The Franchise Owner's most trusted news source


Log In / Register | Apr 17, 2014

15 Best Marketplaces to Find Skilled Freelance Writers for Your Startup

Small Business Trends - Thu, 2014-04-10 08:00

As more and more business owners turn to content marketing strategies, the demand for talented writers is rising. But finding the cream of the crop isn’t always easy.

To find out where other businesses are sourcing their content writers and editors, we asked 15 entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question.

“What is a great marketplace to find skilled freelance writers to support your company?”

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Stay-at-Home Moms

“Stay-at-home moms have been a saving grace to RTC. They are oftentimes highly educated, incredibly organized and looking for part-time work that can be completed on their own schedule. These women are a godsend.” ~ Corey Blake, Round Table Companies

2. LinkedIn Groups

“Try posting a part-time job offer in the LinkedIn Groups for your industry. While not everyone spends a ton of time in the groups, very often those looking for work are participating and looking for just this kind of opportunity.” ~ John Rood, Next Step Test Preparation

3. Textbroker

“I’ve used Textbroker many times to find writers for Web content. The thing that I like about Textbroker is the consistency of its service. Articles are always delivered in a timely fashion. The main problem I had with hiring independent writers I found from other places was that there was no level of redundancy. If a person was out sick, then my project had to wait indefinitely.” ~ Lawrence Watkins, Great Black Speakers

4. The Local Business Paper

“The best freelance writers aren’t using freelance hiring sites. That’s because the quality writers won’t be the cheapest. If you can’t write 500 words, why would you pay just $5 for that service? Instead, look in the pages of the local business paper. A Google or Twitter search should reveal if those writers are freelancers. Then reach out!” ~ Rakia Reynolds, Skai Blue Media

5. Published Articles

“We actually hired a freelance writer because of an article we saw on her in Entrepreneur magazine. When we were looking for someone to help us with content, we kept our eyes open for blog posts, business journals, magazines and social media. All of these avenues can bring super talented people into the mix. We recently hired this writer and brought her on full time from contract work.” ~ Parker Powers, Millionaire Network

6. Content Runner

“Content Runner is a great service for finding freelance writing talent. The company maintains a “favorites” list of its top writers, and you can submit topic ideas to that pool of freelancers instead of tracking one writer down for every article you need. That’s an invaluable feature for time-strapped content managers. The administrative team is also highly responsive to client needs and questions.” ~ Phil Laboon, Eyeflow Internet Marketing

7. Guru

“Guru is our preferred freelancer marketplace because it’s easier to connect directly with real individuals. Many other sites are flooded with companies that turn around to re-farm your project. Our experiences are much better when we deal directly with writers rather than a middleman trolling a marketplace.” ~ Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net

8. Zerys

“We’ve used Zerys for several years. It has a great selection of writers, and you can post either for bid or by a direct rate. You can also post jobs on Elance, oDesk and other job sites, but they are not as specialized.” ~ Gideon Kimbrell, InList Inc

9. Craigslist

“It’s amazing how many people I know have found terrific freelancers, collaborators and help via Craigslist. Don’t shy away from using a platform just because it’s ugly!” ~ Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

10. ODesk

“We’ve successfully used oDesk to find many capable and talented writers at affordable rates the past few years.” ~ Josh Weiss, Bluegala

11. The Local Honors College

“The local honors college in your town is an often overlooked and underutilized way to find freelance writers. Offering an internship to honors students ensures they’ll be decent at writing, eager to learn and willing to follow instructions. Plus, they will work for decent wages due to their lack of work experience.” ~ Brett Farmiloe, Digital Marketing Company

12. Elance

“You can search for exactly what you need and do it all virtually. Elance is a great service for businesses that need support but can’t hire someone on a full-time (or even part-time) basis.” ~ Alexis Wolfer, The Beauty Bean

13. ProBlogger

“I like the writers on the ProBlogger job forum because they’re more trained in writing great headlines, organizing posts with subheaders and bullet points where necessary, and more. The prices are reasonable, and it’s been tough for me to find this level of quality elsewhere.” ~ Eric Siu, Single Grain

14. Contributor Blogs

“More and more high-end sites such as Forbes and Fast Company are publishing the work of (often unpaid) contributors in exchange for exposure. Pay attention to the bylines following your favorite columns to see if their authors are on the market.” ~ Sam Saxton, Salter Spiral Stair and Mylen Stairs

15. Scripted

“Scripted will deliver writing sourced from its vetted pool of freelance writers who have been approved to write for relevant topics. I am a big fan of Scripted because it helps minimize internal resources spent by providing you with account management services for creating writer guidelines, editing submissions and monitoring submission timelines.” ~ Ryan Stoner, Freelance

Writer Photo via Shutterstock

The post 15 Best Marketplaces to Find Skilled Freelance Writers for Your Startup appeared first on Small Business Trends.

