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Category: Advice for Authors

6 Ways to Become a Better Freelancer

Being a freelancer is often seen as an easy job, where you can pick and choose when and where you do your work. This is almost always not the case, and the job itself can be very stressful and intense. Living as a freelancer opens the door for a number of issues to arise, including lack of work and lack of exposure and lack of a decent income.

As a freelancer your goal should be looking to constantly improve on what you provide. The aim of a freelance writer is to be a specialist but also versatile enough to be able to take on non-specialist work when you need to.

Here are 6 ways in which you can become a better freelance writer.


Identify your strengths and address your weaknesses

The most important thing that a freelancer can do is to take a minute to look in the proverbial mirror. Being able to understand where you have strength is critically important, but being understand where you are lacking is also key when identifying how to improve yourself as a writer.

People presume that the only real skill a freelance writer needs to possess is the ability to write and while being able to write is obviously important there are other skills that can make freelancing a whole lot easier.

Being able to appropriately plan and organise yourselfis critical as a freelancer. If you struggle to organise yourself then you are likely to be inviting unnecessary stress on to yourself, in this technological age there are hundreds of programs or apps that can help you keep track of your work schedule.

A thing that new freelancers often fail to consider is the ability to touch type, being able to type as fast as possible makes a massive difference in how much work you can or can’t do.

Learn new skills

Investing in yourself as a writer is very important for potential growth. You should always set yourself new goals, whether they are about learning new areas in which to write or developing skills surrounding self-promotion. Any forward movement is a good movement and realizing how and where you could improve is a key skill in freelancing. Be ambitious.

If you have identified a new avenue which could potentially help you progress then be sure to follow it. Sometimes an online course or new software will arise that would make your life a lot easier, save up and spend a bit of money on yourself. If it helps you progress then it will pay for itself.

 

Identify the right price

When starting out as a freelancer most people try to take on as much work as they can, often regardless of the price. However, once you have had experience in the field you should make sure you’re being fair on yourself with regards to how much you sell your time for.

Being able to identify a fair price for your work is a skill that sometimes takes a little bit of time to get right. The likelihood is that any adjustment to your pricing scale will need a period to gauge as to whether or not the changes have been successful.

If you increase your prices and continue to get a good flow of work then you should look into increasing again. However, there is a lot to be said about being able to identify how much is enough for you to live ok, continually increasing your prices can often be seen as a betrayal by loyal customers.

 

Identify a niche

A good way of becoming a more successful freelance writer is to identify a specific area of freelance writing where you can specialize. Specialization in a specific area not only gives you the potential opportunity to become a well-known writer in your specific sphere, but it also allows you to tailor your prices according to your status in the field.

Identifying a niche is important, but that is not to say that you should be aiming to focus all of your attention on one area. You will need to remain sharp and versatile in other popular areas of writing in case the work in your field dries up. Not every area you identify as a potential niche will be successful so it is important you have the good sense to cut your losses should you need to.

Maintain visibility

Being visible can be the difference between success and failure as a freelancer. You could well be a phenomenal writer, but if nobody knows about you then you’re not going to get any work. You need to make self-promotion a priority too. There are plenty of places that will go into some detail about how you can raise your personal online presence, with one of the key examples of this being where and how to post any reviews you have.

There are people who specialize in improving visibility for their clients, so if you don’t think you have the skills to improve your online visibility on your own there are always people who are available to help. Having said that, it is always important to do your own research into anyone who you are thinking of hiring as help, working from a distance it can sometimes be difficult to gauge how legitimate other freelancers are.

Network

Networking is fundamentally important when working as a freelancer, being able to successfully gain clients or potential partnerships is the key to becoming successful. The more often a freelancer is able to network the greater the quality and quantity of their clientele will be. Ineffective networking can be a root cause for poor flow of work, so getting help or advice in how to properly network (should you need it) could completely revolutionise your success as a writer. By becoming familiar with good networking habits, you are giving yourself a chance to identify and target specific areas or people.

Freelance writing is not easy but it can be extremely rewarding for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to improve themselves. There are a great number of things that can be done to increase success as a freelancer, and those who understand that is always something that they can be doing to improve are most likely to be the people who are finding the most success.

