Merry Christmas

I just wanted to drop by and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday season.

May Santa bring you everything you wish for ;)


10 Ways to Earn a 6-Figure Income Freelance Writing

Freelance writing can be such a lucrative business. But there are thousands of writers out there struggling to make a few dollars a week from pathetic revenue-share sites.

I was going to write a complete article about top 10 ways to earn 6-figure income from freelance writing, but someone pointed me to wards an article that says it all already. So I'll pass that link on to you.


This guy has gone into depth on his own 6-figure freelance business and the article is really eye-opening. Enjoy!


Demand Studios - Paying Freelance Market

Demand Studios is seeking freelance writers to write articles on all sorts of great topics.


Pay is $15 per article up front and you must be over 18 and have a US address to be accepted.

You can take as many or as few assignments as suits your own schedule.

Profiting from PLR Articles

Have you ever heard of PLR articles?

I hadn't until a couple of days ago. A friend tried patiently to explain exactly what they were. All I could see was that the pay-rate was way too low for me to make any money, so I ignored the offer.

But I understand differently - now that I've seen them working, that is.

What are PLR Articles?

PLR is short for Private Label Rights. I write an article and then offer Private Label Rights to the ownership of that article. The new owner can put it on his/her website or on a blog or in a newsletter to build content.

Or they can have it re-written so it's unique and put it into several article directories to build traffic.

PLR Articles are an inexpensive way for webmasters to build content and traffic at a low cost.

How Much Do PLR Articles Cost?

I guess it depends on the writer. I watched my friend sell hers for $1 per article and I screamed at the injustice of such low prices. After all, she's a professional full-time finance journalist writing for $1 an article? No Way!

She just smiled and said "You don't get it. These aren't individual sales. I'm not selling it once only. I'll sell 50 articles today."

That made me pause. 50 copies of the same article is.... $50 per article. That's professional rates!

I sat at her house and drank coffee and watched the sales coming in. She was right. She sold 50 - and that was just before lunch time with enquiries still coming in strong. We still had a whole week left to watch sales.

She laughed and said she needed to start writing some more articles.

PLR Article Packages

So my friend is obviously earning more than $50 per article by creating her own market for them. What I didn't mention earlier is that she sells them in packages of 5 or 10 at a time.

The package I watched her comment casually on in a forum and then proceed to sell a total of 65 packages by the end of the day consisted of 10 articles containing highly targeted keywords.

That's $10 per PLR article package - which is the same as $1 per article. No wonder people were buying them so fast. They know they're getting cheap rates for quality work.

She sold 65 of those packages that day I was there drinking coffee with her. I'm certain she made $650 that day from her articles.

I'm going to volunteer some of my own articles to be added to PLR article packs on her website and I'll be sure to keep you up to date with my results.

This looks like it's going to be fun.



Top 7 Online Freelance Writing Tips

If you've spent any amount of time online, you'll notice that writing for the online world is far different to the writing style used for magazines and newspapers.

Let's look at some things you should remember when you're writing for an online audience:

Online Freelance Writing Tip 1: Keywords

Visitors can't find your article on a search engine unless it contains the right density of keywords.
Too few keywords means your article may not be found and search engines won't list it very highly in search engine results, meaning no one will find it unless they're directed right too it.

On the opposite end of this, having too many keywords in one article is considered to be 'keyword spamming. Think about how many articles you've read where the writer has tried to stuff so many keywords in that it feels unnatural and awkward.

Try using Textalyser.net (http://textalyser.net) to analyze your keyword density. If you find your keyword density is over 5% then rewrite it and see if you can keep it at around 3-5%. This has to be done at the same time as making sure your article doesn't sound unnaturally stuffed with keyphrases that don't flow.

Online writing is about visibility. You're competing with billions of websites for people's attention. Do a simple search on your favorite search engine and learn a little SEO (search engine optimization).

Online Freelance Writing Tip 2: White Space

Writing for an online audience means catering to their needs as well as remembering the search engines at the same time as providing information. You need to keep finding new information to give people so they'll keep coming back and reading what you have to say, then write out that information in an article designed to keep them interested. Then you're caught out trying to include optimized phrases to attract high paying clicks on the paid ad bars just to be sure you're earning at least something for all the effort you've put in and all the work you've done and all the information you provide...

What a messy paragraph. Nobody likes to read large chunks of text. It's painful on the eyes and many readers simply lose interest. When people read online they prefer clearly written small paragraphs that are easy on the eyes and easy to skim through information.

Break up your writing with paragraph breaks or even sub-headings to help online readers skim through to the bits of your work that interest them most.

Online Freelance Writing Tip 3: Sub-Headings

Sub-headings are a logical way to break up your content and help readers to skim through your article quickly to locate points of interest.

Sub-headings have a double advantage, too. Because they're usually set in a bold typeface, they're a great place to put your keywords for maximum visibility to search engines at the same time as breaking up your work into manageable chunks.

Online Freelance Writing Tip 4: Clean, Clear and Correct

Which brings us to the next point. Online writing is about getting people to understand your point. Too many newer writers will fill an article with keywords so many times that the sentences no longer have any meaning.

Keep your writing simple. Use strong nouns that explain your meaning and avoid adjectives where you can. Only include keywords where you know it won't affect the flow of your writing style.

If you're struggling to meet a requested word count, then words like absolutely, positively, certainly and amazingly seem to become very popular. These words might flesh out your word count, but they do nothing for your writing style.

Before you submit your writing, run it through a spell-checker. When you're sure it's correct according to the computer, read it again.

Words like then and than are spelled correctly so they won't show up on your spell-checker, but they also need to be contextually correct in your article. Nothing beats a good set of eyes.

Re-read before you submit.

Online Freelance Writing Tip 5: It's Not About You

If you're writing a blog, then feel free to throw in your personal opinion and your own personal anecdote.

But if you're writing an article with the intention of selling it online, then leave out the personal slant. People read articles in order to learn something or to find information about a topic. Your personal stories have their place in reviews or opinions - not in informational articles.

Online Freelance Writing Tip 6: Plagiarism

Copying another writers work is never a good idea. You're allowed to take ideas from other people's writing, but stealing the actual words they used is theft. Don't do it.

Copyscape (http://www.copyscape.com) is one popular plagiarism search engine. Most people are aware of Copyscape now and if they use it to check on your work, you'll be found out.

Not only could plagiarism negatively affect your reputation with your clients, but you could also bring down the wrath of the rightful author.

Online Freelance Writing Tip 7: Back-Up Your Work

Hard-drives crash and die. It's a sad truth and it keeps the computer companies happy when they get paid to fix your computer problems or replace faulty parts - but it doesn't replace your lost hours of work and research.

If you can afford to buy an external hard drive, store all your work and important information on one of these. Unfortunately, these have a habit of dying miserable, untimely deaths too, so you might back-up your work on a re-writeable CD for just such an emergency.

Or you could use Google Docs and store your work securely online. Not only are you able to access your work from other computers but you can also use their storage space for your back-up needs.



ePIFfunnies - Paying Freelance Market


If you've had a funny epiphany, then post it to ePIFfunnies and get paid $15 for your effort.


Here's what their website says about what you should submit:

  • It must be based on an actual experience.

  • It must be funny, clever or insightful.

  • It should not be in the form of a “this is the way it is” or “this is the way it should be” lecture. Rather, it must help the reader to gain an “epiphany” or represent an “epiphany” on the part of the writer.

  • It must meet the “So what?” test. In other words, it must be significant.

  • It must not be offensive.

  • It must be original.

As long as your story is funny and true you could earn a few extra dollars toward building your freelance business income.



WiseGeek - Paying Freelance Market



Seeking article writers across various topics. WiseGeek offers free and clear answers to common questions. You are able to suggest new topics.

Writers choose articles from a pool of available titles, which are updated frequently. There's always plenty of work!

Writer's openings are infrequent, so get your application in soon or they'll close this window of opportunity.

Scroll down the FAQ page until you see the section regarding freelance writers.

Pays $10 per article.


Create Passive Freelance Income

I get a lot of people ask me how I can possibly make as much money as I do from writing. I'm not a famous author and they've never seen my work written anywhere.

