Tag Archives: online work

Failing at your own business–College Essay Reviewer

Internet connection being what it is in Mexico, I thought I’d try and expand my employment tentacles and applied for a job reviewing college essays. I had mixed feelings when I heard back from the company.  While it would be great that I wouldn’t have to keep on eye on my signal bar or panic when the electricity flickered off like when I was teaching live classes, I didn’t really want to work more hours.

With a sigh, I reviewed the writing sample and sent copies of my diploma and university transcripts, demonstrating my more than adequate qualifications.  I wasn’t surprised that I got the job.

started

Although the pay rate was $13 USD per hour, I could only request payment for 30-minute increments which meant I would need to review 2 papers per hour.  Initially, I tried to note each and every error so each essay was taking me well over an hour, sometimes 2. I learned quickly to only accept essays 4 pages or less, which sped things up a bit.  I could also preview the essay before accepting, allowing me to avoid the worst of the lot but I had the thought “you graduated from high school?” on more than one occasion while rolling my eyes at yet another misused word.

found it

Most of the errors were in citations.  It’s been more years than I care to admit since my last professional paper, so I had to do quite a bit of review of MLA and APA standards.  This research was useful while I was converting my ebook A to Z Reasons Why La Yacata is the Best Place to Be in Any Disaster to paperback though.

I diligently cranked out at least one hour of work per day throughout the first weeks of December.  Then suddenly, the well went dry. Christmas vacation you know–no essays due. I submitted my timesheet and found I had made $68.21 payable through PayPal.  That was about what I had been making for 2 weeks at the elementary school.

more papers

In January, essays started piling up again, but I was done with all that.  I toyed with the idea of doing live essay grading or Spanish tutoring on my days off from online teaching, but then I’d be back in the same boat worried about the internet.  So while it’s good to know that I have another income option, I’ll just let it be for now.

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Failing at your own business–Web Design

frustrated

As you are probably aware, I have a blog. As such, I have become an expert at web design. Well, maybe not an expert, but I have learned quite a bit over the course of my blogging experience about web design, mostly the hard way with many hours of hair pulling. So when my friend from Tennessee was in a quandary over her blog, she asked me to help out.

What she wanted to happen is combine the two blogs she had and eliminate the store aspect of one completely. She and her husband had a successful organic children’s product retail site for several years. Unfortunately, her husband died and she felt overwhelmed with the technical aspects of the online business and wanted to phase it out but not lose her years of blog posts.

She had contracted someone last year to redo her site but wasn’t happy with the results. Since he had already transferred everything to WordPress and she knew that I hosted with WordPress, she asked if I could fix it up for her. Ok, so I’d never done anything like this before, but how hard could it be?

The first order of business was to organize her 340+ posts into categories. This meant I had to read each post and see what category it might fall under. While I was reading posts, I also checked grammar, punctuation, and spelling. I found a number of posts had broken links and missing photos and fixed those, too. Some posts were completely irrelevant without the retail store aspect and I deleted them. I also added tags to the posts so that it would be easier for people to find information on the topics she was writing about. Some of those tags became sub-categories later on. There is a nifty tag to category converter on WordPress that meant I didn’t have to recategorize those individually.

Then there was the layout and design. I went through a few before I found one that we both liked and spent quite a bit a time working on organizing it into something presentable. I’d add things in the sidebars and headers, check with her, and then took them off again because she didn’t like them. I repeated that process until she was nearly happy with the results. There were some limitations with the theme we had chosen, so I had to work in the perimeters of that, but finally that part was done.

WordPress is a free hosting site as long as you have wordpress.com in your domain name. My friend had purchased her domain name (.com) several months ago to make sure nobody else could use it while she got her blog up and running again. Now that everything was all set, she wanted to change the domain name to eliminate the wordpress.com. WordPress offers this service in the form of mapping.  This became quite a circus.

Although she had purchased the name, she had not purchased hosting. Once upon a time, the two came together and, in fact, were the same company. The company had split and thus the name registry did not come with a place to put the posts (the hosting) which is why everything had to be transferred to WordPress in the first place. WordPress offers a neat little thing called domain mapping where she would be able to use her purchased domain name but still host through WordPress. So we started that process. (See What is the difference between domains vs. hosting vs. website)

However, we needed to redirect her .com site to WordPress for it to work. Her former hosting site said she no longer had an account with them because name registry and hosting were now separate companies. The name registration site had her information on file, but the hosting site said they would need to verify her identity and sent an email to the .com that she had registered with them ages and ages ago. She no longer had that email, so she had to reactive it for a month just for that. Big pain in the tuckus. It took nearly a week and several hysterical phone calls to the company with references to dead husbands and stupid people to get that done. Whew!

logo

Then I changed the primary domain on WordPress to the .com and everything was hunky dory! So now I can add Web Design to my resume. You can check out the refurbished blog at ChildOrganics. Need anything done? I’d be happy to help!

I have to say this was one of my better business ventures in Mexico.

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