Author Bio

Anna Clarke is the owner of online writing company 15 Writers. She is a successful entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in freelancing, academic dissertation writing consulting, specialising in Business, Economics, Finance, Marketing and Management.

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17 Awesome Accent Wall Design Ideas

Ever since the evolution of the Homo sapiens dawned upon our planet, man soon realized the importance of having a shelter, a place to live. And soon after man began to reside in a home of some kind, be it a cave or a crippled hut made of bamboos and leaves, his desires went towards the direction of decorating his home. From wall paintings in caves to terracotta dolls, archaeologists all over the world have found numerous items and findings that go to show how our need for home decor have originated and evolved from centuries.

Today, we always focus on upping our home decor game and making our humble abodes look as beautiful as possible. Our walls are always decorated with beautiful and striking paints, covered with portraits, showcases, paintings, and whatnot. While all this do help to make a beautiful wall, they’re somewhat becoming old-fashioned. Any home decor expert would now tell you to opt for accent walls as they’ve become the benchmark for stylish home decors now. For those of you wondering what an accent wall is, it is basically a wall designed with patterns and colors mainly, that completely changes the look of your room and instills a sense of the extraordinary in an ordinary space quite easily.

These accent walls completely change the look of the room, don’t they? As you can see in these pictures, having just one accent wall can make your entire room look not only modern but aesthetically pleasing as well. So, let’s not waste any more time and get to discussing some of the best accent wall ideas you can try out today.

1. Painting the Wall

The very basic idea for an accent wall is painting it in a striking or vibrant color which complements the other walls. This kind of wall accent can be done in your bedroom as well as the living room. If you’re tight on a budget, painting a wall in striking colors such as blue or black can very often change the entire look of the room itself.

2. Geometric Accent Walls

Who doesn’t love irregular patterns and lines, right? It is often considered a genius move by architects these days to incorporate such geometric lines into their designs to make the entire look of a room appear more modern. Having a geometric accent wall creates a striking appearance that guests will notice instantly, and also creates a fun design for kid’s rooms as well!

3. Using Wall Stencils

Since patterns have become a sought-after choice for accent walls, a great option is to use wall stencils, through which you can create designs on the walls yourself. The stencils available today in the market are quite beautiful and hassle-free. You won’t even have to repaint the accent wall, just add designs of different colors through these stencils and the wall will look new and better.

4. Use Those Pictures you’ve got!

A lot of us have our phones filled with pictures and selfies, don’t we? Well, they’re also an awesome idea to make a creative accent wall that will definitely catch looks from your guests. This is the time for you to finally look through all those pictures you’ve been storing in your phone and choose the best ones to put up on display. Creating an accent wall with collages of your cherished pictures is a great way to make a low-budget creative accent wall with a beautiful personal touch.

5. Wood Pallets

A lot of us love rustic décor. The visually aesthetic look of wood and blocks often give a rusty pleasing look and that can be used to create a mesmerizing accent wall as well. A lot of high-end homes often have wood pallet accent walls as that also instills sophistication while simultaneously portraying that rusty décor feel which everyone has an eye for.

6. Stone Accent Walls

If a posh and sophisticated look is what you’re really aiming for, that is not only soothing but also gives off a vibe of grandeur, then stone accent walls are probably one of the best choices. Stone accent walls portray an aura of sophistication and calmness and the visual effect is almost unparalleled.

 7. Wall Murals

There’s not much you can go wrong with when you choose a wall mural accent wall. Especially if you’re an artsy person who loves the essence of colors, then wall mural is a win-win situation for you! Everyone loves a good wall mural and a wall mural is a great way to make your room look quirkier.

8. Minimal Accent Wall

Minimalism has become more of a lifestyle choice for many, thanks to aesthetic cultures and Pinterest. Adding a minimalist accent wall is another great way to maintain a calm and peaceful vibe in the room, making it look rich and sophisticated at the same time.

9. Sharpie Designs

Another great budget-friendly way of creating an amazing accent wall is to draw your personalized designs on the wall with sharpies. Yes, that’s going to be exhausting and will require you to purchase *a lot* of sharpies, but it will still cost less than an actual wallpaper and look much better as it’s your own creation.

