Blogging for Pay, Freelance Researcher & Ghostwriting

Whether you’re trying to save money, earn more – or both, we’ve added some new articles to help you get started.

How To Start An Article Writing Service: If you love to write, enjoy learning, are good at research, and can write quickly, starting your own article writing service is an ideal business.

How To Become A Freelance Genealogy Researcher: Knowing your family history can be interesting, liberating and it can be a wonderful gift to pass onto future generations. This makes being a freelance genealogy researcher a rewarding and interesting career choice.

How To Become A Blogger For Pay: Do you love to write, interact online and have a great voice and writing style? If so, becoming a blogger for pay may be exactly what you’re looking for.

15 Easy Money Saving Tips: Whether by necessity or due to a sheer desire to spend less and save more, everyone these days are tightening their belt. Here are some of our favorite money saving ideas.

How To Start A College Fund: Smart tips to get the ball rolling whether you have a lot or a little money to invest.

How To Save Money On Your Grocery Bill: With a little planning, preparation and a shopping strategy, you can save big bucks every week at the market.

Why Every Service Provider Needs a Website: Why relying on word of mouth to build your business is not enough.

These are just a few of the many articles on our site that will help you reach your goals. We hope you find them helpful and invite you to check back often for even more tips and advice.

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How To Start A Home Business On A Budget

Want to start a home business but not sure you have enough funds. Don’t worry, some of the most profitable businesses started wit less than $500 and you can too. Here’s how:

Step #1 Find a niche that appeals to you personally. It’s easy to think you can spend your days selling skin care products or writing about dog breeds however unless you’re extremely interested in the topic, it’ll be difficult to motivate yourself. Instead, spend the time to find a nice blend of profit potential and passion. There’s truly nothing better than making a living doing something you love. Keyword research is a great place to help you hone in on that profitable niche business idea.

Additionally, some businesses lend themselves to low start up costs. For example, an information site or an affiliate marketing business both need very little start up cash because you’re initially simply writing content and promoting the products of others. Your profit comes from advertising revenue and affiliate commissions.

Step #2 Register your domain name with a low cost domain registration site. Consider combining registration and hosting if you can find a provider who offers all the features you need at a price that fits your budget. Because competition is stiff out there, you’ll find many domain registration/hosting providers who offer great deals, compare prices and features.

Step #3 Consider using WordPress to build your website. Why? WordPress is infinitely customizable and easy to use. It’s also free and there are an abundance of widgets and plug-ins available to help you make your website exactly how you want it to be. There’s a nominal cost to redirect to your WordPress registration to your website, $10. Additionally, WordPress websites/blogs make optimizing your website for the search engines easy with regular content and SEO plugins.

Step #4 Driving traffic to your website. The most affordable option for getting content on your website and using it to market your business, for example, article marketing, is to write it yourself. However, if you aren’t inclined to write your own content or want help with the process, PLR can be purchases and tweaked to fit your niche needs at an affordable price.

Step #5 Partnerships are also a fantastic tool to keep the budget in line. Trading services or cross promoting websites is a great way to maximize your resources.

Step #6 Social networking. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are free and they’re an excellent way to build a community and drive traffic and customers to your business. Get active on relevant forums and interact on industry blogs. You’ll be able to generate interest in your home based business and learn and connect at the same time.

Step #7 Set up your home office using refurbished equipment. While a good computer and a full home office setup can cost thousands, you can purchase a refurbished or later model computer for half the price of a new one and desks and file cabinets can be purchased from flea markets or discount stores. As your business grows, you can upgrade your office as needed.

Creating a home based business on a budget can be done and it can be done well. All you need is the passion to get it done and the perseverance to see your business become a reality. Remember the stories of Bill Gates starting in his garage? You can do it!

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Treating Your Customers Right and Getting Them to Buy More

Everybody always seems so concerned about traffic building opt-in lists and finding new customers. Don??t get me wrong, these things are very important?? but in the process, sometimes it??s easy to forget our most valuable asset:

Our existing customers

A satisfied customer is highly likely to buy again, so take the time to nurture this relationship and encourage repeat purchases.

Here are some ideas to do that:

1. Provide great customer service: This is quite obvious, but is the cornerstone to making our customers happy and more willing to buy again.

2. Provide and honor satisfaction guarantees: Whether you offer a digital or physical product, given your customers some recourse should your products not meet their needs. A company that ensures customer satisfaction is one that is going to get repeat sales.

3. Follow-up! Everyone is always so concerned with following up with their opt-in list, but forget about their more valuable customer list. Make sure you stay in touch with your customers.

4. Go beyond what your customers expect: Provide them with extra bonuses and goodies (these don??t have to be expensive?? digital goodies are well received) and wow them where you can. You can automate this process by making it part of your customer follow up autoresponder.

