Everyone seems to reach the world of freelance blogging through a different path. My journey is a little different to most. In fact, if you had told me fifteen years ago that I would be making money through freelance blogging, I would have laughed at you.
My journey started in 2000. I was twenty years old and fresh out of University. Days dragged along slowly as I worked for a major UK pension company. As you can imagine, my mind started to wander whilst I was working those nine-to-five days.
One night, a friend and I looked at the possibility of making money buying and selling domain names. I cannot remember how we came across the idea, but we both registered domain names at the standard (read: high) price that UK domain registrars charged at the time.
We soon found out that the names we registered were not easy to sell. Rather than simply cut my losses, I built a website around one of the domains: a shopping directory. Having spoken to hundreds of other internet marketers over the years, I know that this was a strange choice for someone’s first website (most people at the time started fan websites).
The website was poorly designed using notepad and HTML, however I managed to generate a good commission within the first few weeks. That’s all it took. I was hooked!
During the first few months, I was returning home from work at 6.30pm every night and working until 1am or 2am in the morning. It didn’t feel like work. I was like a sponge, trying to improve my knowledge and figure everything out.
This was a time when that knowledge was not as easy to come by. I purchased several programming books, however I cannot remember there being many books showing you how to make money online. Nor do I recall there being many online courses.
So I turned to discussion forums. I was an active member on forums such as SitePoint and DNForum. It was an essential part of the learning process as I had many questions that needed answers. Looking back at my first posts is embarrassing, however it shows how quickly I gained knowledge by reading and asking the right questions. The support and help I got during that time was vital and helped me carve out a career working online.
Fast forward to 2014 and I’m still a big forum junkie. For me, it’s a more practical way of engaging with other people than Twitter or Facebook. The internet is always evolving and I love connecting with other people within my field. A discussion forum is the best place to do that.
Connect with Other Freelancers
Most people feel the same I did when they first start working online. They are excited, motivated and keen to improve.
Unfortunately, the landscape has changed a lot over the last fourteen years. The industry is full of junk eBooks and people who are willing to recommend any product if it means generating a commission for themselves.
Many online courses offer a support forum, though these are frequently quiet and unsupported. Perhaps this is why many people turn to discussion forums such as Warrior Forum — a famous internet marketing forum that not only condones members ripping each other off, it actively supports it.
Despite there being a lot of cowboys out there trying to take advantage of beginners, there is a lot of great information online. A good book or course could save you months of research. It could also save you investing money in things that give little or no return.
Put simply, information is vital to your career as a freelance blogger. However, support is too.
Unfortunately whilst there are an abundance of courses and books online, there are few places where you can get good support. For example, a quick check over at the support forums of WordPress.org shows that most questions go unanswered. Likewise, most blogging-related forums are inactive.
It is easy to understand why this is. Support is very time-consuming. And to quote the old cliche, time is money. That is why most companies are moving towards a business model in which support is charged on a yearly basis.
I know from experience that providing good support for free is near impossible. My last two blogs BloggingTips.com and WPMods.com had support forums in which I helped out members free of charge. The problem was that I would spend hours every day helping people and I got nothing in return. It was unsustainable. It also held my career back a little as I was spending less time working on my own projects.
This is the reason why no top blogger or internet marketer offers support free. Their time is precious. Top bloggers charge hundreds of dollars per hour for consultation. They simply cannot afford to help their readers every day and get nothing in return.
A Premium Discussion Forum for Bloggers and Internet Marketers
Throughout this year, I supplemented my affiliate income and freelance blogging income by offering blog consultation through my blog. For $50 per hour, I helped bloggers and WordPress owners with their projects via Skype and email.
I really enjoyed helping people in this way, though I always knew it wasn’t the best way to support people. A discussion forum seemed more practical as it would allow other people to be brought into the discussion (there is only one me!!). It would also make sharing images, videos and ideas easier.
That is why I developed Rise Forums. Rise Forums is a new private discussion forum that was developed for bloggers and internet marketers. I wanted to create a community that offers the kind of service and personal relationship that you would expect from one-on-one consultation. A community where members do not have to worry about being pushed products and services on a daily basis.
We have a great bunch of members already including blog owners, freelance bloggers and internet marketers. It has been great for everyone to bounce ideas off each other and get feedback on our projects from like-minded people.
A membership for Rise Forums retails at only $97 per year. That works out at only $8.08 per month. But don’t get your wallet out just yet — we’re giving three free memberships as prizes to Be a Freelance Blogger readers.
Win a Year in Rise Forums
For your chance to win one of the three free memberships, all you have to do is tweet the following message [click to tweet it now]:
“WIN a year’s free access to Rise Forums here: http://beafreelanceblogger.com/online-communities via @riseforums and @sophielizard #bafb”
We’ll choose the winners at the end of January 5th, 2014. Good luck to everyone who enters. I’m looking forward to getting to know you all better in the forums and helping you make more money online.
If you have any questions regarding Rise Forums or the competition, please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them. 🙂