10. Wallpapers

If you’re looking to dish out the dough and spare yourself the hassle, installing wallpaper is probably the easiest way of having a cool accent wall in your house. Wallpapers of just about any design are available these days and they’re the best way of not making a long-term commitment to the look of your wall. Easy application, easy removal.

11. Staircase Walls

In many houses, the wall next to the staircase is often the biggest one and thus, hardest to decorate as the staircase often blocks the path. However, you can make this your accent wall as well, as it acts as the biggest canvas. Make it vibrant, cover with photos, make sketches, do your thing and voila! You have a cool staircase accent wall!

12. Bookshelves

Bookworms, this one’s for all of you. Built-in bookshelves are another great way to create an accent wall that adds to the sophistication of the room and also gives off a pleasant and welcoming vibe, just like the books themselves.

13. Displayed Art

An accent wall is more about what you do with the wall, rather than the wall itself. Thus, if you have your amazing art pieces lying around, hang them on the biggest wall of your house and instantly turn it into a personalized beautiful accent wall that is bound to turn heads.

14. Mirrors

An accent wall doesn’t have to be all about sketches, patterns, and colors. If you’re willing to go the extra mile to turn the ordinary wall into a piece of grandeur, hang mirrors of complementary shapes and sizes that will help you create a mesmerizing accent wall and a unique one as well.

15. Tiles

If you’re looking to make a striking impression or just create a peaceful vibe in your bedroom, tile up the wall and you’ll have yourself an amazing accent wall that you’ll never get tired of. Peel and stick tiles are available as well, that have an extensive design range and look more stylish too.

16. Chalkboard

A new trend that is on the rise amongst home décor these days is the chalkboard accent wall, which definitely poses as quite the decoration. Having a chalkboard accent wall not only makes things more creative but will also give you the freedom to have new designs and drawings on the wall whenever you want!

17. Textures

If you’re really looking to make your wall stand out in the house, go farther than just paints and wallpapers. Get a textured accent wall with any texture of your choice and in the color that complements the other walls and you’ll have a masterpiece on your hands that creates quite the impression.

What A Portrait – Handmade Paintings for your Accent Walls

Talking about home décor and accent walls, if you’re looking for an easy option to spice up your home with an awesome accent wall, head over to www.whataportrait.com. At Whataportrait, you can customize hand-made paintings of your cherished pictures that cannot only up your home décor game but will also add a beautiful touch to your accent wall.

Sitting in the comfort of your home, you can submit photos and sit back while the professionals do their best with your personal suggestions to create amazing handmade oil paintings, pencil sketches, coal paintings, sketches, etc. This is a great way to make your home décor stand out from the norm of mainstream portraits and pictures that are hung up on walls.

Once the finished product is ready, you don’t have to engage in any hassle. We deliver your personalized hand-made painting to your doorstep. So, what are you waiting for? Visit Whataportrait today and get yourself a beautiful handmade painting that is sure to be a treat to everyone’s eyes.

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Self-Confidence Takes Small Steps

Let’s be honest. Getting over a fear of public speaking takes small steps. It’s almost like a diet or a fitness program. If you take on too much too fast, you’ll be overwhelmed. It just won’t work – not in the long term.

When I first went out on my own and started this business, building the self-confidence to promote myself as a business owner was incredibly challenging. Speaking in public about myself, my ideas and my own creation to strangers was about as uncomfortable as listening to someone running their fingernails down a chalkboard. But I could easily quiet down a room full of rambunctious kids with one word. Commenting during conferences and meetings was a breeze! What was the matter with me? I was completely out of my comfort zone.

Suddenly I felt like I was transported back in time and back to the super shy, awkward and unpopular middle-school kid I once was long ago. Some kids used to yell “Ugly!” at me when I passed them in the hallway, probably due more to my awkwardness than my actual physical looks. I hated that time! I hated it so much that I decided I was going to watch and learn how to be a popular kid. After all, what did they have that I didn’t have? Nothing. So over the next few years, I slowly learned how to dress, make conversation and basically network my way into the popular crowd. By my second year of high school, I succeeded. I made the competitive varsity cheerleading squad, was later elected to be a homecoming princess and so on. I enjoyed it, but by the time I graduated, I was happy to leave that all behind me.