5. Give Advanced Notice and/or Customer Discounts: Treat your customers better than the general public. Give them first chance to buy a product and ever give them a special discount for customers only.

When you get a great customer…hang onto them. It’s always easier than hunting down new ones.

Find further tips, tools and ideas for marketing with the written word at www.Contentrix.com

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KISM – Keep It Simple Mom

As a busy mom, no doubt, you have enough on your plate. Add a business to the mix and things can get pretty wild.

The Internet and technology provide so many ideas for our businesses. From website functionality to personal connections with other online business owners, the opportunities are vast. I’m guilty of this myself. I have often created elaborate projects and had so many ideas to implement. But when I sat down to look at it, it was the basics that made me money…so I’m back to the basics now.

Do yourself a favor – if you want an easier life – keep it simple mom. Remember KISM, at all times!

Keeping it simple means LESS:

  • Workload
  • Pressure
  • Obligations
  • Upkeep

Here’s a few tips to keep things to a minimum (and there’s no need to sacrifice profits…complicated often creates more busywork than anything else):

  1. Keep your website and business plan simple. When it comes to business, it’s the basics that still work -> marketing, copywriting and selling.
  2. You don’t have to network with everyone. Be selective of where and with who you spend your time on forums, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  3. You don’t have to take every JV (Joint Venture) offer, freebie, interview, review…etc, etc. New opportunities come along all the time, so be selective. In fact, don’t feel guilty if you don’t have time to respond to everyone. Put a policy on your site stating you don’t respond to all requests.
  4. Hire a small to team to manage day-to-day stuff under your guidance. I’m not talking about hiring a huge staff and making things complicated. Just a virtual assistant to answer emails and do administrative tasks. Then a ghostwriter, tech person and whomever else is key to your business activities.
  5. Maximize your opportunities, instead of constantly trying new ones. Make sure you give each project the full attention it deserves in all aspects from development to marketing. Constantly starting over again just gives you more work.

For More Help

Here are some additional resources that you might find handy:

Find further tips, tools and ideas for marketing with the written word at www.Contentrix.com

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5 Tips to Find Your True Writing Voice

Many people don’t think about their writing voice and those who do consider it, often over think it. Your writing voice can be equated with your speaking voice, it’s how you sound and it is unique to you. Whether you’re trying too hard or not trying hard enough, writing voice can be one of those things that causes your content to fall flat. Try too hard and your voice sounds forced and inconsistent, don’t try hard enough and your voice sounds lifeless and again, often inconsistent.

Voice is important, particularly if you’re a small business owner, because it helps your prospects and customers relate to you. It helps brand your company and it lends to your identity. Give people your voice, your identity, and you’re well on your way to establishing a following who enjoy reading your content, consider you an authority on your chosen subject and will gladly come back to your site again and again.

Here are 5 tips to help you find your true writing voice:

#1 Understand what voice is. Read blog posts and content from writer’s you enjoy. Compare at least 5 different writers. How is their voice different? Do you see how they have a writing style that’s unique to them? This is voice.

#2 Write conversationally. Even the most difficult of topics can be discussed in a conversational manner. That is, to write like you speak. The difference being that your writing won’t have those ums, uhs, and other speech habits we all possess. And when you write like you speak, your voice will naturally come forward.

#3 Don’t edit yourself, at least not until the entire project has been written. And I’m not just talking about not editing the spelling and grammar portion of your content. I’m talking about editing your word choice and sentence structure.

For example, I find that quite often I will use some sort of goofy metaphor when I’m writing. Rather than spend 20 minutes pondering a better metaphor, one that might make me look a little more intelligent or creative or even just a little more interesting, I just leave the metaphor in its place and continue writing. When I go back through the article to clean it up, if a better metaphor comes to mind then great, otherwise I stick with what I wrote originally because it is true to my personal voice and it’s often one that everyone can relate to.

#4 Write your copy as if you’re writing a letter or more likely as if you’re writing an email. This format, which motivates you to let go of any pressure to sound overly structured, authoritative or formal, also lends itself to more conversational and genuine wording and structure. Your personality and voice will shine through.

#5 Finally, forget about your audience. Easier said than done, right? Not really, when you’re excited about your topic, it can be easy to push aside any concerns you have over how you’re presenting yourself and simply write on your chosen topic one you’re hopefully pretty excited about.
Nevertheless, even if you’re not passionate about your topic, in the end your content will sound better if you write it without worrying what other people will think of you. You cannot please everyone anyway and it’s always better to let your voice be heard. You’ll draw more attention, forge a stronger bond with your audience and ultimately build a better and stronger business.

