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Working with Nature by Nicole Harmon

I work best with music playing but it is not music as you think of music. I work with natural sounds playing in the background. You know the wind, rain, ocean sounds, fireplace sounds, white noise…things of that nature. And it keeps me so focused you would not believe the work I get done.

Currently, I am finishing up my last Daphne Kiss of Death entry. This year has been by far the most entries I have ever judged. I got nine this year. I am so proud of myself for reading them all. All of the entries. I sincerely wish them all the best and I want one of them to final and win. I have had only one of the books that I have judged be a finalist.

I actually stumbled across nature sounds when I listened to Bossa Nova and coffee shop sounds on YouTube. Yes, I am a total YouTube fan. I will watch movies, listen to podcasts, audibles (audiobooks), and news shows, and watch sports, video games, and television shows. It is a smorgasbord of television to watch.

I was thinking I need something, anything to help my concentration. I mean I was reading a book for a book review that I was getting paid for and I kept losing my concentration. So thinking it was me I put it down and started working on an article. While working on the article I started listening to rain sounds. See this channel I just posted the link to. Here is another link for you: Note this is a Spanish channel. This is the third I use for listening.

Pexels photo by Dakota Gillette

The sounds I listen to relax my body because the sounds are what I hear outside my very window. Granted hearing a thunderstorm on a television video is a lot easier to handle than an actual storm for me but it for some reason soothes my mind. I can concentrate because I know what is happening. It is on screen. It is safe to listen to. Nothing can hurt me.

I actually do a lot more work than I realize listening to these videos. My current go-to video is one where the listener can imagine they are sitting or lying down on an RV bed by their window listening to the rain hit the vehicle next to a forest. Believe me, it is very relaxing.

You are probably thinking of this young lady, I liked her so much until now. She seems to be not who I thought she was. I sincerely hope not. I sincerely hope that from this post you can gain one important thought: the thought that what keeps you productive is the one item to keep no matter how many times you transition your position in a company or to a new job. Production matters. Productivity matters. Your output matters. And how you obtain it matters.

I am a writer. I use my computer to not only research a topic but to also type up an article on the topic of research. I use it to take pictures or upload pictures inside that article as well. Sometimes, I stress out because of my computer not working right or because the research is not right.

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My current assignment is to re-write an article to make it fit the guidelines of research. I was told by my editor that it wasn’t what they wanted from me. Since I want to keep this job, I am re-writing it and it will be how they want it. I almost typed hopefully, but it has to just be. The article has to be what they want it to be or they will let me go. And that is a no-no.

So I am going to make some coffee, turn on the nature sounds, and relax my mind and body. I will put my back against the wall (on my three pillows of course), and relax. I will go over what the requirements are and then do some more research. Then re-write it. Then hand it back in.

Since this is a re-write I need to concentrate even harder or it will just be the same mistake I hand back in. This I do not want to do. So not only do I use the above nature sounds to help me relax but I also use the following link(s). This is the White Noise Channel. This is Althea Renee’s Channel. And we are back to nature sounds with this channel.

Nature sounds are a good way of lulling your body into a relaxed state. Your body will sync up with the natural rhythms inside the video of the natural world. You have water or wind. You have the crackling of the fireplace. You have the sound of the thunder. Despite the thunder being not consecutive or not constant, the body anticipates the thunder sound and acclimates itself to the eventual clap.

For me, the sounds will allow me to block out unwanted noise. I won’t hear the bad conversation or the constant tapping of the animal that might be hiding in the attic. I won’t hear the scraping of the tree limb onto the roof much less the bark of the dog around the corner who has just gotten lonely. Instead, I will concentrate on the following:

  1. My research
  2. My topic back up
  3. The correction of my answer
  4. My correct answer
  5. My sources
  6. My money.

All important to me and my bottom line. All those lessons on my LinkedIn and on my Facebook will come to help me out. All my lessons in my freelance writing classes will come to help me out. I will write the best damn piece and I will earn every cent of my money.

And the nature sounds will have helped me do it. I am very happy to listen to the natural world. I am very grateful that there are a plethora of videos to choose from. And I am grateful for the job that I am using them to write another better article.

In conclusion, I feel that listening to sounds that relax you give you a sense of purpose and a sense of time. It allows your mind to focus on what is important. Your assignment. This allows you to be productive and create a winning article. And as a freelancer isn’t that what matters? Your output that is satisfactory to the client that hired you? Great output! Listen to your version of nature sounds so that you make that dollar!

How Do You Bank as a Freelancer? Part One by Nicole Harmon

Heads up-freelance work equals 40+ hours work weeks.

Photo courtesy of Lifestyle-520CW-Pixistock-70

Hi all. Heads up-freelance work equals 40+ hours work weeks.  But the flipside is if you find a paying client-not actually working until 10 p.m. in the evening is very feasible. For most of us we start our days as soon as new tasks available.” For me its either 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. I’m so happy to see that email. I’ve got work. Seems hokey right? It is not.

