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SEO Copywriting: How One Freelance Writer is Finding Success as an SEO Writer

Today’s update is on SEO Mary, which I’ve been promising practically all week. I’ve been so busy lately that I didn’t even query Mary. Sweet soul that she is, I think she’s come to feel some responsibility to readers of her foray into SEO writing, so she took it upon herself to email me. …

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Three Money-Making Reasons to Write for Sites Like Associated Content, eHow, Helium, etc.

I contribute to  AssociatedContent.com (AC) and  eHow on a pretty regular basis; I’ve posted a  couple of articles to Helium.

Regular readers of  my blog and newsletter may wonder why I contribute to sites like this when I  earn more from my SEO writing and other freelance writing  gigs. Well, there are three reasons. One sitting in my inbox when I logged on  this morning prompted this post.

Why I Write for  “Article Paying Sites” Like AssociatedContent.com, eHow, Helium, etc.

Special Assignments: This morning when I logged on, there was an email from an editor at AC offering  to pay $25 to write an article on How to Write a Small Business Plan.

As I’ve written  enough business plans in my life to do one in my sleep, this article will  probably take 30-45 minutes to complete. While it may seem paltry to some, when  you’re writing about what you know, it’s usually a breeze to knock out and it  doesn’t take any research. For me, these are the best kinds of assignments.

I’ve been writing  for AC since April 2006. To date, I’ve submitted well over 500 articles. The  bulk of them have been on the business of freelance writing. When I first  started to submit, I submitted a lot of content I’d written as press releases  from an old business I had. So, a lot of that content was business-focused, eg, How to Market Your Business Online.

So, over time, I’ve  established myself as somewhat of a small business expert. And, this is probably  why this special assignment came my way (I have no way of knowing how/why I was  chosen for this assignment).

The Direct Benefit  for You: As large sites like AC build out, they hand out special assignments  that pay more to proven contributors who write well (let’s not forget this  part).

Residual Income: Most of the articles I submit to AC are posts from my blog that I’m simply recycling. After all, I’ve written it, so why not pick up a few bucks for it.

I usually receive  anywhere from $4.50 to $6.50 for these. It’s an extra $20 to $30 week. Or, the  way I like to look at it, an extra $80-$120/month (I look at income in terms of  how it adds to my bottom line in a given month).

This, for me, is  residual income. Because I update my blog, ostensibly for no pay, to be able to  turn these posts into cash makes it residual income. And, not to mention, sites  like AC, Helium and eHow all use some type of pay-per-click (PPC model) that can  have you earning money for years on every article you write.

For example, on AC,  they pay you $1.50 for every 1,000 page views. I usually earn anywhere from $20  to $35/month just from residual income on the articles I’ve submitted to AC. A  king’s ransom? Certainly not. But again, when looked at monthly, that’s another  column I can add to my monthly income streams.

The Direct Benefit  for You: Over time, these little bits add up, especially when they’re little  bits you don’t have to do anything for. I sometimes joke to myself that if  Social Security isn’t around when I retire, I can count on my residual income  from sites like AC to take up the slack. 🙂

Exposure: Now, this is obvious, but I wanted to point out how it’s worked for me.  Obviously, you’re exposed to a wide market when you contribute to heavily  marketed sites like AC, eHow, etc.

Clients:  I’ve been approached at least half a dozen times about work because someone came  across one of my articles on AC or some other site. They would remark that they  were impressed with my article (usually a business article) and wanted to know  how much I would charge to write X for them.

Ebook Sales:  I don’t exactly how many ebook sales I’ve made because of my articles on AC,  eHow, etc., but I do know that in the last two years, I’ve gotten a pretty good  flow of email from readers on those sites asking me questions. A few have  written me directly, telling me that they bought my ebook and enjoy my articles  on AC, et al.

I have 90  subscribers on AC, meaning that every time I publish an article there, there are  90 readers who are so interested in my content that they’ve taken the time to  subscribe (never underestimate what it means when someone subscribes to your  newsletter, blog, etc.).

This was a number I  never used to pay attention to, until I looked up one day and saw that I had 84.  I couldn’t believe it. I was humbled.

