Freelance Blogger Moonlighting: How to Handle Working AND Blogging Full-Time

You know that feeling when you have so much to do that you end up suffering from total paralysis?

You have deadlines to meet and yet, you end up giving yourself a telling off for being drawn to checking Facebook instead of working.

Frustrating, isn’t it?

So you try to make a plan. You might write lists, set up reminders on your phone, add more reminders about your reminders, categorise and colour-code your lists. Plus, how about downloading that really useful app that helps you do all of the above?

Now imagine that, instead of checking Facebook, you check your calendar and find you can fit in a quick pitch during your lunch break. It’s all about control and organisation. [Read more…]

Freelance Blogging Productivity: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need

When you’re a freelance blogger, your time equals money in a way no 9-to-5er will ever experience.

Whether you’re working by the billable hour or the flat project rate, the more you’re able to get done in a day, the happier your bank balance will look at the end of the month.

It’s one of the reasons so many of us burn ourselves out.

Painfully aware of the fact that we and we alone are responsible for how much money we’re able to bring in, we’re constantly trying to squeeze as much as we can out of each day. We devour productivity tips, tricks and systems because we believe we can always do more, more, more if we just push ourselves a liiiittle bit harder.

But the trouble with a “more, more, more” mentality is it leaves us feeling empty, empty, empty after a while. And an empty freelancer has a productivity level of zero.

Guess how much money a productivity level of zero will earn you?

If you really want to maximize your productivity — meaning, “produce the highest amount of high-quality work each day” — you need to stop listening to all the gurus and hype that promise you the secret to cramming ever more into the same 24-hour blocks while your mind and body coast on fumes.

Instead, focus on creating a sustainable, personalized system that enables you to do your best work each day, every day, and keep that pace up over the long term.

Forget the latest GTD fads and promos; the methods in this post will help you find your best productivity groove and, as a result, create awesome work (and income) like never before.  [Read more…]

3 Unconventional Ways to Measure Your Progress When You Feel Like You Aren’t Going Anywhere

When you first heard — perhaps right here on BAFB — about the burgeoning freelance blogging market, you leaped in with high hopes. You were already counting the income that would pour in from your favorite type of writing.

A couple of months later, the enthusiasm is smothering under a pile of discouragement. Jobs are few, rejections are daily, income is thin. And you’re wondering: “How did I ever get into this? I’m going nowhere. Why not cut my losses and quit?”

Though you may be tempted to think that every other freelance blogger is showered with high-paying work from the start, you’re actually in the majority. Most writers, including blog writers, belong to humanity’s pool of “creative” minds that ricochet from big dreams to big disappointments, taking stories of (extremely rare and often only apparent) overnight success as guarantees, and equating anything less with failure.

Don’t believe it! You may be making more progress than you think.

Created equal but not identical

Contrary to impressions given by many “how-to” articles — even many written by established freelancers — a surge in income and clients isn’t the inevitable quick result of becoming a freelance blogger.

If you’re lucky enough to be a natural entrepreneur or an expert on a high-demand topic, things may work out that way; but many of us need to grow in other areas first.

The one thing all full-time freelance bloggers have in common is good writing skills (okay, some Internet skills are also necessary). Everything else — topic focus, working hours, writing style — is unique to the individual blogger.

So, trying to copy perfectly a successful blogger’s career-building story, on the assumption that their result of $4,000 a month within six months is thus guaranteed to become yours, guarantees only disappointment.

Blame the legendary “butterfly effect”: One flap of a wing (one small difference in attitude or approach) is enough to unleash a chain reaction leading to a tornado (perceived failure of the whole project).

Every blogger needs to work out his or her own best approach, and decide how to measure progress. Obvious progress indicators include a record of guest posts or a growing bank account, but there are many other ways to keep track — even if you feel you’re not getting anywhere yet.  [Read more…]

Is Your Blog Post Idea Worth $100? Find Out in Pitchfest!

Did your latest blogging pitch get accepted, or did it fall flat?

No freelancer can win them all. [But you’ll have a chance to win $100 a bit further down this post, so keep reading.]

One thing I’ve noticed is that top freelance bloggers don’t pitch much.

Now, for the love of all that’s holy, do NOT take this to mean you should stop pitching. You gotta pitch your way up the ladder until you’re close to the top.

When you’ve been doing this for a while and you’ve built a reputation for yourself, blog editors and would-be-clients start to come looking for you. They invite you to work with them.