What that means is I live paycheck to paycheck.  Is that wrong? For me it is semi-accurate. Let me explain. I get paid once a month. If all my checks for freelance work came in, I would be paid two checks per month. My last store job didn’t last. I am not currently working as a substitute teacher. So, I don’t have unemployment. I have been offered grant money which I am looking into accepting. The problem with the pay scheme as that scenario is- I need money to go into a bank and accumulate. I also may have to pay fees. Sometimes it could be weeks between paychecks as in more than two. I’m at one month. I need a bank that won’t charge me a fee, also gives me checks, charge card and a savings account.  What I have read is that freelancers would also like a bank that could tally taxes and pay taxes. Some prefer a QuickBooks type that also tracks expenses, mileage, petty cash, bills, cash disbursements plus pay checks. Recently there have been a lot of options to help people particularly freelancers’ bank.

There are several new banking options for freelancers. I’m keeping track. Why you ask? Because I have problems with my checking account at a brick-and-mortar bank. Mostly I keep track of my money but sometimes I didn’t. As a result, I couldn’t keep my accounts. Now I need a checking account even for freelancing because some want to give you a check to deposit by mobile banking.  Mobile banking is not as easy as it sounds particularly when you get email checks that you must print out to send into the bank.  Sometimes they cash them, bounce them and then sometimes they just bounce them.

Options for Banking

Photo courtesy of Charles Parker from Pexels

I started with PayPal. It was a personal account. I could be paid via ACH or electronic payment. For me I could get paid without fearing a bounced check or fraud. If need be, I found out I could send checks to me for deposit in my brick-and-mortar bank. I could transfer money to my bank if it was attached.  And I just found out I could cash checks through the website which then allows me to deposit and write checks.  As PayPal is my business account that would do me very well. My first PayPal was for non-business even though I got paid for freelance ghostwriting. I was given a cash-debit card. The only way I could use it was if there were funds in my account (secured credit). Since I never made enough money, I didn’t ask for a 1099 which I could obtain via my freelance website PayPal.  This year I have too because I opened my business: Nicole Harmon DBA Yasmine Jameson to an EIN.  I was informed by the IRS; I must put that on all my taxes from now on and I must file. My eyes were so happy to see I could use Direct Deposit with a personal account.  Then I changed to Thrive Cart for one of my affiliates-Hope writers.  Unlike my fellow affiliate counterparts, who got informed how to join without upgrading, I had to upgrade my account to a me a kick in the pants to start the DBA.

But I still needed a bank account for checking. Before you say what about local banks, let me inform you we have two. I have been at one since 2007 when I moved back home to my parents prior to my father’s death. My problem is with recurring payments. I give my credit card number to the bill collector on the account and information needed to pay monthly bills upon due date by automatic payments-and one of 2(3) things happen in tandem:

  1. I lose my job
  2. End of unemployment
  3. Low funds in a bank account.

Plus, I would forget who had automatic payments on which credit card which by the way was unsecured credit in the beginning. I would stop not all my automatic payments or get charged and overdraw my account, bounce checks or both. Hence, my account would be closed and I’m without a checking. I had to close three checking accounts not the PayPal.

I also opened a Skrill account because I write for Topcontent and at the time they did not accept PayPal. I do a lot of work overseas for United Kingdom blogs and businesses who have blogs including gaming and gambling establishments.  I also do work for the surrounding countries. Recently, I was granted “True Skriller” status. How? I downloaded the App. Now I can use as I use any other secured credit card. But I still need a checking account because most businesses give me a hard time with paying me via electronically.  Websites have no problem. Companies do because they would like you to have checking at a brick-and-mortar bank. Recently I was told to open an online checking account such as Citibank online banking which is an online checking account.  All is done via mobile phone and online.  We shall find out the status of that later in the post.

Yes, a lot of new ways to bank are being offered particularly to those who have no bank and freelancers.  All are being touted as the banking of tomorrow for freelancers. At last count four or five have been offered in my Facebook and Instagram account alone.  

See How to Bank as a Freelancer Part Two on next post.

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Read These Useful Tips for Freelancers to Know When Looking for a Job by Nicole Harmon

Then it hit me-why not make a similar list for what freelancers should look for in a client while also telling the freelancers things that they should be aware of and showcase during an interview.

Photo courtesy of Pexels from Ketut Subiyanto

As I was looking through my email, I found an article in the Forbes Business Council Section.

I immediately read it as it was about freelancing. The article was mostly about what prospective employers should look for when hiring a freelancer. Then it hit me-why not make a similar list for what freelancers should look for in a client while also telling the freelancers things that they should be aware of and showcase during an interview. So, without further ado:

My Freelancers Cheat sheet 

Photo by Keira Burton from Pexels

A person reading a book

Description automatically generated with medium confidenceThis is a cheat sheet for freelancers and prospective employers to review and use during the interview process. On each section, you will see a part for the freelancer and beneath that the part for the prospective employer. At some point, you may see the only one which is the same for both. I will have available soon a download in pdf format of this article for you. I am hoping that at the same time you will also download my newsletter. Warning: I have only been making money as a freelancer in the past recent years. So, some of this is also new to me. But I do highly believe that it will help not only me but you as well. Please use this cheat sheet after downloading. And if you would like to subscribe to my blog and newsletter. You can also offer a donation as well or pay the subscription fee.


