Freelance Writers – The Dream in Hard Cash

“If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.” – Stephen King

Your words are worth cash.

Did you know that?

Make Money BloggingI write for a living, and sometimes, I write a lot for a little cash. But more often than not, I write a little for a lot of cash.

Is a thousand words too much to write in a day?

Is a thousand dollars too little for a hundred and fifty words?

When I started pricing my writing, I thought I was overpriced, because I’d grown up contemplating the concept of writing for pennies per word, as a journalist. I was no journalist. When my first article sold for $10 in 1974, I was over the top with excitement. Then along came syndication…

But I didn’t really want to write for deadlines and pennies. I wanted to push the pen for bigger results. And…. Hush now! I wanted my words to MEAN something.

Jan VerhoeffA local editor took a story I submitted one afternoon and published it without the last page which was only a few lines, but the story was meaningless when those lines were left off. Another misconnected the pictures with the caption, on a local story where names in the paper are the only recognition some people EVER get. As the writer, I was in trouble with friends from the neighborhood. I’m not blaming the local editor, he didn’t do his job, but I didn’t quite do mine either… I firmly believe a writer is responsible for what hits the printer!

But that wasn’t what I was meant to do. I had bigger dreams.

A center spread in a magazine, national newspaper syndicated columns, and even writing for magazines was more up my image… Or so I thought.

Then one day I was introduced to an insurance journal, where local articles are published, and authors were well paid. My eyes lit up and I became ecstatic for the concept of writing local articles for a trade journal that would be published nationwide.

Travel journals appeared on the horizon, and I recognized the opportunity.

My next adventure was a PBJ trip across country taking pictures of barns and documenting their location for a publication that would be made available to more than one airline. I was in love! And I got PBJ’s to go with my love story.

But with kids to raise, house payments to make, insurance, gas for the car… oh yeah, the car! And all the costs of living, I shifted my dream to include technical writing and copywriting, because it pays better.

I could wrap my mind around writing sales letters for thousands of dollars, because I was getting paid ROI (return on investment). And it just made sense to me that people would pay better for those kinds of writing.

Then along came Blogging.

Getting paid to blog for myself was exciting, but then along came the concept of getting paid to write blog posts for someone else. I fell into that pie and it tasted really good. I’m still there.

But more than anything else, I wanted to know how I could help other people do what I’d learned and do it successfully. The dream for me, at that point in time, was to teach others how to write blog posts for the masses of blogs on the web and make a profit doing so.

blog for cash

So there are a few things I’ve learned that are necessary if you want to be a freelance writer:

1 – Words are worth cash money.

If you can write it, convince someone else to buy it, and show the value in your writing efforts, you’re as good as gold in the pocket. Your words are worth money. Start with your own bio… Can you convince yourself that you have talent?

2 – You get from it, what you put into it.

If you’re willing to put forth the effort, motivated enough to share your efforts with others, and willing to go that extra mile to convince the world that you have something to offer, you’ll get something out of it… If you’re not going to get off the couch, your writing won’t sell either.

3 – Learn to stash some cash.

You’ll need to prepare a reserve of savings in order to get through the tough spots, and make it over the months that you don’t sell anything. Keep your cash in your pockets! Don’t overspend, you can’t afford it. And put yourself on a budget, so even in the lean months, you’ll be adding to your stash of cash.

4 – Yes, your income is taxable.

Keep good records, not only of the money you make, but of the money you spend. Much of it is deductible. Know the tax code, even if you hire an accountant, it’s YOUR responsibility to pay your taxes, and keep your own records. Remember, just because you got paid in cash doesn’t mean it’s tax free. PAY the tax due on your income, stay out of trouble with the IRS.

Freelance writing is a cash cow if you use the weapons in your arsonnel wisely, or it can be the thorn in your side if you don’t follow a good plan. The ideal method is to find a niche and fill that niche so well that you’re the first person called to write in that market. Set your prices as if you’re the best – then BE THE BEST.

The one bit of advice I give every marketer as they set their price and go it alone as a freelancer is BE THE EXPERT IN YOUR FIELD. Don’t let anyone surpass your skill level, just keep growing and getting better!

Oh, God, Help me… It’s tomorrow!

Jan Verhoeff sleeplessDid you ever have one of those nights when you really NEEDED to sleep, but sleep just didn’t happen?

I had one.

Last night.

If ever there was a night I just needed to sleep off the cold, get over being sick, and get on with life the next day, it was last night. I have so much to get done today, and it all seems to be backed up and loaded on top of whatever it was I had to do yesterday – that didn’t really get done, because I didn’t feel good then either… So, here I am, trying to push through the list on my computer and save what is left of my ‘get ‘er done’ list…

And feeling like a slug.

Then, I see the numbers change on my email, and I’m getting a ‘quick message’ from my favorite 30 year old daughter…

She wants an updated header on her blog, because with the coming wedding, and the addition of two more young hobbits, the adventures are growing in her house. So I’m off to change a header rather quickly, because she does a lot of marketing for me – via referrals to her website – and that’s top of my list today. Marketing.

Five minutes after I change the header, updating her website, making it ‘oh so presentable’ with fresh new colors, the crisp designer style image of four of my minions running through the techno-grass, I get a message from someone who is looking for a new Mom-Site, where she can share her ‘amazing mom skills’ and she says, “Do you have any mom sites I can look at?”

So, of course, I send her to and she’s ecstatic. “That’s it. That’s exactly what I want!”

I felt like Charlie Brown being kicked off the pitching diamond by Lucy on a good day.

Jan Verhoeff“So, I’m going to send you some pictures, can you get this done today?”

I sent her the links to my paypal account, set her up with a new monthly fee for hosting with tech services, got her set up with an Aweber signup on the sidebar, and her special “I gotta have this done today” price for a website, and within a few minutes my phone was dinging with paypal alerts, acknowledging that her payments had arrived.

Meanwhile the thrill of a new sale on a fine day such as this (WHERE I STILL FEEL LIKE WARMED OVER DEATH) has me encouraged enough to get cracking on my to-do list, and here I am, writing a blog post that can me read by all my ezine readers, and listening to Jeff Herring’s replay (because I was late arriving at the live event). My point here, no matter what is going on in your life, you can probably achieve something of great value, EVEN if you’re sick and don’t feel good.

So often I talk to people who use the excuse that “I just can’t get motivated” or “I didn’t feel good” or “I just don’t have any sense of urgency to do any of this stuff” – and I just want to SCREAM. This is your LIFE you’re wasting!

I understand about taking care of yourself if you’re really sick. A few days back, I was so sick I couldn’t get out of bed for three days with a case of the projectile flu. Trust me, doing anything beyond moving from the bed to the bathroom was too much. But the point is, those days are truly few and far between. The rest of the time, you’re just using excuses, and wasting time.

Get up and get on with it.

Be about the Father’s work and get back to your purpose. Remind God that He’s your healer and you’re counting on Him, then go about your day expecting Him to fulfill His work in your life, even through the moments when you don’t really feel like doing the NEXT THING. Sometimes, the NEXT THING really is just ‘take a nap’ and feel better, but more often, it will be the next thing on your to-do list, so you can check off those jobs and move on to something more fun and profitable.

God is good to fulfill His promises. We must be faithful and trust Him to do what He says.

So, about that blog you need to get started? How about starting it today?

blog for cash