writing http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/683/all en-US Score Your Dream Home With the Perfect Offer Letter http://www.wisebread.com/score-your-dream-home-with-the-perfect-offer-letter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/score-your-dream-home-with-the-perfect-offer-letter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-639309248.jpg" alt="Couple scoring dream home with perfect offer letter" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In a hypercompetitive housing market, buyers need to seize every advantage possible. In addition to a strong credit score, loan preapproval, and reasonable offer, a well-crafted offer letter can tip the scales in your favor. If you've found your dream home but are facing some stiff competition, it's time to put pen to paper. Here are eight tricks to writing the perfect offer letter.</p> <h2>1. Write it yourself</h2> <p>Don't delegate this one. Your offer letter should be penned by you, not your real estate agent. As a prospective buyer, it's up to you to connect emotionally with the seller and authentically express why you're drawn to the property.</p> <h2>2. Explain your interest</h2> <p>Details matter. Writing that you &quot;simply love the house&quot; is a good start, but it won't get the job done. What about the home appeals to you? Is it the gleaming hardwood floors? The big front porch? The way the sun shines through a stained-glass window? Including a few well-considered details accomplishes two things: First, it flatters the seller (as he or she may be responsible for many of the features you're drawn to). Second, it establishes a sense of shared appreciation and implies that you're well-suited to be the home's new steward.</p> <h2>3. Put your heart into it</h2> <p>Selling a house isn't just a business transaction; it's an emotional one. For sellers who've owned their home for decades, leaving may be bittersweet. Make it easier for them by tapping into the emotional side of your story. Discuss why you think the home is perfect for your family and what memories you hope to make within those walls.</p> <h2>4. Be cheery, not dreary</h2> <p>Though adding a bit of emotion to your offer letter is helpful, keep the emotions positive. Referring to a divorce, long-term illness, or the death of a loved one can cast a shadow over the transaction. Make the tone of your letter hopeful and joyful.</p> <h2>5. Skip the remodeling plans</h2> <p>Since sellers are understandably attached to their homes, avoid phrases like &quot;rip out,&quot; &quot;total gut job,&quot; and &quot;down to the studs&quot; in your letter. While remodeling may be part of you plans, focus on what you love about the home right now &mdash; not your vision to redo it.</p> <h2>6. Give buyers something to bank on</h2> <p>Remember, your offer letter is your moment to shine in every way possible. Show that you can make good on your offer without unnecessary delays and drama. Along with your loan approval documentation, briefly discuss what you do for a living, how established you are in your career, and the strength of your credit score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-a-first-time-home-buyer-needs-to-buy-a-house?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Everything a First-Time Home Buyer Needs to Buy a House</a>)</p> <h2>7. Don't rush</h2> <p>Your offer letter is an important document that can save you thousands of dollars and months of continued house-hunting. Though you may not have the luxury of time in a hot market, write the best letter possible. Consider your approach carefully, write simply and sincerely, and proofread thoroughly to catch any spelling and grammar mistakes.</p> <h2>8. End with a thank you</h2> <p>Your mom was right &mdash; a simple thank you can work wonders. Wrap things up with a humble and heartfelt &quot;thank you for the opportunity to view and bid on your beautiful home.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-your-dream-home-with-the-perfect-offer-letter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-buy-a-house-without-a-mortgage">4 Ways to Buy a House Without a Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most">These Are the 7 Features Home Buyers Want Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/growin-home-how-much-house-do-you-really-need">Growin&#039; Home: How Much House Do You Really Need?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-need-to-know-before-buying-your-first-house">7 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Your First House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-buy-a-house-with-a-pool-until-you-can-answer-these-7-questions">Don&#039;t Buy a House With a Pool Until You Can Answer These 7 Questions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing advice buyers home buying new house offer letters sellers writing Thu, 20 Apr 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Kentin Waits 1930341 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Make Money During a Semester Abroad http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-money-during-a-semester-abroad <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-make-money-during-a-semester-abroad" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/student_study_abroad_547198588.jpg" alt="Students making money while studying abroad" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Studying abroad offers college students the chance to explore the world, learn more about different cultures, and meet people from a variety of backgrounds. But studying abroad can be expensive. The average <a href="http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2013/06/14/thinking-studying-abroad-it-not-all-about-cost.html">cost for a semester abroad</a> was $17,785 during the 2012&ndash;2013 school year, and costs have no doubt increased since then.</p> <p>So how can a college student on a budget afford to study abroad and enjoy all of the food, travel, and experiences available to them?</p> <p>Thankfully, there are plenty of working opportunities available to American students studying abroad.</p> <h2>1. Teaching English</h2> <p>American students studying in a country where English is not the official language have a built-in job opportunity. There is demand for native speaking English teachers all over the world, and the average college student is in a great position to take a part-time job teaching English as a foreign language. You can pursue this informally by chatting with your local classmates or professors at the university to find one-on-one students, or you can pursue more traditional teaching positions through your study abroad program or your university.</p> <p>This option is especially beneficial to any students who hope to have a career in education. My experience volunteering at a French primary school when I studied abroad was a big factor in my favor when I went to graduate school for a Master's degree in education.</p> <h2>2. Translation Work</h2> <p>If you are relatively fluent in your host country's official language, working as a translator can be a great way to make money and practice your foreign language skills. Typically, translators will translate into their native tongue, which means you can offer successful translation services even if you are not completely fluent in your adopted language.</p> <p>For many students, simply posting some fliers around campus offering your translation services can net you plenty of clients.</p> <h2>3. On-Campus Jobs</h2> <p>Just like American universities, many international schools offer work-study jobs for students, including those who are visiting from other countries. Stop by the work-study office at your university, or ask some of your local classmates if they know of opportunities for on-campus jobs.</p> <h2>4. Guiding Tours</h2> <p>No matter where you are studying, it's likely that it is a destination for English-speaking tourists. Contact local tourism boards to find out if there is a need for English-speaking tour guides. This will give you an excellent way to learn the intricacies of your adopted home while earning a little cash.</p> <p>You can also rely on your other expertise to land a tour guide job. For instance, an art history major might find a job as a docent in a museum, while a future architect might be able to get a job leading groups on tours of architecturally significant buildings.</p> <h2>5. Bartending or Working in a Coffee Shop</h2> <p>For students who wish to completely immerse themselves in their new home, working as a bartender or a barista in a cafe can be an excellent way to earn money while also meeting a variety of people and practicing your language or cultural skills.</p> <p>To land a serving job, stroll through the popular areas of town and chat with managers of bars, restaurants, and coffee shops. Bring your resume and evidence that your visa allows you to work legally.</p> <h2>6. Work at a Tourist Hostel</h2> <p>Hostels are an inexpensive place for tourists to stay, and they can be an excellent workplace for a visiting student. Like hotels, hostels are open round-the-clock, and so they need workers for every shift. If you are fluent in a common language (including English!), the hostel's management might need you to work at the front desk. Hostels have guests from all over the world, and a front desk attendant who can speak multiple languages is a boon.</p> <p>In addition to front desk work, you might also take a job in housekeeping or the kitchen. While the work may not be glamorous, it will offer you an opportunity to earn money and learn more about your adopted country.</p> <h2>7. Write for Travel Sites</h2> <p>You're probably already keeping a journal or diary of your time abroad &mdash; why not get paid for it? There are a number of travel sites and other publications that are always looking for well-written pieces on travel destinations. And don't assume that your writing will only find a home in a travel-specific website. There are often <a href="https://thewritelife.com/31-travel-magazines-and-websites-that-pay-freelance-writers/">regional publications or other sites</a> that would welcome your work.</p> <p>In addition, you could also start your own blog. No one is claiming that blogging is a quick way to make big bucks, but a student living abroad has plenty of stories to write about, and it's easy to place ads on your blog. Blogspot, WordPress, and Tumblr are all places you can easily start a blog that you can monetize. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-make-extra-money-blogging?ref=seealso">5 Easy Ways to Make Extra Money Blogging</a>)</p> <h2>Considerations for Student Workers Studying Abroad</h2> <p>It's not enough to just land your job while you're studying. You also need to be aware of the financial and logistical concerns of your work.</p> <p>In particular, make sure you have a visa that will allow you to work, even if you are working for cash. Also, remember that the currency exchange rate can affect just how far your money will go, especially if you are earning American money (as a blogger or freelancer might). Make sure you know how the conversion rate will affect your spending power, and know the costs of exchanging money when you withdraw money locally from your American bank.</p> <p>Finally, there is some good news for any student working for a foreign employer: You will owe no U.S. taxes on anything you earn <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p54/ch04.html">under $101,300</a> as of 2016. You still have to pay local taxes on your wages, but Uncle Sam will let you keep all that is left.</p> <h2>Working and Studying Abroad</h2> <p>In general, the most valuable experiences you will have during your time abroad will happen outside of the classroom. Finding a way to earn money while you study is not only a savvy financial move, but it will also add depth and richness to your time in another country.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-money-during-a-semester-abroad">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-college-expenses-you-arent-saving-for">9 College Expenses You Aren&#039;t Saving For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-students-can-travel-abroad-for-less">7 Ways Students Can Travel Abroad for Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-freshman-shopping-tips-to-cut-college-costs">9 Freshman Shopping Tips to Cut College Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-get-paid-to-learn">6 Ways to Get Paid to Learn</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-financial-aid-might-not-cover">6 Things Financial Aid Might Not Cover</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Extra Income college English international travel jobs language skills side jobs students study abroad teaching tourism writing Wed, 28 Dec 2016 10:30:23 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1863677 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Places to Find Freelance Writing Jobs http://www.wisebread.com/6-places-to-find-freelance-writing-jobs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-places-to-find-freelance-writing-jobs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_computer_cafe_84295655.jpg" alt="Woman looking for places to find freelance writing jobs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have ever read about work-at-home opportunities, freelance writing was probably listed as a top choice. While freelance writing offers a lot of flexibility for those who enjoy stringing words together, it is not always easy to find writing jobs.</p> <p>We've already linked you to 22 websites that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">pay individuals to write articles</a> for money. That is a great list to start with. I strongly recommend pitching directly to websites that are open to submissions, since they will pay for your work and can help build up your portfolio.</p> <p>Here are six other sources will connect you to a mass of writing jobs and individuals looking for regular writers.</p> <h2>1. ProBlogger's Job Board</h2> <p>ProBlogger is one of the top authorities on blogging. The&nbsp;<a href="http://jobs.problogger.net/">ProBlogger Job Board</a> is updated daily with unique writing positions. Companies pay ProBlogger directly to advertise their open positions, which I have found to mean two things. First, many of the positions pay pretty well. Secondly, since ProBlogger is the creator of this job board, you aren't going to see the same ad over and over again, like you might on Craigslist.</p> <h2>2. Craigslist</h2> <p>Finding a writing position on Craigslist should be approached with caution. There are many new websites that seek writing services, yet they do not offer compensation, or offer the bare minimum. Look for legitimate websites and make sure compensation is clear before starting. A sign of a good company is one that asks you to fill out a W-9 form.</p> <p>With that being said, I have written for some great companies through my search on Craigslist. I recommend searching under Craigslist's writing/editing section. Also, try searching for writing jobs in large cities across America. (See also:<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-freelance-jobs-that-pay-surprisingly-well?ref=seealso">11 Freelance Jobs That Pay Surprisingly Well</a>)</p> <h2>3. FreelanceWriting.com Job Board</h2> <p>Another great site to check often is the job listings at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.freelancewriting.com/freelance-writing-jobs.php">FreelanceWriting.com</a>. The site has been around since 1997 and pulls jobs listings from all across the Internet. You will find a wide variety of listings, but the listings do not seem to be updated daily. The site's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.freelancewriting.com/newsletters/morning-coffee-freelance-writing-jobs.php">Morning Coffee Newsletter</a> sends new job listings to your email each weekday morning.</p> <h2>4. LinkedIn</h2> <p>If you don't already have a LinkedIn profile that details your experience as a freelancer, then I strongly suggest you get one. LinkedIn has allowed me to search for remote freelance writing jobs with success. Even better, I have been contacted by recruiters for writing work.</p> <p>I think it is also a good idea to follow other freelance writers to get an idea of who they are writing for.</p> <h2>5. MediaBistro</h2> <p>What I like about&nbsp;<a href="https://www.mediabistro.com/jobs/search/?Duration=130&amp;countrycode=US&amp;Page=2">MediaBistro</a> is that their listings are geared towards more professional writers. They have listings for all types of writers, including remote listings for freelancers and contractors.</p> <h2>6. Journalism Jobs</h2> <p><a href="http://www.journalismjobs.com/index.php">Journalism Jobs</a> lists hundreds of writing positions across the U.S. While most jobs are for in-house positions, there is an option to search freelance positions. It's a good idea to add this to your weekly search routine. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-side-jobs-for-introverts">10 Great Side Jobs for Introverts</a>)</p> <h3>What to Avoid</h3> <p>There will be many job listings that make their way on Craigslist or other freelance writing boards that only pay $3&ndash;$4 per article. They write their ads to say individuals can earn $15&ndash;$30 an hour, and that it just depends on how fast you write. I recommend staying away from these types of jobs, too, since you basically become an article mill for others who will profit off of your hard work.