Category Archives: Making Money Online

4 Things that Exhaust Me About Freelance Writing and Why I Do It Anyway

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Freelance Writing Stress

Do you have this issue?

There are times I’m so utterly overwhelmed, unhinged, and emotionally powered down that I just want to quit.

I want to quit this client, this project, or even this profession.

Freelance Writing Stress

I want to wave the white flag, call a truce, and camp out in the bunkers with contraband ice cream and Cheez-Its (and wine).

There are many reasons I might respond this way some including things like actual clinical depression and a stupid amount of student debt.

More often than not though, it’s these 4 issues that get me freakin’.

1. Poor Client Communication

Know the euphoric feeling of wooing a client into an LTR only to then find they…

  • Want only your unpaid insights, and not your paid work
  • Won’t accept or agree to any contracts or proposals – let alone provide feedback
  • Change their budget tune only after you get started
  • Can’t prioritize their needs and leave you scrambling at the last minute to meet unecessarily stressful deadlines
  • Expect an insane amount of revisions for overly small details?

 

Fortunately, I know that most of these poor communication issues come from myself – from a lack of confidence in my own worth, compromising my values for short-term gain, and not knowing the right steps in the process of going from lead to paying client.

2. Switching from Admin to Creative Mode

You know the feeling. You’re completely immersed in a project for your own sites and blogs (I have 3 I fall in obsession with all the time), but a deadline means you have to stop and do an about-face immediately. You go from fun, write-about-whatever-I-like to write-about-whatever-this-guy’s-paying-you-for, and it can be a bummer if you aren’t super picky about the fun level in your assignments.

Careful time management can help with this stuff, but you’ll still have the business-to-creative transition to make.

On the other hand, that also means you have the built-in flexibility to opt for creative or administrative tasks depending on your schedule and mood.

3. There are no short-term solutions.

Super broke? Like, got the not even ramen is in your budget blues?

Unless you’re in the process of acquiring a new client and you work with retainers or you’re willing to hustle through an insane amount of low-paying but easy-to-find work, you’ll be hounding the Craigslist ETC jobs page or asking Grandma for an advance on that $10 she sends for your birthday.

This part ticks my enthusiasm meter to a full, red E, and takes a lot of meditation, patience, and self-love to refill.

Remember that game The Sims? Know how it would take forever for your characters to do basic things when they were hungry or had to go to the bathroom?

Being broke is like that. It slows everything down, and makes me throw punctuation marks in the air while having a tantrum and maybe peeing my pants (not so much that last part).

4. I feel unqualified, inexperienced, and ineffective.

Lots of sad words to describe one’s self, I know, but it’s the truth. Despite:

  • having a degree in English,
  • receiving financial compensation for my written work (sort of the definition of freelance writing?), and
  • being notably more successful at writing and communication than the average bear…

 

I feel like a fake.

I didn’t go to Freelance Writing School, and I learned most of this blogging know-how through hard work and experience (great teachers, but kind of bitches).

Still, I feel like I promise more than I can give and often catch myself sabotaging my own success by procrastinating, wallowing, and avoiding my responsibilities and life.

Despite all this, I continue to write professionally.

Why do I keep going?

Because I’m constantly pulled back, even when I’m barely keeping it together.

There’s some weird little part of me that exists solely to help others.

From the clients and their ingenious businesses to the financial flexibility this lifestyle can afford, I’m glued. You tell me your problem, and I’ll unstick myself immediately to create your solution.

Why? Because it feels good.

  • I’ll hear, “Hey Rachael, what do you think about setting up a blog series on making cheese at home?” Freak yes!
  • “Hey Girl, What’s the best way to backlink without selling my soul?”
  • Or, “Dearest Rachael, can you help me share my life’s dream (aka this product or service or website)?”

It gets me every time. Each client, each project is a new challenge, and allows me to share my hard-won knowledge/paddle with others up a creek.

