Amy G Wagner

Freelance Writer | Lancaster, PA | Harrisburg, PA | York, PA

Tag Archives: freelance writer

4 Reasons to Cozy Up to Coworking

Working from home rocks. Except when it doesn’t.

For instance, sometimes you find yourself trying to plug up your toddler’s horror show nosebleed as you attempt to phone interview an Amish businessman you’ve been chasing for weeks–and you must do both simultaneously because the deadline for the article is tomorrow.

Although my toddler tending days are done, I’m feeling the need to sprawl out from the home office–and the challenges that come with it. Hence, I’ve taken baby steps into coworking by investing in a few day passes for Warehouse D at The Candy Factory. It’s been cool so far, even though actual candy has been inexplicably, and sadly, absent.**

Here are the reasons I’m considering making shared coworking space a regular to-do—and maybe they’re reasons to think about a coworking office for your small business too:

1. You’d rather pull your own tooth using dental floss and a frisky husky than attend a formal networking event.

[Hi, welcome to the club. We should totally get t-shirts.] Whether the desire to seek the quiet of a bubble comes from anxiety or introversion, a coworking space provides social interaction minus the stress and the ohmigod-what-am-I-supposed-to-say-now quality of events like chamber mixers or networking meetings.

2. You want to interact with living, breathing adults.

Freelancing or running a small business from home can be a bit isolating, especially if you’re bound by the schedule of tiny humans. And, as much as virtual tools have made collaboration with clients a breeze, they also have a tendency to sterilize interactions. For example, I worked with one West Coast client for several years, and we never–not once–spoke by phone, largely due to the logistics of our schedules. Coworking puts you in a room with actual in-the-flesh folks…laughs, jokes, chit-chat, etc. Bonus: they’re adults. If you’re a work-from-home parent who’s ever gotten stuck in the hell of a Cailliou marathon, you understand the supreme value of that.

3. You want a remote office space without the overhead & hassle of renting.

From what I’ve seen, most coworking spaces seem to be plug-n-go affairs. The space takes care of utilities, building maintenance, and furniture, as well as some of the related day-to-day snags that would otherwise subtract from a small biz owner’s billable hours–and bottom line.

4. Your work and home life don’t seep into each other…they bleed into each other.

Many people struggle to find that elusive work-home balance. However, for those of us in the work-from-home trenches, particularly those with little ones, nosebleeds can happen every day…sometimes all day! A coworking space might give you extra cushion to build some of the boundaries that will keep you sane.

Have you considered coworking for your freelance or small business? Share your thoughts below or tweet them to @AmyGWrites.

 

**Candy has been found:-)



Infographic for the Grammar-Gaffe Prone – Business Writing Tips

From an administrative assistant charged with writing up project memos to a freelance writer tackling a new website, grammar goofs, gaffes, and errs will make you, at best, look unprofessional and, at worst, worthy of a viral giggle. So check out this handy infographic from the writing gurus at Copyblogger:

Go directly to Copyblogger for a printable version—and while it’s probably not good office politics to leave a copy on your grammar-challenged office mate’s desk, don’t be afraid to print out a copy for yourself.



Slow Times for Small Business? Tips for Staying Busy (and Out of Trouble!)

Image courtesy Jason Hollinger, Flickr, Creative Commons

How do you solve a problem like slow business? A few weeks ago, I was asking myself that question (and, yes, sometimes the query was torturously set to The Sound of Music tune.) And although I was seriously cranking out freelance writing proposals, I found myself with rather more time on my hands than I was used to. So rather than find myself parked on the couch midday with a bag of corn chips and a Doctor Oz obsession, I made it my mission to stay busy in ways that were healthy for my freelance writing business. Things are back on track, now, but I did discover a few slow business strategies for staying busy:

Start a business blog.

From building an online presence to generating leads, there are many reasons to start writing a business blog. And, as a freelance writer who ghostwrites several blogs, I know most of those reasons. But I recently read a blog entry that stuck with me. Top Rank’s Lee Odden shared some advice he’d given to a small business owner: writing just one blog entry each week gives Google 52 more reasons to insert your business into search results. That’s not all…

  • Websites with blogs get 434% indexed pages than non-blogger sites. (HubSpot Blog)

Now it’s time to share communication and writing tips, resources, and news to promote my business and build my network. Hence, this writing blog. If you haven’t started blogging yet, use downtime to jumpstart a small business blog.

Find the answer to a lingering business question.

I’d never had the time or opportunity to learn some of the finer points of SEO writing, like meta tags and title tags. Downtime was the ideal time for me to catch up. Do you confuse the word hyperlink with hyperspace? Wondering if there’s an easier way to streamline accounts receivables? During fat times, it can be challenging to justify devoting time to getting answers for questions that don’t generate an immediate sale.

When business is sluggish, answer those lingering questions and put the knowledge to use. Learn more about outbound and inbound marketing tactics. Figure out a faster way to do the books. Decipher the terms that allow you to sound like a pro when speaking with colleagues or tweeting with clients.

Add a new word to your writing vocabulary.

Yes, even if you’re not a freelance content writer chances are you write to communicate with clients, co-workers, subordinates, or managers. And no matter how we connect, whether it’s an old-school paper memo or a direct reply on Twitter, the words we use matter. So when business is slow, learn how to use and spell a fun word. That’s right, fun.

Think of it this way: Many professionals use standard biz language with ease: maximize, boost, lift, profitability, connect, engage, monetize, etc. Those words have their place in business writing. But there are times when that writing could use a little pop. Here’s an example of a blog headline on Social Strategy1: Tweets Trigger Bacon Brouhaha for Chipotle.

Use slow time to identify a fun word you’ve heard recently, even if it was out of the mouth of your teenage son. Look up the spelling, learn the proper definition, and then keep it in your writer’s toolkit so you can unleash it at the right time. (It’s also good for boosting your Words with Friends score!)

How do you keep yourself out of trouble when business is slow?

Image courtesy Jason Hollinger, Flickr, Creative Commons