In the past two months (from the end of July to the end of September), I was actively following the Earn Your First $1,000 as a Freelance Writer writing challenge by Bamidele Onibalusi. It was one of the most fun writing adventures I had in years. Even though I’ve already achieved the goal prior to the event, and I’ve been following the challenge purely out of curiosity and desire to learn new things, there are tons of eye openers that I can pick up both from Daddy Oni and all the generous souls on the Facebook forum.
This piece of writing is my personal reflections on the event, on my current freelance writing life, and on the future of my freelance career – or should I say, my life? If you want to know how the writing challenge can help your freelance career, what are the next logical steps, and what is the one most important thing that’s missing from it, stay tune. You are in for a ride.
What is the Writing Challenge All About?
The writing challenge was about how Bamidele Onibalusi, a well-established freelance writer, worked out a solid impossible-to-fail plan for him to start fresh in the freelance writing world as a beginner, and without using his existing resources tried to earn his first $1000 during the two months writing challenge time. All the group members could follow his plan to reach the same goal.
The writing challenge has catapulted many members from penny writers to the ones earning $1000 or more. Some of the members have built their writer’s website, had their works featured in authority sites, and got high-paying clients. Some others are just starting out and catching up to reach the same goals. Everybody was walking from the writing challenge with something and agreed that the process works. The challenge creator himself was able to meet the goal in 37 days and more than doubled the earning goal at the end of the finish line.
Now that the writing challenge is officially over, the question that I asked myself (and you should ask yourself) is: what’s next?
But before answering the questions, let’s see what did I actually get from all of this fun commotion? Let’s see whether your takeaways are the same or different from mine?
What Did I Get from the Writing Challenge?
In the early days of my writing career, I often wondered: “I’m a good writer. All I need to start a successful freelance writing career is the opportunity to prove myself.” The way I see it, the writing challenge is that opportunity every freelance writer needs in their early days.
The Simple Fail-Proof Formula
But if there’s something that the writing challenge proved, it’s that you don’t need any particular event to start. Using Mr. Onibalusi’s plan, even a total beginner from anywhere in the world could establish him/herself as a successful freelance writer who earns $1000 or more within two months or less. But please note that you have to be able to write.
You can read the detailed plan on his website, but here are the general points:
- Building your foundation as a freelance writer, by:
- Creating your freelance writer website. And in case you haven’t figured it out yet, this article you are reading is part of my freelance writer website.
- Creating social media accounts on major social media sites.
- Creating an About.me profile.
- Creating a professional email address as part of the website.
- Building your credibility as a freelance writer. As reputation is the factor that will determine how much people will pay you, you need to put extra effort in this step. Try your best to get published in major publications. Write for free if you have to.
- Deciding on the rates. The general guidelines are:
- In the beginning, charge realistically enough to achieve the goals without overworking yourself.
- Charge more when you are more established.
- Charge differently for different kinds of clients.
- Have confidence not to charge for peanuts. Set the minimum price.
- Prospecting for Clients
- Cold pitches work.
- Send 30-50 cold pitches daily.
- Scour the social media sites for prospective clients.
- Track the result
- Get organized using spreadsheets.
- A successful writer is an organized writer.
But one thing about the above plan that many of us don’t realize is that you can use it for virtually any online freelance career. There will be variations based on what kind of work that you do, but the basic steps are the same: make yourself known, establish your credibility, set your price, find clients, and track the result. They might look oversimplified, but they work.
Rooms to Grow
I also realized that there I’ve been going through my writing life all this long with many unchecked items from the list. Still, I could achieve the $1000 goal month in month out. It means that there are rooms to grow. I plan to go through the items on the list and hopefully, increase my monthly income.
The one thing I know that I must work out is building my confidence to charge more. What about you?
The Tipping Point
When I look at my experience, I once feel that achieving $1000 income from freelance writing is a near-impossible feat that only elite writers can achieve. But once I reached the goal, it seems that $1000 monthly is something that just about anyone can do. Slowly but surely, opportunities knocked, and doors opened. Works are coming in allowing me to achieve a similar goal the following months. Maybe this is what Malcolm Gladwell meant by passing the tipping point.
Repeating a success is easier than getting it the first time.
