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Archives for October 2011

A Freelance Writer’s Life Abroad: Inside Peek at My Life as an American Living in Jamaica for a Year, Part XX

I know, I know, I know . . . it’s been a looongggg time since I’ve posted to this travel series. And, so many have been asking about it, so I felt it my duty to start updating it again. I’ve been busy with my ebook writing, so forgive the long stretch of no posting. I’m going to start updating this series again regularly — at least every couple of weeks.

Note: This series is seeking a sponsor (eg, airline, phone company, luggage seller, etc.). If interested, send email via “Contact” page and let’s discuss.

So, what’s life been like; what have I been up to. Well — a ton!

Moving on Up!

First off, I moved in May. I moved from a studio apartment here in Negril, to a 2-bedroom, 2-bath house. It has access to a pool, as well as beach chair facilities at a nice hotel on the beach. I moved because friends kept wanting to come visit, and my studio apt was too small. It was fine for just me, but when friends came, I wanted to be able to put them up.

Editor Note: Access links to every post in this series at the end of this page.

How to Work and Live Abroad from the Caribbean: It’s Easier Than You Think to Make the Move to an Island ParadiseI dont’ visit the pool nearly as much as I’d like — even though it’s literally right across the street.

But, I’ll catch you up on all that’s been going on since my last post here in successive posts — divulging bits and pieces at a time. Today, I want to talk about eating in Jamaica, as in . . .

I’m Losing Weight — and It’s All Because I Stopped Eating Meat (Well, Almost)

As I’ve talked about in previous posts in this series, it is very easy to eat well here in Negril because there’s no fast food restaurant on every corner. Instead, what you encounter is the veggie truck — which sells everything fom pears (avacadoes (what Americans call avacadoes, Jamaicans refer to as pears) to potatoes).

For about $5 (really!) I buy all the fresh veggies I need for a week — usually that consists of tomatoes, cucumbers, pears, beans, onions, lettuce, garlic, carrots and some kind of fruit (eg, watermelon, papaya, honey bananas)).

I WAS a chicken and salad kind of girl. Now, I’ve discovered veggie chunks, aka textured vegetable protein (TVP). And you know what? It takes like meat. My sister says stew beef. It doesn’t taste like that to me. To me, it tends to take on the flavor of whatever you cook with it.

As the video below shows, I usually add callaloo (a collard green/kale-like vegetable, cabbage, carrots, onion, garlic and seasonings). It only takes about 12-15 minutes to cook, depending on how much you cook at once. I usualy cook about half of a 12 oz bag. I can eat off that 3-4 times.

And veggie chunks are cheap – less than $2 for about a 12 oz bag (I’m guessing on the size here; they use the metric system here in Jamaica and my math conversion skills suck!).

Let’s suffice it to say though that it’s a lot of food for very little money. If you add rice and/or beans to it as a side dish, you’ll be really full, but without the “stuffed sausage” feeling, if you know what I mean.

 

Why I’m Trying to become a Vegetarian

I carry most of my weight in my middle. It’s genetic. No matter how many situps I do or how many miles I run, I tend to be a little poochy in the middle. I do just enough situps to maintain that area, but my stomach hasn’t been flat flat since I was in my mid- to late 30s.

Once I hit 40, forget it, it’s like my body started betraying me! Most of you 40-something-year-olds know what I’m talking about.

I HAVE to work out now; it’s no longer an option.

I HAVE to eat right; it’s not just something I do.

So when a friend of mine gave me this video entitled, Eating, I watched it and was amazed by how the American diet has changed so drastically in just the last century (which is a nanosecond in world age); and by what meat does to your body (it clogs up your colon like nobody’s business). And that’s disastrous for the body on soooo many levels.

And did you know . . . there’s not THAT much of a difference between eating white meat like chicken and eating red meat? In the video I watched, the medical professionals advised against eating ANY kind of meat — even fish! I’d never heard that before. They say our bodies just weren’t meant to break down animal food, or the by-products of animals (eg, dairy).

But, there’s no way I’m ever giving up cream in my coffee — E-V-E-R!

