Three Rock Solid Tips For Hiring Freelancers From Overseas

I am about to blow your mind in a couple seconds. Are you ready?

The world is a big place. There are some seriously talented people all over the globe! BOOM! Did you feel your mind getting blown? I keep a lot of my stuff within the good ol USA but will occasionally dapple in the dark side. Especially with art. Even just looking around me in my office right now, it’s filled to the brim with artwork from all over the world. I just can’t help myself. People are just too darn good at what they do. It should come as no surprise that I have hired talented individuals from overseas from time to time. There are many tips that I could give you on this topic, but today we will concentrate on three. Here you go:

  1. Tip number one: Keep your eyes on the time zones. Anyone just getting into hiring freelancers will realize very quickly that not everyone lives in their time zone. You will need to plan accordingly. Yes it’s the middle of the day right now where I am, however it’s night time on the other side of the world. What’s that? You have a question for your artist in (random example) Greece? Give the poor girl or guy a few hours (if not more) to get back to you. You don’t like it when someone wakes you up in the middle of the night do you? Don’t be that person.
  2. Tip number two: Language barriers can be a pain in the butt if you are not expecting them. Make sure you include the language skills needed to perform the job in your listing. Not only that, actually talk with your potential candidates over Skype or another source. This does a number of things for you. It tells you if you can fully communicate the project with your potential hire while simultaneously and more thoroughly explaining what you want. It’s a win win. Seriously, talk with your people.
  3.  Tip number three: Do not be naive to the fact that some of the things that we say or do where we are from may be strange/ offensive/ and or different to people in other countries. Remember that time that President George Bush flashed a peace sign with his palm facing inwards to Australian onlookers? No? While the intention was good, that’s basically a middle finger there. If something as simple as a peace sign can be misinterpreted, certainly many other things could be too. Brush up on the differences between countries. You might find out some interesting need to know information.

What are your tips for hiring freelancers from overseas? Am I the only one, or are there more of you that enjoy art on a global scale? Let me know in the comments down below or on my social media!

-ZHanny

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Five Marvelous Tips for Creating A Great Advertisement

I am super pumped about my new books that are coming out in the next few months! I just had to get that out there. With the completion of the writing soon, I will be able to focus on the advertisements and images that will boldly be plastered all over my and other’s social media accounts. Now the big question for all those that are trying to sell your books. What makes a great advertisement? Well, let’s talk about that. Here are five rock solid tips to help you create some great advertisements.

  1. Stir up the readers curiosity. In the next several days, I plan on proposing multiple images that do exactly this. How do you do that? I’ll give you an actual example of what I would want. In one of my images I want the scenery of a younger dark haired girl standing in front of an antiques store looking up at the wording on the glass. In the reflection of the glass I want the girls image and a vague distorted reflection of something evil. Something that is stalking. Something that looms over the poor victim. An image like this creates many questions. The exact questions that need to be unanswered.
  2. Create a powerful statement. Now, if you were me, what would you write on the image visualized above? Make sure you think of something that is still following #1. On that above image, I might hint about what caused the problem. Maybe I would say something like, “Thou shall not covet thy neighbor” or, “Thou shall not steal”. You get the idea. Keep the audience wondering “what the heck happened?”
  3. Stand out. As you scroll through your social media, look at all the ads that seem exactly the same. Make yours pop out! Change up the colors, change up the imagery. People’s attention is grabbed by the different, strange, and vibrant.
  4. Make sure there is contact information. Now, this ad can not just be a nice picture. Where do you want the picture to lead to? Your blog? Your sales page? Leave a link, business name, book name, that kind of stuff. The image is a guide leading to the next step you want the customer to take.
  5. Leave a sense of urgency. Why should they buy it now? Is the free week of Amazon promotion going to be up soon? Is there a temporary sale going on? What is going to make the buyer hurry up and grab the book before it is too late?

What are your tips to creating great advertising? Did I miss anything? Hurry! Let me know in the comments down below in the next ten seconds so you can receive a free set of steak knives! Oh, you know me. I’m just kidding. But seriously, leave me a comment. I love talking with you people!

