13 Reasons to Be Pretty Damn Euphoric You Are a Freelancer

American flag

There is a good chance that by 2020 you will be self-employed.

An old Intuit report estimated that by that time nearly 40 percent of Americans will make their living as temporary workers — that is, as freelancers, business owners, or independent workers.

This could be good news.

Those who are not freelancers often look at those who are with a trace of envy. From the cubicle, the grass certainly looks greener. It is the life that you could have. And should have.

If only.

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Google Glass Offers a First-Mover Advantage You Shouldn’t Overlook

close-up of an eye wearing Google Glass

Have you ever wondered what the subreddit “ShittyBattleStations,” hammerhead sharks, and the Internet have in common?

Yeah, me neither.

But I recently discovered that the three seemingly unconnected entities all stretch my sense of nostalgia.

ShittyBattleStations is a subreddit where people share photographs of their gaming environments. Imagine bad camera angles of a bean bag chair, milk crate, high-powered computer, and a gallon of water.

It’s a place for snapshots of a subculture interested in avoiding the complex world — a subculture that reminds me of my own sad attempts as an adolescent to master Donkey Kong, since people scared the daylights out of me.

And I’ve been a fan of hammerhead sharks ever since Momaw Nadon’s cameo in the original Star Wars.

The Internet? Well, in the beginning, only a select few were entertained by slow-loading, grainy information and pixelated images. I stood aloof, fearful.

“You mean, like, I could talk to a stranger in Singapore?”

“Yes.”

“I do believe that is terrible.”

It’s safe to say I’ve gotten over that anxiety, but a recent development has caused some of it to reemerge …

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How to Spot the Weakest Part of Your Blog Post (and What to Do About It)

a close-up image of a man looking through binoculars

What does a rough draft of a blog post have in common with all the other blog posts by all the other content creators in your niche?

Too much.

I’m sure you’re aware that there are countless other writers musing about the same ideas you are, and in similar ways.

The goal of a typical first draft is to transform your scattered thoughts into a cohesive article that explains a topic to your target audience. But why should readers choose your content over another writer’s work?

If you don’t take the time to revise your rough draft in a way that shows you are an authority, and that you have a solution that isn’t available anywhere else, they won’t.

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What You Need to Know About Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law

sign saying Keep Calm and Don't Spam

There’s a new piece of legislation in Canada — known as CASL — that has some content marketers rattled.

It goes into effect on Tuesday, July 1, and it’s a wide-reaching attempt to regulate electronic communication (email, but also texts and social media conversations) that’s commercial in nature.

As usual when you’re talking about change on the web, there’s a lot of flutter and noise around the issue. But if you’ve been following email marketing best practices, it isn’t as scary as it might seem.

First things first: I am not your attorney and I can’t give you specific advice about whether your business’ particular email practices are in line with the new law.

But I can share with you what I’ve learned while researching it for our own business, and provide some general reassurance. Despite some nosebleed-steep potential fines, the law overall is very much in line with what good content marketers are already doing.

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What if Author Rank Never Happens?

Authority

Editor’s note (6/27/14): This week, Google announced they killed profile pics in search. This does not kill Google authorship nor indicate doom for Google+.

It’s simply a business decision meant to enhance the experience of the end user (searchers), particularly in mobile. Google makes hundreds of these decisions a year. What’s the best way to keep yourself on the good side of these decisions? Build online authority.

With that in mind we thought it would be a great idea to republish Brian Clark’s article “What If Author Rank Never Happens?” His message is aimed at Author Rank, but it’s appropriate for this event, too. Enjoy.

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We recently concluded an entire series of articles by our own Demian Farnworth on the topics of Authorship, Author Rank, and Google+ for the online content creator.

It was a smashing success, which indicates that writers and other online content creators are excited about these topics. And you should be.

But let’s be clear – as best as anyone can tell, Author Rank has not been implemented yet. And that means there’s some chance it may never become an algorithmic aspect of the way Google ranks web pages.

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How to Curate Knowledge, Turn it Into Wisdom, and Build Your Audience

Your audience expects a lot out of you.

As well as they should.

Which is why if you want to build a business you need an audience. But you can’t have an audience if don’t have authority. And you can’t have authority unless you have wisdom.

You need wisdom that enables you to paint the big picture while making obtuse concepts clear.

You need wisdom that inspires you to draw connections that other people in your niche don’t see.

And you need wisdom that empowers you to make connections and build relationships … so you can lead.

How do you gain this wisdom? By making a consistent habit of curating knowledge.

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6 Steps for Writing Simple Copy That Sells

image of zen stones stacked on top of each other

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

That’s what Leonardo da Vinci said anyway.

And four centuries later, Steve Jobs agreed. Actually, Jobs more than agreed. He flat-out stole it.

So here’s the question: What does plagiarized advice from the 16th century have to do with marketing copy in the 21st?

The simple answer (pun intended) is everything.

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The 8 Types of Images That Increase the Psychological Impact of Your Content

Close-up images of old school cameras

The importance of using images in blogging goes far beyond “looking nice.”

It’s actually deeply psychological.

For one thing, your brain (and your reader’s brain) is better at processing visuals than text. In fact, 90 percent of the information that our brain gets is visual, and it processes that information 60,000 times faster than text.

And visuals, when they complement your text, help your message connect: 40 percent of people will respond better to visual information than to text.

Read on to learn about the eight most effective types of images, and where to find them online.

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A Sobering Lesson on the Value of Compromising Your Creative Ideas

David, Dannis, and Bobby Hackney -- the brothers who formed the band called Death

Mollie Politzer was 32 years old when she got sick.

She was in the hospital for months, and when her condition eventually worsened to the point of death, her rabbi was called in. The rabbi arrived and proceeded to change her name.

He did this to fool the Angel of Death — so that when the Angel of Death came, he wouldn’t know who she was.

It worked …

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How Successful Writers Curate Ideas

The blank page.

Writer’s block.

Newer writers often claim to fear both of these. We’ve all been conditioned to do so. (I admit: I still do sometimes too.)

But as I’ve studied writers, successful writers, I’ve found that most of them have found ways to overcome the trepidation of the blank page, and most don’t even consider “writer’s block” to be a real thing.

So what is it that separates these writers from you and me?

Two traits, I’ve found:

  1. They have found a way to channel their fear into productivity.
  2. They have a system for recording and recalling ideas.

And make no mistake, number two has a huge impact on number one.

Because if you know that you always have a catalog of great ideas to fall back on for those days when you wake up with nothing fresh in your head, it completely removes that fear of the blank page from the equation.

So how do you do it?

How do you create, maintain, and use that catalog of great ideas?

That is the subject of today’s episode of The Lede.

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