But the video did get me to thinking about eating better (and I already thought I was a pretty healthy eater). When I thought about the fact that America is the fattest country in the industrialized world and that plenty of medical professionals agree that what’s killing most of us is what we put on our plates, the “becoming a vegetarian” seed was definitely planted and starting to grow (pun fully intended!).

I never eat red meat in Jamaica, and I was eating just chicken or fish about 3 times a week anyway. In the last month, I’ve had chicken twice and the last time I had it, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would (I had a meat craving so went out and got some fried chicken — which I happen to love).

But, after not eating it for over 2 weeks, I didn’t enjoy it as much, which surprised me. 

Also, not for nothing, but I have diabetes in my family on my mom’s side, so I’m always hypervigilant about that, especially as I get older. So with all of this running through my head, I said to myself:

Let me give this vegetarian thing a try.

And you know . . . it’s not half as hard as I thought it was gonna be, but there are some things I do and don’t like about it.

What I Don’t Like about Being a Vegeterian

I’m always hungry — I literally feel like I could “eat a cow” all the time;

I”m craving sweets more — and I’m not really a “sweetie eating” kind of girl;

My legs feel weaker running (need to add more protein to my diet to compensate for not eating meat);

I’m more gaseous — not great for romance, for sure! and finally . . .

I poop a lot more — I find myself scoping bathrooms just in case (sorry to be so graphic): One thing the doctor in the video said was that most of us are walking around constipated and don’t even know it.

Boy, do I believe him!

But, there are some definite positives, ie:

What I Do Like about Being a Vegeterian

I feel light as a feather overall — am losing weight seamlessly;

My middle is shrinking — without doing any extra situps; and

I feel good mentally just knowing that I’m taking better care of myself.

I’m hoping the positives start to outweigh the negatives and that I can keep it up. I don’t foresee ever giving up meat FOREVER (especially with the holidays just around the corner), but I can see eating it only a few times a year.

I have a couple of friends who are vegetarian and they say that after a while, the meat cravings go away. I hope so because it’s like now that I’m trying NOT to eat meat, it’s all I crave.

But, c’est la vie, no?

And that’s it for this Girl a Go Go this update.

I promise not to go away again for that long.

See you next time, and have a great weekend!

Yuwanda
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Get Paid to Write: How to Break into the Elance Writing Marketplace and Earn Thousands per Month

The following is a guest post by Hayden Jackson.

Elance can be an intimidating place for writers. When I first signed up, I took a look at the profiles of some of the top-ranked writers. I looked at their long lists of completed jobs, their five-star feedback, and their thousands of dollars in earnings. And I thought, “How am I ever going to get paid to write for this site? How am I going to win my first job?”

Every Elancer starts in the same place: no feedback, no completed jobs, and just a string of zeroes where their earnings should be. Two years ago, I was no different.

How Much Can You Earn with Elance as a Freelance Writer?

Hayden JacksonBut today, everything has changed. Since I joined Elance in November 2009, I have earned almost $60,000—more than the writers whose profiles I studied when I first started out.

Over the past two years, Elance has become an integral part of a rewarding, full-time freelance writing career for me. In fact, I even wrote a definitive guide on the subject: “72 Insider Tips for Elance Writers.”

How to Make Money Writing for Elance: 4 Tips from a Freelancer Who’s Earned Up to $5,000/Month

How did I break into the Elance writing market? And more importantly, how can you make money writing for sites like this? Here are four essential tips that will help you stand out and find success in a crowded marketplace:

I. Polish your profile to perfection

So many writers complain that buyers ignore them on Elance, but when I look at their profiles, it’s clear that they aren’t selling themselves effectively.

To Make Money Writing for Elance, Fix These Top Profile Mistakes

Top profile mistakes include:

  • Failing to include a profile photo, or using a photo that’s out of focus, badly cropped, or unprofessional (this includes holiday snaps and family photos)
  • Including typos or spelling and grammar mistakes in your profile. Always proof your profile AND have another trusted writer proof it, too.
  • Including personal information. As with a job interview, a buyer doesn’t need to know your marital status, hobbies, or life circumstances.
  • Including information that isn’t relevant to the skills you’re selling. Unless you plan to establish a niche as a food writer, don’t include your job experience as a chef or your culinary diploma in your profile.

