sure to have a clear idea of the project. Experienced freelance writers are very good at picking up a project and running with it, but it makes a better relationship when you start off having a solid idea of what you are looking for.

Key parts of a writing job to have figured out in advance include:  

  • A working title 
  • Approximate word count
  • Style requirements
  • Keywords (at least a few to begin with)

2. Research Freelancers

Once you’ve decided to work with a freelance writer, do some research to find one whose writing style fits you, your brand and the message you want to convey. There are many ways to do this. If you’re looking in the healthcare niche, the Healthcare Marketing Network has fantastic writers!

You can also look on Linkedin, Twitter, or Facebook. Just type in “freelance writer” in the search bar, and many people who identify themselves as freelance writers will pop up. Many freelancers who are on social media will also identify their niche, which makes it easier to find the perfect writer for your job.

Many freelance writers have online portfolios where you can read samples of their work. Taking the time to find a freelance writer who seems to be a good fit will help things go smoother.

3. Contract or Letter of Agreement

Freelance writers are encouraged to create contracts for all of the work they do. For shorter projects, a letter of agreement works well. A letter of agreement is shorter than a contract, but still requires two signatures and protects both parties and are written like a form letter.

Here are the relevant sections to include:

  • Services freelancer will provide
  • Services freelancer will NOT provide
  • Deadlines
  • Final deliverables
  • Delivery Terms
  • Payment Terms

4. Expect to Pay Upfront

There are many different payment arrangements in the freelance world. However, many freelance writers will ask to be paid up front. Some require a percentage before work begins and the remainder once a project is complete.  

Some will wait until work is complete to bill for their work, but be aware many will ask for at least a percentage of the total amount due before work begins.

5. Clear Deadlines

Whether you’re having a freelancer write a blog post or helping you write a novel, clear deadlines need to be addressed from the very beginning. For large projects with multiple parts, sit down and map out deadlines with the writer. For shorter projects, make sure a deadline is given and it will work with the writer’s schedule.

This may sound obvious, but sometimes when you talk with a writer, they agree to the work thinking they have plenty of time and things change, and everyone is upset because there was never a deadline set in the first place.  

6. Be Available

Once all the details are worked out, it’s crucial to remain available to answer any questions, comments, or concerns the writer may have.

From a freelance writer’s perspective, sometimes you begin a project thinking you have a good handle on everything, and something comes up you hadn’t discussed. If you can’t get ahold of the person you are writing for within a few days, it makes it hard to deliver by the preset deadline.

7. Be Aware of Scope Creep 

Sometimes, although you’ve spent a great deal of time mapping out the project, something comes up you want to add. When you add something, the scope of the project has changed, and you need to be willing to revisit the agreement and compensate the writer for the additional work.

One thing is certain; working with freelance writers is amazing! They’re very good at working independently and free up time for you to spend on other parts of your business, so you’ll never regret it! 

Looking to hire a writer? Take action today!

 

5 Steps To a Great Freelance Contract

Freelance work is becoming a much more popular option for people in industries such as computer support, marketing, advertising, and obviously writing. If you intend to head out and find your own freelance work, then you should be prepared to provide a contract for your client to review and sign. In most cases, your clients will not have freelance contracts available, and you want to protect yourself with a contract that outlines your agreement in detail.

Below you’ll find my 5 steps to writing a great freelance contract!

1. Keep It Simple

The preferred way of executing a contract is to work with an attorney to create a comprehensive template and then customize that template for each situation. However, if you cannot afford the services of an attorney or would prefer to handle it yourself, then you will want to develop a contract that protects you as much as possible. You can buy a standard work contract at any office supply store, or you can create your own.

If you decide to create your own contract, then be sure to keep the wording very simple. People have a tendency to include a lot of what they perceive to be legal language that makes the contract appear more official, which I wouldn’t recommend. If you don’t know what something means, I’d suggest leaving it out of your contract.

2. Discuss Copyrights

In most cases, clients will want to put their own name on your work. This is called ghostwriting, and it is common in the freelance world. Whether you are creating marketing designs or writing internet copy, you will want to clearly outline how the copyrights for your work will be handled. If you assign all copyrights to your clients, then remember that you cannot use that work for any other client.

3. Outline A Payment Schedule

Never leave any part of your compensation up to interpretation. Your client may feel comfortable developing payment arrangements on the fly, but that idea should make you very nervous. When you create your contract for a freelance client, you need to include every payment detail that applies. For special work, you can include an hourly work rate or other special arrangements. You should never agree to do work that does not have its compensation outlined in the contract.

4. Define The Quality Of Work Requirements

If you are a creative professional, then you might have freelance clients who ask for endless changes to your work before they agree to pay for it. If you are a service provider, then your client could refuse payment if they do not feel your efforts meet their quality standards. The easiest way to keep your customer happy is to outline those quality standards in your contract.

Your contract should outline exactly what your client expects of you, as well as how many revisions to your work are covered by the contract. If there are changes that need to be made to this section as your relationship with the client evolves, then make the changes within the contract and get the client to initial said changes.

5. Establish Deadline Policies

If you do not work on the weekends, then you need to put that in your freelance contract. Remember that you are not entitled to employee benefits, so you should be extremely specific about when you are available to work. If you work on projects, then be sure that there are deadlines set for every project to avoid having to wait an unknown amount of time for a project to be approved for payment.

Legal advice can be expensive, but it is also essential if you want to develop your own freelance work contracts. However, if talking to a lawyer to get real legal advice is not in your immediate budget, then you should be very careful in how you set up your contracts. By keeping the information simple and dealing with real issues such as pay and deadlines, you will be able to develop contracts that you can use to protect yourself and grow your business.

