What You Need to do to Boost Your Freelance Career

Being a freelance writer in the 21st century requires more than talent
Being a freelance writer in the 21st century requires more than talent | Source

The life of one writer

Doing your bookkeeping is part of the job
Doing your bookkeeping is part of the job | Source

More and more folks who have spent time in the corporate world are kicking it goodbye in favor of working towards lifelong dreams. It’s especially true of the baby boomers that have become disenchanted and realize they are on the downside of the proverbial hill. The kids are grown; the stress mounted with each step up that corporate ladder – and for what? More stress? Regrets? A lifestyle they can’t afford? Life gone by?

What now?

Modern technology has made it possible for workers to save gas, time and leave office politics behind.

The dawning of the freelance entrepreneur is alive and well.

Well, maybe not so well.

Life has changed.

Freelance opportunities abound. However, you now need to be much more than someone who can pen a winning article or book or turn a blank canvas into a masterpiece or produce a song that hits the charts. It takes more than that.

Much more than that.

My friends, life isn’t what it used to be for the creative souls on this Earth. There is so much more to being a freelancer in the 21st century. Digital media has forced us to be an entire company, whereas in days gone by we made our mark through our talents alone. Others marketed for us. Others handled the bookkeeping. Others were responsible for the operating expenses. Others found buyers for our amazing talents.

All we had to do was create.

And we were paid well. Very well.

Welcome to the new age. Many jobs have been eliminated. If you want to make your mark as a freelancer in your art, you have to be so much more than talented – especially if you decide to become a solopreneur.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s true. I learned it the hard way.

I may have learned the hard way, but the mom in me wants to ease your path. Therefore, I share with you lessons learned. I hope you will pay attention because I could charge for this advice, but because I have compassion for those embarking upon the journey to your dreams I want to remove some of the bumps for you.

You’re welcome! Please pay it forward when you can. Those with similar dreams will remember you and thank you.

Without boring you with my history, suffice it to say I had it made as a TV commercial copywriter in the 1980s. After changing my role to mother and falling back on my accounting skills to feed the bottomless pit of motherhood and homeownership, I reclaimed my love for writing and embarked upon a freelance career.

Have you come back to your craft and discovered the environment has changed?

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Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks

Lordy Goshen, what a rude awakening! You can’t always pick up where you left off. You need to dust off the rust, find new contacts and remove the cobwebs from the skills that were parked in the attic of Life.

And learn. Again. Unless you are comfortable with earning $3 for a 500 word article, that is. Holy mackerel! In addition to a $500/week salary in the 1980s (as copywriter) I was earning $50/hour for freelance work.

Hoo doggy, this writer has stepped through a time warp that is advanced and retarded at the same time. No sense fighting. It is what it is.

I now will attempt to save you the shock I went through and the hard knocks that attempted to skin my dream.

This is for you. I thank all who have supported my endeavors, offered advice and provided the education I needed to survive in this Jetson’s world of freelancing.

This is what I’ve learned and what I impart to you, the budding freelancer.

I have not attempted to post these in order of importance; they are all vital to your career. Tackle them as you see fit. Hint: tackle the most daunting tasks first and the rest will come much easier.

Ready? Here we go!

Content mills and bid sites

Unfortunately, many of us get entrapped by the mills and bid sites because, frankly, we don’t know any better. When I first re-entered the world of freelance writing, I no longer had TV or production studio contacts, so I did what I knew best at the time; I Googled. I found Freelancer.com. Shortly thereafter, I was contacted by a client outside of Freelancer and was thrilled. Unfortunately, she paid $1/500 words. I was beside myself. What? Are you kidding me? But I went with it because I was 30 years older and so was the writing world.

I had to beg, borrow and steal to get paid for the first 15 articles I submitted. I did get paid, but by the time I did it was a bonus. I thought I’d lost. (I’d later realize that, even though I got paid, I still lost).

About 6 months later, I started working for a content mill; one that pays more than most. I even had to go thru testing. I was now up to $12/400 words and earned a $50 bonus for each week I submitted 25 approved articles, which I did. I thought I was doing pretty well. I still wasn’t meeting my overhead, but about 90% of it.

I thought I was cool. After all, now I was a professional freelance writer!

Then they lowered the payment, increased the word count and ELIMINATED the bonus program!

Holy crap!

I started doing research after this. I could not live on a down-sizing pay scale that was minimal at best.

Then it dawned on me, that I had no rights to my copy. Hell, I didn’t even know where my articles were posted!

How can I prove that I’m a paid writer????

A great alternative to the mills and bid sites are sites such as HubPages. Hang on – hear me out. Sure, you don’t get paid per article on HP but you earn residual income for the life of the article. Not only that, you retain rights to your work and you have a link you can share with prospective employers. Think about it and do the math. Would you rather be paid $10 for an article similar to one you’d post on HP or earn unlimited potential income?

Additionally, you can customize your articles with photos, videos, polls, etc AND you can write about whatever strikes your fancy. You can’t do that when you write for mills or bid sites.

Note: when writing under a pen name, put your real name either at the beginning or end of the article. Clients/editors/publishers will Google your real name. Make sure they can find you.

