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Archives for January 2010

Laid Off? Out of Work? 5 Tips for Transitioning to a Career as a Freelance Writer

The American workforce is changing. Many jobs are disappearing in sectors that are not going to rebound (eg, manufacturing, newspapers). Those jobs are gone forever. While it may be a hard pill to swallow, it’s forcing many to rethink what job stability is.

I’ve been a freelance writer/editor since 1993. And while I’ve had some lean years, one of the things I’m always grateful for is that I know how to make money under my own steam. My income does not depend on any one client (one paycheck); it depends on me, my marketing savvy and my willingness to work hard.

If freelance writing intrigues you as a “recession-proof” career choice, and you find yourself looking to make the transition, following is some first-hand advice on how to do just that.

Tip #1 for Transitioning to a Freelance Writing Career: Rethink What Job Stability Means

If you find yourself laid off from a job that you thought was secure, and you haven’t been able to land another job, maybe it’s time to rethink what job stability means.

Accept the fact that gone are the days when you get with a company and retire with them. While a company can be sound financially one day, as we’ve seen over the last decade or so, things can change in a nanosecond. I mean, who thought GM would go bankrupt and have to accept government help to stay afloat.

While they seem to be bouncing back, they are doing it with a streamlined workforce. And, who knows what’s going to happen in 5, 10 or 15 years.

So tip number one for transitioning to a freelance writing career is accepting that the only job stability is the stability you give yourself.

Tip #2 for Transitioning to a Freelance Writing Career: Create Self Discipline

Many new to freelance writing – or any work from home job – say that they find it hard because there are too many distractions when working from home.

But, if you’re going to succeed in this career, you must develop self discipline. And the easiest way to do this is to create a routine — much like you would if you had to report to a job.

Get up at the same time every day, create a list of tasks to accomplish every day (in the beginning this will be marketing for freelance writing jobs), and sign off at the same time every day.

Some of the tasks you should be doing initially are getting a website up and running, creating writing samples and developing a marketing plan.

A routine will create the consistency you need to get these things done – which will lead to desired results (ie, freelance writing jobs).

Tip #3 for Transitioning to a Freelance Writing Career: Set Up a Home Office

It doesn’t have to be fancy. It can literally be a corner of your dining room table. But, having an “office” to go to goes hand in hand with creating a routine and being disciplined about work.

Tip #4 for Transitioning to a Freelance Writing Career: Set Income Goals

How much do you want/need to make? This will be different for every person. But, do set a goal; have a concrete number in mind. This is important because it’s like driving without a map. You must have an end goal in mind in order to motivate yourself to do what you need to do – day in and day out – to get work flowing in.

Without a number to reach, it’s much easier to be lackadaisical in your work habits.

Tip #5 for Transitioning to a Freelance Writing Career: Find a Mentor

This doesn’t have to be an actual person. It can be someone – or a few people — you follow online. There are going to be times you get discouraged. You’ll need some reassuring words (blog posts, articles, videos) to keep you pumped about your new career as a freelance writer.

Remember, if others can make a living doing this, you can too! It’s not rocket science, but it does require discipline.

Finding a Mentor Tip: The SBA (http://SBA.gov) has a program called SCORE (the Service Corp of Retired Executives). They mentor new business owners – at no charge. Go to the SBA’s main site and drill down to your city/state. Then, contact them to see if they have such a program in your jurisdiction and ask what you have to do to participate in it.

How Long Does It Take to Transition to a Career as a Freelance Writer?

peaceOf course, there are many more steps to take to transition to a career as a freelance writer. But, these are the broad ones that get you on the right road.

How long it takes really depends on you. You can start landing clients in the first week, or it may take a month or more. It all depends on your desire, how adept you are at marketing and which niche(s) you target.

Freelancing Writing: Priceless “Job” Stability

But one thing I can tell you, once you start making money “under your own steam,” it’s a liberating feeling. Why? Because you’ll realize that you’ll never be at the mercy of a job (one paycheck) again.

Even through lean times, I never worry about how I’m going to make ends meet because I know that my income depends on only one factor – me and my brain. And that’s a kind of peace no job — no matter how stable — can compete with.

Best,
Yuwanda
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Copyright © 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 Business Tax Tips: 4 Things You Can Do to Make Filing Your Taxes Easier

Do you dread tax season every year as a freelance writer? Most freelancers can be split into two camps — those who are in angst and those who aren’t. There tends to be no in between (I mean really, who’s ever happy about tax season). So as it gets closer, you’re probably either feeling a bit queasy at just the thought, or it’s one more thing on your list that you have to handle (no emotion attached thank you very much)….