In retrospect, high school would have been a lot more fun if I had the self-confidence not to be affected by all those social groupings, be myself and develop real friendships. But that’s not the point I’m making here.

My point in telling that story is in making a decision to take on a challenge and then putting in the daily effort to meet that challenge, even if it takes years to do so.

Being comfortable with who you are.

When you get out there to speak about your business, your idea, or your expertise, it’s important to have a basic self-confidence in who you are. Are you comfortable with yourself? Is your product or service compatible with you who are and your values? That’s important for long-term success.

Stop the downward spiral of negative self-talk in its tracks.

First, recognize those negative nagging thoughts that undermine your confidence. Then, identify them for what they are: fear. Replace them with positive thoughts, affirmations or images in your mind. Yes, for some, this can be challenging to do on your own, and I do help my clients work to overcome their negative self-talk.

Build self-confidence with small steps.

With my coaching clients, we break the steps down according to their fear. In other words, the bigger the fear, the smaller and easier the steps should be. We’re looking for long-term solutions. I’ve seen medications recommended and sometimes even prescribed by doctors to people who are nervous before a public speaking event. But those aren’t a good long-term substitute for self-confidence.

Here’s an example of a small step I may assign to a client: tell one new person a version of your elevator pitch every day for a week. Simple and easily attainable.

Take note of your public speaking accomplishments.

It’s so easy not to give yourself proper credit when you do get out there and speak. That’s when many people really let the negative self-talk undermine their efforts. Watch out for that! Remember the challenges you’re working to overcome.

What do you do when a “wrecking ball” comes in and shoots you down?

Sometimes it’s a person you trust – a mentor (unfortunately), family member or “friend” who tells you that you’ll fail, or they’ll say something revealing that they don’t believe in you. We all have people like that in our lives, and sometimes, we’re just stuck with them, at least to some degree.

What you can do is set boundaries. You can change the subject. You can politely refuse to answer prying questions. For example, I’ve been running my business for four years, and one of my siblings just can’t ever seem to remember what my business is about. So, whenever he asks me to explain it again, I just hand him my business card with a smile and invite him to visit my website. Another relative always asks me, “So are you making any money yet? Really? How much?” (I don’t tell them.)

Building self-confidence in any area of life can feel like you’re building a house one brick at a time. But if you have a purpose in life, and you’re ready to get out there and realize it, you’re going to need to do a lot of public speaking!

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Top Tips For Creating an E-Commerce Business

In recent years the world of e-commerce and selling things online has come a long way, and as a result, and because of the growing internet world, there is more competition than ever. It can be a good way to generate an income and create a business of your own, though, as it means that startups costs are less as there is no need for a brick and mortar store. But if that sounds like something that you want to get into, what are the ins and outs of it all? Here are some things to think about if you want to get into selling things as a business online.

Choose Your Strategy

To sell online and to do it well, one thing that you need to decide and figure out is what will your selling strategy be? Once you know, you need to stick to it so that people know what to expect from you. But those things could include the channels that you will use to sell, for example, just on a website of your own. Or would you decide to go down the route of an FBA business and sell on other sites, as well as perhaps your own? You need to make a plan on the kinds of products that you will be looking to sell as well. Will it just be one or two things that you will specialize in, or perhaps a whole range of products?

Customer Service

The common thing that connects all successful businesses is that they are committed to provide some stellar customer service. They realize that their customers are the backbone to their business, so they will take steps to make sure that the customers are taken care of. Providing good customer service is more than just being nice to people on the phone, though. It is all about meeting their needs and making sure that the customer really does come first in the business. Good customer service will mean that you are likely to get loyal customers when people are happy with their experience.

Encourage More Sales

To make sure that you are able to create a successful online business, then there are some things that you will want to do to take your customer from finding out about you for the first time, to them then enquiring, ordering for the first time, and then having them buy again and again. Many e-commerce businesses, and businesses in general for that matter will only focus on the first order and then they’ll forget about trying to getting a second order from the same person. But really, when someone has ordered something from you in the first instance, then it will be easier to get them to order again. So that is an element that you need to be thinking about.

There are different ways to market this kind of thing, from newsletter sign-ups to discounts off second orders, but it will be a case of trying new things and seeing what works best for your customers to take up.