Toyota unveils new generation of fuel-efficient gasoline engines

AutoNews - Thu, 2014-04-10 06:56
Toyota has unveiled two fresh fuel-efficient powerplants that will underpin 14 new engine variants to be introduced globally through next year.
Categories: Latest News

Toyota unveils new generation of fuel-efficient gasoline engines

AutoNews - Thu, 2014-04-10 06:56
Toyota has unveiled two fresh fuel-efficient power plants that will underpin 14 new engine variants to be introduced globally through next year.
Categories: Latest News

The First Consumer 3D Printer Is Now In Crowdfunding

Small Business Trends - Thu, 2014-04-10 05:30

It’s called the Micro and developers of the device call it the first consumer 3D printer. A crowdfunding campaign is under way on Kickstarter, and has already raised well over the amount needed to put the device into production.

Maryland-based developers M3D have said that the 7.3 inch cube, weighing about half a pound, can be used for a variety of purposes, including creating items for a business. As an example, TechCrunch made a mold that was then used to make specially branded chocolate bars. You could also make other things such as promotional trinkets to hand out, and small items to sell.

To quote the Kickstarter page :

“Bring your ideas to life, turn them into businesses, educate, learn, personalize products, make toys, make jewelry, start a curriculum, run a modern workshop, and unleash your creativity. The power of creation is yours!”

This video from the Kickstarter campaign gives an overview of the device:

What makes this 3D printer stand out is the price. Normally the prices for 3D printers are prohibitively high, and therefore out of the range of ordinary consumers and some small businesses. But the Micro will cost a very affordable $299 and should be ready between August 2014 and March 2015. It is also supposed to be ideal for beginners, who are just starting out in 3D printing.

Because of their high price and complexity, 3D printing seemed firmly in the grip of specialists before this. In fact, last year the UPS Stores announced availability of 3D printers at some locations to make them available for small businesses.  But the Micro seems to be taking 3D printing to the general public, both with cost and apparent  simplicity of operation.

Of course, as TechCrunch points out, at $299, some corners were probably cut. So don’t expect top quality results. Remember the old saying “you get what you pay for.”

The printer comes with specially designed companion software to enable you to download and select what you would like to make. 3D modeling designs are only a Google search away, and the software helps you to download the ones you are interested in. The software is touchscreen-capable and has a minimalist interface.

If you want one of the first ones off the production line, you have until May 7 to become a backer on Kickstarter.

Image: M3D

The post The First Consumer 3D Printer Is Now In Crowdfunding appeared first on Small Business Trends.

Jaguar counts on XE, first crossover to reach ambitious sales goal

AutoNews - Thu, 2014-04-10 01:15
Jaguar is counting on the new XE sedan and a forthcoming crossover to help boost Jaguar Land Rover's global vehicle sales to 750,000 by the end of the decade, up from an all-time high of 425,000 last year.
Categories: Latest News

Jaguar counts on XE, first crossover to reach ambitious sales goal

AutoNews - Thu, 2014-04-10 01:15
Jaguar is counting on the new XE sedan and a forthcoming crossover to help boost Jaguar Land Rover's global vehicle sales to 750,000 by the end of the decade, up from an all-time high of 425,000 last year.
Categories: Latest News

Birds of a Feather Flock Together on Vingle, a New Social Network Site

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2014-04-09 19:30

Do you have any hobbies you really love? A new South Korean-based social network called Vingle wants to help you connect and converse with people who have similar passions across the globe no matter what languages they speak!

The site boasts over 2,000 interests that users can create and follow via a collections tool. Popular topics on the site include news, sports, entertainment, food, fashion and travel.

Vingle allows users to share and schedule “cards” for publishing that are basically posts which can include photos, videos or links. The site lets you both follow a feed of personally selected “collections” or just everything popular on the site in a Pinterest-like grid view.

Now even though the network may look like Pinterest at first glance, the site is more about connecting people around common interests than the easy bookmarking of media. You can use the Vingle bookmarklet in your browser to easily clip highlight reels, photo galleries, travel journals and other Web pages to share with the community. Vingle has received approximately $1.5 million U.S. dollars in funding to date, and has apps available for the Android and iOS.

Vingle was founded in October 2011 by Jiwon Moon and Changseong Ho, makers of the popular international video site Viki where people can watch movies with subtitles translated in 150 different languages. The founders vision for the Vingle platform drew from the global spirit of communication offered via Viki to also allow near unlimited language support. The most active languages on the site so far are English, Spanish, Indonesian, Korean, Thai and French.

The Vingle team highlighted the goals of the site:

“We, the Vingle staff, are a group of people gathered from 10 different countries to build an international playground that transcends all borders. We want to help people both connect, and enjoy talking about their passions. Your passion is the life of the party! Enjoy the party!”

