Saturday, August 30, 2008

Since you asked...

I've mentioned before the HUGE impact Klemmer & Associates' seminars have had on my life. (Compassionate Samurai is Brian Klemmer's latest book.)

And when I've had the pleasure of meeting with or talking with some of you, some of the most common questions are, "Are these seminars ever in my area? How can I go?"

The answer is: Yes, the introductory seminar (Champions Workshop) and the first full seminar (Personal Mastery) are held all over the world. Usually, someone who's been through them decides to make this contribution to their community by sponsoring a seminar there. (No easy feat - if you go, you should make a point of thanking the sponsor for giving you this gift!) After that, the seminars are held in San Francisco (Advanced Leadership), San Diego (Heart of the Samurai), and then Phoenix (Samurai Camp).

You can find out more about all of these, and about the organization itself. (Always a good idea! You don't want to find yourself somewhere that's "out there" and wondering what you've gotten yourself into!) Just visit for more info.

Here's a listing of the upcoming Champions Workshops - hey, for $20 and a few hours of your time, you'll walk away with at least two tools that you can use right away to move yourself forward.

From the site:

Join us for a Champions' Workshop:
An incredible event!

Learn the Secret Formula of Champions: a Million Dollar formula that thousands of people use to solve problems and create more success in their life - personally and professionally! Create spectacular results when you have NO idea how!

"The champions formula put spark back in our marriage like we were newlyweds. What a great way to get unstuck." - Billy and Gerry G.

"I applied this one concept and bought an $830,000 house when I had no money." Steve H.

"After being stuck for over a year at $200/month in my home business, I jumped to over $2000 after just this one evening workshop." Lisa C.

$20 in advance,
$59 at the door

Klemmer and Associates is a character development & leadership training company, whose clients include: GE, AETNA, HP, Walt Disney, and many direct sales and network marketing organizations. K&A specializes in producing large change in a short period of time through shifting values and fundamental beliefs. The unique experiential and interactive nature of K&A workshops produces long lasting results. “I did all the Klemmer seminars in 2002 and the result is nothing short of unbelievable. I lost 56 pounds and kept it off because I developed the habit of honoring myself. The most money I had ever made in one year as a real estate broker was 201,000. After the seminars I made over 600,000 and have started two more real estate related businesses that are both growing rapidly. My marriage is more intimate and fun than it's ever been.” Bill K.

As a special bonus, participants in the Champion's Workshop will be eligible for significant discount to a Personal Mastery training.

"I attended the Personal Mastery workshop in Springfield, IL, November 2003. The growth in my life has been nothing short of phenomenal ever since. December 2003 was the second best December in eleven years in the financial business that I run. January 2004 was my best January in eleven years. In fact I made as much in January and February as I did in all of 2002." - Brent, Financial Planner, St. Louis

And here are the CW's planned for the next couple of months:

