Indianapolis, born, bred and raised thriller author, Stacey Carroll is known for her unique perspectives on life and fiction. Influenced by Anne Rice, Stephen King and the Grimms Brothers, combined with the pure hatred of Disney endings, her novels are equally gritty and sexy with well-developed, realistic characters.
Additional influences on writing are her degrees. She has a Masters in HRD, a Bachelors in Aviation and a Computer science minor. All of these factors and her experience in flying Cessna 152s, 172s, King Airs and Piper Senecas have resulted in fiction novels that feature satisfying mature content emphasizing the characters.
If you would like to know more about blogging or how to blog, check out these books from Amazon:
When it comes to being effective on social media, Direct Messages (DMs) can help spread your message and garner you new clients if done correctly. Unfortunately, if their done incorrectly, you could be making yourself look like email spam. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to make your DMs more effectively to ensure they are read instead of ignored and deleted immediately.
1. Never Ever Under Any Circumstances Automate Your DMs
Under no circumstances should you automate your DMs. Direct Message automation is when you setup a direct message to send if a certain action is triggered. When I see DMs, they are typically triggered by a “follow” of an account, but they can be set to send under other circumstances. I’m going to be quite blunt here. These DMs are spam. They’re sent about 30 to 60 seconds after the follow, and they usually contain irrelevant information, like a sales pitch or an offer of proving for-hire services or selling a product. No one wants to see an automated DM. Not Ever. It’s even worse if you send an automated DM using a free service, because you know what’s at the bottom of that DM? Sent by X service. That’s right. No matter how well you write that DM, you’re free service will out your automated DM. If you want to be taken seriously as a professional, do not ever send these.
2. Never Send an Unsolicited Link
Under no circumstances should you ever send any sort of unsolicited link. This is a link to a website that you sent in a DM that was not requested. It doesn’t matter how legitimate or well known you are, anyone who has half a brain won’t click on that. There’s too much of a risk for grabbing viruses and maleware for anyone to click on any link. Furthermore, doing this will probably get you blocked immediately by the receiver, which completely destroys whatever you were trying to do. If you are going to link to things, you would be better off putting those in your Twitter, Instagram or Facebook feeds, not in someone's Direct Message box.
3. Stop and Think About Your Message
Before you type your message, think about it. What are you going to send as your first message? Is it attention grabbing? If your first thought is to type “Hi” or “How are you?” STOP! There is no need to see if someone is awake or to start an online conversation with small talk. No one has time for that. It is most important to start the conversation, not waste someone’s time looking at a message that simply says – HI. What are they supposed to do with that? The individual has no idea what you want, or if what you want is even relevant. Not to mention, no one wants to spend 10 minutes in small talk trying to figure out what you need. Just state it.
4. Determine if Your Message is Relevant
Now that you’ve thought about your direct message and you know what you want to say, determine if your message is relevant. When I say relevant, I mean relevant to the individual who will be receiving your message. Do you need help that the individual can provide? Do you need their services? Did you see something in their feed and want to ask a question that isn’t appropriate for comments? Did you buy a product or service and need to talk to the individual about it? If you answered yes to any of this or your DM falls under anything smiliar, your message is relevant. If your sole purpose is to sell your goods or services or chat, your social media feed is the best place to put those posts.
By following these DM social media rules, you’ll be more likely to receive a response and start a professional relationship.
Do you need content for your website? There are thousands of freelance writers that can write well-researched, detailed blog posts, articles and webpages for a variety of business, including HVAC, chiropractic care, plumbing, home remodeling and human and pet dental care, and many of them have years, if not decades, of experience. The caveat is that they need to know what you want in order to write the content you desire. These means that you’ll have to provide a few details.
1. Your Topic or Article Title
The most important piece of information is your topic or article title. This can be as vague or specific as you want, but most freelancers can write an article with as little as – Top 10 Reasons to Replace Your Furnace or Chiropractic Treatments for Sciatica. A professional freelance writer in Indianapolis will search that title or topic and review all the available information. Then, they will craft your article with the information that they found.
2. The Business Website
In order to ensure the content writer doesn’t include services your business doesn’t provide, it’s a good idea to provide the link to the current business website, no matter how vague. Your freelance writer will review that website, looking for specific information, including your business name, location, phone number and current services. This helps the freelancer fill out the article with your geolocation, provide an accurate call to action and make sure that services you don’t offer are not listed in the article. If there is no business website, you can provide this information by typing it into the text box. What the freelancer isn’t going to do is call or email you or the business or drop by unless it’s requested. Instead, all that information is simply used for informational purposes.