So how is it possible for a no-name to be making a great living from writing when no one knows who I am? How can I possibly earn the income I bring in and manage to pay extra payments off my mortgage, have no other debts, live very comfortably in a great seaside suburb and still have extra money each week to save for a trip abroad for me and my daughter every winter?

The answer is simple. It's so easy to profit from your writing talents in so many different ways that the biggest problem I have each day is finding enough hours to write all the things I want to write about.

Many writers will not find it so simple if they insist on only working for revenue-share sites and pittance paying clients. These are the writers who will make a few dollars a week and then give up after a few months because they're going broke.

They're always easy to spot...

So how do I do it? Let's work it out.

Multiple Income Avenues

I don't just write articles. And I only spend a small amount of time right here on my blog. I write all sorts of things - whatever keeps me interested and stops me from burning out over writing countless amounts of articles.

So I break up my writing into fun bits that may not be a lot of money, but they're still income, I'm still being paid and I'm having a bit of fun.

Aside from this, having more than one type of income coming into my freelance business means that if one company decides not to pay me, my whole business doesn't stop. I still have other clients and other companies sending in money so I always have something coming from somewhere.

If you haven't read my earlier blog post on how to set up multiple income avenues you can find it here: Create Full Time Freelance Income

Repeating Income Avenues

This type of income is a little different - and a little harder to set up - but it's the most profitable, the most rewarding and the most money!

Some of the big gurus call this "passive" income. There's nothing passive about it, so I prefer to call it repeating income avenues. That's where you do a lot of really hard work only once and get rewarded for that big effort for several years into the future.

Did you know this is how book authors, inventors and music artists get paid? They're called royalties and the creator does the work only once, but then gets paid every time someone buys that product for as long as that product is available.

I don't have any big name novels on the shelves with fancy publishers - but I do ghost-write instructional/educational ebooks for a publishing company and they pay me a handsome royalty for every copy that sells. (okay, they're gaming guides...)

I have one that I wrote three years ago that still brings me a nice amount of money every month. Very handy. Especially when you consider that I've written nine now and working on the tenth when I have a free moment between articles.

These are just a few ways to help increase your own freelance writing income.

What ways have you found that keep your freelance writing business alive and kicking?


Get Paid to Rant!

Oh my! Now I've seen everything.

I've just been paid to rant.

You read that correctly. There really is a site out there willing to let you rant about anything you want to just get off your chest and scream out to the world. They don't care about literary perfection or grammatical correctness. They don't mind what you're ranting about. Complain, whine, whinge, rant or let off steam. Just rant and if they publish your rant you get paid.

I never would have believed there was a profitable way to let off steam - but here it is:

Rant Blogger - http://www.rantblogger.com/?page_id=19

Okay - the pay is pathetic. It's $5. But let's be serious - I wasn't composing a feature article for an internationally published glossy magazine. I was ranting about something that ticked me off.

They'll even let you submit as many rants as you want - as often as you feel like ranting.

Visit Rant Blogger and check it out for yourself.

Build Your Freelance Business Your Way

I'm noticing a common thread among the comments I've been getting on this blog and across several writer's forums as well.

People have this strange idea that they need to write articles all day every day in order to be working at home and earning money.

This just isn't true!

Your freelance business is YOURS. You have the freedom and the power to set it up however you choose. You can include article writing, content creation, paid reviews, forum posting, affiliate sales, ghost-writing, copywriting, ebook writing, paid emails, banner ads, - whatever you want to add. Mix and match your favorite bits of these with a few get-paid-to options and then break up your day with your different options to stop you going stir crazy.

It's YOUR business we're talking about here. You're the boss and you get to choose what happens in your business.

The word 'Freelance' simply means being self-employed. It doesn't mean writing. You could be a freelance photographer or a freelance consultant. You could be a freelance internet guru or a freelance online business owner. It's up to you.

If you plan on working at home for any length of time then not only will you need to be making money, but you'll also need to be having some fun or else you'll lose your motivation. By doing things you really enjoy every day, you'll be excited to get out of bed and jump onto the computer to start working because you're having fun.

However, if you only follow what the "gurus" are telling you will make money, you'll be working on ideas and tactics that they enjoy and profit from - not things you really enjoy doing.

In order to build a freelance business and then keep that business running strong you need to be passionate about what you're doing. It's fine to listen to the gurus' ideas, but see where you can replace their products and their profit making tools for your own business and your own passions.

My passion is writing. I love writing and I love helping people to get out of debt. I also love helping people learn about environmental issues and being a little greener in their every day lives. These are the topics I specialize in because they're what I enjoy doing every day.

Here are some things to remember when you're creating your own freelance business:

- Find your own little niche and create a specialization around it.
- Learn how article marketing works and use it well to promote your business.
- Talk to other writers on forums and learn how they established their freelance clients.
- Advertise your services.
- Learn to write great query letters and send them out to magazines that focus on your little niche.
- Build a portfolio of your own work (this goes hand-in-hand with the article marketing idea)
- Love what you do!

Most importantly - don't listen to the 'gurus' who want to take your money to teach you only how THEY do things that they enjoy. Listen to their ideas, but use your own version of the things you love doing instead.

Follow your own passions and do the things you love most. Life's too short to work at anything that's no fun!



Freelance Writing and Repetition

While I love my private freelance clients and the business they send me, sometimes I get a little jaded by the amount of repetition there is in their requests.

In the last two days alone I've written 14 different credit card debt relief articles. I've managed to find 14 different ways to pay off credit cards and reduce debt and I've written about them all.

If people are really struggling under that much debt, are they going to read through 14 different ways to pay them off? I'm beginning to doubt it.

Of course I could just be having one of those days where I've seen so much negativity about people's debt levels and credit crisis issues that I need a day off.

Seriously - if I have to write one more credit card article this month I'll scream...


But those articles pay my bills. Those articles are how I manage to stay out of debt.

So my clients will keep ordering them and I'll keep writing them - but only until a new topic-of-the-month rolls around and every freelance writer goes crazy writing that topic.

What secretly bothers me most about today is that I had orders to write 15 of these credit card articles...

I still have one more to go!


Freelance Writing and Eye Glasses


Well I knew it would happen to me sooner or later. I spend so much time at my computer reading from the monitor that I now have to have eyeglasses whenever I read.

I went to my local store and I was horrified at the prices they were charging. The girl told me those prices were quite normal. I didn't think so. I mean we're having an economic crisis out here in Australia too, so I wanted to find eyeglasses that weren't going to eat into my budget.

So I went home and did what I do best - I jumped on the net and found a place in America called Optical4Less that will ship me new eyeglasses straight to my door at less than 1/4 the price! I'm ecstatic!

I need complete prescription eyeglasses and they were happy to fill my order exactly as I need it.

I took a look through their huge online catalogue and found a perfect pair of eyeglasses with trendy frames. The price was so low I also bought a pair of tinted sunglasses as well for when I'm driving. They will ship my eyeglasses out to me free even though I'm on the other side of the world - but their site says they'll ship free worldwide.

Anyway, if you're a freelance writer who needs to stare at your screen all day every day and you're looking for quality eyeglasses at a really low price, try Optical4Less.com.

You'll love how cheap the prices are and you won't have to suffer with eye strain ever again!



Paid Forum Posting Jobs

Looking for a list of paid forum posting jobs? You've come to the right place.

Paid forum posting is not the ideal writing job for every writer. In fact I can think of plenty of reasons why you might want to avoid this kind of writing job completely. The pay is low and you probably wouldn't give up your day job to do paid forum posting.

But if you've got time to spare or if you just love the community feel of forums, then why not get paid for what you're already doing? Some forums allow you to add a signature box, so you could even be promoting your own blog while you're getting paid...

For those who want to add a few extra dollars to their writing income each week with very little brain-power or effort required, paid forum posting can be a great way to bump up your income.

In an earlier post I wrote about the benefits of creating more than one type of writing income to build your freelance business and increase your total writing income.
You can see that post here: Create Multiple Freelance Incomes

If you're one of those people who doesn't have more than one writing income source, then perhaps paid forum posting might fill a few minutes of your week for a few extra dollars.

There are two types of paid forum posting.