Every part of my being feels stimulated, and I get paid to do it! That blows my mind.

Plus, most of my issues exist because of my fears and insecurities. By pushing through the discomfort, I’ll always find that kernel of awesomeness that keeps me fulfilled.

So no matter how bogged down I feel, I always stick around because I need to help you.

What about you?

What gives you pause?

What fans your fires?

Why Taking a Facebook Break Might Not Be the Worst Thing Ever for a Blogger

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Facebook Break

On June 10, 2013, I decided that my Facebook addiction had gone too far.

Instead of spending time with family or getting out of the house, I was continuously sucked into the downward blue-and-white scrolling of the insanely popular social media site.

Facebook Break

“The internet is stealing my soul.”

As a blogger who maintains several different pages, I was constantly checking new updates, searching for social media parties, and looking for content to share. If I spent several hours a day obsessively Facebooking, I could generate some major traffic boosts to my food blog‘s page.

But, that meant I spent hours on my days off of work doing things to watch numbers increase. Basically, I was supplementing my real life with an artificial one so I felt less bored and lonely.

That’s a painful truth to admit. Sure, I justify it as “blog work,” but it was also “sad, bored Rachael work.” The more it leaned towards the latter, the more I knew it was time to go.

So, I finished up a few email relays I had going, sent out a goodbye, and logged off (suspending your account is really about the same as logging off).

The worst part of the entire experience was teaching myself to let go. WhyThe second my “I’m leaving” status went live: my numbers dropped.

Not just a little, but a lot. It was like I said “I step on puppy tails and I like it,” not, “hey, I’m moving across the country and going crazy with social media addiction.”

That hurt my feelings (boo, a blogger with feelings!) because it felt like my readers were such fair-weather, one-sided friends that they disappeared if I needed time for myself.

Blogging really is a going-out-of-your-way process. Sure, it might seem like I’m just spewing out content, but I’m actually doing an insane amount of leg work, not including creating and preparing recipes, photographs, posts, and more. It can very easily be a full-time job if I don’t keep it in check.

So, the crux of the emotional pain was that people didn’t want me around anymore if I wasn’t giving them something for free, and that hurt.

Over a month into this little experiment, that pain went away completely. Who cares if they left? That’s not my core readership. My core readers actually comment MORE on my individual posts and I still get traffic from people sharing my updates on their Facebook pages. My real audience understands and, even more, supports my choice.

I blog more, spend more time on the little details, and have noticed a drastic spike in affiliate sales and advertising fees. Yes, when I cut off Facebook, I doubled my Amazon Associates earnings.

Success Kid Blogging

That’s probably not a direct correlation, but still, I wake up in the morning and my numbers continue to increase even without the obsessive Facebook stalking.

Do you have a Facebook problem?

If you…

Promise you can “quit anytime,” you might.

“Just want to scroll one more page,” you definitely do.

Talk about your statuses and comments in ordinary conversation, you need a break.

Will it kill your numbers?

Not necessarily. Even if it does, does it matter? Would you rather have a high Like count or increased traffic and revenue? What about a little more breathing room in your life? That sounds pretty sweet to me.

The moral of the story: take care of yourself.

Do what you need to do. If you want or need time away from Facebook, go for it. People will leave, but those who do are not really your core readership.

If you have more time for life, you’ll feel more relaxed and refreshed, you’ll write better content, and your blog will improve.

Or, you’ll enjoy being alive, stop worrying about the little details, and have fun a while.

Either way, you CAN be a blogger and stay off Facebook. And it isn’t even the slightest bit of a nail in the coffin.

What do you think? Would you ever leave your Facebook page unattended for a while? Are you happy with the amount of time you spend on Facebook? Would you ever be willing to try a brief Facebook break? Why or why not?

One Year Later: An oDesk Review

oDesk Review

Nearly a year ago, I signed up with oDesk. I finally realized that I wanted to turn my freelance writing dreams into reality and also, I wanted money so I could feed myself and my cat.