Location: Fresno, CA

Dates: August 27, 2008

Contact: Julie Collins/ Ruth Van Burren @ 559-681-7521 / 702-437-4900

Location: Rancho Cordova, CA

Dates: August 28, 2008

Contact: Elizabeth R Siregar @ 916-912-9135

Location: Hamilton, NZ

Dates: September 2, 2008

Contact: Cliff McChesney @ 64 7 863 7322

Location: Wellington, NZ

Dates: September 3, 2008

Contact: Dayandra Hettige @ (64) 4 473 7907

Location: Ontario, CA

Dates: September 3, 2008

Contact: Arlyne Thompson @ 951-377-3924

Location: Christchurch, NZ

Dates: September 4, 2008

Contact: Steve & Pam Ferguson @ 03- 3541337

Location: Reno, NV

Dates: September 9, 2008

Contact: Kim A Heathman @ 775-853-3221

Location: Las Vegas, NV

Dates: September 10, 2008

Contact: Ruth Van Buren @ 702-354-4900

Location: Missoula, MT

Dates: September 13, 2008

Contact: Nyla G Buck @ 406-892-4812 or 406-212-1511

Location: Edmonton, AB

Dates: September 13, 2008

Contact: Helmut Jantz @ 780-939-5235

Location: Ottawa, ON

Dates: September 15, 2008

Contact: Manon Raiche @ 613-850-2153

Location: Grand Rapids, MI

Dates: September 16, 2008

Contact: Pam Driesenga @ 616-875-7665

Location: Montreal, QC

Dates: September 16, 2008

Contact: Simon Beausejour @ 514-238-5785

Location: Toronto, ON

Dates: September 17, 2008

Contact: Jennifer Beale @ 416-865-3274

Location: Quebec City, QC

Dates: September 17, 2008

Contact: Belen Varas @ 418-580-6102

Location: Toronto, ON

Dates: September 17, 2008

Contact: Jennifer Beale @ 416-865-3274

Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Dates: September 24, 2008

Contact: Shannon & Linda Atkinson @ 719-266-1712

Location: South Burlington, VT

Dates: September 25, 2008

Contact: Brenda Howley @ 802-862-7657

Location: Nashville, TN

Dates: September 27, 2008

Contact: Dixie Hayes @ 615-662-3648

Location: Albuquerque, NM

Dates: September 27, 2008

Contact: Bob Shehan @ 915-204-7324

Location: Spokane, WA

Dates: October 1, 2008

Contact: Genia Seghetti @ 509-362-5043

Location: Naples, FL

Dates: October 2, 2008

Contact: Mary Wiggins @ 239-289-0575

Location: Neenah, WI

Dates: October 2, 2008

Contact: Kenneth L Otto @ 920-915-6802

Location: Fairfield, CA

Dates: October 9, 2008

Contact: Mike D Bigornia @ 707-208-5278

Location: Greensboro, NC

Dates: October 10, 2008

Contact: Dianne Thompson @ 336-643-9779

Location: Minneapolis, MN

Dates: October 11, 2008

Contact: Dianne Goodman @ 952-484-6525

Location: Sault Ste Marie, ON

Dates: October 22, 2008

Contact: Karen A Belanger @ 705-946-2563

Friday, August 29, 2008

Missed the newsletter last week? Here's one about using articles a couple different ways

(Hey, if you're not subscribed to the WWHW newsletter yet, what's the hold-up?!) : ) It's free, and it'll help you learn how to become a freelance writer. Plus, you'll get a free report to help give your business a boost!

As a freelance writing business coach, I usually recommend that new writers start out by adding articles to their portfolios. Articles are some of the most common writing projects out there, and if you can provide good sample articles to potential clients, they can get a good look at your style and voice.

What should you write about?

Honestly, it doesn’t really matter. The goal is not so much to show how much you know about any particular subject. Freelancers are famous for being able to do quick research to be able to write intelligently about nearly any topic.

What’s more important than the topic is having an understanding of what your prospective clients are looking for, why they need articles in the first place.

My guess is that 9 out of 10 clients who order articles are using them for article marketing – a very effective, relatively inexpensive way to draw traffic to their websites. Basically it works like this: they submit articles to an article directory, webmasters re-publish these articles, people search for info on that specific topic and find the article, read it, follow the link to the website, and eventually buy something.

From that quick description, what do you think clients are looking for?

· Articles that are well-written. If the article is a literary disaster area, nobody is going to want to read it, much less follow it to find out more!

· Articles that are interesting. If readers, known for 3-second attention spans, click away after the first paragraph, they’ll never end up on the client’s website, much less buying anything.

· Articles that are conversational. Unless you’re specializing in technical writing, the articles your clients want most read like people actually speak (okay, depending on the person in question – no profanity or obscure slang, please).

Now, for the “pad your wallet at the same time” part

If you’re going to create articles for your portfolio, why not do it in a way that can earn you some money while you’re at it? There’s an entire realm of internet marketing called affiliate marketing. You can try your hand at it and build your portfolio at the same time. Basically, you pick a product or website that has an affiliate program in place, and join the program. Then you write articles to promote the product. Publish them (and include them in your portfolio!), and before long, you’ll have people clicking and buying because they read your article.

I can’t recommend Anik Singal’s report enough for learning how to do this. He’s not a freelance writer, so he didn’t think about the potential goldmine we writers are sitting on (after all, we don’t have the expense of hiring a writer!) or about multipurposing these articles by using them in a portfolio while they’re also out there on the internet earning money. But his $5 report (still can’t believe that price!) also answers questions like:

· How do I find a good product to promote with my articles?

