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5 Tips To Stay Afloat As A Struggling Writer

Becoming a writer is a dream for so many. Those romantic ideas of long nights spent at the computer with pot after pot of coffee coming from the kitchen as your novel just screams itself onto the page. Of course, followed shortly after by your very own New York Times Bestseller. Yes, I’ve been there too.

The unfortunate reality is making it as a writer is one of the most difficult things you can attempt to accomplish. Every year millions of books and articles are published—thousands of which aren’t bad—and still the average person only knows around three authors’ names, one of those inevitably being Shakespeare.

Ok, so maybe your chances of becoming the next JRR Tolkien are slim, but thankfully these days there is a lot you can do to stay afloat as a struggling writer.

Here are 5 tips to help get you started:

Become a Freelancer

Maybe you meant to become a fiction author, you don’t want to write these stupid articles. You want to write big fiction books with wild plots and unique characters. Well, sadly, if you’re struggling, it may be time to give up any ideas about what type of writer you want to be and just start producing. 

There are a number of freelance writing websites that accept submissions from outside sources. That means as long as your article passes the editor’s approval process you can be published on their site. Whether it’s poetry or stock market analysis, there is a website out there for you. These are great resources for struggling writers looking to practice their skills and earn a couple of bucks on the side.

Some example publications that accept submissions from outside sources include:

  • Poetry Foundation
  • Slate
  • Carve Magazine
  • Story
  • Ideomancer
  • Brevity
  • SeekingAlpha

Try Self Publishing

If you just can’t give up on your dreams of becoming a fiction writer or publishing that biography, then maybe Online Self Publishing is right for you. Online self-publishing may not be your first choice for publishing that novel you’ve worked on for so long, but it is undoubtedly the most likely to be effective. 

Online self-publishing has become the way to go in 2020. In fact, according to a survey by Bowker, there were an estimated 1.68 million ISBNs issued to self-published authors in 2018. That’s not including self-published books on Amazon which often don’t require ISBNs.

Online self-publishing is now easier and more profitable than ever, so if you already have your novel in the bag, don’t be afraid to put it out to the world in 2020.

Practice Makes Perfect

This next tip isn’t a way to make money, rather a way to improve your marketable skills. The most crucial aspect of becoming a writer is consistent, quality practice. If you aren’t writing constantly, you won’t improve. 

Many writers, especially those who are struggling, forget to practice their craft. If you want to make a living from your writing skills, then they should always be improving.

Hunter S. Thompson, the famed American writer, once said that he would commonly rewrite entire works of literature word for word so he could get the feel of how that great author once wrote. Everyone practices, if they don’t, you will never know their names anyway.

Take A Writing Job

Taking a job can be a difficult choice as an independent writer. Still, sometimes it pays to improve your writing skills and resume with a writing-related job. For full-time gigs, you can find anything from copywriting to tutoring, although freelance in-person jobs are also often posted on job sites like Indeed or Glassdoor. Freelance gigs may pay even more hourly and can have more interesting subjects. 

Often, it’s a life experience that makes a truly great writer. Even if you are forced to take a job that feels beneath you it can be a life-changing experience. 

And if you’re ever feeling down remember, Harper Lee, the author of To Kill A Mockingbird, was an airline ticket agent while she wrote her famous novel.

Go Back To School

As an independent writer, it can be tough to make the call to go back to school, but if your skills need refreshing it may be the only way to achieve your goals. Thankfully, you don’t have to go back and do an entire bachelor’s degree to improve your writing—although it may be the right choice in some cases.

In 2020, there are a number of courses available online to help improve your skills.

Some of the best of these are:

  • Masterclass: $100
  • American Writer’s and Artists Inc.(Accelerated Program): $459
  • CreativeLive: $20
  • Udemy: $19.99

Worst comes to worst these courses can help you practice your writing, or inspire you to write something new and different.

Being a writer is a tough business, but in 2020 there are a number of tools and options that can make things bearable. 

Writers like to complain, but these days there really isn’t much to complain about if you’re a struggling writer. It’s far easier to publish, earn and learn than ever before. If you work hard, and your writing is good, you will make it. 

Don’t give up, that New York Times Bestseller is closer than you may think.

Necessary Home Fixes Before Selling A Property

Getting your home ready so it can be placed on the market is a really daunting task. You need to remove all clutter, clean, scrutinize everything and organize every single corner of the home. You even have to contact different specialists like drain cleaning Canberra. When you take a look at all the fixes you need to do, everything can become overwhelming. Fortunately, some fixes are more important than others. We will focus on them. 

Mechanical And Structural Fixes

Buyers always look at the big-ticket items. This includes things like roof condition, heating systems and electrical panels. These do not all need to be replaced. Whoever, if some of them are in their last years, you have to seriously think about replacing them. Just think about the fact that appraisers often tell the seller that the roof has to be fixed. You can have a jump start on everything by doing these structural and mechanical fixes first. 

Exterior Fixes

Look at your home’s exterior. Do you see wood rut? When did you last paint everything? Are there stucco cracks that would need to be fixed? 

