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.


Benefits of Working From Home

Today I didn't write anything. I did no work on my business. I basically took the day off.

Now before you think I went goofing off instead of running my business like a professional, I should also point out that I was up all night with a sick daughter. She's asthmatic and she really wasn't well last night.

I finally got some sleep this morning when my mom showed up to take my daughter for her regular Friday morning at grandma's. Usually I'd be writing fiction on a Friday. I'm getting up the courage to write an entire novel rather than short stories. Not today.

Today I slept until 11am.

Unfortunately, while I was catching up on the much needed sleep, my beloved dog was becoming very ill in the back yard. By the time I woke up I had enough time to throw on the closest items of clothing I could find, get my poor baby in the car and to the vet. He's in for emergency surgery for the day. I'll be able to pick him up when the anaesthetic wears off a little and he wakes up a bit.


Now I'm sitting here in the living room on a Friday afternoon - no love-of-my-life daughter, no beloved dog and no writing. Oh - I also have no milk.

It's times like these I'm so grateful I don't work in an office. I needed a day off so I took one!



Hidden Writing Markets

Would you write for a writing market that no one else wanted to write for?

I think it's weird that writers out there won't bother writing a short filler for a magazine - you know, like a joke or a recipe or a cute saying or something. There are a lot of magazines out there begging for writers. You can earn $1 a WORD for some of those things. They're quick and easy. They pay well.

Imagine - $25 for a 25 word joke. Or $50 for a recipe that takes less than 5 minutes to write. How about $50 for a photograph of my cat asleep in the bathroom sink? Or $30 for a 50 word, cute mis-understood phrase my daughter used in a really inappropriate moment?

And yet almost no one submits.

One writer told me that typing out a joke, printing it, putting it into an envelope and posting it to a magazine was just too much work for only $25. That's fine. That means less competition for me!

On the opposite side of that are the websites where thousands and thousands of writers flock to websites that pay $3 per 400 word article. That's a lot of effort for a few dollars! No thanks. Those writers try so hard to make a living using tools that just don't work and they can't understand why they're not getting ahead. That's just ridiculous.

Next time you're near a news-stand or newsagency, or at the hairdresser, or even sitting in the doctor's waiting room, open a few glossy magazines and check out the reader contribution sections. You'll be surprised at how many of them pay good money for the strangest things.



Quick Cash Writing

Today I saw an advertisement for an ebook claiming to be full of ways for any writer to earn quick, easy cash instantly.

I thought "Oh yeah?" and ignored it. But something in me kept niggling at the back of my mind so by the end of the day I went back to that site and took a closer look.

Then I did something I hate doing - I bought the ebook. It's called Quick Cash Writing and it's by Nick Daws.

At first I was disappointed in myself for giving in to a slick sales page. Then I downloaded the book and started reading. I forgot all about being disappointed immediately. This book is GREAT!

Now, I'm usually happy to write anything for anyone as long as I get paid and get to stay at home longer. This means I've found lots of writing opportunities and markets that most writers ignore.

But Quick Cash Writing showed me HEAPS more ways to profit from my writing! I have to get started at once. I just bought one simple ebook and I got an instant pay-rise! The ideas are so simple and quick that anyone can do them. I'm really surprised I haven't noticed some of these before.

Anyway, if you're looking for a way to get your writing income UP, then I highly recommend Quick Cash Writing . You'll be glad you got it - and your writing income will benefit too!