To say that COVID-19 is causing some shakeups and changes is probably an understatement, but the time at home is giving me an opportunity to put the website together the way it should be. Tune in next week for new content and features to help you move your business forward through quality content, even through the current economic fallout from the epidemic! As my husband regularly says, it’s an ill wind that blows no one any good, and I’m going to help you find new ways to boost your business through the digital economy.
Author Archives: Cathleen Vought
I’m so excited to be reporting from beautiful, historical San Antonio for the BICSI Fall Convention. One of my oldest private clients, Rob Hawkins of Esticom, was kind enough to offer to pay my way into the convention and it’s looking like a very interesting mix with the combination of the focus that brought our companies into partnership through construction as well as my personal interest in digitization and where the fourth industrial revolution is taking us. Here’s a quick look at what I’m hoping to accomplish during the conference.
Getting Ready for the BICSI Fall Convention
- Esticom! Talk about a first-world problem, but I rarely get the opportunity to meet and hang out with my clients! I’m looking forward to getting the opportunity to hang out with Rob and get to know their company better. I’ve written for a few different construction estimating software companies, but this is by far my favorite. Esticom has a solid grasp of where digitization is taking the construction industry and is solidly positioned for strong growth with amazing tools!
- Hilti Tools! As a construction writer, I’ve written a few pieces covering their ridiculously rugged tools for Wallboard Supply Company over the years. They’ve been included in a number of reviews that I’ve put together, and I’ve always been impressed by their durability. When you want serious industrial-grade performance and longevity in your tools, Hilti is the way to go.
- Checking out what GIS Trimble is up to at the conference. I’ve written about their utility locating products in the past for E.J. Prescott and their related companies, but haven’t had a chance to play with any of their equipment or materials live, so it should be an interesting learning experience all the way around.
- As a serious volunteer in disaster relief and emergency response, I’m hoping to talk to the folks at Brother Mobile. I use their office products fairly effectively in my home operation and want to see what they have to offer in the field of emergency response. If it’s half as rugged as it looks, I may have to put it up on the list for potential equipment for the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Auxiliary, right up next to our off-lease Panasonic Toughbooks.
So that’s a quick glance at what I’m going to be getting into first thing tomorrow morning. Until then, I hope to get a chance to meet a few new people at the expo and maybe even gather in a few new clients. Tune back in tomorrow afternoon to see what’s brewing at BICSI’s 2018 Fall Convention. Need a content writer to rock your blog, content, website or social media? Hit the Contact Me link above to get started.
It’s been pretty quiet on my business site recently, but thought I’d go ahead and put up a quick note about some upcoming
announcements for my new Farmer’s Wife series of small business management posts and guides – straight talk about SME management with no bull and plain common sense.
Why the Farmer’s Wife? Farmers are some of the busiest people I know, much like small business owners. They also have to wear many hats. The farmer’s wife is even busier – not only does she keep the farm running, she also works hard to raise her family and keep things looking great on the homefront. A farmer’s wife doesn’t have a lot of time for pretty, pie-in-the-sky advertising, she needs to find out what’s needed in a concise, timely fashion. The Farmer’s Wife promises to deliver valuable information on how to set up, manage and grow a small- or medium-sized business in a concise fashion that doesn’t waste your precious time.
This series is going to cover a wide variety of business topics and specific industries, including business start-up, HR, marketing, customer base growth and retention, customer service, lowering overhead and many other topics. I’ll delve into hospitality, construction, business services, manufacturing, service businesses and many more to give you the details on the specific needs of those industries. It’s going to be a fun ride, and you’ll learn a lot – just hang out and see where we go.
It’s something I’ve heard mentioned time and again, that the rates of an exceptional freelancer are too high. Here’s why they’re not:
- We pay our own benefits, taxes and mandated deposts. Have you seen the latest hype about the significantly higher monthly costs for the federal healthcare exchange that provides lower-quality insurance? What about worker’s comp, unemployment, retirement accounts, Social Security and Medicare to mention just a few payments that need to be paid out of the employer’s budget or the employee’s paycheck.
- You’re not being billed for all the time that’s spent doing marketing, determining exactly what type of writing you require for your project, self-education that the freelancer pursues on their own time and research required for your particular subject matter.
- We have expertise that your employees don’t. If they did have that expertise, why would you be talking to me? I’ve spent over two decades in a variety of different industries, giving me a unique perspective on out-of-the-box problem solving.
- We’re not content mill writers. If you’re looking for someone who will accept work at a penny a word or less, go check out Textbroker, Zerys or other websites that will be happy to hook you up with someone from a second- or third-world country who runs late, has atrocious English and has no idea of how to tailor their writing to your needs. Then you’ll have paid good (but not much) money to someone who has delivered late an indecipherable piece that won’t work for your needs.
If you want exceptional content that can help improve your conversion rate, leads or other measurement of importance to your business, why wouldn’t you hire an exceptional content writer? You can’t turn dust into gold (trust me, alchemists have been trying for centuries), so why not start with gold and see how high your business soars because of it.
This past week, I’ve been putting a lot of effort into getting ready for my first marketing conference. I’ve worked conferences a time or two in the past, but not under my own banner, so it was really exciting to get everything put together.
