How the Cloud Puts the “Free” in “Freelance”

I have a confession to make: I’m a bit of a cheapskate.

It’s a leftover habit from college, where I squeaked by every day with just enough cash in my wallet for the bus home and a cheap meal. In fact, the first day they raised the bus fare, I had to bum change from one of my fellow passengers!

I’ve improved much since then, but old habits die hard. And it’s a good thing, because this habit was excellent preparation for the feast-or-famine life of a freelancer.

As a freelancer, you have to run a tight ship and be ruthless when handling expenses. Writers tend to have fewer than most, but that’s still not the same as none at all. Fortunately, there are loads of cloud services out there that let you run your freelance business without spending a cent on software. But these services are “free” in other ways, too!

Don’t Wait for the Job You Want – Create It!

As freelance writers, we have a special gift: we listen to our clients and transform their needs into engaging copy to enchant a wider audience and profit all of us. Hunting down these jobs takes time and attention to detail. Pinar Tarhan has a great post up on finding legit, paying web markets on this very blog, titled, “9 Simple Ways Writers Can Find Paying Web Markets.”

But there’s an alternative to hunting down vacancies posted by someone else.

Create your own job.

The 3-Step DIY Business Plan for Freelance Writers

I’m going to be honest with all of you – I suck at writing business plans.

In fact, despite operating four separate companies over the past seven years, I’ve only ever written a true, formal business plan as part of a Home Ec project in high school.

It’s not that I don’t think writers need to have business plans. Quite the contrary! Although it’s unlikely that most freelance writers will ever need to seek out bank loans or other types of financing (typically the impetus behind crafting traditional business plans), we do still need the structure of a plan to ensure that we’re meeting goals and growing our businesses in a sustainable, financially-savvy way.

So that said, here’s my “short cut,” DIY method for coming up with a viable business plan that doesn’t waste time on cheesy mission statements or unnecessary financial projections:

How Writing for Content Mills Can Hurt Your Career in the Long Run

When I started freelancing, all I wanted to do was get paid right away and never thought of much else. Unfortunately, writing for content mills was probably the worst decision I’ve ever made. Yes, I didn’t get paid much, but that’s beside the point. Writing for content mills had an impact not only on me emotionally, but creatively too. I was setting myself up for failure in the long run!

I’m here to tell you how content mills hurt me so that it doesn’t happen to you.

Yes Virginia, You Can Make a Living as a Freelance Writer…

There’s been a lot of uproar in the freelance community recently as a result of journalist Nate Thayer’s decision to publish an email conversation he had with one of the editors at the Atlantic Magazine. The whole thing is worth a read, but it basically resolves around Thayer’s (highly unnecessary, in my opinion) decision to attack the editor for requesting an “exposure only” article for the Magazine’s website.

(For the record, I think he made great points – I just think that he targeted the wrong person in his attack and aired his grievances in an inappropriate venue. More on that a little later…)

The result of this fervor has been an uptick in blog articles asking the question, “Can anybody make a living as a freelance writer anymore?”