For the buyer, it is often the first impression that sticks. This always starts with the outside of a house. Also, home exterior appears on websites when you want to sell your home. You want to spend money on the exterior of your property before you sell. 

This brings us to landscaping. In so many cases plants are wilted, worn and overgrown. You need to take care of these and make sure that everything looks exactly as it should. 

Cosmetic Fixes

Look at the interior of your home and think about every little detail. Do you see dings or dents in walls? Is there some paint that is worn out? Spruce up everything and repaint your rooms. Since you do this, try to pick neutral, on-trend and light colors. Neutral palettes are always better because it makes it a lot easier for the home buyer to see himself/herself living in the home. 

Speaking about cosmetic fixes, you absolutely need to make your front door as attractive as possible. It should never be seen without a new coat of fresh paint on it. 

Kitchen Fixes

Believe it or not, the kitchen is one of the most important parts of the home if you want to sell your property. This is true even if the buyer has no idea how to cook. It is definitely worth to put some money into cabinets and changing the tile that is dated. Updating some of the appliances makes sense and you should think about changing counters. 

Bathroom Fixes

Last but not least, buyers want to see great bathrooms. They have to be clean and simple. You can spruce up the entire bathroom but this is much simpler than what you might initially think. For instance, cleaning grout or even regrouting is much better than doing other major remodeling projects. Try to add some light fixtures and mirrors to increase resale value. Every potential buyer wants to see a clean, beautiful bathroom.

4 Common Reasons Why Business Loans Get Rejected

If you’re a small business just starting out, then you will need to be prepared to face some rejection when seeking financing. Things can get frustrating when you feel that your business is established enough for a loan, but you still can’t get one. 

In some cases, this could be because of some miscommunication. But in other cases, it could be due to easily recognizable factors. Only when you’re aware of those will you be able to make the proper corrections and increase your chances. Here are some of the most common reasons why business loans are rejected.

You Went with the Wrong Lender

Going to your local bank may seem like a natural option for many, but in most cases, major banks have very strict criteria when lending to businesses. And, in most cases, these are not the most favorable terms for small businesses.

This is why it’s very important that you look at alternative lenders as well. If you’ve been rejected by more than one banking institution, stop right now as credit inquiries will have an effect on your FICO score.

Alternative lenders like AdvancedPoint Capital, for instance, will look beyond your credit score and look at the actual financials of your business when reviewing your applications. This is why you need to make sure that these are in order, and also work on a real business plan with realistic projections. This will make you even more attractive to lenders and open you up to more options as well.

Not Knowing or Understanding Your Business Credit Score

You’d be surprised at how many small business owners have no idea how their business credit works, or what it is at all. As a matter of fact, one survey found that almost half of all entrepreneurs surveyed had no idea that they had a business credit score. And around 80% stated that they didn’t know how to interpret it.

You can get your business credit score through agencies like FICO, Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian. 

Little to no Collateral

In many cases, lenders will want to see some kind of collateral to cover the risk. So, if you don’t have anything to show, it will be harder for you. If you do have some physical property, make sure that you draft a collateral document that contains anything of value that could be used to cover for the loan.

Your Reason for Seeking a Loan Makes no Business Sense

In some cases, lenders will reject a loan simply because you don’t have a good reason to apply for one. If you want to get a loan for a superficial reason like redecorating your office or getting your employees the latest and greatest tech tools when they could make do with less, chances are you’ll get turned down. You need to show that you’re seeking a loan that will help foster growth first and foremost if you want to get a chance at financing.

Conclusion

Now that you know why so many loans are rejected, you can actually start on a plan that will put you on the track to accessing financing in the future. But more importantly, make sure that you get informed about your business credit situation, and do what it takes to correct it.

 

Bad Credit Does Not Mean You Cannot Get A Mortgage

It’s natural to assume that a poor credit history automatically counts you out of the running for a mortgage. Particularly in an era where subprime lending isn’t exactly commonplace on the UK High Street, you may wonder whether getting a mortgage at all is a realistic possibility.

As far as most major lenders are concerned, bad credit mortgage products are out of the question. But this doesn’t mean there aren’t alternative options to explore and more accessible products available.

It’s simply a case of knowing where to look for them.

How Credit History Affects Eligibility

The long and short of it is simple – a poor credit history will affect your eligibility for a mortgage. All mortgages are issued as secured loans, though major lenders subject applications to the same scrutiny as unsecured loan applications.

Irrespective of the value of the property used to secure the loan, the application process still involves extensive credit checks, financial status checks, evidence of proof of income and so on. If everything is above board with the one exception of your credit report, you’ll fail to qualify for a traditional High Street mortgage.

Major lenders seem to be oblivious to (or simply uninterested in) the fact that maintaining a flawless credit history these days is borderline impossible. Even the most responsible individuals and households occasionally slip up. Precisely why anyone interested in applying for a mortgage with an imperfect credit score would be wise to set their sights beyond the High Street.

Subprime Mortgage Products

Contrary to popular belief, the subprime lending sector in the United Kingdom is alive and well. A growing number of specialist independent lenders have set their sights on this important consumer lending market.