K. ‘Nuf said. Let’s move on.

Build a website

I can’t stress enough the importance of having a website that showcases your work, appeals to your audience and acts as an online marketing rep for what you have to offer.

Your website is your calling card, board room, show room and meeting space all rolled into one. It is your multi-dimensional online office. And you can have it for free or at a minimal cost.

There are several hosts that offer free websites, however it is recommended you upgrade to your own domain. Many bloggers and entrepreneurs use WordPress as their vehicle. I personally use Weebly. For $59 per year, I have my own domain and don’t have ‘weebly’ in my URL. It’s much more professional looking to not have the host mentioned in your URL, plus you have access to more web-building options when you upgrade. It shows prospective clients that you have taken the extra measure to invest in your career. For $59 a year, it’s worth it. I honestly don’t know what WordPress charges, but the fact that many successful entrepreneurs use it I’d venture to say it’s very affordable.

Create multiple pages on your website, each serving a specific purpose. If you offer services for hire (writing, consulting, photography, etc.) have that be your landing page. Tell your prospective client what you offer and why you are the preferred choice. Include an About Me page (talk about yourself – yeah, it’s okay to talk about yourself!), a Bookstore or Products Page (if applicable), a Blog page, Contact Me page and whatever else you feel is beneficial to those who come to your site. (More on optimizing your website in a future post).

One thing I need to mention: building a website is easier than you may think. I couldn’t afford to hire a webmaster so I built my own. I put if off for weeks because I was terrified. I am the mistress of techno-igno (technological ignorance). However, most web hosts have tutorials you can consult to help you along the way. I am dead serious when I say, “if I can do it anyone can do it”!

Start blogging

Blogging is the perfect format in which to write using your unique voice. Find a niche (very important rather than blithering about this and that and everything in between) and blog regularly. It doesn’t have to be every day or even every week, but you need to bring new content to your site on a regular basis. This will help boost your site’s ratings with Google. (More on that in a future post about website optimization).

Not only do you get practice in writing and finding your voice, but the comments left on your posts will give you food for future posts; will allow you to measure your impact on those who are interested in your niche, and - most importantly – your blog will give you built in clips. When someone is considering hiring you, all you have to do is send them a link to your blog. Two birds with one stone, so to speak.

Gain Internet presence

It’s imperative for Google to know who you are. Okay, you may not like SEO and you may not think ranking with Google is important, but it’s extremely important to your business. Fortunately, keywords are not nearly as important as they once were, but your online profile will make or break you. There are several ways to gain an online presence. Before I get into that, let me show you a screen shot of what comes up when I Google myself: This screen shot doesn’t display the entire page, but I show up exclusively on the first page and all over the second and third page search results. Go ahead, see for yourself. Google Shauna L Bowling, then do the same for yourself.

Okay, so how did I do this?

Page 1 of search results
Page 1 of search results | Source

Create or update your online profiles

It’s beneficial to any freelancer to have profiles and samples on social media sites. LinkedIn and Google+ are frequented by those who may be interested in hiring you. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are also popular social media sites. If you haven’t created an account, it’s advisable to do so. If you do have active profiles, give them a look and tweak any that are outdated or don’t give a good idea of who you are and what you have to offer.

Choose a recent professional looking head shot of yourself and add it to all the profiles you have online. It’s important to be consistent so you are easily recognized. Using a pet or cartoon character as your avatar is not recommended nor is it professional.

Another way to increase your online presence and come off as a professional is to list your business with Yelp, Superpages and your local business listing. These are all free and will benefit your business. Go into your city’s website and look for the local business area. This is where you can list your business or services. Upload the same headshot that appears on your social media profile pages.

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Learn from the pros

Subscribe to the blogs and newsletters in your niche that are hosted by high-profile professionals. Learn everything you can from them. If you haven’t decided on a niche, I recommend you become active in blogs and social media groups for writers and marketers. These will give you advice on how to make it as a freelancer by those in the industry who are making a real living at the craft. You will need to know marketing, so make sure you include marketing blogs in your subscription list.

Of the many blogs I’ve been following, I’ve found these to be the most informative:

  • Boost Blog Traffic (Jon Morrow)
  • Make a Living Writing (Carol Tice)
  • The Renegade Writer (Linda Formichelli)
  • The Word Chef (Tea Silvestre)
  • Lifehack (Francesca Nicasio)
  • Firepole Marketing (Danny Iny)

Be active. Leave comments. This will gain recognition with the big guns in the freelance field. The more active you are, the more curious they’ll become and just may check out your website. I know this to be true because I’ve seen traffic from these sites. Many of the blogs that are built with WordPress have a plug in called CommentLuv. This allows you to add a link to your site or blog when you leave a comment. Curiosity brings readers to your site once they’ve seen you commenting regularly.

Many, if not all of the sites I listed above offer free webinars. Take advantage of them and be active there also. Ask questions. Take notes. Now, I have to be honest with you. Most of them will pitch a paid training program at the end of the session. However, they offer enough information in the free webinars that you will gain valuable knowledge.

Once you’ve gained a good education through following the how-to blogs, weed them down to the few you want to keep and start the same recognition process with bloggers in your niche.

