"Master Dayton" might be humorous, (I mean if Ph.Ds are called "Doctors," shouldn't MFAs be called "Masters?") but in all seriousness I have made a living freelance writing and after several years I have tons of information I want to share to help out my fellow writers, regardless of age, experience, goals, situation, or background. This blog isn't pretty-but it will help if real freelance writing information is what you want.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Freelance Writing Updates, Advice, and Important Miscellania

More Freelance Writing Advice, Corrections, and Updates

Hey all. I appreciate all the kind words from the last blog post of mine, about celebrating freelance writing milestones. Every single comment I receive that tell me I've helped to inspire people to get started, or helped people take the next step in freelance writing really fires me up and I count each one as a huge blessing. Thanks for the great comments, and thank you all even more for pushing yourselves to meet your goals in life. Even a quick e-mail note telling me you're a college student who writes only $100 a week just to travel during the summers - that's exciting and awesome from my point of view and I appreciate all the stories you've all shared with me.

For this post, there are going to be a lot of odds and ends that I cover as it seems like that time of year where there's one little note of interest here and one other note of interest there. I'm not sure how comprehensive this will be for complete newbies, but hopefully between all the little things I want to cover there will be some gems of information that are worth knowing, and I'll mention all the resources that I personally know are worth paying for. Yes, those will be affiliate links, but anyone who has followed this blog for any amount of time knows that's not why I'm in this one. Look at it from my point of view: I absolutely am defensive of my name and reputation because it's one of the few things I can generally control. If I don't feel completely comfortable with a product, I won't recommend it and if I'm willing to take an affiliate commission, then I know I'm putting my reputation on the line with each recommendation, so I'm very careful about what I endorse.

And as with many past websites, I reserve the right to pull that endorsement at any time as I see fit based on changes or actions of the site or resource in question. The past couple weeks have also taught me some things I wasn't aware of before, and I found some high quality blogs that are also worth a mention, particularly for those of you just becoming familiar with concepts like "Lifestyle Design" or "Automated Residual Income."

So while there are plenty of reviews and more advice coming up in later posts, right now this one is going to be a hodge-podge. Based on the sheer number of e-mails I get, I will include in this freelance writing blog post:
  • All the paid resources I can personally vouch for and have bought or used myself.
  • Some blog posts worth following (any blog I've linked to in post in the past is most likely still on my heavily recommended list).
  • Updates on various online writing websites and what I think of them as of the date of this blog post (08/20/2010).
  • Some announcements on future projects I'm working on and will be releasing by the end of the year.
  • More comments throughout badgering new readers to get started NOW, because getting started is the most important piece of advice anyone can get for freelance writing or building passive income.
So first and foremost:
If you haven't already started, get started NOW! (See, told ya' I'd be badgering over this one). If you learn everything there is to know over 8 months, in 8 months you have knowledge and you have nothing to show for your learning. The guy who throws up 10 hubs a day, even at random without keyword research, he's not getting enough for his work, but he'll have hundreds of hubs and therefore he will be making money.

So people have asked for my recommendations on paid resources. I'll give the list here, but I want to make sure this is perfectly clear: not every person has the same needs as I do, which is especially true since I'm working to switch from a mostly freelance model to a mostly passive income model. These have worked for me and I recommend them to other people. I'm also NOT saying that I don't trust anything that is not on this list. The best programs in the world might be out there and I don't even know about them. But these are the ones I can personally vouch for:

The Keyword Academy - This is an amazing program that Court and Mark oversee, and newbies get their first month for $1, then it's $33 a month after that. If you're looking to learn how to earn passive income, how to find back links, and want to learn to make a full time residual income, this is the place. As of this writing they have a goal of helping 1,000 students reach their goal of $1,000 a month passive income within 12 months. Strongly recommend if you can afford it and put in the time to work a little bit every day.

Celeste's E-Book on Constant-Content - Nobody rocks Constant-Content like Celeste. If you want to know how to make it at CC, this is the one and only guide.

Writer Gig's E-Book on eHow - I used to have this one on the sidebar, then I took it down. NOT because of quality - Writer Gig's book is the real deal, but after the eHow and Demand Studios mess, I wanted to wait and see what happened before putting this back up again. While it's not 100% up to date because of the new format, if you're approved to write for Demand Studios and want to make the most out of their residual income articles, this is still your best resource.

Justin's Great E-Book: Life After the Cubicle - Justin as a great blog, and he worked a year on what is obviously a passion. Comes with MP3 Coaching and deals with a wide variety of topics that people have to deal with when looking to work for themselves or get away from the cubicle life they hate so much. Highly recommend.

The 4 Hour Work Week (Audio Book) Revised and Expanded by Timothy Ferriss - Not every part of this book is right for everyone, and it's not meant to be. Some of the exercises are great for individuals, others I think are a touch corny. But in the end, the expanded version of this book is incredible, and if you are willing to give it a shot, there is something here for everyone who can learn to make a side income, chase their dreams, become a more efficient worker, and find a much better path that what most people are following right now. I listen to this all the time for encouraging and motivational background. In fact, this is what I'm listening to right now as I type this blog post.

How to Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer (Print Book) - Best book I've found for magazine writing, freelance writing print markets, and how querying and research is best done for maximum effect.

These are the paid resources I would recommend at this point. You know, as long as you immediately started working on your writing career even as you were reading them. Without getting started, they're just more information overload. If you want passive income and don't know where to start, start with HubPages. It's where I started seeing major results, and I know it's one of the first places Lissie started seeing success online. It's perfect for beginners.