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How I More Than Doubled My Income as a Freelance Writer in 2009: The #1 Reason I Was Able to Do This

I’ve actually wanted to write this post for a while, but it meant that I’d have to reveal some personal stuff – and I don’t like to do that. But I feel ready to do so. In case you’ve forgotten or are a new reader to Inkwell Editorial, this week’s post is all about how to make more money this year.

BUT, I’m not going to talk about marketing. You can read the specifics of how to make more money as a freelance writer here for that. And here; and here.

What I want to talk about is much more important — clearing energy sucking, motivation depriving, negative thinking people from your life. To illustrate this point, I’m going to tell you my story.

How to Make More Money as a Freelance Writer by Getting Rid of Non-Empowering People in Your Life

About a year and half ago, my two-year engagement ended. My ex-fiance was actually a very nice guy – so this is not a bashing story. In fact, although it was very painful, we had a very civil breakup. We broke up basically because we weren’t compatible – in a lot of ways. We looked at money differently; approached our careers differently and had different levels of ambition.

support-me

I’m definitely a Type A personality. I don’t do anything half ass. Either I’m all in or all out. This is especially true when it comes to my career. I’m extremely focused and can work around the clock if I have a goal in mind. This type of tunnel vision can become a problem if you’re with someone who’s a bit more laid back about everything.

In our case, it led to a lot of arguments about money, time spent together (or not spent together), future goals, etc.

The year after we broke up, I more than doubled my income and paid off more debt in that one year than I had in the entire two years that we were together. Now, again, this is not to blame or point fingers. The point I’m trying to illustrate is that when you don’t have anyone in your life holding you back from what is really important to you, you can literally move mountains.

I once read somewhere that 90% of your happiness in life will depend on the mate you choose. I believe this fully. Why? Because this is the person that you will ostensibly spend the most time with; who you will look to for inspiration; who will encourage you when you’re feeling down; will inspire you when you feel you can’t go on; and who will give you that extra pat on the back when you feel like crap.

If the person who is supposed to love you the most in the world is not supportive of you and your dreams, it weighs on you – more than you will ever realize. In fact, to realize it, you have to get out of it – and be out of it for some time – to see the effect that it has on you.

The same goes for friends in your life by the way. In fact, people in your life either add to it, or take away from it. A wise man once said that you can tell what a person is all about (ie, how successful they are/will be) by the five people they’re closest to in their life.

If your friends are ne’er-do-wells, or afraid to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, or don’t support your dreams — even if they don’t come right out and say it – they’re holding you back.

How?

When you bring up a new idea, they may shoot it down or say “It’s too risky; why would you want to do that?” Or they may say. . .

“Man, I sure hope you know what you’re doing. I’d be scared to death if I were in your shoes.” Or, …

“How are you going to afford healthcare; you’d be crazy to give up that job.”

Or . . . you get the picture.

They’re well meaning but they don’t add to your life; in fact, they’re holding you back. This is especially true if you’re skittish anyway.

This is why you need to cultivate friends who will support you – no matter what. Now you don’t want “yes men” around you. But at the end of the day you want them to say, “You’re a smart cookie and if you’ve weighed the pros and cons — and have done your due diligence — then if anyone can a make a go of it, you can.”

The year after my fiancé and I broke up, because I didn’t have the emotional garbage that comes with being in a relationship that’s not working, I actually probably worked fewer hours. But again, I more than doubled my income.

I also started to take better care of myself – running more, eating better, drinking less, sleeping better, etc. All of this attributed to me feeling better, hence more focused. Ideas flowed easier, projects got done quicker, money flowed in seamlessly.

And all of this is because I was able to be at my best – emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. I can’t stress enough how important this is to your success as a freelance writer.

As a freelance writer, you’re building a small business. It takes will power, fortitude, encouragement and boundless energy to do this. The wrong relationships – romantic or otherwise – drain these from you right at the time you need them the most.

So take a good, long, hard look at your life. Are the people most important to you adding to your dreams,  or taking away from them?

If they are taking away from them – get rid of them; I beg of you. You’ll feel so much better and will be genuinely surprised at how much more prosperous you’ll be – not only financially, but emotionally, physically and spiritually as well.

Tranquilly yours,
Yuwanda

P.S.: We’re getting down to the wire in the SEO Writing Training ecourse. As of 12/30/09 there are 4 slots left for the class starting on January 25th. You can reserve your spot for as little as $50, so sign up today!

P.P.S.: Find this post informative? Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

P.P.P.S.: Want an easy, fast way to get started in affiliate marketing, making as much as $50, $100 or $150/day? Get How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites (ie, Backpage.com). If you want to make some easy money promoting affiliate products on free classified ad sites, this ebook is for you. I routinely make $100-$150/day.

Copyright © 2010: I don’t say it often, but all material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without my written consent (linking to is fine).

Read more.