NOTE: Most  purchasers will not email to let you know how/when they came across your work;  they’ll just buy.

The Direct Benefit  for You: This type of continuous exposure allows you to keep your name  constantly in front of your target market. These are leads you don’t have to pay  for, chase, beg or plead to – they’re easily accessible.

So, the next time  you wonder why so many so-called “successful” freelance writers contribute to  sites like AC, et al, keep these reasons in mind. Overall, it’s just smart  marketing – and it keeps those writing skills honed.

Best,
Yuwanda

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 $15 Per Article Writing Gig: The Ins & Outs of Writing for eHow (aka Demand Studios)

Article Updated on 5/23/2011

I recently started writing for eHow.com. It’s a community site similar to AssociatedContent.com, another site I also contribute to. I like writing for both sites, because they each offer something unique.

Earn $63,000 to $125,000/year writing simple articles

And yeah, I know $15 per article is peanuts for some, but when you consider that you can write about basically anything you want and that it takes anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to write an article, that works out to $30 to $60/hour. OR, looked at another way, earning almost $63K to $125K/year writing simple articles. I’ll take it every time.

So, how did I happen upon this gig?

How I Got the eHow Article Writing Gig

I obviously applied because I got a response notifying me that they wanted me to start contributing articles in my specialty. The ad probably looked something like the one found [link to no-longer-live Craigslist post was given]. They ask for different specialties in each ad.

Note: I apply to a lot of stuff and don’t remember every company. Also, many have corporate identities different from the names the general public may know them by (eg, eHow’s corporate identity is Demand Studios).

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At any rate, they sent me a welcome email and an offer to write 10 articles for $15/each. Now, I wasn’t thrilled, but once I learned that I could write on anything I wanted in my niche (freelance writing, small business), anything I wanted, I was like, “Let’s try it for one assignment and see how it goes.”

The thing that originally put me off writing for eHow are the attachments they send along with the welcome email. It is a copy of their style manual, invoice submission form and W9 Form. Also, I had to learn the ins and outs of uploading an article to their site.

As a side note, the thing that will cause me to procrastinate forever on a new project is getting through the procedure. I abhor learning new procedures. But usually, it’s not nearly as bad as I make it out to be. 

It seemed overwhelming to have to absorb all of this for $15/article. But, like most things, it appeared more monstrous than it was. It took me about 45 minutes to go through and grasp an understanding of everything.

Once this was complete, I wrote the 10 articles. It took me about five hours to write and upload them. The actual uploading took about an hour, because I kept playing around with category choices and going back and editing them. So, it could have been shorter.

My articles are much longer than many on the site. They have to be a minimum of 400 words, with the optimum being 400-600 words. My articles tend to be 500-1,000 words (I like to give value, not snippets).

How to Get Paid from eHow

Once the articles were submitted, I sent my invoice to the editor assigned to me, and within two weeks, had a check in had for $150. On the website, they say they only pay via PayPal (which I prefer). But, I got paid via check. I don’t know if they reserve the checks for writers they invite to write for them, or not.

They do have a Writer’s Compensation program where you earn money via revenue sharing. So, maybe that’s what the PayPal payments are for. I don’t know. I haven’t earned enough for a payout via the revenue sharing model (my articles have earned almost a dollar). The minimum payout is $10, which is good because it’s low. Most sites make you earn $25 or even $50 before they’ll pay out.  For more on writing for eHow for pay, click here.

Getting Continuous $15 Article Writing Assignments

Once I turned in my first assignment, about a week later, the editor who initially contacted me sent me a second assignment – this time for 20 articles (at $15/each). He gave me a week to turn these in.

I just completed that last Monday. I wrote all articles in one day, which was the most I’d ever written in one day. A $300 day for pretty easy work.

Why I Like Writing for eHow

I like writing for eHow because (i) I can write what I want; (ii) because of this, the assignments go faster; (iii) there’s little to no research required; and (iv) the possibility of repeat work.

Also, it’s kind of nice to have assignments that don’t require you to think, think, think so much. For example, when I write sales copy, I have to do research, come up with an angle, research keywords, etc. This is draining. Comparatively, writing articles for eHow is “easy, breezy” work.

