Writing Remotely

Now that the four day week is becoming more popular, so is remote writing. Investing in a laptop can make remote writing much easier. A laptop with an internal network card can provide Internet access for online publishing at any remote location with wireless access.

 

For certain types of writing the writer may need to be on location. But after the meetings, product reviews and engineering changes have been completed, writing can begin at any time or location.

 

Some of our writers attend all engineering meetings via conference call. After hanging up the phone the writing begins and the team begins to collaborate on the content of the documents. Writers go on-site one to five times a year depending on the need of the client. In some cases, the writer meets the client once, and writes for that client on an open-ended contract.

 

Just think of the money saved by the client and the writer at a time when gas prices may soar higher than we have ever imagined.

 

The clients and writers can focus on their business instead of worrying about what the price of gas will be tomorrow.

 

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Continuity of Business Effort

Writing projects require some management by the technical writer.  Implementing the document life cycle can ensure continuity of effort and more successful writing projects.

 

Freelance writers need to help their clients understand this process prior to starting projects. SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) and other necessary resources should be identified and ready when the technical writer is hired. Sometimes we find the other resources were never identified thus making the continuity of effort more difficult. Of course, there are ways to handle these issues but the more issues that can be avoided the happier the writers and the clients.

 

For example, systems development documentation may require that the technical writer be involved during the time the system is being developed.  Our manufacturing clients have found that having our technical writers involved during the development process improves their bottom line since our writers can work closely with engineers on-site or remotely. If the writer isn’t included during the development phase alternative document life cycles can be implemented. But, of course, like with many things, knowledge is power, so the initial meetings held prior to contracting should discuss these issues.

 

Depending on the document life cycle needed to ensure continuity of business effort a client can determine if the technical writing should be done in-house or utilizing a freelance methodology that suits their documentation needs.  

 

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Insourcing and Jobs in America

The big news on July 3, 2008 was 62,000 jobs lost. This has sparked several discussions on-line and we would like to add our two cents.

 

We will deal with this issue using the alternate definition of the word insourcing, since in theory, everything is possible. Since we are currently in America, this term will refer to transferring jobs to local contractors and facilities that are physically located in the United States of America.

 

This is an election year, and there is talk from both candidates about putting America back to work. Each candidate states their commitment to this but maybe small businesses can lead the charge for their respective industries. With supportive government policies, that are enforced, the number of jobs located in America just might increase.

 

For example, since free trade isn’t always fair trade, how about having product documentation targeted at the American consumer, written in America? Our company has rewritten product guides that were originally written in a country where English was not the first language. It turned out that outsourcing wasn’t appropriate in this case. In short, they had to pay to have the same work done twice. Where is the savings here? We don’t see any and neither do our clients.

 

Supporting policies and infrastructure may assist in avoiding issues like this and promote a win-win for both the corporate bottom line and the American worker. But this is just a theory, and in theory, everything is possible!

 

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Save Money with Telecommuting

Are you finding that driving to work is costing you more than you are willing to give?

 

Start a telecommuting policy and start to save money!

 

  • Start with telecommuting 1 or 2 days a week
  • Implement standard online meeting tools
  • Need face to face time, be creative, use inexpensive webcams

 

Many technical communicators already incorporate remote work in their week. Publication writers and illustrators tend to be more productive when working in the environment of their choice. So talk to your writers, find out what works for them. Increase morale, reduce turnover, get better quality graphics, illustrations, writing and yes, save money on gas.

Saving Money with Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)

If you think you are spending too much money buying software for graphics and print, you just might be right.

 

You don’t have to tolerate fuzzy print when using graphic and web programs.  Start using SVG for reviewing email campaigns, advertising, landing pages, and illustrated content. 

 

Before you sign that purchase order to buy software to do this, shop within your company first. Several industry standard software bundles include SVG programs when you purchase them.

 

Why settle for fuzzy printouts when you can have clear high quality graphic and web printouts?

 

Click here to learn more about SVG.

Reduce costs for freelance technical writing

How would you like to pay $35-$80 per hour for writing projects?

If that sounds better than the deal you are currently getting, stay tuned. We have been freelance technical writers for over twelve years. It has been interesting to see the recruiting rates, marketing fees, and other fees that produce hourly rates above $100 per hour. Take a look at these tips below.
Saving Money with Technical Writing
Learn to negotiate and make careful choices to save you time and money.