The first is the professional, organized forum posting jobs where you are told what to post and on which forum. When the job is complete, that forum is replaced with another that requires boosting. You're being paid to help out those forum owners. This first option is just like a job. You're expected to complete the tasks given to you. You should get paid between 15 and 20 cents per post for your efforts.

The second type of paid forum posting is where you just post whatever you want. Two word answers are fine. Non-English speaking is fine. Do what you like at any time with no restrictions. Obviously because this second type of paid forum posting is unregulated, the pay is quite low (generally 1 - 5 cents per post) but you have no rules to follow. If you prefer to just chat and post at random, then try here: http://ravens-writing.blogspot.com/2009/01/freelance-writers-who-dont-want-to-be.html

If you'd rather work with a more regulated option with higher pay, then here's a list of some paid forum posting companies you might want to try.

Best Forum Posting - http://www.bestforumposting.com/
Forum boosting, editing and article creation services. Very well organized company. Pays on time every time.

Content Current - http://www.contentcurrent.com/
Also known as ForumBooster. Content Current still has loads of bugs in their software systems, problems with accepting/approving work completed and is notorious about being VERY late with payments.

Forum Advantage - http://www.forumadvantage.com/
This site is owned and operated by Hostedhere LLC (see Paid Forum Posting)

ForumBooster.NET - http://www.forumbooster.net/
Also known as Content Current. Forum Booster still has loads of bugs in their software systems, problems with accepting/approving work completed and is notorious for being VERY late with payments.

ForumsFirst - http://forumsfirst.com/
Forum posting and blog commenting services. Quick, efficient and professional. Always pays on time!

Inb0x - http://www.inb0x.com/
Forum posting services - payout is via PayPal once your account reaches $15

KickStart Your Forums - http://www.kickstartyourforums.com/main/
Forum posting and article creation. Has been acquired by Paid Forum Posting.

PaidForumPosting - http://www.paidforumposting.com/
Excellent, highly-organized site for forum posting and occasional article creation jobs - owned and operated by HostedHere LLC. Payout is always prompt immediately after job completion. Apply to become a writer here: http://www.forumadvantage.com/writerapplication.htm

Paid Posting Forums
Owned and operated by HostedHereLLC - see PaidForumPosting

Paid Posting Tools - http://www.paidpostingtools.com/
Forum posting and blog posting services. Big site with very helpful admin and fellow members. Pays well and on time.

Posting Direct - http://www.postingdirect.com/
Decent paid forum posting site - pay out is via PayPal once your account reaches $20

Web Vigor - http://www.webvigor.com/
Very quiet at times but nice community. Pays on time.

Wired Flame - http://www.wiredflame.com/
Forum posting. This site can be a little quiet at times, but their system is easy and they'll pay out every Friday by PayPal with no minimum required.

Someone asked me to list a pay rate per post for each of these sites as well. Gee! It's not enough that I provided the links and information?

Okay. Let's just say most of the sites above pay between 15 and 20 cents per post. The only ones I can think of that pay below that rate are the two non-paying companies I've said to avoid completely anyway. They 'pay' 10 cents per post - when they pay their writers at all.

So if you're interested in paid forum posting, give some of the companies on this list a try and boost your income a little.

If you're not into the idea of paid forum posting, then ignore this post!


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Freelance Job Sites and Online Writing Jobs

I don't like freelance bidding sites. I think it's degrading to professional writers to have to undercut each other's prices to be the person who 'wins' and gets to write for the lowest amount of money. It's humiliating to watch seriously talented writers give away their words for $1.

There are much better places to search for work than these slave-labor round up sites.

Take a look at some of the higher paying freelance writing jobs available. So many writers convince themselves that they can't submit work to these places that it's sad. Yet many of them are so talented magazines would happily pay them several hundred dollars per article.

Stop playing with the low-paying sites and browse at some real high paying writing jobs.

Here are a few of my favorite Freelance Job Sites for finding online writing jobs to keep you busy for a while:

Online Writing Jobs
- This is a big site offering searchable databases of online writing jobs, online blogging jobs, freelance writing jobs and much more. I tend to take a look here if I haven't got much lined up for the next month.

WorldWide Freelance Markets
- Excellent searchable database filled with freelance writing opportunities. This is one of my favorite places to search for publications that might suit my style and niche topics.

Freelance Writing Jobs
- This privately run blog is just amazing. The owner posts links of jobs for freelance writers every day. Bookmark this blog. I've found some great freelance writing gigs from this one.

Freelance Writing.com
- This site offers writing submission guidelines to several niche magazines. If you'd rather see your freelance writing efforts published in a magazine instead of on the internet, take a look at some of these. The pay rates are just fabulous ;)

Absolute Write
- Find the forum and join in with this enormous writer's community. Filled with great markets, hints and plenty of writers to help you find your way.

Now you have some links to great freelance writing markets and online writing jobs sites, you have no excuses.

Get Writing!


Increase Freelance Writing Income With One Email

For the past year I've had a specific writing schedule. I write certain things on some days and do other tasks to keep my home business growing on other days.

(you can see my original freelance working-week schedule here: http://ravens-writing.blogspot.com/2008/09/i-often-get-asked-whats-normal-work.html)

But lately I've picked up more clients than I expected and they're all wanting more, more, MORE.

In an online environment where it's becoming more common for writers to drop their prices and try to under-cut other writers to win work, I did something completely different.

I raised my prices this week - and got more work as a result. What a bizarre twist of logic!

I was a little mystified by this outcome but I won't complain. You see, I emailed my current clients and gave them copies of my new rates schedule. The new clients didn't know my old rates so they didn't blink an eye when they received their copies.

Two existing clients responded immediately with bigger orders than they've ever sent before. Another two emailed back at once and congratulated me for being pro-active about my income in a depressed market place - and then ordered new work to be done.

The last one complained that I'm now getting a bit too expensive for his business budget. But he ordered more work from me anyway, grumbling the whole way.

I'm still waiting to hear back from a couple others. If my prices are outside their budgetary requirements, then they'll either find new writers or they'll end up paying my prices because they already know what kind of work I'm able to deliver.

So because I now have more work than I expected I have been forced to rethink my original work-week schedule so I'll have time to get them all done! If this keeps up I might have to start turning work away (ha! not likely....;)

I'll post my new work-week schedule on a new post or this one will just get way too long!

Get Writing!


Freelance Writing and Pseudonyms

Can you imagine what it's like going into a bank and hearing the girls behind the counter giggling about how my name makes them think I'm one of those romance writers? You know - the type who writes steamy bodice-rippers with guys like Fabio on the cover?

It happens more than you'd think.

With a name like Bianca Raven I know I've been tempted more than once to try my hand at one of those steamy, racy romance things, just to see how I'd fare with writing about a breathless heroine who can't possibly live another moment without feeling the sweet tender lips of her stunningly-gorgeous perfect hero who doesn't know she's alive yet, but she's swooning dutifully just in case he notices and ... and ...

Oh who am I kidding? I write fantasy. They don't get steamy or breathless just by reading a four page description of how good looking someone is. And neither do I. So the romance idea went out the window - and so did the idea of using my unfortunate name as a talking point.

My Italian-born mother named me Bianca Maria Catalano, after my grandmother. I have no idea what she was on when she decided it sounded like a "good Australian name" - but she didn't even get close. I would have preferred something seriously Australian. Like Sheila. Or Sharon. Or Tracy. All very common Australian names.

Even so, the name Bianca isn't so bad on it's own. People pronounce it in so many different ways it's funny, but overall it's still not a bad name.

Until I met my ex-husband, Jackson Raven. (I sure hope he never Googles his own name. I once promised him I'd never put his name on the net...)

Sigh. Thus I became Bianca Raven. I keep the name even though I'm now divorced because I want my daughter to have the same last name as I do.

When I first began freelancing I considered using a pseudonym. I wanted to call myself Jane Smith. I wanted a NORMAL name so badly. I didn't want to be the subject of people's bodice-ripper-writer jokes.

Writing under a pseudonym can have all sorts of legal implications. Did you know if you write a novel under a pen-name, you're not allowed to autograph that book? Otherwise you're signing someone else's name - even though it's really you. You're just not allowed to do it.

Another issue is the copyright thing. If I write something as Jane Smith can I really prove I'm the rightful author of that piece of work later if someone plagiarizes my stuff?