I contacted my editor, asking him for more bulk assignments and letting him know all of the different genres I write across (interior decorating, staffing/HR, real estate, online marketing, small business, mortgages and crafts). He said he would keep it in mind, as they have several sites they might be able to contract with me for and that he’d pass my name along to anyone else in the company he knew of who could use my services.

And, about a few days after that, he dropped me a line, letting me know that he had given my contact info to someone else in the company who may need my services. This person didn’t contact me (my editor had told me that there was a chance that his colleague may have already found someone).

BUT, I’m convinced that he passed my name along because of the quality of my work.  Some of the articles on eHow are pretty cheesy and basic, barely breaking 400 words (I don’t think some of them even are 400 words). I could have turned in work of this quality, but I didn’t want to.

Number one, every time someone reads one of my articles, I want them to come away with a sense of understanding – like they learned something. And number two, it’s a pride thing. I value my work and don’t want to clog up the web with anything less than my best on any given day. Face it, we all fall short, but there’s a bar that must be met at all times. I’m aware of the bar I’ve set for myself.

So, the next time you run across an ad similar to the one mentioned above, apply. It’s the real deal. For feedback from others, click here to go to AbsoluteWrite.com’s forum which discusses writing for eHow. You can complete eHow’s online application here.

All of my eHow articles are listed below. FYI, eHow only accepts original material (unlike AssociatedContent.com, which accepts previously published material), so you haven’t read any of this before.

Note about Article Rate: I read in some forums that some writers were offered $10/article. I don’t know how eHow decides who to pay what. I only know that I was offered $15/article. Following are my articles on the site.

How to Find Freelance Work as an Article Writer

How to Find Forum Posting Jobs

How to Leverage Existing Clients to Get More Freelance Writing Work

How to Put Together a Basic Freelance Writing Proposal

How to Bundle Ebooks for Sale

How to Create an Ebook to Promote Your Freelance Writing Business

How to Write a Sales Letter to Promote Your Ebook

How to Hire Freelance Writers from CraigsList

How to Interview Experts for Your Freelance Writing Newsletter

How to Publish a Freelance Writing Newsletter

How to Create an Online Writing Profile

How to Sell Ebooks on PayDotCom.com

How to to Determine When to Test for a Freelance Writing Job

How to Decide Which Freelance Writing Services to Offer

How to Maximize Your Online Writing Time

How to Keep Subscribers on Your Freelance Writing List

How to Use Your Blog to Get Writing Jobs

How to Create an Online Writing Portfolio in 2 Days

How to Negotiate the Best Rate for a Freelance Writing Assignment

How to Sell Evergreen Content to Website Owners

How to Make Money as a Freelance Abstract Writer

How to Spot and Take Advantage of Freelance Writing Trends

How to Tell if a Freelance Writing Job is Right for You

How to Get Freelance Writing Work via Old Job Ads

How to Promote Your Freelance Writing Business Online

How to Promote Your Freelance Writing Business Offline

How to Write an Effective Email Signature

How to Advertise Your Ebook on the Front Page of IdeaMarketers.com

coverP.S.: Want to write and sell ebooks online for a living? You can! Get the guide that shows you how to start a successful self-publishing career — start immediately.

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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Starting a Freelance SEO Writing Career: The Case Study of SEO Mary Continued

Today we check in on SEO Mary. Who is she? What’s she all about? …

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Freelance Writing Rates: What to Charge for Proofreading, Copyediting, Writing, Etc.

Originally Titled: How to Determine What to Charge as an Editorial Freelancer

The following is an age-old question, “What/how do I charge?” Specifically, the inquirer writes:

I’ve recently left a staff job after a few years, and I’m now planning to stick to freelancing. But, I’m not sure of what the going rates are for writing, various types and levels of editing, proofreading, and other editorial work. I understand that different industries and types of organizations have varying rates, but can you give me any “sample ranges:\” for rates to charge, i.e., hourly rates, project rates, page rates, or word rates, or tell me where I can find current rates?