According to my unscientific analyses, one of the reasons that I’m able to repeat the result is because I’m always trying my best to give my all and thus convince my clients to come back for more. I once read that one repeat customer is worth ten times (or more) the one-off customers. I learned that the times when I failed to give my all always cost me my clients. That’s a costly lesson to learn, but it’s equally valuable.
Really. What’s Next?
So you’ve achieved your first $1000 from freelance writing. What will happen next? What are the next logical steps that you need to take?
Quit the Quantity Game
For me, it is to aim for a higher milestone. A $2000 monthly freelance writing income, maybe? Then after I achieve that, I’ll move to an even greater goal. Rinse and repeat.
I just recently read a study about how much freelance writers earn and found out that my earning is still at the bottom 50%. Way below the average freelance writers’ pay. It turns out that I’m playing the quantity game all this long, I should shift my gear to the quality game. You should too if you haven’t already.
The ceiling is still high, but the road to get there is long and hard. To get closer to the next goal, I devised two plans that compliment one another. The Immediate Income and The Web Properties. I learn about this in a fantastic course called Constant Profit Club (more on this later). Let’s look at them one by one.
The Short Term Goal: The Immediate Income
As the name suggested, the immediate income aims to give you quick cash to live day to day and hopefully more. As a writer, the most obvious way to earn quick cash is to write. This plan is equal to your day job. There are advantages of being a freelance writer to the regular 9 to 5 office worker, for examples: you can set your own time, wear anything that you want (or not ^_^) while working, and do it from anywhere in the world. In my dictionary, that means total freedom.
Let’s pretend that everybody who’s reading this article has achieved the goal of $1000 monthly income from writing. You can increase your earnings by expanding.
- Find more clients.
- Find better customers who are willing to pay you higher.
- Specialize in a niche to increase your rate.
- Diversify your scope of work by offering related services to your clients.
Or to summarize: work smarter, better, and harder.
But the bigger question is, to what end?
Don’t get me wrong. Freelance writing can be a lucrative job. Many top rated writer has proven that. It’s possible to earn a six-figure income as a writer. But, and this one is a big but, it’s also an active job. It does come with its disadvantages, such as there’s no steady income, you have to look for clients, and you have to manage your life.
In short: you are responsible for yourself. Or if I’m using harsher words: if you can’t work, you don’t get money. While the more established writers can get by for some time without writing, the consequences are harder for the beginners.
There are tons of beginner freelance writers (including yours truly) who still have to work from morning to morning even on Weekends, just to get by. Barely have time to do anything else.
Even the great Bamidele Onibalusi himself often mentioned that he is ”super busy.”
And let’s look at the hard truth: for whatever reason, you are going to stop writing at one point. What then?
The Long Term Goal: The Web Properties
This is when the second phase of my plan comes in. I believe to survive in the long run; I need to be both an active income writer and a passive income writer. While I love writing, I need to be able to earn money even when I’m not writing. Or better yet, even when I’m not doing anything.
The question is, can I do that? Can anybody really do that?
You’ll be happy to know that the answer to that question is a sounding YES. Anybody can do it. Many people are doing it. And the good news is, being a writer will put you several steps ahead of the non-writers.
I am talking about investing in the web properties, a.k.a websites that will make you money. You are building one or several websites, set them up to earn you money by putting product related quality contents and driving traffic to the sites.
Before we talk about the advantages of this plan, let’s look at the disadvantages:
- The process of building authoritative web pages that make money takes a lot of time, effort, and patience. It’s a long game. That’s why it should go hand in hand with active writing where you can earn immediate income to live your days and to invest in building your sites. Provided that you set everything up correctly, it could take several months before your first income starts rolling in, and maybe one year or two before the passive income is enough for you to get by. But I think you would agree that working hard for one year while waiting for the website to earn you a decent living is nothing compared to working hard for the rest of your life.
- Profitable Websites need continuous streams of quality contents. This requirement might be a great challenge for most people, but it should be a breeze for us writers. This fact also means that you get to keep your passion for writing.
Now let’s get to the fun part. What are the advantages of investing your time and (little) money to build web properties?
- The first and foremost, those websites will bring you passive income. It means that you will make money while you sleep. Set them up once, and they will work automatically with little or no involvement from your part. While the concept seems too good to be true, many people have done it. You might have heard about someone who builds a blog and gets money from advertising. The concept is the same but on a bigger scale. It’s not a get rich quick scheme as you have to work long and hard to build your properties. I prefer to look at it similar to buying a land and build a house. You will get multiplied value from the result. That’s why I called the system investing in web properties.
