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Want to Get Paid for Your Writing?

how to make money with freelance writing

When I’ve mentioned to family and friends that some of my income comes from writing, there’s an element of surprise. After all, aren’t writers broke? My response is that earning income from writing has a lot in common with earning money in other careers – working smart and being willing to hustle can help open doors.  It’s not luck, it’s having a system that makes it more likely that ‘big breaks’ or opportunities pop up.

Earning Money with Freelance Writing

I know that some Couple Money readers are looking at earning more on the side and freelance writing is one way to do so. Unfortunately some people wonder how to make the transition into being a freelance writer. Unconventional Guides came out with a new release that delves into the nuts and bolts of building a business from writing, aptly titled The Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing.

What’s Included in the Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing?

Like other Unconventional Guides, this newest release has several components to it.Get Paid for Your Writing

  • The Ultimate Freelancers Guide:  Amber Adrian, 10 year freelance writing veteran, created a 55-page guide with practical steps for crafting a pitch, sample rates for a variety of writing projects, and how to manage yourself as a business professional. She also goes into topics like when and how to raise your rates.
  • The Big List or Links and Resources: A comprehensive list of vetted resources and online tools every freelancer should have on speed dial.
  • “Rejection Be Damned” Tools for Success: Within the half dozen smaller and more targeted guides,  topics like overcoming writer’s block and being an introverted freelancer are covered.

If you decide to plunge in with the Editor in Chief package you get some big bonuses, including:

  • Sample Pitches and Letters of Introduction. You’ll get your hands on actual pitch letters and LOIs that have successfully landed freelance writing work in legit publications.
  • Bonus Author Interviews. You’ll get the transcripts of eight Q&A’s with successful freelance writers from all genres. Each interviewee shares their personal secrets on how they land their best business, how they got their first gig, and what unconventional methods they use to get their writing out to the world.
  •  44 minute audio interview with seasoned travel writer Kristin Luna who lands bylines in heavy-hitting publications including Newsweek, Forbes, Redbook, Self and Glamour, and has contributed to several Frommer’s travel guidebooks.

Depending on how much time, you’re investing into freelance writing, you may opt for the Pen for Hire edition to test the waters out. Either edition you decide to go with, once you buy an Unconventional Guide you get lifetime updates.

Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing– Overview

Interested in learning more? Let me give you an overview of the 55 page guide that serves as the backbone.

Getting Started and Setting Yourself Up

Adrian opens up with the mindset of becoming a successful freelance writer and quickly jumps into getting started by creating a very basic site to serve as your online presence, finding a niche to gain some experience, and sending your first pitch. The idea is not to simply think about being a writer, it’s about getting work and building up your resume and skills from day one.

Speaking of pitches, they and letters of introductions are covered in the first section. Adrian gets into how to pitch and how to research for different publications. She also jumps into how to find and hook clients by doing interviews with other experienced freelancers. After all each writer has a different style, you may find that you are more phone networker or perhaps you like using online social media tools like LinkedIn.

The guide gives a bird’s eye level view of the different types of writing opportunities available to freelance writers including blogging, content marketing, and magazines. Adrian finishes up the section with how to nail your job – vetting and interviewing sources, making your deadlines, and working with editors.

Getting Paid and Other Practicalities

Paying the bills is usually a big concern for writers and Adrian address it in her next section. Making the transitions varies from person to person, but most test the waters out before taking the plunge into full time writing. This section goes over how to figure out how to charge – by hour, project, or retainer, and how much to charge.

Once you’ve become established and you’ve built up your portfolio, you inevitably wonder how to raise rates, which is included in the guide as well. The section also discusses taxes and contracts, both huge and important to a freelance writer.

Getting Out of Bed Every Morning and Facing Your Fears

This section tackles the realities of being a freelance writer on a daily basis. How do you stay motivated and productive when you’re the boss? How do you overcome fears and writer’s block when you’re working on a deadline?

One of the biggest challenges with being self employed is dealing with the ebb and flow of projects. Sometimes you are just swamped with business and then it seems like it’s been forever since you got a new client. Adrian shares tips and advice on how to deal with the slow periods.

Thoughts on Earning Money as a Freelance Writer

I found The Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing an informative guide for those considering making the transition into becoming a full-time freelance writer. If you want to grab a copy, please click here and pick the edition that works for your situation. If you’re curious about starting a business, but you know writing is not for you, please check out the complete list of all the Unconventional Guides on his site.

There is much more to the multimedia, I only wanted to give you an overview of the main guide so you can get an idea if this is for you. I hope you find my review helpful. Whatever you decide, I wish you success on your freelance writing. If you have any questions about the guide, please email me.

Disclaimer: This post has affiliate links.