This question is too broad to answer because pricing a job depends on so many factors (breadth of assignment; type of work to be done; discipline (general, scientific, legal, etc.); field (magazine, tech firm, nonprofit, etc.); experience; etc. So, I will give a general answer.

Remember, this is a very general answer. Feel free to chime in and give the writer some feedback based on your experience.

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Read here how I routinely make $250+/day as an SEO writer– and you can too!

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General proofreading/copyediting rates range from a low of $15/hour to a pretty standard $35-$40/hour. Usually, the more specialized the discipline, the more you can charge for these services. Also, your experience level will count here. I’ve rarely seen copyediting go beyond $50/hour though. And, that’s usually for highly specialized disciplines like medical and/or technical copyediting.

$35/hour is about the standard rate for general and $40 is the standard for more technical work.

Proofreading (just proofreading) usually tops out at $25/hour. The lines b/t proofreading and copyediting are so blurred though that most freelancers don’t differentiate between the two.

Editing and writing usually start at a low of $25 hour and can go up to $75 or $100+. Again, the more specialized the discipline, the more you can charge. The lines between editing and writing can sometimes be blurred, but they usually aren’t. A standard rate for editing is $40-$50/hour; for writing, most start at $45 and work their way up.

It’s hard to raise rates in the editorial industry, so I always advise freelancers, especially if they have more than 5 years experience, to start with what they plan to charge for the next 3 years or so because the industry just doesn’t accept too much movement in fees. At least, this was my experience with clients.

One client in my e-book, How to Really Make a Living as an Editorial Freelancer noted that rates hadn’t changed for copyediting at their firm in 5+ years (they were paying $25/hour). This is a well-respected financial firm that hires a lot of freelancers.

When you are working with companies, you will usually charge by the hour, or a job rate. When you are working with individuals, you might get away with a page rate, depending on what the job is. Again, this is just in my experience.

A note of caution: I would only charge a job rate if I had a lot of experience with the material at hand and knew that I could work through it pretty quickly. Most clients like job rates because they know up front what they will be paying; and, this can work in your favor if you are a fast, efficient worker.

Read more on setting your freelance rates for writing, editing, proofreading, etc. (these are firsthand accounts and discussions). Good luck!

Copyright © Originally published in 2008. Republished 2010: All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without my written consent (linking to is fine).

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Freelance Writing Advice: The Saga of the $25 Press Release Client

In Friday’s post, I promised to tell you the story of the client who tried to pay $25 for a press release, instead of $125. Here goes

This client called me on a weekend. I specifically remember it was a Sunday because I was coming back from the grocery store and was preparing to take groceries out of the car.

The Grocery Story is My Good Luck Charm for Landing Freelance Writing Jobs

As an aside, I seem to get called a lot in the grocery store. The first serious inquiry I ever got for SEO writing was a client who called me while I was grocery shopping in WalMart. We spent a good 10 minutes talking, and I had to tell him to excuse the announcement for sale items coming over the loud speaker. He chuckled at that and right then, I knew he was going to be cool to work with. That’s proven to be the case.

But, I digress . . . back to this, the $25 press release client. 

So I’m getting ready to step out of my car to unload bags and my phone rings. I did deep in the recesses of my purse, and finally locate my phone. I answer it and am surprised because it’s a potential client – calling on a Sunday. Not many do this.

Cold Emailing Works!

He tells me he got my email (I cold email a lot) and was impressed with my credentials, yadda, yadda, yadda. He owns an internet marketing firm and needs me to do some press releases for his clients. He tells me he’ll start me off with one first, to see how it goes. And, if all goes well, he’ll be using me for other stuff as well, eg, article writing, etc.

I’m psyched, of course.

NOTE: We don’t discuss price, because I assume he’s viewed my site from the link I sent him and knows what it costs (this will come back to haunt me).

Later on that evening, I log on to see if he sent the project, but nothing. I’m not worried though. As he called on a Sunday and seemed in a bit of a rush, I just assumed that he would send it.

He sends it the next day, and gives me a couple of days to get it back to him.