</p> <p>In the end, finding the best writing jobs for your experience level that fit your desired rate will take some time. Keep looking and keep building up your portfolio and experience. Almost a decade ago, I started writing online, and I can assure you that I did not make very much money at first. It took a lot of time, practice, and years of pitching to get paid a decent rate and to get regular freelance work.</p> <p><em>Where do you find freelance writing gigs? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-places-to-find-freelance-writing-jobs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-terrible-work-from-home-jobs-you-should-avoid">8 Terrible Work-From-Home &quot;Jobs&quot; You Should Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-make-a-living-in-the-gig-economy">Can You Really Make a Living in the Gig Economy?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-you-can-earn-18-to-25-an-hour-with-amazon-flex">How You Can Earn $18 to $25 an Hour With Amazon Flex</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-part-time-jobs-to-do-while-your-kids-are-at-school">17 Part-Time Jobs to Do While Your Kids Are at School</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Job Hunting freelance jobs gig economy job search side hustle side job work from home writer writing writing gigs Mon, 13 Jun 2016 09:30:22 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1728672 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Mechanical Pencils http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-mechanical-pencils <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-mechanical-pencils" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mechanical_pencils_000012543939.jpg" alt="Using best mechanical pencils for writing " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all need pencils from time to time. Whether it is for work, school, or home, you need a dependable mechanical pencil that won&rsquo;t break. We&rsquo;ve found some of the very best mechanical pencils out there, so you can get the best value for your money.</p> <h2>What Is a Mechanical Pencil?</h2> <p>A mechanical pencil has a plastic or metal case and a thin, replaceable core. This allows you to affordably refill the pencil with lead refills. Once the lead has worn away or become dull, you can simply extend the lead point to expose a sharp, precise point. They never need sharpening and won&rsquo;t change shape or balance as they are used (unlike wooden pencils).</p> <p>Mechanical pencils can provide a great investment because the lead and eraser can be refilled with affordable refills. They are available in all different sizes and designs, so you can choose the best one for your writing comfort.</p> <h2>Top 5 Mechanical Pencils</h2> <h3>Pentel Graph Gear 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GAU2RU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000GAU2RU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=HG2JD5RU6BI3AUND"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/pentel.jpg" width="210" height="210" align="right" alt="" /></a>You likely won&rsquo;t find a better mechanical pencil than the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GAU2RU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000GAU2RU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=HG2JD5RU6BI3AUND">Pentel Graph Gear 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil</a>. This commonly recommended mechanical pencil is well balanced and has a textured metal barrel above the grip that resembles a surgeon&rsquo;s tool and is easy to hold, so you have more control over the pencil. The chiseled metallic grip has soft latex-free pads inlaid throughout so it feels more comfortable and can reduce writing fatigue. The break-resistant, super hi-polymer 0.5mm lead is the bestselling lead in the world because it doesn&rsquo;t need sharpening, remains strong, and produces a precise, dark line. The dual-action retractor advances and retracts the tip to protect the lead. It also has a built-in lead hardness indicator and dual-function pocket clip that releases a heavy spring mechanism to retract the tip.</p> <p>This pencil is tough and reliable, so it should last you a long time. It was compared to nearly every other mechanical pencil on the market and came out on top. It is one of Amazon&rsquo;s bestsellers and one of the &ldquo;most wished for&rdquo; items on Amazon. It is also backed by more than 1,100 five-star reviews on Amazon and recommended by Dave&rsquo;s Mechanical Pencils, The Wirecutter, OfficeSupplyGeek, and CultPens. It is also commonly compared to the wildly popular <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AZWYUA4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00AZWYUA4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=QPYW5X3GSIH5NV3P">rOtring 600 Mechanical Pencil, 0.5 mm</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GAU2RU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000GAU2RU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=HG2JD5RU6BI3AUND"><em>Currently $11.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>BIC Pencil Xtra Strong</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001CD9RRG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B001CD9RRG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SXTYLECJ4MKXECT5"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/bic.jpg" width="132" height="245" align="right" alt="" /></a>If you&rsquo;re looking for dependable thick lead pencils, then the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001CD9RRG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B001CD9RRG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SXTYLECJ4MKXECT5">BIC Pencils Xtra Strong</a> are right for you. The thick, strong 0.9 mm lead reduces breakage and delivers a smooth writing experience. The shatter and splinter resistant, unbreakable lead also makes them ideal for writers who tend to hold the pencil tightly or press down hard on the page. This large pack of 24 #2 mechanical pencils have assorted colorful barrels, so you can find the right one for your personal preferences. Each pencil includes three full length leads per pencil, which provides a write-out equivalent to 2.5 wooden pencils, providing a great value.</p> <p>BIC makes the #1 best selling mechanical pencils. These are also Amazon&rsquo;s #1 best seller in mechanical pencils and one of the &ldquo;most wished for&rdquo; items on Amazon. They also have more than 700 five-star reviews on Amazon and are commonly recommended for students. For some extra pizazz, consider the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007L1VLO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0007L1VLO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=4CHOX2ZZ5CJ4LOYP">BIC Pencil Xtra Sparkle</a>, which is an Amazon bestseller and on Amazon&rsquo;s college checklist.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001CD9RRG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B001CD9RRG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SXTYLECJ4MKXECT5"><em>Currently $5.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>uni-ball KuruToga Mechanical Pencil</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0026ICM1E/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0026ICM1E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=MWJZ3MMQUDIXTKAZ"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/uniball_0.jpg" width="123" height="245" align="right" alt="" /></a>If you want a pencil that always has a perfectly sharp point, consider the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0026ICM1E/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0026ICM1E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=MWJZ3MMQUDIXTKAZ">uni-ball KuruToga Mechanical Pencil</a>. The attractive black and blue pencil has an exclusive, carefully engineered design. It features a twist and turn mechanism that can rotate the lead automatically when you lift the pencil, so you always have a sharp point. The diamond infused lead is stronger, so it can easily reduce lead breakage, maintain the perfect cone shape, and create precise, vivid lines with reduced lead dull spots.</p> <p>This starter set comes with two eraser refills and extra lead, making it a great value. It is one of Amazon&rsquo;s bestsellers and one of the &ldquo;most wished for&rdquo; items on Amazon. It also has more than 500 five-star reviews on Amazon and is recommended by Dave&rsquo;s Mechanical Pencil, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, The Wirecutter, OfficeSupplyGeek, the Pen Addict, CoolTools, Wired, and JetPens.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0026ICM1E/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0026ICM1E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=MWJZ3MMQUDIXTKAZ"><em>Currently $4.17 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Paper Mate Clear Tip 0.7mm Mechanical Pencil</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001T6QCJC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B001T6QCJC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=DOPDMHMTSNNJ4IRA"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/papermate.jpg" width="107" height="245" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001T6QCJC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B001T6QCJC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=DOPDMHMTSNNJ4IRA">Paper Mate Clear Tip Mechanical Pencil</a> will allow you to create precise lines. It has the feel and distinctive design of a pen, but the performance of a pencil. The retractable pencil has a comfortable, over-molded, non-slip grip for added control. It also has a translucent barrel and visible lead supply, so you&rsquo;ll know before it runs out of lead. It also has a pocket clip, so you can easily carry it around with you. The side click advance button will help you advance the lead while you are writing, without letting go of the pencil. The jumbo twist-up eraser easily advances and retracts, so you can make mistakes with no messy residue. The colors will vary, so you won&rsquo;t be able to pick which two colored barrels you&rsquo;ll receive.</p> <p>The starter set includes two #2 pencils, two eraser refills, and 12 0.7mm leads. It is one of Amazon&rsquo;s bestsellers and has exceptional online reviews. In fact, most reviewers agree that it is love at first use.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001T6QCJC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B001T6QCJC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=DOPDMHMTSNNJ4IRA"><em>Currently $4.97 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Pentel Twist-Erase III Automatic Pencil</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002JG10GG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B002JG10GG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=P2L5DG3Z6VFY7OSX"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/penteltwist.jpg" width="85" height="245" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002JG10GG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B002JG10GG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=P2L5DG3Z6VFY7OSX">Pentel Twist-Erase III Automatic Pencil</a> has a large barrel and soft, smooth, latex-free, ergonomic grip, so you can write comfortably with less writing fatigue. It features a long, twist-up latex-free eraser that is larger than most other pencil erasers, so you can feel free to make errors. You can also erase without fear of smudges, paper tears, or ghost streaks. The break resistant, super hi-polymer HB 0.7mm lead is the bestselling lead in the world because it doesn&rsquo;t need sharpening, remains strong, and produces a precise, dark line. The protective tip design stabilizes the lead to reduce breakage. The colors will vary, so you won&rsquo;t be able to pick whether you receive the black/black or black/red color barrel combinations.</p> <p>The set includes two #2 pencils and two eraser refills. These dependable pencils are one of Amazon&rsquo;s bestsellers and the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001B0D9QK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B001B0D9QK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=XSOOFGYSVOZWZSXL">lead refills</a> are Amazon&rsquo;s #1 bestselling refills. They are also recommended by The Wirecutter and JetPens. Many reviewers also found that they can keep the same pencil for years by just replacing the lead and eraser with refills, so you can count on these lasting a very long time. If you&rsquo;re looking for something fancier, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006SW6YO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0006SW6YO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=QHIYUZSDCBI6ML4O">try the Pentel Sharp Kerry Mechanical Pencil, 0.50 mm, Metallic Black Barrel</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002JG10GG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B002JG10GG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=P2L5DG3Z6VFY7OSX"><em>Currently $5.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best mechanical pencils. As always, be sure to check <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-calendar">Wise Bread's Buying Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-5-best-mechanical-pencils&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%25205%2520Best%2520Mechanical%2520Pencils.jpg&amp;description=The%205%20Best%20Mechanical%20Pencils"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%205%20Best%20Mechanical%20Pencils.jpg" alt="The 5 Best Mechanical Pencils" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-mechanical-pencils">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pens">The 5 Best Pens</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-office-highlighters">The 5 Best Office Highlighters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-forehead-thermometers">The 5 Best Forehead Thermometers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-coloring-pens">The 5 Best Coloring Pens</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-cast-iron-skillets">The 5 Best Cast Iron Skillets</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping mechanical pencils office supplies pencils product reviews writing writing utensil Thu, 24 Mar 2016 09:00:04 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1664328 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Cool Jobs for Foodies http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-jobs-for-foodies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-cool-jobs-for-foodies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_cupcakes_000013090905.jpg" alt="Woman finding cool jobs for foodies" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Chef, cookbook author, newspaper columnist... there are some really high-profile &quot;foodie&quot; jobs out there that look fun and exciting. But how about the rest of us regular folk who want to work in a food-related field? Are there opportunities? The good news? Yes, and in many of them, you can transition gradually <em>and</em> make money while you do so. Here are 12 cool foodie jobs that &quot;regular people&quot; can do.</p> <h2>1. Cake Decorator</h2> <p>The best special-occasion cake that I ever purchased was for my daughter's 18th birthday. Her high school art teacher made it. Not only were the cake and frosting delicious (and you know this can be a tricky point), but the decorating was stunning. Due to her art background and love of baking, her teacher was able to successfully move into a new career.</p> <p>Another example. When my daughter was four, I ordered one of those cakes with the Barbie doll in the middle. I had to order it <em>six months</em> in advance because they were so popular. A local stay-at-home mom had made a niche business of doing nothing but kids' birthday cakes and they were in huge demand. She could barely keep up with the orders.</p> <p>Looking for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-its-time-to-make-your-side-gig-your-career">side job that can move into a full-time gig</a>? If you have artistic ability, and love to bake, this might be for you. No formal degree is required, but you might want to take classes at a culinary school. Growth is predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to be better than average, and specialty cake decorators make between <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/12/my-life-as-a-cake-designer">$21,000 and $42,000 per year</a>. My job search revealed that those employed in supermarkets can obtain &quot;...Competitive pay plus benefit packages of health, dental, vision, and 401K.&quot; Smaller bakeries did not tend to offer benefits and pay was based on experience.</p> <h2>2. Niche Farmer</h2> <p>Do you have a green thumb, or are you really good with livestock? Niche farming may be just the ticket for this &quot;foodie&quot; job.</p> <p>The beauty of it is that you can start niche farming while you still have your day job. Some of my &quot;niche farmer&quot; friends raise lamb, grow mangoes or coffee, keep bees, sell worms for gardens, and have free-range chickens. All are employed by full-time day jobs, but are working toward easing themselves into farming. Here is the amazing thing: It's <em>working</em> for all of them. They are able to farm, or garden, on the side and sell everything they grow/raise/make.</p> <p>People love high-quality, organic products. Making the bridge from full-time worker into full-time farmer is a little anxiety-provoking, though. My friend Thomas, who raises sheep, tells me &quot;I need to be hungrier&quot; &mdash; meaning, he needs to be motivated to give it his all. Erick, who raises worms (vermicomposting), says he needs to work on his marketing and not rely on word of mouth. Scott, who grows coffee, found that re-branding and getting his product into a local grocery store made the difference.