At that point, full-blown pitches become a lot less important, and topic suggestions often become more important.

When you do pitch to new potential clients, they’re more interested in how your idea fits their content strategy and how your expertise makes you the ideal writer for the post.

So that’s what we’re gonna practice in our June 2015 Pitchfest!

In case you’re not familiar, Pitchfest is a blog post pitching contest we run every 3 months. You tell us your blog post idea and we choose our favourites, with prizes of up to $100 for the winners.

The contest starts today, but before you get your pitchin’ hat on…  [Read more…]

5 Simple Tweaks That Put the BANG Into Your Writer Website

If you’re like most writers, you can spend days, months, or even years slaving away at your writer website, and you still don’t feel like you’re quite “there” yet.

You’re likely to let a few curse words slip and maybe even kill a computer mouse in the process. [Don’t worry. We’ll forgive you.]

But learning how to build your website, and deciding what elements to include, doesn’t have to feel like slave labor.

I’ve looked at a lot of freelance writer websites, and you know what I noticed? Many writers tend to make the same mistakes over and over.

You aren’t going to be one of those writers. 

You want your website to say, “I’m a professional.” You’re driven to create copy that makes prospects say, “Let’s get to work!”

Your highly effective writer website starts right here. Begin by avoiding common mistakes, and make these simple tweaks instead.  [Read more…]

9 Places to Find Blogging Job Ads That Don’t Suck

The happy rush you feel upon deciding to be a freelance blogger can quickly be consumed by the difficulty of finding decent work.

$5 per post is not what you had in mind. You’re keen to find gigs that pay fair, but where do you start looking?

One of the biggest elements that sets freelance blogging apart from “normal” jobs is that you’ve got to actually go out there and find your own projects. You can’t just decide to be a writer one day and then sit back and watch assignments roll in — but oh, do we ever wish it were really like that!

Fortunately, there are a few great places online that post genuine ads for blogging gigs that pay more than just “exposure”. These are my go-to websites to find blogging job ads that don’t suck:  [Read more…]

How to Convince Businesses That They Need a Blog

Some businesses don’t have blogs.

Not just business that run out of caves on Mars, either. [Though Sophie says she would totally read their blogs if they existed.]

Real businesses. With running water, and clients, and big juicy marketing budgets. But no blog.

As a professional blogger, you might be tempted to write these stone-age businesses off. After all, they don’t need your services, right?

Of course they do!

Some of the best blogging clients out there are the ones whose blog doesn’t exist yet. It’s true you have a little more work to do up front with this approach — you have to convince the client they want and need a blog. But that’s easy when you have the right tools (more about this in a moment). And the advantages are undeniable.  [Read more…]

5 Essential Steps to Building Your Authority Online

“Nobody said it was easy… no one ever said it would be this hard.”

Timeless philosophy from Coldplay, that happens to also apply to your freelance blogging career.

Professional bloggers like Sophie Lizard and Tom Ewer do make it look easy.

Releasing monthly stats on how they built a business from scratch (à la Tom) is like providing a step-by-step plan to building a thriving blogging business.

But when it comes down to doing the work …why on earth is it so hard?

Sophie and Tom have an advantage: online authority. Google them and you’ll get pages of results showcasing just this.

Trust in them is undeniable.

So authority and trust? Are two of the most important factors in turning a random viewer of your blog, wondering whether they should hire you over oodles of competitors, into an excited client who can’t wait to work with you.

Now, you already know that building this trust in your authority isn’t an overnight process. But the good news is that it isn’t an impossible process either.

There are proven ways you can achieve this without having any qualifications in your chosen niche.

Take a look at these ideas and see how many you can apply to your blogging career:  [Read more…]

4 Ways to Survive When Freelance Blogging Becomes Sweatshop Blogging

It’s 2:45 AM.

tick tick tick. 

You’re tired. You’re sleepy.

Meanwhile, the cursor of your blank word document winks at you, mocking your struggle.

Let’s face it; we’ve all been there. Those late nights when you’re struggling to stay up, writing about something you don’t really care about.

You’re sick of the weekly grind of posts to submit. What used to be fun is turning into a total drag.

I know how that feels. I oversaw 300+ SEO articles at one point. Not fun.

It’s normal to feel out of it every now and then, but when your yucky-feeling days start to crop up, it’s time for a change.  [Read more…]