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Easy Ways to Try and Keep your Business More Secure

Keeping your business secure should always be your first priority. If your business has security flaws then criminals may try and take advantage, resulting in both loss of data and customer trust.

Know your Data

Not all data is equal. Your customer data, for example, is much more sensitive than your marketing data. If you want to secure your business then you should always try and assess what you have, how it’s being used and even where it’s being stored. The most basic of audits can be done by considering what would happen if a breach actually occurred. When doing your calculations, you need to think about your financial data, customer records, employee files, and even records. When you are able to understand how a breach could affect your business, you then need to deal with the one that is the most high-risk. This will give you a good starting point and it will also make it much easier for you to classify what you have.

Manage your Passwords

Passwords are at the core of every single security policy that you have. You have to make sure that the passwords you have are enforced and that they are secure as well. if you want to encourage everyone to use stronger passwords then put a feature on your site that forces the customer or employee to use upper case letters, numbers and even symbols. If you do this, then your site will be more secure, and your customer data won’t be as likely to be compromised.

Education

It’s so important that everyone in your business understands the concept of security. Consider having a six-month refresher course, as this will give you the chance to bring your existing employees up to speed and it will also help you to inform them of any changes that need to be made. This won’t take long to arrange but education and communication are super important tools when defending your data. Everyone needs to be involved if you want this to be the most effective, so it is important that you keep this in mind.

CCTV

If your business does not have CCTV installed, then this is something that you seriously need to look into. Security camera installation doesn’t take long but it can protect your business against vandalism and theft. It can also act as a deterrent, so you can stop people from even attempting to try and break into your company. By having a CCTV system, you may find that your home insurance drops in price too and this can be very useful when you are running a full operation.

Keeping your business secure will probably only require a few minor changes, but it is so important that you make the effort to implement these properly if you want them to be effective.

The above tips should be more than enough to get you started on the road to having a much more secure and tightly run operation for both now and the future.

 

 

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Things To Consider When Choosing A Nursing Home

Nobody wants to think about possibly needing extra care or their relative needing the support of a nursing home but sometimes it’s just unavoidable. For most, it is somewhere where they will spend the rest of their lives so when choosing the right one it’s important to do your research. Making sure you ask some delving questions about care will help you to come to a decision which one is the right fit. Here are some things that you should be considering when looking at a nursing home.

What Food Is On Offer

When looking into which nursing home is going to be the best fit for your loved one it’s a good idea to ask about what they offer. It’s important that a well balanced and nutritious diet is offered, it will not only help to keep them healthy and strong but a good meal can really keep someone happy. Do they offer a good variety of food or is it a set menu week in week out. You don’t want them to get bored with their meals, after all, would you want to eat the same meals over and over? It may also be worth asking if the meals are prepared on site or ordered in by someone like meals on wheels if they are cooking on site asking about their food hygiene should be a priority too.

How Much Are The Fee’s And What’s Included

Thinking about the cost of a nursing home may not be the top of everyone’s list but it is important to ask what you are getting for your money. They can be very expensive so effectively shopping around means you could be getting a better care package. Such as having internet or tv services included and activities to help keep them interactive and social. Some places have been known to charge premiums for extra medical equipment so it’s important to understand what’s included.

How Many Carers Are Available

Probably one of the most important things to consider is the ratio of caregivers to residents. Making sure that there is a good level of staff available when choosing a nursing home will mean that your loved ones are living in a much less stressful environment where they are able to build up good relationships with regular faces. You will be able to get a good idea of the atmosphere if you plan a visit to the care homes and don’t be afraid to ask for the retention rates of staff leaving. Having too many residents for the carers could result in satisfactory care not been given. Unfortunately, this is sometimes unavoidable and you should seek legal advice if it ever happens to one of your loved ones. Gray and White Law’s nursing home abuse attorney can help with this.

When Can I visit?

You would think that you should be able to visit at any time to a nursing home but sometimes this isn’t the case. Some homes have set visiting times, usually to avoid mealtimes or activities so they are able to instill a little bit of a routine. If this is something that would affect your relative then maybe looking for a home where you can visit at any time of the day would be better.

Do you have any things that should be considered when looking for a nursing home? If so please leave them in the comments section below.

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Why Is My Computer Running Slow?