-ZHanny

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Today’s Project: Keywords- The Bane of My Existence

I have to give all you writers, publishers, advertisers, and more props. Keyword research is my least favorite activity as it is for most people. Today, I will be creating a larger list of prospective keywords for my upcoming two books. A quick search on the internet reveals that many people have no idea what they are doing when it comes to keywords. Heck, most do not even know what they are. What’s that? What are keywords? You know what, that might just be a good place to start. It will give me something to talk about in the blogs to come. This will be a quick introduction to keywords for any that are interested. Keywords are the words that people are actually searching for when utilizing a search engine. The search engine could be Google, Amazon, Ebay, you get the idea. Each of those platforms have their own lists of what people are typing into the search bar. A good analogy of this would be just general conversation with a random person. The person is a representation of one search engine. When talking with that person, would they be more likely to use the word “playful” in a sentence when talking with you or are they more likely to use the word “whimsical”? (Sorry on my two random word choices) As cool of a word that “whimsical” is, statistically speaking, “playful” is a word that gets used more often. If you were to make a bet on which word would get used, my bet would be on the word “playful”. Yes, there will be that occasional person that uses “whimsical” in a sentence, but that is now besides the point. Everyone is typing random words into search engines. Naturally there will be statistical similarities to what a group of people are searching for. You want to use the same words that the majority of people are using to increase the chance the they will find you in the sea of other products and articles. That basically sums up what keywords are. Keywords are just one small step towards becoming more find-able on the internet.

What is your solution to keywords? Do you think that they are important? Do you utilize them? Let me know in the comments down below or on my social media!

-ZHanny

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Feeling Unmotivated? Self Motivation Tips

It’s ironic that I am writing about this topic today. I won’t lie, the struggle is real this morning. Over the past several hours of the early morning, I have driven hundreds of miles on top of only getting a few hours of sleep. You can trust me when I talk about ways to keep that inner fire lit on days like today. Nothing would make me happier to hop into bed right about now, but there are goals to be had! Dreams to be made! Emails to be sent and staff to coordinate. A publisher’s goals do not fulfill themselves you see.

There are two huge motivating factors for me today. The first way that I motivate myself is the good old fashioned reward system. A great example of this is how my day is going today. If I finish my to do list, I will reward myself with an early cat nap. Maybe I’ll have to have some leftover Halloween candy or something too. Eh, we’ll see. The end result is not normally a cat nap and Halloween candy mind you. Most of time time it will be an episode of my favorite TV show or maybe a half hour of my favorite book. If I am doing something that seems monotonous at the time, nothing is quite as motivating as an end of the work day reward to temporarily dwell on. Switch up the rewards regularly. Even the rewards get stale after awhile if you are not careful.

Number two is just how happy I am to have such great writers working with me on my current projects. This field just excites me. I am sure you have heard the quote, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day of your life.” Over the past few days I have had two fantastic partial manuscript submissions. Reading through those manuscripts just gets me excited for the future. I have to reward and pay those guys for a job well done! Payton and Adam, if you read any of these articles, thank you for such great work! Truly terrifying stuff (in a good horror genre kind of way). We have some great content coming out in the next couple months. I’m absolutely pumped with all the progress we have made. The visualization of this future is just fun to think about. It’s getting harder and harder to keep some of that stuff secret!

I hate to end it here, but this guy’s got Halloween candy to scavenge for. What is a great way that you keep your inner fires lit? Let me know in the comments down below or on my social media!

-ZHanny

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How Long Until You Lose Your Job to Automation?

Ahh! Mass panic in the streets! The robots are taking over! No, this is not going to be one of those articles. It is, however, a topic to help spark some thought about a growing problem.

So there I was, watching a video the other day. This hair salon was switching over to robot cosmetologists. It was crazy to watch, but the robots actually did the job. Alas, another field switching to automation. The need for real people posted at their jobs is decreasing at an alarming rate. A quick look over across seas reveals that places like China and Japan are already on board with the switch. They have fully automated hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, and much more. 3D printed houses are in the beginning stages of taking over the world. Newspapers are shrinking/ becoming bankrupt. All this makes me sit down and think about how much longer I have until it’s my job is on the line. Anybody, in fact, should be thinking about this. Many in America and around the globe have been already impacted by the astounding rate of technological advances. It would not take long to find a self checkout or a Uber driver. Both are results of this rapid automation in just your area alone! Heck, self driving vehicles are just around the corner. How many jobs would that get rid of? These advances were just off the top of my head. Don’t just take my word on all these things, google it!

