We’re already halfway through January; can you believe it?!
As some people are reevaluating the money goals they’ve set for themselves this year, I want to share a book that may keep you on target in 2014 and beyond – Financially Fearless by Alexa von Tobel.
In case you’re unfamiliar with her, Alexa is the CEO and founder of LearnVest, a personal finance site that seeks to make financial planning affordable and practical for many in the middle class.
I ‘ve had the pleasure to chat with her last week over the phone while she was in Washington D.C., getting ready to launch her book tour.
While the book covers the foundation of managing money, it highlights the psychology behind how and why we use money in a way that is motivating and challenging.
It’s another piece to the puzzle as she and her company are trying to empower others to get their finances under control and working for them.
Becoming Financially Fearless
One of the first things I asked von Tobel was about the purpose and timing of the book.
With so many personal finance books, services, and blogs, what did she hope to accomplish with releasing Financially Fearless?
Her thoughtful response was that she had two main objectives for the book:
Spread awareness about personal finances and how manageable it can be for practically everybody.
Give actionable advice that allows readers to get a handle on their finances fairly quickly.
She was clear that while this book goes hand in hand with LearnVest’s Planning Services, readers can use Financially Fearless to work on their own too.
Alexa came across as genuinely interested in helping others to get started with mastering their money.
LearnVest’s Mission of Affordable Financial Planning
Just what is LearnVest’s program? The company discusses openly how they lead clients step by step with getting their finances under control.
It is based on what a client is hoping to achieve – some want help with their budgets, some want to create a five year plan, and others are hoping to kick start their portfolio.
The main steps are outline on LearnVest’s site.
Organize: LearnVest’s site can pull your financial data into one spot so you have a clear picture of where you stand on your finances.
Focus: A certified financial planner works with you to create a budget that fits your goals and your current circumstances.
Plan: Work out step by step how to get out of debt, build your savings, and invest for your retirement.
Protect: LearnVest guides you so your family has the proper insurance and the right documents to protect your money against some of life’s unexpected expenses.
Build: You work with your planner on how you can make the big purchases like a home.
Maximize: With the foundation laid, you optimize your portfolio.
Achieve: Following the plan you have devised with your planner, you check-in to make sure you’re achieving the goals you had set for yourself and add new ones.
Financially Fearless uses that step by step framework within its pages, giving readers a foundation.
Protecting Your Money
One huge point that von Tobel discussed on out call was making sure that people protected themselves and their money.
In Financially Fearless she devotes an entire section to this topic, acknowledging that unexpected expenses and events happen to all of us.
We may have control over the car breaking down or a storm damaging our house, but there are things most people can do to manage the problems.
Alexa gave Hurricane Sandy as an example – there were homeowners who either didn’t have the right type of insurance coverage or they underestimated the amount of coverage they needed. For those families, it was a financial disaster on top of a natural and emotional one.
Alexa goes into the essential insurances like health and renter’s/homeowner’s insurance.
Our health and our homes are two things we can’t afford to lose so having the proper insurance can alleviate some of the stress when bad things come up.
If someone depends on your income, then having life insurance to keep them afloat should the unexpected happen is the responsible thing.
Like I’ve mentioned quite a few times, shopping for insurance can pay off in a huge way when you keep in an eye out for value rather than simply looking for the cheapest plans.
You want to feel confident that should you need to use it, your insurance company won’t give you a hassle.
What’s Included in the Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing?
Like other Unconventional Guides, this newest release has several components to it.
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.