Is your computer running unusually slow? There are lots of things that can cause a computer to slow down – here are just a few possible reasons to consider.

It’s running out of memory

Computers tend to run more slowly once they start running out of RAM. This is because the hard drive has to work harder to compensate for the lack of memory. There are lots of ways to free up RAM from cleaning up your desktop to deleting cookies – this link offers a more detailed guide into some of the methods you can use. Once you’ve freed up enough memory, your computer should begin to speed back up.

There are too many programmes in use

Using too many programmes at the same time puts a strain on your computer. If your computer takes ages to initially startup, it could be because there are too many programmes that you’ve set automatically open on start-up. As well as programmes, consider how many browser extensions are in use as this too can make your computer slow.  

You’ve got a virus!

If your computer has slowed significantly for no obvious reason, it could be because you’ve got a virus. If you suspect this to be the case, visiting an IT technician to remove the virus could be your best solution. Alternatively, this guide may be able to help you remove the virus yourself. Having robust anti-virus software installed on your computer can protect you from viruses in most cases. That said, you need to be certain that you’re constantly running the latest version of this anti-virus software (most security software automatically updates, but if you constantly leave your PC on standby and never restart, your software may never automatically update).

Your anti-virus software is being too overprotective

Anti-virus programmes can occasionally get bugs which cause them to be overly protective. In some cases, they may block you from using legitimate programmes in the belief that they’re a threat. In other cases, your anti-virus software may start scanning every programme thoroughly before you open it, causing these programmes to load slowly. The bugs can sometimes be fixed with updates – if not you may have to get an IT technician to take a look.

Software is corrupted

Software can get corrupted if your computer crashes or if you have to force it to shut down. This corrupted software may cause your computer to run more slowly. You may be able to reinstall this software to fix the problem, however, you may lose certain data in the progress. Software corruption can occur naturally with age, so bear this in mind if your computer is old.

It’s a hardware problem

Damaged hardware could also lead to your computer running more slowly. In such cases, you may have no option but to buy new hardware (you may be able to replace parts, but it’s likely you’ll need to replace the entire computer). An IT technician will likely still be able to salvage your files.

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Aspiring Author? Boost Your Chances Of Success With This

When you’re someone that wants to write, it can consume you. You may find that you just have to write. That the process of putting pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard) is therapeutic to you. Maybe you have these characters in your mind that are bursting to come out? When that’s the case, you absolutely have to make sure that you write. Yet, you have to realize that you really do not need to ask for permission for this. You do not have to wait to ‘become’ a writer, or ‘feel’ like a writer. You can just write – and there you are, you’re a writer. But sometimes, that’s not enough.

Because when you love to write, you may find that it’s just not enough for you to be able to play writer or write in your spare time. Instead, you want to be a published writer and you want to get paid for your writing. Yet, that takes an agent and a publisher – and most importantly of all, courage. And so, this can seem like a huge and scary step for you to complete. But, if you really want to do it, and you really want to find success, then you’ve come to the right place – because we’re about to walk through what you can do to make that happen.

Work On Your Craft

To start with, you’re going to want to try and get better. Because if you’re not getting signed or any interest in your book proposals, it’s time to make some improvements. Lock yourself in your office and practice. Do writing exercises. Take courses. Read. Write in new ways. Just try different things so that you’re always improving.

Have An Audience

But then also, you may find that at this point, you might want to consider building up a bit of an audience for yourself. This won’t always be the case, but if you have a following on social media or readers of a blog or subscribers to an email, then you are showcasing to a potential publisher that you already have an audience, and this can be a selling feature for them.

Write!

From here, something else that you absolutely need to do – above all else, is just write! You cannot worry so much being a writer or getting a deal, you have to just write. So do it. Write as often as you can and make it a habit! It’s so important that you can just actually create, rather than just get the work done!

Publish What You Can

When you want to be a writer, it can often seem as if you should only be writing books. And that all of your time should be allocated to that certain style of writing. But that’s not true. You may want to think about blogging and publishing whatever you can online. You really don’t have to wait. Because publishing and writing as much as you can will help you showcase your stuff and improve your craft.

