Friday, September 30, 2011


685 E. I-10 Service Road
Slidell, LA 70461-5501

Phone: 1 (800) 688-0295
These wonderful people stole an article I published on ezine as well as stole a blog right from this very blog here and reposted it on their site. Not only did they swap out the author name with their own, there is no link or credit to my writing the original article or where they received the article.

I have reported this company to Ezine as well as called an attorney. Copyright infringement is a serious crime and not tolerated.

Not only does this company claim to help people, like freelance writers, to get jobs, but they apparently steal from work-from-home freelance writers as well. 

9 Ways to Make Money Blogging

So you started a blog. You have good content and you have a marketable idea, but how do you make money off it? Like most bloggers, you are stuck trying to make some money and create a passive income, but the information on how to do that just isn’t out there. Believe it or not, the information is there, just not out in the open. If you are looking to make some money from your blog, check into a few of these passive income strategies:

eBay Affiliates
The eBay Affiliate program provides bloggers with the ability to link products sold on eBay that relate directly to their blog content. These posts can be turned into widgets on the blog or embedded right in the post text. For each item purchased from your blog, you get a percentage (typically 4%) of the earnings.

Amazon Affiliates
Amazon works like eBay, in which you post links to Amazon products on your site. In return, if a customer clicks on a link posted on your blog and purchases the product, you get a percentage of the purchase price. Unlike eBay, Amazon rewards affiliates by productivity. So the more you sell, the higher your percentage.

Google Adsense
Adsense by Google is one of the easiest ways to make money blogging. Some blog sites, like, offer the ability to add an Adsense widget and you are done. Nothing to maintain, nothing to code, the ads show up, users click them and you get paid every so many clicks per advertisement.

Pay Per Click Advertising
Pay per click advertising is just that, you get paid each time someone clicks on an advertisement. Google is the most popular pay-per-click or PPC, but there are others like Yahoo and MSN that offer PPC advertising for bloggers.

CPM Advertising
CPM or Cost Per Thousand (M) are advertising companies that pay bloggers per viewing of their advertisement, rather than clicks. That means that for every 1,000 views of an advertisement on your blog, you get a paid percentage.

CPA Advertising
CPA or Cost Per Action pays out more than PPC or CPM methods, but these require the visitor to actually act. Whether it is signing up for a newsletter, requesting a quote, etc. Most CPAs will pay bloggers $25 to $65 per action, whereas CPMs and PPCs only pay $0.50 to $1.00 per click.

Self-Made Products
You can promote your blog and make some money with self-made products. For example, you host a humor blog. Create funny slogans for t-shirts, coffee mugs and even calendars and sell them directly on your blog as well as other sites. This is a two-in-one since you will promote and make money all in the same action.

Surveys and Polls
There are many companies out there, usually CPMs that will pay you to host surveys and polls on your blog. In return, you will get a share of the earnings. Companies such as Vizu Answers, let you sign up and select a type of poll that is similar to your blog’s content.

Earn cash for your blog just by asking for donations to keep it running. This method usually only works for blogs that have loyal readers, but also a large fan base. Furthermore, you need interesting content that makes readers want to pay to read more. Ask for small donations and you might be surprised at how large they can get.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

10 Tips for Beginners to Create an Awesome Blog

A blog is no longer just a place to park a few thoughts. A blog is now a business, an income and a place to share your personal experiences, expertise and even your products. Unfortunately, you are not the only one coming up with the savvy idea of a blog, which is why you need to stand out in the crowd of thousands of other sites just like yours. Utilize Savvy Freelancer’s tips for creating the best blog.

Tip 1 – Create Personality
A blog is not anything people want to read if it has no personality. The best blog site offers personality, information and something entertaining.

Tip 2 – Post Consistently
Maintain your site with consistent posts. Posts once every other month or even every other week will not keep readers coming back to the site. Write up posts and submit them at least once per week or announce when posts regularly come out to keep readers coming back for more.

Tip 3 – Don’t Go Overboard
Do not create a site that has your weekly ramblings or have posts be over 500 words long. The average reader loses interest after 400 words; therefore, gear your posts to something the average reader will read, enjoy and not skim through.