</p> <p>Having niche farming as a sideline gives you the space to perfect your craft, until you are in a financial position to make the jump. There is a lot of information to pore over about the necessary education and the economic outlook for <a href="http://organic.about.com/od/startanorganicfarm/tp/Steps-To-Becoming-An-Organic-Farmer.htm">organic farming</a>.</p> <p>Interested in niche farming?</p> <ul> <li>Do your research.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Hit the farmers markets.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Talk to meat and produce managers in grocery stores &mdash; Would they be able to buy your product? Do you need organic certification?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Become an expert in your product.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Check zoning laws.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Learn marketing, or hire someone who knows how and has a successful track record<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Start small.</li> </ul> <h2>3. Caterer</h2> <p>Love to cook for others? Have access to a commercial kitchen? Catering may be the ticket for you.</p> <p>Let's discuss two levels. First, as a professional caterer, it isn't a cheap career to get into. You will need access to a certified kitchen, a business license, and insurance. In most states you will need to pass a health inspection and food handler class, too. Check your state's requirements before you leap.</p> <p>Caterers also need strong marketing skills (you need to get the word out) and some technological ability (for a website). Catering isn't just about cooking what you want to make, either. Although you should be able to offer standard items, you will need to be able to present other ideas to a client (along with prices per head) and test recipes ahead of time. Finding wholesale vendors is another must.</p> <p>Lastly, you will need to hire help, so you'll need a short course on Business 101 (payroll, I-9's, workers' compensation, billing, etc.) As you can see, startup costs can run a minimum of $10,000. How much will you earn? The average looks to be between $27,000 and $35,000 per year. If you are strongly drawn toward catering, try it out. Go to work for a caterer or a restaurant that offers catering.</p> <p>Now, a second option. If you are someone with a great home kitchen and you love to cook, you may still be able to pursue this on another level. You may be hired to make dinner for friends, a birthday cake, hors d'oeuvres for a party, etc. My friend Jane did this for years, while practicing psychotherapy as her day job. She'd suggest a menu; show up with the food and flowers; serve, and clean up. I would only suggest doing this on a small-scale level, for friends or well-known business contacts, and I wouldn't hold myself out as a professional &mdash; just as a friend who loves to cook. Jane enjoyed her day job, but just loved to cook so much, that she wanted to do more of it.</p> <h2>4. Food Blogger</h2> <p>I just Googled &quot;food blog&quot; and was returned 420,000,000 results. So yes, a lot of people are already doing it, but if you want to do your own, there is no reason that you shouldn't.</p> <p>Every blog I follow (and I follow a lot of them) brings something different to the party. I am never at a loss for cooking ideas. What sorts of skills do you need? Some technological ability is a plus, although you can put together a blog in an afternoon using Weebly, GoDaddy, Blogger, WordPress, or another easy web-building package. Being able to write well is essential. Taking good photographs is also important. And bloggers who blog regularly will get more traffic.</p> <p>If you want to set up your own site and earn money, I strongly recommend you read this post from<a href="http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/11/12/how-to-make-money-from-a-food-blog/"> Sally's Baking Addiction</a>. You will also benefit from some networking (both on the Internet and in person). Surprisingly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't list &quot;food blogger&quot; as a separate occupation yet (they should Google it); they lump it in with bloggers. They do, however, offer a very informative article about <a href="http://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2012/fall/art02.pdf">how to blog</a>.</p> <p>You can also sell your blogging work on a freelance basis. Sign up for a number of sites that will send you alerts for work. It's best to set up a PayPal account, as many employers like to use this service for payment.</p> <h2>5. Candy Maker</h2> <p>As I write about this fun job, I am munching a piece of lemon bark recently sent to me. It's delicious! I have known this particular candy maker for close to 15 years, and am delighted to see she's still doing her thing.</p> <p>Candy making is an art as well as a science. It's very challenging. I only know how to make one kind of candy, and it's exhausting every time I do it. My friends who use Etsy to sell candy claim it is easy to set up shop. (Here are their <a href="https://blog.etsy.com/en/2008/selling-your-edibles-on-etsy/">requirements for selling edibles</a>.)</p> <p>The aforementioned lemon bark is made in a culinary incubator facility &mdash; offering shared, part-time kitchen rental. You may also be able to rent space in a commercial kitchen during their off hours. Your best bet may be a church kitchen, which otherwise does not get a lot of use.</p> <p>Other considerations: packaging, mailing, a website, marketing. How much can you expect to earn? Working for yourself, maybe initially $10 an hour. If you want to work on a candy production line in a candy factory, you will probably make more like $8.25 per hour, although some do offer benefits. It would probably be great experience, though, if you want to go into business for yourself eventually.</p> <h2>6. Restaurant Critic</h2> <p>I doubt I am alone in picking restaurant critic as a dream job. Eating delicious food, writing about it, and no dishes to wash! Nice work if you can get it, right?</p> <p>The average <a href="http://www.indeed.com/salary/Food-Critic.html">annual salary</a> is around $47,000, but can be a lot more if you're working for television or a prestigious food magazine. Some critics have backgrounds in journalism or communication, or are experienced writers. I was surprised to read that up to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/times-insider/2015/02/16/restaurant-critic-pete-wells-on-how-he-does-his-job/?_r=1">30 or 40 dishes are tested</a> after multiple visits. Food critics may join the <a href="http://www.afjonline.com/FoodCriticsGuidelines.cfm">Association of Food Journalists</a>, which sets forth standards for objectivity and provides resources. Like other jobs, though, there are drawbacks:</p> <p>&quot;Nobody will think you deserve the gig you've got, including your friends.&quot; &mdash;Todd Kliman, Washingtonian wine and food and editor and critic.</p> <p>Or this, from <em>NYT </em>Restaurant reviewer Pete Wells: &quot;You can put down your tiny violins; it doesn't take much to see that the problems of an overfed restaurant critic don't amount to a hill of fava beans in this crazy world.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;You will gain 20 to 30 pounds. Even if you exercise four days a week. More if you don't.&quot; <em>&mdash; </em>Jonathan Kauffman, editor of <em>Tasting Table SF</em> and former dining reviewer for <em>SF Weekly</em> and <em>Seattle Weekly</em>.</p> <p>Interested in becoming a food critic?</p> <ul> <li>Learn to write well.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Develop your palate and become very well-educated about food and food preparation.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Gain some restaurant experience.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Read cookbooks, study various cooking methods, and try them yourself.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Blog, volunteer to write reviews for small-circulation papers, and apply for food-related writing jobs.</li> </ul> <h2>7. Cookbook Author</h2> <p>Yes, you too can write a cookbook. Finding a publisher, alas, can be a more difficult project. However, don't give up! Thanks to the advent of self-publishing, you can write your own book, market it, and sell it yourself, or team up with a bigger outfit, like <a href="http://craftdrawer.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Write-and-Publish-a-Cookbook-for-Kindle">Kindle</a>. You can buy cookbook-writing software. There are how-to books on <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0738214043/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0738214043&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=7KYOZ3CKQOAAINYL">how to write cookbooks</a>. There are many resources available, as this field is huge.</p> <p>Can you make money at it? Yes, but the trick seems to be to find a popular subject (i.e., gluten-free cooking, or vegan recipes, for example). You need to find a good niche, which means doing a ton of research. I have purchased cookbook e-books; they are usually less expensive and some have great recipes. However, unless you can hit the trifecta (writing, editing, and photography), you should probably consider hiring recipe testers and a cookbook editor, described below.</p> <h2>8. Recipe Tester</h2> <p>These jobs are hard to find, but I promise, they are out there (and I have done it). Aspiring cookbook authors (above) need to test recipes. A recipe tester does just that &mdash; makes the recipe to the author's exact instructions.</p> <p>You need to take copious notes and probably complete questionnaires electronically. Pay varies, which can be a challenge, because you will need to purchase many ingredients to test. If you can take a decent photograph to send to the cookbook writer, so much the better. An important aspect of being a recipe tester is confidentiality, and in my experience, you'll be asked to sign an agreement to ensure it.</p> <p>A good place to find recipe-testing jobs is to look on popular food blogs wherein the blogger has published cookbooks. A second recipe tester industry exists with large companies, but those jobs are harder to come by.</p> <p>What sort of a background do you need to get hired?</p> <ul> <li>Experience in cooking<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Excellent written communications skills<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Decent photography skills<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Diplomacy &mdash; to communicate needed changes without offending the cookbook author<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The ability to move quickly &mdash; you may be testing 10 recipes per week, and feedback must be given on a weekly basis</li> </ul> <h2>9. Cookbook Editor</h2> <p>Continuing in the vein of cookbook author and recipe tester, a third party needs to come into play: the editor. Recipes need to be appealing, clearly written, and list items in a logical sequence. It is vitally important to keep the author's &quot;voice&quot; intact (after all, it's their book, not yours).</p> <p>This is another very ticklish job, because like a recipe tester, you do not want to offend the author. Pay varies. Some editors work for famous publishing houses; some work freelance. If you work freelance, you will often be asked to bid on a job. If you think you'd like to take a crack at freelance editing, check out Upwork, Freelancer, Craigslist, or LinkedIn, where you can find job notices. Some go beyond editing &mdash; check out this gal's <a href="http://today.cofc.edu/2014/04/30/want-job-19-cookbook-editor/">fun job</a>.</p> <p>What makes you a good editor candidate?</p> <ul> <li>Excellent command of English</li> <li>Experience with proofreading</li> <li>Diplomacy skills</li> <li>Above-average knowledge of food</li> <li>Above-average cooking skills</li> </ul> <h2>10. Cooperative Extension Educator</h2> <p>Cooperative extensions are often found in places where agriculture is a big part of the community. I knew two ladies employed by cooperative extensions, Carol and Evelyn, and they both loved their careers. Their daily duties were largely made up of teaching cooking, teaching food safety, presentations, and leading 4-H groups.</p> <p>I took many a class at my California cooperative extension; I learned a lot about food safety. I can still hear Carol's mantra: &quot;Keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold.&quot; They had large classroom-style kitchen facilities with state-of-the-art equipment. Another co-op extension acquaintance was Gary, who was a livestock specialist. He would perform home visits and offer advice about keeping livestock.</p> <p>You can still take classes at some cooperative extensions &mdash; the one closest to me just taught &quot;Mastering Food Preservation.&quot; In perusing available jobs, they appear to be mostly benefited, with pay based on experience, and a master's degree required. These were also family-friendly jobs; all three of the people mentioned above had families. You also need above-average communication skills (written and oral), and to be able to effectively work with kids and the public.</p> <h2>11. Food Product Demonstrator</h2> <p>I think there are two camps of demonstrators &mdash; the ones who have it sort of rough at Costco, trying to describe the product before it is snatched off of their trays, and the ones in upscale markets who actually get to visit a little and tell you about the food. I still remember trying my first bite of Dubliner cheese from &quot;Irene&quot; in an upscale market. And yes, I bought the cheese.</p> <p>Entry-level average pay for a food product demonstrator is $11 per hour; more experienced demonstrators can command $20 and up. Average growth is predicted in the field. If you are looking for seasonal, part-time, or temporary work in the &quot;food field,&quot; it might be perfect for you. Demonstrators should be personable, engaging, patient, and well-groomed. Training is on-the-job.</p> <h2>12. Food Stylist</h2> <p>Ever make something really delicious, and want to post it on Facebook , only to find that the picture looks terrible? Why does food look so great in the magazines or on TV? The answer: Food stylists.</p> <p>Food stylists make food look amazing in pictures (or on television). It's tricky stuff, keeping food looking great under hot camera lights and/or for long periods of time. Some food stylists are also photographers, or at least have a strong knowledge base about photography. They also need to know a lot about food and cooking. Some work for television shows or magazines, some are freelance. The BLS does not give a specific economic outlook, but I was surprised to find seventeen job listings in a quick search.</p> <p>Interested in this field? Consider what you need.</p> <ul> <li>A degree in Culinary Arts (helpful)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Above-average knowledge about photography<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Creative background; really good at art<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Good &quot;people&quot; skills to enable you to work with chefs, photographers, clients, etc.</li> </ul> <p><em>Tell us about your current &mdash; or planned &mdash; foodie career!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-jobs-for-foodies">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tasty-treats-to-make-with-mulberries">Tasty Treats to Make With Mulberries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-best-ways-to-use-up-your-summer-tomatoes">The 12 Best Ways to Use Up Your Summer Tomatoes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-ways-to-save-stale-bread">10 Delicious Ways to Save Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dump-cake-and-other-sweet-easy-treats">Dump Cake and Other Sweet, Easy Treats</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-10-simple-swaps-will-make-your-baking-so-much-better">These 10 Simple Swaps Will Make Your Baking So Much Better</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Food and Drink baking catering Cooking food lovers foodies new jobs recipes writing Wed, 07 Oct 2015 17:00:41 +0000 Marla Walters 1583575 at http://www.wisebread.com 22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_working_from_home_000025337892.jpg" alt="Woman finding surprising websites that will pay her to write" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You'd like to get paid to write online, but many websites are looking for contributors with experience. If you don't have significant experience, what can you do?</p> <p>Good news! There are a lot of websites, small and large, that will pay you regardless of experience. If you've ever looked at a greeting card and thought, &quot;I could do that,&quot; written a poem or short fiction, thought you could do a better job on a research based article than what you've read online, are an expert hobbyist or more, you could be earning hundreds or thousands in extra income a year.</p> <p>Below is a list of 22 sites that pay for your writing. It isn't comprehensive, but is merely meant to provide a wide range of examples of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-make-extra-money-blogging">paid writing opportunities</a>. Use it as a guide to help you find many more sites that will pay you, too!