Market Yourself

The next thing that you might want to think about doing here, is to make sure that you’re marketing yourself enough. Because if you’re not trying to show off what you can do, or get readers, then it’s so much harder for them to find you. For this, you’ll want to advertise and promote what you do. And you may need to utilize anything from Adwords automation script tools to Display advertising to do this. Even social media can be powerful – so make sure that you are putting yourself out there.

Sell Yourself

Next up, you have to make sure that you can sell yourself too. And it’s often tough to do this, but it can work too. Because if you want that agent or to get a book deal, you need to put yourself out there. Yes, your work needs to be good – really good – but it needs to be relevant and it needs to sell too. And for this to happen, you need to put yourself out there, have a selling feature, and to just ask for the chance.

Keep Going

Finally, above all else, you absolutely need to keep going. It’s essential for you to build a thick skin and not stop or worry about being set back. Because we will all get different ‘no’s’ in our lives. But just because one person said no, it doesn’t mean that you have to stop or that you’ll never get published. Just keep writing, keep asking, keep trying. Because you never know when that yes, or which book it will be for, will come!

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Renovation Revolution – 6 Household Updates You Need To Make for 2019

What is on your renovation wish list for 2019? If you are anything like me, instead of a new year’s resolution list, you may have drawn up a list of household projects that you want to tackle in the coming year. Any house needs regular maintenance and TLC, so I’ve put together a list of small, inexpensive updates that will have a significant impact on your home:

Update Your Home Security

Do you ever have that sinking feeling that you didn’t lock the door behind you when you left the house? You can wave goodbye to security worries! Smart locks allow you to ditch your key and instead use your phone to lock and unlock your home using Bluetooth technology. Depending on the product, you can set them up to automatically lock the door when you leave or to work on a timer. You can add permanent and temporary users, set up your phone to automatically close up when you go out the door and check the activity logs to see who has entered and exited your home. Security for your home, your family and your belongings is high on everyone’s wish list, so it’s a worthwhile investment, even if it does cost a little more than a deadbolt from the hardware store.

Switch to Energy Efficient Lighting

If you haven’t already made the switch to energy efficient lighting, you are overspending on your electricity bill every single month. Those savings might seem small in isolation, but when you add them up over the year, they are worth paying attention to. When it comes to energy efficient bulbs, your options include light-emitting diodes (LEDs), halogen incandescents, and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). They are all a little more expensive than a traditional bulb, they can last up to 25 times longer, while using significantly less electricity.

Install a Water Filter

Even in countries with clean and drinkable tap water, water suppliers need to add chemicals like chlorine to disinfect the water and kill any micro-organisms that may make you sick. Fluoridate is also often added to aid with healthy teeth. The levels of chemicals added is carefully governed and monitored. However, these chemicals, along with any naturally occurring sediments, may lead to your tap water appearing cloudy or having a mild smell or taste. Installing a simple and inexpensive under-sink filtration system will give you peace of mind when drinking some H2O, and ensure you save money and the environment by avoiding bottled water.

Get Yourself a Smart Home Hub

If you have gone smart-appliance crazy, then a smart home hub offers a central point of control to combine and simplify the use of separate hubs. Additionally, it allows you to link up systems that may otherwise be incompatible, so you can ensure that your smoke detector tells your smart lock to unlock doors if there is evidence of a fire, allowing easy exit of occupants and access for firefighters!

Upgrade your Bathroom Exhaust Fan

If you live in an older home without a bathroom vent or have an exhaust fan that hasn’t been updated recently, this is a quick and cost-effective update that you should definitely look into! Excess moisture leads to mold, peeling paint and warped cabinetry. Exhaust fans have come a long way in terms of noise, performance, and airflow, so it is high time to upgrade to a cleaner, healthier bathroom.

So, what is top of your renovation wish list?

 

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A Guide to Hiring Removalists for the First Time

Our guest post today talks about hiring a moving company, otherwise known as a removalist in Australia, and what to be aware of when you do so. The same principles apply to our readers here in the United States.

AUTHOR BIO

Craig Jones is the Managing Director at Aussiemove, Australia’s largest independent moving alliance. Craig is a respected member of the removalist network in Australia, having served in senior positions, including the President of the removal industries governing body, the Australian Furniture Removals Association (AFRA). With 23 years of experience at Aussiemove, he has the skills and the highly trained team to move families safely and reliably, in Adelaide, across Australia, and around the world.