Last August, I wrote a post about making oDesk work for you, which continues to be my biggest traffic boon. Turns out people around the world had similar ideas to mine, and wanted to know a bit before jumping in (smart move, world!).

Click here for 17 tips to avoid being scorned on oDesk! And yes, “scorned” is basically the same as “screwed.”

I received both positive and negative criticism out there. Many freelance writers think it’s awful another would ever consider suggesting such an endeavor to new writers. Others thanked me for my feedback, and told me that my words helped them know what to look for and what to avoid.

The real test, though, is to see if I still use the site. Even with my long list of tips and suggestions, do I still work with any of the clients I met through oDesk? Do I still work as a freelance writer?

No and Yes.

Do I still work with any of my oDesk clients?

First, I must admit that I found wonderful clients on oDesk. These tips led me to amazing people working hard to make their own businesses work. I really enjoyed knowing I was helping real people, but I eventually walked away from all of my projects.

Yes, there was work out there and yes, there were good clients, but I couldn’t generate enough passion and enthusiasm to write about topics that don’t interest me personally. Maybe that’s bad and maybe I’ll get some criticism for that, but I just couldn’t. Instead of writing strong posts on topics I cared about, I was forcing myself to write mediocre articles. I take my work seriously, and I do not want my name on mediocre articles. Would you?

So instead of schlepping manure, I opted to lose those sources of income. It was hard walking away from some of the clients, but I am glad that I had the guts to know when it was time to go.

Am I still a freelance writer?

Yes! In my heart, yes. Do I have any paying gigs right now? …Not at the moment. I took a break to figure out what to do with myself. I needed the income (student loans and such), but I also wanted to make sure that I only worked on projects that I could sustain. I’ve been working more on my own blogs and researching great places to guest blog. Plus, I’ve been helping other blogger friends make their sites and pages work.

As it turns out, that’s what I like. I love helping people, especially brand new bloggers, turn their ideas into something real. Sometimes, all they need is an extra set of eyes. Other times, they need to be walked through a specific process here or there. I’ve done it, I know how to do it, and I love sharing.

To pay the bills, I took an out-of-the-house job as a cheesemonger (for real), which fits perfectly in line with my food love. I am seeking new clients and work that fit within the parameters of topics I actually enjoy, so don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any projects or questions out there! I’m still totally available and eager.

Do I ever return to oDesk?

There have been times when I’ve gone to oDesk to look up the projects available out there, but I always end up shaking my head and closing all of the tabs. Those pay rates just are not sustainable with the expenses I have here in the U.S. The best projects I took were through oDesk though, so that doesn’t mean that you can’t find great clients out there. For higher, more sustainable rates though, you might have to look elsewhere.

My biggest tip about making oDesk work for you now…

Grab a niche. Yes, be versatile. Have skillz out the wazoo, BUT you also need a niche. I found my best clients when I narrowed down the focus as a small business blogger and social media manager. People wanted that background of people who can do the social media thing but also offer blogging. They also found my degree to be an asset, as it proved my writing and research strengths.

To succeed, pick something that you do really well (or want to do) and sell yourself as that. Don’t be a “freelance writer;” Be a “social media manager” or “food blogger” or “technical virtual assistant” or something else like that. Be specific. Clients LOVE finding people who can do exactly what they want.

One Year Later: An oDesk Review

The best thing about oDesk…

Still, I think that oDesk is a great place for new writers to get started. You might not make a ton, but you can see what it’s like to work with a client and fulfill a writing gig. You learn how to sell yourself through a cover letter, and how to get over the fear of failure and JUST DO IT ALREADY.

oDesk gave me some cred, but my work helped turn me into a professional.

Do you have any oDesk experiences? How were they? How did you get started as a writer?

Disclaimer: I may be compensated financially for any purchases made from the links above.