Publishers are good about writers using pseudonyms. They know the contract - and the check! - get written out to your real name but the work is published with your pen-name as the byline.

For me personally, I have an issue about reputation. I want to be proud of my work. I want others to know I wrote it. I want to be able to show my mom my work so she can see my name clearly on the mast-head or on that byline.

If I was to give in and write under a pseudonym, would I then begin to write work that's less than my best just because no one knows it's me? Who knows.

Pseudonyms can also be a great thing for some writers. Many writers publish work under a pseudonym for a variety of reasons. Some want to switch genres and not offend readers. In fact, many male writers write large amounts of romance under female names so their readers don't get confused. Cool, huh?

One of my good friends, Lee Masterson, is an amazingly prolific writer. She writes financial columns and features for several magazines, owns a couple of her own ezines, writes horror fiction and in her spare time she even writes romance and erotica under a pseudonym. She chose to separate her writing names because she doesn't want her horror fans picking up her romance stuff - and vice versa.

If you decide you'd rather be someone else when you write, then that's great!

But if you're going to write a romance-bodice-ripper, invent a fabulous pen-name like Stormy Summers or Windy Willows or .... Bianca Raven ;)


Build a Successful Freelance Business

I've had some people ask me how they get started earning money with freelance writing so I thought I'd put a post together with some options that should get your freelance business going.

Once it's going, though, it's up to you to keep it growing.

Before we start, here's a link to a post that might also help. I wrote this one earlier in the year on almost the same topic:

And there's also this one on creating a full time freelance income:

Now we've got that out of the way, let's get into finding some freelance writing work:

1) Create a Web Presence

Take your pick of free blog accounts (WordPress, Blogger etc) and set up your own blog. This is a quick, cheap way to get yourself a place on the net where people can find you. Introduce yourself. Chat. Get used to playing around on your online place.

Ask other like-minded people to link to your new blog so other writers can find you too. This is how search engines find your site quickly. It's important to keep links on similar topics to your own otherwise the link-bank importance drops in the eyes of search engines.

Then get some serious writing samples going and put them on there too. These will become reference links for future clients, so take care when creating them.

2) Finding Freelance Work

The type of freelance work you choose to accept is 100% up to you. You're the boss remember?

There are quite a lot of freelance job bidding sites around where you can sign up and bid for work against other writers. Places like http://www.guru.com/ or http://www.getafreelancer.com/ have thousands of job listings every day.

I don't like bidding sites at all - even though they are where I began when I first got online. I've learned that writers are silly about under-cutting everyone else's prices just to get the job. Under-cutting is insane because you're selling yourself short when you could be earning much better rates.

There are also plenty of job-boards around filled with people searching for freelance writers. Careful with these - they often want to pay ridiculously low rates so the work isn't always great.

Here's a link to a previous post outlining where to find high-paying freelance assignments:

3) Odd Markets

Who says writers can only write articles for websites or magazines?

What's wrong with writing jokes for magazines? Or recipes? Or naughty confessions stories? Or creating puzzles? Or getting paid to blog? Or writing fiction stories for periodicals or anthologies? Or podcasts?

You're a writer - be creative!

Go and browse at your local news-stand or news-agent and see what you can find. You might surprise yourself when you realize that almost every magazine in the world has a section right there in black and white saying "we'll pay you to send us stuff".

Here's a link to a set of posts about alternative writing income:

4) Away From Home

Who ever said you have to restrict your search for work to just the USA? There are plenty more opportunities in most English-speaking countries around the world, so broaden your search. I should know - I'm in Australia ;)

Paypal takes care of the currency exchange for you, so you're still getting paid in your regular US dollars. But does it matter from where in the world that money was sent?

Broaden your searches and who knows? You might soon be able to tell people you're published internationally.

5) Approach Potential Clients Directly

This is how I get a lot of my clients - I approach them directly and ask for their business.

Search engine optimization companies often require content writers to help with their SEO efforts on behalf of their clients. Web site creation companies also don't want to create their own content and so they'll hire freelance writers to do it for them.

Print magazines all need new, fresh, exciting stories on every topic imaginable. Never write a magazine article without writing to the editor first and discussing your idea. If the editor likes your idea then she will usually contract you to write the whole article. This means you KNOW you're getting paid (and how much!) before you even write anything.

Learn to write a query letter and a letter of introduction. Both should be really easy - you're a writer after all.

Then get hold of the Writers Market Guide. If you can't get the book, pay for the website subscription. It's worth the cost just for the amount of high paying markets listed there.

6) Create a Professional Portfolio

Editors will want evidence that you're able to write. This means you'll need samples of other articles you've written. If you haven't sold any writing before, don't panic. Simply write a few articles and load them to your blog. Voila! Instantly published.

These will be fine as samples to start you off. As your sales grow, so will your portfolio. Keep track of any links that show your published work and names of any offline publications as well.

7) Thank Every Client Personally

I always send a quick email to every one of my clients thanking them personally for trusting me with their business. Keep it short and sweet - no eloquent, soppy prose. Just say thanks. People remember gratitude and it's a simple act of courtesy.

I keep an accurate database of any client who has ever contracted my writing services. Keep your name fresh in their minds. I send Christmas cards to every client I've ever dealt with every year.

You'd be amazed at the amount of fresh assignments I get from old clients every December because of this reminder (no, I don't send out cards during other seasons -that would be over-kill).

8) Ask for a Referral

If you don't ask, you don't get...

In every thank you note I send each client I also make a brief reference to being open to referral business. This means I ask them politely if they would know any other business owners or editors who might benefit from my work.

Not every editor will refer other clients to me - but some do.

Referral business is always the best. They're loyal to you before they've even started working with you because someone else has done all the marketing and promotion for you. :)

9) Rinse and Repeat

Just when you think you have enough clients sending you steady work - go and find some more. You can be sure that not all clients will have a steady stream of work and some may be quite erratic. It's always safer to have too much on your plate than not enough. You can always ask for an extension on a deadline if you're falling behind.

10) WRITE!!

Writers write. If you're not writing something - anything - then you're not really into this whole writing thing.

Love what you do. Enjoy writing for the sake of writing. Have some fun with it.

Break up your day by writing the fun stuff in between the serious stuff. Write silly things and make up jokes. Play on writer's forums. Create new worlds and new people and lose yourself in them. Then jump back in and create more great articles.

Just WRITE !



10 Good Reasons to Work At Home

I've decided I love my job.

Of course I love my job most days, you already know that. I just love it more than usual today.

You see, I had lunch with a good friend today who still works at the same bank where I used to work before I became a full time freelance writer. She's tired and stressed all the time. She spends two hours every day of her working life in the car fighting with traffic. Her relationship is suffering under the weight of her long hours at the office and she's really worried that the bank might start cutting jobs to keep their profit levels high. She'll have no income if that happens and she's terrified about how she'll survive.

I offered her a lot of sympathy (after all, I remember feeling exactly as she does right now once upon a time) and that's when I decided I love my job more than usual today. ;)

My friend asked me why I like working at home so much and was curious if I would be bored or lonely - or going broke. Understanding that she's feeling kind of low right now, I only gave her my favorite reasons for working at home. But if she'd been in a better mood, I could have given her twenty.

Top Ten Reasons to Work At Home

1) Freedom

The enormous freedom of not having to sit in a stale office with people you don't always like is amazing. The freedom of not having to drive through hideous traffic jams for hours is heaven.

The freedom to take time off to go out for lunch with friends is great. The best freedom of all is knowing you're in charge of your own life.

2) Family

I have a four year old daughter. Before she was born I made the decision to spend as much time with her as possible. I wanted to be a part of her development and I wanted to be there for her young years.

I didn't want a baby-sitter or day-care worker to witness her first steps while I was at work in a job I hated. I wanted to see it for myself. I wanted to hear her first words, read stories to her, play in the park, involve her in the family chores instead of just dumping dinner in front of her - I just wanted to be with my little girl.

3) No Commuting

A few short years ago I worked at a bank in the city. It was almost an hour driving time for me to get there each day - and an hour home again.

The advent of the internet means I no longer have to travel to the city. Of course it means my work is no longer limited to just ONE city. I can now work in London, New York, Sydney, Hong Kong and Johannesburg without even leaving my living room.

