Why ‘run’ in a blogathon?

We’ve reached the finish line in the 2015 Freelance Success/WordCount Blogathon. If you’re a follower, now you can have back your mailbox!

Like marathons, blogathons call for intensity and commitment. This blogathon wordledidn’t have lots of rules. The topics were open, even on a handful of designated theme days, like Throwback Thursdays. Some blogathoners never intended to blog every day in June, only to make blogging a habit. A few dropped out. Many, like me, posted every day.

If you blog, a blogathon offers a lot of benefits. You can:

  • Test new topic areas.
  • Become good friends with your camera.
  • Try out a subject’s sustainability.
  • Exercise your skill at writing short, which is often harder than writing long.
  • Meet other bloggers.

And that’s just the start. Some blogathons, like this one, last a month; others are shorter. You could create your own personal blogathon by designating a time frame in which you’d post every day (or write every day and save some to post later).

You just might find that blogathoning helps you rekindle the passion for writing that you never really lost.

 

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Wednesday Whine: Customer service!

I’m trying to learn to demand customer service. Not big service – just the common everyday service that seems almost to have been wiped off the face of the Earth.

Aw, shucks! Thanks fer what you did! (copyright Ron Harvey)

Aw, shucks! Thanks fer what you did! (copyright Ron Harvey)

I truly believe that businesses attentive to cheerful customer service — including freelance businesses – can rule the world because they are so rare.

Take today. When I paid at the McDonald’s drive-through lane, the cashier attempted to hand me back bills, coins and receipt in one bunch. To take them requires reaching up and awkwardly twisting the wrist, then carefully guiding the wad downward so the coins don’t slide off. With orthopedic hardware in my wrist, I can’t do it anymore , so I asked the cashier to hand me the paper, then the coins.

She dropped coins. They clattered to the pavement. She turned away to the next customer talking through her headset. She seemed to expect me to be OK with driving off without the change she dropped, but I am a skinflint. Fifty cents buys a postage stamp with one cent left over for a gumball. I’m not abandoning that on the ground.

I could not get the car door open more than six inches without hitting the wall of the restaurant. As the cashier continued not to pay attention to me, I stuck the handle of a windshield squeegee out the door and led the coins More

Thirsty Thursday: Everything I know about business began with milkshakes

You might think that worn out is all you’d get from flipping burgers for a job. It’s true the work was hot, hard and unglamorous. But it bought me a Volkswagen

copyright by vovan

copyright by vovan

Beetle and a college diploma, and it gave me an accelerated lesson in work leadership that plays into every day as a freelance writer/editor. I started as a milkshake maker and left as an assistant manager at age 19.

When McDonald’s came to my town, there was no other place where a kid could earn $ 1.65 an hour plus a coveted fringe benefit: She was entitled to one sandwich, one order of fries and one beverage of her choice per shift, preferably while watching a film from the Basic Crew Course.

On its surface, the six-film course taught how to run all the work stations, step by step, but at its heart were the company philosophy called “QSC” – quality, service, cleanliness – and the principle called “hustle,” as in “hurry. ”

Hustle, hustle, hustle, the manager shouted during busy times, clapping his hands for emphasis.

The rules seemed endless. Your uniform had to be clean, your hair had to be pinned up, your smile had to look sincere, you got docked for being even a smidgen late, idle moments were to be filled with wiping and polishing.

To this day, I know how to ensure a hamburger cooks all the way through by pressing it to the grill with a spatula.

I also know that customers – and editors — require friendly cultivation, and that “thank you” is a magic phrase More

Helping j-friends to freelance

Aaron Kushner, the investor who rocked journalism in 2012 by buying the Orange County Register and expanding it while the industry was contracting, rocked itOld newspaper again this year by instituting bloodbaths that have lopped off more than one-third of the newsroom staff. Longtime bylines and credit lines are going or gone.

I dodged a layoff at the San Francisco Chronicle by pre-empting it: I paid off my bills, let my editor friends elsewhere know that I was available for assignments, picked a date and quit to freelance. I had certain things in my favor: I had already freelanced on the side nationally for 20 years, had hired and edited freelancers, and had run a business.

The newly freed reporters at the Register may not have those advantages. Reporters and editors tend to think locally – where the freelance money isn’t. They usually aren’t familiar with contracts or with entrepreneurship, other than what they’ve covered. They have a lot to learn if they choose freelancing as their next career.

A theory floats around that laid-off reporters and editors will crowd the freelance market, snapping up all the good gigs. Nothing could be further from More

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