· How do I know whether it’ll actually make money?

· What do readers want to read?

· How do I write a great title, article, and resource box?

· Where should I submit these articles?

The cardinal rule of writing for yourself (don’t try this with work for clients) is: write it once, use it in as many different ways as you can. Sounds like a plan!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

When you're ready to start writing your book...

Just ran across this site, WEbook, that's got a pretty interesting concept.

You can write a book on your own, or with a team, or even with complete strangers. Then you can get feedback, editing, and suggestions from the other members on the site. (You can entice more participation by offering a percentage of any future royalties you may earn.)

Then, you can enter your finished work in an American Idol-like contest where the winner's book is published and then sold on Amazon and in some bookstores. You'll get 50% of profits on your book.

Interesting. A little scary, maybe, too, because it seems like your material could be taken pretty easily. There is an option for keeping your work private up to a point, but if you want to enter it in the contest, you'll have to eventually make it available for members to read and vote on.

Published Books, Poetry - How To Get Published - WEbook

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Any freelance writers live near the Great Lakes? Check this out

Thanks to my client and friend, Mark Bove' for sending this along.

NASFAA - National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators - Career Center

Happy Wednesday, Freelance Writers! A gift for you

Ever wonder what successful commercial freelance writers like Peter Bowerman read? Wonder no more! A little token of appreciation for your stopping by today: his recommended reading list.

PB was so kind and spoke with the WWHW Mastermind Group today. We flooded him with questions, and he had great answers for every one of them. If you're not signed up for the Well Fed Writer newsletter, you're missing out. I know everyone gets a ton of newsletters, and most sit unopened until you finally just delete them once they collect sufficient e-dust - but HIS is one you should read immediately when it arrives. It's that good!

PLUS, be on the lookout next year for his new book - kind of a revamp of the others he has out, with new info and tools. Sounds awesome (big! like 300+ pages maybe) and definitely worth getting your hands on at any price, even if you have the other books.

Anyhow, one of the group members asked PB what books he recommends, and here they are:

I know I'm headed to Amazon to pick up the ones I don't have. Let me know what you think. Have you read any of these?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

10 sites you should know for finding freelance writing gigs

Here's a quick look at 10 websites where you can find freelance writing gigs.

Have you used any of them? What do you think? Any good fishing there?

3 tips to be a successful freelance web designer

Monday, August 25, 2008

Can freelance writers make 6 figures or more a year?

Think it's not possible? It's actually a lot more doable than you'd imagine.

Check this out to see a quick breakdown of how to come up to $100,000+ a year as a freelance

Working Writers Newsletter: Can You Really Make Six Figures As A Freelance Writer?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Freelance writers: Don't you love it when you learn your lesson?

Ahhh - the great feeling of having learned from my mistakes!

You might remember me mentioning the project from the pit - the one that went from a tidy little sum into something else entirely because I never took into account the client's desire to meet... in person... multiple times.

All tuition in the school of freelancing, right?

And one reason I shy away from working with local clients most of the time.

But I've just landed another nice local gig, and had to draw up the project proposal today. In it, I included a nice little clause about how most of our business could be taken care of over the phone and via email, but that if they required an on-site consultation, they'd be charged my hourly fee for that time.

We'll see how it flies!

How about you? What have you learned the hard way, and then done better the next time?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Matt!

OK, I'm just bragging a little here on my "little" brother. It's his birthday today, and he's actually home on leave from somewhere hot and sandy. He's turning 36 today - and will be surrounded by friends and family, including his gorgeously juicy little baby girl and my amazing sister-in-law. (Matt's the one on the right.)

Happy birthday, Matt! See you soon!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Freelance Writing Superhero Peter Bowerman to Join Us

Yippeeee and yay! Peter Bowerman (Well-Fed Writer) will be joining the WWHW Mastermind Group on 8/27 to chat about how he built a thriving writing business.



He's super gracious to do this for our little group, and has been just as kind as you'd imagine he'd be. We're all really excited, and formulating our list of questions for the Q&A time.