 I found that my job acceptance rate rose significantly after I gave my profile a “makeover” that included a better photo, a well-organized set of portfolio samples, verified credentials, and tested skills.

No single one of these elements will win you the job, but together, they present a professional, credible image to prospective buyers.

II. Bid more frequently

Did you know that at least 40 percent of all Elance jobs are never awarded? And that’s the official award rate—the real number of unawarded jobs may be much higher.

This means almost half of your proposals will never result in a job—no matter how talented you are or how brilliant your proposal is.

Most Elance writers are lucky to get one job for every 10 bids they make, so keep that in mind when you decide on your bidding frequency.

A few months into my Elance career, I really stepped up my bidding frequency, submitting proposals for 25 to 35 jobs each month. The more often I bid, the more jobs I won, and my earning started climbing quickly.

III. Don’t give up too soon

I have heard from many would-be Elance writers who gave up after trying to break into the Elance marketplace for two or three weeks. That’s just not enough time to establish yourself and start to see real results.

In my first few months, I struggled to make a few hundred dollars, and I thought about quitting many times. But I stuck with it, and today I can sometimes clear $5,000 in a single month. It takes time to build up to this level of success—and every writer will advance according to a different timeline.

As a general rule of thumb, give yourself at least three months before you decide that Elance is not for you.

IV. Go for the wow factor

When you don’t have fabulous feedback to vouch for your talent, you need to make the extra effort in your proposal.

How to Bid on a Job on Elance: Here’s Some Insight

Start with a well-crafted proposal template that clearly lays out your skills and experience, and take the time to customize your template to reflect the requirements of each job you bid on. If possible, take the time to research the buyer so that you can appear knowledgeable about their business.

This may seem like a lot of work, especially when you’re applying for a high volume of jobs. And it IS a lot of work. But keep this in mind: you only need to make the effort while you’re in the process of establishing yourself.

Once you’ve earned some feedback and credentials, you’ll find that you can submit a more straightforward proposal and still get a good response.

As an established Elance writer, I spend no more than 10 minutes on each proposal I submit.

Get Paid to Write: Gain Access to Clients Worldwide

Elance gives writers access to hundreds of potential clients all over the world at a minimal cost. However, it’s a crowded place, and it’s easy to become discouraged before you’ve given it a chance.

You need to treat writing for Elance like a real business to make it pay like a real business.

Invest some time in your profile. Invest some money in additional Connects so that you can bid more aggressively. And then give it some time—three months, at least. I did, and I’ve never had reason to regret the extra effort I put into establishing my Elance career.

Publisher Note: In a subsequent email when Hayden and I were corresponding, she added the following golden nugget, which I think is important. She wrote:

I know freelance bidding sites are unpopular with a lot of writers, and truthfully, the ratio of junk jobs to good jobs is about 100-1! But by filtering out the junk and focusing on the good stuff, I’ve been able to make it work for me.

About the Author: Hayden Jackson is a freelance writer and successful Elancer. She is also the author of “72 Insider Tips for Elance Writers,” a comprehensive guide to earning money and building a freelance writing career on Elance.com.

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Opportunities in Freelance Writing Fading Fast for eHow Writers — Many Have Lost Their Sole Source of Income (How to Prevent This from Happening to You)

I was reading an issue of WebProNews.com last week (an e-zine I recommend that every freelancer read because it covers so well what goes on in the online world, eg, social media, SEO, e-publishing, etc.). The story that caught my eye was entitled, Demand Media Shifts from “Content Farm” Approach, Writers Lose Income Source.

The article basically detailed how eHow sought to clean up its act after the Google Panda update earlier this year. The site got hit pretty hard and took drastic measures to fix itself, which basically meant changing their content strategy. Of course, this affected the freelance writers who wrote for it.

