Freelance Writers: The 4 Fundamentals of Making Money Online

Part #1: Freelance Writer’s Technology Month
[Want to start a successful career as a freelance writer?]

As I announced on Inkwell’s blog yesterday, I’ve declared November “Freelance Writer’s Technology Month.” For a full understanding of what follows, I advise that you read this post first.

Now, on to the first post in the series. . .

Freelance Writers: How to Make Money Online – Going Back to Basics

It’s hard to forget what you know – especially when you think what you know has brought you some modicum of success. But, when you reach a plateau – as I feel like I’ve done in my freelance writing career, it’s time to re-examine systems and procedures so that you push through what’s holding you back.

So, here I am – back to basics. And, what did I learn?
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The “Oprah Way” of Making Money

I just took a quick lunch break and was watching E! Online’s show about the top money-making TV earners. Seinfeld was there ($60,000,000 last year), but Oprah made his look like lunch money. She earned a whopping $260,000,000 last year. Yes, that’s one year’s earnings!

As the show was signing off, the announcer was summarizing how Oprah makes her money. Eureka! This was just what I was going to write today in my post – more or less.

Oprah made her money in a systematic way. I don’t know if she had this plan from the beginning, but at some point in order to make real money, you have to have a master plan. So, what is the Oprah way of making money?

A) The first thing Oprah did was choose a career. She knew she wanted to be a journalist, so she did that. So, you’ve made the choice, you want to become a freelance writer.

B) The second thing Oprah did was choose a mass (think, popular) medium – TV. She didn’t choose to be a journalist in some obscure sector. This was perhaps one of the smartest things she did. You’ll see why in a sec.

C) Build a mass following: As she had the right medium (TV), she could now go to work building her following. How did this happen? She was spotted by some hotshot TV producer to host a morning show in Chicago.

Just being herself garnered Oprah a huge, loyal following (keep this part in mind). When she got her own show, she had a built-in audience.

D) Monetize the following: Oprah is the master at this. Once the Oprah talk show was established, Oprah deepened and widened her brand via tv, movies, magazines and radio and a host of other products and services.

Some of her holdings include producing the Dr. Phil show and The Rachel Ray Show; producing a Broadway play (The Color Purple); and hosting a radio show on Sirius satellite radio.

All Oprah has to do is mention a product on her show and it produces massive profits for the seller (think Oprah’s book club and O’s List of Favorite things (from her magazine)).

What if you could sit down, write an ebook and sell 10, 20 or 30,000 copies just by releasing it to your subscriber list? This is the power of monetizing a brand.

But, as you can see, it’s a systematic approach – and this is where most freelancers fail. Now, I’m not going to tell you that it’s going to take one, two or three years to make money online.

As my research has proven, it doesn’t. But, you have the big picture in mind before you can take “shortcuts” to make it work for you. This is the point of this post – to give you an overall picture so that you can pick and choose the best ideas – and take legitimate shortcuts to online money-making success. 

Now, that ends our Oprah segment.

Back to our lives …

The 4 Fundamentals of Making Money OnlineOut of some 100 or more hours of research (I’ve since put in more time that what I mentioned in my introductory post), I’ve learned that there are four fundamentals to making money online. They are:


1. Content: Before anything happens, you must have content. Why? When you think about how the internet works, it naturally makes sense. People use the information to find information.

Now, how they find and use that information will drive the two other points I’m going to discuss in a minute. But, you need the content first.

The Good News for Freelance Writers Who Want to Make Money Online

This is absolutely wonderful news for freelance writers because we are content providers.

So, you may be thinking, “Why then do so many freelance writers find it so hard to make money online?” Good question, and they are a myriad of answers to this question, which we’ll explore throughout the series.

Just keep in mind that content is the biggest piece of this online-money-making puzzle. And you’re the king of that jungle because you are a freelance writer.

2. Online Presence: Once you have content, you need an online presence. And, I don’t necessarily mean a blog or website. In fact, you don’t need either of these to make money online. But, you do need an online presence, which can come in many forms.

Again, we’ll discuss this later in this series.

3. Search Engine Optimization: Once you have your content and set up your online presence, you need to know how to get found on the internet.

Just because you have an online presence does not mean that visitors will start coming to your site. Many online web marketers find it hard to get a few hundred visitors a month – no kidding. You need much more than this to make any kind of sales, so you have to work on driving traffic to your site.