And it saves me a small fortune in fuel costs and car maintenance bills.

4) My Own Hours

I love that I can work when I want to work. If I'm not getting anywhere with one assignment, I'll switch to something that interests me more and do that for a while.

If I can't sleep, I'll drag my laptop onto my lap and sit up in bed writing until I'm sleepy again. If I need a day off, I can take it without needing to justify what I'm doing to a boss. I can pick up my daughter from kinder and take time out to play in the park.

Being able to set up your own flexible hours is a great benefit.

5) Choose Your Own Work-Load

When I first began freelance writing, I would accept every assignment I could find. Even the bad ones. At the time I felt I had no choice. I thought I needed to take them all in order to make money.

I've since learned to only accept assignments that interest me AND pay me properly for my time. This way every day is filled with work that I already know I'll enjoy and I know I'll get paid well for my efforts.

6) Your Own Boss

I love being my own boss. There's no better feeling than knowing your freelance business is all yours and no one can dictate how you run it. If clients become difficult, get different clients. If money is tight, find better paying assignments. If you're tired - stop writing and take a break.

It's all up to you!

7) Cost Saving

This is a weird benefit that I didn't expect when I was still planning to work full time at home. I was so worried I wouldn't be able to make my mortgage payments or pay my bills and so I stayed in my horrible job for longer than I should have.

Once I took the leap and began staying home full time to write, I noticed my expenses were dropping very quickly. With less expenses, this meant I needed less income to survive - which made earning income at home a whole lot easier when you suddenly need a lot less money to cover everything.

I spent a lot less money on fuel and car repairs (of course). But I also spent less on silly little things, like buying lunch at the office, having coffee after work with friends at a cafe, buying bottled water - all the myriad of silly little things we buy and don't even notice.

The biggest cost saving was buying take-out after a hard day's work. After 8 hours in an office I was too tired to cook or bother with grocery shopping. So I'd buy expensive pre-packaged foods, or junk food take away.

I just don't do those things any more because I'm already here. It's actually easier to just throw something in the oven and let the buzzer on the timer remind me when I have to think about it again.

8) Choices

I like being able to choose what I'm going to do with each day. There's no boss to tell me what to do next. I get to decide what I'll work on and what I'll write based on the mood I'm in that day.

You can't beat having a wide range of choices of what you'll do next every day :)

9) Friends and Relatives

My old work friend was worried that I'd be lonely, tucked away in my house like a prisoner on my own all day every day.

Nothing could be further from the truth! I am more social now than I was when I worked in the office. Friends pop in for a quick coffee regularly during the day. Family know I'm home, so they'll call or visit often too.

I get to see my neighbors now - I didn't even know who they were when I worked in the city. Now we're great friends!

...and the top reason to work at home...

10) You're Not Stuck in a Job You HATE

This has to be the best reason to build your own freelance writing business and work at home when you want to work.

Have you ever been stuck in a job you absolutely hate but feel as though you need to keep just for the money? I have. Let me tell you - it's no fun.

If I had known working as a freelancer was so much fun - and such great money - I would have done it years sooner.

Now you know the primary reasons why I choose to work from home. If I had more time I'm sure I could list another ten reasons why I love it so much.

Have you figured out your reasons for wanting to do the same yet?


Freelance Job-Boards to Avoid - Digital Point Forums

Sigh. Here we go again!

I really appreciate it when other writers offer me suggestions for finding more freelance work. I've found some great new clients this way and even though I may already have a full plate of clients and content-creation companies supplying me with steady work, there's no harm in finding more just in case work slows down a bit.

So I always look at every recommendation other writers give me. That's how I ended up on Digital Point Forums - and I wish I hadn't.

Take a look for yourself: http://forums.digitalpoint.com/forumdisplay.php?f=102

This is the 'Content Creation' job board, where website owners advertise when they need new writers and writers flock to grab the jobs.

I guess I spent 20 minutes going through the posts. I spent the entire time staring at my monitor in absolute horror at the rudeness of webmasters demanding unique, quality work of 500 words and then offering $1 or $2 per article.

That's appalling! They want content so they can make profits from high keyword placements, increased ad revenue and high affiliate sale commissions - and yet they treat the people who will be making their profit for them like SLAVES!

I hope you're as disgusted as I am right now, because it gets worse.

Not only are the writing jobs advertised ridiculously insulting to writers - but the writers are lined up begging to be considered for these same jobs.

Yes, you read that correctly. Writers respond to these job boards begging to be given these low paying slave-labor jobs. They even start new threads trying to undercut each other for lower and lower prices.

If you plan on making a career out of freelance writing, then I strongly suggest you AVOID this site completely. You have far better options available to you that will pay you properly for your time and effort - as any professional deserves.

Enough said.



Freelance Writing Companies Insulting Writers


As much as I love being a freelance writer and being able to write every day there are times when I'm simply disgusted by the way some companies treat writers.

I've been having payment difficulties with a particular content-creation company I work for. I've been with them almost a year now and at first they paid us on time every time - straight into PayPal every Monday. Great.

Then the pay starting dropping to every second week. Then once a month. Now we're down to getting paid whenever we beg for it on their forum. It's humiliating and embarrassing.

After waiting and begging for 4 weeks, we finally got paid today - but that payment came with a direct insult to all their writers.

You see, the management posted a comment that basically told us that any writer suspected of being fraudulent had payments suspended. (um... that's all their writers, by the way).

I've been freelancing for more than 6 years. I wouldn't still be in business if I was fraudulent in any way. My customers wouldn't keep coming back and I wouldn't get so much repeat business if there was any doubt as to my integrity as a freelance writer. My content is always individually researched and written to a high standard. I haven't even had any complaints in the past! And now this...

To be accused of "suspected fraudulence" is just a slap in the face for daring to request the payment that was rightfully due to me after completing the work they wanted. I'm offended and I'm annoyed - and I'm choosing to write content for this company's direct competitor from now on instead of spending any further time with a company that first doesn't pay and then insults the writers who make their profit for them when those writers dare to ask for their payments!

What a shame.

You see, I like content-creation work. It's quick, simple work. If you can type fast then you can easily churn out 5 or 6 of thiese quick little pieces in an hour after the "real" article writing work is done for the day.

On a normal week I'll do 5 of these little pieces a day, spread across two different content providers. They'll never be my full-time gig. But they do provide me with a bit of extra income and they also give me a mental break from the intensive research of feature articles for magazines.

I guess all my content work will now be exclusively sent to just the one company that really does pay on time - every time.



Freelance Jobs to Avoid - DataEntryJobs.us

LOL :)

I just had a great laugh. It wasn't just a bit of a giggle. It was an actual long, guffawing belly-laugh.

And I didn't even visit a joke site. I'm still grinning while I type this - that's how amused I am!

I'll let you in on the joke so you can laugh a bit too.

I receive quite a few emails from people asking me about different freelance job offers they've seen on the 'net and when I get time I go and check them out. Some I close in disgust, some I investigate further and some.... well, some just make me laugh so hard it brings tears to my eyes.

Someone emailed me a "job listing" for a site by the name of DataEntryJobs.us, which I visited to check out further.

I started smiling on the very first page, but it wasn't until I reached the "Content Writer Jobs" page that I began laughing in earnest.

Here's a snippet of the joke... um... I mean sales spiel...

Content Writing Jobs - is one of the best content writing job on internet. People who really wants to spend there time in putting the best contents on internet here is the right place. All you've to do here is arrange the different contents from different companies database to their online server. This Job is no time consuming, No work Load, Nothing...

I'm giggling again. Seriously, this is a content creation website, offering their services to webmasters all over the world and this tripe is the standard of quality on their own site? Please. Spare me.

If you're not giggling as much as I am yet then maybe this choice little piece of quality writing will get your funny-bone active:

We designed, this Content Writing Jobs in such a manner, that you won't feel any type of work load, burden or not even you've to worry about the accuracy. Daily we get atleast 500+ content writing Job from world wide.

Now that's funny. Are you seeing the humorous side of this post at all yet?

This 'company' is advertising for new content writers with the promise of plenty of work. I'm guessing the testing for new writers won't be so difficult - especially when the webmaster can barely write legible English anyway! LOL.