</p> <h2>1. ADDitude</h2> <p><a href="http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/writers-guidelines.html">ADDitude</a> is an online magazine is devoted to providing strategies and support for people who are living with ADHD and other learning disabilities. Though they typically accept guest contributions from journalists and mental health professionals, they are also looking for writings from lay people who have personal experience with ADHD and other learning disabilities. Articles should be no more than 2000 words, and payment amount is calculated based on many factors including length, and experience with the topic.</p> <h2>2. Ashtray Blog</h2> <p>Vaping is all the rage right now. So if you're an enthusiast, why not consider getting paid to write an article for the <a href="http://www.ecigarettedirect.co.uk/ashtray-blog/write-for-the-ashtray-blog">Ashtray Blog</a>? They are looking for those that focus on vaping, harm reduction, electronic cigarettes, or similar related topics. The pay rate varies, but typically starts at $50 for a shorter piece (think 500 words) that doesn't require a ton of research.</p> <h2>3. Alive Now</h2> <p>The bi-monthly devotional magazine <a href="http://alivenow.upperroom.org/writers/">Alive Now</a> will pay a minimum of $35 for a submission that is accepted. They provide the themes, which can help you structure your submission.</p> <h2>4. BabyFit</h2> <p>Owned by SparkPeople, a popular online preventative healthcare website, <a href="http://babyfit.sparkpeople.com/articles.asp?id=775">BabyFit</a> focuses on fitness and nutrition when pregnant and as a parent. If you can write a well-researched article between 500 and 1200 words, you may be interested in submitting one to this site. They pay contributors between $25 and $90 for their expertise.</p> <h2>5. Blue Mountain Arts</h2> <p>If you can write contemporary prose or poetry focusing on personal experience, check out <a href="http://www.sps.com/help/writers_guidelines.html">Blue Mountain Arts</a>. This greeting card company will pay you $300 for exclusive rights to your poem, or $50 for one time use in a book.</p> <h2>6. Classic Toy Trains</h2> <p>Obsessed with toy trains? Could you write about them? Well, <a href="http://ctt.trains.com/magazine/submission-guidelines/2006/06/ctt-submission-guidelines">Classic Toy Trains</a> accepts articles on this very topic and they pay $75 per page.</p> <h2>7. Chicken Soup for the Soul</h2> <p><a href="http://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/story-guidelines">Chicken Soup for the Soul</a>, which is also responsible for the best-selling books with that same name, will pay you $200 for an &quot;inspirational, true story or poem about ordinary people having extraordinary experiences,&quot; or $100 for a devotional. Submissions should be no more than 1200 words in length.</p> <h2>8. Comstock</h2> <p>Adult humor greeting card company <a href="http://comstockmarketplace.com/guidelines.php?osCsid=h1lc4vllps64q4glctd7uscvi3">Comstock</a> is looking for ideas and will pay you $50 for each one accepted.</p> <h2>9. Developer Tutorials</h2> <p>If you're knowledgeable about computer programming and design, and can write a tutorial, this website might be for you. <a href="http://www.developertutorials.com/write-for-us/">Developer Tutorials</a> is looking for list-based articles and will pay for accepted contributions. The rate depends on many factors, such as length and quality of the tutorial, as well as the demand for your particular lesson.</p> <h2>10. Fantus Paper Products</h2> <p>Their greeting card division, <a href="http://www.psg-fpp.com/creative_guidelines.htm">P.S. Greetings Inc</a>., which manufactures &quot;everyday&quot; greeting cards and has an extensive Christmas program, is accepting submissions to be featured on their rack and box set cards. Compensation is decided on a case-by-case basis.</p> <h2>11. FineScale Modeler Magazine</h2> <p>If you enjoy building or know a lot about model airplanes, cars, ships, etc. then you could earn some extra money writing about them at <a href="http://www.finescale.com/magazine/contribute-to-fsm/2004/01/submit-to-finescale-modeler-magazine">FineScale Modeler</a>. This magazine pays for articles between 750&ndash;2500 words, and the payment amount is based on the length of the article.</p> <h2>12. Girl's Life</h2> <p>If you have a daughter, sister, niece, or female friend who is younger than 18 and likes to write, create poetry, or short fiction, she can earn money if her submission to <a href="http://www.girlslife.com/page/Writers-Guidelines.aspx">Girl's Life</a> is accepted. Payment amount is decided on a case-by-case basis.</p> <h2>13. Glimmer Train</h2> <p><a href="http://www.glimmertrain.com/writguid1.html">Glimmer Train</a> has been devoted to discovering new writers since 1990 and pays up to $700 for first publication rights for accepted stories.</p> <h2>14. High Country News</h2> <p><a href="http://www.hcn.org/about/submissions">High Country News</a> is a non-profit magazine focusing on the American West (&quot;people, politics, culture, and aesthetic values&quot;). If you like writing on these topics, they will pay you .50 to $1.50 per word (yes, per word) depending on your writing experience and their experience with you. If a submission is accepted and they decide not to run it, you will receive a 25% kill fee (a percentage of what you would have received had the article run).</p> <h2>15. Oatmeal Studios</h2> <p>This greeting card company is looking for humorous greeting card ideas, so if you have a knack for that, send them to <a href="http://www.oatmealstudios.com/html5/pages/art_guide.html">Oatmeal Studios</a>. They'll pay $75 for each idea that is accepted.</p> <h2>16. The Hairpin</h2> <p><a href="http://thehairpin.com/about/">The Hairpin</a> focuses on women and features (mostly) women writers. The topics are varied and wide-ranging, from celebrity culture to tips for creating a great cover letter. They are looking for original, unpublished content, and pay contributors for their work.</p> <h2>17. BlogMutt</h2> <p><a href="https://www.blogmutt.com/become-a-writer">BlogMutt</a> produces blog posts for businesses in just about every industry imaginable, from pet boutiques to tech services. If you can write on a wide variety of topics &mdash; especially in the tech industry &mdash; you'll have a lot of available work. There are no deadlines or assignments, so you can write at your own pace. Customers provide the topics they need blog posts on, writers submit posts on the topics they choose, and the customers pick the posts they want. There&rsquo;s no guaranteed sale, but most writers have a 90% acceptance rate.</p> <h2>18. Smart Alex</h2> <p>Adult humor greeting card company, <a href="http://www.smartalexinc.com/pages/artist_submission/124.php">Smart Alex</a>, is looking for submissions that are &quot;funny, edgy, and risque&hellip;topical, witty, smart, ironic, or sexually suggestive.&quot; Compensation is discussed once a submission is accepted.</p> <h2>19. Smithsonian Magazine</h2> <p>Recognized for its libraries devoted to exhibits in in science, art, history, and pop culture, <a href="http://www.smithsonianmag.com/contact/article-submit-print-magazine/">Smithsonian Magazine</a> will pay authors whose submissions are accepted. Hard numbers are hard to come by, and as you can imagine, they receive a lot of submissions, but it looks like an article could earn up to $1500 for a piece they like.</p> <h2>20. Tales to Go</h2> <p><a href="http://talestogo.travelerstales.com/about/">Tales to Go</a> is a paid subscription website and book publisher focusing on stories about travel. They are looking for personal, non-fiction stories and anecdotes, especially to unfamiliar areas. Stories should be between 1000 and 3000 words. Works that are accepted will receive a $50 honorarium.</p> <h2>21. The Secret Place</h2> <p><a href="http://www.judsonpress.com/catalog_sp_guidelines.cfm">The Secret Place</a> is a quarterly devotional made up exclusively of freelance writers. They pay $20 per accepted meditation devotion which should be about 150-200 words.</p> <h2>22. The Sun</h2> <p><a href="http://thesunmagazine.org/about/submission_guidelines/writing">The Sun</a> is an ad-free paid subscription website that focuses on many aspects of the human experience. They pay contributors anywhere from $300 to $2500 for their work and are looking for essays, interviews, fiction, or poetry. They even throw in a complimentary one-year subscription to their magazine.</p> <p>This list really is the tip of the iceberg, and many writers, including myself, have had positive experiences and enjoyed the extra income. Let's grow this list. Let me know about your favorite sites in the comments below!</p> <p><em>[Editor's Note: A helpful reader pointed out that an entry in this list was no longer paying (ReachSelf). We have replaced that outlet with another paying market.]</em></p> <p><em>Have you earned extra cash with your writing? Where'd you sell it?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F22%20Websites%20That%20Will%20Pay%20You%20to%20Write%20for%20Them.jpg&amp;description=22%20Websites%20That%20Will%20Pay%20You%20to%20Write%20for%20Them" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/22%20Websites%20That%20Will%20Pay%20You%20to%20Write%20for%20Them.jpg" alt="22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kim-owens">Kim Owens</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs">8 Life Skills Every Freelancer Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-money-as-a-chat-or-forum-moderator">How to Make Money as a Chat or Forum Moderator</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-terrible-work-from-home-jobs-you-should-avoid">8 Terrible Work-From-Home &quot;Jobs&quot; You Should Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-freelancers-and-telecommuters-can-make-friends-and-network">11 Ways Freelancers and Telecommuters Can Make Friends and Network</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-biggest-mistakes-freelancers-make">The 5 Biggest Mistakes Freelancers Make</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Job Hunting blogging freelance self-employment telecommute work from home writing Thu, 01 Oct 2015 11:00:35 +0000 Kim Owens 1571537 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Easy Ways to Make Extra Money Blogging http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-make-extra-money-blogging <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-easy-ways-to-make-extra-money-blogging" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_online_shopping_000042128972_0.jpg" alt="Woman making money as a blogger" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've been blogging on my current site &mdash; <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/">Never Homemaker</a> &mdash; for the last six years. I started out writing just for fun. In fact, I didn't understand that bloggers could actually make money by simply sharing their lives online. Somewhere along the way, I discovered that I could monetize my blog and earn a little extra money while working from home. Here are some of the essential insights I've learned along the way, and how they can also help you make some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-do-bloggers-make-money-what-every-non-blogger-should-know">extra cash through blogging</a>.</p> <h2>1. Image Ads</h2> <p>I started making money all those years ago through <a href="http://www.google.com/adsense/start/">Google AdSense</a> ads. My blog is hosted on Blogger, and the ads fit into my template like a glove. When my site gets lots of traffic, my revenue is higher (you get paid a varying amount per click), and the inverse is also true. In more recent years, I've had mixed experiences with these ads. I've definitely made less money despite similar traffic rates, which is why I've ultimately diversified.</p> <p>Alternatively, you can seek out advertisers on your own. For example, craft bloggers might get shops from Etsy to sign on for ads at monthly rates. Local blogs might attract area businesses for support, and so on. You'll need a spot on your sidebar to display the ads to drive traffic to their sites and get the artwork from your advertisers in the form of a JPEG. I've seen bloggers set up contracts for this type of advertising on one month, quarterly, or yearly commitments. Some also offer different sizes at different prices.</p> <h2>2. Ad Networks</h2> <p>When I noticed my AdSense ads weren't performing optimally anymore, I shopped around for a publishing network. I chose <a href="http://www.blogher.com">BlogHer</a>, which is now known as SheKnows, because I liked the community of women writers and several of my friends had shared good experiences. Like many networks, I had to apply, be accepted, and sign a contract. In the years since, I've been pleased with my decision.</p> <p>Networks require bloggers to place a banner or sidebar ad in prime real estate on their sites. In return, bloggers get opportunities to write sponsored posts and do paid reviews for campaigns the team coordinates on their behalf. Another popular ad network I've heard great things about is <a href="http://www.federatedmedia.net">Federated Media</a>. Truth is, there are many out there &mdash; so be sure to read all the fine print before signing.</p> <h2>3. Product Reviews</h2> <p>Bloggers who don't want to join special ad networks can also seek out sponsorships on their own. This process might require some hunting time or &mdash; occasionally &mdash; companies might contact you directly about certain campaigns they'd like to run. Payment can vary wildly from free products/services to several thousand dollars depending on the arrangement.</p> <p>Whenever I do a review outside of my network, I make sure to have a contract with all the details and conditions written out clearly. Don't be shy about setting your price. In the beginning, you might want to just do plain reviews of products in exchange for the free product. As your site gains more traffic and popularity, you can start setting rates and negotiating. Above all, it's important to give true thoughts and opinions in any reviews &mdash; no matter the pay. Otherwise, you might lose the trust of your readers.</p> <h2>4. Affiliate Links</h2> <p>There are lots of different stores and marketplaces with affiliate programs across the web. One of the most popular with bloggers is <a href="https://affiliate-program.amazon.com">Amazon Associates</a>. Of course, there are many <a href="http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/amazon-affiliate-alternative/">alternatives to Amazon</a> if you'd rather stick with something more specific, too. The way it works is anytime you link to a product using your referral code, you'll earn a percentage back if your readers purchase that item (and sometimes other items in that order).</p> <p>Adding affiliate links to your blog is easy, but take care not to oversaturate your content with products. Instead, consider occasional shopping posts where you recommend some of your favorite items or review things you own and enjoy. That way, your content is helpful to your readers and not just a big referral link dump.</p> <h2>5. Text Link Ads</h2> <p>I've never personally used text link ads, but I have received emails with offers. Usually these arrangements involve linking a few words on a certain post to a designated site. Payments can range from $25 to several hundred in the offers I've received. There are also sites like <a href="http://www.linkworth.com/#publisher">LinkWorth</a> where you can sign up to get opportunities for your site.</p> <p>Be careful with this type of advertising because the sites linked often have little to do with your blog's actual content and, therefore, can seem inauthentic. Regardless, bloggers can make a good sum of money through this type of advertising.</p> <p>My best advice to any blogger looking to monetize is to write first and make money second. If you are new to blogging, take care in creating unique, thoughtful content that will engage and entertain your readers. The rest can come later once you've built the relationships.</p> <p><em>Bloggers: How do you earn money? There are certainly other ways that I haven't tried (or maybe even heard about). Please leave your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-make-extra-money-blogging">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-6-instragrammers-are-getting-rich-by-traveling-the-world">These 6 Instragrammers Are Getting Rich by Traveling the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-make-extra-money-using-social-media">6 Ways to Make Extra Money Using Social Media</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-ways-retirees-can-earn-extra-income">9 Easy Ways Retirees Can Earn Extra Income</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-make-money-by-starting-a-blog">Can You Really Make Money by Starting a Blog?