This is how many online entrepreneurs get sucked out of a lot of money. They spend money for get-traffic-quick schemes without fully understanding how traffic is driven to a site.

Understanding the basics of search engines and how they work will give you a leg up on 98-99% of online marketers. If you don’t first understand this, how will you be able to determine is PPC (pay per click); article marketing, or key word optimization is best for your business model?

Most online entrepreneurs are serious about making money online, but they are not serious enough to put in the serious time it requires to learn even the basics of search engine optimization.

Remember, search engines are the motor of the internet. They, for the most part, determine whether a user finds you – or not.

4. Choosing a Monetizing Model: The third piece of making money online involves choosing how you are going to go about it.

There are two basic ways to make money online: 1) create and sell products of your own; or 2) sell/promote the products and services of others (Affiliate Marketing).

Many subcategories fall under these categories – quite a few of which we’ll discuss as this series goes along.

NOTE: I’m not trying to be vague or string you along by telling you “we’ll discuss this later in the series throughout this piece.” Remember, this is an on-going tutorial. And, today’s topic is the 4 basic fundamentals of making money online.

I’m trying to divulge information in a systematic, organized, easy-to-digest format. This means staying tightly focused on the topic at hand, which leads to waiting to reveal information.

Series Tip: I can’t possibly cover everything in this series. I’m going to leave out things, forget to mention things and flat-out don’t know some things. So, if you have a question, send it in. The wonderful thing about making money online is that the majority of us wouldn’t be able to do it if we couldn’t easily log on and find information from others.

TODAY in Inkwell Editorial’s Newsletter: The new issue, which came out today, features ghostwriter Amanda Evans. She gives some great info on how to start, how she gets clients, what this niche entails, etc. Subscribe to read this and all previous issues.

Make $250/day writing SEO content: I’m doing it  and you can too!
Remember, at InkwellEditorial.com, you’ll find everything you need to know about how to start, grow and/or maintain a freelance writing career (eg, writing for the web, blogging, forum posting, seo writing, freelance writing jobs, newsletter writing, article writing, ebooks on freelance writing and more).

UPDATE 11/30/07: Following is a link to every post in the Freelance Writer’s Technology Month series.

Intro Post: New Series – Freelance Writer’s Technology Month
Post #1: The 4 Fundamentals of Making Money Online
Post #2: SEO Content Development: How to Drive More Traffic to Your Website
Post #3: Niche Marketing: How to Choose a Profitable Niche
Post #4: Software Tools for Niche Websites
Post #5: Turn $1/Day into an Online Empire: How to Make Money with Minisites
Post #6: 4 Controversial Ways to Get More Traffic for Your Website
Post #7: 5 Ways to Get a Job Writing SEO Articles
Post #8: How to Determine What to Charge as an SEO Article Writer
Post #9: How to Optimize Your Website to Get More Traffic
Post #10: Social Bookmarking Software & 9 Money-Making Conclusions from Freelance Writer’s Technology Month

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Freelance Writers: How to Use Technology to Make Real Money Online

[Want to start a successful career as a freelance writer?]

I’ve dubbed November Freelance Writer Technology Month. What’s this all about? …

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How to Effectively Use Internet Job Boards to Find a FT Writing Job

Editor Note: I usually post about freelancing writing issues. But, I’ve been getting a lot of queries lately that revolve around FT employment. So, I thought I’d devote this post to answering some of those questions. Today’s topic: how to effectively use job boards to land a FT writing job….

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Article Marketing: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About It

Results of a 30-day Article Marketing Experiment

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

Following are my findings from a month-long article marketing case study (conducted from October 18, 2006 through November 18, 2006). It is 41 pages long.

If you want to see if this form of marketing is worth your while, this info can help. If you determine that article marketing is something you want to invest in, get the ebook, What Is Article Marketing? A Simple Tutorial from an Article Marketing Pro Who’s Written Over 1,000 Articles.

x-click-but22 $.99 cents (Instant Download)


As an overworked freelancer, my goal was to create more passive income.

A little history: I’ve been in publishing since 1987, and have been a freelancer since 1993.  I kind of took freelancing as it came those first few years, never relying on it as my primary source of income.

Inkwell Editorial was formed in 1996 as an editorial outsource firm. The smartest thing I did as a manager was add staffing/recruiting to Inkwell’s list of services. That really got the company over the hump, as placement fees ranged from a low of 3K on up to around 12K.