This brings me to the next point:

Guest post on my blog

Bravewarrior's Feathered Pen

I have a passion for Mother Nature and all her glory. I also have a deep sense of sadness for what mankind is doing to the environment. Technology, greed and the need for instant gratification have led to poisoning our Earth, thereby diminishing - if not destroying - the quality of life.

I know you feel the same or you wouldn't be reading this. Rest assured, you've found the writer who wants to help raise awareness for your cause and bring traffic to your door.

Guest post for blogs within your niche

This is a great way to have a byline on popular blogs, gain traffic and potential clients. Many of the larger blogs pay for guest posts, which is a nice little bonus. Be sure to leave a brief bio at the end of your post. Include a head shot and a link to your site and Google+ account. This will help with your online visibility and will increase your ranking in the search engines.

For every guest post you do, go into your Google+ account and add the link to the contributor section of your profile. This will cross reference with Google searches and increase your ratings.

Add testimonials to your website

When a potential customer comes to your site, reading testimonials from those who have used your services is a huge plus. Consider it a marketing tool. Ask your clients for a testimonial and post them on your site, along with a head shot of the person and the name of their company.

If you don’t yet have paying clients, offer to do a small job in exchange for a testimonial. Chances are very good they will turn into paying customers after the initial barter. I recently edited an e-book for a popular blogger/freelance writer. She was so thrilled with my work, I not only received a glowing testimonial to add to my website, but she posted a recommendation on my LinkedIn profile and will use me for future projects (paid, of course).

I wouldn’t make it a habit of doing free work, but an occasional freebie that benefits you and the client gives you credibility and leads to paid work. That, my friends is a win-win!

Marketing will make or break you

Put it this way: if you don’t market yourself, you might as well stick with your day job or go get one.

In order to make a living at your craft, you must actively seek paying clients. All of the steps I’ve mentioned in this article will help boost your career, but will not ensure a paycheck. That part is up to you. Seek and ye shall find. Now that you have a solid online presence, a beautiful website complete with testimonials and samples of your work, you have the marketing materials to hand over to your prospective client.

Point them in the right direction. Send them to your site, ask them to Google you. Win their trust. Get the gig. And don’t forget to give your new clients your PayPal info!

Final words

I know this article is quite lengthy, but I've crammed a year’s worth of knocks, bumps, scrapes, triumphs and growth into a few pages. I hope I’ve saved you some time. I hope I’ve helped clear up any questions you may have regarding how to get a leg up on your freelance career.

All I ask is that you pay it forward.

Peace,

Bravewarrior



Shauna L Bowling

Refining, Defining or Rhyming

All Rights Reserved

© 2014 Shauna L Bowling

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Comments 125 comments

Mary McShane profile image

Mary McShane 2 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Shauna, this is an excellent hub, well constructed and chock full of information. I'm bookmarking it for future reference. Voted up, and shared.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Mary, you have just validated my reason for posting this hub. Thank you so much!

It's actually the result of a rather lengthy comment I left on billybuc's hub about getting into freelance writing. I thought I should expound and offer, in detail, what I've learned while trying to boost my own career.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Awesome article, Sha! Thank you for sharing your insight and knowledge after having lived through it and experienced it firsthand. It is valuable information for all who are interested and will help them to move forward more quickly than starting from scratch and learning the hard way for sure.

Up and more and sharing.

Blessings,

Faith Reaper


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Faith, if I can ease some pain for others, I feel good. Freelancing is no easy task. I've created my online presence, now I need to do the marketing part. I also need to look for blogs in my niche and start making friends. It's been a year since I discovered the mills are not the way to go. It's been a long journey. I've had people help me along the way and feel the need to pay it forward. It's the least I can do.


Mr. Stewart of Colin aka the epi-man 2 years ago

Yes Shauna of most sensational , your acute journalistic skills are in full force here and this is a keeper in terms of reference for people who treat their writing hobbies seriously. You cover all of the necessary bases here but what is more important is you also discover new directions and avenues for your readers as well. Hub bravo from the epi-man and yes I will enlighten the masses at Facebook with a post on my FB wall. Sending warm wishes to you at 5:34pm Canada time


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 2 years ago from Arizona

well done Shauna. I was intrigued by your title, even though I rarely stop by HubPages. All of this is so true and hours need to be spent achieving goals. ANd I know all about changing venues in writing jobs online. I of course now have my new passion of painting with a legit store online and it needs daily marketing--and a lot of it. Well done as always


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Mr. Stewart of Colin (insert smiley face here), you are a scholar and a gentleman indeed. Yes, I have discovered. I've only done so to find out what works because I'm hell bent to avoid having to return to the corporate environment. I hope you got something out of this article.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Obviously I agree since we've had lengthy discussions about them all. :)


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Carol, I've seen your progress and am very pleased that you have found your true calling. I tried not to direct this article towards writers alone, but entrepreneurs in general. The education I've gained can be applied to anyone who works for themselves. It's all about gaining a presence and being recognized. That helps in the marketing efforts.