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income ads affiliates blogging revenue websites working writing Thu, 18 Jun 2015 11:00:14 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1454569 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Easy Ways to Avoid Common Spelling and Grammatical Errors http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-avoid-common-spelling-and-grammatical-errors <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-easy-ways-to-avoid-common-spelling-and-grammatical-errors" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/book-153704871.jpg" alt="woman reading" title="woman reading" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="181" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It doesn&#39;t matter who you are or what you do for a living, writing is an integral part of everything we do. Think of how many times a day you have to write an email, or a letter, or write the content for a presentation. Even a simple thank you card should be grammatically correct and free of spelling errors. As a writer and former teacher, I have used my experience to put together five quick and easy ways to avoid common spelling and grammatical mistakes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-reasons-to-write-a-letter?ref=seealso">20+ Reasons to Write a Letter</a>)</p> <h2>1. Proofread Tomorrow and Find a Good Editor</h2> <p>Anyone can miss a typo or make grammatical errors under a strict deadline. But even if you aren&#39;t a professional writer typing quickly to meet a deadline, a second pair of eyes on your work is essential. You can&#39;t stare at the same document for hours at a time and then expect to find spelling errors or awkward wording on your own.</p> <p>The reason for this is that we read our own work with a certain expectation about what we <em>meant</em> to write, so it&#39;s very easy to miss a word or a word that isn&#39;t spelled correctly. Always step away from whatever you are working on for at least a few hours (24 hours is ideal) so that you can see it with a fresh pair of eyes. Read it several times, but not so many that you start to over think it (I am guilty of this one). Once you make your own revisions, find an editor.</p> <p>You don&#39;t have to hire an editor, unless you are writing a book. However, if you are writing something important, such as a cover letter for a job, find a savvy friend or family member who can read it for grammatical errors and help you organize your ideas. Never deliver a cover letter, resume, or any important document without having someone else look at it first. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-improve-your-resume-today?ref=seealso">How to Improve Your Resume</a>)</p> <h2>2. Don&#39;t Rely on Spellcheck</h2> <p>Relying solely on a spelling and grammar checking program is one of the most common mistakes made by people writing at any level. The grammar check is particularly tricky, because it isn&#39;t always 100% correct. For instance, what if you spell &quot;there&quot; when you really meant &quot;their,&quot; or &quot;wood&quot; instead of &quot;would&quot;? While some grammar checking programs will catch these errors, most of them are not as accurate as a human editor.</p> <p>I do use it as a tool to help me edit more quickly, but I don&#39;t rely on it for all my edits. I also don&#39;t accept any changes that appear questionable to me or that I know are wrong. But I have an English degree, and I taught Writing Composition to college students. What if you don&#39;t know all the rules? That&#39;s why I&#39;ve included tip number three.</p> <h2>3. Keep a Reliable Resource on Hand</h2> <p>Whether you are using an online tool, or a hard copy of a writing manual, such as Diana Hacker&#39;s <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312647360/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0312647360&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Rules for Writers</a>, you need to have some type of resource to help you check your grammar and spelling. These are also excellent tools for answering any grammatical questions you may have.</p> <p>If you are looking for an answer fast, I highly recommend<a href="http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl"> Grammar Girl&#39;s website</a>. No, that isn&#39;t Phoebe from &quot;Friends.&quot; She&#39;s actually a knowledgeable writer with a comprehensive website. I can almost guarantee that she will have an answer for any grammatical question you may have.</p> <p>In addition to Hacker&#39;s &quot;Rules for Writers,&quot; which was the handbook I assigned when I taught composition, I also recommend <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0767903099/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0767903099&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Sin and Syntax</a> by Constance Hale and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0767910435/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0767910435&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Bryson&#39;s Dictionary of Troublesome Words</a> by Bill Bryson (this book is highly entertaining, too).</p> <p>Lastly on this subject, get a good dictionary. I&#39;m an American Heritage kind of gal, but no matter which one you choose, don&#39;t forget to use it! This helps you remember how to spell words instead of just relying on spellcheck or Googling a word when you don&#39;t know how to spell it.</p> <h2>4. Make a List of Your Frequent Mistakes</h2> <p>Keep a list of mistakes that you know you make consistently. I have a friend who can never remember to put the apostrophe in &quot;it&#39;s&quot; when it is appropriate, even though she knows the difference between &quot;it&#39;s&quot; and &quot;its.&quot; I suggested that she keep a list of words that give her trouble saved in a Word document on her desktop, and then she can quickly refer to it whenever she&#39;s writing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-learn-from-your-mistakes?ref=seealso">How to Learn From Your Mistakes</a>)</p> <h2>5. Use Easy-to-Remember Shortcuts</h2> <p>One of my coworkers can never remember when to use &quot;affect&quot; or &quot;effect.&quot; Affect is always used as a verb, as in &quot;Your lateness affects everyone at the office.&quot; Effect is a noun, as in &quot;There are no known adverse side effects to this drug.&quot; One easy way to remember this is to think of a word or phrase that includes the troublesome word. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter?ref=seealso">How to Improve Your Memory</a>)</p> <p>I told my coworker to always think of &quot;greenhouse effect,&quot; because you can see that it is a noun. Also, most people know how to spell it because it is in the news and in print all the time. For any words or rules you have trouble remembering, find a similar way to trick your brain into remembering it forever.</p> <p><em>What are some of the ways that you avoid spelling and grammar errors in your writing. Please share your tips with us in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-avoid-common-spelling-and-grammatical-errors">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-money-during-a-semester-abroad">7 Ways to Make Money During a Semester Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-write-like-a-girl">Do you write like a girl?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-deferring-student-loans">4 Things You Need to Know About Deferring Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-your-dream-home-with-the-perfect-offer-letter">Score Your Dream Home With the Perfect Offer Letter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-more-places-to-buy-sell-and-trade-books">17 More Places to Buy, Sell, and Trade Books</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training grammar typos writing Thu, 26 Dec 2013 10:37:36 +0000 Ashley Watson 1102865 at http://www.wisebread.com Why You Should Think Twice Before Bidding on Freelance Gigs (Book Giveaway) http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-think-twice-before-bidding-on-freelance-gigs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-should-think-twice-before-bidding-on-freelance-gigs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/laptop-316117-small.jpg" alt="man using laptop" title="man using laptop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-think-twice-before-bidding-on-freelance-gigs#comment-721727">Kim</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-think-twice-before-bidding-on-freelance-gigs#comment-732270">Carmen</a>, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-think-twice-before-bidding-on-freelance-gigs#comment-721677">Bethany</a> for winning the giveaway!</em></p> <p><em><strong>Editor's note:</strong> Miranda Marquit is a regular contributor to Wise Bread as well as and many personal finance blogs. She has built a successful freelance writing and blogging career, and has done well enough to become the primary breadwinner for her family, while working from home. Her book, </em><a www.amazon.com="" target="_blank: data-cke-saved-href=" ref="as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00FY7UI4M&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&quot;" product="" http:="" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FY7UI4M/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00FY7UI4M&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20" gp="" b00fy7ui4m="">Confessions of a Professional Blogger</a><em>, is a fantastic getting started guide that we recommend for any aspiring freelance writers. It is chock-full of practical and actionable tips Miranda has learned from years of working in the trenches. (<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-think-twice-before-bidding-on-freelance-gigs#comments">Enter a comment below</a> for a chance to win a free copy!)</em></p> <p><em>In the excerpt below, Miranda explains why freelancers should avoid job bidding sites, and where to look for better paying gigs instead.</em></p> <p>I've been providing online content for several years now, and I've found it a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-side-jobs-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads">great job as a stay-at-home mom</a>. The rise of the Internet means that stay-at-home parents can benefit from a job that doesn't require a physical presence. There are many places to find jobs online, including freelance bidding sites, which purport to provide stay-at-home moms and dads with the perfect opportunities. Even with these sites readily available, though, I've only completed a couple of jobs with the help of freelance bidding sites.</p> <p>Freelance bidding sites, which are also referred to as marketplaces, are the last places I would look for work &mdash; no matter how desperate I felt. I learned fairly early in my online writing career that a bidding site is pretty much the last place you should go if you want a fair fee for your work.</p> <h2>3 Reasons to Avoid Freelance Marketplaces as a Writer</h2> <p>A freelance marketplace can be a great resource if you're doing the hiring. You find writers willing to work for fairly low prices. If you want to get passable work &mdash; and sometimes great work &mdash; for less, a freelancing bidding site is the place to be. On the other hand, if you are a writer trying to make a living, I can think of other things you should be doing instead. Here are three reasons for stay-at-home moms and dads looking for online jobs to avoid bidding on freelance gigs.</p> <p><strong>1. You're Lowballing Yourself</strong></p> <p>The point of a freelance marketplace is to help a publisher find a writer for a rock-bottom price. You'll only get work at a freelance site if you are willing to charge less than the next writer. Essentially, you lowball yourself. While some publishers looking on a freelance marketplace might accept your higher bid if they are truly looking for quality, it's rare that you will get a fair price for work done this way. Instead, you will agree to accept less than you're worth for the sake of saying that you have a gig.</p> <p>Freelance bidding sites point out that they offer writers access to thousands of potential jobs. It's true that you can do a lot of work if you sign up with a freelance marketplace. Unfortunately, that work will be low-paying and frustrating.</p> <p><strong>2. You Get Even Less After the Site Takes Its Cut</strong></p> <p>Because a freelance marketplace connects the parties, it only makes sense that it takes a cut of each transaction. Usually, the freelance marketplace takes its cut out of whatever you make. It's tempting to use a freelance bidding site, since it acts as a third-party to keep everyone honest. While it's not a guarantee against getting scammed, you do receive a certain level of security when you land gigs through a marketplace.</p> <p>Unfortunately, this security comes with a cost. The freelance marketplace will take a portion of the pay you receive for your work. This means that once you lowball yourself by bidding as little as possible on a gig, you will receive even less in the end after the marketplace takes its cut off the top.</p> <p><strong>3. It's Hard to Raise Your Prices Later</strong></p> <p>Once you have worked for so little with a client, it's hard to raise your prices to something fairer later. Many stay-at-home moms and dads find regular jobs through freelance marketplaces. They can either keep working through a bidding site, or they can take their relationship off the site after a while.</p> <p>However, it is harder to raise your rates on these regular clients after they have seen that you are willing to work for so much less. Plus, these clients know they can just go on the bidding site and find a new writer to replace you. When you're stuck in this rut, it's hard to get out. You can even end up with a skewed view of what's &quot;fair&quot; for your work, remaining behind the curve for your entire career.</p> <h2>Where to Look Instead of Freelance Bidding Sites</h2> <p>Rather than get caught in the vicious cycle that is the freelance marketplace, look elsewhere. Here are some of the things that are more productive and helpful to your online writing career than spending hours lowballing yourself on a freelance bidding site &mdash; with the chance that you'll be passed over in favor of someone willing to work for even less.</p> <p><strong>Write for Content Farms</strong></p> <p>This isn't my favorite thing to do, but if you need somewhat fast cash, this is a viable option. You submit your work, and you're usually paid for it. Plus, it can provide recurring income. You'll get paid less, but at least you'll be honing your writing skills, rather than fruitlessly trying to convince a publisher to pay you less than you're worth.</p> <p><strong>Look on Reputable Job Boards</strong></p> <p>I'd much rather compete for better-paying jobs on the boards. My favorite places to look for online writing jobs include <a href="http://www.mediabistro.com/">Media Bistro</a>, <a href="http://www.problogger.net/">Problogger</a>, and <a href="http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/">FreelanceWritingGigs.com</a>.</p> <p><strong>Write Posts for Your Own Blog and Write Guest Posts</strong></p> <p>I don't normally write for free, but I'd be willing to do so to improve my long-term career. It's a better use of your time to build your portfolio by writing something really good for your own blog, or by providing a guest post for someone else. Craft a great piece for someone else or your own blog, and you have a great sample to provide when applying for freelance gigs on the boards.</p> <p>The reality is that freelance marketplaces are a colossal waste of time. After a couple of gigs on these sites, I realized that there were other options for work. Don't sell yourself short. Develop a quality writing portfolio, and you won't need to bid on freelance jobs. In fact, I recommend that you avoid bidding sites altogether. They are far more trouble than they are worth, and you risk getting stuck in a time suck.</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><center><strong>Win a copy of Miranda's new book!</strong><br /> <a www.amazon.com="" target="_blank: data-cke-saved-href=" ref="as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00FY7UI4M&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&quot;" product="" http:="" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FY7UI4M/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00FY7UI4M&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20" gp="" b00fy7ui4m=""><img src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/ConfessionsProfessionalBlogger.png" alt="" /></a></center></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We're giving away 3 free copies of Miranda's new book, <a www.amazon.com="" target="_blank: data-cke-saved-href=" ref="as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00FY7UI4M&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&quot;" product="" http:="" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FY7UI4M/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00FY7UI4M&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20" gp="" b00fy7ui4m="">Confessions of a Professional Blogger: How I Make Money As An Online Writer</a>.</p> <p>We'll randomly select 3 lucky winners from the comments on December 16th. To enter drawing simply leave a comment below. (U.S. residents only.)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/miranda-marquit">Miranda Marquit</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-think-twice-before-bidding-on-freelance-gigs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-freelancers-and-telecommuters-can-make-friends-and-network">11 Ways Freelancers and Telecommuters Can Make Friends and Network</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs">8 Life Skills Every Freelancer Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-answer-23-of-the-most-common-interview-questions">How to Answer 23 of the Most Common Interview Questions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-re-fired-20-signs-that-a-pink-slip-is-coming">You’re Fired! 