NOTE: In general staffing fees are much higher, but in editorial, salaries are low, so recruiting fees are below what you’d make in another arena, eg, tech.

A handful of placements a year and a few temps on assignment, coupled with my freelance income provided me a very nice living.

Then came 9/11. The arena in which I staffed (editorial) crashed. Ad agencies and publishers cut back their output because no one was spending on ad campaigns, so no need to hire copy editors, creative directors, graphic designers, etc.

However, during the time we offered on-site temps, I built up a pretty good roster of clients and now get most of my work via referral.

Present Day: Having been a freelancer since 1993, I’ve reached the point where I want to “touch” projects less. So, my goal going into next year is to create more passive income. My hope is that within a couple of years, I can get by on just my product sales alone. Having reached 40, I want to work less and play more.

Now, on to the details!

NOTE: This e-book consists of a series of blog posts, a Q&A session and conclusions drawn from the experiment overall. I hope you find it useful.


My goal was to submit one article a day for 30 days (excluding weekends) to 25 top-rated directories.

How did I choose which directories to submit to? I used their PR and Alexa rankings. What are PR and Alexa rankings.

What is a PR Ranking? What is an Alexa Rank?

PR Rank: First, PR stands for page rank. Impact-Direct.com defines page rank as:

A method developed and patented by Stanford University and Larry Page [cofounder of Google] to rank search engine results. Page Rank gives a unique ranking to every page on the internet. The ranking number is based on the number of quality inbound links pointing at a page and is represented on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the optimal rank.

In the article, “What Is Page Rank?” by Kimberly Bodane, she describes why page rank is important, as well as what you can do to improve yours.

You’ll also find a detailed article on problogger.net (“Google Page Rank Explained”) with helpful feedback from other readers. This is the link: http://www.problogger.net/archives/2005/07/16/google-page-rank-explained/

Alexa Rank: An article published by e3Server.com on thehostingnews.com, What is Alexa Ranking, describes Alexa rankings as “a very powerful tool of viewing and comparing web site traffic for one site to the rest of the web.”

Read full article here: http://www.thehostingnews.com/art-what-is-alexa-ranking.html

The lower the ranking, the better. Sites that rank 100,000 or lower are considered extremely popular.

To learn more, type “alexa ranking” in the search engine of your choice and do some reading. You’ll be able to get a full understanding by reading a few articles of detailed information.

To find out your site’s PR, go here: http://www.prchecker.info/check_page_rank.php

To find out your site’s Alexa’s ranking: Go here: http://www.Alexa.com.

Case Study Notes: I missed 3 days submitting. I also added and deleted approximately 4 directories from the list as I went along. Why? Because they either went offline (in one case), were not uploading articles in a timely manner, and/or were not suitable for the type of article I had written that day.

Overall, though, I consistently submitted and was able to glean some good findings, which will be discussed later.

x-click-but22 $.99 cents (Instant Download)

RE the free offer: This e-book was originally offered free to subscribers who signed up in December (2006). Their feedback helped to shape the info included.

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The 7 Highly Effective & Profitable Habits of Successful Freelance Writers

Previously Titled: The 7 Highly Effective & Profitable Habits of Successful Freelancers

Learn What Successful Freelancers Do — & What You Can Too to Achieve Success

I’ve been in publishing since 1987, have been a freelancer since 1993 and ran an editorial staffing agency in New York City from 1996 through 2004.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that successful freelancers, eg, those who make their living entirely from freelancing (writing, editing, copywriting, web design, etc.), have the following seven traits in common.

1. Write/design every day: Many freelancers are drawn to their particular career because they love it. They love to write, design, draw – whatever it is, they would do it for free. Once they decide to freelance full time, most work at it every day. They write articles, design sites, doodle illustrations, etc. In other words, they don’t stop working on their craft just because there is no paying client.

Benefit to their career: These professionals always have a body of work to sell, show, update their portfolio with, etc. Beyond that, it keeps their skills fresh and allows them to work that much faster once they are being paid for a project.

As a personal example, when I first started to write articles to promote my business, it would take upwards of two hours to complete one. Now, I can knock one out in 30 minutes if I have to.

Side Note: I have run across more than a few freelancers who don’t exactly love what they do. BUT, because they like the life of freelancing, they discipline themselves to do what it takes, eg, (work at it steadily) to make a living at it.