Thanx for commenting, Carol. It's always nice to see your face!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Yes indeedy, Bill! When I had diarrhea of the keystrokes on the comment I left on your "Beginning a Freelance Career Writing Tips for Success" hub, I decided I needed to follow in your footsteps and share what I've learned.

You are a friend, a mentor and an inspiration!


Ghost32 2 years ago

Sha, this one has gotten me going to the point that I simply must utilize my notorious "by the numbers" response format (in order to touch on the key points you've inspired). Here we go:

1. I loved your mention of the discovery that you had to learn things all over again. It's long been my belief that the moment we stop learning is the moment we start to die. As we get older, perhaps we can't quite do physically what we could at age 20...but short of massive brain shutdown, we can always acquire new knowledge. In fact, I may just have to write on that topic, thanks to your inspiration.

2. You mention the value of having your own domain. I agree. Just thought I'd add that, while it's certainly possible to set up a website with WordPress showing in the URL, it doesn't have to be that way. I'm using DreamPress (not as cheap as Weebly, believe I'm paying something like $200 per year but haven't checked lately) as web host, powered by WordPress software. There's a little notice at the bottom of each page that says, "Proudly powered by WordPress," but WP definitely does not show up in the URL.

3. Blithering about everything can work, too. At least, it seems to be doing so for me, as total page views have strongly increased every month since going full time on my own site last October. I'm literally unable to contain myself to a single niche.

4. Your section on creating an online presence is dead on. From long habit, I make sure to repeat the title keywords in the first 90 characters (or so) if the article, scrambling them of course, so it doesn't look stupid. That's all the SEO I do, and it works. Moreover, I've noticed a huge difference in search results when that "first repeater" technique is not used. The only place I don't even worry about it is with fiction.

Keep up the good work!


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Sha, this is a terrific hub full of useful information for anyone who is considering traveling the path that you have chosen. You've been so thorough and helpful in providing tips based on your experience. Congratulations on your success and best wishes in your continued journey. Voted up and more, plus sharing.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Wonderful hub Shauna,

You have provided a wealth of information here and offered good advice and shortcuts for those like me who have no idea as to how to even approach becoming a freelance writer. Well done, voted up.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Ghost, you present some valid points. I mention finding a niche for those of us who are trying to earn a living through writing. It's easier to target your audience (clients) if you can stick to one area. This helps you become an expert in the topic and is a good way to show prospective clients that you know what you're talking about.

I love the many topics you touch on in your blog. I especially like your fiction. If I could earn a living writing fiction, that would certainly be my first choice.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Flourish, I felt the need to share what I've been learning. If I can at least let people know what they're up against and what they need to do in preparation for securing a freelance career, they can plan ahead. I'm down to the marketing point now. I have all my tools set up. Now it's time to go on the hunt!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Jodah, I'm glad to be of help. That is the purpose of this hub. Good luck to you on your journey!


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

Sha - I learned the hard way to flee from the content mills, but I learned that lesson pretty quickly. Researching and writing takes too much time and energy to give my work away for almost nothing! As writers we must value our ability or no one else will do so.

Thanks for sharing your experiences and lessons learned with us. Voted Up++ and shared.

Jaye


Anna Haven profile image

Anna Haven 2 years ago from Scotland

You have given a wealth of information here, and in a really interesting and well structured way.

This must be invaluable for those embarking upon this path, and I think you just made the road a lot smoother for them.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

So useful! Thank you!


wayne barrett profile image

wayne barrett 2 years ago from Clearwater Florida

Let's just say I have bookmarked this one. And yes, I will definitely be sharing this one.

I know my biggest need (or one of them) is to start blogging. I know nothing about it but I constantly hear of its importance. Should I blog from my own website, or go to a specific site for that purpose? Ah well, more research to drive me nuts.

Thanks a bunch Sha.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Jaye, I did the same thing. Sometimes I'm tempted to go back, just to fill in the dead spots, but I just can't bring myself to do it. You're right about the research. Sometimes it takes me two days to post a blog, depending on the amount of research I need to do. Then there's finding the right photos, videos, etc. It all takes time. Being slapped with less than minimum wage for my efforts and talent is not for me. I don't believe in turning the other cheek.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Anna, I sure hope so. We've all had people in our lives who believed in us and gave us the benefit of their knowledge. I hope to be one of those people.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

You're very welcome, Audrey!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Wayne, I blog from my own website. Some professionals recommend having a separate site for your blog and others are all for combining. I feel I'd like my site to be a one stop shop. Besides, who has the time to maintain more than one site? I surely don't.


CraftytotheCore profile image

CraftytotheCore 2 years ago

Thank you Sha for sharing your experience here. A lot of people come here looking for a quick money fix. They think they will publish something and get hundreds for it. It doesn't work that way. It's a lot of work, time, and dedication. I personally don't have the time it takes to be a successful writer, so I just write what I know about in hopes that it will help someone else. But anyone looking to make a living at this, really needs to consider that it's not an instant money fix.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Crafty, HP for me is a place where I can be myself and hang with the wonderful online friends I've made. If I can help someone in the process, that makes me a happy camper!

My website is the vehicle I'm hoping will help me earn a living at writing. The niche I've devoted my site to (and where I'd like to find like-minded customers) is environmental issues and awareness. It's pretty intense and requires a lot of research and time on my part. Hopefully, it'll start paying off soon.