Content Writer is the best Jobs we think. Its very interesting, and many cases we found that our candidates like you who did great content writer jobs are hired by different companies and now working for them as a part time and full time and making massive income. This content writer job, is very good and career oriented.

No, I didn't giggle at that last snippet. I couldn't giggle because I have no idea what it means. After all, it's not written in any type of English I've ever seen before!

You know what? I feel like I'm a presenter at a freak show. I'm giggling at the tragedy we're witnessing but at the same time I'm horrified and appalled. It's a bit like watching a train wreck happening in slow-motion.

Watch carefully....

Q) Is there any type of Accuracy going to be counted, or what If I see any spelling mistakes in the contents?
A) There is no accuracy here, as you gonna use the contents from their database, so even if there is mistake in it, you don't have to worry.
However, if you want you can make spelling corrections. But its all very rare things, 99% there won't be any mistakes,

LOL!! Stop laughing. This is serious. ;)

Of course I'm saving the best parts for last. The bit that really made me laugh out loud is on the FAQ page. If you intend on working as a freelance writer at all, then you'll have seen enough freelance job sites to know what's okay and what's laughably stupid.

DataEntryJobs.us definitely falls in the latter category.

You might think of it as the punchline in all this silliness - but it's worth it...

Registration Fees [Non Refundable]
Professional Content Writers (Pro Writers) - $ 55 or Rs.2000/-
Featured Content Writers - $ 95 or Rs.3500/-

Oh my, now I'm laughing uncontrollably again. They actually want writers to PAY them before getting any work? HA HA!!

Final word - DataEntryJobs.us is definitely a great candidate for the "Jobs to Avoid" bin.

Enough said



Non-Paying Freelance Clients

When you work from home and rely on clients paying you for work you've done, it really bites hard when they forget to pay!

So what do you do when you're faced with a client who won't pay on time?

Although I've only been faced with two clients in the past who haven't paid, I'm currently faced with my third client who is currently 3 weeks overdue with a rather decent sum of money.

I'm grateful I have more than one client with payments on the way in - so technically the loss of that one account isn't going to hurt me financially - but it's the principle that counts. (this is where having multiple income streams really helps!)

You see, this client owes me payment for twenty-two articles (yes, that's right ... 22 articles). Nice order huh? I thought so at the time too. Considering they paid for the previous 20 I wrote for them on time I felt quite confident in researching, writing and submitting this set of articles too.

After a week with no payment I figured I'd email them and remind them of my outstanding invoice. They responded saying they'd be a couple more days as they'd had problems with payment systems at their end.

When payment had reached two weeks overdue, I sent another polite email to the client requesting payment. This time there was no response at all.

Thinking maybe my email had gotten lost in cyber-space, I emailed again the next day. Again there was no response.

Getting a little worried, I jumped onto the client's forum and found several writers complaining of non-payment. More than worried, I did a Google search and found several other complaints of the same thing.


Before I was a freelance writer I was a banker. While I was working there I learned that banks are a business - just as a freelance writer is a business. A bank will happily charge a default penalty fee to clients for any overdue accounts - just as I do with my infrequent late-paying freelance clients!

I've now emailed my invoice to the clients again, along with a friendly reminder that the account is still outstanding and I've added a late penalty fee to the total they owe me. I've also added a gentle hint that the account will be sent to a collection agency if funds are not forthcoming within 5 working days.

Personally, I think the client is gone - with my articles! - but you can't blame me for trying.

From now on, before accepting any more assignments from clients I'll be sure to dig around on Google for any information at all!



Create Full-Time Freelance Income

Bear with me through this - it's going to be a long post - but creating your freelance income avenues is an important part of getting your income high enough to allow you to work full time from home.

When I first began my writing business my daughter was only a tiny baby. I struggled to keep up and earn enough to make ends meet. Then a friend of mine showed me a way to make sure my writing income always flowed into the business no matter what I wrote and now I earn more than enough to cover all my bills, pay the mortgage and still have plenty to spare.

Before we get into it, it's important to understand why having several income avenues coming into your freelance writing is a good idea.

You see, if you write only online articles this is your first avenue of income. If something happened to that company for which you're writing - what would happen to your income? If they shut down, you'd have no more income coming in and you'd need to go out and find another place to sell them quickly.
But if you had other forms of income coming into your business, the loss of one income avenue would only be a minor hiccup because there's always money coming in from somewhere else to hold you over until you find another place to sell those articles.

Make sense?
I'm going to create a fictional writer with his own freelance business. I'm going to call him Mr. Writer (not very creative, huh?). Before he found my blog, he wrote only online articles and he's wondering how me might be able to work from home full time.

Let's see how difficult it might be to get his freelance business running at a full-time income.

Income Avenue 1)

Mr. Writer is already writing and selling 5 online articles per week. He writes one each day and they take him 30 minutes each. He sells each article for $8 and he's pleased about having a nice part-time income. He wonders how he can sell more articles.

Right now, 100% of his writing income comes from online articles. His weekly income if $40. Not great. He wonders how he can increase his writing income.

Income Avenue 2)

Mr. Writer writes one article a day. Each article takes him 30 minutes. That leaves him with several working hours left in each day where he either surfs the net or watches TV. A friend tells him that he could get paid for posting comments in forums. He decides to spend 20 minutes per day doing a little paid forum posting.

Each post is paid at 15 cents. Not great. But in 20 minutes he can do 20 quick posts. Over 5 days that's 100 posts at 15 cents each - which is $15. Still not great - but it's extra money coming into his business, and he gets to put his signature at the bottom of each post which shows his blog URL. He realizes he's getting paid to advertise his blog. It's not a lot of money, but it's promotion.

He's still writing and selling the same amount of online articles, but he's added 20 minutes worth of forum posting and increased his weekly writing income to $55. Mr. Writer adds the extra stream to his spreadsheet and makes a pretty pie-chart to show him what percentage of income is coming from what source. Obviously his online articles are his major source of income at this stage.

Income Avenue 3)

Mr. Writer is getting excited now and figures he could also spend another 30 minutes of each day doing a little paid blogging. He chooses what topics he wants to write about and figures he'll earn $10 per blog post. He's going to write one per day. That's $50 per week and he's still only working less than 2 hours per day! His total freelance income is up to $105 per week. Not bad for under 2 hours work per day. The paid blogging has now become Mr. Writers main income source and the portion from online article sales looks a little low.

Income Avenue 4)

Mr. Writer finds a content provider willing to pay him for online reviews. They want 5 reviews per week and they pay $5 per review. Still not great income. But they're short and they're quick so he can do a review in 15 minutes. He adds this extra 15 minutes per day to his work-day and sees another $25 per week coming into his freelance business. He's up to $130 per week.

It's still not full-time is it? Perhaps not - but Mr. Writer is still only writing one article, one blog post and one review per day, along with a few forum posts. He's still working under two hours a day. That's pretty good income for part-time work.

Income Avenue 5)

Mr. Writer created his own blog when he first began writing. People are starting to visit it now and he's figured out there are a couple of places who will pay for banner ads whether you have any visitors or not. He's signed up with these. They don't pay much, but it's better than nothing. One company pays him $6 per month (or $1.50 per week) for a simple little banner. He gets excited and throws some Google Adsense ads on the blog too.

They don't pay much on his site because he doesn't have many visitors - maybe a few dollars a month. He adds the pathetic little figure of $2.50 a week to his spreadsheet and gets depressed that it's so low.

Then he also remembers that he's doing nothing for it, so it's really like free money that will just grow as his blog gets bigger. He's also got his blog address out in 30 different forums and people are really starting to visit now. The Adsense dollars slowly start adding up.

This is called passive income. He's not depressed any more.

Income Avenue 6)

Mr. Writer enjoys the community feeling of writing in forums and blogs, but he's just not being taken seriously as a freelance writer. He gets impatient and wonders how he can get an article in his favorite Muscle Cars magazine.

He's visited a few of the professional freelance writing sites (like Freelance Factor and Absolute Write and Worldwide Freelance and Writing-World) and he knows you never write an article for a big magazine without first sending a quick query letter to the editor to ask if his article idea would be accepted.

The editor writes back and says: "Yes please. I need 800 words on your wonderful idea by Friday and I'll pay you $400 when it's done." Woo hoo for Mr. Writer!