2. Don’t wait for markets to come to them: Building on this first habit, when you are constantly churning out new material, you don’t have to wait for clients to come to you, you can pitch to them.

If you’ve written a great article on the benefits of yoga, why wait for a national exercise magazine to take months to get back to you. Pitch your local newspaper journalist who covers health. You’ll usually know within a week or two if they can use your story. Your neighborhood paper can’t use it? Pitch the neighboring county’s newspaper, a popular e-zine dedicated to women’s health, a new health website that needs fresh content, etc. Successful freelancers are this proactive.

When I was recruiting, I was constantly amazed at the type of assignments successful freelancers were able to ferret out for themselves. When I’d ask, “How did you get that assignment, come up with that idea?”, the comments ranged from, “I couldn’t sleep last night so I start doing some digging online because I just wrote this great article and wanted to get it published,” to “I was just doodling and came upon this great design; I knew it would make a great logo for this niche, so I put it on a t-shirt and pitched a few boutiques in my neighborhood …”

Successful freelancers are not only creative in their work, they’re creative in how they locate markets to sell their work.

3. Have more than one stream of income: By this, I do not mean that they have second jobs. Most successful freelancers do more than one thing. For example, a writer may design a line of themed t-shirts with their witticisms on them. Illustrators, in addition to creating logos, may sell paintings or drawings. Web designers may also create online games.

I don’t know how many more brain cells creative types use than the rest of the population, but editorial and creative professionals usually dibble and dabble in more than one sector – and quite successfully I might add.

4. Have a niche: While this may seem to contradict the previous habit, it doesn’t. Most successful freelancers do one thing – and do it very well. Eg, they are a medical writer, a direct mail copywriter, a web designer. This is because successful freelancers usually have a professional background in the discipline in which they freelance. Usually, they have built up a reputation and client list based on their expertise/experience.

Benefit to their career: This works well because once clients are comfortable with you on one level, you can approach them about doing other types of projects. In some cases, they will even approach you.

For example, if you are a web designer, you can approach a client about doing some logo design work. Most web designers are familiar with other tools of the trade like logo design software, that makes it easy for them to offer peripheral services to clients.

In the retail trade, this is known as upselling. BUT, you can only upsell if you have established a level of trust and professionalism in your base (niche) skill.

5. Have a website: Without fail, all successful freelancers have at least a basic website. They realize the need to present a professional image to clients and have invested in an online presence.

Every once in a while, I am still asked by those just starting out if they need a website. Invariably, I ask, “Would you do business without a telephone?” I think websites have progressed to this point.

Benefit to their career: Websites save freelancers time – which is at a premium if you are a successful freelancer. You can direct potential clients there to see samples of your work, get pricing info, your professional credentials, your client list, etc. Many times, this is how clients will find you to begin with.

So, is having a website a must to succeed as a freelancer? In my opinion, absolutely. And, it doesn’t have to be fancy and cost a fortune. Most web surfers are seeking information. A basic site will serve your purposes just fine. Just make sure it is professional looking, is easy to navigate, is free from grammatical errors and has your contact info on every page (or a “Contact Us” button on every page).

6. Are Savvy & Consistent Marketers: Revisiting habit three, successful freelancers are masters of marketing their services. They have to be.When you are a freelancer, you have to remain hungry – for the next assignment, the next gig. By being proactive and consistent marketers, successful freelancers don’t wait for one project to be done before looking for the next one.

To this end, these professionals use many marketing tools (free and paid) to get the word out about their business, eg, search engine optimization, article marketing, press releases, e-book giveaways, speaking engagements, seminars, workshops, etc. In other words, successful freelancers treat their careers like a start-up business – which is what freelancing really is.

7. Put in much more than 40 hours/week: Face it, you may be able to go to the grocery store at 2pm when everyone else is stuck in an office, but you probably didn’t log off until 2am, finishing up a project for a client who needed it at the last minute.

Freelancing is not a static career. Sometimes you will have weeks with nothing to do and then you will get slammed with three or four projects at one time. It’s some type of weird Murphy’s law at work. Projects never come when you want or need them too. They invariable come at the most inopportune time (eg, when your kid is sick, when YOU’RE sick, two days before vacation, on a Friday afternoon and needed by Monday).

So, while you may be able to work in your jammies – you may also not be able to go to the beach, hang out with your friends as much, take the afternoon off. Like anything it’s a trade-off (a worthwhile one in my opinion). Just know, while your time may be your own, it will be on an unconventional schedule.