3. Any Specific Items You Want Mentioned
If there is something specific that you want mentioned in the article, webpage or blog, it’s a good idea to mention it. While your freelance writer may stumble upon it by accident, it’s always best to make sure they include it by listing it in your directions.
4. Any Keywords that You Know You Want
If you’ve hired a content strategist or an SEO expert to research particular keywords, it’s best to include those keywords in your directions so that your content writer can include them. Content writers tend to include certain keywords automatically, like the city and state where you are located, your industry and the specific services you offer or the service that is highlighted in the article. For example, if your article is on Chiropractic Care for Back Pain, there’s no need to request chiropractic care or back pain as keywords. They will appear automatically as those are part of the topic and vital to the article. Just remember not to add so many keywords that the article appears stuffed.
5. Any Additional Specifics
If there are other specifics you need to add, like an article outline, specific formatting or additional details about the business and its service, remember to mention them in your directions. This is especially helpful if the requested article doesn’t necessarily mesh with the business. For example, if you own an HVAC business but the article is about home remodeling. In this instance, you will want the writer to talk primarily about home remodeling, but include a section on the importance of updating or upgrading the HVAC so that it can handle the additional load caused by the extra space.
By providing your freelancer with a few details about your content and what you expect, you will be more likely to get content that you love and can immediately use on your website. Just remember not to alienate your writer with Items to Never Include in Your Custom Content Directions.
Read More on Freelancing
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- How to Write a Content Article, Blog Post or Webpage with No Directions
Congratulations, you’ve made the decision to hire a freelance writer to handle your website content needs. Keeping your content up-to-date and adding new content on a regular basis can help you rank for your preferred keywords and help you attain a high page rank in Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo and other search engines. However, there are a few things you should never include in your article directions.
1. You Understand that I Can Post This Under My Name…
Freelance writers sell full rights unless otherwise stated. This means that once you purchase the content, it is yours to do with as you see fit. You can edit it, add your name as the creator and spin it. The content is entirely yours and the freelance writer does not retain any rights after payment has been made.
2. Must Be Grammatically Correct
Freelance writers understand this and would never knowingly hand you content that is grammatically incorrect. The best case scenario here is that your freelance writer realizes that you may have had one or more bad experiences on extremely cheap content sites where you got a new or inexperienced writer that handed you a few pieces of content with subject/verb disagreements or that you are new to the world of content creation. The worst case scenario is that your freelance writer thinks you may be a nitpicky asshole. If the latter is suspected, your freelancer has two choices. They can politely decline your content or triple their rates in anticipation of many many time-consuming revision requests.
3. I Will Reject the Content IF…
No matter how you finish this sentence, it’s a bad thing. If you are already thinking about rejecting the content your writer is about to create for you, you’re in the wrong mindset. Clients typically use this phrasing when they are extremely frustrated and have been handed numerous pieces of content that needed extreme editing or were completely unusable. These types of scenarios typically happen on very cheap content sites where you are paying less than a penny a word. While that makes the content extremely affordable, it doesn’t allow your content writer to spend much time on your content.
At 500 words at .01 cents a word, your writer is getting paid $5 at most. You’ll be lucky if your writer spent 10 minutes on your content. This means that it doesn’t get researched. It doesn’t get spell checked. They’re not going to run it through Grammarly. You may get a plagiarism check by the content site, but that’s all you’re going to get, and the reason is simple. Your article was one of 20 that the writer had to complete that day in order to meet their financial quota, and they won’t have time to complete any revisions. Instead, they’ll throw your article back in the queue and keep moving forward on other pieces that may be accepted on sight.
4. I Hated My Last Writer(s)
If you hated your last writer or writers, there’s a good chance you’re going to hate your next writer. There are a couple reasons for this. The first reason is that you went to an extremely cheap content site. Content sites that only pay their writers a penny or less per word tend to attract new writers. While these sites are a great way for new freelancers to gain experience, they also often result in content that needs heavily edited, which can result spending more time on the content than you would have liked. If you don’t mind this, by all means, give a new freelancer a shot. They really do need to buildup their skills. If doing this resulted in hating the writer, I’d recommend paying a little more for a more experienced freelancer.