 

How Writing Kept Me in Nursing

By the time I found freelance healthcare writing I was desperate. Frantically searching for months, trying to find less physical roles away from the bedside and considering leaving nursing altogether. Chronic illness had thrown a major wrench into my career goals. After years of pridefully perfecting my nursing skills I suddenly felt hopeless, wondering how I could possibly continue to utilize these skills in a way that my mind would be fulfilled and my body wouldn’t reject. The very thought of leaving nursing gave me a queasy feeling.

 

I had wanted this for so long…worked so hard. It was part of my identity. 

 

It had been difficult to work the floor as long as I can remember, but I pushed through. I had already endured so much getting to where I was in my career. How could I let this go so easily? My thoughts kept racing backward; nursing school, starting work, night shift, back to school, chasing new opportunities, climbing the clinical ladder – all while trying to find time for constant prescription refills, injections, infusions, specialist appointments and hospital visits.

Maybe I overestimated my physical abilities. Maybe I underestimated the physical nature of nursing, but after a decade of building my career as a young oncology nurse none of it seemed to matter now. This is where I was – in this moment, feeling stuck. Having been on both sides of the bedrails I loved bedside care. However, with time passing and my symptoms progressing rather than improving, it was only getting harder to work.

 

My body and soul were exhausted.

 

An increase in chronic pain, fatigue and a barrage of other symptoms made it increasingly difficult to focus. I wasn’t connecting with my patients. I was hardly able to show up for my shifts. Taking care of others is not easy when you are feeling awful yourself. I made accommodations to my situation: gotten on day shift for years, reduced my hours – eventually going per diem, reducing my hours further, moving to more of a desk job, even going out on disability twice in my twenties. Already having made several adjustments over the years, I was forcefully trying to stick with it, stubbornly holding tight to my ego.

It was time to let go and search for a new path. After many hours of internet research I had finally found it. Freelance healthcare writing. It was like a light at the end of a long dark tunnel. I had always possessed a love for writing from a young age. Now I could merge my creative outlet with my wealth of clinical knowledge. But…could I do it? I wanted to try but found myself swirling in self doubt. Did I even have potential as a writer? How do I get started without a lick of prior experience? Networking.

I was fortunate enough to have my first piece picked up by a large website specifically for nurses. It gave me a place to gain my confidence and try out material on those I trusted most – my nursing peers. Their opinions very much matter to me and I seek their approval. However, it was not a position that was going to pay my bills. It was time to think bigger. Reaching out to other freelance writers proved extremely fruitful. They were so willing to help, offering whatever pieces of knowledge they possessed. Through making a few connections I came across the Healthcare Writers Network in it’s infancy. It was fascinating to see many names of writers I had come across before – all coming together in one online community.

This network only gets better each week. There are tons of #freelancefriday videos to learn from other successful writers, leads for work, answers to many burning questions, contests and support. So much support! Yes, finding freelance writing kept me in nursing but this network of writers (and the successful women who lovingly run it) gave me the tools I need to succeed. I’ve met incredible like minded people that genuinely want to help and watch my success grow. That seems to be increasingly rare these days. With that, there’s a wonderful energy that surrounds such a group. Being a part of it only makes you want to be better and strive for more with the added comforts of a support net and valid soundboard.

Through my freelancing journey I have found many things. A new skill, validation in the knowledge I possess after years of nursing, and a community I fit right in with. I am grateful to have found such a place and find I feel more fulfilled with every new article I write and each new connection I make. Best of all, balancing my illness with my work seems to be falling right into place and I am again hopeful for my future in nursing.

Are you a healthcare writer that would like to take your career to the next level? Join The Healthcare Marketing Network!

 

6 Tips To Success When Working For Past Employers

Lisa commented: I’m hoping I can pick someone’s brain. I work in home health and recently me former employer contacted me about updating the content on their website. She is open to looking at a contract for future services. Any suggestions on what should be included or things I should consider?

 

Lisa, thanks so much for your question! This has actually happened to me as well and I will walk you through exactly how I handled it!

 

1.  Thank her

Always, especially in this type of situation, thank the person for thinking of you. No matter the outcome, always thank her now, and in the end. A thank you goes a long way! I learned this back in my nursing aide days. I loved when people noticed or thanked me for my efforts, so nowadays I thank every single person I work with from the tray passer to my director!

2.  Schedule a time to meet

If you’re able to meet with her face to face, do it. Show up dressed like you’re going on a job interview, and try not to talk about your personal life or the previous job. Take on as much as you can to start and build upon it. I always say, never say no to a job because you never know where it could lead you!

3.  Get your portfolio together

If you don’t have a portfolio together, now’s the time to do it! I used Contently.com for my online portfolio, but I always include another type of printed article that I have had published (usually a few so they see what kind of work I do). Once it looks great give it to her to keep. Don’t just let her look at it and give it back because if it’s hers to keep she’ll likely file it somewhere for future work.

4.  Come with ideas

If you know what she wants for the website, come up with a few ideas. Show her how creative you can be! If you’re not really sure what she needs, try to think on your toes and give her great insight she can’t say no to!

5.  Rates

Oh gosh, the negotiation. I have grown slightly more comfortable with it over the years. It feels like confrontation to me, which I am not a fan of, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it. Figure out your rates and what you won’t write for. Make sure you give yourself some wiggle room. She is most likely going to ask “how much do you charge?” Respond with confidence, and you will be surprised what she will say.

6.  Ask to be part of their meetings

If their website is looking for content to keep patients educated, or a blog to attract more patients, you can be an immense help to them. This can also work well for you because you’ll be able to have a retainer client, right in your own area! Ask to be a part of their website meetings in order to grasp exactly what they’re looking for, as well as what you can bring to the table!

 

Good luck in your adventure with this client, Lisa. Please keep us posted, I am very excited for you!

 

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