Opportunities in Freelance Writing: The Old eHow Content Strategy

writing-for-ehow-post-pandaMany freelance writers had been able to make a full-time living writing for eHow (eg, $4000 per month). Part of it was because their revenue model was based on a pretty straightforward content strategy, as outlined in the above-referenced article, ie:

[The eHow content] strategy, mind you, was generally about writing assignments based on what people are searching for, and including numerous articles on the same topics, covering a variety of different title options. The strategy worked [well] for Google search visibility. No question about it.

Why I Wrote for eHow

I wrote 20 articles for eHow back in 2008. And I can tell you, it was some of the easiest, quickest money I’ve ever made as a freelance wrier. The articles only paid $15 each, but as they were about freelance writing (a subject I can write about in my sleep), it usually took me less than half an hour to write an article and upload it.

Note: Links to articles I wrote for eHow are provided in the linked-to article above, but some of the links no longer go to the content. I guess some of my articles were removed from the site during their post-Panda update.

Opportunities in Freelance Writing: The New eHow Content Strategy

Now, eHow has a new content strategy. And, it’s left many freelancers who wrote for the site out in the cold.

What is the new eHow content strategy? As best as can be judged from the moves they’ve made since getting hit by the big Panda, it seems to be less about “saturating the web with run of the mill content” and more about “diversifying its traffic sources” (ie, getting away from relying so heavily on Google).

What Does eHow’s New Content Strategy Mean for Its Freelance Writers?

Well, if you read the comments of Demand Media Shifts from “Content Farm” Approach, Writers Lose Income Source, it means fewer assignments — a lot fewer — almost overnight. Commenter Vicky Hunter wrote:

There were no articles available in the main eHow pool today for the first time ever. All but a few other specialty channels have been empty, as well. Demand’s thousands or writers are panicking on their forums. Crying, screaming, blaming, begging, fighting, pleading for help from fellow writers – even hinting at suicide. No matter what you think about them, you can’t help but feel some real pain for some of these writers.

I feel bad for the writers. Some were making $4,000+ a month, and many were able to keep families afloat during this bad economy – and now it’s all gone, like that – poof.

Did Demand Media Lie to Its eHow Freelance Writing Community?

That’s exactly what some have accused the company of. In a related article that came out just this past Saturday on WebPronews.com entitled, Demand Media Writers Offer Different Viewpoints of Assignment Reduction, one used-to-be-eHow freelance writer stated:

The writer tells us . . . they felt “they were being strung along, which is akin to lying.”

“They continually developed new writing categories (eHow Money [and] eHow Garden are examples) as the titles disappeared and the promises that they were providing a better writing experience for their freelance writers,” the writer tells us. . . . It’s almost as if all of the changes for ‘new writing opportunities’ were a coverup when they were actually taking away the writing opportunities at the same time.”

Lesson Freelance Writers Can Learn from Recent Happenings at eHow

I tried to post the following in the comments section of the first article mentioned above on WebProNews, but it wouldn’t take. And, that’s what inspired me to write this post. As a long-time freelance writer, my take is this . . .

The Secret to a Successful Freelance Writing Career

If there’s one thing many freelance writers need to learn it’s to treat freelancing like a “business,” for that’s what it is. And, smart business owners diversify.

I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993 and it took me years to take my freelance career seriously; ie, to treat it like a business. And, when I did, that’s when it started to pay off.

I advise freelance writers all the time to develop multiple revenue streams — never, ever depend on one (or a few clients); writing outlets; etc. for your living. You set yourself up for a downfall when stuff like what’s happened with eHow / Demand Studios happens.

And lest we forget — it’s their business; they can change the rules on a dime. While it may not be fair, it’s life; it’s business.

I hope this helps many freelance writers to take stock of their careers; ie, to diversify — whether it’s creating your own info products/ebooks to sell; building minisites for passive income; finding 10, 15 or more clients who can give you work; or creating e-seminars, etc.

If taken the right way, this can be a blessing in disguise — as I talked about in this post on writing for write-for-pay sites like eHow and HubPages.

