Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Later than midnight arrival in San Salvador?

So I've been just checking to see what the best prices to El Salvador from DFW look like in general, and not just on the dates we think we want to travel. The best deal out there appears to be on Spirit, where round-trip tickets can be had for $384. I've flown Spirit to Guatemala before, with no trouble, other than the necessity to fly through Fort Lauderdale. The trouble I have with this flight is that apparently Spirit flies into El Salvador only for midnight arrivals. That means arriving at a strange airport, going through Customs, and then walking out to attempt to find transportation to some hotel in a city we don't know well, in the wee hours of the morning, and possibly with a 3-year-old. Safe? What do you think? I'm not convinced that this is the best option, but it's one I'm willing to consider!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Making extra money

As I've previously mentioned here, P-daddy and I have been exploring income options. One purpose is to make some extra money now, so that we have plenty in savings before we move. One way to do that would be to get part-time jobs here and just bank everything we make, but we are not really convinced that we want to go that route, for several reasons. First, we both have full-time jobs, plus we want to spend quality time with Pooh and with each other. Second, the pay for part-time jobs that would severely restrict our schedules is probably not enough to make it worthwhile. Finally, taking just any part-time job would somewhat defeat our greater purpose: attempting now to find ways to support ourselves once we are in another country. If we get part-time jobs here, we want them to be jumpstarters for things we can continue later.

An option we've been seriously considering is online work. We've looked at several possibilities, but for now, the one I've decided to consider is freelance writing. But I'm a beginner at this! I've been writing all my life, was an English major in college, and have successfully written all kinds of things from lesson plans to how-to guides to a dissertation, but I've never defined myself as a writer. So, I'm starting small. I applied yesterday to write for Textbroker, and this morning received an email saying I'd been accepted as a Level 4 writer. I figure I'll start with a few articles and see how it goes, and if I enjoy it, I might have found a way to potentially earn American dollars overseas.

I am still learning all the ins and outs of Textbroker, but here's what I know, in a nutshell:
- Writers select the projects they want to work on
- Writers can only select projects one at a time; you select another only after submission of the current project
- Writers may be asked for revision, and have 24 hours to comply
- Writers can build up clients who request them, and can make additional money for these direct orders
- Level 4 writers get paid 1.4 cents per word for articles designated level 4. Choosing articles designated level 2 or 3 is less pay per word (but I'm not sure of the exact amount)
- Level 4 writers may eventually be eligible to upgrade to Level 5 status, but this seems to take 1) articles consistently rated 4, and 2) a proofreading test that is apparently pretty hairy
- It's probably worth it for a writer to do all s/he can to get to Level 5, because Level 5 writers make FIVE cents per word - that's quite a jump from the 1.4 cents of Level 4.

Here's what I don't know:
- How consistently there are interesting articles to write
- How much research the articles will take
- How long it will take for me (a semi-perfectionist) to complete an article
- How difficult it will be to make it to Level 5
- Whether it's something I'd want to stick with long-term
- How payment compares to other freelance writing jobs

The way I look at it, each article of 350-400 words is $5. I know that I can write that much pretty quickly, but whether or not I can find particular articles that I can write that quickly is another question. If I can, and if I can produce 2 of those articles in an hour, that's $10 an hour. That's probably more than a lot of part-time jobs pay. If I can write them faster, even better. If I can't, and I can only produce one an hour, well, that's less than minimum wage, and probably not something I want to do. Either way, I'd rather figure it out now than when we are in a position where we really need the money!

So, I'm trying it, and I'll keep you posted on how it goes! I think I'll go write my first article right now!