Subprime mortgages are designed specifically for individuals and joint-applicants with less than perfect credit histories. Rather than simply using credit scores as a ‘binary’ indicator of eligibility, subprime lenders take other factors into account. If the applicant is clearly in a position to comfortably fulfil their contractual obligations, their credit history may be deemed irrelevant.

Of course, it’s unrealistic to expect subprime mortgage products to be offered with the same interest rates and borrowing costs as their conventional counterparts. Where poor credit histories apply, the applicant may naturally be considered ‘higher risk’ by the lender. As a result, they may be subject to slightly higher interest rates and borrowing costs than applicants with a flawless credit history.

In any case, the point of importance is that bad credit does not necessarily mean you cannot get a mortgage. Terms and conditions vary significantly from one lender to the next, but just as long as you set your sights beyond the usual High Street names, you’ve every chance pinpointing your perfect mortgage product.

How to Get a Good Deal on a Subprime Mortgage

Whether you’re applying for a conventional home loan or a subprime mortgage, the importance of comparing the market cannot be overstated. With hundreds of lenders offering thousands of products for all purposes, it simply makes sense to consider as many as possible.

Starting out, it’s a good idea to use an online mortgage calculator to find out how much you can afford to borrow and comfortably repay. After which, there are several steps that can be taken to ensure you get the best possible deal on your subprime mortgage, which include:

  • Consult with an independent broker and compare the market in full
  • Consider paying a larger deposit if possible for lower interest rates
  • Choose a shorter repayment period for more competitive offers
  • Examine your credit history and begin building your credit score
  • Ask your broker about the possibility of a guarantor loan
  • Consider alternative options like bridging loans if viable

Once again, it’s inevitable that a poor credit history can and often does complicate the process of qualifying for a mortgage. Nevertheless, there’s nothing to say you cannot access a competitive mortgage with a reputable lender, irrespective of how imperfect your credit score may be.

6 Tips to Make Your Hobby into a Business

Whether you are tired of your 9 to 5 job, or you just want to make an additional income, turning a hobby that you love into a business only makes sense.

In the dark ages of the 1980s and 1990s, it would have been a tricky endeavor to find clients or customers when starting a new side business. You would have had to make your own business cards using your dot matrix printer and Print Shop, and you would have had to find your customers by putting up fliers at the local grocery store. Now, starting a business is easier than ever. All you have to do is take the first step and get started.

Find your niche

Determine which of your hobbies can be monetized. Do you enjoy making soap or crocheting scarves? Do you love animals and exercise and would like to earn extra cash walking dogs? Do you love to write or take photos? Are you an amateur graphic designer or would you make a great personal shopper?

Others around you may give you ideas on how to make extra money, but if those ideas don’t give you a spark of excitement, they may not be for you. Starting your own business, even a small one, takes a lot of work. If you aren’t excited about how you are making money, your company may dwindle quickly.

Test the waters

This may be hard to hear, but people may not want to buy what you’re selling. Before you start your home decorating business, make sure others are genuinely impressed with your style. Before you spend hundreds of dollars on supplies to make front-door wreaths, see if you can sell a few of them to friends and acquaintances. Reach out to those in your target market, and see if they are interested in your products or services. One other tip? Don’t take business advice from your mom. She thinks everything you do is wonderful and is sure that everything you touch will turn to gold.

Complete at least one step every day

If you have a full-time job or are a busy stay-at-home parent, it is hard finding extra time in your schedule to do all the necessary planning, preparing, and marketing for your side business. You may be excited about the idea of photographing weddings, but you aren’t enthusiastic about figuring out the steps you need to take to get a business license.

You may be excited to sell your artwork online, but you aren’t excited about figuring out how to ship your pieces to your customers. To keep yourself on track, create a to-do list for each day or each week. Have an accountability partner, perhaps a person who has his or her own business, check in with you. Take baby steps every day.

Find vendors

You need to start thinking like a business owner. If you need raw materials for your business venture, you need to find suppliers who can provide such materials for you at a low cost. Check all local and online resources. Add in shipping and transportation costs. See if you can get a discount for buying in bulk. You cannot set a price for your product unless you understand the costs of your time and supplies. It is a mistake to skip this step. You are in business to make money, and you may find it difficult to compete with large companies who can buy supplies at a fraction of the cost that you can.

Use your social media accounts

No one wants to annoy their friends and family members with constant sales posts. You probably have unfriended people over such shenanigans in the past. Instead, start a business-only social media account and invite your friends and family members to follow you on this separate page. This way your friends can be supportive of your new endeavor if they choose to do so. Give prizes or discounts to those who share your page with their friends.

 

Use online resources to find customers

One of the most challenging aspects of starting a new business is finding customers. If you have tapped out your friends and family, and would still enjoy more customers, become part of those tried and tested website communities that will help you sell your products or services. Figure out how to sell on Amazon. Start an Etsy store. Do freelance work through Upwork or Fiver. Customers already flock to these sites to find products or services, so why not be there waiting for them?

 

Congratulations on starting your new endeavor. It is quite satisfying making money by doing something you love.