Let go of your inner critic and be yourself when you write. You’ll build a stronger brand and writing will be a more enjoyable business building task.

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Mommy Blogging: Beyond Influence & Onto Profits

There is a lot of talk these days about how Mommy Blogger exercise a great deal of influence – and it’s an undeniable fact. From last Autumn’s Motrin Moms battle to a more recent boycott of the Marriott (due to boneheaded statements made by the company when a mother was sexually assaulted in their parking lot), moms certainly have a voice in cyberspace. In fact, moms have long had a huge influence on buying decisions and what happens in the marketplace.

The new breed of mommy bloggers have a force to be reckoned with – they’re armed with a power and reach of the Internet and just can’t be stopped.

And while that influence can be used for worthwhile causes, many mommy bloggers hope to use their blogs as a profit center to support their family or to earn a little extra income. You might be one of these moms and if you are, this post is for you.

Let me tell you this one IMPORTANT thing before I begin. If you forget everything else, I say…please remember this. This will make all the difference in the world to you.

FACT: An influential or popular mommy blog is not necessarily a profitable blog.

WHAT THAT MEANS TO YOU: If you are looking to earn a nice steady income from your blog, modeling yourself after an influential blog is not likely going to get you where you want to be. Instead, model yourself after profitable blogs that have the same goal as you.

Now that we have that out of the way, here are some tips that will help you generate more profits from your blog:

  • Sponsors Should Pay: Avoid the path of seeking sponsors who offer free product with little else in return. If you’re looking to monetize your blog with sponsors, sell advertising and ensure sponsors pay in CASH for time on your blog.
  • Get Paid to Talk about Products: If you decide to do reviews or giveaways, at the very least, use an affiliate link to the product (i.e. you get paid for every sale that is generated from your review / giveaway). Depending on the reach of your blog, you may also decide to charge for reviews.
  • You Don’t Have to Accept or Even Consider Every Offer: I’ve talked to a lot of moms who say they hate missing an opportunity to share a great product or resource with their readers. The result is a lot of writing and work for the mom – ending up in more burnout than payout. Be selective in what offers you accept and feel absolutely no guilt for responding to only a few select ones.
  • Start Tracking: If you’re displaying advertising from an advertising network, test different ad positions and track how it’s working. Dump the ads that are using up valuable real estate and aren’t earning their keep.
  • Sell Your Own Products: Consider creating some valuable digital tools for your target market. Whether it’s a special report, ebook, software or other handy downloadable, it’s a cost-effective way to break into selling your own products.

We all want to create a valuable resource from our blogs…and popularity is always great for an ego-boost, but what pays the bills is being more selective and focusing on profit-generating activities. Blend your valuable resource blog with smart business decisions and you’ll be well on your way to blogging for profit.

Resources:

  • Internet Marketing Blogging Bootcamp: An intensive 4-week coaching program to help you generate profits with your blogging. Registration deadline is September 25, 2009.
  • Contentrix: Free tips and strategies for better content marketing.

Find further tips, tools and ideas for marketing with the written word at www.Contentrix.com

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How to Write When Your Muse is on Vacation

It’s easy to believe writing is easy but if you’ve ever tried to create content on a consistent basis, you know sometimes that’s just not the case. Sometimes the words just don’t flow.

However, there’s a fairly easy way to get over just about any writing hurdle. Of course, you may not like it. The trick?

Outline.

Okay, so writing an outline isn’t the ideal for many people who feel the structure interrupts their creative flow but we??re talking about those times when the writing muse is on hiatus and she or he just isn’t helping. This is when an outline can be a writer’s favorite tool.

Now we’re not talking about a detailed or formal outline. We’re talking about a simple list of points or sentences you want to cover in your piece the goal is to find a point to your article and a direction for it to take.

For example, if you’re writing a report about how to host a successful garage sale and you just don’t know where to start, begin by listing the things you want to cover in your report. You may find you’ve come up with 19 tips and strategies. Now all of a sudden you have the title for your report. All you need to do is elaborate on each of the 19 points and create an introduction and conclusion and voila you’re on your way to a completed report.

So an outline does more than provide a workable structure for your content, it can actually step in and be your muse. It can inspire creativity and help you bust through those little bouts of writer’s block.

An outline also helps you stay on track. This is particularly important when you’re writing a longer piece. Articles and blog posts are generally concise and it’s fairly easy to stay on point. However when you’re writing a report or ebook maintaining your focus can be a trick. An outline will help you stay 100% on track. You can list each chapter topic and then list the points you want to cover under each topic and you’re good to go. Trying to write a larger content piece without one often means a lot of editing and restructuring.