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How to Increase Your Freelance Income During the Holidays

Following are three ways to increase your freelance income during the holidays.

1. Holiday Card: Because it’s the holidays, most people open mail that seems like a holiday card. This alone gives you a leg up, eg, the potential client OPENED your mail.

Inside include a holiday greeting, of course, and an invitiation for them to try your services. Including a holiday discount or coupon is a nice incentive.

To increase your chances of having them call you, pile on the amenities – eg, last minute service, late hours, discounts for future orders, etc.

2. Be Generous: As the holidays are all about giving, take this chance to show your business’ generous side. Eg, let clients know that you donate a certain part of your proceeds from projects to a local charity.

Or, even better, tell them that you will donate a percentage of any order they place with you to a charity of their choice in THEIR name. Be sure to spell out the benefits of this kind of PR long-term. You could even tell them that you’ll throw in a free press release and post in on one of the free PR sites like PRWeb.com for them.

Helping a business get FREE PR – alll for just giving your services a try? Ingenious!

3. Be Proactive: What I mean by this is, let businesses know that you are thinking about their needs beyond the holiday.

Lay out a marketing campaign that shows how you can increase their business by X% in the next year.

This will involve a little research, but, BECAUSE of the effort you put into it, you will stand out to clients, and they will be much more likely to remember you.

For example, I target realtors and mortgage brokers with my freelance writing services. An idea that occurred to me (I simply don’t have time to implement it though) is to do a “State of the Market” report.

Pulling together a 10-12 page report would be very easy. This kind of research would be very valuable to realtors because in it, I would outline specifics like interest rates, foreclosures, what sold the most, what sold the least, future “hot” markets, etc. That way, they would know where to target their marketing dollars.

I guarantee you, if you spent a solid week pulling together a report like this for a niche market and distributed it as a free e-book, you will knock the competition out of the water.

Why? Because most are not willing to spend time putting together a report like this for “no pay.” The reason no pay is in quotation marks is because the payoff long-term for your business could be HUGE.

As a matter of fact, in the 1980s Barbara Corcoran of the powerful real estate agency, The Corcoran Group, built her company using just this method (this was before anyone called it “content marketing“).

In short, she wrote and published a report on the real estate market in New York. She dubbed it “The Corcoran Report.” Once she wrote it, she sent it to reporters at The New York Times. When they needed a quote about real estate in New York, who do you think they called? Her, of course.

This report got mentioned in the coveted real estate section one week. That began her meteoric rise to the top of the NYC real estate market. She had, in fact, branded herself with this published report. It is published annually and is a “bible” of the NYC real estate market – and also a couple of other places like Miami.

FYI, she went on to sell her company for upwards of 70 miillion dollars to Cendant in 2001 – and she’s only in her mid-50s (plenty of time to enjoy the dough!).

The holidays are an excellent time to bring in new business – if you’re willing to think creatively and work when the competition is sipping eggnogg! By the time the competition is thinking about marketing again, you’ll be busy reaping the benefits of the marketing you did DURING the season, not after it.

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make-money-on-backpageP.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.
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 Writers: What to Look for in a Chamber of Commerce Before You Join

In yesterday’s post, I advised that every freelancer should join a Chamber of Commerce. However, not all chambers are effective. …

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Get Writing Jobs: Why Every Freelance Writer Should Join a Chamber of Commerce

Following are five reasons every freelance writer should join a chamber of commerce. …

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Freelance Writers: 3 Ways to Start Making Money Within One Week – Guaranteed!

If you’re a freelance writer, or thinking about becoming one, then you know that writing is the easy part. Finding places to pitch your writing, ie, marketing it, takes up the bulk of your time.

Well, there are a few ways on the internet where you can start making money right awayas in, within one week. Following are three.

1. Write for Pay Sites (2 Reviewed)

A. AssociatedContent.com: My favorite write-for-pay site. The beauty of writing for this site is that you write what you want and get paid for it – anywhere from $3 to $40 for a minimum 400-word article. They also accept photos and videos for payment.

The reason I like this site is: 1) as mentioned above, you write what you want. No editor guidelines to follow, no writing about subjects you have no interest in and/or tons of research to do. 2) No minimum pay out to reach (many sites have a minimum you have to reach before you get paid); and 3) fairly quick turnaround time. They usually take 5-7 business days to read your submission and make you an offer.