If you haven’t started to diversify your income as a freelance writer, take stock and start to do so as soon as possible. The less you depend on one source as a freelancer, the better chance you have of having a long, successful freelance writing career.

What’s your take on the recent happenings at eHow/Demand Media? Were you affected by them? Have you ever written for them? Share in the comments section below.

Best,
Yuwanda
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coverP.S.: Get the freelance writing opportunity that allowed me to be financially secure enough to travel, live abroad, get out of debt and really “live the freelance life!”

P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

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Get Paid to Write: 5 Sites That Pay $50+ for Guest Posts and 35 More “Write-for-Pay” Sites

There are tons of ways to get paid to write. Many are covered right here on this site, eg: …

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Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: Diary of My Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part XII

I can’t believe it’s been more than a month since I’ve published anything in this series. But, I’ve been busy doing, what else . . . writing and uploading more ebooks. This afternoon, I uploaded my 28th title to Amazon.

For a while there, I really thought I was not going to make my goal. But, I’m stubborn and determined, so I refocused  and pushed a lot of stuff to the side to make some headway.

Note: See links to all entries in this ebook writing series at the end of this post.

Things You May Have to Sacrifice to Meet Your Ebook Writing Goals

What have I sacrificed to meet this ambitious ebook writing goal:

Social Media: I haven’t been nearly as active on Twitter in the last few weeks. In fact, I make it my business to NOT post at least one day a week. In spite of this, Inkwell’s follower’s continue to grow. My secret goal was to get 10,000 Twitter followers by the end of the year. I think we’ll get there this month if things keep going the way they’re going.

Thanks John Paul!

write-and-sell-ebooks-on-amazonLiving in Jamaica Series: I haven’t updated this series since March because any time I get time to write, I’m writing another ebook or formatting an existing one to upload to Amazon; not writing on an existing series.

This series is very time consuming to put together and became quite popular. Because I still get a lot of requests about it, I will start updating it again soon – promise! By the time I leave Jamaica this time, I will have been here for six months (the longest I’ve ever stayed at one time). Consequently, I have some great videos and pics that I’ve stored up for tons of new posts.

Freelance Writing Client Projects: I personally worked on my last project for a client in July. I’m soooo excited about this because it means I’m stepping into a strictly managerial role a New Media Words, my SEO writing company.

As I talked about in my post on freelance writing goals for 2011, I was 9/10th’s of the way there. Now, it looks like I’ve made the transition 100%! In making this transition, I’ve turned down some projects that I wouldn’t have turned down in the past.

But, when you figure in what you have to pay other freelancers to do the work, it wasn’t even worth it for me to oversee some of this work. With my end goal clearly in mind (to publish 50 ebooks on Amazon by year’s end), I took a short-term income hit to gain long term.

What’s Happened Since the Last Post in This Ebook Writing Series

Here’s an update on some of the things I addressed in the last post in this series.

5 Ebooks Published Since Then: As I said in the beginning of this post, this afternoon, I uploaded my 28th title to Amazon. September wasn’t a very productive month for me as for as ebook writing. I was pissed at myself because I farted a lot of time away.

I think sometimes as human beings we subconsciously sabotage our own dreams because then we have a built-in excuse if we fail. That’s the only thing that makes sense to me about how I unwisely used my time last month.

But as I said, I’ve refocused and am now back on track – even though I’m still behind. This month though, I’ve put myself on target to publish between 8 and 10 titles. Two or three of these may be new; the rest will be existing titles that I’m formatting and uploading.

Started Writing First Fiction Novel: I’m in the middle of co-writing a fiction novel with my sister. I’ve never written fiction before (it’s a LOT harder than nonfiction writing); my sister is a pro at it and she’s been holding my hand a lot. Even though I’m experiencing some bumps along the way, I’m enjoying the process and am proud of the way the ebook is turning out (it’s kind of a paranormal murder mystery).

I’m anxious to finish to see how it will be received.

Why Write Fiction? Why Now?

