Friday, October 15, 2010

The Bare Minimum

Lately I've been doing the bare minimum when it comes to writing. I'm just doing enough to keep up with my quotas at Suite and AC. I've also not posted quite as much on my blogs. This is because I just started teaching a jewelry-making class and I am working to produce new jewelry pieces for the One of a Kind show in Chicago this December.

Granted, freelance writing is nice in the fact that it allows you to scale down your work load when necessary. That said, I wish that I could find the time to just double my bare minimum because it's always better to write sooner rather than later. This is because older articles tend to rank better in Google searches. Residual writing is like banking because the more you invest early, the more you'll reap in the end.

So even though it is sometimes necessary to just fulfill your minimum requirements for writing, it is never wise to signifigantly lesson your production for a long period of time. I'm hoping to offset my current lull with my own personal writing challenge in January. I'm going to try to write 60 articles in 30 days to kick off the new year and kick my residual earnings into full gear.

In keeping with the idea of the bare minimum, I should point out that less can also be a good thing, especially when you're self-employed. It's important to know what you can live without and arrange your life to cater to your real necessities. This will allow you to save money and thrive, even in financially lean months.

Even though I could cut back more, I have eliminated quite a bit of excess spending in my life. Perhaps the best way I eliminated waste was to clean my closet. I found clothes that I didn't know I owned. If I look in my closet I can honestly say that I don't need to purchase any more clothes for the year. I can get by with the clothes that I have and change up my look with inexpensive accessories such as belts and scarves.

I also cut and color my own hair. Instead of spending $60+ at the salon, I spend around $7 and do my hair at home. It's not as hard as one might think and there are many Youtube tutorials to help you cut and style your hair. If you have the courage, you might be surprised at your results. I'm quite pleased with mine.

I also cancelled my cable. I hated Comcast anyway and the channels would always hiccup and fizzle. I now go with a Roku player. The Roku player costs around $50 and offers a number of free Internet channels such as Newscaster, which shows all the network news shows such as Rachel Maddow and CNN with Anderson Cooper. It also offers Netflix, Amazon OnDemand, and Hulu Plus. Who needs cable with all of that?

There are lots of ways to cut costs at home. If you're having problems thinking of ways, try some of these:
  • Make and take your own coffee in a thermos. It's probably better than Starbucks and at a fraction of the cost.
  • Grow your own vegetables.
  • Eat in more. Cut down your eating out to once a month or once a week if you eat out often.
  • Use to cut coupons for food shopping.
  • Drop your phone's data plan. Instead of spending $80 for a data plan, get a $30 talk plan. You can even purchase a used smartphone and still use the apps with WiFi.
  • Shop with a list and stick to it. (This one's hard for me)
  • Drop the gym membership. Excercise by running or walking outside. When it gets cold, do excercise DVDs inside. You could even go to classes or get a cheaper membership at a community center rather than a commercial gym.
  • Refinance your house. Though this may not be for everyone, the record low interests rates make refinancing very desirable. Talk to a lender and make sure you get a fixed rate and that your monthly bills would be signifigantly reduced.
Hopefully these tips can help you cut the fat from your daily expenses. Though it's difficult, I try to use the bare minimum while working as much as I can (withouth burning out). This is the best way I have of making my dream of being my own boss work for me. Eventually I can start working a bit less and spending a bit more, but now it's work time.

What do you go without in order to work from home?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Out of Office

Okay, so technically I was really "out of house" more than "out of office", but it's the same thing when you work from home. I actually have been all over the place for a while. I went to Portland with my best friend of 28 years (we met when we were 5). I was helping her move which I am incredibly sad about since she's now 2200 miles and three time zones from me.

Anyway, we drove a 16-foot Penske truck and towed her Honda Element. Oh, and did I mention that we also had her two cats in the cab with us? Crazy, I know. And the entire trip took us four days to drive from Chicago to Portland on Route 90.

During the trip we saw a lot of Wall Drug signs and drove through some mountains. We quickly learned that third gear is our friend when driving a huge truck down steep inclines. We also tested the limits of how much truck stop junk food you can stomach in one trip.

Luckily we made it to Portland in one piece and got her all moved in to her new apartment. I stayed for a couple of days and got to see the lay of the land there. I then flew back and started working like a mad woman in my studio.

You see, I have two upcoming art shows that are only two weeks apart from each other. One is this weekend and the next is the first of October. I am also teaching a metal's class at the local art museum that starts on October 6th.

So basically I have been prepping for all three events and have had little time to check back in with this blog. Luckily this morning I had a little extra time and the inclination to say hello . . . so hello.

I have to say that working from home and doing the work that I do requires me to fluctuate between extremely busy and slightly busy times. When I slip into an extremely busy period, some of my ventures tend to fall by the wayside. I guess that's just one of the things you have to deal with though when you work for yourself. It's sure better than working a "traditional" job.

What do you find are the pitfalls of working at home? Do you also have issues with trying to do it all? I always think I just need better scheduling, but then I never stick to the schedule, ha ha. Anyway, whatever your work-at-home challenges, I wish you luck! Now I'm off to work!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Crafty Book Club Blog

I've been working a lot lately on my newest project, the Crafty Book Club. I am loving this project because it combines my interests in art, books and blogging. This book club is different from most craft book clubs because we don't read craft-related books. Instead the club asks that members collectively read one book every two months. They then create one item inspired by that book and post it to a Flickr group. Select items are then showcased on the blog.