How to Get More Guest Posts for Your Blog: 3 Simple Steps

Get More Guest Posts

{Today, I am so honored to introduce you to Keri Lynn from Amazing Women in History. She’s a phenomenal writer, and one of the coolest women I’ve ever met (even if we’re only internet friends).

We met over Reddit once, and she had written this amazing list of tips to increase your guest blogger count, and I told her she should share it as her own guest post somewhere…like here! So she wrote it up, and sent it on over. This is some top notch advice, and I feel not worthy of such wisdom here!

So please, read everything, leave comments, and then tell her you love her, too. – Rachael}

I’m sure you’ve read all the advice floating around the interwebs about guest posting: why it’s the greatest way to build your blog, how to find the best blogs to guest post on, what to write about, and how to snag that spot on the A-list blogs.

But what if you’re on the opposite end? Not an A-lister, I mean (though if you are, and you’re reading this right now, you should totally read my blog AmazingWomenInHistory and tell all your followers about it). I mean a blogger like me with an established blog whose looking for some guest posters.

Get More Guest Posts

If guest posting is such a big thing, you might be thinking, where are all these bloggers that should be overflowing your email inbox with proposals and queries and kick-ass posts for you? The truth is, you’re probably not making it worth their time to write for you, or maybe you’re keeping it a secret that you accept guest posts. You’re probably not even asking for guests posts either, are you?

“Wait — why do I want guest posts?”

Besides the fact that it makes you feel like a superstar when other people want to write for your blog (isn’t that enough??), here’re a few reasons why you should be seeking guest posts:

  1. Other people promote your blog for you. When your guest post goes up, your guest writer will happily share their post with their own platform. They’ll tweet it, share it on Facebook or LinkedIn, post it to G+, email it to their friends & family, maybe even pin it to Pinterest. That’s a lot of marketing legwork someone’s doing for you for free!
  2. All this promotion your guest is doing for you is going to keep working for you long after their precious is posted, through the magic of SEO: Search Engine Optimization. All that social sharing and backlinks will give your blog a big Google boost long after the date stamp on the post itself.
  3. Mini-vacation! You’ve gotta take a break once in a while, but there’s no need to make your readers wait for your return. Why not take a mini-break from blogging by featuring other writers for a week or two? You can even spend the time you’re saving to start working on that e-book you’ve been planning for the past year. Okay, maybe that’s just me.
  4. Here’s one benefit that’s a little less markety: Having guests on your blog is a great way to build relationships (which actually is the best way to build your blog—but this point isn’t about marketing. Oops). I’ve met several wonderful people through Amazing Women In History who are just as passionate about women’s history and writing as I am. We’ve developed real relationships and helped each other out with the challenges of blogging and more, and I feel so lucky that I’ve gotten to know these amazing & inspiring people.

So if you weren’t before, you’ve gotta be dying for the secrets for attracting all these guest posters. Believe me, they’re out there! You just have to know how to reach them & convince them it’s you blog they want to write for.

1. Write your guest post guidelines

If you want guest posts, it’s absolutely essential for you to have a guidelines page on your website, with a clear link in your main menu:

  • It shows all your visitors that you accept guest posts.
  • It pops up in the Google searches of guest posters looking for your blog.
  • It saves you time by telling potential guest posters exactly what you’re looking for in a post.
  • It attracts potential guest posters by extolling the benefits of writing for you.
  • Make the title obvious. For a while, my page was titled “Contribute”. Terrible idea. I finally realized that everyone that saw the link probably thought I was asking for donations. Which I am; but not monetary, just literary. Now it says “WriteforAWH”.
  • Specify what kind of posts you’re looking for. If you only want posts on certain topics, list them here. Tell them what style of writing will fit with your blog, how long you want the post to be (in word count), whether you need pictures or other media with it, etc. If you want to limit the amount of outside links in the post, or disallow affiliate links, here’s the place to tell them.
  • Convince them it’s worth it. This is optional; you might want to keep this info to yourself, or tell them in a private email. You could tell them exactly how you’ll promote their post—how many times will you tweet it? Will you share it on Facebook? Send it out in your newsletter? On my page, I have a section titled “Self-Promotion”, where I tell them about how they can write their own bio including a picture, and include links to their websites and social media accounts.
  • SEO Optimize. This is a scary-sounding phrase if you don’t know SEO, but really it just means to use the same words on your page that are being used to search for you. Prolific guest posters will often search for new blogs by entering search terms like [niche] “guest post guidelines” or [niche] “write for us”. So you want to use these exact phrases on your page, especially in important places like page titles and headings.