Just wanted to offer you the chance to send your questions along, too. If you've got questions you'd like us to ask Peter, post them here and I'll see about getting answers for you.

Should freelance writers use pen names?

Oooh, I get this one a lot!

I used to kind of think using a pen name was a chicken exit - you didn't want to be associated with your words, so you copped out and went worse than anonymous.

But there are lots of great reasons to use a pen name. Here are a few:

  1. You're getting into info marketing, and your niche markets cover a wide range of topics. Can you really be an expert in bird houses, wake boarding, sushi, and coin collecting? Maybe - but you might want to use a pen name so you don't start looking like a jack of all trades, master of none.
  2. Your client wants you to post articles for them, but doesn't want their own name on it. Again, a good reason to use a pen name. I had a client in the furniture business like this, and again, I didn't want to dilute my own name by publishing myself as an expert on antiques (which I'm not!). He didn't want his name on the articles, either, because he wanted them to look more journalistic than self-promotional.
  3. You could write for a niche that's kind of sensitive. I listened to a webcast with one of the most successful dating tips site owners out there. She used to write under her own name... until she had a stalker! Now she uses a pen name.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Writing with cabin fever and writer's block


That's all that comes to mind right now for writing.

Is THIS writer's block?

No sentences - none that are complete anyway. No insight - no focus (unless you count the hypnotic effect of my ceiling fan, which is strangely taking my entire concentration).

Of course, there's panic on some level - after all, deadlines don't care that my kids have been home all week, inside because of the tropical storm. They don't care that Starbucks is closed and I have a headache. Or that last night, a frog sneaked into our house and jumped on my pillow (thank goodness the neighbors had their windows closed or they would have thought we had an ax murderer in here!).

So.... what do you do? It happens to everyone sometime - maybe during the winter when you're stuck inside because of yards of snow. Or maybe you live somewhere that rains all the time. Maybe your life circumstances right now tether you to your bed or seat.

What do you do when it seems like your brain has turned to mush (even without watching TV, like your mom always warned would happen)?

I've read that the best cure is to do something else for a while. So, I'm going to take half the day off (I'll still be able to make deadlines), and find something else to do. Not sure what yet, but it'll come to me.

In the meantime, I'd sure love to know what YOU do when this happens!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Branching out isn't always painful

I've noticed there are lots of times clients need banner ads created, and usually I just suggest they hire a web person - or a graphics designer - or, well, actually I wasn't sure WHO does that.

Now I have a new answer.... Sure!

Just got a membership over at ($25 for a year). It's easy once you get used to fiddling with some of the controls. Basically, you're just adding text and images (if you want) to different sized boxes. Then you add effects, borders, etc.

Here's what I made for my affiliate program (if you're not in it yet, it's free, and it's a 50-50% split).

I did a few of these, with different text and banner sizes. Pretty neat - and this was just a first attempt.

There's also a free service level, but your banners will have a line of text at the bottom that advertises - if that doesn't bother you, go for it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Freelance Writers Know: Too much can be too much... if you're not prepared

Ever get flooded?

We're currently getting a TON of rain from Tropical Storm Fay. The schools are closed - and I think even Starbucks is closed (either of these closures might explain my splitting headache right now!). And here are a couple of photos I took looking right and left at the end of our driveway:

Oh yes, and we lost our mailbox! (Yet another reason to use Paypal, I guess!)

No damage, and as long as it stops raining before the water crests the slope in our yard, we should be okay. (Praying for anyone who's actually having damage or danger from this storm.)

Anyhow, it got me thinking about a danger lots of freelancers don't foresee: When you get such a flood of projects that you can't possibly write it all on your own. (And if you're new, you're probably thinking it won't ever happen, but if you build your writing business like I'm telling you, it will!)

Do you have a plan for this kind of flood?

Do you have writers you can call on to help with the overflow?

Or, are you still so limited by a scarcity mindset that tells you you're lucky to have the work you have, and that if you pass some along, you'll regret it?

Writing may be a solitary activity, but it doesn't mean you have to go about your business like the Lone Ranger. In fact, I'll submit to you that breaking through to the next level of success depends on how well you can build and work with a team.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Turning to the dark side might be a smart move for freelance writers

No, not that dark side!