Secondly, there have been some very good blog posts recently that are worth having a look at. Some of my favorites from the past month or so:

JadeDragon's post on Constant-Content Success and why most new writers fail there (and why they have no excuse to). His observations on CC and how writers should be able to sell a lot here and why most don't are dead on with what I've seen. Yes, he links to one of my posts from the blog, but this truly is a great blog post and comes back to the all important point: you have to get started.

Okay, this one is older, but if you're new and haven't seen Allyn Hane's: Everything You Need to Know About Backlinks, you're missing out. Go watch, read, then come back and get started.

Take a look at this blog: "My 4 Hour Work Week." I've only discovered this one recently, and obviously he is also a fan of Ferriss' work, but it is great to see another perspective on learning to make passive income online, on the hard work to get there, and on how progress does happen.

Change Your Life, Are You Living or Surviving? Not about freelance writing at all, but this is a question every single one of us should be asking constantly. If you don't get the question, then it's REALLY time for you to stop and start thinking about what it might mean and what direction your life is going.

Check out Lissie's Passive Income Online article on The Secret to Online Success. Lissie is great, friendly, and and hits the nail on the head on this fantastic post!

Felicia is an absolute inspiration and does a FAR better job updating her blog consistently than I am here. She had a couple of great posts worth reading, one reflective on Choosing the Write Way (nice), and another on Dreaming Big But Thinking Long Term. They're both worth the read, and might be that last little push to get you moving.

And last but not least, thank you to TW for Another Look on Content Mills. Before anyone comments on whether or not the math was right, wrong, or otherwise, read the article, read the comments, and realize that whether or not he understood the math for the specific example, the concept is absolutely correct and Demand Studios gets mentioned a lot in the comments because of it.

Finally, as for the questions about whether some future business projects I've alluded to have anything to do with e-books or creating my own writing e-book, the answer is yes and kind of. Before the end of this year I do intend to create a few e-books that aren't just aimed at beginners, but go into things like running an actual business, finding clients, carving out a niche, improving query letters, and working efficiently to build freelance and passive income at the same time. I also have a very big project I'm proud to co-author aimed at college aged kids, or kids wondering if college really is a good idea anymore or not, and what the real options are versus what they're being told.

So yeah, there's a lot coming out in the future, and since there seems to be plenty of interest, I'll make sure to keep things posted here. A creative writing project I was hoping to have up this fall is running behind schedule a little bit, but we'll see what everything's looking at by Christmas.

So that's it for this update. Plenty of reading, plenty of resources, now get out there and don't you dare settle for anything less than your wildest dreams!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Celebrating Writing Milestones!

I Am One Happy Freelance Writer

Sometimes you toil for months or even years (years especially if you tend to be stop-and-go like I am - always the sprinter, always had trouble with marathon running) wondering why you can't hit that huge freelance writing or passive income breakthrough that so many people have hit before you. Sometimes you see only slow snail-paced movements and you start wondering if you'll possibly have the energy to finish the race to your goals before becoming too exhausted to do anything but quit.

And then sometimes....and then sometimes...

Sometimes you hit that week that not only changes your perspective or your business, but it also changes your life. Based on the title, you want to take a guess on what the last few days in August have been like for me? :)

Well to copy I quote I came up with earlier this week: "The ceiling that marks the limits of what I can accomplish seems to be flying further and further away with every passing week." Wednesday I landed the largest writing contract I've ever had, and it's a beauty. In fact, it's probably going to push me into the next tax bracket. I call that a nice problem to have. The next day on Thursday I broke through a barrier I've been chasing since March 1st, over a full 5 months ago when I made $19.83 in one day with AdSense. I finally broke through that $20 in one day barrier, and so far in August my total passive income is destroying the 15% a month growth I've been aiming for (and almost averaging) this year.

Back on May 30th, so beginning of June for all intensive purposes, I wrote this blog post about passive income, encouraging people just starting out to keep with it, even though it's hard to see the work. One of my biggest points was that in the beginning it took 6 months for me to get to $40 in one month, but after two years my AdSense had single months where it grew that fast, or close to that much. I also stated that I expected to make the $100 jump from $200 a month to $300 month in about 4 to 5 months, less than half the time it took me to get from one hundred a month to two hundred. Well I hate to make an early call, with Murphy's Law and all, but barring Google dying or an atomic bomb disaster of a month, I can already call it: I'm going to blast past $300 this month, only 3 months from the time I was celebrating the $200 mark.

That's a snowball effect, and it's a beautiful thing when it's working for you instead of against you. Hopefully you'll all not only enjoy this day and these accomplishments with me, but take encouragement, as well. I'm not the most tech-savvy person, and in fact that's one area where my smarts don't help me a lot. It takes me a long time to figure out basic SEO stuff that came easy to other people. I'm not a natural at all at marketing myself or pitching to clients to get huge writing jobs. But I know my craft, and I'm stubborn as the most bull headed mule you'll ever meet. So I'll learn. Very slowly, and with many nights banging my head against the wall, but I will keep going to learn what I have to and accomplish my goals through sheer work if nothing else.

I'm sure there are many ways to get to where I am faster and with less pain than it took me...but the point is by being good at what I do, by working on my craft, and by hammering away I managed to get here. I'm going to make more this year than I ever have in a year despite a really ugly first few months, and next year might take me right out of the middle class bracket...which is pretty freaking cool. The passive income is growing and snowballing and giving me more freedom than ever, and getting me close to the point where I can start doing some serious outsourcing to ramp up the passive income projects even more.

If I can get here by pure force of will and stubbornness, what's stopping you?

It wasn't that long ago that I was unemployed with no prospects and no emergency funds, and it wasn't that many years ago when I was homeless for a while. If you really want the dream of a freelance writing or passive income, just keep fighting for it.

I can tell you from first hand experience these breakthrough moments are absolute bliss, and even better than you imagine.

Thanks for sharing this moment with me, now go and make one of your own!