If you have a hobby, a subject you are passionate about, or a subject you want to take the time to write about – for whatever reason – simply set up an Author’s account with them and submit (it’s FREE).

NOTE: On rare occasions, your article will be rejected. However, the editors usually leave a note explaining why and you then have the chance to make changes and resubmit the content. As I said, to be rejected is rare, but on the few occasions I have been, I always rewrote and usually got a higher than normal offer by acting on the editor’s suggestions.

Since I’ve been a freelance writer for over a decade and have a large library of content, I made a couple of hundred dollars in a few week’s time by submitting previously published material.

Didn’t I mention that the material you submit doesn’t have to be original? You will be paid less for it, but as it’s already written and has probably been used for other purposes, it’s like free cash. They pay more for original material and material they specifically request (new topics are emailed from the administrator each Friday).

B. WriteForCash.com: With WriteForCash.com, it takes them up to two weeks to review your article and more often than not, you will have to make some revisions before your article will be accepted.

There are tons of ways to sell your writing online; these three sites are just to get you going and/or supplement what you may already be doing.

2. Start an Article Directory: This takes a bit more work, but is very simple to start. What do people look for on the Internet – information – lots of it! To start an article directory, all you have to do is put up a simple website and start soliciting writers to submit their articles to you – free of charge.

Most article writers are promoters of something – e-books, seminars, software, workshops, etc. They are constantly looking for free and/or low-cost exposure. Soon, you can have hundreds of pages of content.

How will you make money? Add Google ads (details below). Every time someone clicks on one of the ads, you make money. Many article directories take articles on many subjects; some specialize. Only you can decide which is right for you.

I personally prefer niche directories because as the web expands, I think users will revisit a directory that carries quality information on a specific topic more often than one that carries a lot of articles on everything. Even if you separate them out by category, I find the “all-inclusive directories” too overwhelming. Again, it’s up to you.

The real key to making money with an article directory is promoting it and getting good, quality articles for your site. To get excellent articles, surf the web using key words on your subject. Once you find an article you like, contact the author (most will have their contact info in the resource box at the end of the article) and ask them to regularly submit articles to your directory. They will almost always say yes.

Once your directory has been indexed by search engines, many will start sending you articles automatically. This is when your site should really take off. Once you have a few hundred articles in your directory (and this can literally take as little as a few weeks if you put in the time), slap those Google ads on each page, and voila – you have hundreds of pages of content carrying ads that, each time they’re clicked, is money in your pocket.

NOTE: There are many article directories online where you can automatically pull articles from to get started. Do a Google search for “article directory” and about 3.5 million (yes, million!) results pop up.

Article Directory Software: If you want to put out a little money, you can purchase software that will completely automate this process for you. Do a Google search for “article directory software” and close to half a million results come up. With most of the software, you can choose to buy and install yourself or have the publisher install it for you. Note: You have to be a real techie if you choose to go the self-install route.

Before starting an article directory, I recommend taking several hours and doing some reading on the subject. While it’s a relatively simple concept, it can be a lot of work up front – but can pay huge dividends over the months and years to come.

3. Start a Blog: This is becoming old hat, but is still new and fresh enough that if you have a passion for something and can target a highly defined niche, you can start a blog on it, add some Google Adsense ads, and turn it into a few hundred bucks a month without too much effort.

Want to make more? Like anything in life, the more time you commit to it, the more your income will rise. There’s even a new website, Scoopt.com, that acts as a blog literary agent. What do I mean by this? Specifically, they “help you license your blog for both commercial and non-commercial use.” In essence, they help you sell your blog’s content. See full details at their site.

Blogs are no longer just for ranting about your last bad relationship or the bad dye job your colorist did on your hair. They are professional outlets for making money now. Read this blog case study at ProBlogger.net for an example of how a personal interest can be turned into a popular, moneymaking blog:

If this link takes you to another page, go to ProBlogger.net and do a search of their site for “”Back in Skinny Jeans.” The article should pop up. It’s very, very interesting reading.

FYI, to start a blog, go to blogger.com, create an account and start blogging away. It’s FREE!

SUMMARY: These are not get-rich-quick schemes. My mission at Inkwell Editorial is to help creative and editorial freelancers earn a decent living. I will never promise you that you will “make thousands a month by just doing x”, as many will. Don’t believe the hype.