Quite frankly, because it sells a helluva lot more than nonfiction on Amazon; so I want a piece of that pie. I want my writing income to come from different genres. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned as a small business owner of many years is that diversification is key. Next year, in fact, I plan to focus almost solely on fiction. My goal is to put out 24 titles (yep, am already looking forward to 2012).

How Ebook Sales are Shaking Out: Sales were down in September compared to August. I sold almost 20% less.  I was a little discouraged by this, but then realized that September is the month kids go back to school; hence people have less disposable income because day care costs kick in, new school clothes, etc.

This month sales started off sluggish, but have picked up in the last couple of days. If I can match what I did back in August, I’ll be happy because I have my biggest payout ever coming from that month – which I’ll receive at the end of this month (Amazon’s payouts lag by 60 days).

Hopefully, holiday sales will be better because the Kindle is cheaper (only $79 now!), and I’ll have at least one fiction novel up there – which I’m really hoping will bring in some sales because it’s in a popular genre.

My Pen Name Ebook: As an aside, the relationship ebook I published this summer under a pen name has been one of my most popular titles. It was my second biggest seller in September, selling just one copy less than my most popular ebook, which for the last couple of months has been SEO Examples: 10 Illustrative SEO Writing Samples.

So, I’ll definitely be publishing more in this genre. As a 40+ year old woman, I have tons to say in this genre and if people are willing to pay for it, I don’t mind writing about it! 🙂

Strangely enough, the first ebook (although I didn’t call it that at the time) I ever wrote was a relationship ebook. I never published it though. I’d just broken up with a boyfriend and was getting some stuff off my chest by doing some serious self-examination. I compiled my thoughts into a little booklet. So I feel like my writing has come full circle in this area.

How Many Different Title Sold: In August, I sold copies of 14 different titles on Amazon. Last month, I sold copies of 16. So again, I’m encouraged by this because I don’t want all of my sales coming from just one or two ebooks.

How Many Ebooks Do You Have to Write to Make a Full-Time Living as an Ebook Publisher

In the last post in this series, a commentor wrote:

I’m also just getting into this whole Ebook thing, so am looking forward to learning more, and hopefully one day actually writing one of them! The only thing that’s putting me off is that people are saying you got to write lots of them. Take care. Vic

In my experience, this is very true. While I don’t know how many ebooks you have to write to make a full-time living, I know I didn’t start seeing a real difference in my income as a self-published ebook author until I’d published probably around 15 of them.

Now while some people like John Locke and Amanda Hocking have had crazy success with fewer titles, this just won’t happen for the vast majority of ebook writers.

But IMO, this shouldn’t discourage you; instead it should encourage. Why? The way I look at it is this — if somebody told me that I could be a self-sustaining writer in 3 years, 5 years, or 10 years – guaranteed, IF I just put out enough titles, would that make me happy or sad?

It makes me happy.

While I might have to write 200 ebooks to achieve a 10th of the success of a Lock or Hocking, at least I know that I can “write my way to riches,” so to speak.

After all, writers write, right?

And that’s it for this installment of the ebook writing series.

Hope you’re having a fabulous week; I’m off to do my taxes (I file an extension every year and now the deadline is almost here (October 15th)).

Yuwanda

Yuwanda
Find this post informative? Please RT It and Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

coverP.S.: Get the freelance writing opportunity that allowed me to be financially secure enough to travel, live abroad, get out of debt and really “live the freelance life!”

P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Getting a Website: How to Get Your Business on the Web Quickly & Affordably

Unsolicited Testimonial: I want to set up a website as part of my plan to promote a book of mine that’s due out later this year. I … just finished your e-book, How To Get Your Small Business On the Web Quickly & Affordably. Excellent, concise, practical advice. — Stuart…

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Freelance Writing Advice for SEO Writers: In-depth Answers to 26 Commonly Asked Questions from SEO Writing Clients

PREFACE
I decided to write this ebook because, as a freelance writer since 1993, and a search engine optimization (SEO) copywriter since 2007, I get a lot of questions from fellow freelancers about what to expect from SEO writing clients….