You can also check out DashBurst’s favorite interests on Vingle here. Just hover over any of our collections like “Art & Design” or “Social Media” to follow along!

Image: DashBurst

The post Birds of a Feather Flock Together on Vingle, a New Social Network Site appeared first on Small Business Trends.

How to Create a LinkedIn Profile That Rocks At Generating Leads

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2014-04-09 17:30

If yours is a B2B business (meaning, your customers are other businesses versus consumers), then by now you probably know the value of LinkedIn.  Not only does LinkedIn deliver credibility, but it can help you make the right networking connections and drive leads.  With 300 million business members, you are sure to find key prospects in virtually every business niche.  

Reaching them through LinkedIn is not about luck or chance.  It’s about strategy and knowing how to use LinkedIn.

If you read “It All Begins with Your LinkedIn Profileyou will know that I am obsessed with the profile as the cornerstone of all LinkedIn activity. Without a robust, informative profile, who of any merit would want to connect with you?

Operating with a solid strategy and some carefully defined goals, and then building a great profile, you can accomplish great things with, and on, LinkedIn. It is all within your grasp. Your profile needs to instantly grab the viewer’s attention.  More importantly, it needs to encourage them to action: To explore more, connect, or reach out for another reason.

A profile must be professional, but the best ones are interesting and sometimes fun.  They should make the visitor want to connect with you.  An incomplete or blah profile may cause the visitor to just pass by — then your opportunity is wasted.

I’ve come up with a LinkedIn profile ranking system. While it may seem arbitrary, it is based on some strong experience:

  • I’ve been a member of LinkedIn for over ten years now.
  • I have studied, spoken and written about, and coached the use of LinkedIn since 2008.
  • My profile generates qualified leads on a regular basis.
  • In 2009, seven profiles out of nearly 60 million were chosen as the best on LinkedIn in the Rock the World with Your Online Presence contest. Mine was one of the seven selected.

Be honest with yourself if you want the best results.  Take a long look at your LinkedIn profile with an eye toward where and how you can improve it. I am going to show you how.

LinkedIn Profile Tips

Your LinkedIn rank is comprised of thirteen different elements:

The Name

The name you are known by in professional circles.   No one introduces you as “Joe Smith, MBA’ so leave the degrees, certifications and other stuff for later.  And names in ALL CAPS is for elementary school.

The Photo

It should be you, smiling. A head and shoulder shot with good lighting that creates a professional impression.  No photos of the kids or your pets, please.  There’s a time and place for sharing personal photos – your LinkedIn profile is not it.

The Headline

This is valuable real estate so use it well.  Do not have your job title, as that shows up very soon anyway.  Incorporate your major skill into the headline.  

The Summary

It should outline what you do and how your background helped. Avoid platitudes and meaningless adjectives. This is the beginning of your story, so write in the first person and be conversational in tone.  Be clear. How will someone know you’re the right person to hire or engage if they can’t understand what you are good at?

The Specialties

The ones that are your primary and secondary skills – tell the world what they are and don’t be shy about it.

Your Experience

This provides good information on your company, the work you do for that company, the special projects you have worked on, and other important details.  List the business your company is in, what you do there, market(s) served, and other pertinent details.

Skills and Expertise

This is an area that should be used to reinforce what you specialize in. Many don’t seem to realize you can edit this.  LinkedIn allows up to 50 skills, but no one is going to read fifty.  Therefore, do not include every single skill you have. Select those that enhance the message you want your profile to convey – jettison the rest.

Your Group

Your group selection is something people checking you out will look at.  Important: You must be in groups outside of your company and alumni groups if you want to connect. Join industry association groups as well. This is not about numbers, but about quality. Whichever professional groups you are in – be active in them.

Your Use of Graphics

Photo and video uploads, presentation uploads, etc. This is another area where few know that you can enhance your profile.  Add visuals to any section of your profile to make it more interesting and engaging. You can access this feature in the “Edit profile” mode.

Other Info

You should include association memberships, honors and awards. Include past and current affiliations, and include roles in those groups.

Advice for “Contacting Me”

This is where you let people know what types of contact you encourage and welcome.  It delivers it in clear, concise language.  When others see that, it encourages them to reach out.

Recommendations

Those of the written variety are great profile enhancers. There are two parts to this.  The first part is getting recommendations.  Try to encourage others to give recommendations. How do you that?  That’s where the second part comes in — giving recommendations.  We all have people who have assisted us in our careers. Acknowledge those people.  Give written recommendations to them, and then you may start receiving recommendations in turn.

The Overall Impression

This is created by each of the above. It needs to make you look great.

A profile is a work in progress.  Keep making progress on yours by updating and improving it on an ongoing basis.

Want more? See my article on using LinkedIn to develop thought leadership.

Lead Photo via Shutterstock

The post How to Create a LinkedIn Profile That Rocks At Generating Leads appeared first on Small Business Trends.