Updated May 2, 2017
OK, I’m an average gal.
Until the end of 2013, I believed the only way to earn money is through a 9 to 5 job.
At the time, I had already tried a few solopreneur ventures, but nothing seemed to stick or bring in any cash.
To be blatantly honest, each idea failed.
Sure, I saw other entrepreneurs making big dough, but it felt like it wasn’t in the cards for me. I started to believe I didn’t have that “it” factor.
Then I made my first $20 freelance writing. I got a taste of the possibilities. And it tasted like fine wine.
Why is Any of This Important?
Not because I think freelance writing is the answer to quitting your job and riding off into the sunset.
I want to preface with that.
I think too often in the online space we share what’s worked for us without the disclaimer that everyone’s talents and dreams are different.
Doing something just because it’s working for someone else can take you away from your real calling.
Instead, I’m sharing this to let you know that making money from whatever you’re good at is possible.
Now, for the story:
I met someone randomly years ago and we got on the topic of my job and career history.
The person was a recent immigrant working his butt off in three different jobs to pay for college.
He had about four more years before graduation at the time and looked to be in his mid-20’s.
When I explained that I own my own business in a field unrelated to my college major he was flabbergasted.
He didn’t outright say it, but I got the impression he felt I was ungrateful for the degree.
He couldn’t believe I left regular jobs other people might kill for. I felt the need to open his eyes to the fact that there is money to be made outside of working for someone.
Because for one, I felt defensive.
For two, making money on his own might have saved him a lot of energy. I mean three jobs on top of going to school?
He saw the possibilities, but he had no idea where to begin and I was reminded how starting from square one feels like an uphill battle.
But it’s the same uphill battle for everyone. Remember that.
I made my first $20 outside of the 9 to 5 writing two blog posts for a client.
Essentially, I got paid $10 per blog post.
Regardless, that $20 made me feel like a million bucks. And for a newbie, it made me realize anything is possible.
It proved I have what it takes to make money on my own. People actually want the skill that I possess.
I do want to make one thing clear. Full-time self-employment isn’t for everyone.
Heck, I’m not against accepting an offer down the road if it’s a great job.
But having multiple streams of income (i.e. side businesses) puts more money in your pocket.
In the case of the guy I met grinding it out, it could have saved him the stress of running from job to job while keeping up with school work.
My Journey From Peanuts to Lox
I love smoked salmon a.k.a lox, but it’s expensive.
I compare the assignments I do now to lox and then to $.99 peanuts.
Scraping for writing work that pays peanuts to jobs that pay smoked salmon didn’t happen overnight.
I consistently made efforts to build my platform and then pitched for assignments on major sites until I had enough experience to command a higher rate.
The First Writing Assignment
For the sake of showing where I came from (and so I can laugh at myself), I dug up my first ever pitch that turned into a writing job.
If you can even call it that. The job was a paid gig as a gossip writer.
I’m a recovering celebrity gossip blog addict, so I figured writing for them would be the perfect use of my skills.
I found writing about people I don’t know feels icky inside even if it’s just for entertainment.
Here’s the first pitch I sent out…
Yes, I promise. This email is real life. Medine is my maiden name (hey dad 🙂 and Gran <3 ).
My negotiating skills have improved greatly…
My original quote was $25 per post, but I bartered all the way down to $10 per post.
How Did I Get to the Next Income Level?
First, I focused on a higher paying niche.
Gossip reporting doesn’t pay very well – at all – unless you’re one of the big names like Wendy Williams or you write for a seriously big publication.
I began to focus on the finance industry where there are businesses offering legit products to customers.
Companies with tangible products have a bigger marketing budget. Gossip sites typically rely on ad sales, so the budget is small.
Bottom line: If I pitched a gossip blog a $400 idea they’d probably laugh in my face.
Since getting hip to the freelancing game and understanding how it works, I’ve been able to increase my rates and transition into writing full-time.
The moral to this story is, just start.
What you do behind the scenes (like sending gossip pitches to random sites) helps you build on your experience and will get you to where you want to be.
Had I never made that sad little pitch to a gossip reporting site, I would never have been able to grow my business this far.
Not sure where to start?
Or just looking to get a little productive right this second in the income and saving departments?
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