Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How to: Make Money Freelance Writing.

freelance writing

Some of you guys emailed me after reading this post and asked where I find freelance writing jobs.

I want to be clear that I am not a freelance writing genius.  I have not been able to quit my job and write all the time. I am still riding the struggle bus.  However, I have learned a lot about freelancing lately, so I at least have a few good tips on how to get started. 

I've tried several outlets to find freelance jobs, but Elance is my favorite for a few reasons.

how to use Elance

You're protected. This is by far the best thing about Elance. When you're hired for a job, the client has to pay Elance before you start working, and Elance will pay you after you complete the job. That means that if you agreed upon $100 for a job, they can't come back after you completed the work saying they only want to pay you $50, because they've already paid Elance in full. 

Everything happens through one site. Everything that is exchanged is through the website. This means that if a client does try to not pay you or change the terms of your agreement, you can file a complaint with elance. They will then be able to see everything about your job and determine whether or not the client is breaking an agreement. 

You can sort by category. Elance is a website for all kinds of freelance jobs, not just writing. There's a writing category, but it's split into several other categorties: creative writing, technical writing, ghost writing, etc. This makes it easy to see what's available in your area without sorting through thousands of jobs you have no interest in. 

get paid to freelance write

Apply for a lot of jobs. Don't just apply to one job a week and expect that to go anywhere. I would say that for every ten jobs I apply to, I get one. Sure, that's a lot of work for one job. But it's a job! 

Read the entire job before applying. When you apply to so many jobs in one place, it can be tempting to just scan the details before applying. Since so many people do this, a lot of clients will place a "secret phrase" somewhere in the details that they'll ask you to write at the top of your application to ensure you read everything. 

Reference the specific job in your application. If you only say, "I've attached my resume, I look forward to hearing from you!" then you're no different than the rest of the applicants.  Instead, say something like, "I am interested in this job because ____. I believe my previous experience ____ qualifies me because of _____." 

Treat every job like it's your dream job. You have no idea what a tiny copywriting job could lead to. Make sure all of your work is your best work. Meet your deadlines, be professional, and turn in work that you would be proud of if a famed publishing house was reading it. 

Send a thank you email. Most of the people who hire through Elance are going to come back and continue using the site. If they already know they like working with you, they can save themselves the time of looking through applications and resumes for future jobs. Why not leave a good impression and remind them of that? 

Freelance writing is almost always going to be hit or miss. It's a lot of work for what may turn out to be a bunch of one time gigs. However, it can also lead to repeat jobs. The first six months of using Elance, I just did little jobs. And then one day, a client liked a little job I did, so he offered me a bigger job. Now I write for him every week, and I never would have been able to do that without sticking out the little jobs first.  So stick it out! 

Do you do any freelance writing? Have you ever used Elance?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Work, Work, Work.

I think that sometimes the whole "chasing your dreams" idea can make us a little snobby about good opportunities.

Because really, it's pretty easy to tell yourself that you're working hard when you're sitting around pinning motivating quotes on pinterest that are going to help you work hard once a good opportunity comes along.

It's easy to wait for your dream to walk past you before you start chasing it.

It's a lot harder to start chasing it when it's nowhere in sight and you have no idea if you're ever even going to catch up to it.

This month, I decided I was going to take every opportunity that came my way (within reason, of course). If applied for a bunch of freelancing that I really didn't want to do. I worked my butt off for opportunities that paid way less than they should of.  I did so much boring writing that I thought my eyeballs just might fall out.

And you know what?

Freelance writing freaking paid a good portion of my rent this month.

No, it wasn't the type of writing that I love. It wasn't glamorous.  It didn't come with cups of coffee and creativity and excitement.  But I got a paycheck from writing. And that's pretty cool.

If there's a step you can take that puts you even a little bit closer to where you want to be, take it.  Even if it's not the most glamorous step. Even if it doesn't come with confetti and butterflies, like you always thought that following your dreams would look like.

While you're sitting around waiting for that right step to come along, you could have taken ten of those hard working, not so fun steps. And I think those tend to lead you a heck of a lot closer to where you should be.

Bottom line being that sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves, throw on some Iggy, and get to work.

Happy Pumpkin Spice Latte Day! What does chasing your dream look like to you?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Happy to be Alive, Because: FRIDAY.

I know that Fridays are meant for being happy and thankful, but this week is most definitely a contender for the worst week ever I've had in a while.

A car wreck (that I cannot wait to write about), a ticket (my first ever), a stolen credit card (Target, I love you, but you're killing me here), a 4:00 wake up call every. single. morning. (which I realize is normal for some people, but yo..I'm tired), and what I feel like are a thousand other things that have gone wrong since last Friday.

But weeks like this one are the exact reason I list out five reasons I'm happy to be alive every week.  So let's do this.