Where Did You Go? Blogroll Time

I’m in the process of updating my blogroll (which I do about once a year) this week and I noticed some some have been sold and now have new owners, some have stopped updating, and some (gasp!) are gone. Crazy how much things can change in a year. Besides removing some sites that have gone or I’ve haven’t read in awhile, I’ve add some new ones, including:

While I don’t do link exchanges with my blogroll, I do enjoy discovering other personal finance sites, so please feel to email me about a site you love or mention them below in the comments so others can see!

Favorite Personal Finance Posts

Feeling the need to spread the word on some incredibly fun and informative personal finance blogs, I found some posts that I’d thought you would enjoy.

  • Investing in Lego: I didn’t realize how profitable the tiny bricks can be, but there’s a fairly developed market for buying and selling certain collections. I got excited for all of two seconds, since all my husband’s Lego collection have been opened and used. (He had a massive box of them that he claims he’s saving for when our daughter is older. She’s not happily playing around with her Duplos.)
  • 2014 Tax Brackets, Standard Deductions, and Other Changes: It’s that time of the year where Human Resources sends over all the paperwork for insurance, flex spending accounts, and W-4s so taxes are on our minds. Mike from Oblivious Investor gives the numbers making it that much easier for me.
  • Achieving Your Goals Takes Time: Beating Broke’s design has been dramatically updated (looks good!), but the handy posts are still there.  With 2014 approaching I know some couples are looking at their goals for the next year, hoping to do better.
  • Top Online Saving Accounts of 2014: Go Banking Rates gave their favorites and I’ll just quickly add my two cents and say that we use Ally and they have served us well. If you’re thinking of making a switch from your current bank, please review GoBankingRates picks.

To get all of my Twitter updates as they happen (or to just chat with me), please follow me here.

For any Couple Money readers that use Chase credit cards, I wanted to let you know about a way to increase your rewards. With Chase Sapphire Preferred, cardholders earn two points per dollar spent on dining and travel including airfare, hotels, cruises, rental cars, train tickets, taxis, and tolls. Cardholders earn an additional point per dollar spent when booking airfare or hotels through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website.

I hope your weekend goes well; take care!

Photo Credit: tribehut

How to Determine If Buying or Renting is More Cost-Effective

Most renters dream of transitioning from renting to owning homes. For some, it is more financially responsible to buy. While leasing an apartment is cheaper in the short term, buying a home is most likely the largest investment and asset a person ever owns. The tricky part is determining when is the best time to switch from being a tenant to a homeowner.

Consider these four factors before breaking a lease to purchase property.

Use Math

Using the Breakeven Analysis Methodology structured by Zillow, prospective house hunters can mathematically calculate the number of years at which buying becomes more cost-effective than renting. To determine the cost of owning a home, individuals should find the total sum of their down payment, closing costs, mortgage, property taxes, insurance, maintenance and renovation, utilities, as well as condo or community fees. However, even with all costs included, the home hopefully sells for a profit down the road. Renting costs are made up of deposits, broker fees, monthly payments, utilities and insurance. It is more advantageous to own a property when the purchase cost is less than or equal to the total sum of monthly rent costs. Online tools are great for those who want or need to determine if they should begin searching for a home to buy. Zillow calculates how many years, on average, the breakeven horizon occurs in major cities.

Observe Market Trends

The housing market has fluctuated immensely throughout the past 10 years. Observe the times of year houses sold for less than their original listing prices to get the best deals. If homes in a neighborhood have consistently sold for less than their estimate value, it’s probably a good time to buy. However, areas in trending neighborhoods are going to be inflated and homes are going to cost more than they typically would. Homes centrally-located or close to water are typically steep in price. Keep location-related price variances in mind; some neighborhoods are always going to be more expensive, regardless of the time of year or popularity.

Assess Finances

Individuals should not buy a home if they can’t afford it. Bad credit leads to a significantly more difficult process of trying to obtain a mortgage. The likelihood of being approved for a low rate is compromised by negative credit history. Work on improving a credit score prior to applying for a mortgage. Then calculate the monthly cost of owning a home. The higher the down payment, the lower the monthly mortgage cost and the faster a person owns their property outright. These calculations may affect how prospective buyers save for their down payments or stretch budgets to afford more expensive homes.

Look Ahead

Anticipating a baby? Planning on traveling for an extended period of time? Desperately need a new car in the next year? These are all factors to take into account when deciding on the right time to purchase a home. Work with a financial planner to create a strategy. Prospective homeowners can confidently rent while taking the appropriate steps to prepare to own properties.

Obviously, the decision to buy or rent differs on a person-to-person basis. There are many factors in play within a home purchase, but these four are good starting points.

How NaNoWriMo Can Help with Finances

I can’t help thinking about goals this time of year. While I love people talking about getting in shape and fixing their finances, I wonder just how many of them will finish the end of 2014 satisfied with their progress.

When I reviewed 2013, I mentioned that we paid down a good chunk of the student loan while managing some financial setbacks. We’re happy with that, but that wasn’t the only achievement made.