The second reason is that you have extreme requirements or unrealistic expectations. Content writers are not mind-readers. They’re going to strive to give you high-quality content that is SEO optimized for your industry and business location. If your directions have a lot of details, there’s a good chance your writer is going to miss one of those details, and it won’t be on purpose. As I said, most freelancers will do their best to hand you an article you can immediately post to your website.
5. Your Directions Are Longer than the Piece of Content
If you need a 500 word article, and you have three Google documents, a detailed outline, a list of Do’s and Don’t’s and formatting requirements, you’re going to have a hard time finding a writer. The only writers that take these pieces of content are the ones writing content at $1 to $2 a word. That’s $500 to $1,000 per blog post or content article. This is because it may take your writer a day to go through all of your requirements before they can even begin writing it. Then, it may take another day to write and check the content against your requirements and directions. That’s a lot of time to spend on one article, and most content writers can’t afford to do that for $50 or even $150.
6. You Used Expletives in Your Directions
I’ve seen content order directions with expletives, and I move right along to the next order when I see it. The best case scenario is that your freelancer simply thinks you are unprofessional. The worst case scenario is that your writer thinks you are a nasty son-of-a-bitch that is going to make any type of working relationship a living nightmare. Most freelancers are going to avoid writing anything that has expletives in the directions. Any writer you might get is going to be desperate for the money, so much so that they are willing to take a chance on what might be a very bad client.
7. Your Timeframe Is Unrealistic
Unrealistic timeframes are another reason freelancers pass on writing certain pieces of content. Most freelancers I know can’t get to a piece of content within 24 hours. Their schedules are already full for at least the next day and possibly the next two days. For this reason, all content should have a minimum of 48 and 72 hours for the completion deadline. After that, 24 hours should be added for every additional 500 words after the first 500. This means that if you have a 1,500-word article, you should give the writer between 96 and 120 hours or four to five days. Timeframes that are shorter than that usually require a rush fee due to the freelancer having to move other clients articles further into the week or to cram more content into a day than they would really prefer due to the risk of brain fry or churning out content that may have unintentional errors.
8. You Used Obnoxious Colors in Your Directions
Directions for content articles should be colored black. If you have something that you want to make sure your writer doesn’t miss, you can bold it. What you shouldn’t do is highlight it in yellow, red or any other color or change the color of the text. This can make you appear rude and/or render the text unreadable. If you really feel like you must use a different color to highlight very important areas of your directions, I would suggest using dark blue or dark green, but again, I caution against changing the text color to any other color other than black.
9. I Can’t Wait to See Your First Draft
Professional freelance writers don’t submit drafts as a general rule. What you receive when the writer submits your content is a complete article, webpage or blog post that you are free to use immediately upon rendering payment. Submitting an obvious draft version is considered a waste of your time and the writer’s time. The exception to this is if the content is extremely technical or niche. The writer may want you to look at it to make sure they are on the right track and to avoid any unnecessary revisions or the need for a complete article rewrite, which can result in delays.
10. Must Not Contain Any Fluff
What’s your definition of fluff? The term Fluff varies greatly between writers and clients. Some clients consider fluff to be connecting words and words that are meant to improve the flow and readability of the content. Writers tend to consider fluff to be large sections that are off-topic or contain a lot of internal monologue type content, but this depends on the tone of your blog or website. If every blog on your site contains a section about your day or your random thoughts before getting to the topic, your writer is going to emulate that, but most of us consider that fluff.
11. Must Be Perfect
This is code for nitpicky and unrealistic expectations. Every freelancer wants you to have the best possible content for your website, and they want the content to be immediately usable and useful. Freelancers, however, are not perfect. That’s part of the human condition. We strive for perfection, but we are not perfect. If you know you are going to get upset over a typo, or that your freelancer doesn’t have telepathic abilities, you might be better off writing that content yourself and saving yourself some money in the process.
If you avoid doing these things in your content directions, you will be much more likely to have your order accepted by the freelance writer and get that content in a timely manner. Not to mention, you’ll start off on a professional footing and be more likely to work with each other in the future.