I have been in publishing since 1987 and have been a freelancer since 1993. Believe me, I’ve heard about and tried so many different programs. The only way to make money is to consistently plug away at something. It takes time and effort, effort and time.

The good news is that if you are determined to make a living as a creative professional, the Internet makes it easier than ever. And, it can be done “relatively” easy if you choose effective methods and consistently implement them.

To learn more about getting those Google ads you see on many websites, go to Google.com. Click on “Advertising Programs” (a plain text button right under the search box). Then click on “For Web Publishers: Google Adsense”. Finally, click on “What is AdSense? Quick Tour”. The program will be explained in detail and you can have it up and running in about 5 minutes.

Also, it takes them up to three months to get your article on the web. Another drawback of this site is that they own the copyright to the work (eg, you can’t resell the content) and you have to choose from topics they list on which to write.

To their credit, the list of topics can be wide-ranging and they pay from $10 to $15 per article. But, if you have a hankering to write about, for example, the World Cup, and it’s not on their list, you won’t get paid for it.

C. Constant-Content.com: With this site, you basically put your articles up for bid, setting your own price. However, a lot of writers there offer their articles for free, which diminishes your chance of selling one – especially if it’s in the same genre. Further, you have to keep your price pretty low to sell articles – anywhere from $1 to $5. Although, this can increase if you write for high-paying genres, eg, finance, technical, medical, etc.

On the upside, you can resell content here. So, if you are going to write an article anyway and sell it elsewhere, you might as well post it here. However, another drawback is that you won’t be paid until your account hits the $50 mark. Realistically, this can take months, especially if you are only posting one or two articles a week and selling them for $2 or $3 each.

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3 Things You Can Do TODAY to Make Your Website More Profitable

“Darn, only three orders/inquiries last week. What am I doing wrong? What can I do to increase sales?”

If you’ve ever had this internal dialogue, then you’re not alone.

Most small business owners are surprised to find that the real work of a web site is not in getting one, but promoting it. Outlined below are three surefire ways to increase sales without breaking the bank.

1. Promote, promote, promote: When was the last time you sent out a mailing via direct mail to promote your online presence? People have to know you exist in order to visit you online.

A postcard mailing is cheap and easy to do. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Visit web sites like vistaprint.com, modernpostcard.com, printingforless.com, etc. to get started. Sending out even a nominal amount (250, 500, more if you can afford it) on a monthly basis will increase sales.

Action You Can Take Now! Go to a postcard website and design a postcard mailer. Even if you can’t afford to order it today, at least you will have designed it, will know the cost and can order it when you have enough sales to cover the cost. The point is to take action NOW. FYI, it costs nothing to design a postcard on vistaprint.com.

2. Stay in Touch: Do you collect the names of visitors to your site via automated software? There are many companies that offer software for this purpose (eg, Aweber.com).

Stay in touch on a regular basis — most experts recommend at least twice a month. And, don’t make every contact a sales pitch. Remember, you are building a relationship. Would you want to talk to someone who is always trying to sell you something?

Via a newsletter, you can inform your customer base about things relevant to your industry that help them improve their lives. For example, if you write newsletters for small businesses, you might send an informative article about how newsletters increase sales, general tips on how to increase client mailing lists, etc.

The key is to keep contact timely and relevant. In this way, the next time your target needs your product/service, your company will be foremost in their minds.

Action You Can Take Now! If you don’t already have it, add a subscriber box to EVERY page of your website. If you already have subscriber boxes on your site, to get even more subscribers, offer a free gift.

MARKETING TIP: Make sure the freebie doesn’t cost you anything. People love helpful information. Great giveaways are free reports, evaluations, consultations, etc. Just make sure that it is pertinent to your industry and offers a real benefit to the recipient.

3. French for the French; English for the English: In other words, speak your client’s language. If your audience is teenagers, then your literature and online presence should reflect that. If you are targeting married, suburban couples, then reflect that. How do you develop the correct tone? Use the sitting-across-the-table exercise. What is this?

Imagine your target market is sitting right across from you. What do they look like? Where do they go to school? What are their jobs? Where do they live? What do they like to do for fun? How much money do they make? The list is endless.

When this picture is clear, imagine how would you talk/relate to them? Even if your product/service crosses a myriad of audiences, you should always speak to your “core” audience. Who are they?

Think of these as your die-hard fans. Every bit of advertising your business does should be done with your die-hard fans mind – not peripheral customers. Now, go over all of your marketing literature. Is it fragmented, or does all of it speak to your core audience?