CraftytotheCore profile image

CraftytotheCore 2 years ago

I know exactly what you mean Sha! I had a personal blog on blogger and started one on wordpress before I found out about HP. I never wrote that intensely on those platforms, but on HP I find myself researching and writing about things I am passionate about. I wish you the best with your website. I believe it will pay off because I know how dedicated you are my friend!


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 2 years ago from london

Cool, Brave warrior.

One of the better ones.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Crafty, your support means the world to me! And I need to tell you, you are doing wonderful things here at HubPages. The information you put out there is a diamond in the rough. You share what you've learned with others who may find themselves in similar predicaments as you. That, my friend is priceless!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Manatita44, I hope you found some value in this article. Thank you for taking the time to read and leave a comment.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 years ago from South Africa

Hi, Shauna, I have read this hub of yours yesterday, but interruptions prevented me from posting a comment. You are so generous to share all your experience, obtained through time-consuming trial and error. Freelance writing is certainly not every writer's cup of tea. It is hard-hard work. Currently one of the lowest paying jobs in my country. Only with the right connections - or rather the right customers and right strategy - one can be successful online. You have everything it takes to reach the summit of success in this occupation. Good luck for the next year :)


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Martie, I have spent the last year forfeiting an income in favor of gaining an education and setting myself up for success. If I didn't have money set aside, I wouldn't have been able to do it. Now that I have the tools in place, it's time to put them to the test. Time to make some money!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota

Good stuff Shauna. I'm keeping this in a folder to use as a reference to help me as a writer. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for sharing the knowledge you've gained through the sweat and tears of your journey. I am so excited for you to start bringing in some green. I'm rooting for you.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 2 years ago from Philippines

Great hub Shauna! Thanks for all the tips and for sharing! Rated up and useful!


cvanthul profile image

cvanthul 2 years ago from Florida

Excellent information, Shauna. Thanks so much for sharing all you've learned. I'm slowly (very very very very very slowly) gearing myself towards freelance. It's a big, scary step for me, lol!


CyberShelley profile image

CyberShelley 2 years ago

Yes I too enjoyed this hub, your tips are good. Up, interesting and useful


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Linda, that's the next step - bringing in some green. I'm glad you found this useful.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

You're very welcome, Jill. Thanx for the votes!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Cvanthul, it is a scary step. Just believe in yourself and keep plugging forward. Beginning with the steps outlined in this article will give you a head start as far as mechanics go. Good luck!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you for your comment, CyberShelley. I hope you can put these tips to good use.


KenDeanAgudo profile image

KenDeanAgudo 2 years ago from Tiwi, Philippines

Wow amazing experience. I am really impressed about your story, maybe a memoir already about your freelance writing journey. I have my personal blog and i could say that your are write and everything you have written here.

I realized that it was not an easy job, blogging/ freelance writing needs time and dedication. You are one of a good example for bloggers and freelancers.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you, Ken. It's not easy, but it's a choice. Nothing we ever learn is easy at first, but with practice, perseverance and knowledge, things eventually fall into place.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Sha,

It is one thing to say: "I love writing".

You have developed a plan to make your dream a reality AND you are actively working the plan. I hope you know how much you inspire me, on a daily basis.

You are one of the most sharing friends I have and this article is a gift to anyone who takes the time to truly digest it.

I love when Bill says (something like) 'take what you can use and ...' For me, I tuck the rest away...ONE DAY someone is going to invent a 'day stretcher' and I intend to get to my 'Everythang' List on that happy day!

This article, just like you...is a keeper! Voted UP and UABI. Love, Maria


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Maria, I could use a day stretcher myself. Time seems to be the enemy of late. You're a dear friend and I love you. Enjoy your day!


cvanthul profile image

cvanthul 2 years ago from Florida

You're absolutely right, Shauna! One step at a time. Thank you so much for the great tips and encouragement.

Cris


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Cris, one step at a time is the only way to go about anything. Otherwise, you become overwhelmed and frustrated. Not that that doesn't happen anyway! The best laid plans of mice and men.....


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Reading about your experiences in the industry was interesting. Thanks for the pointers on how to become successful as a freelance writer.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Peg, the tips in this article are only the beginning. This is what needs to be in place before you start marketing yourself as a freelance writer. The hard part is the marketing. Unless of course, you're a salesperson at heart. I'm not. Aaarghhh!


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 2 years ago from Wales

A great hub Sha and one which I save for easy future reference. Very inspiring to say the least and voted up too. Here's wishing you a great day.

Lots of love from Wales.

Eddy.


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bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Eddy, I'm so glad you found this useful. There's still so much to learn. The more knowledge I gain the more I discover there is to know.

Enjoy your day my friend!


Made profile image

Made 2 years ago from Finland

What a great hub with so much useful information! I have to come back to this one, when I decide to get real with my writing. Thank you for sharing what you have learned the hard way.