And really, I guess Elance isn't THAT bad : )

Yes, I'm eating crow here. I'm still a Guru girl at heart, but I'm also learning something very important lately.

My biggest clients are not on the Guru board (they never were, it's not that we moved off the board). It's never seemed like a good idea to rely ONLY on Guru - or any other job board - for a freelance writing career. However, it's a fantastic way to get your business started, and one of the easiest, most-efficient ways to keep a steady stream of work coming in.

To be completely honest - I've only ever had maybe 5 days that were slow in the entire time I've been freelancing. And that's not to say those days had no work - just not a full day. Part of the reason I've avoided the feast or famine cycle lots of freelancers complain about is that I have a constant source of work from Guru.

However, with the ranking system changes, I'm finding that as a firm (rather than a single writer), I'm still not sure how to master the new system. In fact, even with repeat work from relatively high paying clients, my "new" rank (not active yet) is getting worse and worse! Could be that we take in a huge volume of projects rather than just a few from a few clients - looks like that would do bad things to your ranking. Could be that we are willing to work with clients who just want a one-time project done - that doesn't seem to help your ranking either.

The old system was easy - do lots of projects really well, make your clients happy, and your rank will climb. Still working on how to build a ranking in the new system.


I also decided it was time to branch out a bit, rather than putting all my freelance writing board eggs in one basket. So I did the unthinkable... I set up a profile on Elance!

: ) (Yes, I know many of you love Elance and have done really well on it - in fact I'd really love to hear your tips!)

I'll share what I learn as it goes.

Here are some very interesting things:
  1. You can do sealed bids (not sure whether this works for all projects, but it definitely seems like an option for at least some of them). Not positive this is a new feature, but I could swear it wasn't like that when I messed with Elance a couple of years ago.
  2. They've got tests on the site so you can get certified for different skills. This is pretty cool.
  3. They don't seem to have templates, which is kind of a bummer. Not that you'd ever send a template out without customizing it to completely match your client's needs, of course. But having a template to start with is HUGE for bidding efficiently.
  4. Seems like a lot of projects' bidding periods are extended.
  5. You can pay monthly instead of coughing up $150 for an annual membership.
Haven't gotten any gigs there yet, but I think it's worthwhile to keep trying there. I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ever work on-site for a client?

Seems like it would be kind of strange, doesn't it? I know I've checked that box as a "yes" on my Guru profile, but what would it be like if I actually had a client ask me to work from their location for a gig?

Does that ever happen? If you've ever settled into a client's office to write, I'd love to hear about how that happened, how it worked out, and what recommendations you'd make.

It seems like it would be about like taking a temp job. You go through the whole "What should I wear? Where will I go for lunch? What route will be fastest?" series of questions. You'd meet people who'd probably have no clue why you're there. You'd be this mysterious (glamorous?) figure who's there for a while and then gone. Or maybe your assignment would become a regular or episodic part of your business - like being a consultant.

Hey, actually, that might be something to consider - a whole niche unto itself. You could promote yourself as a web marketing consultant, and help clients get started with blogs, article marketing, their site content, and other ways they could use words to promote their businesses. And you know what happens when you add the C word to your title, of course! $$$ : )

Friday, August 15, 2008

Find local freelance writing jobs?

This seems like a good idea... but see whether you can find any gigs for freelance writers here. I might have searched incorrectly - or maybe the site's too new to be fully populated... so maybe it's worth checking back.

Freelance Jobs Temporary Work Part Time Jobs Freelancers Contract Employees Creative Staffing Agencies

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sheesh - another gig in my hometown!

This one definitely calls for someone local. I contacted the features editor with some questions and she was kind enough to reply (although she didn't answer my question for a pay rate range - maybe that's a faux pas, but to me it would be a deal maker/breaker).

So here's a question for you - would you trade your commercial clients for a newspaper job? It might look like a smart move, and even a move up... on the surface.

And to be honest, I toyed with the idea because it still holds some sense of glamor in my mind... but I'm not going to apply after all (although if you're in the area and interested, you should definitely give it a try if you want!). But, I'm so in love with setting my own hours, traveling only if and when I want to, taking only projects that interest me, and coaching other writers, that to give that up for a full-time journalism position seems crazy. (To say nothing of the pay - which I'm assuming is low!)