A Guide to Hiring Removalists for the First Time

Moving house can be an ordeal. You must sort through everything you own and pack everything properly, making use of high-quality packing supplies to make sure that nothing gets damaged or lost during the process. You also need to deal with other moving-related tasks on time, so you don’t put your relocation on hold.

But a home relocation does not have to be a tiring and frustrating undertaking. You can hire an interstate or international removalist in Australia to make your move easy and hassle-free. Depending on the services you choose to get, these pros can pack some or all your items, provide you with sufficient storage space, and transport all your goods safely, even including your pets and car.

If you are moving for the first time, here is a guide to hiring the best removal company.

Why Hire a Removalist?

Professional removalists will save you stress and time because they offer beneficial relocation services like man hire and moving help. Due to all the tasks involved in the removal process, as well as the associated pressure to get everything done right and on time, you tend to become too stressed even before the process begins. As a result, you may forget to do some of the important things, making your move more difficult and unmanageable.

But if you get expert help, rest assured that all moving-related tasks will be dealt with on time and within your budget. Also, you get help with heavy lifting, thus preventing potential injuries due to improper handling. Best of all, you will have peace of mind knowing that all your items will arrive in your new home safely and damage-free.

Furthermore, having professional removalists helping you out will give you more time to do other important things. For instance, if you are moving abroad, you will have enough time to process and acquire the right visa, especially if your moving day is coming up soon. Also, you can spend time organizing things that will help you settle quickly into your new home.

Professional Removal Services to Consider

●   Pre-Move Assist and Decluttering Service

Decluttering is probably one of the most dreadful activities related to a move. The task can become more challenging to finish if you suddenly feel under the weather, or perhaps if you are moving with kids or elderly parents.

Luckily, removalists can help reduce the clutter in your home to make sure that you will only bring the things you need.

●   Packing Service

Packing is another stressful undertaking when moving house. Fortunately, you can ask professional removalists to do this task on your behalf depending on your needs.

For instance, you can let them pack only the fragile items, your entire kitchen, or all your goods. If you want to pack some of your items yourself, removalists can provide you with high-quality packing materials. Take note that the right packing supplies and techniques will make a huge difference in ensuring the safety of your goods.

●   House Cleaning Service

Removalists can help you clean your house before handing the keys over to its next owner or your landlord. An end of tenancy cleaning service will save you time and energy, and ensure that the house is tidy and organized enough to meet the contract requirements.

●   Pet/Car Transport

If you have a pet or car to bring with you, removalists can be a huge help. Whether you need to bring a dog, cat, goldfish or horse with you, the removal team will move them safely.

The same is true if you need to transport a car. Removalists will care for your vehicle like it is their own, making sure that it will arrive at your new residence in excellent condition. Also, they can give you advice regarding the requirements for transporting it, along with the right insurance to cover it.

●   Storage

If you need a secure space for your items while you travel overseas or while waiting for your house to be move-in ready, removalists can give you reliable storage solutions. Whether you choose to store your items for weeks, months or years, rest assured that all your stored items remain damage-free and secure.

What to Look For in a Removalist

Today, choosing a removal company can be challenging. To help you choose the right removalist, here are four important considerations.

●   Reputation

An established reputation is crucial when choosing a removalist. Make sure to hire a removal company that has been delivering excellent service. Don’t hesitate to ask for references so you can be sure that you are hiring someone competent and reliable.

●   Experience

Experience is the best teacher, especially in terms of packing and moving. A removalist who has been operating for years will make sure that all your items are properly packed and handled with care.

●   Insurance

Despite hiring a removalist with the right packing and moving expertise, accidents can still happen due to natural causes or human error. So make sure to hire a removal company with comprehensive insurance coverage.

●   Customer Service

Nothing is better than finding a removal company that prioritizes the needs and demands of their clients. So make sure to determine how promptly the company replies to any of your concerns or if anything unplanned happens while in transit.

Indeed, professional removalists can help make the removal process run smoothly. So don’t hesitate to get some or all of their offered services, especially if you are moving for the first time. While this entails an added expense, the cost of hiring them will surely be outweighed by the time and energy you save and the safety of all your items.

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