Tip 4 – Have a Solid Idea
The most unsuccessful blogs do not have a solid idea. Instead they bounce back and forth from one idea to another, without consistency. Create one solid and very simple idea and stick to it. If you want to veer off course, then create a new site for that new route.

Tip 5 – Allow Comments
Enjoy the feedback of your readers by allowing comments. This will help you gear your next posts toward what people want to hear, get feedback and even have a little insight from others just like you in the same topic.

Tip 6 – Use Titles
Don’t skip on post titles or site titles. These are what search engines often attract; therefore, the title you use should be SEO optimized and attract visitors. The title should also be eye-catching enough in your blog for people to click on it and want to read it.

Tip 7 – Have an Audience
Decide the audience your site will speak to. The best blogs utilize one particular audience. Are you talking to the younger generation? Such as teenager? Or are you geared toward those headed into retirement? Make your posts, language and personality all focus around the main audience type.

Tip 8 – Be Visible
A private site is one that will not have traffic. Make sure posts are set to “public” status for visitors to read and enjoy.

Tip 9 – Be Social
Social networking is a best-friend to the best blogs on the internet. Create a Facebook, Twitter and MySpace page geared toward just your site. Drive traffic to that site with extensive friend lists and followers.

Tip 10 – Use Pictures
Visual helps a lot of readers. Use pictures to enhance posts, especially if posts are how-to related. Do not use other sites posts. Create your own picture to enhance and entice readers to read further. The best blogs will have picture galleries, examples and more to keep the reader interested.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

End of Week Report

Freelancing is up and down and this week has proven that. A travel company I normally work for not only cut work unexpectedly, but then did not pay me two weeks worth of work, which totalled over $500. Just goes to show a point brought up several times -- prepare for the unexpected. Therefore, the goal of $750 for the week did not happen since the workload changed rather unexpectedly.

Tip of the Day: Always have a backup writing client. Never just write for one client, because that one client can and just might, cut work without notification and without pay.

This Week's Goal: $750
Actual Earnings: $502

Next Week's Goal: $750

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Savvy Freelancers Guide!

Announcing the Savvy Freelancers Guide. This set of eBooks includes how-to advice, guides and step-by-step instructions for success on blogs, article writing, writing a novel and even eBook publishing. Links to come soon! Check them out.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tips for Making Money off Blogging: Affiliate Programs

So you have created a blog, but how do you make money from it? Though you can sell products directly from your blog, this type of passive income takes months if not years to show any results.  Instead, bloggers can make a lucrative blog by just posting advertisements through affiliate programs.

What is an Affiliate Program?
Basically, an affiliate program pays you a commission percentage when people buy a product or visit a website via your blog. Typically programs pay between four and nine percent commission, depending on how much traffic you bring in, how many products you sell, etc.

There are hundreds of thousands of affiliate programs out there, but to be successful with an affiliate and actually make money, you need to use them properly.

Who Reads Your Blog?
Before signing up for an affiliate program, ask yourself a simple question “Who reads this?”. Your audience is the first deciding factor in what type of affiliates to post on your site. For example, if you write about cake decorating, then you want culinary and cake decorating supplies listed on your site, not iPads and computers.

Be Genuine
Do not just promote any and ever product on your site. Instead, be genuine about the links and products you promote. Using the cake decorating example, if you are trying to teach people how to frost a cake, but tell them they need a particular tool, advertise that particular tool. Use a tool that you use or have used and you actually recommend.

Correlate Advertisements
Make sure the advertisements you use correlate with the blog post you are writing about. Do not just post random banners for Amazon or eBay all over your site. This will not only limit the chance of anyone clicking on it, but limit your income.

Strategically Place Your Links
Don’t just put a link at the bottom of the page and assume a reader will click on it. Even the best products need strategic placement. Position your advertisements in a hot spot of the page instead.

Drive Traffic
You won’t make money from your affiliate programs if you do not have traffic coming to your site. The more people that visit your site, the more likely a few of them will actually click on those links. Blogs that only have 100 visitors per day might make some money, but blogs that have over 1,000 visitors per day will really make the money.

Don’t Be Obvious
Do not be obvious about your affiliates or that you are outright trying to make money from your blog. Pushy advertising and sales is what drives people away from your blog. Instead, be subtle, be crafty and most importantly, be smart about how you advertise.

