Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Associated Content: SOLD!

I've been meaning to update my blog, really I have, but at the moment I have my hands full keeping up with my client work. Thank you to everyone who voiced encouragement on my last post, and know that neglecting my blog right now just means that I'm trying to focus on my other responsibilities.

Anyway, I'm blogging tonight to report a headline, hot off the press (so to speak), that I thought would interest many of my freelancers:

Denver-based web-content firm sold

Yahoo is buying Associated Content for $100 million. (Funny, AC may not believe in paying their writers much, but they sure want top dollar for their business.) Since Associated Content was Denver-based, it's big news here. I wonder if there are any local employees who will be losing their jobs over this — I know AC hires local people for their editing positions, as I interviewed for a position when the company was fairly new, and a freelance friend of mine worked there as an editor for a short time. Plus, an old high school friend of mine knows programmers who work for Associated Content in their Denver office. (They at least are well-paid, although that doesn't say much for the company, in my opinion, as it indicates how poorly they think of writers as compared to code monkeys.)

The Denver Post article includes a blogger's quote that questions Yahoo's decision, pointing out that they are polluting their content with some pretty low-quality stuff. But I can't help but wonder if AC's new owners will be able to raise the standards — and the pay — enough to salvage their reputation.

What are your thoughts? Most of us agree that low-paying freelance work has at least a minor impact on the industry as a whole — and some would argue the impact is pretty major. And Associated Content is a pretty major force in the industry, as it is the longest-surviving content site that I know of. With that in mind, do you think Yahoo's acquisition of the company will be a good thing or a bad thing for the industry in general?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Coming back is hard to do

As many of you know, I've had a difficult month. Heck, in some ways it's been a difficult year. After force-feeding my cat Prince for 5 months, we had to put him to sleep on April 15th. (Now I have yet another reason to hate Tax Day.) And that was following a week that I completely lost thanks to a burn-induced infection in my hand.

Needless to say, April wasn't a good month. I haven't had the heart to finalize the numbers yet, but preliminary counts show I made only about half of my normal income — which would make sense, considering I was out of commission, either from physical complaints or from grief, for 2 weeks out of the 4 ½ that made up the month of April.

Even though that's all over now — my hand healed long ago, and although I still miss my kitty from time to time, I think about it less frequently and with less intensity than I used to — I'm finding it hard to come back. Even though I technically went back to work on the 19th, I've been working only sporadically since then, with a lot of wasted hours and even days.

Yesterday Lori Widmer wrote a post called Do You Have What It Takes?, meaning what it takes to freelance, of course. I've never doubted that I do — I've never minded working late and pulling the occasional all-nighter in exchange for a more flexible schedule the rest of the time, and that sort of thing. But this last month, I've had to wonder: Do I have what it takes? How have I made it 4 ½ years?

I know it's been a pretty extreme month. Most of the time you aren't going to have an infection in your hand followed by having to put your cat to sleep. But we all know how bad luck can all hit at once. Unfortunately, I'm terrible at planning ahead, and I had no reserve to fall back on. My clients have been pretty understanding, but then again the show must go on, and deadlines must still be met. Sometimes I wonder, if this train is going to keep chugging onward, if it's going to roll me right under the wheels.

I'm curious whether my other full-time freelancing friends have had similar experiences, or if it's just me. Have you ever doubted your decision to freelance? Have you ever wondered how you'll make it through some crisis or another with your career still intact?


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