Are you tired of all the social media hubbub? Do you hate interacting with your Twitter followers? Are you seeking new ways to totally piss off your Twitter followers so you have an excuse to interact less? If you answered yes to these questions, then you need my 5 step guide to totally pissing off all your Twitter followers to the point where they unfollow and block you!
1. Be a Follow for an Unfollow Account
In the past, the recommendation was to follow a bunch of people and after a certain number of days, unfollow everyone. The thinking is that this makes you look special. I mean, if you’ve only followed 25 people and you have 15,000 followers, you have such awesome content that people can’t bare to unfollow you, even if you don’t reciprocate or participate with your follows. People are getting wise to this, and there are numerous programs that allow Twitter users to see who unfollowed them and who isn’t following them. Some Twitter users even utilize programs that follow and unfollow automatically, according to certain triggers. For example, if a new person follows the account, the program automatically follows that account back. It does the reverse for unfollows. The reason for this is that Twitter’s algorithm has gotten stricter, specially for accounts that have more than 5,000 followers. You can only have about a 10% difference between your followers and following lists in order to follow more people. This has caused an increasing number of twitter accounts to regularly check for unfollowers. Not to mention, you’re not being special. You’re being an asshole.
2. Send Stupid DMs or Worse – AUTO-DMs
When you think about engaging your followers, you probably think DMs are the way to do it. After all , getting a personalized message from a new or existing followers is pretty darn cool. Unfortunately, it’s only pretty darn cool if the message is RELEVANT! If it’s not relevant, you are spamming people’s phones and pissing people off. The best case scenario is that your message is simply ignored, but the person you sent it to could decide to immediately unfollow you, and in some cases, block you, which means you haven’t accomplished anything productive. So, for your own social media standing, do not send auto-DMs to thank new followers, promote your services or items, and for fuck’s sake, do NOT send HELLO DMs. If you are going to send a Direct Message, make sure that message is RELEVANT. For example, if you are talking to an author, make sure you have a relevant question. If you want to interact with a business, make sure your DM is about a product or service related to that business. If you just want to babble, post a comment.
3. Share a Tweet Through a DM
If you really want to be obnoxious, send a DM about a tweet to a random person on your follower's list or more than one person. I mean, if you're going to do it, go all out. Piss off your entire list. This is guaranteed to do some negative damage and ensure that you have fewer people than ever to interact with. The only time you should ever share a DM is when you know the person you are DMing extremely well, and the DM in question is very relevant to information they'd like to know. The only thing that I can think of that would fit this criteria is a news article, which means you still shouldn't share your tweet, you should ask the person if they'd like to see this highly relevant news article you just found. If they say yes, share the link to the news article.
4. Post Nothing but Promotion Content
The days of – buy my shit – advertising are over. While a few promotional posts about products, services and wares are appropriate, it should not make up the majority of your Twitter feed. No one wants to scroll your personal feed and see 200 buy my shit posts, which means you better have something else in your feed along with your promotion content. Thankfully, it can be anything, including what you ate for breakfast and random comments, but the goal here is to look like a real person instead of a digital entity. If you want to take it a step further, post or retweet someone else’s content, just don’t retweet too often. People still want to ‘hear’ your voice.
5. Never Interact with Your Twitter Followers
If you want to be unknown, feel free to never interact with your Twitter followers. The whole point of social media is to engage and communicate. If people post comments to your feed and you never say anything, you’re not helping your standing. In fact, your followers may feel ignored and unfollow you. The best case scenario is that you simply don’t get many if any comments. Now, for accounts with thousands of followers, you may feel slightly overwhelmed, but there’s a way to manage this. You’ll have to turn on comments for everyone, and you really should pick a time once a day to go into Twitter and comment on other people’s posts. Scroll your feed for 10 minutes and comment on whatever looks good. You’ll be helping your followers and yourself in the short and long-term.
6. Set Your Scheduled Tweets to Post Every 60 Seconds
I’m looking at you Fox News and anyone else who thinks this is a good idea. If you schedule your tweets to post every 60 seconds or less, you will very quickly drown out everyone else on all your followers lists. This is going to do nothing but piss people off. I actually had Fox news on my following list for about two weeks. Every single post I saw was Fox news. This was because they were literally tweeting every 15 to 30 seconds. That doesn't make an account relevant. That makes it spam. Just fry up some eggs and slap some ketchup on that. Instead, make sure you have some kind of gap between your posts. Let other people talk.
