Category: Links

From the mountain top (shouting it)

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A couple of days ago I announced that I was setting a course for my freelance copywriting business’ success.

Rather than reveal my plan all at once (besides, it’s still a work in progress), I figured I’d just start with each baby step that I’m taking.

One thing I figured out is that it’s not feasible for me to jump in, head first, with all the other daily responsibilities I have. That’s a pretty important point for everyone. A plan, to be achievable, has to be realistic for your particular situation. It can’t be too pitiful, like paying just the minimum due on your credit card with the goal of paying it off anytime soon.

But goals also can’t be too farfetched, or you’ll never even try to reach them. Like, say, planning to make a million dollars on the first day.

Here’s my goal: Initially I will make at least $2000 per month from my writing activities, not counting expenses and such. My timeline for this is within 3 months from today.

There! I said it out loud. Whew! That was hard!

How do I plan to make this income? I am primarily a business copywriter, focusing on tasks like press releases, web/blog copy, ads, annual reports, sales letters, newsletters, and brochures. I also do proofreading and editing.

I know I mentioned magazine writing in a previous post, but after some research I realized magazine writing isn’t best the way (for me) to achieve my goal.

Now that I’ve revealed my goal, let me tell you my first couple of steps.

In order to write for companies, I have to contact them, right? And in order to contact them, I need to have their phone numbers and/or email addresses. So my starting point is to compile a list of prospective companies. I’m using a free database that lists pertinent information, oftentimes including key players in the company. It’s a bit time-consuming, but I’d like a hefty list so I have no excuses.

My next step is to start making cold calls to my prospects. Basically, I ask for the person or department that probably hires freelancers, and then I ask that person if they do, indeed, ever outsource. Sometimes I get to the key person, and sometimes I have to settle for voicemail. Invariably, I get an email address and send them my intro letter and a link to my online portfolio. A lot of my procedure was gleaned from Peter Bowerman’s book, The Well-Fed Writer. I highly recommend it.

When I can’t make cold calls (like when it’s too late at night, for instance), I’ll still make good use of my time by cold emailing prospects. I may still call them at some point, but with working during the day I won’t always be able to make cold calls.

Because my days aren’t structured yet, it’s hard for me to give myself a set number of calls/emails to make each day. I’ll have to play this by ear, but I will commit to spending 2 hours each day making contacts. I might be able to set different goals for the different types of days I have (days where I work vs. days that I don’t), but I’ll get back to you on that. If 2 hours is too easy, I’ll increase it, of course.

So that’s it for now. I’ll be making a lot of calls this month. So far my list is over 2000 companies long, which will definitely keep me busy.

Now…how am I going to organize all of the information I get? Outlook’s contact management program? Excel? Index cards? Stay tuned, and feel free to offer your prospecting hints.

Living to write another day

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I just read an interesting post on Scott Wainner’s blog about longevity.

As a mother, and as the daughter of aging parents, mortality is definitely something that’s on my mind.

Scott’s post discusses aging as a disease that could be delayed just like any other disease (though not completely cured).

Even though his post is also a monetary contest, it’s also thought provoking. Check out his post when you get the chance.

Blogging with PayPerPost

I recently talked about writing for review sites, and PayPerPost is one of the best known. I just started seriously writing for them , and I think it’s a great deal.

Writing for review sites requires that you use sound blog ethics. For instance, I won’t claim I’ve used a product I haven’t, and I won’t say I love something I hate.

So why PayPerPost? With their new ranking system, I don’t have to worry about my Google rank in order to make money. In the past, a lot of the advertisers wanted blogs with a certain Google rank, but Google’s recent “slaps” works against this system in a drastic way. PayPerPost, whose parent company is called IZEA, came up with their own ranking system to alleviate this problem. This means I don’t have to write a bunch of $5 posts for companies I’m not interested in.

Right now my blog earns anywhere from $5 to $20 per review. Not too bad.

PayPerPost guidelines help keep people from littering their blogs with paid posts, which of course would be a disservice to the advertisers. You can’t write more than a few per day, and your blog has to have a balance between paid and non-paid posts. Fair enough, right?

If you haven’t tried it, and you’re looking for a way to monetize your blog, do your research and see if it’s for you. It’s free to sign up.

Interested? Just click on the logo above and you’re on your way!

Want to build your dream home business? Here are some tools.

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Are you a work-at-home parent? Even if you’re a home-based entrepreneur without children, this resource list is gold.

The list includes 100 resources, from articles to blogs (mine is included…very nice), to networks and miscellaneous information. Everything’s online, so there’s no need to run to the library.

Even if you don’t have time right now, just go to The Bootstrapper’s site and bookmark the WAHM’s Toolbox. This is a list you don’t want to ignore.

Getting started as a freelance writer: Books to read

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Years ago I realized I was a good writer. I would say it started in elementary school when my teachers always told me how creative I was. In college, I helped friends edit their papers, and even though my degree was in biology, my first job after college was as an assistant editor.