- While the outcome will depend on what niche that you choose, the concept is pretty much evergreen. It means that once you’ve established the web properties, they will bring you money continuously virtually forever.
- The system has unlimited possibilities. There are millions of niches that you can choose, and there are tons of ways that you can use to monetize your sites, such as Adsense and advertising, affiliates offer, selling your own product, flipping, CPA, etc.
- You can sell your web properties to others (flipping) for money or pass them down to your children or family. Call it a forward thinking on the higher level.
- And the most important reason, at least for me, you will have more time to do whatever you want. You can continue writing, or retired and have a vacation around the world, or spend more time with your family. Your time is finally yours.
Learning the System, the Right Way
There are tons of methods out there that you can use to build your web properties, and you are welcome to pick any of them. But please be careful of the “Shiny Objects Syndrome.” Beginners tend to get lured by tons of attractive get rich offers that they always jump from one shiny object to another without ever doing a real job, and thus never get the real results. Instead, they will just lose their money and get nothing in return.
If I learn anything from my years of trying to make a living online, it’s that you should stick to one system and do it seriously. Granted, that not all system are created the same, and you might stumble into one that is not good but applying a mediocre system the best that you can is much better than not doing anything at all.
To help you kick off your web properties, I recommend you to try Constant Profit Club. This program has solid track records of helping people from all walks of life to build profitable web properties. Many of the members are getting results in just a couple of months, and some graduates already live their lives skiing from one ski resort to another.
As I said earlier, as a writer, you will be several steps ahead of the other members. You can create quality content faster and better, and get your result sooner. You will also get the opportunities to write for others. A lot of non-writer members will prefer to outsource their content to more established writers, and you can tap into this not-available-anywhere-else market. If you can give them high-quality content, some of these clients will become your regular customers. Those are regular writing gigs right there. And full disclosure, that’s also where some of my regular clients come from.
I might be biased in saying this, but as a person who still suffers from that Shiny Objects Syndrome, I can confidently say that joining Constant Profit Club is the best business decision that I’ve made in my entire online life. The club is the place where I get my first tangible result and grow my freelance writing career. I highly recommend it.
Due to the heavy and personalized coaching involved inside, Constant Profit Club only open it’s door for new members once or twice a year. And currently, it’s opened until the 9th of October 2016. When the door closed, you will have to wait at least another six months to get the same opportunity.
I have to be honest and say that the program is a high price ticket one. And most of us, including me if I were in your position, would be put off by the cost. But there’s the solution to the problem. You can contact their help desk and ask for a longer and lower payment plan. I slip through their membership door using this method. And I can honestly say that half way through, I’ve already made more than the total cost for the program.
While I’m certainly not in the position to give anybody advice regarding their financial condition, you might want to find ways to finance yourself to join the program if you can. Put the monthly bill on your card, for example. The cost will get you the high-level education that you won’t find at school or anywhere else, and remember that you are investing for your future.
If I can only say one thing, I’d tell you that whether or not you join, you owe it to yourself to at least watch the webinar replay. They explain everything about the program and give valuable information in the video. Click the link above and watch the eye-opening information about the world that most of us freelance writer don’t even know existed.
And as the tipping point concept has proven time and time again, once you’ve passed a certain point, everything else will start to work out for you. Doors will open, and opportunities will knock. Joining Constant Profit Club is like opening that door to the vast world of unlimited opportunities.
Whew, it’s a long read, isn’t it? Let me summarize everything.
First, becoming an established freelance writer is not easy, but not as complicated as most beginners would think. All you need to do is to follow the exact proven ways to kick off your career.
Then, after you start, you need to expand your career by taking more clients and increasing your rate. Have confidence that you are a damn good writer and you are worth your rate.
And finally, start planning your career to last in the long run. Create passive income streams to support yourself in the future. As a writer, one of the best ways to do that is to create high-quality content for your web properties, and one of the best places to learn how to do that is the Constant Profit Club.
What is your opinion about my thoughts? What is your take on creating and expanding your freelance writing career? You can use the comments below to share your point of views.
Thank you for joining me on this journey.