For those who don't know, I like to maximize my productivity, and part of maximizing my productivity is utilizing social media autoschedulers to make sure all my posts go out in a timely manner. This is extremely helpful in the summer when I'm inundated with fiction and content orders. My scheduler of choice is WoopSocial. They allow unlimited social media posts for free. If you want detailed analytics, they charge for that feature, but they do give you your first 10 days for free, so that's nice. The problem with Woop is that they've been 75% down since February 28. I didn't think too much of the problem at midnight on the 28th. I expected it to be fixed by the morning so I could schedule my posts for March. It wasn't. When I contacted their customer support, they were aware of the problem and said to wait at hour. That was at 1:pm on the 1st. It wasn't fixed by 3:pm, and it's not fixed today, March 3rd. This put me in a real bind. All my social media was set to run out of content between midnight and 1:AM on March 2nd. This means I have 10 hours to schedule 2,500 posts. I'm in trouble. At that point, I started digging into other options - something I have done numerous times over the last few months. Nothing has changed on the autoscheduler front. There are no new autoschedulers and all the free options are severely limited - like 10 to 30 posts at a time, if you're lucky. Some only allow you 10 to 30 A MONTH. That's not helpful. So, I ran across Social Oomph. This isn't the first time I've run across them, but their free account is limited in the fact that it only posts to Twitter, but I'm out of options. I think I can IFFIT to Facebook. I'm going to have to go for it. I'm running out of time.
My Social OOmph Experience
I fill out the lengthy account creation app for Social Oomph and signed up. Yes, they sent a verification email, and I had ot click on the link. Thanks spammers for making life more difficult, but anyway. Once I'm in, I start scheduling posts. I use a 24 hour cycle. So, I have between 72 and 96 posts per day, and they run every 24 hours. There's no problem with that scheduling. I've done it with Woop. No one complains. Twitter is cool with it. What Twitter wants to make sure of is that you are not spamming the same post over and over again and irritating your followers. I get it. I've had that warning when I accidentally double-clicked the Tweet button. It really is to stop back to back posts that could quickly become obnoxious.
I start scheduling posts by the day, and I get through 2 rounds of them. So, I have 2 posts scheduled for the next 31 days. It's 5:pm. I need a faster way. I have 8 hours left before all feeds go silent. In depseration, I click the "Try Pro for 168 hours" checkbox. This is going to give me the ability to post 1 post and recycle it for every day at the same time. The immediate problem that I see is that after 168 hours, this could all fail. It's a free trial. However, the hope is that in the next 7 days, Woop gets their scheduler fixed, and I can go in and schedule posts normally. For now, this is the only option I have.
It takes me 3 hours to schedule all those posts, even with the repeater checked, but I get it done before my feeds go silent. YAY! It's done at least for the next week. I can relax.
Except: I didn't Pay Attention to Something
When I signed up for that 168 hour free trial, I ignored a warning that was right below the 168 free trial button. That warning said that spreadsheet uploads and the ability to schedule more than 12 posts an hour was not available in the free trial due to SPAMMERS. I should have paid more attention to that, but my immediate thought was - who the hell wnats to scheudle tweets every 8 minutes? What that really says is that their platform may have Twitter blocks on it, and their rating with Twitter may be junk. I ignored this when I should have ran away quickly.
Saturday at 2:AM
I had been keeping a close eye on my posts all day Saturday. Everything was working fantastically. Posts were going out every 20 minutes. I wasn't getting instability errors. It's looking good. Then, long about midnight, I notice nothing has hit my Twitter feed for 3 hours. What? There were no emails alerting me to the fact that these posts hadn't gone out. I logged into Social Oomph to see what the problem was. I had all kinds of warning everywhere about not being able to post the same thing within 48 hours. What? That's not a Twitter problem, but just in case Twitter had changed something between Feb 28 and March 2nd, I copied out the last failed scheduled post and manually posted it. No problems. Social OOmph has some issues to work out. Their standing with Twitter is definately on shakey ground if Twitter has this type of limitation on thier application. Since I had already had numerous posts fail, I quickly deleted everything that was already scheduled. Whatever this platform's problem is, I don't want it affecting my account. Then, I quickly scheduled 3 or 4 posts with TweetDeck for the overnight and went to bed. Far fewer that what should have been going out, and I paid for that in the morning when I looked at my account stats.