What do YOU think?

FREELANCE WRITER Calling all - STUART NEWS - Stuart, FL Freelance Job- Details - Online Writing Jobs

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

C'mon, making a video isn't really that hard!

OK, I'm getting kind of addicted.

The Marketing Do Over contest got me hooked, and now I'm seeing video opps everywhere.

(Hey, if you didn't hear my "YIPPPPEEEEE" where you live, I won the contest!! along with two others. Still waiting to find out when I go to Dallas for the prize, but just imagine what kind of amazing info I'll pass along to you!)

If you missed mine, here it is:

So, how do you make a video like that? It was really pretty easy.

  1. Think up a story line.
  2. Find photos you can use for them (watch out for copyrights - you can get a ton of photos free on
  3. Go to and register for an account. You can get a free one, or pay a few bucks to get one with some more bells and whistles.
  4. Import your photos, set them to music, add effects, and voila! You've got a video!

Wooo HOOOO! We DID get the real PB!!

How's THAT??!

Peter Bowerman, the mind that launched a thousand businesses (um, okay, it doesn't sound as cool as the face that launched a thousand ships... but alrighty then) has very graciously agreed to join the WWHW Mastermind group for a call later this month!!

What a great guy! And while I can't open the call to everyone, if you have questions you'd like us to ask on your behalf, write them here and I'll write up an excerpt for you.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

As good as having the real PB here?

Well, maybe not! But if you haven't listened to this podcast Peter Bowerman (Well-Fed Writer, of course!) did with Carrie Runnals back in May 2008, then turn on your speakers and tune in!

And Peter, if you're out there... our Mastermind group would love to talk with you!! (Just a heads up... I'll be emailing you soon to beg and plead and grovel!)

The WellFed Writer

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bob Bly - Copywriting Superhero... and Nice Guy

If you're not already on Bob Bly's email list, now is the time to subscribe! Along with his free newsletter, right now you can also get 4 bonus reports that couldn't be more timely! :: Free 4 Bonus Reports from Bob Bly worth over $100

Saturday, August 9, 2008

How thick is your skin?

We looked a little at self-editing yesterday.

So, what happens if you don't bother to check your work? Probably the most embarrassing thing - other than missing a deadline - you could be called on a doozy of a typo... by the client. Easy enough to avoid if you'll take a final look before you submit a project.

But what happens if you get feedback that's less than glowing - and it's not a matter of an editorial goof? How do you deal with feedback that hurts?

It happens to all of us - no matter how well you write. There are going to be times when what you produce just doesn't quite mesh with what the client's expecting. Or maybe they weren't sure what they wanted... but they know you didn't nail it.

I'll admit it here - I really, really prefer working with clients who love what I send, the first time around. It feels wonderful to be on the same wavelength as a client, and to nail the project by providing exactly what they would have written if they'd been able to (or had the time).

But sometimes that just doesn't happen. And painful as it is, that means taking a look at where the project jumped the tracks. What did I miss? How can I fix it? Sometimes it requires a complete rewrite (ouch!). Sometimes it's just a matter of tweaking and shifting.

Always, though, it requires a cool head and a gracious heart. No matter how tempting it might be to yell, "Hey, knuckle-head, why didn't you tell me THAT in the first place???!" or something like that - you know you can't.

Part of being a writer is dealing with feedback. But if you look at it objectively, feedback is always an opportunity for improvement - even if it hurts a little.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Pull the trigger on your freelance writing business

Not THAT kind of trigger! C'mon, deadlines really aren't that bad! : )

What I'm talking about is a trigger device, something you can use to change the way you think. Triggers are wonderful at accomplishing a task that sometimes seems insurmountable: waking us up!

Think you're really awake when you're awake? You'd be surprised. We do so many things in autopilot mode that we don't even notice that we're just kind of cruising along. It's a mechanism that comes in handy, but one that can just as easily drive you right into a rut.

Let's do a little experiment (on the honor system, since I won't be there to watch you!).