NaNoWriMo’s Monthly Challenge

One goal that I am extremely proud of with 2013 was completing the NaNoWriMo, it’s a challenge where participants are encouraged to write a novel (defined in the challenge as 50,000 words) in November.

It was a ton of work and there were quite a few times that month that I wanted to quit, but when December 1st came I had a significant portion of a story written down. Something that had been on my personal wishlist was done and it was on the first try of this challenge.

That got me thinking – what made NaNoWriMo work for me when I’ve started and stopped writing so often? With the dust cleared in my mind and the benefit of some hindsight, I think I have an explanation – the monthly challenge took a huge task and made it into a SMART goal.

How to Master Your Money with SMART Goals

I’ve s talked about SMART goals a few times, but as a refresher, here is a summary of what they are:

  • Specific: Choose a specific goal. Don’t say ’save more’, but instead choose ‘put aside 5% of my paycheck into my emergency fund.’
  • Measurable: How do you know when you reached your goal? If you are saving an emergency fund up, consider setting aside 3-6 months of living expenses in the account.
  • Attainable: Work on a few goals at a time so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Be gazelle intense on the ones you have. 
  • Realistic: Make sure your goal is something you can do and truly believe in. Have a plan of action that you can sustain.
  • Time Based: By setting a deadline, you can work backwards and break down the steps into mini goals.

Writing Over 50,000 Words in One Month with NaNoWriMo

There were several factors at play that pushed me towards winning the challenge. The more I looked at it, the more I saw how SMART goal framework worked with NaNoWriMo.

  • Specific: I didn’t have to write a novel (which is a broad term with varying amounts of pages), I was writing 50,000 words by the end of November.
  • Measurable: Every night once I was done with what I wrote, I copy and pasted it onto the word count tool to track my daily and overall progress. It was a simple tool that made it easy to see where I was with reaching my goal.
  • Attainable: The big goal was broken down further and each day I worked hard to get my 1,1667 words down on the computer.
  • Realistic: I wasn’t trying to write a masterpiece. Perfect is the enemy of good – I was simply going to write down 50,000 about the story that was forming in my head.
  • Time Based: I had 30 days to get it done if I wanted to win and get the prizes. After that I could do whatever I wanted.

Was I exhausted at the end of the month? Yep, but it felt so good to accomplish something I’ve wanted to do for years.

Monthly Money Challenges

What does this have to do with finances? Plenty. If you’re looking at mastering your finances this year, doing a monthly challenge for your money goal can be an extremely powerful tool in your arsenal. Which do you think you’ll be able to do better with by the end of this month – “saving more” or “save $5/day in January”? Having something concrete for a limited amount of time can be very motivating.

While I’ve found monthly challenges the perfect size to tackle goals like buying a family car and get our wills created, you may prefer knocking out a small goal like saving $100 or reviewing, reducing, or completely  removing unnecessary bills. It varies person to person so do what works for you.

Want to increase your chances of success? Make your challenge social – involve your friends, either as fellow participants or as cheerleaders.

So what’s your monthly challenge? What do you hope to finish in 30 days?

Photo Credit: Monda

The Best Couple Money Posts of 2013

I hope you and your family are doing well this week. With 2013 closing and 2014 coming in, I wanted to reflect on some of the most popular and useful posts on Couple Money and say thank you for all your support and feedback. Many times I’ve written based on what you’ve shared in the comments or with me in email.

It’s made writing here a true joy. I hope 2014 will be even better, so please let me know what you want to know about family and finances.

Building Your Net Worth Together

Two heads or better than one, but in some cases having two very different opinions about money can make things harder. We had some great discussions on the site about how couples tackle family and finances.

Optimize Your Money Quickly

Even though most of us have an idea of what we should be doing, human nature has a funny way of getting in the way. Some of my favorite posts in 2013 dealt with getting over the barriers and just getting things done.

Life Happens

What’s a personal finance blog without some personal stuff? 2013 had its ups and downs – we some unexpected expenses (one of them rather large), but by working together we managed to finish this year with a slight increase with our finances.

  • Shopping for a Car: Did having my husband’s car break down bum us and out set us back on our money goals for the year? Yes it most certainly did, but we had enough in our financial cushion to buy a replacement. Score one for emergency funds that work in an emergencies!
  • How Much is Our Toddler Costing Us?: Happy to say that our little had a fantastic year. As part of our baby expenses series, we’ve updated what we’ve been spending to keep our little one happy.

Thank you for taking the time to not only read and use these money tips, but also sharing what you love with your friends. It’s my hope that 2014 will help more couples build their net worth by living on one income and having fun with the send.

Your Couple Money Favorites in 2013

Thank you again for a fantastic year! Reviewing some of the posts from this year was so much fun. I’d love to hear from you. Which are your favorite Couple Money posts from 2013 and why? Any topics you’d like to see tackled here in 2014?

Photo Credit:  woodleywonderworks