Cynthia Jones

Freelancing explorer!
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I'm exploring freelancing as a side hustle to supplement my full-time ODOT career as a project manager. Phase 1 is as a freelancer on Upwork. I'll consider other options once I get more experience.
I struggle to listen to podcasts that are 20 minutes or longer. Could you recommend excellent podcasts that are 10-15 minutes? or that have chapters that I could jump to?
TIA
Have you tried Song Exploder? I'm a huge, huge fan.

The Daily by the New York Times is great too.Β 
ο»Ώ Cynthia Jones ο»Ώ I'm really surfing the Freelancing forum here today, funny I stumbled upon your post. My reason for this post, my daughter loves a podcast and she wants me to listen to it, but I haven't because some of the podcasts are 2 hours long. I'm thinking who listens to two hour long podcasts???Β  I'm planning on doing a podcast with a target time around 25 minutes, as I like that for a drive to work, or while someone takes a lunch break.

If you don't mind me asking, when would you listen to a podcast?Β  Downloaded for a drive? On a smart phone while doing some other task?
Cynthia Jones replied
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I need website help:
  • I have a new domain effective today but haven't chosen hosting.Β 
  • I have two go forward sites
    • want a recommendation for which hosting platform to use
    • want simple designs for both
    • want them up and running
  • I'd like someone to release four sites I no longer want or need.
P.S. I've recognized confusion with my few domains and their hosting companies, which mean I haven't put up much/any content since 2016.Β 
Cynthia Jones I second Jay's recommendation for Hostinger. I've used them for a few months now (after years of using HostGator) and reviewed a bunch of hosts in-depth for one of my projects; price is great, user interface is great, speed/uptime are good to great depending on your sites/plan.

As far as "releasing" the domains you don't want, just turn off auto-renew on them and you're done.

And for simple designs, I highly recommend GeneratePress. It's fast, lightweight, and has all the basics you need to customize your sites built-in without a large learning curve (just need to go through menus/click buttons to change just about everything, no drag and drop editor to learn).
Woohoo! Well, we certainly have folks here who can help. If no one responds to you directly, let me know and I'll tag a couple!

As an aside, recently Hostinger started sponsoring Creative Elements, and so I started trying them out for hosting. So far, I really like it. Very user friendly, good performance, way cheaper than my previous host (SiteGround).
Ok Cynthia Jones here's my follow up... In my last post I threw some questions at you to get you thinking about how complex a site you want, and how much time and effort do you personally want to invest in developing the site.Β  You really want to give that some thought because the answers to those questions will help to determine the sitebuilding platform as well as hosting company.

If you get advice from anyone they should be asking those questions. There are no one size fits all answer to any technology question.Β 

If you want something super simple and don't want to spend a lot of time with web development look at Wix or Squarespace. Look at sites that use Wix or Squarespace and see if any of them match your ideas.

https://www.pcmag.com/reviews/wix

https://www.pcmag.com/reviews/squarespace

Depending on the answers to the questions you might want a more powerful or elaborate site, in that case you would probably want to research Content Management Systems. There are hundreds of Content Management Systems, or CMS, designed to help users create and edit a website. Like any tool, before you go shopping you need to understand the perspective of your needs.

If you want to understand the pros and cons of the major CMS, take a look at this article: https://www.cmscritic.com/wordpress-joomla-and-drupal-are-not-the-best-cms/

If you say, wow, understanding Content Management Systems gives me a headache, I want to use one and don't know where to start. I would point you to look at WordPress.Β  I personally do not use WordPress, but for someone just getting started it is the most likely choice. Β 

Personally I use A2 Hosting for some non WordPress sites, but they offer some simple hosting options for WordPress sites. Check out their offerings here: https://www.a2hosting.com/wordpress-hosting

I've been using various webhosting since around 1998. A2 Hosting is one of the two companies I use. Because of all the issues I have had over the years I have been in the practice of having accounts with two different companies, in case I have a major issue with one I can flip over sites to the other in a pinch.Β  So far that has worked out OK, thankfully for the last few years I have not had any issues.

Because webhosting has become such a commodity over the years, I have seen many times, especially with the ISPs and telecoms, where they focus on the large corporate accounts, and treat all the small business clients as a low margin commodity. That's why I say you don't know how good they are until you have problems.

Another issue is that many of the companies have multiple data centers.Β  I could say my service is great with a company, and I am connected to their east coast data center, you could use the same service and have a horrible experience because you connect to a west coast data center.