Take a look at your watch. You've got about 60 seconds to look at it. (I'd sing you a little song to help pass the time, but it might be distracting.)

OK. Time's up. Hide your watch behind your back.

Tell me... what marks the hours on your watch? Do you have numbers? At all the number spaces? Do you have a dot? A diamond? Nothing? Roman numerals?

OK, you can look now.

But see my point? You look at your watch HOW many times a day? But you don't always SEE it.
That's autopilot.

A trigger serves you by jolting you out of autopilot and reminding you to do or think something else. You can use a trigger to remind you to take a deep breath, to pray, to compliment someone... whatever would best serve you at the time.

So here's a challenge I heard from Brian Klemmer at some point:

Take some red nail polish and paint a tiny dot on your watch. Every time you see that dot, you're going to say something to yourself about your writing business that's going to help you move forward. For example, when I look at the dot on my watch, I say, "Wow! I've got tens of thousands of dollars coming in every month from my writing!"

Do I? Not yet. But if I've learned one thing in life, it's the power of words.

"As a man thinketh...."

Oh yes, and if you're interested, you can sign up for Klemmer & Associates' free newsletter by visiting

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Is freelance writing dead?

Kind of a silly question - in fact, I could barely type it without raising my left eyebrow (a habit when someone says or does something ridiculous).

But I have seen this question bandied about here and there - and I guess it probably comes from writers who rely on Craigslist or something else where the competition is fierce and the prize is a very low-paying gig.

Want some (somewhat) scientific proof that freelance writing is alive and well? Try to figure out how many pages are on the web. You can Google it, Wiki it, or Ask it - and good luck getting a definitive number! I saw a couple of answers that ranged from 8 billion pages indexed by Google (but this was a number from 2007) to 20 billion pages total (not sure about that source).

The point is - someone is writing all of that content. Sure, some of it is absolute junk, and some has no text at all. But even eliminating all of those, that leaves an enormous number of pages -- and the number grows by the minute.

And this is just a glimpse at the opportunity for writing for the web! My guess is that the off-line writing opp is just about equal.

So go practice whatever quirky thing you do when YOU hear something ridiculous - and use it when you hear this silly question. : )

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Launching a Successful Copywriting Business

Stop Wishing and Start Earning book cover

"In my opinion, Stop Wishing and Start Earning contains the best roadmap for "making the leap" into freelance copywriting ever written. That's because it does something that no other guide to this business has done. It gives you a specific step-by-step action plan to making the transition from wherever you are now — a full-time employee, a busy mom, a retiree, a recent graduate, a mid-life career changer — to where you want to be: a successful freelance copywriter. I wish I had a book like this in my hands when I started as a copywriter fifteen years ago. I would have been a lot more successful a lot sooner! "
--Steve Slaunwhite, Publisher

OK, let's add Steve and Ed to the list of folks I'd like to have on a WWHW Mastermind call. I forgot to mention Steve last time, but something Ed said recently reminded me of the depth of gratitude I owe Steve for his guidance on pricing!

And based on what I'm understanding about Guru's new ranking system, pricing is going to be more important than ever.

Ed's book is awesome - and his track record shows he knows what he's talking about. If you go from zero to 6 figures in just over 2 years, you pick up a few tricks along the way.

As I've said before - and even the most Guru/Elance devoted freelancers agree - the boards are a great starting place. BUT, it's also important to know how to find work other places. This is a great way to learn how to do that.

From WWHW...... two thumbs up!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

New freelance writing gig board - have you tried it?

I saw a press release about this site and checked it out because it sounded like a good idea - a freelancers job board that's only for freelance writers.

It's Basically, it's got links to gigs from all over the internet. The ones I clicked on all happened to be on Elance. Yup, essentially a re-posting of the same gig - you end up on Elance.

There may be other sources included on the board, but I didn't look much further after ending up on Elance with each one I tried.

It's got a list of writers' resources and some blogs that might be useful. But other than that, kind of disappointing. I guess I was hoping for the new! Maybe it'll develop and grow into something better, but other than maybe consolidating your gig-search sites, it doesn't seem too exciting.