Mr. Writer decides he's going to send out one query letter per week to different magazines with his ideas and hopefully write one major article every week.

Uh oh... Take a look at Mr. Writer's pie chart now! All that hard work on writing articles, forum posts, blogs and reviews - and it's not even a quarter of his total freelance income!

Do you think he should just stop doing them and concentrate on the big stuff instead?

Please tell me you're shaking your head saying "NO WAY, RAVEN!"... I would be.

You see, the income from little stuff might not look like much, but what happens to Mr. Writer's income if he doesn't sell any big articles for a few weeks in a row?

Income avenues only work as an effective safety net when none of the incomes make up more than 50% of your total income. This means Mr. Writer needs to figure out how to get his major income to less than half of his total writing income to be safe. Are you with me?

Let's see what Mr. Writer's going to do to solve this imbalance between his income avenues and strengthen his safety net.

Step 1)

Mr. Writer figures that researching and writing one major article is going to take him 10 hours. He decides to do 4 hours on one day and 4 hours on the second and 2 hours on the third. This still leaves him plenty of time to work on his other income avenues.

In fact, he has plenty of time to do more than just his normal stuff - he could probably double it.

Step 2)

He decides to write 2 online articles per day instead of one, taking his weekly income from this source up to $80 per week.

Step 3)

He finds a second paid-forum-posting company and adds that workload to his first, doubling that income to $30 per week.

Step 4)

He writes one extra review per day, doubling his income from this source to $50 per week

Step 5)

He writes one extra paid blog post per day, doubling that income to $100 per week.

At the same time, more and more people start to visit his blog. His ad income goes up to $10 per week and he's liking this passive income idea!

Let's look at his pie-chart now...

Hmmm.... that one big article sale is still more than 50% - but his income has gone up quite a lot! If you've been doing the math during this article, you'd see that Mr. Writer's income from writing is now up to $670 per week - but only if he sells that one big article every week. If he doesn't sell a big article, he's back down to $270 per week.

He needs to add one more income stream that could help him to even it out a bit.

Mr. Writer visits the professional freelance sites again and reads all the articles. He learns what the professionals would do to bump up their incomes and he considers his options. He adds...

Income Avenue 7)

Non-fiction ebooks on quality, niche topics still sell very well. He is smart enough to know he has to avoid the overdone topics already filled with junk products, like 'Get Rich Quick' or 'Work At Home' - but there are niches out there where a quality product still sells very well.

He has a passion for model trains and he knows enough about them to show other model train fans how to collect them properly. He looks on Google and finds plenty of websites for model train enthusiasts. He sits down and writes a chapter per day on his passion. After 10 days, he's finished.

Mr. Writer gets a nice cover graphic made for him, writes a sales page that tells people what's in the book and then he emails all those model train websites he found earlier to tell them about it. They all agree to promote it to their visitors for him. He sells it for $15.

Mr. Writer submits his little ebook to ebook directories and listings. He submits it to review sites and it gets great reviews. Sales start to go up...

He's selling 6 per week - which is an extra $90 into his freelance business, bringing his total up to $760 per week. It's no best-seller, but it keeps selling week after week for a whole year. Not bad for a few days work! Mr. Writer decides he likes this passive income stuff after all.

Mr. Writer's story is just a simplified example I created to show you that you have the option of creating your freelance business empire however you choose. It's your business so you should fill it with things you enjoy doing - but those things also need to create enough income to keep your business running.

I hope it's also highlighted that poor Mr. Writer spent a lot of time creating low-paid content for very little reward at the end, yet he earned far more money with one simple article to one magazine.

Please view any low-paying online jobs you may have now as "filler" income. It's nice to have a bit of extra money coming in - but don't rely on it! Create your main income avenue from high paying sources. There are a couple of posts on my blog about how to find high paying markets. Fill in your secondary income avenues with the low-paying fluff to keep your business going.

Take a look at your own business's income avenues and see if you can find ways to increase each avenue.

You do have more than one Income Avenue, don't you?



High Paying vs Low Paying Freelance Writing Markets

There are plenty of high paying writing markets out there- but there are infinitely more low-paying markets around too.

I've already posted about Finding High Paying Markets here:

I try to do a combination of both high and low paying for several reasons. Let's take a look at both options.

High Paying Markets

High paying markets are the goal. Unfortunately they aren't as frequent as they should be. They're also becoming more difficult to find and the competition is fierce. When you get to know an editor, keep in contact. Offer ideas for other articles. Submit queries about other angles. Editors tend to stick to the same few freelancers they like and already know.

The high paying markets that pay really well deserve my time, my research and my best efforts. These pay anywhere from $200-$1,000 per article. Obviously I'll spend a whole day working on one of these to get it just right because clients like these are important.

Things to Remember When Writing for High Paying Markets

  • Be sure to edit every word carefully.

  • Research your information carefully.

  • Present your work professionally.

  • Stick to the deadline you've been given.

  • Structure your sentences and paragraphs carefully.

  • Do anything it takes to keep these high paying clients happy and returning time after time.

The down-side of the high paying markets is they're labor-intensive and can afford to be picky when they're paying rates like that. Often editors will request re-edits and additions that take time and energy.

Low Paying Markets

High paying markets might be the goal - but they're not always available. What happens to your freelance writing business if you don't get any assignments for two weeks?

If you expect your freelance business to survive, then expect low paying markets to become a constant sideline income. They keep money coming into my freelance business, which keeps me working at home longer.

Low paying articles are generally around 200-500 word long and pay anywhere between $6-10 per article. Not great but handy if you're quick.

With low paying markets it's possible to churn out up to 10 of these little pieces in under 2 hours. This can be very handy if you can do several of these very quickly at the end of a work day.

Things To Remember When Writing for Low Paying Markets

  • Learn to type really fast (accurately).

  • Use a voice-recognition software to dictate your article if you can't type fast.

  • Keep your word-count meter going and don't go over what they're paying for.

  • Keep your spell-check activated while you type.

  • NEVER waste time going back to edit. Learn to edit as you write.

  • Say what you need to say as quickly as you can and get that work out.

  • Move on to the next.

  • Repeat until you have a few done, then move back over to the high paying markets.

The benefit of the low paying market is the speed. You churn them out - you get paid. They provide a sideline income that can keep a freelance business alive until your next high-paying assignment arrives. That's about it really. After all - the client is getting what he paid for - quick, easy and cheap.

The main idea here is to keep an eye on your total freelance business income from all sources.

Just writing low-paying articles will not earn you enough money to go full-time and just waiting for the next high-paying article won't keep you writing enough to go full-time either.

Work at creating a balance between the two and see what happens to your own writing income.


Recession-Proof Your Freelance Writing Business

So many people have the dream of being able to work from home. The freedom of doing what you want and when you want to do it is appealing to almost everyone. When times are good, it seems like everyone wants to become a freelancer writer.

Unfortunately, the moment things get a bit tough people head back to the safety net of the dreaded day-job just for the stability of a regular pay check.

The reasons for this are many - but the main reason I've seen people run back to a job they hate is lack of planning. The second biggest reason is fear.

In times of financial difficulty, like our recent credit crisis, it's natural to be a little worried about lack of work, lower levels of freelance work available, bigger competition etc.

But there are things you can do to benefit - and even profit - from the current recession.

Here's how:

1. - Multiple Income Avenues

If you've set up your freelance business correctly in the first place, you'll always have more than one income coming into your business each week. Just because one publisher or web company goes broke doesn't mean your business will suffer because you have other income avenues to support your business while you're finding a replacement client.

If you didn't set up more than one income avenue, then search for alternative ways to bring income into your business immediately. It makes no difference what you choose - after all, it's your business.

You could try paid blogging, paid forum posting, SEO article writing, copywriting, ghost-writing, ebook writing, paid review writing - whatever works for you.

2.- Marketing

I don't think anyone really likes the term 'marketing', but it's necessary if you're going to succeed as a freelancer. Clients need to know who you are. They need to know what you offer and they'll want to know why you're the right person for the job instead of your competitor.

This means getting your name out into the public eye. Promote yourself every chance you get. Meet other writers and create a co-op for potential clients to find you.

Just make sure they DO find you!