20 Signs That a Pink Slip is Coming</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building freelance jobs stay at home jobs work from home writing Fri, 15 Nov 2013 11:36:09 +0000 Miranda Marquit 1098525 at http://www.wisebread.com Get the Response You Want With Friendly, Professional Email http://www.wisebread.com/get-the-response-you-want-with-friendly-professional-email <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-the-response-you-want-with-friendly-professional-email" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/computer-5061330-small.jpg" alt="computer" title="computer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="179" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There is an art to being casual and friendly yet professional and firm via email. While I won&rsquo;t claim to be the master of the perfect email, I can say that I tend to get positive results. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-letter-always-wins" target="_blank">The Letter Always Wins</a>)</p> <p>Like many of you, I read and write lots of work-related and personal emails every day. The subjects cover professional assignments, updates from sports coaches and music directors, alerts about scouting activities, check-ins with those who may need help, details about group projects, and more. While some messages are meant merely to inform, others are designed to solicit feedback, encourage involvement, facilitate decision-making, build relationships, and reinforce teamwork</p> <p>Having been part of highly effective communications and having learned from mistakes (both as a recipient and a sender), I have identified a few keys to conveying a message clearly and in a positive tone.</p> <h2>Appear Calm and Upbeat</h2> <p>Act serene no matter how you feel. A calm and positive approach endears you to your audience and makes your message more compelling.</p> <p>Even if you are frustrated about the lack of response from your friends and colleagues, upset about a situation that needs to be remedied, or have just cause to be angry, expressing negative emotions is almost always a bad idea. For whatever reason, negativity is amplified via email. Recipients will see you as incapable and flighty at best, and deranged and unstable at worst.</p> <p>Set the tone by starting with a positive statement. For example, express gratitude for help with a project, congratulate on a recent accomplishment, or simply mention that you enjoyed a recent event with your recipients.</p> <p>For the core of your message, be clear about what you need. To get support from others, resist heavy-handedness and, instead, be encouraging.</p> <h2>Give All Pertinent Information</h2> <p>Cover everything needed to respond, participate, etc. in the email. Give the details about who, what, when (including day of the week, date, and time), where, why, and how in the message, even if you have included that information in the subject line or earlier emails.</p> <p>Sure, this tip seems like a no-brainer, but I still see messages that don't contain the basics.</p> <p>And while it's true that people don't like to read long messages, getting all the details in one message is preferable to having others fill in the blanks with wrong assumptions.</p> <h2>Use the Draft Function</h2> <p>When you need to write an important email, compose the content and save in draft mode. Review the next day and make edits before sending. This simple routine (write, sleep, edit, and then send) has helped me to be a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-communicate-better-today" target="_blank">more effective communicator</a>.</p> <p>The day after writing the draft, I will often find these problems:</p> <ul> <li>A tone that is frantic or harsh</li> <li>Unnecessary details, which distract readers from key points</li> <li>Imprecise language</li> <li>Misspelled words</li> <li>Too much information about my personal views</li> <li>Tactlessness about a sensitive subject</li> </ul> <p>Changes needed are usually easy to recognize. You can make edits and review one more time before hitting the &quot;send&quot; button.</p> <h2>Be Clear About What You Want</h2> <p>Don't be mysterious about your wants and needs. Be clear about the type of response required and an appropriate timeline. Even if you write an explanation of what sort of information you need, don&rsquo;t bury the question in a dense paragraph or assume that it&rsquo;s obvious what the next step should be.</p> <p>State the type of action required and the deadline in a separate sentence.</p> <p>This tactic doesn&rsquo;t guarantee that you&rsquo;ll get the responses you want in the designated timeline (sorry, but people are just too overwhelmed to give you what you need all the time, every time). But it will help you to avoid writing an email clarifying the response you hoped for. By being clear the first time, you&rsquo;ll be able to move forward faster.</p> <h2>Allow Time for a Response</h2> <p>Give people time to get back with you.</p> <p>On a couple of occasions, I&rsquo;ve mentioned that I have not received a response to an email. The intended recipient then indicates that she hasn't checked email within the last 48 hours, and my response is that I sent the message several days ago, kindly noting that I didn&rsquo;t expect an instantaneous response. These situations made me realize 1) many (other) people don't allow enough time for a response; and 2) some folks are not willing to engage in email conversations.</p> <p>Still, it's good practice to allow ample time for a thorough reading of the message, contemplation about the response (perhaps the person needs to check an offline schedule), and composition of a return email. That is, you need to put your timeline in sync with other people's schedules, not vice versa.</p> <h2>Be Mindful of Message Length and Format</h2> <p>There&rsquo;s nothing wrong with a lengthy email, contrary to popular opinion. It&rsquo;s better to send a thorough message one time than to pellet people with multiple emails containing bits of information, like pieces of a puzzle that they then need to fit together.</p> <p>For example, if you are the head coach of a little league team, main organizer for a special event, or some other recognized leader, then you may need to send a long email occasionally. Even then, it's helpful to create headings for topic categories (use bold and/or larger fonts) and use bulleted or numbered lists to allow readers to digest information quickly.</p> <p>And it&rsquo;s OK to write a long missive to express yourself every once in a while. But if you overload people, they will start tuning you out. So, long messages are okay but probably should not be the default mode.</p> <h2>Admit Mistakes Quickly</h2> <p>Occasionally, you&rsquo;ll write something in your email that conveys the wrong message or is just flat out wrong. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-learn-from-your-mistakes" target="_blank">Admit the mistake</a> and provide accurate information as quickly as possible. Otherwise, recipients will think you are a sloppy or lazy communicator, or just get confused.</p> <h2>Manage &quot;Reply All&quot; Conversations</h2> <p>The &quot;reply all&quot; method that makes individual responses visible to the group is useful. But this method <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/cleanse-and-organize-your-inbox-in-10-simple-steps" target="_blank">can clog up inboxes and cause confusion</a>.</p> <p>To remedy the &quot;reply all&quot; jumble of messages, particularly when the conversation involves many people, put together a recap for the group to see. This technique helps make sure you have captured all the responses to date, lets others see the responses at a glance (including the stray ones that may have replied to you only), and gives you the opportunity to prompt laggards in making their responses. The recap in a fresh new email tends to work better than another &quot;reply all&quot; message.</p> <h2>Adjust to Your Audience</h2> <p>If you regularly send mass emails, you can&rsquo;t cater to the quirks of one or two people in a large group. But if you converse frequently with a few key people, modifying your style to match how they communicate reveals your true professionalism.</p> <p>For example, some people may note the first line of an email and answer the first question, whereas others read emails thoroughly and carefully respond to all questions. To be effective (plus stay calm when trying to elicit a certain type of response), you may need to adjust your message format, length, tone, and timing.</p> <p>Finally, know when to take the conversation offline. Being friendly and professional means knowing the right place to discuss sensitive or confidential information.</p> <p><em>What techniques do you use to write friendly yet professional emails?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-the-response-you-want-with-friendly-professional-email">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-10-work-email-mistakes-you-may-be-making">STOP! 10 Work Email Mistakes You May Be Making</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-to-up-your-chances-of-getting-an-email-response">10 Tips to Up Your Chances of Getting an Email Response</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-unprofessional-habits-that-could-kill-your-career">10 Unprofessional Habits That Could Kill Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-are-what-you-do-16-ways-to-improve-your-body-language">You Are What You Do: 16 Ways to Improve Your Body Language</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income General Tips business writing communication email writing Tue, 30 Apr 2013 10:00:34 +0000 Julie Rains 973455 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Great Frugal Skills — and How to Get Them http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-frugal-skills-and-how-to-get-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-great-frugal-skills-and-how-to-get-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/changing_a_tire.jpg" alt="Man changing a tire" title="Man changing a tire" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="160" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Independence is at the heart of frugality. The more that you can do for yourself, the less you have to pay others to do those things for you. But to be independent, you need skills.</p> <p>Then 20 skills below can all help you become more independent and frugal. Some of them might come naturally, and some of them might be frustrating &mdash; but they're all beneficial. And you don't need to develop full mastery to get the benefits; with many of these skills, just a little knowledge can provide a lot of help. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-lifesaving-skills-everyone-should-know">10 Lifesaving Skills Everyone&nbsp;Should Know</a>)</p> <h2>1. Gardening</h2> <p>Growing your own food can be a great way to get fresh produce for very, very cheap &mdash; as long as you know how to keep your plants from dying. I recommend that &quot;budding&quot; gardeners (I'm sorry, bad joke, I know) start with fresh herbs in containers. They can be grown inside or out, and since fresh herbs tend to be expensive at the grocery store, these plants offer a lot of value for a minimum of work. While every type of plant is different, having a couple of small container herbs will also help you get used to plants' needs &mdash; how much sun, when to water them, and so on.</p> <p>If you're interested in starting a bigger garden, make sure to do your research before diving in &mdash; the last thing you want to do is pick a plant that will immediately wither in your or-so-sunny yard or never truly thrive in your moderate climate. Get Rich&nbsp;Slowly has a great post on <a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2009/01/11/7-tips-for-starting-your-own-vegetable-garden/">starting your first garden</a>, and if you're interested in learning more about what grows well in your region, contact your local <a href="http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/">Cooperative Extension</a> office.</p> <h2>2. Cooking</h2> <p>Always dining out is one of the most budget-busting (and possibly health-busting) things you can do. Thankfully, while cooking might seem daunting, it doesn't have to take a lot of time or effort. When&nbsp;I first started cooking, I focused a lot on one-pot meals. The first &quot;recipe&quot; I cooked for myself regularly was simply this &mdash; mix drained canned kidney beans, thawed frozen spinach, and shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese in the microwave or in a pot on the stovetop. When the cheese is melted, spoon the filling into a tortilla, wrap it up, and eat. It's fast, it's tasty, and it's pretty healthy &mdash; and there are a lot of recipes out there like that.</p> <p>Learning how to cook has become so much easier with the Internet, too. You can search for recipes for your favorite foods, and if you don't know how to do something the recipe calls for (&quot;What the heck is a braise?&quot;), you can search for a how-to video. And there are great overviews on how to start cooking, too. Mark Bittman, the king of delicious, healthy, and simple cooking, did a Q&amp;A about <a href="http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/28/lessons-in-home-cooking/">cooking at home</a> that addresses several aspects of getting started. I also recommend this roundup post from The Kitchn that collects several <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/kitchen-basics-15-ways-to-star-135498">cooking basics</a>, from cooking brown rice to roasting a chicken.</p> <p>Also, if you have a friend who cooks regularly, offer to buy ingredients in exchange for preparing dinner together. You get to hang out with a friend <em>and</em> get a great cooking lesson.</p> <h2>3. Baking</h2> <p>I put cooking and baking separately because I find that people often think of them as two separate skills; I've talked to a lot of people who say &quot;I'm a better cook than a baker,&quot; and vice versa.</p> <p>A lot of people get intimidated by baking because it seems less forgiving. Amounts need to be more exact. There are mysterious chemical processes afoot.</p> <p>The truth is that baking, like cooking, can be very simple. Take <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/beer-bread-i/">beer bread</a> for example. It requires three ingredients &mdash; beer, flour, and a little bit of sugar. You put it in a greased pan in an oven, and you get bread.</p> <p>Yeast bread does get a little more complicated, but this <a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2007/11/04/homemade-bread-cheap-delicious-healthy-and-easier-than-you-think/">homemade bread tutorial</a> from The Simple Dollar talks you through the steps.</p> <p>As for sweets, again &mdash; start simple. Brownies are one of the most basic dessert recipes you can bake. Try this <a href="http://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/rachael-ray-magazine-recipe-search/dessert-recipes/the-best-basic-brownies">brownie recipe</a> from&nbsp;Rachel Ray.</p> <p>Whether you're cooking or baking, follow the recipe. There's time for substitutions later once you get more comfortable with cooking.</p> <h2>4. Canning/Preserving</h2> <p>Buying (or growing) produce in bulk when it's cheap and in-season makes frugal sense &mdash; if you're able to preserve it for later. Canning can be intimidating &mdash; sterilizing jars! Specialized equipment! But being able to preserve summer's best fruits and vegetables can make it worth it. Check out the&nbsp;USDA's <a href="http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html">home canning guide</a> &mdash; it gives you all the basics.</p> <p>If you don't want to go all the way with canning, the National Center for Home Food Preservation also has information on <a href="http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze.html">freezing</a>, <a href="http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/dry.html">drying</a>, <a href="http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/cure_smoke.html">curing/smoking</a>, <a href="http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can6a_ferment.html">fermenting</a>, and <a href="http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can6b_pickle.html">pickling</a> foods. In fact, making <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/spicy-refrigerator-dill-pickles/">fridge pickles</a> is one of my favorite easy ways to preserve vegetables ranging from carrots to cucumbers to okra.</p> <h2>5. Sewing</h2> <p>Sewing is a great example of a skill where just a little knowledge can help a lot. All you need is a needle and thread to <a href="http://www.esquire.com/style/tips/how-to-sew-a-button">sew on a button</a>, <a href="http://video.about.com/housekeeping/MendTear.htm">mend a tear</a>, or even <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Hem-Clothing-by-Hand">hem clothing</a>.</p> <p>Of course, if you do want to get a sewing machine, you have many more options. There are several super-useful, simple projects that you can tackle after you <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmaZBTMzkoY">learn how to use your machine</a>, such as <a href="http://www.designsponge.com/2010/02/sewing-101-curtains.html">sewing curtains</a>. creating <a href="http://www.lovetosew.com/aprons.htm">aprons</a>, or even making an <a href="http://quilting.about.com/od/quiltpatternsprojects/tp/easy_quilts.htm">easy quilt</a>. And when your skills really get up to snuff, well...it's time to <a href="http://voguepatterns.mccall.com/bridal-pages-186.php">sew your own wedding dress</a>.</p> <h2>6. Knitting or Crocheting</h2> <p>While sewing might be a more valuable skill when it comes to fixing things, knitting and crocheting allow you to make great cold-weather wear that's both useful and giftable (or even sellable). In my experience, the best way to learn these skills is to ask a friend to teach you or to take a class at a local yarn shop. Or you can try <a href="http://www.knittinghelp.com/">KnittingHelp.com </a>or the <a href="http://crochet.about.com/od/learnbasics/a/beginners.htm">About.com Guide to Crochet</a>.