Tip: Write like you talk, not to impress. However, observe proper grammar and spelling rules. Phoniness can be sensed, even in the written word. Be sincere, polite and earnest in all of your communication. If you do these three things on a consistent basis over a period of months, sales will increase.

Action You Can Take Now! Go to your website and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite with your core audience in mind. Pay particular attention to your home and product/service pages.

Good luck!

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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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Gut Check! 3 Signs It’s Time to Quit Your Full-Time Job for Your Freelance Business

Written by Yuwanda Black

Publisher Note: This piece was originally titled, Gut Check! 3 Signs It’s Time to Quit Your Full-time Job for Your Part-time Business

It’s 6:00 p.m. You’re dead tired, but instead of an early night, you go to your second job — your freelance business.

Between meeting an impending deadline, logging deposits into your accounting system and marketing to new clients, it will be well past midnight before you can even think of going to bed. And, this doesn’t include time out for helping the kids with homework, fixing dinner and addressing household duties. How much longer can you keep this up, you wonder?

If this sounds familiar, maybe it’s time to quit your job and focus on your business full-time.

One of the best ways to ensure success as a business owner is to start part-time, while holding a full- time job. However …

How do You Know When It’s Time to Let Go of Your FT Job to Freelance Full-Time?

The following checklist will help you decide if it’s time to make the leap from employee to full-time business owner.

1. Money: If you started your business part-time with the intention of one day quitting your full-time job, then that plan should have included setting income aside for this day.

Do you have six months to one year of expenses set aside? Is your business bringing in steady income? If you were able to devote 15-20 more hours per week to it, could you at least double what it brings in now?

Looking back over one to two years of numbers should give you enough data to do some smart (read, conservative) projections. Don’t have at least 12 months of income data to look at? Then my advice is not to quit – unless the business is exceeding all expectations and you are really raking in the profits.

Bottom line: If you have six to twelve months worth of expenses set aside and won’t have to depend on your business to pay you anything during this period, then maybe it’s time to consider quitting, or at least switching roles (ie, working your job part-time and your business full-time).

2. Time: Does your business take up more than four hours a day of your time? Do you find yourself always having more to do with the business than a full-time job allows? Do you work six to seven days a week just to stay on top of orders, inventory, accounting, advertising, etc.?

If this is true and you see sales increase as a result of your efforts, then maybe it’s time to make the move.

Note: As a small business owner, there is always something to be done. However, you must see increased sales as a result of your efforts before you even begin to think about quitting your job.

A majority of what small business owners do in the startup phase does not result in increased sales – ie, setting up ordering procedures, making samples, writing press releases, etc. Wait until your efforts start to produce actual income before quitting. That’s the joy of starting part-time, you can grow at your own pace.

3. Quality of Life: If the quality of your life is suffering because there are only 24 hours in the day and you need 56, then it’s definitely time to consider quitting.

If you’re working all the time, not spending time with family and friends, then both streams of income will start to suffer. If your small business has been on training wheels for a while, then maybe it’s time to take them off and see how she does on her own.

What exactly does this mean? It means that you get up and put in a solid 8, 9, 10 hours (at least) a day to get her to the next level. If you decide to make a go of your business full-time, then this is where the gloves come off. This is where the real work comes in.

Here are some general guidelines to observe as you make the transition.

Leave your job on good terms: That means handing in proper notice, offering to train a replacement, be on call for finishing up any special projects – whatever it takes to let your previous employer know that you are a professional and won’t leave them in the lurch.

After all, you never know if/when you will need to return, or if your company will be able to refer clients or become a client themselves.

Prioritize: Managing yourself is a lot harder than being under someone else’s tutelage. Develop the habit of writing a list of things to be accomplished. What works for me is at the end of every day, writing in my day planner what I need to accomplish the following day. It usually doesn’t work out that way, but at least I have a plan if I start to stray, or feel like, “Now what do I do?

Eat right and exercise: After all, if you don’t take care of yourself, it jeopardizes everything you are trying to accomplish.

Good luck!

 P.S.: Learn everything you need to know to make the transition from full-time to freelancing seamlessly.

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Marketing for Freelance Writing Jobs? How to Create an Effective Marketing Plan to Land More of Them

The following was excerpted in part from the e-book, The Small Biz Owner’s Complete Marketing Kit! Previously entitled: How to Create an Effective Marketing Plan

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