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Financial Advice for Freelancers: How to Keep More of What You Earn, Get Paid Regularly, Estimate What You’ll Owe in Taxes & More

I spent all day yesterday updating the ebook, Advice from Successful Freelancers: How They Built Their Careers & How You Can Too! I wrote this ebook back in 2004 (it was the second ebook I ever wrote), profiling 14 freelancers (including myself) on what it takes to succeed. In that ebook, there’s a section entitled Finances for Freelancers. As I was updating it, I realized that the advice still holds true today – some seven years later.

I decided to write this post when I received the following email from a new (SEO) freelance writer who just got paid for her first job. She wrote:

freelance-financesYuwanda,

Today I got my first paycheck – they mailed it to me, so I have a tangible item I can hold in my hand and admire. It feels amazing to have your first $110 from a new business!!

I bought your e-book on How to Find Unpublished Freelancing Jobs, and I look forward to getting a lot of neat marketing ideas from it. Thanks for all the amazing resources you put out!

Thanks again for all you do – I just wanted to share my joy! 🙂
~AB

Note: This was the same freelancer featured in this post. In about two months of freelancing, she’s already gotten a client, did the work and received payment. Freelance success is indeed possible. Congrats A.!

Now that the busy fall editorial season is here, a lot of newbies are gonna be getting payments from their freelance business for the first time. And, it is exciting!

And, the best time to start handling your “freelance finances” right is . . . right from the start. Why? Because while how you handle your finances as  a freelancer will change as your business grows – as my account in the ebook details – there are some “truisms” that are time tested and will likely never change.

Following are a few I plucked while doing the update. And congrats to all you newbies out there experiencing the joy of getting paid for the first time. I don’t remember my first freelance paycheck, but I do remember the feeling. There are few things in life that have rivaled it for me (well, a couple come to mind, but you know what I mean! :-))

5 Freelance Financial Tips

I. Bank separately: Get a business checking account and have clients make their payments payable to your business. The government does not like it when you co-mingle funds, so keep it separate from day one.

Note: If you do business under your own name, open a separate banking account for business purposes.

II. Organize receipts: A simple folder will do for this. Just develop the habit of keeping, labeling and dating receipts. If you are ever audited (knock wood, not), you will be grateful. And again, at tax time, your organization in this area will save you time – and probably money!

III. Prepare for your future: If you are totally self-employed (i.e., a full-time freelancer), the laws have gotten much more generous regarding how much you can put away for retirement.

Get in the habit of putting a percentage of each check that comes in into some type of retirement account (Roth, mutual fund, etc.).

Freelance income can be erratic, at best. Therefore, it is vitally important toget in the habit of “paying yourself first.”

IV. Freelance tax advice – pay them quarterly: Don’t wait until the end of the year to be socked with a big tax bill. Put aside a percentage of each check into a separate account just for taxes – and send off a quarterly payment.

At best, you’ll be due a refund at the end of the year. At worst, you will lower your bill so the bite is less severe if you do owe. If you take out 10-15% towards taxes when you first start out as a freelancer, more than likely, you will not owe at the end of the year (this always depends on how much you earn and what your deductions are, of course).

Note about income tax brackets: Here are some numbers so you can get a “quick and dirty” idea of what you’ll owe in taxes as a freelancer based on based on your income and filing status.

V. Pay yourself regularly: Cut yourself a paycheck on a regular basis. I’m talking sign up with a paycheck service and call in payroll, for yourself, every week, two weeks, month — whatever works for you. This serves several functions:

The Advantages of Putting Yourself “On Payroll” as a Freelancer

1) You get used to the money. Therefore, you work harder to make sure that you have enough coming in to make “payroll.”

You won’t be slacking off if you know that “pay day” is coming, but you can’t make it. I can tell you from personal experience that it is no fun to miss a pay day.

2) It will make you feel more in control because you know that pay day is just around the corner.

You will be more likely to budget and less likely to dip into your business account for personal expenses. It creates a sense of balance in the crazy world of freelancing.

3) You can plan more for a “normal” existence. This means you can save more for your future, pay bills on time, do a little shopping.