</p> <p>I also love these skills because they provide something relatively mindless to do while watching TV or riding on public transportation.</p> <h2>7. Exercising</h2> <p>Unlike many of the other items on this list, improving your exercise skills might not save you money directly. But a healthy lifestyle can help eliminate medical visits and improve your mental health.</p> <p>Several types of exercise &mdash; even something as simple as running &mdash; can be daunting when you first start them. Even if you plan to approach exercise frugally, it can be beneficial to talk to an expert or take a class before you start doing it on your own. For example, go to a running store and get fit for the <a href="http://running.about.com/od/shoesapparelandgear/a/foottypes.htm">right running shoes</a> for your body, or take a yoga class before using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/half-moon-full-wallet-free-online-yoga-videos">free online yoga videos</a>, so a teacher can help you learn the proper alignment.</p> <h2>8.&nbsp;Making Minor Household Repairs</h2> <p>There are several things around the house that you want to hire a professional for. But when it comes to minor fixes like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">unclogging a drain</a>, <a href="http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20051832,00.html">fixing a hole in drywall</a>, or <a href="http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,550857,00.html">installing shelves</a>, you can save hundreds of dollars by doing just a little work.</p> <h2>9. Making Gifts and Cards</h2> <p>Not only are handmade gifts and cards from the heart, they can be a lot cheaper than that store-bought stuff too. Check out our list of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today">gifts you can make today</a> or five <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-5-cheap-greeting-cards-that-blow-hallmark-away">great homemade greeting cards</a>.</p> <h2>10. Writing</h2> <p>Want to communicate efficiently, be taken seriously, and land great jobs? Then shine up those writing skills. Being able to accurately get your point across will always serve you well.</p> <p>Now available online, <a href="http://www.bartleby.com/141/">The Elements of Style</a> is the granddaddy of all grammar and usage books; it will reteach you everything you forgot from school. But writing is about much more than knowing where to put your commas. You can read all of the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/29/books/review/colson-whiteheads-rules-for-writing.html?pagewanted=all">guides</a> <a href="http://chronicle.com/article/10-Tips-on-How-to-Write-Less/124268/">to</a> <a href="http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/a-guide-to-becoming-a-better-writer-15-practical-tips.html">writing</a> that you want (seriously, do that &mdash; one of the best ways to become a better writer is to read what other people have written), but, like any other skill, writing improves primarily through practice.</p> <h2>11. Haggling and Negotiation</h2> <p>Haggling can save you money on everything from furniture to medical care, and knowing how to negotiate can mean the difference between a good starting salary and a great one. Our own Kentin Waits has a great guide to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-laws-of-negotiation">the seven laws of negotiation</a>.</p> <h2>12. Painting</h2> <p>I'm not talking about artistic painting (although that certainly has its benefits). If you can <a href="http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20159698,00.html">paint a room</a> or even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-paint-the-exterior-of-your-home">paint the outside of your house</a>, you can save a lot.</p> <h2>13. Budgeting</h2> <p>A solid budget is at the core of any good personal finance plan &mdash; it's what helps you ensure that you're saving some of your money while also getting to spend some on things that really matter to you. There are several ways to budget &mdash; check out our pieces on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-first-step-to-budgeting">the first step to budgeting</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/budgeting-for-people-who-hate-planning">budgeting for people who hate planning</a>, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">the envelope system</a>.</p> <h2>14. Selling/Marketing</h2> <p>If you ever plan to have a yard sale, list an item on Craigslist, or market yourself as a job applicant, it behooves you to know how to make whatever you're selling as appealing as possible. (And no, being good at selling things doesn't mean doing your best sleazy car salesman impression.)</p> <p>Discover <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-secrets-of-highly-successful-craigslist-sellers">the nine secrets of highly&nbsp;successful craigslist sellers</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-successful-garage-sale">how to have a successful garage sale</a>, or how one writer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-still-make-money-with-ebay">still makes money with eBay</a>. Or if you're trying to market yourself for a job, read about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-to-get-hired-be-memorable">the importance of being memorable</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stupid-things-to-put-in-your-cover-letter">stupid things to put in your cover letter</a>, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-unique-ways-to-score-a-job-interview">unique ways to score a job interview</a>.</p> <h2>15. Getting Rid of Pests</h2> <p>Some things &mdash; like bed bugs or roaches &mdash; usually require a professional. But you can deal with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/naturally-get-rid-of-ants-in-your-kitchen">ants</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/homemade-and-store-bought-mouse-trap-designs-that-work">mice</a>, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pesky-pests-easy-homemade-mosquito-and-insect-traps-and-repellent">other pests</a> yourself.</p> <h2>16. Fixing Broken Things</h2> <p>Yes, &quot;broken things&quot; is a pretty loose term. The skill to learn here might be better described as problem solving &mdash; a little bit of online research and elbow grease can save you a lot of money. For example, when my laptop stopped booting up correctly a few months ago, I was sure I needed a new computer &mdash; or at least a new drive.&nbsp;But some Googling showed me that my particular laptop has a design flaw that pinches one of the cables. Thanks to an online tutorial, I not only knew that I could get a replacement cable for under $50, but I also learned how to fix that part so it didn't pinch the cable again.</p> <h2>17. Entertaining Yourself</h2> <p>Frugality 101 &mdash; you're going to spend a <em>lot</em> of money if you feel like having fun means you always need to go to the movies, a bar, or another establishment where you pay to play. While it might seem silly, entertaining yourself is a skill, and one that you can get better at as you discover new things that you find enjoyable. Read. Make something. Visit friends. Go for a hike. Cook something new. Find a free event. Draw. Do a crossword puzzle. There are many, many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend">ways to have cheap fun</a>.</p> <h2>18. Changing Your Oil</h2> <p>Most laypeople don't know how to fix the stuff that goes really wrong with a car, but you can at the very least a lot of your regular maintenance. The most intimidating of that regular maintenance (at least in my opinion) is changing your oil. But it's totally doable &mdash; check out this <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/how-to/how-to-change-your-oil-the-real-down-and-dirty.html">step-by-step how-to with photos</a> from&nbsp;Edmunds.</p> <h2>19. Changing a Tire</h2> <p>If you get a flat and you don't have roadside assistance through your insurance or an organization like AAA, you'll probably be stuck with a hefty fee. Don't let that happen. Popular Mechanics tells (and shows) you <a href="http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/maintenance/4199895">everything you need to know to change a tire</a>.</p> <h2>20. Couponing</h2> <p>Some people love couponing, and others think it's just <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-i-don-t-clip-coupons">not worth it</a> &mdash; but <a href="http://frugalliving.about.com/od/bargainshopping/a/Coupon_Guide.htm">good couponing skills</a> <em>can</em> save you money. At the very least, you should get in the habit of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/empty-coupon-code-box-you-re-paying-too-much">searching for online coupon codes</a> &mdash; a quick search can save you a few bucks.</p> <p><em>Did I miss any of your favorite frugal skills? Leave your thoughts in the comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-frugal-skills-and-how-to-get-them">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pick-up-one-of-these-frugal-hobbies-this-weekend">Pick Up One of These Frugal Hobbies This Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fixing-mistakes-7-steps-for-any-situation">Fixing Mistakes: 7 Steps for Any Situation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-ways-to-dress-up-your-garden">17 Cheap Ways to Dress Up Your Garden</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-repair-a-dripping-faucet">Should You Repair a Dripping Faucet?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Personal Development Cooking fixing problems gardening skills writing Mon, 27 Aug 2012 10:36:41 +0000 Meg Favreau 952375 at http://www.wisebread.com Stupid Things to Put in Your Cover Letter http://www.wisebread.com/stupid-things-to-put-in-your-cover-letter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stupid-things-to-put-in-your-cover-letter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000015820927Small.jpg" alt="Man who regrets what he wrote" title="Man who regrets what he wrote" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Crafting a compelling, convincing cover letter is not easy. The pressure to the capture the reader's attention without being annoying can be paralyzing. Concentrate on showing how you can contribute to the employer's success while avoiding these mistakes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-getting-hired">How to Avoid Getting Hired</a>)</p> <h3>Assertions That You Are <em>the</em> Ideal Candidate</h3> <p>Chandlee Bryan, Community Manager at <a href="http://www.startwire.com/">StartWire</a>, shares this advice:</p> <blockquote><p>Don't ever say you are the ideal candidate for the job. Unless you've seen the applicant pool and you know the hiring values aside from the job description, you can't assume you are the ideal candidate.</p> <p>Here's a tactic you can use instead: Restate primary qualifications of the job and show how your past experience and skill set fits &quot;hand in glove&quot; with the requirements. You ask for ____; I offer ___. Bullets work well for this. Including short, concrete examples of past achievements that are relevant for the job is another winning approach.</p> </blockquote> <h3>Statements Indicating That You Are a &ldquo;Hard Worker&rdquo;</h3> <p>Career strategist <a href="http://www.nicoledarling.com/">Nicole Darling</a> tells job seekers to eliminate references to being a &quot;hard worker.&quot;</p> <p>My experience tells me that those who claim to be hard workers either 1) substitute effort for finesse, often yielding below-average results or 2) understate the intellect and creativity they contributed in their roles, attributing success solely to effort and long hours. Convey that you are capable of making the time and taking initiative to bring ideas to fruition, not that you are a worker drone who loves to log 80-hour workweeks in an unimaginative setting.</p> <p>Nicole also recommends avoiding positive but overly used words such as &quot;team player, motivated, excellent communication skills.&quot;</p> <p>Instead, demonstrate how desirable traits manifested themselves in the workplace. For example, state that you headed a team that routinely met tight deadlines for product launches; collaborated with contractors and vendors in remote locations worldwide, overcoming cultural and language barriers; or implemented new methods of delivering customer service at costs well below industry standards.</p> <h3>Anything Non-Personalized</h3> <p><a href="http://www.theredrecruiter.com/">The Red Recruiter</a> cautions against generic terms. Addressing correspondence &ldquo;To Whom It May Concern&rdquo; is an example of what not to do.</p> <p>Get the name of the hiring manager or recruiter to personalize each letter. Likewise, use the company&rsquo;s name and identifying details (location, industry, etc.) rather than referencing &ldquo;the company&rdquo; or &ldquo;your industry&quot; in a bland letter.</p> <h3>Bungled Wording</h3> <p><a href="http://absolutelyabby.com/index.php">Abby Kohurt</a>,&nbsp;author, speaker, and recruiter, has reviewed lots of letters that used twisted phrases:</p> <blockquote><p>A fast-paced company is not the same thing as a &quot;face paced,&quot; a &quot;fast paised,&quot; or even a &quot;fast paste&quot; company. Perhaps someone who uses the keyboard shortcut CTRL+V believes that they are working at a &quot;fast paste&quot; speed. I think not.</p> <p>The abbreviation for Assistant is Asst. Please don't ever forget that. When you drop the &quot;t&quot; from &quot;Asst&quot; you aren't offering much to be proud of.</p> <p>Hiring is not the same thing as &quot;highering&quot; or &quot;hiering&quot; or &quot;hireing.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>Check word use and verify spelling before sending the cover letter.</p> <h3>A Precise Time of Follow Up</h3> <p>Abby also advises against saying, for example, that you will &ldquo;follow up with a call on August 1<sup>st</sup> at 11:00 a.m.&rdquo; when you won&rsquo;t actually make that call. Even if your intentions are good, your availability may change, preventing you from being a person of your word.</p> <p>Mention that you will follow up but don't specify a date or time.</p> <h3>Too Many Sentences That Start With &quot;I&quot;</h3> <p><a href="http://www.coachmeg.typepad.com/career_chaos/">Meg Montford</a>, career coach, says that emphasis on your needs, characterized by sentences starting with &ldquo;I,&rdquo; is unwise.</p> <p>Make the cover letter about the employer, not about you. Discuss how you can meet company needs and help solve its problems.</p> <h3>Saying You Just Need a &quot;Job&quot; or Need a &quot;Good Job With Benefits&quot;</h3> <p>Revealing that you have little preference for job content is not inspiring to a hiring manager. Though being open to any job seems like a good strategy in times of high <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lost-my-job-tips-for-the-recently-laid-off">unemployment</a>, this approach comes across as desperate and dull rather than practical when expressed in a cover letter.</p> <p>Differentiate yourself in the job-seeking talent pool. Showcase professional strengths that are in high demand.</p> <h3>Discussion of Past Failures</h3> <p>You don't have to highlight or emphasize imperfections and disappointments with your past employers, coworkers, or economic conditions. Discussing what you have learned from positive and not-so-positive experiences in an interview can be meaningful to a hiring manager, but delete mention of failures from the cover letter.</p> <p>Talk about experience and successes relevant to the qualifications and accountabilities of desired positions.</p> <h3>Touting a Career Change</h3> <p>Hiring managers view the career changer as inexperienced but seeking a salary commensurate with tenure in an unrelated field. Along with lack of industry knowledge and contacts, this job hunter will bring outdated approaches and mindsets to a new employer. He will need training to perform basic duties. Such a candidate is not attractive to an employer.</p> <p>If you are truly in the process of building a career in a new field, state what you have done already to accomplish this professional transformation: list certifications and degree programs earned, research papers published, and internships completed. At this point, then, you are not relying on the hiring manager to help you make a dramatic change but offering your depth of knowledge and insights. </p> <p>Note, however, that many who claim a career change are simply seeking to apply existing skills to a new industry or a new company. If this situation is yours, discard language relating to &ldquo;career change&rdquo; and emphasize how your capabilities enable you to contribute immediately to the employer.</p> <p><em>What stupid things do you keep out of your cover letters? What smart things have you included?