Sunday Take 2
Sunday morning, I get up late, knowing full well all my feeds are silent. This is exactly the scenario I was trying to prevent Friday. I checked WoopSocial. They're still broken, so my option is to retry Social OOmph on a 48 hour repeating cycle. Keep in mind, that I only have 168 hours of pro available total, and their issue Saturday night has caused me to be unable to use at least 8 of those hours. I very quickly schedule 3 posts to cover 11:20AM to 12:20PM just so I can get moving on the feeds and start to reschedule on a 48 hour timeframe. I reschedule for about an hour. Then, I checked my Twitter feed. Nothing has gone out. I look on Social Oomph, same errors. Same 48 hour problem.... I deleted everything I had just scheduled because really - something heinous is going on with this scheduling platform. I've never come across this, and I've been doing 24 hour rotating posts for several months now.
I Emailed Customer Service
At that point, I went over to Hootsuite, which I really cannot stand and scheduled the maximum allowable posts - 30. This is the last thing I wanted to do. 30 posts buys me 8 to 10 hours. That's it. Once I had that done just so I could get rolling again, I contacted Social Oomph's customer service. I explained that I was trying out their system, and why I was trying it out. Then, I detailed everything in that post that I have paid out here, because it's not normal.
They got back to me within 30 minutes. Fantastic! Maybe I can get some insight. I opened the email, and what they had written was not suitable for anyone's eyes. Yep, it was that inappropriate and unprofessional. In fact, I won't even post it here, but suffice to say, the comment was pretty much what I expected after all the hell the site itself had caused me. They do not care about their business or anything else to do with it. Personally, I cannot recommend them at all, and I would warn you to stay clear. Luckily, it doens't look like thier Twitter problems have manifested on my Twitter profile or feed. I can still post, and it doesn't look like anything is being "shadowbanned", but we'll see. I'll have to keep a close eye on it.
Other Reviews for This Scheduling Platform
As I dug deeper, I realized, Social Oomph's problems have been going on for quite a while.
What do you like best?
At the time it was the most affordable product that offered the "infinite queue" — that is, queuing up content that would repeat itself once everything was posted.
What do you dislike?
The user interface was so terrible, clunky and confusing that I couldn't remember how everything worked. Plus, other services ended up being cheaper and way more easy to use, like PostPlanner or RecurPost.
Recommendations to others considering the product
Go use PostPlanner or RecurPost instead. They have the same recycling posts feature and are way easier to use. I also liked SmarterQueue too.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
I wanted to be able to queue social media content up once and forget it. That saved me a lot of time and worry.
What do you like best?
Social Oomph was the most affordable social marketing tool I found for multiple social media accounts.
What do you dislike?
After using it about a month, Facebook deleted the app and told me if I used it again I would lose my Facebook account, so evidently Facebook considers it spam.
Recommendations to others considering the product
It is very economical, a little confusing to set up. But almost got me kicked off of Facebook.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
Economical way to post on multiple social media accounts. Saved time and money
End Comment - Avoid at all costs. It's not worth it, especially since it looks like it may actually cause harm to your social media accounts if left i nplace long enough. Facebook considers it spam, and at this point, I'd say Twitter does too.
Tips On Updating Your Blog and When You Should Do It
The answers will be revealed in the following sections.
1)Your Regular Audience
Do you consistently deliver high-quality content to your readers? You should be updating your blog on a fairly regular basis. Remember that your core readers are the ones that start your loyalty. They are the ones that will help you build your site from the ground up.
Some people update their blogs at least once a week, while others do it once a day. The choice is yours. You should ask yourself whether or not you are proficient in your content and building your blog? You should have nothing to worry about if the answer is yes.
I suggest updating it a few times a week until you have established your primary audience. Once you have built up that loyalty you need to keep the blog going then you can pump the brakes a little bit.
If you’re a freelancer, you have probably been bombarded by all those free tax software and filing commercials, and you are probable wondering if completing and filing your taxes is really free. The short answer is NO! for the majority of tax software companies/. I actually found a couple that may truly be free, but it's not the tax software companies that you hear about all the time.