If you’ll remember from Friday’s post, I told you the reason he wanted me to write the release is because the company sold a product for the home construction industry. They sent me two versions of the press release they wanted me to revise. One was written by them (it was too long), and the other was written by their client (it was too technical and too long).

Typical Press Release Writing Problems from Clients That You’ll Be Called on To Fix

So, my job was to revise it, accomplishing the following:

(i) make it relevant so it had a good chance of being picked up by the media;

(ii) make it reader friendly (as opposed to technical jargon, make it so the average reader could understand it); and

(iii) make it the proper length (one page).

It took me a good four hours to accomplish the above.

After I turned it in, the client raved about how great it was and wanted to know what my availability was for other projects. I also gave her (the partner to the first person to contact me) a couple of more marketing ideas to present to her client.

We had lots of back and forth refining the ideas she could present to her client – things she had never even thought of (in tomorrow’s post I’ll expand upon how to know when a client is a good candidate to upsell quickly).

I felt pretty confident that I’d be more work from this company. Well, what I call the “work killing angel” had other thoughts in mind. “Not so fast missy,” she said.

The Problem w/ My Invoice

When I presented the invoice for the press release a couple of days later, do you know what the client called me and said, “We got your invoice for the press release. I thought it was $25, but the invoice is for $125?”

It was said as a question, not a statement. Almost as if he expected me to say it had been a misprint.

I said, “Yes, is there a problem.”

He said, “I thought it was $25.”

I said, “What made you think that?”

He said, “It says on your site that an article is only $25.”

I said, “An article is different from a press release. The rate card on my site lists both, and one is $25 and the other is $125.”

When You’re Dealing with a Client Who Doesn’t “Get It”

He said, “I don’t understand the difference. Both are just one page.”

And this is where clarity sank in. I realized that he didn’t get it, ie, he didn’t know very much about marketing. This astounded me as they market themselves as an web marketing firm. They have a very slick site and if you came across it, you’d think they are a multi-million dollar company.

So, I gave him a very in-depth explanation, pointing out the differences between the two. He mumbled something to the effect of, “Oh, I see and said, “I don’t know if we’re going to be able to afford you going forward.”

I explained to him the going rate for press releases and told him that I understood and to keep me in mind for other work.

I haven’t heard from them again.

The moral of the story: Make sure your clients know what they’re getting – and for what price.

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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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SEO Copywriting: Types of Projects to Expect as an SEO Writer

Since my foray into SEO writing, I’ve had some interesting projects. I’ve learned a ton….

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How to Start an SEO Writing Career with No Experience: One Freelancer’s Success Story! (Part V of V)

This post is an update on “SEO Mary.” Mary recently landed her first SEO writing client, less than a week after she started to market. FYI, Mary is a freelance writer who has been allowing us an inside peek into how she’s starting her SEO writing career. She has agreed to give me periodic updates. Hence, at some point in the future, I’ll give an update on her story….

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How to Start an SEO Writing Career with No Experience: One Freelancer’s Success Story! (Part IV of V)

This post is an update on “Mary,” a freelance writer who has been allowing me to chronicle her foray into writing SEO content for a living after buying my ebook on the subject….

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How to Start an SEO Writing Career with No Experience: One Freelancer’s Success Story!

This article is an update on “Mary’s story.” Who is Mary? Mary is a freelance writer who has recently started to do SEO writing. She bought my ebook on SEO writing and started to get queries from clients before she even started to market.

Note: Update July 2016. To follow this entire series from the beginning, click the following links: Part IPart II; this is Part III; Part IV; Part V; Part VI; Part VII; Part VIII; and Part IX.

Along the way, Mary has generously allowed me to chronicle her story, from her panic of answering that first email query from a client, to advice I gave her on how to grow her business to make $5,000/month, or more, by outsourcing work to other freelancers.

Here’s the latest on Mary’s foray into the SEO writing sector.

Email Received from Mary: “Yuwanda . . . I just finished an e-mail “blast” to 15 SEO companies. I’m making some progress. I just checked my site’s stats . . . after sending out queries the last couple of days. And this time they [site visitors] stayed longer . . . and looked at almost all of my site’s pages, something that hasn’t happened yet. So I’m rather pleased.

