Sunday, August 30, 2015

Freelance writing lessons learned in the Fiverr trenches

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One of the great things about the Modern Era is that you can work as a writer in English from anywhere in the world. 

The downside is working for a range of clients, all over the world, some of whom – you’d swear – are the laziest human beings that could exist on the planet.

If Hashem made them any lazier, they’d simply stop breathing.  Don’t believe me?  Don’t worry; I came prepared with examples.

In case you haven’t made its acquaintance yet, Fiverr is a site that connects freelancers and clients around the world.  The premise is simple:  what would you do for five bucks?  In my case, I’ll write 300 words for 5 bucks.

Heck, I can write 300 words before I actually start to think about what I’m going to say.  I’ve written 300 words already in this blog post – and I’m just getting started.  (Okay, that’s only 156, but hey, I’m halfway there already.)

But on Fiverr, that $5 is just the BOTTOM LINE.  From there, you can charge extra for research, longer pieces, rush orders, those kinds of things.  Sure, there are some people who only want to spend the $5.  But most end up spending more.

However, like I said, this kind of global marketplace brings you in contact every single day with some of the must frustratingly underdeveloped creatures Hashem has seen fit to put here on this earth.

Here are some of the lowlights – the most annoying things people have told me as they're trying to underpay me to do their work for them:

i would for sure give you alot of business TRUST ME LOL. I have papers needed to be done on the daily!

This is probably the most common line, in one form or another. 

Potential customers say this to try to win a lowball price.  Which makes me think, "why the heck would I do this for cheap week after week after week?" 

As far as I’m concerned, this is actually a DIS-incentive if there ever was one.  Regular business doesn't help me unless I’m actually making money off it.

the job is going to be easy. there is no research.

Well, if that's the case - if it really is totally easy... then why not do it yourself?  Oh, yeah, you're too busy and important.  Do me a favour; take a deep breath.  Just in case you forgot.

at the end u can say you learned a lot and had fun and i can say we broke the ice and are partners

Sunday, August 02, 2015

The fish, the diamonds, and me, here in Canada

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Here in our last 24 hours in Toronto, I am living out the mashal of the fish and the diamonds.

Maybe you've heard this mashal (parable)?  For sure, my kids have: many, many times.

In the story, a man leaves his home, somewhere normal in Europe, and sets sail to seek his fortune in some exotic island, perhaps near Africa, where it is rumoured that the streets are paved with diamonds.

He arrives at the island, and discovers that the rumours are TRUE.  Diamonds are everywhere!  He scoops them up to fill his pockets and rushes into a restaurant to order a lunch fit for a king. 

Of course, he discovers when he goes to pay with the diamonds at the end of the meal, that they are utterly worthless on the island.  What the restaurant wants in payment is... fish.  Bleakly, he wanders from store to store, discovering that the only currency anyone will accept is fish.

(Don't ask why; this is not the most realistic story, okay?)

So, okay.  The guy stashes the diamonds in his pocket and forgets about them.  He sets to work accumulating fish to pay for his expensive passage back home.  It takes years of backbreaking work, shlepping to the harbour every day over roads paved in diamonds.  Eventually, he's got enough fish saved up to buy a ship and outfit it for the journey.

Then, he waves goodbye to his new friends on the island, hops on board the ship and sets sail for home.

When he arrives back at his village, he is greeted as a hero.  "I have returned a wealthy man!" he announces. 

He then opens the hold beneath the ship and out splashes a stinking, sloshing load of... fish.  His perplexed family and friends stare at the mess on the dock and then recoil in horror.  "What have you brought us?"

"Um, fish?"