Guidelines for your “Guest Post Guidelines” page

1. Make it worth their while

Here’s the most important fact for you to remember about soliciting guest posts: No one’s going to write for you for free.

Now I know you’re an awesome person with an amazing blog, and in a perfect world people would be flooding your inbox with proposals to write for you just for the sheer joy of it. Alas, that perfect world doesn’t exist, and everyone here in this blogosphere is in it for themselves.

We know why guest posting is so popular: bloggers guest post around the interwebs for exposure. Whether to build their newsletter, boost their SEO, or sell more books, they’re in it for the big payoff. You’ve got to let them know exactly why your blog is the best place for them to do that.

  • Have your stats ready to share if someone asks for them. How much to share is up to you; you may want to keep some or all of this info (like hits per day or your newsletter subscribers) a trade secret. But a lot of it is publicly available anyway, like your Twitter followers, Facebook likes, or RSS subscribers, so you may as well show them off. Focus on the big numbers and don’t mention the ones that still need work.
  • Give your guest authors a sweet author bio. Don’t just ask them for a bio—ask them for a picture and let them list all their websites & social media. I recommend the WordPress plugin CustomAboutAuthor. It lets you display a really nice-looking bio for guest authors with a picture and links to all their social media profiles. This is really attractive to potential guest posters because they know their bio will be featured prominently.
  • Tell them how you’ll promote their post. I tweet a post at least 3 times the week it’s out, plus it gets tweeted automagically every so often with my Tweetily plugin. I also share all posts on my Facebook page and send them out to my email newsletter. You can put this information on your “Write for Us” page, or just share it when inviting someone to write for you.

2. Ask for guest posts

Ninety percent of blogging success comes from building relationships. Okay, I just made up that percentage; but we all know that building relationships with other bloggers is truly essential if you want to succeed in blogging.

You already know where your readers and fellow bloggers in your niche hang out, whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, 90’s-looking niche forums, or wherever. You’re out there schmoozing and helping and giving advice and generally building your rep as the expert.

Guess what? All those friends & colleagues you’re meeting are potential guest posters for your blog. Some of them may be dying to get exposure for their own blog or book or Kickstarter project, and would love to write you a little post to help them get the word out.

Here’s how you can harness their powers for your own blog:

  1. Remind the world that you accept guest posts. Here’s where you can show off your new guidelines page. Just post a quick message like “Hey, did you know Super Awesome Blog is now accepting guest posts? We’d love to have you! Check it out here: http://example.com/guest-post-guidelines/
  2. Get your competition working for you. You’re already checking up on the competition, and you know they’ve got what it takes to write a great post. Email your blogging arch-nemesis asking for a guest post exchange.
  3. Hit up new fans and followers. Next time someone interesting follows you on Twitter or Facebook, take some time to check out their website or blog. If you like what you see, send them a Twitter DM or Facebook message complimenting their work, and ask if they’d be interested in guest posting on your blog.

Bonus tip: Don’t worry too much about how big or small your guest’s blog is. Maybe your guest only has 500 Twitter followers to your 5,000. Guess what? They’re way more likely to put their heart and soul into promoting their post, and may become one of your most loyal readers. And don’t be too intimidated to ask a bigger blogger for a guest post. You just won’t know till you ask—maybe your favorite big blogger is a fan of yours, too!

