Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My First Day as a Knifty Knitter Retailer

I've been making webpages which are "collections" of Knifty Knifty  patterns for about 2 years. For those of you that don't know, "Knifty Knitters" are knitting looms. I got the idea to write about them when I bought my first set of looms at Wal-Mart and quickly realized there was very little information online about how to use them. When I would find patterns, I would add them to my webpages to make it easier for other people to find them. These pages I've created mainly on Squidoo and they've done very well for me as far as passive writing income.

I got to know lots of people that also enjoy knitting on these looms when I created a fan page on Facebook. As of this month, it has 1,000 fans. Whenever I create a new page of pattern collections, I share it there for my Facebook fans. Many of these fans began expressing concern this winter that they were not able to buy the looms. I visited my local Wal-Mart and learned that they were carrying looms by Boye instead of Provo Craft. It was an unwelcome change, as many people prefer the Provo Craft looms. I went to many other stores that according to the Provo Craft website were retailers of their looms. I couldn't find them anywhere. Several fans also told me that when they followed the Amazon links to buy the looms from my pages, Amazon was sold out as well.

I was concerned that lack of availability of the looms would limit the number of viewers to my webpages. I'd invested so much time writing these pages, so I called the Provo Craft to ask if they were still manufacturing the looms. The assured me that they were. I learned that I could become a retailer and that sparked the next phase of my freelance work.

I have an Amazon seller account and have sold "used" items there before, mostly books I no longer need. But, I began to kick around the idea of buying the looms wholesale and selling them on Amazon. My motive was largely to prevent my readers from having to search so hard to find the looms only to be left empty handed.

Provo Craft approved my application as a retailer of the looms. I set up my retailer account and ordered the looms. This morning, I created a spreadsheet analyzing the cost of each loom, adding to that the expenses I would incur selling the looms, such as Amazon fees and shipping costs. I also added in what I hoped to earn as profit to arrive at a selling price.

I added my product listings to Amazon today. I quickly realized that I was not a large enough seller to be competitive with pricing. When other larger sellers have the items in stock, they are much less expensive, simply because these sellers have found ways to cut costs by selling in volume. Since my goal in becoming a retailer was not to make volume sales, but rather to prevent the products from being out of stock, I am fine being a higher priced seller. About 1/2 of the products I listed were sold out from other retailers, so although my pricing isn't competitive I have offerings for those wanting to buy. I believe this is what marketers refer to as an "underserved market."

It's been only 9 hours since I listed my products and I've already made 4 sales. My profit on each sale is $5.00. That means I made $20 profit today as an Amazon seller and I didn't get my store up and running until 2 pm. That's a pretty good day.

When I began freelancing, I heard the word "niche" a lot, but it's taken me a few years to understand what that is all about. Knowing a product, writing about it, earning affiliate fees by placing product links in my web content has made writing lucrative for me. In my case, eventually becoming a product retailer seems to have promise as well. If it weren't for the time invested in writing about the looms and networking with others that used the looms, I wouldn't have found this "underserved market."

I will keep you posted in the months ahead about my experience, for those of you considering becoming a seller at Amazon.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Writing for Google Knol

Google defines a "Knol" as a unit of knowledge and until recently it allowed people to share this knowledge by creating unique web content. If you love Knol as a place to get your content published, you'll be disappointed to hear that Google Knol is closing it's doors. They are offering the following options to current users to move their work to Annotum instead. The following announcement is from the Google Knol website.

"Knol will be moving to Annotum on May 1, 2012

Knol will be discontinued as a service, but we've worked with Solvitor and Crowd Favorite to create Annotum, an open-source platform based upon WordPress that allows you to continue authoring and publishing scholarly articles. You can migrate your knols to WordPress and continue your work with Annotum. After May 1, you will no longer be able to create, view, enter or edit knols, but you will be able to export your knols to WordPress.com and download them to file through October 1st, 2012."

Learn more about transferring your files here: Knol

How to Earn Money Writing for ListMyFive.com

When ListMyFive.com was so new that the main page of the site still had no Google Page Rank, I tried my hand at it. Here were the results.
  • Day 1: Submitted 4 articles for ListMyFive.com
  • Day 2: 173 views. No earnings yet.
  • Day 3: 207 views. I earned 66 cents.
  • Day 4: 6 articles, 240 views, 66 cents.
  • Day 7: 9 articles, 515 views, 92 cents.
  • Day 17: 10 articles, 750 views, $1.18.
  • Day 40: 12 articles, 1872 views, $2.06.
It's early in the game, but many of my articles are making it to the top of Google. That is a very good sign and surprising given the overall site Page Rank. I submit each article to Digg after I write it to help get it indexed by Google faster. At this time, I can see that my articles are going to average about 5 views a day, or 150 per month. They get a small boost in traffic when initially published, because they are listed on the main page under "New Fives," but soon after they fall to about 5 views per day.

Pros of Writing for List My Five

  1. The publishing tool provided by the website is very well designed and allows you to share your newly published article with your Facebook and Twitter friends immediately. I have never seen a publishing tool that was this easy to maneuver and free from glitches.
  2. The article views update almost instantly. You can literally refresh each minute and see your view count increase.
  3. The writing community is very friendly. It's likely that you'll have people commenting on your articles and encouraging you as a writer soon after signing up.
  4. Writing a "Top Five" is fun! The site seems to have hit upon a catchy title phrase that draws out ideas and prevents writer's block. What are your "Top Five?"

