Thursday, September 27, 2007

POST #23: 40 Days to a Successful Freelance Writing Career

PUBLISHER NOTE: If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know about the upcoming freelance writing seminar in October. Details.

Many have inquired about what will be discussed at the seminar. So, in order to answer your questions and to get you prepared for what to expect, I started a series of posts entitled "40 Days to a Successful Freelance Writing Career."To start at the beginning, click here. And, welcome to the blog. Now, on to today’s post . . .

The Dangers of Forums for Freelance Writers

Forums can be dangerous places for freelance writers, for a myriad of reasons. But, the number one reason is that they are time killers.

What Housekeeping Can Teach You about Freelancing

I got up this morning, made the bed, folded two baskets of laundry, put another load in the dryer, cooked breakfast and washed the dishes. Total time: About 45 minutes. I did all of this before I started my workday.

My point?

When I get up in the morning, I’m on a mission. I usually have a list of things I want to get to during the day, and from the time my feet hit the floor, I’m conscious of not wasting time.

While some make think this is a bit regimented, it really isn’t – once it became a habit.

You see, I can’t stand a dirty house – I’m not a neat freak, but I do keep a pretty clean house. I could easily spend 14 or 15 hours a day at my computer – but, I do have a family that I have to devote time to, I’m a runner, so I have to make time for that, and I’m a freelance writer – which encompasses a lot (eg, writing ebooks, producing seminars, updating my blog and website, etc.).

Women – and I don’t mean this to be a sexist statement at all – are natural multi-taskers. For example, while my breakfast was cooking, I was washing up the few dishes in the sink.

When my fiancĂ© cooks, he doesn’t do this. He leaves all the dirty dishes and the containers from whatever he’s used to prepare the meal to clean up last. I stay away from the kitchen when he cooks because I can’t stand to look at the unruliness of the space.

I clean and put away things as I cook.

Applying this type of regimentation to your freelance career will ensure that you use each day to the max. This is one of the things I talk about in the e-report, How to Make $100/Day as a Freelance Writer. [FYI, I gave this report away free to newsletter subscribers yesterday. Later on today, it will be listed on for $5. Want the free copy? Become a newsletter subscriber]

So, what does all of this have to do with forums?

Many freelancers lurk in them for hours on end – wasted hours that could have been spent on income-producing tasks.

“But,” you may be thinking, “I learn a lot in the forums.”

My response: Fine. But go to them to find the answer to a question you have, and then leave. Don’t get lost in threads and/or, get sucked in to contributing to threads to the point where you lose big chunks of time.

Time is your most valuable commodity as a freelance writer. As I’ve said in many, many articles in the past – time is money – and this is especially true when you are a freelancer.

Now, I’m not saying don’t contribute to a forum. I love forums and probably wouldn’t know half of what I do know if I didn’t spend some time in them. But, I consciously limit my time in them, and follow a few rules to keep me on track.

Rules for Forum Lurking

Plan Ahead: As in, schedule some forum time into your work day/ work week. This way, you have a defined time that doesn’t take away from something else you could/should be doing.

Limit Contributions: The very nature of forums is to share information. But, limit the amount of time you spend sharing. Answering one question can take an hour or more, if you answer it thoroughly.

I get a lot of questions from readers of my blog, ebooks and website, but I structure how and when I answer them. If it’s a question I get a lot, I simply provide a link to previous answers. If it’s a relatively new question, I may save it and turn it into an article, posting in on my blog for all to benefit from. This way, I get double duty from the question – it serves as a blog post, and it answers the reader’s inquiry.

Research: Use forums as research. When you go to one, be there for a specific reason. Once you find the answer to what you’re looking for, leave.

Market: Forums are great for marketing. For example, if you’re promoting an ebook or your writing services, log on and answer a question – in detail – then provide a link in your signature to whatever you’re promoting (your website, ebook, seminar, etc.).

If you’re serious about making money as a freelance writer, you have to be ruthless with your time. Social networking outlets like forums can be great boosters to your career, but only when they are used in a defined manner, as outlined above.

Happy lurking!
Yuwanda (Who is this person?)
Endnote: It’s about 10:45 am. I started work at 8:30 this morning – way early for me. So far, I’ve surfed the net, checked email, finished this blog post, taken two phone calls, made the bed, folded two baskets of laundry, put another load in the dryer, cooked breakfast and washed the dishes.

Have you wasted time today?

P.S.: IT PAYS TO SUBSCRIBE! Yesterday, I sent a free, 11-page report to subscribers entitled, How to Make $100/Day as a Freelance Writer. This report will sell for $5 later today. But, if you become a subscriber to Inkwell's newsletter, you will receive it free along with the latest issue.

It's jam packed with info on how -- and why you should -- take concrete steps to reach the $100/day mark freelancing. Subscribe today.

P.P.S.: BONUS! Oh yeah, you get the free e-book on article marketing -- Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Article Marketing: Results of a 30-day Article Marketing Experiment -- for signing up too!
What's in Inkwell Editorial’s Newsletter?

Yesterday's Issue: For all you artists our there (illustrators, cartoonists, photographers, this one is for you). I interviewed successful cartoonist Dan Rosendach. He’s been a freelancer since 1976 and lays out some concrete marketing tactics for keeping the business rolling in.

Missed the last issue of Inkwell's freelance writing newsletter? The 9/12 issue featured an interview with freelance writer, Gordon Graham, aka, that white paper guy.Gordon charges $90/hour just to edit a white paper and a minimum of $4,000 to produce one from scratch.

Wanna know what he had to say? Sign up to receive your copy to read his informative, in-depth interview.

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