Now you’re ready for more guests posts on your blog! Here are 3 simple steps to take now:

  1. Start writing that Guest Post Guidelines page—don’t put it off! Don’t worry about getting it perfect at first; you can always add more info later.
  2. Get your blog ready for your guests. Collect some stats and decide how you’ll display your author bios and promote their posts.
  3. Now make a list of 5 bloggers you want to write for you, and contact them with a short & sweet email or Twitter DM.

Follow these three steps & soon you’ll be able to go on a blogging vacation with all the posts you’ll have rolling in ;)

From the Trenches: Month 3 in the HubPages Apprenticeship Program

HubPages Apprenticeship Program

Let me pause a moment in this writing foxhole to wipe the dust from my brow and share a bit of my experience with the HubPages Apprenticeship Program.

You might remember this program from my previous post on why HubPages rocks for new writers. Although I totally believe that, I’m starting to feel less excited about the program. Here’s why:

1. I am awful, awful, awful with deadlines.

So, HPA really requires very little of its participants. Simply study the lessons, implement the techniques, engage in the community, and write your freaking articles. You only have to write 8 a month. That’s not bad at all. And heck, they pay you to do so!

HubPages Apprenticeship Program

“Oh, you have a deadline? Let’s not do that, and say we did.”

Why do I struggle with it? Well, you have until the end of the month. It’s very hard to motivate myself to sit down and put the pen to paper when I have weeks left in the month.

I’m constantly working at the edge of a deadline cliff. Sure, I have had family issues arise the last few times, but those last minute problems would not have caused stress had I worked earlier in the month. Whoops.

2. The topics aren’t always super awesome.

This is my own personal problem, I suppose. HubPages Apprentices are given special access to an awesome and super useful article topic generating tool that will not be named since I think it’s secret. I really like this special tool, but sometimes have to convince myself to just start already.

It’s not like my personal blog where I write about things like shortbread and being fat. Instead, I have to go with what’s available unless I want to get prior approval on a topic and hey, when you’re barely about to make a deadline, there’s no time for prior approval.

3. The lessons aren’t big news if you have experience.

Alright, so the Apprenticeship Program is really perfect for people with no clue. Since I know some about the ins and outs of search engines and article writing, the tips are more like practical homework I know I should do but avoid.

This does not mean that the next three months have tips I’ve never even considered or that the lessons are flawed in any way. They’re incredibly useful and plain-spoken. They’re a wonderful way to learn! And hey, I know I’m not perfect. I’m kind of a slow-moving tortoise who likes to do it my way even if that’s not the right way.

4. Payments are released when you hit $50 the next month.

Unless you write over 8 articles in the month before or have enough ad revenue to bust that $50 minimum, you won’t get paid every month. Yes, that does mean I’ll get twice as much this month, but when you’re strapped for cash, it’s nice to get paid right away.

5. Group members are busy.

HubPages Apprenticeship Program

Everyone’s going somewhere quickly, and I just want to stop and chat.

I’ve sort of stopped interacting with my group too much because everyone’s always very busy. You might wait days to get a response to a thread, which kind of kills the fire of enthusiasm. I understand that everyone’s busy, but I’d like a little more activity. Perhaps I should start kicking things up and go around commenting on everyone’s articles to remind them that I exist. Yeah!

Easy solution: I could and should write more than those required 8 articles. This problem would go right out the window if I did that. Now to find the motivation…

What I still love:

1. My Mentor

There are some aspects of the HubPages Apprenticeship Program that I absolutely adore, and my number one favorite thing is my mentor! Her name is Simone Smith, and she’s fabulous. Young, creative, clever, and (more than a little) offbeat, she’s the perfect person to guide me into literary awesomeness.

2. Mentorship in general

Even if you aren’t paired with the sublime Simone Smith, apprentices still get to work with an experienced, knowledgeable mentor. There’s very little better than direct and honest feedback about your work. You get custom suggestions on improvements from people “on the inside,” which can help you improve your writing drastically. I love this aspect!

