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Guest Post! Need Help Carving Out Time for Your Writing? Make it a Priority

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Before we get into our guest post, this is an incredibly important topic. I freelance full-time and somedays don’t manage the time to write. This post from Maureen Bonatch has some valuable stuff, but it will only help if you implement it. 

Maureen is a mom, author, freelance coach, the list goes on (below) . It’s obvious she knows a thing or two about finding time to write. Listen up and enjoy!

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How to Never Run Out of Freelance Writing Jobs Again! Seriously

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I’m dead serious when I say that you should never be without at least a couple of decent paying opportunities.

The term “feast and famine” comes around a lot in the freelance world (especially writers), but it doesn’t have to go to those extremes. In fact, I will show you that you can make your next month’s goal (within reason) without having to send a prospecting email or make a phone call.

There are a few things that could hold you back, but not having enough work isn’t a problem, if you have a (several) fail safes in place.

That’s what we’re going for here. I have a list of several options that should keep you in the money. Some of them are fast, and some take some time to build up, but if you implement them during down time, you shouldn’t be in the dumps for long.

Why is Work Not Consistent?

This is a good question, and I’m not sure I can answer it fully, but here goes. Here are least a few potential responses.

Seasonality

It seems that most of my freelance friends are always slow in January. Typically, you will be if you have clients that don’t order regularly. I have customers who always order a month’s worth of blog posts, and that provides consistency, but other clients only come calling when they need new content.

January is the time where many businesses do taxes, reorganize and evaluate things. Putting in a content order isn’t at the top of their priority list.

Job Type

If we would only work with clients who want regular content, our businesses would take a long time to build. You need those one-time large projects to make your income work out. Let’s face it if someone offers you a decent rate you take it.

I just finished up an 84,000-word project for a new website, that I’ll probably never work on again. That client is working with me again soon, but it will be another large project and not necessarily a monthly deal.

Guess what?

That job ended in early January, and I had to scramble to find new clients to make my goals.

You and Me

We’ve got kids, jobs, and spouses and can’t always be prospecting and working on client work. If you finish a large project and haven’t been trying to find new work, you are bound to hit a weak spot. It’s ok, too.

Because I’m about to show you a system that can help you when your work has seemingly dried up.

Ready?

It’s All About Redundancy

Being redundant in your writing is a one-way ticket to an unhappy client but in an alternate definition of the word you can find an answer to always having freelance writing jobs. Although, organizing your work and finding clients should be easily managed (normally).

Redundancy: The inclusion of extra components that are not strictly necessary to functioning, in case of failure in other components.

This definition is the engineering version and fits for us as well. Extra places that have work in the event of a failure in your primary way to work.

A Backup Plan

Or in my case plans.

The main way I get work is by looking for and contacting businesses that need blogs for their website (in my preferred categories). Sometimes I have a ton of regular work, but other times it’s thin.

If it is, I have several places that I go for work.

For instance:

If I don’t have any work for a “business day” I first send out prospect emails (since my primary income model is to do so).

Next, I’ll log into several content sites that usually have work. Now is where you’ll want to pay attention. I don’t blog at your typical content mills. I have nothing against them, but over the last couple of years, I’ve found some real gold mines for content writing that are less known.

And I’m sharing them with you!

Scripted

I’ll take a quick look to see if any possible things are going on here. This site ‘s incredible when you can find the work, but sometimes it’s sparse (that’s why you have more than one backup). It is a different kind of content provider. You have to pitch the article you would like to write and can usually get a hefty fee, but you have to be a high-quality writer. Here is an article that will help, but also check out their blog.

Bonus Tip: When you are applying to be a Scripted writer, you’ll have to write a post about a random subject (mine was about Giraffes). Use Google, write for the fictitious readers and run it through Grammarly and you only have a small amount of time.

Zerys

The next place I end up is Zerys. This is a place that is more free market than other content mills. You choose your categories. There are 26,000, but you only get 100 so choose carefully. The most commonly needed are business and internet topics, but I’ve found some decent work in obscure topics (although, I’ve still not seen any for DisneyWorld, my favorite). The main categories are in the image below; they split off into thousands of others.

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 8.36.03 PM

You have to be careful here. The businesses and agencies listing the jobs put a rate from less than a penny a word up, so you’ll have to factor in your time and worth. The neat thing about this site is that if the people you write for like you; they can offer work specifically for you.

Bonus Tip: Same as Scripted, you’ll have to write a sample. It’s actually from a category you choose, and you pick the topic and content, but run it through a grammar test before submitting.

BlogMutt

This little beauty is my favorite. This is where the “never run out of work” thing really comes into play. BlogMutt is not your typical content mill. They have hundreds of customers from all over, and offer to pay writers $8 per 250+ word article! The math equals a little over .03 cents per word, not a bad rate.

The best part is that you choose the business, topic and keyword for your work. There are a ton of factors that make BlogMutt different (Many good, some not so good). I’m doing a more in depth tutorial/review of it to be published later.

With around 700 customers (by my count) who all need regular posts, you can writScreen Shot 2016-02-11 at 9.31.16 PMe and write without ever seeing an end There are people on there who just write on that platform full time and make a good living. There are levels to get paid even more and a super helpful forum. The picture to the left is the number of posts that have to be written in the next five days alone.