Email I Sent to Mary: Mary that’s great! Keep up the good work, and let me know about that first PAYING project.

Email Received from Mary Later that Same Day:

Mary: So I come home from work and what do I see, this e-mail from one of my queries:

Client Query to Mary: “I don’t usually respond to unsolicited offers in our RFP, but I am curious what you would charge to develop 6 pages of content for category pages at the top of silos. I would provide you with a tag cloud, keyword discovery reports and some keyword density guidelines.”

Mary: “Yuwanda, I know I ask alot, but he’s talking SEO that I don’t know …;-) What are “category pages,” “top of silos,” “tag cloud,” “keyword discovery reports?” At $25/page (my stated rates), is that what I should charge? Or are these he is asking for more detailed and I should charge $35 or more?

Good golly, I need to do some SEO-speak research. I thought I knew enough — I know what long tails are, what density is, etc., but he’s speaking a language I’m clueless about. I’ll do some research tomorrow and e-mail him then.

My Email to Mary a Bit Later that Evening:

Mary:

You’re getting closer.

FYI, all he’s asking you is what would you charge to write six pages of content for lead categories on his site. He will send you all the info (eg, keyword density reports, what keyword density he wants) to help you out.

Some definitions to help you out:

Siloing is basically categorizing a site so that information can be found easier. You’ll also hear it referred to as site mapping, site structure and site categorizing. A good in-depth definition can be found here.

Category pages are the subsections of a site, relative to the overall content on a site.  If you have a shopping site for example, some Top of Category page might  be Ladies, Men, Housewares. Some subsections might be Shoes, Handbags, Lingerie, etc.

To read more about it, click here.

A tag cloud is just keyword that you enter to describe the content on the page. Tag clouds are just clusters of keywords, labels or tags. When it’s more than one, it’s called a tag cloud.

As for charging more, you might quote him a project rate based on how long the articles are. If you want, feel free to call me and I’ll answer any questions you have.

Hope that helps.
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Well, Mary went on to land that client. I’ll post the rest (hmmm, I think Part III) of the story on Thursday (2/14/08) and next Monday (2/18/08), I’ll post the finally to wrap up the series.

And a big thank you to “Mary” for allowing me to chronicle her success. You know who you are! 🙂

P.S.: I’m Ready to Start a Lucrative Career as a Web Writer.

x-click-but22$49.95

How to Start a Freelance SEO Writing CareerUnsolicited Testimonial

Hi Yuwanda!

Just wanted to say thank you for your e-books! I bought your SEO e-book on May 10th and just received payment for my first order of SEO blog articles! It’s a recurring job for an SEO company that is working with an allergist. All I have to do is take some stock articles and rewrite 8 articles per month at $25 each. I got this job by [following the marketing plan] in your e-book. … Now I am confident that I can charge more for my work!

This is just in time because I was worrying about having to break down and find a full time job. I want to stay home and work because my fiance has kidney failure. He needs a transplant and we fully expect that he will receive one and live a long life. However, if he does not, then he has a good 15 years of life.

While 15 years can be a long time and any number of things can happen in that span of time, I don’t want to spend it stressed out about a job and commuting to a place I hate. Thanks for giving me the tools to create a flexible online career!

P.P.S.: Have something to stay to the freelance community?

Have some freelance advice, tips and/or a success/failure story to share? Submit a guest post. Read the guidelines and if I like it, I usually publish it within a few days.

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How to Earn $5,000/Month or More as an SEO Writer

If you’re an SEO writer (aka article writer, SEO content provider, web writer, etc.), you’re probably busy. And if you’re not, I guarantee you there’s a marketing flaw. SEO content writing is a hot niche in freelance writing right now, and you can quickly become overwhelmed, as one freelancer recently learned….

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Freelance Success Story: How One Freelance Started to Get Queries Before She Started to Market (and what she did about it)

A panicked freelancer recently contacted me with a problem most would love to have – before she even started marketing, a potential client came a’knocking! “Huh, how did that happen?” you might be wondering. Let me explain….

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