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stupid-things-to-put-in-your-cover-letter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-include-in-your-cover-letter">7 Things You Should Never Include in Your Cover Letter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-places-to-find-freelance-writing-jobs">6 Places to Find Freelance Writing Jobs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-dumb-things-employment-recruiters-see-people-do">6 Dumb Things Employment Recruiters See People Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-off-your-cover-letter-right">How to Start Off Your Cover Letter Right</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Job Hunting communication skills cover letters job search mistakes writing Wed, 13 Jul 2011 10:24:37 +0000 Julie Rains 611155 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Ways to Unblock Writer's Block http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-unblock-writers-block <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-ways-to-unblock-writers-block" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4151707061_7b63f6cd30_z-1.jpg" alt="Ways to Unblock Writer&#039;s Block" title="Ways to Unblock Writer&#039;s Block" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on ways to unblock writer's block, advice for new grads, and ways waiting helps you save.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/5-ridiculously-easy-ways-to-unblock-writers-block.html?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LifeHack+%28lifehack.org%29">5 Ridiculously Easy Ways To Unblock Writer's Block</a> &mdash; Overcome writer's block by writing for someone else. [Stepcase Lifehack]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Career-Advice-New-Graduates-17917011">8 Wise Gems of Advice For New Grads</a> &mdash; If you are a new grad, remember not to scorn the small jobs. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thesunsfinancialdiary.com/frugal-living/ways-waiting-helps-save/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+thesunsfinancialdiary%2FOpRy+%28The+Sun%27s+Financial+Diary%29">Ways Waiting Helps You Save</a> &mdash; By waiting to make a purchase, you can get a better deal on products because you buy them after the hype has died down. [The Suns Financial Diary]</p> <p><a href="http://frugaldad.com/2011/06/19/how-to-save-money-and-combat-lifestyle-creep/">How to Save Money and Combat Lifestyle Creep</a> &mdash; Save money by paying yourself first and last. [Frugal Dad]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.themillionairenurse.com/2011/06/20/money-management-9-ways-golf-can-help/">Money Management: 9 Ways Golf Can Help!</a> &mdash; In golf, the person with the fewest strokes wins. This is like finance, where the person who spends the least ends up a winner because they have the most money. [The Millionaire Nurse Blog]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/risks-and-prevention-tips-for-childhood-asthma">Risks And Prevention Tips For Childhood Asthma</a> &mdash; Help prevent your child from having an asthma attack by getting rid of mold in your home. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/buy-versus-rent-06152011/">Are You Ready To Buy A Home? A Renter's Checklist</a> &mdash; Determine whether or not you are ready to buy a home by taking a look at your cash flow. [Credit Sesame]</p> <p><a href="http://getcurrency.com/design-home/how-to-be-an-awesome-houseguest-host-and-keep-your-sanity">How to Be an Awesome Houseguest host and Keep Your Sanity</a> -- Be an awesome houseguest host by making time for your guests. [Currency]</p> <p><a href="http://www.quizzle.com/blog/2011/06/3-ways-to-save-money-while-someone-else-does-the-work/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+QuizzleWire+%28Quizzle+Wire+&raquo;+Personal+Finance+Blog%29">3 Ways to Save Money while Someone Else Does the Work</a> &mdash; Save money while letting someone else do the work by using coupon databases. [Quizzle Wire]</p> <p><a href="http://personaldividends.com/lifestyle/miranda/6-natural-ways-to-boost-your-energy">6 Natural Ways to Boost Your Energy</a> &mdash; Boost your energy levels by drinking more water. [Personal Dividends]</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-unblock-writers-block">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-the-response-you-want-with-friendly-professional-email">Get the Response You Want With Friendly, Professional Email</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/write-for-money-online-series-part-i-bukisa">Write for money online series - Part I - Bukisa</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-spare-a-square-5-quick-tips-on-toilet-paper-usage">&quot;Can you spare a square?&quot; 5 quick tips on toilet paper usage.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-your-dream-home-with-the-perfect-offer-letter">Score Your Dream Home With the Perfect Offer Letter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips best money tips writer's block writing Tue, 21 Jun 2011 09:48:16 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 589556 at http://www.wisebread.com Lose the Gobbledygook and Say What You Mean http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/lose-the-gobbledygook-and-say-what-you-mean <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/lose-the-gobbledygook-in-business-and-say-what-you-mean" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/lose-the-gobbledygook...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/lose-the-gobbledygook-and-say-what-you-mean" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000005241825Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When did we stop talking and start reaching out? When did we start facilitating and stop helping? When did we start interfacing and stop meeting? Moreover, why?</p> <p>&ldquo;Let&rsquo;s touch base on Thursday to see how we might develop synergies to facilitate the branding team&rsquo;s launch.&rdquo;</p> <p>What&rsquo;s wrong with: &ldquo;Let&rsquo;s chat about how we can help Jim and Sarah&rdquo;?</p> <p>Wikipedia defines Gobbledygook as, &ldquo;any text containing jargon or especially convoluted English that results in it being excessively hard to understand or even incomprehensible.&rdquo;</p> <p>Or, to put it more simply, &ldquo;any text that&rsquo;s hard to understand because of jargon and obscure wording.&quot;</p> <h3>By the Numbers</h3> <p>Wikipedia&rsquo;s definition includes 20 words, 43 syllables, and 6 big words. According to WordsCount.info, a website that assigns a grade level to a piece of text based on, believe it or not, its SMOG index (short for Simple Measure of Gobbledygook), it would take a post-graduate to fully understand Wikipedia's definition.</p> <p>Mine, on the other hand has: 12 words, 21 syllables, 1 big word, and is written in a way that a 9th grader could understand.</p> <p>By way of calibration, the IRS code would stump even a PhD, Time Magazine could be understood by a 10th grader, and even a 6th grader could comprehend Soap Opera Weekly &mdash; though there must be something better to read.</p> <p>The big problem with gobbledygook is that it&rsquo;s contagious. It&rsquo;s like slipping into an English accent after you&rsquo;ve shared a pint with a Brit. Whether it&rsquo;s to impress the boss or just fit in, the whole corporate world seems to have caught the bug.</p> <p>Now I&rsquo;m not advocating that we dumb-down the world, but what if we all just said what we meant?</p> <h3>There Oughta Be a Law</h3> <p>Believe or not, as of October of last year, clear writing by federal workers isn&rsquo;t just a good idea, it&rsquo;s the law! While it somehow failed to make headlines, the Plain Writing Act of 2010 directs all federal agencies to not only write in plain English, but to teach their employees what it is and how to do it.</p> <p>If the bureaucrats in Washington can find a way to speak in plain English, surely there&rsquo;s hope for the rest of us.</p> <h3>And a Few Simple Rules</h3> <p>So, here are some tips to help you expunge the gobbledygook and write and speak more clearly.</p> <ul> <li>Avoid jargon. If your grandmother wouldn&rsquo;t understand, find another word.</li> <li>Unless you&rsquo;re writing/speaking to insiders, spell out or avoid acronyms.</li> <li>Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. <ul> <li>Bad: We are in possession of the information you require.</li> <li>Good: We have the data you requested.</li> </ul> </li> <li>Use active voice. <ul> <li>Bad: This has been sent to accounting for payment.</li> <li>Good: I have sent this to accounting for payment.</li> </ul> </li> <li>Write or speak for the average reader or listener.</li> <li>Organize your writing with headings, subheadings, and bullets.</li> <li>Be consistent in your use of past, present, and future tense.</li> <li>In general, avoid words that end in &lsquo;ly&rsquo;, &lsquo;ing&rsquo;, &lsquo;ful&rsquo;, &lsquo;ment&rsquo;, &lsquo;tion&rsquo;, &lsquo;ance&rsquo;. <ul> <li>Bad: It was an oversimplification of the situation.</li> <li>Good: It oversimplified the situation.</li> </ul> </li> <li>Avoid weak verbs. You&rsquo;ll know they&rsquo;re weak if you feel the need to add a word with &lsquo;ly&rsquo; to help them along. <ul> <li>Bad: She spoke softly.</li> <li>Good: She whispered.</li> </ul> </li> <li>Keep the subject, verb, and object close together in a sentence. <ul> <li>Bad: Jack, who was known for his jumping ability, cleared the candlestick effortlessly.</li> <li>Good: Jack jumped over the candlestick.</li> </ul> </li> <li>Use single syllable words: <ul> <li>so <i>instead of</i> accordingly</li> <li>clear <i>instead of</i> apparent</li> <li>use<i> instead of</i> utilize</li> <li>talk <i>instead of</i> converse</li> <li>need <i>instead of</i> require</li> <li>people <i>instead of</i> human resources</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <ul> <li>Avoid these words and phrases altogether: <ul> <li><i>bandwidth</i> (unless you&rsquo;re talking about computers)</li> <li><i>core competencies</i> (it could be the poster child for gobbledygook)</li> <li><i>dog and pony show</i> (unless pets and farm animals are actually involved)</li> <li><i>facetime</i> (another poster child candidate)</li> <li><i>front burner</i> (unless you&rsquo;re cooking)</li> <li><i>game-changing </i>(unless you&rsquo;re still playing PacMan)</li> <li><i>impacted</i> (unless you&rsquo;re referring to teeth)</li> <li><i>impactful</i> (just don&rsquo;t)</li> <li><i>in other words</i> (if you said it right, you wouldn&rsquo;t have to say this)</li> <li><i>interface</i> (unless you&rsquo;re referring to computers)</li> <li><i>leverage</i> (unless you&rsquo;re in construction or finance)</li> <li><i>moving forward</i> (unless you actually are)</li> <li><i>paradigm shift</i> (gag)</li> <li><i>procure</i> (stilted)</li> <li><i>reach out</i> (oh please, just call me)</li> <li><i>shall</i> (unless you&rsquo;re stuffy, or a lawyer, or both)</li> <li><i>team</i> (unless you&rsquo;re talking about sports)</li> <li><i>traction</i> (unless it&rsquo;s icy out or you&rsquo;re a doctor)</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p>And finally, the most important rule of all: less is more. Eliminate all unnecessary words. Seventeenth Century mathematician Blaise Pascal closed a letter to his girlfriend with, &quot;I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter.&quot; Let's all be a little more considerate of other peoples' time and take some time ourselves to write clearly and directly.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-lister">Kate Lister</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/lose-the-gobbledygook-and-say-what-you-mean">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stupid-things-to-put-in-your-cover-letter">Stupid Things to Put in Your Cover Letter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-your-dream-home-with-the-perfect-offer-letter">Score Your Dream Home With the Perfect Offer Letter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center communication skills jargon small business writing writing advice writing skills Fri, 06 May 2011 22:55:48 +0000 Kate Lister 532485 at http://www.wisebread.com Change Your Life with Storytelling http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-with-storytelling <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/change-your-life-with-storytelling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/courtyard-laptop-2_1.jpg" alt="Laptop on a picnic table in the courtyard" title="Courtyard Laptop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="162" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The most powerful tool that marketers use to sell you things is one that you can snatch from their grasp and turn to your own use: Telling stories.</p> <p>I first discovered this tool back in the 1980s in the catalogs of Banana Republic and J. Peterman. Those catalogs, instead of describing the products they sold, described the <em>sort of person</em> who bought the item. As a marketing strategy, it was a great success: The catalogs would describe each item as the sort of thing that exciting, sophisticated people used in their thrilling adventures &mdash; and people bought it.</p> <p>The same technique is available to you. Tell your own stories.</p> <h3>Flip the Technique</h3> <p>At the most basic level, you can use stories as a magic shield against this sort of marketing: Spot the story in the advertising and <em>tell yourself a more accurate story</em>. There was a time when I wanted the sleek, powerful sports cars I saw in ads, but I learned to counter their appeal by telling myself the true story &mdash; the story of the hopelessly debt-ridden wage-slave who took out a six-year loan to buy a car that burns fuel faster than he can earn the money to pay for it.</p> <p>All the story-telling tools that the marketers use are available for your own use.</p> <p>One in particular that I've seized upon is the technique of suggesting that some item is multi-purpose. A catalog might claim that its blazer could go from the boardroom to a private jet to the writer's bar at the Raffles hotel, or that a dress is just as perfect for an embassy party as it was for one in an off-campus house. Now I put all my potential purchases to the same test: If I can't use it everywhere, maybe I should keep looking until I find one that's a bit more versatile. I've avoided spending a lot of money by just waiting for something a little more perfect to come along. (And I've also bought very useful items when I've stumbled upon things that met my very high standards.)</p> <p>But these basic techniques &mdash; telling counter-stories and repurposing the marketer's stories &mdash; are just the beginning. The real power comes from crafting a larger story.</p> <h3>Understanding the Power of Storytelling</h3> <p>Everyone knows the power of the transient want &mdash; the allure of the thing that's so shiny you must have it, even if you know perfectly well that you don't need it or that there'll be a better, cheaper one next year.</p> <p>It's possible to control such wants with sheer willpower &mdash; most frugal people do. But telling stories is far more powerful. Telling stories lets you <em>change what you want</em>.</p> <p>After all, that's exactly what those catalog companies were doing. When they sold a messenger bag by telling a story about how it was designed for military couriers and then had been discovered by war correspondents, they weren't marketing to people who had already decided that they wanted a new messenger bag. They were marketing to people who wanted to be more adventurous, and somehow created in them the sense that this bag would make them more the person they wanted to be.</p> <p>That's the power of telling a story. But marketers have no monopoly on stories. Think what you can do if you tell your own.</p> <h3>Craft Your Own Story</h3> <p>Does your life differ from the life you want? Part of the work of getting from where you are to where you want to be is making real changes. But that's not the place to start.</p> <p>Start by imagining the life you want. Imagine it in some detail. (Some might call this daydreaming.)</p> <p>Don't get off course by imagining someone else's life &mdash; the life you'd want if your parents were billionaires, or the life you'd want if you won the lottery. Imagine your life <em>if you were the sort of person you want to be</em>.</p> <p>Now tell the story. How would that person get from where you are now to where that person would want to be?</p> <p>In my case, I wanted to be a writer. I put aside imagined lives in which I lived in a big house, drove a fast car, and owned all the latest fancy tech gadgets &mdash; which would have been possible, if I'd wanted to go on being a software engineer &mdash; and instead imagined a life where I did exactly what I wanted to do: Jump out of bed every day so I could spend a few hours writing.</p> <p>Telling myself that story was a key step in making it happen. It didn't just give me a reason to save money instead of buying something; it changed me from the sort of person who bought those things into the sort of person who didn't buy those things &mdash; because he was a writer.</p> <p>Tell yourself the story of who you want to be; that's how you become that person. Don't leave that power in the hands of the marketers.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-with-storytelling">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-frugal-skills-and-how-to-get-them">20 Great Frugal Skills — and How to Get Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-of-changing-your-routine">The Benefits of Changing Your Routine</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-with-a-30-day-challenge">Change Your Life With a 30 Day Challenge</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/writing-for-money-on-the-interwebs">Writing for Money on the Interwebs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-a-rut-6-tips-for-getting-out">In a Rut? 6 Tips for Getting Out</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development advertising change your life writing Tue, 09 Nov 2010 13:00:06 +0000 Philip Brewer 287255 at http://www.wisebread.com