In short, you are less likely to live a feast or famine existence as a freelancer.

Hope you’re having a great week. I’m off to get some ebook writing done!
Yuwanda

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coverP.S.: Get the ebook that pushed my freelance writing career to the next level – allowing me to travel and live abroad, get out of debt and really “live the freelance life.” One freelancer wrote:

Hi Yuwanda,

Just wanted to say thank you – as a result of the advice in your SEO writing e-book, I got my first order within 12 hours of sending out my first batch of 10 marketing emails.

P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

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In Business: From Startup to Success — One Freelance Writer’s Success Story

An Ebook Excerpt
[See all Inkwell Editorial Work-from-Home Titles Here]

I have been a freelance writer since 1993. I’ve run several successful businesses from home since then — both online and off. The information in this ebook is for all aspiring or struggling entrepreneurs — no matter what kind of business you’re in or want to start.

x-click-but22 Get inside info on what it’s really like to start/run a business for only $3.95.

I am the publisher of this site, InkwellEditorial.com, an authority site on how to start, grow and maintain a freelance writing business. I have also authored over 30 ebooks, mostly on small business, freelance writing and internet marketing. And, more are on the way!

startup-cover-medIn the in-depth report, From Startup to Success!, I answer the following questions in detail — and quite a bit more:

1. How I got started?

2. How I went from full-time employee to small business owner?

3. How I learned to get clients?

4. How I learned what to charge?

5. How I initially financed my business?

More Startup Questions Answered & Personal Insight Given to First-Time Entrepreneurs

Additionally, I point out seven things you should do from the beginning that will help you become successful that much sooner.

Starting from the beginning, I tell you how I acquired my very first clients, what I did when I lost my biggest client two months after quitting my job, how I financed my first business, lessons I learned from running two businesses from home — and more.

Answers to these questions contain insight into how I learned to market with nothing (literally), what I learned about loans, financing a business with credit cards (yes, there is a time for this!) and personal finances in general — all of this information is central to running a business successfully.

Many think there’s a mystery to owning a business. It simply is not true. Anyone who really wants to can do it. Via this insightful account, you learn the mistakes NOT to make, which can save you thousands of dollars and make success possible that much sooner — no matter what kind of business it is.

Here’s to your success!

Following is a complete Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PREFACE

About My Very First Business, Page 5

A Business Owner Speaks: The “Mystery” of Owning a Business, Page 6

Who This Information Can Help, Page 6

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. How did you get started? Page 7

3 Big Lessons I Learned from a Failed Business That’s Helped Me to Succeed, Page 7

2. How did you go from a full-time employee to owning a business? Page 8

The Advantage of Running a “Small” Business, Page 9

3. How did you learn to get clients? Page 9

Why It’s Critical to Spot – and Grab – Opportunities Even When They Aren’t on Your Business Plan, Page 9

4. How did you learn what to charge? Page 10

Why You Must Learn to Charge Enough; What Can Happen If You Don’t, Page 11

Factors to Consider When Setting Rates/Prices/Fees, Page 11

5. Did you get a loan to start your business? Page 12

About Getting a Small Business Loan, Page 12

When to Use Credit Cards to Finance Your Small Business – Yes, There Is a Time When It’s OK to Do This in My Opinion, Page 13

7 SUCCESS TIPS FOR ASPIRING SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS

I. About Credit, Page 14

II. About Recordkeeping, Page 14

III. About Getting a Lawyer and Accountant, Page 14

IV. About Getting a Business Mentor, Page 15

The Best Piece of Business Advice I’ve Ever Received, Page 16

V. The 4 Secrets to Small Business Success, Page 16

VI. About Developing a Thick Skin, Page 16

VII. About You, Page 17

ENDMATTER

x-click-but22 $3.95

P.S.: If you want to know how to do something, ask someone who is already doing it. This is the vantage point from which this ebook — indeed, all Inkwell Editorial titles — are written. All material is first-hand; contributed by real entrepreneurs. This allows readers the benefit of learning from those who have been there.

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