So let us address the issue here. Instead of moaning and complaining about this switch like so many are doing, what can people like you and I do to hedge against the difference? You and I are in an era of change. What jobs are temporarily safe? I live and work in the Midwest. There are commercials and advertisements running all day long fighting against the rapid change. I just heard another advertisement as I was writing that sentence, now that is irony. Those are the types of sad last ditch resorts that happen when it is already too late. You and I know that change is inevitable. Let’s get ahead of the problem instead of getting caught off guard. I decided I wanted to start up a side gig publishing digital and physical books during my spare time. It is something entirely different than my full time job that I had no experience in when starting. This side gig will certainly take some time to get working correctly. I know of a lot of people selling on Amazon FBA. The biosphere is a great place to learn how the internet works (just look at what I’m doing and what you are reading). People with retail shops making that transition to selling online. Those newspapers turning into online articles. There’s so many things that can be done. Don’t be intimidated by the change. Some of the best opportunities come out of transitions like this. If you’re interested in Kindle Publishing like me, keep an eye on this blog. I write a lot about my experiences and lessons in the field as I get deeper and deeper into the subject matter. What jobs can you think of that require an irreplaceable human element? Can you think of any other side hustles that keep up with the times? Let me know in the comments down below or on my social media!

-ZHanny

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Three Solid Ways to Avoid Burn Out

Congratulations! You are burnt out. That takes a lot of time, hard work, and commitment to achieve. All those hours at the office, endless overtime, and late nights have finally caught up with you. Now if you are not careful, you’ll end up making rash unnecessary drastic decisions. We have covered some of the warning signs in my previous post. You can find that post here  https://zhannypublishing.com/overdoingit/. Let us address the elephant in the room now. What can we do about burn out? Here are three tips to help resolve burn out. Let’s start with an easy one.

  1. Do you have a hobby? Maybe you need to find one if you do not. Preferably one that involves exercise. I like to go to the gym. Nothing helps me get through the day quite like working up a good sweat. Heck, I even wrote an article about that back in the day.  https://zhannypublishing.com/how-zhanny-comes-up-with-great-creative-ideas/ That does not have to be your hobby though. What helps you switch off in a healthy way? Reading? Wood working? Bird watching? You get the idea. Find some time for those things regularly. This itself will drastically help with burnout.
  2. Here is a difficult question for you. Are you getting all your recommended food groups? No, you can’t just eat a slice of pizza every day and feel 100%. A lot of people are nutrient deficient in several things leading to irregular hormone imbalances among other medical problems from strange eating habits. As someone who travels a lot, I get that it is hard to find good food to eat on the go and under a tight schedule. Preparation preparation preparation. That one day out of the week that you have a couple hours off, there is not better investment than making some meals for yourself. That vending machine candy will no do anymore.
  3. Are you getting enough sleep? No? You thought that eating wrong caused many medical problems. There are just as many medical problems from not getting enough sleep as there are from not eating right. I personally have a problem with this one right here. I feel like a grandpa going to bed so early, but I love waking up refreshed and ready to go. Being an early bird is certainly beneficial. The gym is wide open, its quiet at home, and the traffic is more manageable. Everyone’s amount of sleep needed to recharge the battery is a little different, but definitely get as many hours as your body tells you it needs. It will be hard at first, but certainly worth it.

What’s your advice for burn out? Can you think of any more that you personally find beneficial? Let me know in the comments down below or on my social media!

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Three Solid Signs That You Are Overdoing It

We are all working hard around here. Sometimes we push ourselves just a little too hard when succeeding and falling short of our goals. It is a lot of work chasing that passive income dream. I know I have certainly been in positions where I overdid it. Heck, a couple months ago I stress fractured one of my bones from performing chest exercises too often. If that’s not overdoing it, I don’t know what is. Be it chest exercises, working seven days a week, or those tough deadlines, there are some warning signs that one must look out for before it is too late. Here are three of the signs that I have found show up as warning indicators.