Keep Track
Check monthly reports from your blog and posted affiliates. See what types of links got the most attention and from what posts. Use that data to create more successful post/link combinations on the blog to optimize commission sales.

Check out Savvy Freelancers “Guide to Making a Successful and Lucrative Blog in 30 Days” eBook for tips on how to use affiliate programs, 50 affiliate programs that work and strategies that will make you money before the month is over.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tips for Using Freelance Websites

A freelance writer’s best friend is the site that combines all of the country’s clients in one centralized location. Sites such as ODesk, Guru and Elance are all great sites for freelance writers looking for a quick job, extra money or perhaps a permanent position. Though these sites protect the freelancer, there are still ways to get scammed. Since I have tried them all, I have compiled a few tips for working your way through jobs in freelance sites, getting paid and avoiding scams.

Create a Profile
Employers want to see a resume when you apply and the same goes for freelance sites. Don’t just sign up for an account and apply to jobs. You won’t get any. You have to complete a profile on the site that includes information like experience, past work and even a few links to writing samples. The more proactive you are with your profile, the more job offers that will come to you, rather than you coming to them. Treat it like a resume and fill in every section. If the site offers tests, like does, then take the tests.

Market Yourself
Freelance sites have thousands of writers with active profiles listed; therefore, a writer literally has to stand out in a crowd. Market yourself by offering up all of the information required in the profile including samples, resume, links to previous work, past clients, etc. Prepare a cover letter when you bid on jobs and sell yourself to the company. Tailor your cover letter to the type of job -- such as a little humor for a posting looking for a comedy writer.

Free Samples?
Employers on freelancing sites often ask for a sample to make sure your writing abilities match what they are looking for. Though most companies have honest intentions, there are some that post jobs, accept samples and use those samples instead of paying writers to work for them.  If a client requests a free sample based on a topic they present, proceed with caution. Require that the company either pay for the sample or offer links and examples of past work you have done instead. If the company only wants a free sample based on their own keywords, most likely they are fishing for free work.

Scammer Alert
Freelance sites try to protect freelancers, but scammers still get in. Never sign on with a company that asks for your social security number, personal information or sounds too good to be true. For example, clients that offer writers the chance to write their own book for thousands of dollars and no cost to them, are usually scams.

Name Your Price
When a writer first sets up a profile on these types of sites, they are required to name and hourly and per article (or word) rate. If this is your first time on that particular site, it’s time to be reasonable. You cannot expect companies to pay you $22 per hour, even if you have the credentials. Clients on these sites want to see feedback from other customers on the site and in your work history WITH THAT SITE before paying you anything worthy. So set your prices lower than expected until you build up a good work history on that site.

The Reality of it All
Freelancer sites are a great way for writers to make money, if they know how to work it. The bottom line is if you sign up with the expectations to make thousands of dollars that month, you will be very disappointed. Instead, be realistic. Follow the steps listed here and you can find success or even land a great job from one of these sites.

Visit the Where to Work page for user reviews and a list of freelance sites to work for.

…My personal experience? I found a great job writing travel articles and updates for from a freelancer site ( They paid $25 for 500 words and $35 for 650 words. Not too shabby for working at home and writing about Paris in my pajamas.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

End of the Week Report

Normally I end my week on Sunday morning, however today I could not find my writer's mojo. I woke up at 6:00am with every intention of writing, but it seems cleaning was more appealing to my tired mind.

Each week I set goals for how many articles I will complete and an overall earnings goal. This week my goal was a rather simple one -- $500. Every freelance writer should set a weekly and monthly goal. This is the last week my goal will be $500. In fact, next week's goal is $750 and the week after that I'm bumping it to $1,000. Time to buckle down, work and get ready for Christmas -- that means new schedule.

Tip of the Day:
Set a schedule for your work week. Whether it is two hours one day and 10 the next; a schedule will get the job done. For example, I have a schedule based around my son's visitation, school and life in general. I work Tuesday through Saturday (taking Sunday and Monday off). I wake up each day at 6:30 to start working and try to have everything done by 2:00pm. On days my son is at preschools (two days per week), I set higher daily goals since I have more alone time to get them done. No matter the day, I still try to get done by 2:00pm. What's your schedule? Feel free to share your opinion on schedules and what works for you.

