A friend — we’ll call her “Casey” — came to me for advice recently. Casey’s a writer too, with a nice deal writing a nightlife column for a local alternative weekly, in addition to her other work writing celebrity news for local and national magazines.
Casey knows that to keep her site Google-friendly and to build her platform as a writer, she needs to keep up her blog. That constant stream of content gives the search engines plenty of keywords to chew on, and gives her potential clients and fans a quick taste of her work, too.
The problem is, she didn’t know what to write. As an up-and-coming writer struggling to make a living with her words, she can’t afford to give away stories on her blog that she could get paid for elsewhere. But what, then, could she post that would demonstrate her abilities and make her blog worth reading?
Your fingers hover above the keyboard as you stare blankly at your empty document. You have an assignment, a topic, a project that you need to work on.
And you have no idea where to go from where you are.
It isn’t burnout. You aren’t exhausted, or sick of writing and wishing everyone who wants you to write something would just go away for a week
What you are is stuck. You know what you want to do, but you just can’t seem to get anything out to work on. Continue Reading
Photo by piccadillywilson.
Among other things, I’m a ghostwriter. Not the sexy kind that sits down with Sarah Palin or Oprah or that guy who killed his wife and married his daughter (I’m sure there is one!) and writes their story, getting an “as told to” or even “with” credit on the front cover. No, I write articles that appear in publications large and small under someone else’s name.
My reasons for doing this are plentiful, and not worth getting into in depth here – what it boils down to is that the money is good, the work is easy, and it saves me the time I’d normally spend querying editors and thinking of ideas. Since I teach a full-time schedule, that time saving is important.
One of the joys (and frustrations) of being a freelance writer contributing to multiple magazines, newspapers, and websites is the need to come up with a constant flow of new ideas for articles.
This is not always an easy task by any means—often it seems downright impossible—so we’ve compiled a list of ways to find articles almost anywhere. Continue Reading
Photo by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com
You’ve possibly read countless times that businesses with an online presence can benefit from having a blog. Of course, freelancing is a business, and a blog is likewise valuable to you, regardless of what you freelance in. Here are some reasons having a niche-focused blog can help your business. The tips are geared towards freelance writers, but much of what’s here can be applied for other types of freelance work.
“Don’t stay in bed, unless you can make money in bed.” – George Burns
Let’s be honest. Who of us isn’t interested in money? Which of us wouldn’t love to be making six figures or more while Freelancing? But how many of us really know how to tap the market to best take advantage of the skills we have, turning our precious time into cash?
With the staggering number of self-help titles on the market today, each promising secrets, tips, and guarantees, there is an obvious desire to achieve these elusive ends. Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett recognized this need, and with their 2008 “Problogger: Secrets for Blogging You Way to a Six-Figure Income” hope to inspire others to accomplish their dreams. The verdict on their 220 page manual of blogging advice? Read on to find out.
Photo by stefanlacut.
Having a killer online portfolio is obviously invaluable to freelancers. The portfolio will show the quality of your work and get potential clients excited about what you can do for them. A great portfolio will sell you and your abilities–you just have to get people to see it.
Publishing a blog at your portfolio site can accomplish many of the same things, it just takes a different approach to get the results. Much like the portfolio, the blog will demonstrate your expertise, only it will do so by sharing knowledge instead of by displaying your work. Potential clients that have read the posts on your blog are likely to feel more comfortable with you and appreciate your experience and your abilities more than they would if they had never seen your blog.
Photo by udono.
If you’d asked me on January 1st what my plans for this year were, the word “freelancer” wouldn’t have appeared.
No, I was going to launch a wildly successful weblog, make a fortune from Google AdSense, and sign a six-figure book deal…
…I’m not quite there yet.
But I have managed to arrive somewhere wholly unexpected. I’m earning money from staff-writing on two blogs, both major players in their niches (Diet Blog and Daily Writing Tips) and my own blog has a small but regular readership. I’ve made about $800 so far; not “quit the day job” money, yet, but enough to make me realize that freelance blogging could be a viable way to earn a living.
You might well have a blog, though perhaps it’s a personal one based around a hobby or passion, rather than a professional one. And since you’re reading this on Freelance Switch, I’m guessing you have some interest in freelancing. If you’ve read through the “Getting started” articles, if you spend hours staring at your cubicle walls and dreaming up your next blog post (or typing away on the sly), and if you’re waiting, waiting, waiting for that first job, first client, first check, you might be closer than you think. Here’s how to fall into freelance blogging by accident… Continue Reading
It’s been about a year since I began blogging, and during that time I’ve started paying a lot more attention to writing. Not so much that I have gotten any good at it, mind, just enough to realise what an art it is.
Write To Done
Fortunately there are some good places on the web to help improve your writing skills. In particular, Leo of ZenHabits has launched overnight a new site called WriteToDone aimed at sharpening your technique.