Cons of Writing for List My Five

  1. Writers are not able to identify traffic sources to their articles. In other words, there isn't a report that will tell you if your viewers are being sent from Google, other articles, or Facebook, etc.
  2. Because the site is so new, you are running a risk publishing here. It is unknown if earnings will be consistent. Check back, I will keep you updated.
My earnings and views at ListMyFive.com dropped significantly after publishing. In other words, when I wasn't actively writing at LM5, my articles were not being read or earning money. I strongly suspect the views and earnings that I did receive after publishing were from writing friends getting started on the site as well.

Earnings after a month and a half were $2.27 / 2181views = .001 per view. Most established blogs will earn .002 per view, sometimes expressed as 2.00 per 1000 views. ListMyFive probably isn't an optimal writing website if you have an established blog, but it is great for new writers.

Whether you are new to the world of internet writing, or have years of experience, ListMyFive.com is a fun way to publish web content. It is an easy publication tool to use. Also, it's motivational to think of your top 5 of anything. Even if ListMyFive isn't your most lucrative writing gig, the experience is enjoyable.

More from this author:
If you are looking for more places to publish writing online, I maintain a list of 101 Websites for the Freelance Writer. It is rated by other writers, so the best sites float to the top.

Writing for Demand Studios - Review

The large variety of assignments available makes Demand a good long-term job for freelance writers. Demand Studios also has health insurance available for writers meeting a minimum number of articles per month.

Payment Options

writing for demand studios
Writers have the option of choosing article titles that offer upfront payment or advertisement profit sharing. Upfront payment amounts vary, but are usually between $10 and $20 per article.

The Editorial Process

Because quality content is important to Demand Studios, they have strict editorial guidelines. Writing for Demand Studios must follow AP style, in addition to many other writing standards. All facts, in submitted articles, are verified by editors and several sources are required to be submitted with each article.

Demand Studios Review – Is It a Good Fit for You?

If you are looking for a work at home writing position, Demand Studios offers steady, reliable work with health insurance benefits not offered by most writing websites. They also offer a variety of titles and upfront payment. The editorial process is stringent, but after a few months with Demand, most writers quickly adjust to the required style and find that getting articles approved becomes easier. If you prefer to write for revenue sharing, or like to choose your own article titles, there may be other websites that are a better fit for you.

Applying to Demand Studios

To begin writing for Demand Studios you will need a strong resume. If you do not currently have a resume, consider having a professional service design one for you. List all professional experience and credentials including education, awards, affiliations and non-writing experience. Of course, if you do have writing experience, add that too. Provide writing samples written in AP style. If you don’t have any previously published samples of your writing, you will need to submit unpublished work.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Paid Blogging Opportunity for GigCoin

I am sharing the email that I received from Type-A Parent today. I haven't participated, so I do not know anything abut GigCoin, but I wanted to share the opportunity. It sounds interesting.

The Gig: Challenge | Make a Weeknight Meal Special

Summary: Take a restaurant quality meal soup and create a special Weeknight meal that your family or partner will remember. Or make it an extra special “me time” event! Dinner is covered but the rest is up to you. Get creative on decorations, ambience and plating to make your weeknight meal extra special. The catch is you only have 1 hour max of prep time. Share your tips and how the night turned out. Please take fun pictures of your special night. Videos welcomed! Let’s make it social. Check out your fellow bloggers' posts to share comment, Twitter and Facebook love. Pay $50

Apply for the gig...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What's Going on in My Freelancing World

This is just a short post to document what's going on with me as a freelance writer at the beginning of 2012:

Two weeks ago, I began experimenting with adding my own YouTube videos to my writing. I placed knitting tutorial videos in my knitting articles. (Side Note: Thank you to my writing pal who first told me YouTube videos pay! Before hearing her advice, I'd never considered that you could make passive income from them.)

Anyway, my videos aren't very good because my camcorder is old, but I've ordered a new one. I'll quickly be replacing those junky videos when it arrives.

I'll share what I've learned from those low quality videos. In two weeks, I've gotten 420 views on 5 videos. If you do the math, that is 42 views a week for each video. I've earned $2.28 from Adsense in those 2 weeks. There's a lot of potential there. Just imagine, if they were higher quality and they'd been promoted!

The videos help my readers understand instructions. I get a lot of feedback from people who say that they can not seem to read knitting patterns. My target audience is "beginners" because I write my patterns without abbreviations and with more explanation. For some people, the easy to read instructions are still a challenge to understand. The videos are just one more way to help loom knitting newbies and they seem to be a good way to earn a buck.

I finally reached my goal of making $1000 a month from Squidoo this January. I'm already working on my next goal of $2000 a month in passive income by next January. Upward and onward.

Amazon Sales
My most profitable niche online is patterns for the "Knifty Knitter" brand looms. Every online retailer has been sold out of them, or had them in limited quantity since November. Today, I spoke with the manufacturer on the phone. They assured me that they were still making them and that they would have them back in stock by March.

I spent yesterday checking local stores and I've been looking online for months. They are very difficult to find. Since I have an Amazon store, I've applied as a retailer of the looms with the manufacturer. That will be an entirely new type of freelancing for me. I never thought of myself as an Amazon retailer, but it will help my writing niche, and my readers, if the looms are more available. The few I've sold online have been purchased within only 2 hours of listing them.

Wishing all of you a wonderful and prosperous 2012!

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