1. Friday is here. And I've never been so happy to see it. 

2. My family came to visit!

3. The pumpkin spice latte comes back into our lives on MONDAY. I know a lot of you are griping about this because you just can't be bothered to have pumpkin interrupt your summer.  To you I say:

4. On that note, I played this on repeat approximately seventeen thousand times yesterday to combat the horrible day I was having. #adultlife

5. New headbands are here! And they are super colorful.

On that note, I'm off to drown my sorrows in buckets of sunshine. It's just so much harder to have a bad day when you're tan, yes?

Linking up with karliamy to celebrate how we're all just really happy to see Friday.

Why are you happy to be alive this week?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Very Colorful Fall.

It's no secret that I love fall. If I had to make a list of everything I love most in life, fall would be pretty close to the top. I love brown and black and neutrals, but I really, really love color. So when I was making plans for a new batch of products for the fall I knew I wanted them to be c o l o r f u l.

I've never been so excited over new products. Everything is so fun, the prints are perfect, and I think the colors are perfect for a very whimsical fall.

I'm over-the-moon excited about these, and I hope you guys love them just as much.  Be sure to click on over  h e r e  to see the rest of the new headbands. Happy happy Wednesday! xo

Do you wear colors in the fall? Or do you tend to stick to neutrals? 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Happy Life Advice: Part Two.

Dress however you the heck you want to.

Wake up an hour earlier to live an hour more...

...but every now and then, sleep in for as many hours as you possibly can.

Compliment other people as much as possible.  If you like something about them, tell them.  Don't keep it in your head.

Write letters.  To friends, to lovers, to strangers...just write them. 

Have a go-to playlist that is easily accessible for the not-so-great days.

Don't let a day pass you by without reading something. A book, a chapter, a page, a quote...just something. 

Buy something at the start of every season to celebrate a new chapter.  Fall should be celebrated with new boots, or at least a pumpkin spice latte.

Celebrate good hair days with all the selfies your little heart desires. 

Say something positive out loud every day, even if it's just to yourself.

Drink lots of water.  Because there's only so much that coffee and champagne can do for you.  Water is your friend.  

Learn to be amazing at cooking at least one thing--cookies totally count. When you're having a bad day and feel like you can't do anything right, go cook the heck out of that one thing.  See?  You're super talented.

And of course, get a puppy. 

What's your advice for a happy life? 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Happy to be Alive, Because: Vacations & Mechanical Bulls.

1. I've been on vacation all week and it has been incredible. No responsibilities and lots of free time...perfection. 

2. Just about every day this week has been a pool day. I now have a tan that teenage me would have had the first week of summer, but adult me is pretty proud of it.

3. I rode a mechanical bull. 

Sorry for the bad picture, but really...when's the last time you saw a mechanical bull somewhere with good lighting?

At the beginning of this year I decided that one thing I didn't like about myself was that I was too timid. So this year I've been trying to say yes as much as possible and stop letting "no" be my first reaction to everything. So on Wednesday night I rode a mechanical bull while wearing a dress. And it was fantastic. 

4. Even though I'm super sad that we have to go back to the real world on Monday, I can't help but think about how lucky I am to live with someone every day who I would want to spend a week of vacation with. This next week may include a lot more work and a lot less pool, but it'll still include coffee in the morning with my very best friend. And that's pretty great. 

5. My parents and little brother are coming over today! I can't wait for them to see why I love where I live so freakin' much.

Happy Friday! Cheers to vacations and to real life, too. 

What made you happy to be alive this week?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What We Should Take Away From the Reaction to Robin Williams' Death

On Monday, Robin Williams was found dead of an apparent suicide and people all around the world wept.

Twitters and Instagrams filled up with pictures and quotes and people expressing their sadness over the loss of a man who brought so much laughter into so many people's lives.  But they also filled up with something else.

They filled up with messages of hope.

Messages of people sharing their own stories of managing depression and choosing to live.  Messages of people urging others to get help if they felt like taking their own life, promising that someone would miss them and the world wouldn't be better without them, no matter how strongly they felt that way.  "Your life matters" started trending on twitter within an hour of the story breaking.

Why do we wait for something so tragic to happen to tell people their life matters?

Yes, when depression and suicide are brought to light by a high profile tragedy, it's a great opportunity to tell people they're not alone and that their life matters.  But so is a Tuesday afternoon.

When the ugliness of depression rears it's head in such a public way, it's easy to respond.  It's easy to post something on twitter and tell people you love them and they are wanted, because you know that everyone else is also sitting in the wake of a sad event.

But is that maybe waiting a little too long?

Do not wait for death to show its face before you choose to celebrate life. 

Don't wait for tragedy to motivate you into telling people you love them and that they matter.  Tell them every chance you get.  If you have a story that could help others, share it now.  Celebrate the lives of those around you.  Celebrate just how wonderful it is to be alive.

Don't wait for death.  Celebrate life now.