He’s had a few great posts already: Continue Reading
Want help solving your unique freelance marketing problems? Starting today, Along with my regular Thursday column, I will be rotating marketing case-studies and advice into the mix.
If you would like to be considered for a future marketing breakout column, please feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com and include a few paragraphs about who you are, what you want to do and what help you’d like. If it is a good fit, I will publish your request along with a detailed analysis and marketing advice in a future column.
Our first Ask Jonathan Marketing Breakout letter comes from blog-consultant, Michael Martine at Remarkablogger.com. He writes:
My name is Michael Martine. I’ve been blogging regularly since 2003 and have owned my namesake’s domain since 2004, and blogging on there since 2005. I’ve done freelance web design and web strategy consulting a bit, but recently I’ve decided to get real and take it to the next level. I changed the name to Remarkablogger and bought remarkablogger.com. The blog itself will soon be redesigned to better reflect the name and the image I want for it.
I offer help for people to begin blogging without making all the typical beginner’s mistakes and to effectively use blogging to help their business grow. I’m a blog consultant and coach. What I do is help people start, manage, and create content for their blogs better than they could do on their own in a much shorter time and with better results. This is done through email or phone/IM consultations and through design/develop/install work.
I’ve had an initial burst of work right out of the gate, but I already see signs of things slowing down. My marketing/sales challenge is much like any other starting freelancer’s: acquiring new clients and establishing a high enough baseline of income that I can leave behind the 9-5 job. My goal is to be on retainer and available to help enough clients so that I can earn a comfortable income without having to completely bust my ass for 16 hours a day. Right now I’m not doing any advertising, but I’m considering PPC advertising.
Thanks, Jonathan, for making the offer and for taking the time to read this. I look forward to hearing back from you.
Thanks for your e-mail. Sounds like you’re off to a good start, the blog looks nice and clean and is easy to navigate. And, I like that you added in a box on the front-page to promote your blog consulting services and articles for beginning bloggers. You’ve got some great content there.
So let’s figure out how to make some simple changes designed to kick-start your blog consulting business. Let’s start with your on-blog efforts.
Today – October 15th – is the very first annual Blog Action Day. As the international dateline passes over the world, over fifteen thousand bloggers will be waking up to prepare and post about the environment on their blogs.
As you know Leo, Collis and I have been organizing this day for two months now and it’s turning into a huge success thanks to the participation and action of so many wonderful bloggers from around the world. The day has attracted the support of the United Nations Environmental Programme, the European Union Commissioner for the Environment, huge blogs like Google’s Official Blog, LifeHacker and so many more. It’s very exciting and the day is just beginning.
Today on FreelanceSwitch in honour of the day I’ll be posting a big article on an keeping you and your clients environmentally friendly, N.C. has a special Blog Action Day episode of Freelance Freedom, and if you are interested to hear the story behind the day, Collis has posted up a long post about it over at NorthxEast.
Today we will also be donating any money this site makes to environmental charities. For today I will put a Paypal link at the base of each Blog Action Day post. If you click on the link you will be led to Paypal where you can quickly and easily donate US$3. Any contribution will be passed on to an environmental charity. We have almost 11,000 unique visitors every day, so if each one of us donated just $3 we could raise $33,000 to help these charities do their amazing work! I’ll be donating today’s proceeds to Greenpeace and The National Wildlife Federation.
So a Happy Blog Action Day to you all, enjoy the posts and let’s go out there and make a difference!
Donate Here – Click to Donate with PayPal
To blog or not to blog, that is the question!
Whether you are a freelance coder, designer or writer, you certainly need to look for opportunities to increase your exposure. The more visibility you have, the higher the quantity and quality of work that will appear.
Could a blog be the right marketing tool? The blogging phenomenon is expanding rapidly. It would be difficult browse around the Internet for 30 minutes without crossing one. As a freelancer, however, would a blog represent a smart career move? In one word: absolutely! Below you’ll find five reasons why any freelancer should blog.
Grow your network
There is an old business saying that goes like this: “It is not about what you know but who you know.” As a freelancer, this is particularly true. The difference between getting big projects knocking at your door and having to hunt down for cents here and there might come from your network.
Ideally you want to have as many people as possible aware of your work. Better yet, you want this people to endorse your work and refer it to their friends.
What a better tool for that purpose than a blog? Some time ago websites would communicate unilaterally. The website owner would publish some information and the visitors would absorb it. That was quite unbalanced, and it was difficult for relationships to blossom along the way.
Blogs, on the other hand, have many features that make this communication bilateral. Readers are able to comment and interact directly with the author and with fellow readers. Other bloggers are also able to interact with the author, creating a vast web of relationships.
This structure makes blogs almost perfect networking tools.