So how much did I make this week?

This Week's Goal: $500
Actual Earnings: $656

Next Week's Goal: $750

Can you really make money freelance writing?

I get this question a lot from family, friends and random Joe’s that ask what I do for a living. The answer is “yes and no.”. In all honesty, YES you can make money freelance writing, but NOT if you do it wrong. Did that help? Didn’t think so.

Freelance writing is a lot like gambling. You have the odds stacked against you and have to hope you pick a winner in order to score big. Some clients will pay well, others will not. When first starting out, you will not make much money without working 80 hours per week and for little to no money. Once you build yourself a hearty portfolio, however, you will get better paying jobs and eventually work when or as much as you want.

The problem with freelance writing, however, is you do not and never will have a steady paycheck. As with any self-employed job, you control how much you work, but also where that money goes and how much money comes in. One week you could make $2,000, but the next week drop to $500. With the pay going up and down worse than the ocean tides, you need to be money smart, organized and savvy in order to actually make money.

Over the next couple of weeks I will post a few blogs that help freelance writers make money, but also survive during the slump times. Check back throughout the week for the updated posts (the link will be active once the article is posted in the Tip Section):

·         Making Your Money Work for You, Not Working for the Money (Passive Income)
·         Keeping BUSI: Budgeting, Underestimating, Saving and Investing
·         Paying Yourself Last
·         The Basket, the Eggs and Where to Put Them
·         How to Find Freelance Work Locally
·         Making Money Even in Hard Times

Friday, September 16, 2011

Getting Paid as a Freelance Writer

Freelance writing is almost like gambling. You pick a client and then have to hope and pray they actually pay you when the work is complete. If you go through freelance website, they help reassure writers that they will get paid, but not always. In fact, many of those sites do not ensure a payment if a writer accepts a flat fee for services. So how do you get paid? Aside from finding paying clients, you need to be organized, efficient and learn how to invoice.

Keeping Organized
If you are like most writers, you write for more than just one client. So you need to keep track. Create a spreadsheet that tracks the work you do based on the week and month. Use a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Tabs at the bottom are set up for spreadsheets representing each month of the year. Then in each month's spreadsheet it is broken down by the week. Have one column for the client name, assignment title/project description, pay rate, date submitted and a check box for when its invoiced and another for when it is paid.

Invoicing is optional, however even if clients do not require one, it is best to start a paper trail. Invoice weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, depending on how the client pays. Use a general invoice template, but modify it to have a column for the title/project, amount and date it was submitted to the client by you.

Even if you accept a job through a freelance website, create a contract. A contract that states what work you will do for the client, what your pay rate is and especially what dates they pay you are extremely important. Have the client sign the contract and give them a copy before any work/payments have exchanged between the two of you. Clients will not only respect you for creating a contract, but also in the event a client does not pay, you have a contract in writing that they owe you for services for small claims court.

Keeping Track
As payments come in, it is important to track where the money comes from, who paid, balances owed and taxes owed by you. For full-time freelance writers, it is best to use professional accounting software set up for a small business such as Peachtree or Quickbooks by Intuit. That way, come tax time, you are organized and ready to fill in the forms, without tracking down bank statements.

Timing Yourself
Some freelance writing clients pay hourly. Though this is rare, when you do find one, you need to track time accordingly. Some sites, like, already have built-in trackers for hourly employees. There are other situations, however, you will not have a built-in tracker. Use tools such as Instant Boss or download a timer application for your smartphone or desktop to track hours. Write down hours immediately and make sure you can account for everything you did in that billable hour, even if it was just research or proofreading.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Working from Home (and Actually Working) as a Freelance Writer

Sure working from home is just about anyone's dream. You wake up, get dressed (or not), sit down and start typing away. Perhaps even enjoy a hot cup of coffee. No traffic, no fancy suits, no's a workers dream! The only problem is you are at home and not at work -- that means no "work mode".