  1. Tiredness- like all the time. No matter what you do, you just can not fully wake up. Take a step back and problem solve. Maybe, just maybe you are burnt out. Have you found that you are eating too much or too little? How about those bad habits? Too much smoking or drinking? It doesn’t have to be those things either. I know that my brain defaults to energy drinks. When I am craving an energy drink, I know I need to stop or take a break. What’s your warning indicator?
  2. Decreased ability to problem solve. This one is huge for me and involves a lot of self reflection on everybody’s part. You know those days where you feel like you are on the top of your game? You can think clearly, remember more, and things just seem to get done more efficiently. I am confident when I say that those days are possible all the time with the correct proportions of work and personal time.
  3. You bring your work home with you. You go home after several long days. You absolutely can not believe what that person said to you. The nerve of that person! You’re so angry and upset about it it bleeds over into how you talk to your spouse, family, and friends. Maybe you argue more with the coworkers and family now because of it. That switch that you are normally able to reach yourself to turn off the brain is now out of range. Ding ding ding! Warning indicator alarm!

So what do we do about these indicators? Surely there is a healthy way to deal with them. Why yes there is! In my next blog post we will be sure to cover all that and maybe even more. Until then, what are the warning indicators in your life that tell you it’s time to take a break? Let me know in the comments down below or on my social media links!

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Three Shocking Tips On Hiring and Working With Artists

Art-is-not-what-you-see-but-what-you-make-others-see

It’s about that time of the book creation process where I hire an artist. In fact, I’ll be on the prowl for one during the next couple days. I love the whole process of putting the book together, but I especially love the artistic aspects of it. The cover is what draws the customers in, so it in turn requires that much more attention. If you landed on this page, you’re probably wondering, “ZHanny how do I make sure that I get what I want from an artist?”. No need to fret young one. Today I am going to provide you with three solid tips on how to do just that. Let’s just jump right into the good stuff.

  1. Look through examples of your potential artist’s products. Yes, that artist is only selling their work for five dollars but is it really what you want? Everyone has their own style. Everyone. That’s the beauty of this stuff. You can hire an artist to create something they’re unfamiliar with and get something passable or you can hire one that’s an expert and get something mind blowing. The level of accurate detail is going to be significantly better with someone who is familiar (here’s a couple of examples) with ships or human anatomy compared to an individual who’s only ever painted sunsets and rainbows.
  2. Have several examples of art that you like on hand. Artists have a tough job. Like really tough. Everybody’s taste in art is just a little bit different. Most experts in that field are used to taking requests to suit your needs. It’s one thing to tell them what you want, but nothing expresses it more clearly than their trained eyes looking over examples of what you are talking about. An example of what you like says a thousand words compared to a mediocre short email. Which already brings us into topic number three.
  3. Actually talk over the phone or video chat with your artist. So, you’ve sent over some examples of what you are looking for in a great book cover, back, and spine. Good job! Now what do you like about those examples that you’ve sent? What don’t you like about them? Talk to your artist about these things. This opens the door to them asking you questions that you would have never thought of. There are many layers (quite literally- Photoshop pun for the artists reading this) to the process of creating great art. Their questions to you manipulate the building blocks of how they create the final product. Answer honestly with the end vision in mind.

Here’s another topic that I could go on and on all day about. I’ll have to re-visit the topic again in the future. So what to you think? Do you have any advice on how to hire the best artists? If you are an artist, are there any questions that you wish got asked? Let me know in the comments down below or on my social media!

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Bad Investments- That Time We Purchased a Hot Tub