3. The Practical Experience

Okay, so I might have just said that this is something that I don’t like, but I really do. The problem is with my own motivation. If the lessons were mind-blowing, I’d jump into the practical exercises with enthusiasm. Since they aren’t, I have to motivate myself to do them because they’re good for me. As I’m sure you can tell, that’s hard for me. Like exercise and flossing.

4. I get paid to write.

Sometimes I forget that I have this other little paying gig but when I remember, I’m excited! It’s not  just getting paid to write (my dream), but it’s also on HubPages.

Regardless of how I feel about the program, I will continue to do my work and recommend it to everyone I possibly can. The HubPages Apprenticeship Program continues to be awesome, and we’re lucky to have this opportunity.

What Do You Call Success?

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Life = hard. There are so many freakin’ ups and downs in this gig, it’s crazy. But, there are also so many little bundles of awesomeness that it’s hard to stay too down for too long.

In my blogging experiences, everything is a roller coaster. You create great content, and no one reads. You’re sad because hey, that was a good article. Then, you find that someone pinned your post, tweeted it, or did something else with a weird name, and the traffic is pouring in.

Recently, I gave myself a double high five (looks like clapping) because I earned my very first income on Amazon Associates. I’ve taken advantage of Amazon in many ways over the years, but I was feeling a little dejected and disappointed in their affiliate program. After months, I’d yet to sell a single item. Other bloggers sell all kinds of stuff, but I don’t. What’s wrong with me? Is my website not pretty enough? Is it too fat? Am I too weird?

Then, I opened my Amazon Associates account to find that I’d sold something. People hadn’t just clicked, they’d bought, too.

My jaw dropped. Adrenaline coursed through my body. I got up and galloped around the house. I picked up the cat and made him dance with me.

Somebody bought something.

I made money.

In addition to my Amazon sales, I’d also garnered enough clicks from AdSense to pay my hosting fees for the first time ever. Perhaps you expect this little blog to be making tons of money, but it doesn’t. December 2012 was the first time since I started this blog (technically, March 2012) that I’d earned more than $1-2.

No, I didn’t strike gold. No, I’m not making out with Darren Rowse. But, I achieved two of my first goals: to make money with Amazon Associates and to make enough from my blogs to pay for hosting.

Blogging Success

This is not me, but this is a winner.

I feel like a winner.

The only way to feel successful is to define success. You can give yourself painfully high expectations, or you can set small, achievable goals on your path to these greater destinations.

Ask yourself what you want. Draw a map to get there. Include water breaks, time for naps, and anything else to meet your natural pace. When you reach those destinations you have in mind, take a break, enjoy the surroundings, and celebrate!

It might just be $10, but it’s symbolic of something much greater. To me, that $10 is success.

What little things make you feel like your life is on track? Write me a message below!

How to Make oDesk Work For You

For months now, I’ve used oDesk to connect with clients. It gave me my start in the freelance writing business, and has been very good to me. In fact, I recommend it to many others who are looking to work on interesting projects and create inroads with wonderful new clients.

Image representing oDesk as depicted in CrunchBase

oDesk Tips and Tricks

But, oDesk is loathed across the freelance writing community. There have been times I’ve ended searches with my head in my hands, dejected and disappointed by the lack of respectable positions.

I’ve written a one year update (click to read)!

*Be sure to scroll all the way down for the best tips to avoid becoming a scorned oDesk contractor!

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How to Use Swagbucks to Cut Expenses Without Selling Your Identity

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Earn at Swagbucks.com

Earn at Swagbucks.com (Photo credit: mcdonaldjennifer6)

I love the idea of supplementing my meager income online, but I don’t love the idea of wasting my time, selling my information, or being scammed. Somehow, those things just don’t get me too excited.

The author of a favorite blog of mine mentioned once that she uses Swagbucks. Naturally, I had to do it too since I will do anything she says.

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