The Biggest Offender and False Advertiser: TurboTax
Free Free FreeFreeFree
Laugh Laugh LaughLaughLaugh
This image to the left is what TuboTax wants you to believe - That you can prepare your taxes and file your federal and state for FREE. Unfortuantely, if you are a freelancer, this statement is not true. It only takes looking at their list of exclusions to determine that you are not covered by this:
Situations not covered in TurboTax Free Edition include:
- Itemized deductions (Schedule A)
- Business or 1099-MISC income (Schedule C)
- Stock sales (Schedule D)
- Rental property income (Schedule E)
- Credits, deductions and income reported on schedules 1-6, such as the Student Loan Interest Deduction
If you dig a little deeper, you'll actually be quite offended. The very first FAQ question, tells you how this service that you cannot use is being paid.
How does TurboTax make any money?
Customers with more complex tax situations will file with our other TurboTax products that provide all the right forms and guidance they need.
Yep, that's right, you, my freelancer friend, are paying for these "free" filers with the super expensive tax software that you will be forced to purchase.
If you are wondering just how expensive your taxes are going to be this year if you choose TurboTax, just take a look at this:
Your self-employed tax software will cost you $89.99 right this second, if you choose TurboTax. That is only to file your federal. The state is an additional, unlisted fee. This is also the most expensive tax software, and Turbotax won't let you choose another one because you have 1099-MISCs and business income and expenses. They are basically charging freelancers what they would charge larger businesses that aren't sole-proprietorships. You're also paying for that free tax software you can't use.
Free Free Free, my tail end. NOT FREE
H&R Block - Is Their Free Software Actually Free for FREElancers?
While H&R Block does offer a FREE tax software package, it doesn't include the ability to add 1099-MISC or business expenses. You must have W-2s only, and you may have retirement income, social security income and student loan interest. In other words, it's not free for freelancers, and once again, the self-employed must purchase a much higher level of tax software. if it makes you feel better, it's not the highest priced taxed software, it's the second highest priced tax software at $79.99 ($104.99) and $36.99 per state. In other words, you are going to pay a minimum of $116.98 to file your taxes. Hope you paid your quaterlies, caise YIKES, if you also owe.
TaxAct: Is TaxAct's Free Tax Software Actually Free for Freelancers?
Again, we have a resounding NO!
While TaxAct does offer a free version of thier tax software, it's not for freelancers. It's for people who have W-2 income and no business expenses or income, and they certainly don't have any 1099-MISCs. What's intersting about this one is that you can be married, but you cannot have kids or dependents. That's $.9.95.
In fact, their basic software line-up doesn't even include a tax software package for freelancers. It stops at Premier+, which is $34.99 plus more for each state.
So, where is the software for freelancers?
It's under a different menu item called "Self-Employed Taxes", but it's definately not Freefreefree. It's $49.99 and $39.99 per state, which means as a freelancer, you will be forking over a minimum of $89.88 to file your taxes this tax season. If it makes you feel any better, they've actually lowered this price. It was closer to $80 just to file the federal last year. It was an additional $36.99 to file the state, and so far, these guys are the cheapest, but they are still a far cry from all those freefreefree commercials.
Jackson Hewitt - Are These Guys Free for Freelancers?
These are the guys you actually see all over Walmart. I think. It's actually been a while since I've been in a Walmart store.
Jackson Hewitt does offer a free software package, but it's for single people or couples with no children who have incomes under $100,000. You can only take the standard deduction, and they only accept W-2s and unemployment as income with their free tax software.
Freelancers must purchase their $49.99 (1$09.95) package. State filing is charged at $36.95 per state. This makes them slightly cheaper than TaxAct, but not by much, and the minute they stop their sale, they're the most expensive tax software so far. Definately not Freefreefree.
Other Tax Software Companies
Credit Karma: Free Premium Filing
It says it's free. In order to find our more and if it's actually FREE for freelancers to file, I'd have to create an account. It does say it works for individuals who have a side-hustle. The end conclusion is - I don't know if this is free for freelancers. If you've used this as a freelancer or tried to, let us know how it worked in the comments.
Liberty Tax: Premium
$52.47 for Federal
State Additional - Not listed
Free TaxUSA: Deluxe
It looks free with the state being an additional $12.95 for the Deluxe version.
End result: You can find extrmely cheap tax software solutions as a freelancer, but they aren't with the big three or four. You'll probably have to go with a lesser known tax software provider in order to get affordable tax software. Is that a good idea? The choice is up to you.
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