Bonus Tip: Be careful with the sign-up. You don’t have to write a sample, but there is a grammar test that threw me off, and I had to try again via email. If you want my help, let me know by emailing me (you    can share this on social media as a thank you; my email is Josh@sidewriting.com)

Upwork

I signed up for Upwork last fall and have seen some pretty crazy results relatively fast. I subscribed to the free email list of a guy named Danny Margulies and his tips have helped. The picture (below) shows a little bit of my progress from last year.

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 9.39.49 PM

Not too bad for my first four jobs. Like I said, it came from a lot of good tips from Danny. Sign up to his email list if Upwork is an option for you.

Bonus Tip: You want to be careful about who you work with on this site. Don’t view Upwork as a policing system. Treat it like you are finding clients for your business, not helping their customers.

Write Your Own Stuff

This is the final tip, but it could be the most life-changing. I wrote my first book during a down month. It may be the reason that you are here. It has since earned several hundred dollars passively, even though I have treated it terribly. I’ve meant to update it and write more books, but that’s a whole other issue.

If you publish a book correctly, you can make hundreds of dollars in your first month (I made like $300 in month 1). If you are quick at writing about your favorite topics, you can pump out books like Lise Cartwright.

You can also write a blog post on a new blog (we prefer SiteGround to host this blog because they are way faster and better than our last host).

Bonus Tip: You should write for yourself. It will end up helping you, in the long run, earn more with less of your time.

Bottom Line Time

Well, we’re rounding out at over 1500 word for this post, so I hope it’s been helpful. Don’t give up. If you’ve set aside time to work, then work. You can submit a pitch on Scripted or a proposal on Upwork. Or, you can just plain make money now, by working on Zerys and BlogMutt.

If this post has helped you, let it help others by posting it to your preferred social channel. Not to mention subscribe for more great posts.

 

The Process That I Used to Write My First Book and What I’m Doing Different This Time

This month, authors across the globe are going bananas for something called National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo for short). People who've wanted to write a novel their entire lives will fulfill that vision. Many already successful writers will use it as motivation to pump out another.

About this time last year, I started writing my first book. While it isn't a novel it was the first time I set a goal (of that size) and kept going until it was complete. It was actually published on my son's first birthday.

It was an exhilarating feeling and is the reason many of you are reading this post. Now, as I have been reflecting on all that the first book has done for me (and hopefully you); I have decided to write another book. Actually two.

You see, I'm a huge advocate for using the basic skill of writing to create a better life. A little extra cash to do things you wouldn't have been able to do living paycheck to paycheck. Making money on the side through writing blog posts, articles, and copywriting for other businesses has been the main way that I've done that.

Now, I'm concentrating on (while continuing freelancing) building up assets that continuously make money after being written once (i.e. books). So, I figured I would start out by sharing a little about my first process with you, how I'm going to do it differently, and then ask you for your help!

I can sum up the first book into 3 simple steps

Outline:

I can honestly surmise that if I hadn't had outlined the first book it wouldn't have ever seen the light of day. This step is definitely ​staying in my strategy for the next 2, but more on that in a second.

If I hadn't outlined my first book it would have never been released.

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Essentially, I just wrote my table of contents before any of the pages. This made writing the rest incredibly easy​

Rushed:

This one isn't so good. There is nothing wrong with quickly moving toward a goal, but there is when it comes to sacrificing quality. I rushed to get the first book out. This left me with grammatical errors and a sub-par launch. I should have taken another week to plan things out, get it edited, etc.. 

Now, I'm actually re-editing the first book, adding a little content, and re-launching it, but more on that later.​

This is not something I plan on repeating.​

​Promotion:

There are several book promotion sites out there, and I used several of them. This led to a decent book launch, but not as good as I had hoped. A little more effort (less rush) would have made a huge difference. ​

How I'm Going to Do it This Time

Well, I guess I should say, "how I'm already doing it this time". Because I've already started. I've got a theme, title, and outline. I've even started on the content of the first book. It's a shorter guide to helping people who aren't the best at being their own boss. I came up with this thanks to the help of one of our readers, Cynthia (Thanks, Cynthia!).

If all goes well, I should have the rough draft done within the next week or two. Then it will be edited (more) properly. I'll have a couple of covers to choose from (you can help me pick the best). Then I'll pre-launch the book, schedule a proper grand opening and let 'er rip.

How You Can Help

I want this second book to be just as quick, but not rushed. Meaning I want to stick with a good timeline, but have it be a better product and experience a better launch. That's where you come into play. 

I need help deciding on the best cover and I need people to get an advanced copy to review it in Amazon! In order for this to happen I need you to sign up for my launch team . 

What You'll Get

First, you'll have my gratitude, but that's not all. You'll get an advanced copy of the book for free and for the first 7 people who email me at Josh@sidewriting.com joining my launch team will get a 30 Skype call with me. Consider it a virtual coffee where we can talk about your business, hang-ups, and ask any questions that you want about freelancing!

Email me now​ and we'll get it scheduled!

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