I would just like to take a second to appreciate all the good investments that I’ve made. No no, this is not another stock talk. The things like staying connected with my family and friends, switching jobs, and getting married to my beautiful wife. All these things pay dividends tenfold. I could go on and on all day long if you wanted me to, but that’s not why you are here now is it? On to the topic at hand. The bad investments. Boy oh boy, I’ve made some of these. I’ve learned some hard costly lessons. I still pay stupid tax from time to time, but that’s how we learn eh? I’m sure we all can relate to this on some level. Here’s a fun story of good ol ZHanny stupid tax. You know those cheap hot tubs that get sold everywhere? Well, it was that time of the year and for some reason we got just enough of a tax return to purchase our very own first cheap hot tub. Alas, after an expensive year we thought it wise to purchase an energy sucking demon. It came in the mail, we assembled it in the back yard, then filled it with water and chemicals. I’ll be the first to admit, the hot tub was pretty cool at first. As long as it was maintained correctly, things went smoothly. Finally Fall came around. I vividly remember sitting in the hot tub watching the leaves fall with my wife in the back yard. It was right there that we mutually agreed on how cool it would be to sit in the hot tub and watch the snow fall. That right there, my friends, was the start of my electricity bill prison sentence.

That winter was cold. Very cold. Like the kind where every day was below zero. There was literally never a day where I could drain the thing due to the effects of fast freezing tubes. I had to let it run or I would have one giant impossible block of ice to deal with. We did not even want to use it since we had to run through the snow, ice , and wind in swimming suits. The hot tub had it’s hands around my neck and it enjoyed to spank every chance it got. This was especially true when the bills came in the mail. Before my electricity bill was a nice, quaint, reasonable amount. Now it was doubled and sometimes tripled! Not only was I heating the unit, I was also passively heating the cement block under it. The snow would fall, yet all around the hot tub would be melted. Sorry, I get kind of worked up talking about it. I’ll try wrapping up the story for you. At the end of of the winter, hundreds upon hundreds of dollars had been thrown at that thing. What a relief it was to get rid of the tub. Lesson learned. There are many purchases out there like this. Those bad investments that are looking for the next victim. Look at some of the software we download with all the strings attached. Maybe look at the bills and enjoy the list of forgotten recurring payments. Have you owned Sears stock the last couple years? With all those things, Winter certainly came. Ouch. Should have I known better? Yeah, probably. However, now I refer to bad investments as “hot tubs” with my wife from time to time. I have flash backs of events like this story when looking through investment options. Pro tip to you. Don’t just look at what your buying or signing up for. Look at the future and potential. What’s the worst case scenario with what your getting into? Are you ready for it? This aspect creeps into everything. Your business, your property, your transport, your relationships, everything. Keep your eyes peeled for the hot tubs in your life. They’ll sneak up and get ya!

-ZHanny

Enough about me. What about you? Have you had any hot tubs… I mean bad investments in your life? Let me know in the comments below or on my social media.

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Instant Gratification. The Best Way to Ruin a Life

Immaturity-is-the-inability-to-delay-self-gratification

Anybody who is a publisher, author, or artist knows all about delayed gratification. Comparatively to other fields, this stuff takes some time. As of right now, I’m concentrating on the horror fiction field. The writing process takes some quality effort if you want it to come out as creatively as it can. While I’m writing or the author is writing, the artist is working on the cover and advertising images. An editor is reviewing the work that’s been done. This type of stuff doesn’t happen over night on the small scale like me.

However, when everything is brought together in the same place, when all the elements are put together in one package, the result is something beautiful. You can stand back, look at the product, and say, “we worked together and created that!”. That’s the power of delayed gratification. Here’s a fun article I wrote in the past about the topic https://zhannypublishing.com/how-to-grow-a-successful-business/.

I’ve found through observing in everyday life that not everyone can perform or endure the tasks required for delayed gratification. In this day and age most are used to instant results. Look at social media and advertising or example. I was watching Youtube yesterday and all the ads were something along the lines of, “If you give me fifteen seconds I’ll show you how to instantly trade A for B!” I would imagine that if more people concentrated on more on planning for the future instead of wanting something right now the world today would look like a very different place. Look at the percentage of people who drive vehicles or own homes they can not afford. Look at the amount of people with huge credit card debt. You get the idea. Somewhere along the way the lessons get lost growing up. This is especially true if you find yourself trying to compare yourself to others. Some instant gratification is okay in small amounts, but you will want to wire your brain to enjoy the process of waiting for the big prize. Trust me, waiting for the big stuff is a much sweeter reward. You might even thank yourself in the future.

-ZHanny

Did you save up for anything when you were little? What’s your end goal that you are working towards right now? Let me know in the comments below or on my social media!

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