(Yeah, I'm still kind of steamed with their new ranking system - definitely looks like you should avoid any clients with small budgets or one-time projects, which stinks for them and for us. I'll get over it, and will pass along whatever solutions I develop to you... but right now it feels like trying to work a Rubik's Cube and getting only one side all the same color.)


Monday, August 4, 2008

Can freelance writers self-edit?

"OK," you're thinking, "do I have any other option BUT to self-edit?"

Valid point. Although I've run into options in a couple different directions. Sometimes I'm hired to edit articles written by other freelancers (whew - a very, very wide range of skills out there!), and other times, my clients have editors in place to work on my submissions.

USUALLY we're on our own - and it's just expected that we'll turn in picture-perfect work on the first try. The proofing and editing is generally assumed to be included in your fee.

What you might not realize, is that there are other writing niches where the opposite assumption is made. In fact, within those circles, the idea that a writer could self-edit is laughed at!


I can think of a few reasons:

  1. In fiction writing, there's a lot more involved in the writing. You're working with plots, characters, settings, sub-plots... all the twists and turns that make for a delicious story. It would be very easy to fall in love with your own words and lose sight of the larger picture.
  2. In academic writing (or for textbooks, like I do a lot of), there's always an editor because the project parameters are very strict. Word count, line count, and formatting matters are really important. The goal is consistency from page to page, chapter to chapter, and even text to text. The editors for these projects are amazing - it's like they've got the specs tattooed on their brains.
  3. In journalistic writing, sometimes the editor does fact-checking. I'm guessing it's more a matter of pleasing the legal department than doubting the veracity of the writer's words.

Anyway, it gave me a chuckle to read the post below because I'd never given much thought to handling editing any other way... although to be honest, I've run into some writers who really could use a professional editor on staff!! : )

Tip for the day: Even though we're not typically bound by some of the formal rules of writing, and we generally don't get our knuckles rapped by editors, everything we submit should get one last read-through to make sure it's in good shape.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Freelance writing mastermind group starting soon

Accountability... without a boss.
Homework... without grades.
Interviews... where you get to ask the questions.

That's the rough idea behind the Working Writer Happy Writer Mastermind Group.

Basically, it's like coaching, except you've got a whole group going through it with you. Not a big group, but enough to 1) keep the price down, 2) get feedback from your peers, and 3) create opportunities to work together.

The first team is going to launch in August. Still tying up loose ends about special guests we'll have on our webinars:

Peter Bowerman, we'd love to have you join us for about an hour! These are highly-motivated, action-oriented freelance writers looking to make the leap from full-time jobs... or from okay pay to great pay. Want to come play?

Bob Bly, how about it? You're the double-crown king of copywriting and now info marketing. We'd love to have an audience with you for about an hour. We've got questions and know you've got answers!

Joe Vitale, as you read every word of this plea, you find yourself warming to the idea of talking with our group for about an hour. Do you remember a time in your life when you wanted to share everything you know about hypnotic copywriting? Obviously you want to reveal your amazing secrets with us, do you not? : )
We'll be reading and discussing some of the books that absolutely transformed my writing business and my whole mindset about building a thriving writing business. We'll get and give feedback on writing assignments. We'll have some one-on-one coaching sessions. We'll have a private forum. We'll work on time management, business systems, team building, and a lot more.
If you're interested, head over to my Squidoo lens: and read more about it. Then send for your application.

There are only about 2-3 spots available right now, so if you're interested, NOW is the time to act.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Hey freelance writers: Have I mentioned the extra space?

Anyone out there who learned to type back when it was called "Typing" probably has the same obstacle to overcome... and it's a doozy, if you ask your very stubborn right thumb.

It's the extra space between sentences. And it's a sure giveaway that you're a rookie freelance writer.

Here's how it looks. You've got these huge spaces between sentences. Like this. See them? You hit the space bar twice after any ending punctuation. Including exclamation points! And question marks? See?

Here's how it's supposed to be. One space between sentences. Just one. Not two.

Honestly, I don't know why it changed. It's got something to do with typesetting (does anyone even do that anymore? I really don't know.)

Regardless of the reason, it's in CMS and it's one of the fastest (though maybe hardest) ways to make your writing shine and help you to really look like you know what you're doing : )