So it makes sense that I’m pursuing a writing career.

More recently, I’ve figured out that I prefer writing for businesses. I write website content, newsletters, press releases, sales letters, correspondence, brochures, and more. Basically, I’m a freelance commercial writer.

A new freelance writer asked me to recommend some books that helped me get started. There are two that I found particularly useful for commercial writing, and they’re both by the same author.

Peter Bowerman’s books include The Well-Fed Writer and Back for Seconds. The best thing about his books is that they give explicit instructions for building your commercial writing business. It’s not a bunch of, “Look how great I am!”

Peter’s first book, The Well-Fed Writer, is very specific but primarily based on the way Peter built his business. It’s great for learning about an effective business model. When I followed his directions, I definitely made progress.

His second book, Back for Seconds, includes lots of examples from other writers’ experiences. You’ll learn from people from all walks of life who are running their own commercial writing businesses.I also appreciate that Peter responds to his email messages even though he’s clearly very busy. He has a new book coming out soon, and I’ll be sure to let you know what I think of it.

In the meantime, if you’re serious about a freelance writing career, grab these books and get to work. I pick them up whenever I need a boost.

Associated Content and other ventures

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I’ve written a few articles for Associated Content now, as I said I would in a previous post. I’m not thrilled, I must say. Sure, there’s a learning curve as to what they want, but I don’t know if I have the patience to figure it all out. Of the 7 or so articles I’ve submitted, two have been accepted for upfront payment for under $4.

Several others were declined for various reasons. One article was determined to be “humor,” which they don’t usually offer upfront payments for. Another had spelling “errors” (I disagree with their spellchecker, but I fixed the words their system “caught”), and another one or two just weren’t the types of articles they offer payments for (current events and articles that aren’t “in-depth” enough.

Luckily, I’ve been able to take some of the declined articles and sell them elsewhere instead. Otherwise I’m just leaving them as “Performance Paid” articles, and we’ll see what happens.

So check out my AC posts and my recent HubPages posts. Enjoy, and let me know what you think:

Training your cockatiel to whistle

Thinking of getting a pet cockatiel?

My first pet rat

Male or female rats?

Starting from scratch with a new laptop

Calming a toddler: Count to 20 method

Comment Luv

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I just found out about this really cool WordPress plugin called CommentLuv (thanks to Opal of Vegan Momma).

If you comment on Crayon Writer (and you have a blog), the plugin will show the title of your last blog post. And if you don’t already know, Crayon Writer is a “do follow” blog. I don’t really understand what that means, but it’s good for search engines from what I hear.

So comment, subscribe, and be merry!

(Added note: I talked with the creator of the plugin, Andy, and he told me there may be an incompatibility issue with the threaded comments and commentluv plugins. So for now, commentluv doesn’t work on this blog. But do try it on yours!)

Bloggers Showroom launches

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I mentioned recently that I’ve been meeting lots of new people on MyBlogLog. While I haven’t noticed an increase in subscribers, I have noticed some new networking opportunities.

One member, Vince, just launched a site called Bloggers Showroom, where blogs can be reviewed by readers. I think it’s a great chance to get exposure for your site, and also get much-needed feedback.

Submitting your blog is free, so why not take advantage of it? While you’re there, review my blog so I can find out how I’m doing.

Vince’s site also has a journal, so you can follow his progress through his own words. Though I haven’t been blogging for long, I have a feeling this site will do very well.

Thinking of linking

Red LinkIt’s been a while since I’ve posted some interesting links, so here we go.

Using the Blogrush widget, I found a wonderful post about improving your blog, called 101 Essential Blogging Skills. Some of my favorites:

 ”Don’t go on hiatus or take a break from blogging. Many bloggers experience times when their passion for blogging wanes. Rather than going on hiatus commit yourself to low-intensity blogging for the duration of the slump (links, short posts, and so on)…” This is advice I should have taken the past couple of months.

Be transparent. Disclose your biases and affiliations, particularly when it comes to potential profit.” I hope you read my Disclosure Policy in the the Advertise section. That’s my way of being transparent.

“Recognize when advertisements are negatively impacting on your blog. Be willing to part with or change them if necessary.” I recently got rid of a few ads, hoping to make this blog more readable.

If you’re looking to buy a baby gift, check out BabyGearToday for reviews of cool things for your little ones.

I can’t believe I’ve never raved about The Golden Pencil, a blog about freelance writing that includes dozens of writing-related job listings each week.

Enjoy the links while I try to fix the bug in my blog!

Lovely links

Here are a few links for your browsing pleasure.

Freelance Switch has just published a list of freelance sites, with categories from writing to designing.

The Copywriting Maven informs us about health insurance for freelancers.

Wendy Piersall of eMoms at Home reveals the secret of how to do future posting. I thought it was an obscure plugin…Thanks Wendy! I’m in business now (especially since I now author 3 blogs).

Enjoy!