Hope this helps, if you have any specific questions, let me know.
Focusmate is a web based pairing of people for 50 minute focused work sessions. The sessions begin on each quarter hour so jump in whenever you need accountability.
This has been a huge help since I was sent home to work in March 2020. It's $5/month if you use more than 3 sessions per week. My best days have four or more sessions with folks from all around the world.
Thanks for sharing - I could use some accountability!!
Cynthia Jones I love Focusmate! They also have a session that runs for several hours on Friday’s. It’s hosted in Zoom and you are admitted to the room between _:50-_:00 of the hour. https://www.facebook.com/groups/focusmate/?ref=share
I've been using YNAB since 2010. It is a different way of thinking about money. There's a great app with links to accounts, but the real magic is in the four rules around money. The goal is to "budget" which really is just decide what's important to you and put the money you have towards those priorities. You only budget money you have, not design a theoretical budget for a "normal" month - as those never ever happen.
I could talk about YNAB and budgeting for HOURS. Let me know if you want to banter on it. It's very different from Mint and Personal Capital due to the focus on the four rules, not on aggregating and reporting.
They have free workshops most days, engaging art (like Creative Elements) and a YouTube channel.
Referral link

I'm also a fan of YNAB and heartily recommend it!Β 
I am beginning as a freelancer within the writing arena, specifically within Upwork for now. As I'm creating my profile I'm uncertain of the types of writing-related work. I've spent 30 years in banking, finance, and research, but not in the writing profession.

My sense of writing types was limited to genres (technical, novel, biography, etc.). I feel quite insecure about writing since I'm not used to that vocabulary about writing. The best listing that I've seen is within the following post freelancing.school/best-freelance-wri...

As I start something new I crave a mental model, so I'm working on that now.Β  Next week I'm taking Leah's Beta course; I'm sure I'll learn a lot there. Here's the link to consider it leahsobon.com/write-with-confidence-l... Β 

I'd appreciate any reference materials, encouragement or guidance on the roles and flow of writing.
Thank you,
Cynthia Jones , below is a copy of the AWAI pricing guide, which lists about 75 different copywriting projects and gives price ranges for each:


There are countless ways to structure your writing business. There are a couple of folks here who have a lot of experience with Upwork (I've never used that platform), so chat with them. Alex Bell knows all things Upwork and has posted a lot of information about how to get started on that platform. You can use the search bar above to look for some of the existing conversations about Upwork and that should help with a framework!

As for the types of writing you do, think about your own experiences and preferences. Do you like short projects? Do you love big projects? Do you want to do a ton of research or do you prefer a quicker turnaround? How are your interview skills? If you see a project listed in the guide above and it sounds intriguing, go for it! If you see a project that sounds like you'd rather go in for a root canal, avoid it! Focus on the projects you enjoy. Follow your curiosity.

Once you have a few ideas about what you want to write and who you want to write it for, read a bunch of stuff that is like the stuff you want to write. Which pieces are good? Which ones are bad? Why? That will help you define your writing style.Β 

And as questions arise, bring them up here! There are a lot of writers on this platform and we all have a slightly different take! At the end of the day, you know you better than any of us, so take all of our advice and put it through the Cynthia filter! What works for me, may not work for others. And what works for others, may not work for me. There are countless ways to do this thing, which is both fantastic and utterly terrifying!


Cynthia Jones replied
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Cynthia Jones Β My offer stands to provide guidance/feedback on how to create your Upwork profile, send winning proposals, and generally become successful with your writing freelancing :)
Jay Clouse (he/him) replied
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Kristine in the tax workshop recommended both Chase and Relay. As I tried to signup for Relay tonight it told me it's invitation only.Β 
Does anyone have an invitation to share for Relay (if that's how it works)? Or recommend another no interest, no fee, no/low balance requirement business checking account?Β 
I'd appreciate your suggestions.
Thanks
Check with your local bank! My local bank offers no fee, no balance, free business checking accounts with online banking (that should be standard), a business debit card (that should also be standard), and free checks.Β 
Hey Cynthia Jones ! I had no idea it was invite only. I'll shoot Kristine a note.

Another option is Ally Bank – that's what I use currently for similar reasons to why Kristine recommended Relay.
Jay Clouse (he/him) replied
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  1. What brought you here?
    • I have been following Jay since meeting him at a Hackathon he put on in 2018
    • I joined Freelancing School one year ago to explore side hustles
  2. What kind of work do you do?
    • I am a project manager at ODOT in Smart Mobility, connected and automated vehicles. I used to manage the state's research program in transportation research.
    • Prior to that, I was underwriting with a bank then in financial analysis with L Brands.
  3. What is the biggest challenge you're facing right now?
    • My current challenge is lack of focus - seeing all of the potential and not having committed.
  4. Where can we follow you online? (blog, social, etc...)
    • https://www.facebook.com/clgerst/
    • https://www.linkedin.com/in/clgerst
    • http://cynthia.pro
  5. BONUS: What is one of your favorite things on the internet?
    • focusmate.com for me to focus at work
    • MOOCs for online education
Hey, hey! Welcome,Β  Cynthia Jones ! You know, I don't think I've ever told you this...but you were one of the very first people to trust me enough to invest in the Freelancing School courses. And I very much appreciate you for that.

What are the topics/directions you're interested in and see potential for, but haven't yet committed? Maybe we can help you narrow them down!
I wanted to brag today because I'm so excited. I finished my second Upwork assignment over the weekend; it's a trial for a long term role. I'm VERY excited because I uploaded the assignment at 12:44pm and it was accepted/paid just FOUR minutes later!! They then responded five minutes later that it was excellent work :))))
Bonus is that I earned $10/hour on this job, instead of $2/hour on the first one. I do expect to earn $20-$50/hour if they award me the long-term assignment. YES!