Whether you have children, a spouse or just live alone, there are going to be distractions that prevent you from getting the job done. You tell yourself you can go shopping all day and you will work later. You can watch a few movies and you will work later. You can sleep in and you will work later. All of these are excuses I have used myself. The problem is, the further out of "work mode" you get, the less gets done as time goes on. Eventually you struggle to even work for an hour. So how do you actually work? Well, everyone is different, but after two years of working from home straight (and still making a living), I have come up with a few tips to get the job done (no pun intended):

GET READY: Sure you want to work in your favorite pajamas, but would you show up to the office like that? Though you dont have to put on a suit and tie to work from home, getting ready with a shower, brushing your teeth and hair and putting on clothes for the day will make a difference.

CREATE A WORKSPACE: Not everyone who works from home has the luxury of a spare room for an office, but if you do, I suggest making an office where you actually work. Set up a desk with your computer and all the fixings just like you would if you worked away from home. If you dont have the space for an office, still set up a desk/work area. Even if that means taking away a corner of the living room and dedicating it to a workspace.

CREATE A SCHEDULE: You may work from home, but you still have to work. Only this time you have the luxury of making your won schedule. Look at what is going on around you -- what time the kids get out of school, wake up/go to bed, what time your spouse gets home.

Basically, if it happens in your house or in your life, then it needs to factor into your schedule. If you have to, schedule blocks of time to work, even if they are chunked throughout the day. I, myself, have a  two year old who I plan around. I wake up at 6:00am Tuesday through Saturday to do an hour of work just before he gets up.

Unfortunately, working from home isn't for everyone. Some people need that schedule, need that boss and need that structure. Give it a solid effort for a month and see how you do. It takes time to adjusting to being your own boss, but in the end, you have to weigh the pros and cons of working for yourself and actually making money. Working for yourself means you supply insurance, you supply the work, you make sure you get paid, you set the schedule and YOU make sure YOU work.

Bottom line.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Who Am I?: Path of Writer Discovery

Some people wake up and just know what they are going to be as they get older -- they are the lucky ones. Or perhaps the foolish ones? I too thought I knew what I would be when I “grew up”. Boy was I wrong. If someone asked me ten years ago what I would be when I got older, a writer would not be the answer. So how did I get here? Good question.

As I was growing up I always thought I would be a doctor. Who wouldn’t want to be a doctor? The money, the prestige, the status!? I went through high school and even college ready to take on the medical field. I sought out a Bachelor in Psychology and minor in Biology. I was even pre-accepted to medical school and studied the MCAT like it was the test to save my life. So did I go to medical school? After almost $30k in student loans, I did not. Where did I go?

I went to culinary school! I loved to cook, so why not be a chef? Granted, I think this was a good career choice, however, the culinary/restaurant field was not for me. I enjoyed making wedding cakes and doing cake art, rather than making a slab of beef look like perfection on a white plate. I opened my own catering/wedding cake business and did quite well for a few years. I even competed in cake competitions and showed up to wedding expos. However, after years of taking the beatings of brides and their insanity, the love and passion I had for wedding cakes really went out the window. I felt lost, stuck and certainly broke.

By this time I had a one year old son and was recently separated from his father, whom I loved staying at home with. I decided I wanted to work from home. Though, anyone who has had that dream knows there is nothing but scams out there. So I started looking into freelance sites. I could freelance as a virtual assistant, but what a boring job that seemed like. Then I saw writing. I had always been a talented writer. I wrote my own novel at 13 (which today I’m sure would be laughed at by any book publisher or editor) and I constantly blogged. Why had I not thought of writing before? I signed up for a few freelance writing jobs -- mainly content or cheap articles; all of which paid a measly $1.00 per 500 words.

I continued to work my butt off for little pay, but then I started getting more jobs and more offers for writing. Before I knew it was offered $17 per hour or even $20 per 500 word article….and now here I am….still writing.

I think I was destined to be a writer. Words come naturally to me, but I still have that ability to showcase a little personality, even if it’s an article about mulch (yes, I have done that). Took me 27 years to find my path and now I’m on it. Working on my own novel, a screenplay and I am still writing articles for companies and all from the luxury of home. It was hard work to get here and it will be hard work to get further, but at least I found my dream.

My son is now two, almost three. I live with the most amazing man who loves my son and I and supports me in what I do. I work every day to be a good mother, a good friend, a good partner and of course, a good writer. Working from home isn’t easy, but I am doing what I love with the people I love and that is all that matters to me.

Welcome to my life…the life of a freelance writer.