Madeleine


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bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Madeleine, you're so welcome. I'm glad I finally know your real name!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I only wish I'd have started writing online about ten years ago. Starting 5 years ago makes me feel sometimes like I somehow missed the boat. All I can say is thank goodness we don't have to rely on what I make to eat :)

Very interesting hub!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Susan, you're too funny. If I didn't have some savings to keep me afloat in this process, my son and I would be sinking right about now!


JoanCA profile image

JoanCA 2 years ago

I tried and failed at blogging a couple of times and then came up with a niche and have had 40,000 visits in 6 months with lots of return visitors. While that could be better, it's not bad. I'm now getting ready to try a couple of other niche blogs. It works if you find something that few other people are doing. And it allows me to write a lot on the same topic and write short pieces, something I can't do on HubPages.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Joan, having 40,000 visits a month is phenomenal. What is the niche that is bringing in that many views?

Kudos to you for wanting to upstart a couple other blogs. Maintaining one is quite a handle for me. It's a sideline; not my business. Freelancing is how I am (endeavoring) to earn a living.

What is your secret to success?


Made profile image

Made 2 years ago from Finland

I'm really bad at learning people's real names on HP. Now you know mine, Shauna. :)


grandmapearl profile image

grandmapearl 2 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

bravewarrior, you have said it all in a very informative and helpful way! I have scaled back on my writing because of time constraints and my full-time other career (which actually pays money!) But this certainly is a huge help for those who are just starting out in the freelance writing field. Voted Up across the board, my friend ;) Pearl


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Pearl, I noticed you haven't been writing as often as you have in the past. I'm curious - what is your other full time career?

Thanx for the votes my friend!


kerlund74 profile image

kerlund74 2 years ago from Sweden

A great and informative hub, this is really useful! I gladly share it and voted up:) Thank you for guiding us through this djungle!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Kerlund, thank you and you're welcome. It is a jungle indeed!


Howie Watts profile image

Howie Watts 2 years ago

Thank you Shauna for the wealth of information. It is much needed and greatly appreciated. Do you have any advice on how to increase ones views and following here on hub pages? I am definitely voting this article up, useful, and interesting, and also sharing. Thanks again :-)


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Howie, I think the answer to increasing views is in the headline. If it's something that answers a reader's question, views will increase over time. Think like a Googler when you create your headline and content. Does it answer a question? Solve a problem? My highest traffic are on a product review I did of a Serta mattress topper and how to maintain a septic tank without chemicals. Traffic outside of HP increases daily on those two articles.

As far as increasing your followers, be active. Leave insightful comments. Ask questions. Curiosity will lead people to your profile. If your topics are of interest, they'll hit the 'follow' button. Just remember, not all you follow will follow you back. It all has to do with individual interest in the subject matter. Varying your genres help. People like having choices.

I hope I've adequately answered your questions.


Howie Watts profile image

Howie Watts 2 years ago

Thank you :-) Indeed you have given me food for thought.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

I went into your profile. I see you write mostly poetry. The above advice I gave does not apply to poetry. Although many of my poems bring readers outside the HP family, I think that's just a fluke. However, I think it's the titles that bring them in. I posted a poem for my dad's birthday a couple of years ago and it still garners views from Googlers. I also wrote one called "I Feel so Fat". I think that one gets views because people are curious.


Howie Watts profile image

Howie Watts 2 years ago

Yes I do write mostly poetry, however, I plan on starting to lean more towards writing "how to" articles. Poetry is something I do for fun. One thing that puzzles me is that I have one particular poem that has received over 3200 views. My next closest view is 235. Big disparity. I don't even consider the 3200 view poem to be the best among the ones I have posted. Not sure why it has so much more views.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Howie, how-to articles should do well. Lots of DIYers out there!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

Hi, this was so informative, and if there is one thing that I will really totally remember is to put my real name on here somewhere too. I never even thought of that! great advice, and something we should all do if we want to be successful and earn a decent wage, nell


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Nell, Google yourself and see what comes up. You just may be surprised and hopefully in a good way!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Your article is holds a wealth of information useful to writers. It seems like a lot of work, and it is, but the efforts will prove worthwhile in establishing a presence.


brsmom68 profile image

brsmom68 2 years ago from Alberta, Canada

I learned a lot of what you mentioned the hard way, which is why I am also stressing to others to not work for pennies. I started with not putting my real name on my work, but soon realized I wasn't doing myself any favours that way.

I now have my name at the top of my Hubs, and have a website, Facebook page and Twitter account to showcase my writing and freelancing services. It hasn't been easy, and I am still a long way from where I want to be - but getting on the right track is very important.


raymondphilippe profile image

raymondphilippe 2 years ago from The Netherlands

This was a good read. Needed the inspiration!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Dianna, it is a lot of work, but necessary in today's freelance environment.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

brsmom, you hit the nail on the head. It's tough enough to start over, but to start over the start over is even tougher. Glad you've got yourself on track now. The marketing end is what I have a hard time with. I need to get over the hurdle of insecurity and jump in with both feet as I did with what I've accomplished so far.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

I'm glad it helped, Raymond. Thanks for stopping by!


epbooks profile image

epbooks 2 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

Great advice. I only began writing (books) four years ago and even then, things were a lot better than now...or perhaps it was easier. Not so sure which. I agree-It is a smart idea to get your name out there to get recognition. Thanks for taking the time to post this information!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Hey, Liz! I'm relieved to hear I'm not the only one who finds today's environment more demanding than in previous years. Even four years ago? Wow. I wonder what we have to look forward to in years to come?