The drive was a little long, but definitely well worth it. I may have to check out the Amish restaurant on the way home that had free wifi offered – that just sounds too amusing to pass up. But today was the first day of the conference, following a long drive and a late night spent catching up a client who needed some last-minute help.
I attended an awesome content marketing workshop this morning that really gave me a lot of ideas on where I need to take this site and my clients in terms of writing services. You’ll start seeing a lot more action taking place in the next few weeks as those ideas come to life. I’m planning on reviving a few ideas I’ve tossed around in the past, and you’ll have access to a lot more information to help get your business ahead of the game when it comes to content marketing and marketing management.
I also had the opportunity to hang out with some really awesome people this evening at a reception and hope to leverage some of those contacts to your advantage over the upcoming months. I had a brief moment of panic when I realized my car keys were underneath all the pens, business cards and fliers I’d picked up, but they were safely recovered without having to send in a crack team of archaeologists. I’m definitely looking forward to tomorrow’s offerings and will share more as I wrap up in Dallas tomorrow evening and get ready for the long drive back to Missouri.
It’s been an interesting couple weeks with the number of emergency response jobs I’ve been picking up. I was invited through Elance to apply for a blog writing job with D4H out of Ireland. In the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Auxiliary, where I serve as the quartermaster, we use D4H’s Decisions system extensively for our internal organization, and my husband Eric (who commands the Auxiliary) regularly communicates with D4H CEO Robin Blandford. It definitely gave me a leg up that I already knew a lot of what was involved in their system.
Then a couple of days later, I ran into another disaster response gig, specifically dealing with how to put long-term food storage together from home stores, purchased dry goods and similar areas to have something set back for an emergency, whether it’s a tornado, winter storm or losing a job. It’s been a joy putting down on paper the knowledge I’ve collected over the years dealing with putting back food in various forms, from smoked and cured meats, dehydrated and canned foods to root cellaring, dry ice storage and vacuum systems.
I’ve now got a few more bids out there I’m waiting to hear on, but this has got to be the most activity I’ve seen for emergency services and disaster planning in quite a while! As a first responder, I’m glad to see more people taking preparedness seriously. I’d been hoping to break into this field, specifically through blog posts and offering disaster planning and contingency services for businesses after the Joplin, Missouri EF-5 tornado swept through a half mile south of our farm almost three years ago, leaving medical records and nervous sheep in our yard (the sheep, at least, had only gotten out of a broken fence on our own farm, whereas the medical records had probably traveled over 35 miles). Did you know that over 25% of all businesses never open their doors after a disaster because they didn’t have a plan in place?
I’ve always said that an emergency, by definition, is something you are not prepared for. If you’ve made preparations, something that might be an emergency otherwise becomes, at worst, an inconvenience. If you’re thinking about putting some preparedness information out on the internet, are a company dealing with emergency or disaster response who needs updated content or are a business owner or manager thinking about putting a disaster plan in place before the next set of storms roll through, please feel free to contact me! As a top content writer, I’d be delighted to help you plan to NOT have an emergency!
I’ve been rather busy the past several weeks working with a couple new clients that are allowing me to use my agricultural knowledge.
The first, The Goat Spot, is an awesome online forum and reference board who has had me working on a variety of articles for their site. I’m going to be covering a number of additional areas, but already have posts up regarding genetics and breeding programs, some basic illnesses, marketing and farm business, crafts and similar goat-related writings. I was surprised to realize I was already up to several dozen articles there.
The second is Clonmel Garden Centre in Ireland. It’s been really fun writing for an overseas audience and finding out what they do differently and why, as well as having the opportunity to exchange ideas with gardeners there. I’ve put together posts on winter gardening tasks, bird care, setting up a lawn care schedule and, most recently, a piece on seed potatoes. They’ve got a few varieties over there that are drought resistant that I’d like to try in Missouri, especially following the 2011 and 2012 droughts.
Having the opportunity to work with these clients has given me some great new ideas for our farm, including some fencing upgrades, easier gardening solutions, alternative dewormers and other farming concerns. I’m almost reconsidering adding more goats to our farmstead, but we’ll just have to see how that goes. Eric has regularly made comments comparing goats to their demonic imagery; he claims on a regular basis that the goats are lying in wait for him to leave the gate open for a few seconds too long or if he doesn’t fasten it exactly the right way 😉 I think that may end up putting the kibosh on the goat idea . . .
So I decided to take a look at what kind of work I’ve accomplished since I started freelance writing full-time back in August:
I’m a top 1% content writer out of over 22,000 on Elance, a top 10% article and blog writer on oDesk, and my feedback on every site I work on is between four and five stars, most of them much closer to five.
Since mid-August, I’ve written well over 100,000 words for hire, mainly through Writer Access. I’ve updated my LinkedIn profile, started a website (you’re looking at the second version of it), have signed up with what seems like a zillion writing services, had my website reviewed (hence the second version of it) and otherwise generally chased my tail.
I hadn’t expected this to take off as well as it has; I’m working part-time from home, which has always been fun, but it hasn’t necessarily paid the bills. I’m really excited about the fact that people seem to really like my writing and that this is something I may actually have a chance at being successful in.