3. - Work the Database

If you've already had some freelance assignments awarded to you, then you should also have contact details of the editor or publication/website that hired you. Each time you do any writing work for anyone, add that name and publication to a database.

This database is your most valuable freelancing tool.

Keep in contact with those editors or webmasters. Check out their websites and see if you can find any topics they may not have covered. Then write to them and offer to write an article on that topic for them. Keep your name fresh in their minds.

They will begin contacting you directly the next time they need an article written!

4.- Re-Hash and Re-Slant

Go back through any old articles you've written. If you're smart, you've kept copies of absolutely everything you've written in a separate folder and listed the date it was published on it somewhere.

Find some old pieces and go back through the information. Then completely re-write the article. Could it be written from another perspective? Could you break it into two articles if you extended some of the information? Maybe there's room to expand on the subject.

NEVER NEVER NEVER use the same words twice. You've already sold that article to someone else. Re-write it. Same information - different words.

When you've re-hashed, re-written and re-slanted, see Step 3 and repeat as necessary.

5. - Research Higher Paying Markets
Don't allow your freelance business to sit in the low-paying article markets forever. They might be a nice way to start, but you'll burn out and earn pittance this way if you stay there.

I've already written a post on Finding High Paying Writing Markets . Read that and do some research on markets that suit you.

6.- Lack of Competition

That's right - everyone else is panicking and taking those low-paying menial jobs they hate instead of sticking to their freelance business. This means there's less competition. Get out there and grab those writing assignments. Hunt out those high paying markets. Do it now while everyone else has run away in fear and your business will be the one that thrives!

7. - Submit

This one never ceases to amaze me. Writers will write fabulous articles and features and then submit them to penny-paying revenue-sharing sites instead of submitting to a high-paying magazine publisher!

Writers who do this may well have cost their freelance business several hundred dollars per article.

Never be afraid to submit to bigger magazines and publications. They need you. Without writers, they'd go broke!

So... now you know how to make your freelance writing business thrive during a recession, what's stopping you?

Get writing!



Writing at Helium

I received a lot of negativity for my post about Avoiding Revenue Share Sites - so I thought I'd do the right thing and put my writing where my mouth is.

Now I have actual statistics to write about ;)

I joined at one of "those" sites. I wrote a few simple articles. I submitted to the Marketplace. I have my stats now and won't be going back.

Here are the stats.

9 articles = $2.41
1 MarketPlace sale = $42

Total $44.41

Not impressed. Each of those articles was 500 words or longer. In a "normal" writing market environment, they should have been paid at close to $50 EACH = not $44.41 for 9 articles.

So... to all those who told me it's possible to make good money there, I say this: "It's also possible to make much MORE money elsewhere for the same amount of work."

If you want to break out of the low-paying pocket-money freelance ranks and earn some serious full time income, you'll need to write for markets that actually value their writers. Helium isn't one of them.

Cheers! :)

UPDATE - April: This original blog post was written and posted back on the 15th October. It's now April and those numbers have changed just a bit. Here's the new numbers and new verdict:

9 articles = $11.42
3 marketplace sales = $264

Verdict = one of those marketplace sales was for $200 - if you remove this unusually high sale (because this is not a regular sale price for Helium's marketplace) - you end up with an extremely LOW paying market that was a complete waste of the time it took me to write the other 11 articles.

If I'd sold the same articles on  Constant Content, I would have received $50 per article, which is $600.

Anyone who continues to tell me that slave-labor sites like this are worth the effort are either beginners and haven't been taught any differently yet or they're fooling themselves.


Expanding My Horizons

When I first began writing articles seriously, my logic was that I wanted to be able to work from home and generate enough income to support my real love - writing a novel.

6 years later I get to write every day. I have quite a few regular freelancing clients who keep my bills paid. I write short stories whenever I can to keep the creative side of me active. These sell okay but they're not a big part of my writing business. I have a few other regular writing 'gig's I keep up with each week as well.

Even though I get to do what I really want to do every single day (write!), I'm not really doing the one thing I always wanted most of all. I still want to write that novel I've always wanted to write.

So I've decided to overhaul my existing work-week schedule and include time to work on a novel idea I've been playing with for a while now.

Wish me luck!



How to Set Up a Work At Home Business

It's no secret - I work at home. I've been doing this for 6 years.

I'm not a millionaire, but I'm not broke either. I do okay enough to pay my bills, pay my mortgage and not have to go to an office every day. I'll admit I'm always looking for ways to increase my income - after all, more money is always a good thing when it comes to paying bills ;)

As part of my work-at-home writing business I get to post on forums - some are paid, some I visit because they're great. I meet a lot of other writers on those forums and the biggest question I see on any of them is this:

"Where do I find a Work-At-Home opportunity so I can quit my job today?"


These questions tell me that writer will fall for a few scams, pay a lot of money for work at home "systems" or packages, then give up and get a menial job somewhere else.

You see, they've got their thinking all wrong. A work at home business doesn't come in a package or a book. No one else can set it up for you and get it running successfully.

It's a business. It's YOUR business.

This means YOU choose which customers you want, what products you want to sell, how you want to run your office, when to bill your clients and so on.

Beginning a work at home business is easy and in some cases free and yet so many people keep doing useless Google searches trying to find one that's already set for them.

I'm going to list down exactly how I got my own business up and running - and how I've kept it growing for 6 years - and I'll make some suggestions about how you can do it too.

Here's some tips for setting up your own work at home business for free:

1.- Figure out what you like to do.

I love writing. I have loved to write ever since I was a child. Before my business took off I was still working in a terrible job at a bank. I hated it. I would come home every evening and look at ways I could get paid to write. I planned what I was going to do. Then I followed that plan.

2. - Find real people who are already doing what you like to do
(hint: forums are good for this....)

I went and found people who really were doing what they say they're doing. I didn't buy ebooks or systems or courses. I just spoke to other successful freelancers and learned how they found clients. I learned how they found markets. I learned how they ran their businesses.

Some of the ideas were great. Some I didn't like. It's my business, so I chose the bits I liked and worked around those.

3. - Begin working part-time on that thing you like to do.

After work and on weekends I wrote little 'fillers' for magazines and posted them off. I submitted articles to magazines. I wrote short fiction stories. I learned as much as I could about improving my writing. I wrote on a notepad on the train to work.

When I got tired or bored, I'd write something else. I kept reminding myself that I was building a business. I did NOT quit my job at that point. I kept building my client-base and my writing income.

Tip: Turn off the TV and stop surfing the net. If you want to build a business, then invest your time wisely.

4. - Don't spend any of that part-time income!

This is important. If you're already working in a 'day-job', then don't spend your business income. Yet. You'll need to save it for a while because when you do leave your day-job, you'll need that extra money to keep you going while you're building more income.

When your part-time income reaches enough to cover most of your bills and expenses - THEN it's time to consider giving up the day job so you can work on your business more, which should increase your income again.

5. - Keep searching for ways to increase your business income

No business on the planet makes money from one single activity. All businesses have different products, different options, different packages - choices for customers - and these different things mean that they increase their chance of selling something to someone somewhere.

Writing is the same. NEVER rely on one single type of income. If something happens to that one main income, your business will die.

6. - Create Income Avenues

When most people set up a freelance writing business, they begin writing articles and trying to sell them. This is your main 'Income Avenue'.

To keep your business alive (and to stop you getting bored) you need to create more than one Income Avenue. It's up to you what avenues you choose - you might choose blogging or paid-forum-posting or affiliate sales or whatever. It's YOUR business. Choose what suits you.

7. - Promote

If people don't know about your business and your services, then they can't find you. You need to promote yourself and your business. You need to let people know who you are and what you do.

8. - Work At Home

Once you have a stream of assignments, clients and ways to bring income into the household, you can really say you're working from home. The only way to STAY working at home is to keep bringing in that income. Keep finding new clients and new income avenues. Keep working.

Don't goof off and watch TV. Don't sleep til 10am. Don't play video games. Work. You wanted to work from home - so work.

When your work is done - then you can goof off however you choose.

So... if you want to start a home-based business, it can be done. Start a free blog. Get some income into your business. Build it.

But don't fall for those "Easy Way..." systems or ready-made opportunities. They won't buy you a business that will keep you going. Only you can do that.