Join an agency that specializes in you. When you then receive opportunities the process of applying and interviewing, possibly testing you helps and the agency in finding you jobs. Your previous portfolio is the basis for all future jobs. Then once hired, that add-on helps cement your relationship with the agency you are a part of.


Look for agencies that have looked at their freelancers and their history, who have checked their records and verified them. Look for agencies that have personally interviewed that freelancer whose resume they are forwarding to you. This is a step that helps you quickly move forward in the process.



Always update your portfolio with recently completed projects include if able the actual work itself. Also include the client’s name you worked for with contact information and possibly or a review/recommendation. When applying always use recent projects preferably in the same job or using the same skill set.


Ask the freelancer for relatively recent projects. This means that you ask the freelancer for six projects to discuss with you or rather show you. This occurs before your in-person interview. You review six and chosen three or four. Contract the client and ask and your questions such as:

  1. How was he as a coworker?
    1. On-time
    1. Pre-paid
    1. Coherent
  2. Did he understand?
  3. Would you hear him again?


Keep track records and references. As a freelancer, you must keep very good or meticulous records regarding the jobs you were hired to complete. Included in the track and reference spreadsheet is:

Date of Project Here

Name of Client here

Contact Info here

Project time here

Deliverables here

Word Count here

Date Due/End here

Pay due/Miscellaneous here

From this a freelancer can obtain the following:

  1. Last six projects current to the date of the application
  2. Name and contact information of client who also serves as your reference
  3. Deliverables requested and your understanding of the job

Note: What you don’t have to give right away is your money earned on that project. You can use that information as a reference point for the pay of the current job.

Group by deliverables for your application. Always keep a record of who you give out as a reference and to whom.


When preparing to interview ask for a resume and references from the freelancer. During the interview ask for recent projects completed by your interviewee. Based upon how the person performs during that job and your belief in how they would fit into your current office culture, you may determine if they fit in well. Ask for most recent projects at least three of them. Look for the following information to be given:

  1. Duration
  2. Deliverable
  3. Understanding.



Make a vision board to explain experiences on the job coinciding with the portfolio. Details of what worked and what didn’t should also be on the board or your accompanying paper.


When asking the freelancer about previous experience ask open-ended questions and include their portfolio of needed. Use the previous portfolio to say a similar article.


Use personal and professional networks. When looking for a new freelance job utilize both personal and professional networks.



Hiring for emotional intelligence is critically important for both the freelancer and the prospective employer.

On the freelancer, it shows how well you adapt to certain work situations and people dynamics. How well you operate in the situation shows your emotional intelligence.

The client-employer, when you are vetting the prospective freelancers, you can determine their emotional intelligence.

For instance, the freelancer’s skill set can show if they can handle the work whereas how is smarter and/or has more experience than she, gives the new possible employer if the freelancer is a good fit for the company.



The employer has an idea of who would fit in with the company’s value system as an employee. You can utilize the interview time to ascertain who the freelancer is in your company.


The freelancer can likewise do the same for the employer and the company.


If it is an online interview, you can still do some of that determination by how you each react to each other.



For both the freelancer and the client-employer a relationship both are comfortable with both in and out of the office. Always respect the job. Always respect the time. Always respect the money.



For both the freelancer and prospective employers this is probably a question most don’t consider unless it is a huge part of the equation. Note: freelancers consider your real-time situation in your answers. Impress your boss.



Take note of these freelancers. Make freelancers part of the team. It is important that the newly hired freelancer feels just as much like an employee as everyone else. Introduce, explain, and include. This ensures open communication.



Hire people with the “right” attitude for your job prospective employers. If the person doesn’t fit either from the freelancer perspective or the employer -then no hire or expectation of one is expected. And it doesn’t have to happen.



Make sure the relationship is results-based. Remember to establish clear rules and expectations among the party. Make sure the work handed in is what you expect.



Start your new hire freelancers off with tasks normally completed by non-freelancers. This is done because anyone in the company could do them. However, the purpose for the freelancer doing them is to judge how the freelancer works, how they adjust, and how the others respond to him. Then gravitate towards the assignments that the freelancer would normally handle.

Photo by Lisa from Pexels

I can tell you from personal experience that all the freelance jobs I have gotten have all had the last four included. I was made to feel welcome. I was told I had the right attitude. I gave in my work, so the results were in their hands. Both I and the client established clear rules of behavior and expectations. I was given a test task or audition task if you will see if I fit. But all the points mentioned above I have thought about or have done. The agency is new because I am being courted by agencies. I am also awaiting the return on the pilot program for an agency. The results-based job that all should probably check out as a point of information is If you work, you will be given more work. And if the work you give in is good and the clients like you will receive work.

I hope this helps you out as you search for a job. I will be making this a pdf download for you to pick up.

Hopefully, the newsletter will be out soon thereafter. So don’t forget to pick up the newsletter. And if you feel like donating $1.00 it is always accepted. If not just subscribe to my blog to get more out of it. I am designing a masterclass soon and a webinar. Both will be discussed sometime later.