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States

This is a fantastic hub with so much valuable information. I have been freelance writing for the past couple of years and get direct orders frequently, however, I am still not making the money I would like to make. I am going to take your advice and try some new things. Thanks for giving us such important information for being a successful freelance writer.


Melinda Longoria profile image

Melinda Longoria 2 years ago from Garland, Texas

I keep coming back to this hub for information on freelance work. You did an excellent and thorough job covering this subject. I am a newbie to the freelance world. I just started using odesk last week. I'm thinking of starting a blog & was recommended to use WordPress. I'm hoping to get started blogging free to try it & see if I like it. Are you forced to use a hosting service in order to use WordPress? Are you able to use Google Ads on your blog if you don't use an outside hosting service?


Melinda Longoria profile image

Melinda Longoria 2 years ago from Garland, Texas

Oh here is one more question, if you are able to use WordPress without an outside hosting service, can you choose to add one later?


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Pamela, you're welcome. I need to get into the marketing end of it all. Now that I've got myself set up, I need to go after clients. As a friend of mine recently told me, "they won't fall out of the sky"!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Melinda, I'm not familiar with WordPress capabilities. As far as Google ads, set up your account. I know you can have a Google Ads account with hubpages as the domain, so I would imagine it would work for any site. You'd need to check with WordPress to see if you can pull Google ads into your blog when you opt for the free version.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Melinda, that's another issue you'd have to clear up with WordPress. If I'm not mistaken, the free version is thru wordpress.com, whereas the paid version is thru wordpress.org. I know a lot of popular bloggers use WordPress, so I'm sure there's plenty of info on Google that can answer your questions.

I just Googled WordPress for you. This article should answer your questions: http://en.support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/


Melinda Longoria profile image

Melinda Longoria 2 years ago from Garland, Texas

Thank you bravewarrior. :)


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

You're welcome, Melinda. Good luck with your endeavor. Let me know which way you go with your site.


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Thank you for sharing your wonderful advice Shauna. Its always greatly appreciated to read tips on how to improve our ability to create an income from creative writing.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

My pleasure, Nadine. Just passing on what I've learned so far!


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 2 years ago

Looks like I have some work to do.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Poetryman, the work is never done! Today's environment is not what it used to be. Especially if you work for yourself. Keep at it. Make sure this is what you want to do, because it is never-ending but will pay off eventually.


Sherry Hewins profile image

Sherry Hewins 2 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

Thanks for sharing your hard-earned wisdom!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

You're welcome, Sherry. Sharing knowledge is how we all learn.


Torrs13 profile image

Torrs13 2 years ago from California

Very well done! I think that the freelance writing world can be difficult to navigate so this information is extremely useful. I don't have my own website yet and I haven't kept up with a blog (though I do have some), but I'm working toward getting to that point. Right now, I'm enjoying writing for Hubpages because I have a full-time job and I'm in graduate school full-time. Once I complete my master's degree, I plan to dive deeper into my freelance writing, so I will definitely be taking your advice. Thanks for sharing!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Torrs, it sounds like you have a plan. I started with HP when I was working full time. I love it here and plan to stay. It's much less stressful than freelancing. I'm glad you found this useful. Having a writer's site is very important once you get into writing for a living. Clients need to know where to find you. It can be a one stop shop for your business.

Thanx for stopping by!


mary615 profile image

mary615 2 years ago from Florida

Wow! You have given me a lot of "food for thought". I started a couple of blogs, but I was getting few readers. I think it was because I published my short stories there that I didn't think would do well on HP.

I have been tempted to make my own website, but I haven't done that yet. Maybe I'll reconsider after reading this Hub!

Very informative Hub. Voted UP, and will share on Google+ and here.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Mary, I don't have a lot of readers on my blog yet, either. I don't post as often as I should, but hope to better manage my time in order to do so. Building a website isn't all that difficult. However, you'll find yourself constantly tweaking it. The more I learned the more I tweaked.

Thanx for the shares!


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 2 years ago from USA

Thank you for all the useful information you have offered here.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

You're quite welcome, Barbara. Thank you for reading!


suzzycue profile image

suzzycue 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

This is a treasure chest of great writing information. I appreciate you sharing your experience. I also am over whelmed just reading all you have done to create your success and putting it, into doing it, is another step forward for me. I have bookmarked and shared this info and I want writing success also. God Bless you and congratulations on your writing achievements.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Suzzycue, I'm not quite successful yet, but I'm working on it. At least now I have the tools in place. The rest is up to me. I wish you the best in your freelance career!


suzzycue profile image

suzzycue 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Thank you. Your tips will be a huge help.


Crissylite profile image

Crissylite 2 years ago

I'm going to consider getting a website and business cards. This was very useful. I'm Pinning this one.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Glad to hear it, Suzzycue!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Crissylite, at the very least you should have some business cards made up. However, if you are going to build a website, you should wait until you have your domain set up so you can add your URL to the cards.