Speaking of editing and restructuring, an outline saves you time and if you’re as busy as most internet marketers, your time is valuable. While writing a good outline may take ten to fifteen minutes but it will be time well-spent. By having a plan of attack, you’ll be able to whip through your content project quickly and easily and you won’t have to go back and do as much editing and restructuring.

Finally, having an outline will help you wrap it all up. Often beginning or ending a piece, whether it’s an article, report or book, are the most difficult portions to write. Your outline can help you easily summarize what you’ve covered in your material to form a comprehensive conclusion. Likewise it can help you, with a quick glance, identify the contents for your introduction.

While an outline may sound too structured or like redundant work, it is actually a very efficient and effective writing tool. Still not a believer? Next time you have a piece to write and your muse is in the Bahamas soaking up the sun without you, or even if she’s sitting on your shoulder, try creating a quick outline. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

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When You're All Out of Ideas

Trying to figure out what to do next is one of the biggest challenges to online business owners. Sometimes it’s a matter of choosing from the many options available…but more often than not, it’s being unsure what to post to our blog, what product to create, what to send out to our newsletter list and so forth.

In fact, I’d venture to guess if you run out of ideas, it can be one of the most time-consuming (read: time-wasting) things you do. Because when we run out of ideas, we get distracted, we tend to wander. We read other blogs, forum jump, Twitter under the guise of working, start checking web stats and aimlessly wandering…without a real plan to solve our dilemma. If you’ve done this – you are NOT alone.

I’ve talked to a lot of moms who say their online business is so time-consuming and they aren’t sure how they can handle it all. But when I ask them to break down their day, they spend a lot of it doing the precise things I mentioned above. Break out of this habit and suddenly you’ll see you have more time than you previously realized.

Next time you run out of ideas, arm yourself with a plan instead:

  • Start by turning off the computer. Sure, the Internet can be a source of research, but when you’re completely drained, you’re in no condition to let yourself ride the wild waves of the world wide web.
  • Get a notebook and paper and start writing stuff down. Write it all down, no matter how silly or dumb it might seem. You’ll probably end up with more ideas than you know what to do with. But good news, you have them written down and you come back to the others later.
  • Give yourself another break and think about what you wrote down. Trust me, a break is more productive and rejuvenating than staring at a computer screen, clicking this way and that. Go watch a movie with the kids, take a walk, cook a gourmet meal – whatever you enjoy.
  • When you’re ready, start making your plan. Whether it’s a plan for your next product or you just have to get your newsletter together…you can do it much better with a clear head.

Of course, once you have ideas to start taking action on, you probably have to get back on the Internet – but this time you’re ready. You have a plan and you can start taking those steps you need to.

More Resources:

Find further tips, tools and ideas for marketing with the written word at www.Contentrix.com

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Where to Hire the Best Content Ghostwriters

One of the most frequently outsourced tasks is the content writing task. Website owners, even if they love writing about their niche topic, sometimes outsource article, press release, ebook, blog, and report writing to keep their content fresh. Outsourcing the content writing task also saves you time so you can focus on other profit generating tasks. And ghostwriters can also be hired simply to polish content you’ve already written.

That being said, hiring a ghostwriter can be a time consuming and often frustrating experience. Not to worry! There are good ghostwriters out there here’s how to find them:

#1 Ask other business owners who they use. Many business owners are introduced to their ghostwriters from a job posting site like elance. Some of them have wonderful experiences while others have horror stories like you can’t imagine or maybe you can.

Save yourself this experience by simply asking for recommendations from people you like and respect and who have great content.

#2 Ask on social networking sites geared to internet marketers. For example the message boards right here at Internet Based Moms is a great place to speak with other business owners to find who they use and the success, or challenges, they’ve had.

#3 Try a team approach. Businesses like AllCustomContent.com offer a myriad of content related services. For example, transcription, editing and proofing, and content creation. They also have a team of writers so they can find the best writer for your niche topic. This is a great option because not only are you assured you’re going to get the best writer for the job but you only have to deal with the project manager rather than a team of contractors.

#4 Finally, you can post your project on one of the outsourcing job sites. Common sites are:

  • AllFreelanceWork.com
  • Authorlink.Monster.com
  • FreelanceWriting.com
  • MediaBistro.com
  • ProBlogger.net – http://jobs.problogger.net/
  • Elance.com
  • Guru.com

Hiring a ghostwriter can be a liberating experience. It can help you take your business to the next level. Take your time, find a ghostwriter that’s right for you and your niche topic. Find someone who can work with you for the long haul. It pays to start small and test the working relationship before you ask your ghostwriter(s) to take on large projects. A few articles or blog posts is usually a good start to test the waters and make sure you and your ghostwriter are a winning team.

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