I highly recommend you set up a website. Clients, publishers, and agents need to know where to find you. You can post testimonials and examples of your work on your site. You want something to show up in the search engines when those prospective clients plug your name into Google.


lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 2 years ago from Central Virginia

Girl, where have you been hiding all this knowledge? This is an awesome hub. I had almost given up on doing much more than writing simply because I love to write but you have lit a fire under my butt. Wow! I am so impressed. You've been a busy girl. Voted this one up and all the other good ones and am sharing it too. I'd invite you for a glass of wine in the tower but I won't have time for a few weeks now. I'll get back to you. Awesome job!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Hey, Linda! You have no idea how good it is to see you back in the saddle. Yeah, I was pretty busy last year learning everything I could to try to help my career. I'm glad I've put a fire under your butt. You're an awesome writer and can use your talents to earn a living. No doubt about it!

We'll meet up at the witch's tower when time allows. It's our private place and will be waiting for us when we have the time.

Welcome back, my friend!


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

What a very interesting, useful and informative hub! A very inspirational one, too. Thanks for sharing. I will keep these advices in my mind. Happy weekend!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Happy weekend to you too, Thelma. I'm glad you found this hub useful. Good luck with your progress!


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 2 years ago from Western NC

Sha - I know you and I both embarked upon the freelancing world at about the same time - in 2012, if I recall correctly. I encountered ALL of the same problems you said. I got lonely. I couldn't make ends meet. My path led me back to finish grad school and back into teaching. I found my dream teaching job and have one graduate course left. However, once you find writing to be a passion (like I have), you can't just leave it. I plan on writing articles for a long time to come - more because now I don't have to worry about the money so I can have some fun with it. I have no idea where the road ahead will lead - and I remain open to possibilities - but, yes - I think HubPages is BY FAR the best. I do have my own website, but I just love writing articles here. I'm not so good at the marketing, haha. Perhaps I'll return to freelancing someday, but for now, those dreaded student loans will be kicking in. :P Thanks for sharing your story. You're an inspiration.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Cyndi, we all do what we have to do. You're in a good place because you love teaching. I'm sure you're also relieved to have the means to pay your bills. I'm still struggling in that area (hate marketing!!), but things are starting to open up a bit. If I didn't have some savings to fall back on, I'd be forced to do the 9 to 5 gig again. Right now, I have enough to buy me some time. We'll see what happens!


joedolphin88 profile image

joedolphin88 2 years ago from north miami FL

It's tough to make money as a freelancer but this hub gives some great info on how to make it happen, great read.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Joe, it is tough. It all depends on how badly you want it!


joedolphin88 profile image

joedolphin88 2 years ago from north miami FL

I completely understand, it takes a strong work ethic to say the least.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Yep, and lots of sacrifice, not to mention gray hairs! :-)


Katrina Speights profile image

Katrina Speights 2 years ago from Texas

Great article! It was a good read and very informative. Thank you for the information, I'll be using it!!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

You're welcome, Katrina. Good luck!


Damaris Bushong profile image

Damaris Bushong 2 years ago from Minnesota

Great hub bravewarrior. Very well put together! Thank you for sharing.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you for reading and leaving your awesome comment, Damaris!


Radcliff profile image

Radcliff 2 years ago from Hudson, FL

I was just thinking of my content mill experience when I first started writing online. UGH. Not fun at all. I also follow Jon Morrow and Danny Iny. Even though they're always selling something, you will always pick up something useful from their webinars. Thanks for the great info, Sha!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

You're welcome, Liz. I've since stopped following Danny Iny. My inbox was just too inundated with all the bloggers I followed during my green period. I've been weeding them out one by one.

BTW, they all have a sales pitch at the end. That's how they make their living. They've turned their freelance writing businesses into coaching businesses. They all tell you you'll be HUGELY successful if you fork over the discounted price of $1,997 - a value of over $20,000!

I was so busy learning that I had no time to earn some money. That's another tip. When you've learned enough to jump into the pool - JUMP!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is a very useful hub full of great advice. Thanks for sharing all the hints and tips!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

You're welcome, Alicia. It takes some time, but eventually putting into practice what you've learned pays off. You just have to keep at it.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 2 years ago from Baltimore, MD

You are completely right about writing for HubPages vs a content mill. I have written before for a friend's marketing company and thought, "I could be writing a hub instead... that is money that will constantly come in, not just one sad payment." Turns out, he was dishonest anyway and did not pay me for some of my work. Now I can just stick to HubPages and some of my other favorite websites.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Jeannie, some friend! I hope you've crossed him off your Christmas list!


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 18 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Many thanks for sharing this terrific article. Today I only do what I enjoy doing, and yes I like to write, but not for others. I have to be inspired to write an article on whatever topic, so I could not write for money as such, but I love sites like Hubpages. There every hub has an earning potential and my articles are also a kind of networking tool for my novels. I have created several websites over the years, but today all I have are several blogs.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 18 months ago from Central Florida Author

Nadine, we should all do what makes us happy. You've identified what that is for you. So many people muddle through life doing things they hate in order to get by. Kudos to you for doing what feels right for you.

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