It has been such a fun experience so far and so many people have joined in a very short time. The blog attracted over 70 followers in the first week and the Flickr group has over 45 members and is growing every day. I can't wait to see what the artists create based on our first book, A Wrinkle in Time.

From a professional blogger's perspective, I think the blog will open up a world of possibilities for me. I hope that the blog attracts both book lovers and artists, expanding and diversifying my audience.

If you are a book and art lover, you have to check out this site. You'll have a ton of fun and see some amazing creations.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Set it and Forget it

I have to admit that I don't remember exactly which infomercial this phrase came from. I think it had something to do with Ron Popeil and a chicken roaster, though I can't say for sure. The words, however, convey truly sage-like wisdom. "Set it and Forget it." How many parts of our lives could we apply this philosophy? I know I can think of a few, starting with my writing.

I've realized this philosophy is what I have been lacking as a freelance writer. Though it can be helpful to analyze one's earnings, I find I spend so much time checking and obsessing over my stats. If I would just spend that time writing, I probably wouldn't need to spend as much time worrying. It is always so much easier though to stare at a revenue chart and hit refresh repeatedly in hopes of new income. I, however, am now choosing to "write it and forget it", at least in the short term.

I need to really earn some money from this endeavor now, and the only way I can do that is to write, write, oh and write. So now I am going to spend the majority of my online time typing away at the keyboard and adding to my residual earnings.

But what about writer's block? Isn't that why so many of us end up squandering time online? Well, I have discovered that some sites require more writing effort than others. I can bust out five to ten Bukisa articles in two hours, whereas I might just be able to write one good Suite101 article during that time. If I find that I'm hitting my head on a brick wall at one site, I can always switch to the easier sites and get in some fast articles. Either way, I'm making money instead of just staring at the computer in a fog.

I hope to someday not need to write so much in a day, but I need to make money and this seems like the best way in the short term to do it. I want to have a substantial residual revenue stream and that only comes with a large amount of quality articles. So, with that in mind, I'm going to write, write, oh and write my way to a steady income from residuals.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

100 Suite Articles and My One-Year Anniversary

Today I published my 100th article on Suite101 and it has apparently taken me about a year to write all of those articles because it is also my first anniversary with Suite. So I thought I would provide a little run-down of my progress over the first year:

Articles Written: 100
Residuals Earned: $264
Bonus Money from Contests: $101
Average Earned per Month: $22
First Month's Earnings: $1.39
Last Month's Earnings: $29.95
Promotions: Became the Ceramics Feature Writer

Even though my monthly earnings have started to slow down a bit, I am still happy to be writing for Suite101. They have some of the best editors around and a supportive writing community who are quick to answer questions and give advice. I'm hopeful that my residuals will rise as I add more content and my older articles begin to mature and rise in Google searches.

For now though, I'm happy with the added experience and opportunities I gain from Suite. It has been a wonderful tool for me to further hone my writing and network with great people. So I raise my glass and say, here's to another sweet year at Suite!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Broke, Busy and Bustin a Move with Bukisa

Well, as the title above indicates, I'm pretty broke right now. Sure, I'm paying the bills, but my goal is to increase my residual income, and it seems to be stagnating. So no time for moping around, I'll just work harder and evaluate my goals.

Originally, I was spending most of my time writing for Suite101. Though I'm still writing quite a bit for the site, my earnings seem to be standing still. Who knows if this will turn around in the short term, though I'm sure that the earnings will pick up over time as I write more content. That said, I need to put my eggs in a few different baskets. With that in mind, I have decided to pursue another 100 article challenge.

My next goal is to publish 100 articles on Bukisa and track their earnings. I primarily use Bukisa as a place to promote my articles for other sites. Their 200-word requirement makes writing articles a breeze, and I have seen some decent earnings for the minimal amount of work involved. I might as well track those earnings and see just how profitable Bukisa actually is.

I have already done this experiment with eHow articles, and it will be interesting to compare my earnings from eHow with the earnings from Bukisa. I'd like to get 100 articles completed within two months, but this is also a very hectic jewelry-making time for me, so we'll see how things go.

Anyway, feel free to try this experiment with me. I would love to see exactly how much one can actually benefit from the earnings on Bukisa. I'm excited to track the progress. Be looking soon for my 100th article announcement.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Letting the Creative Monster Loose

Lately I have been spreading my creative energies quite thin, but enjoying every moment of it. I've been taking a bit of a break from the written word to focus on my jewelry. I've got a big show coming up in a week in Nashville, TN. I also have three other shows booked so far this year and I'm selling my work in a store in Indianapolis. Oh, and I'm going to be in the Emmy Awards gift baskets in August. Not too shabby for my first year in business ('scuse me while I pat myself on the back). Just Kidding.

Anyway, I'm trying to get a lot of product made and I'm also trying to come up with some new designs. Meanwhile, I'm still writing my minimum of one ceramics article a week for Suite101 and one crafts article a month for Associated Content. And, in the meantime I did this:

Yep, that's pink hair. I don't know what possessed me, but I am happy with the outcome. I cut and colored it myself with Manicpanic Cotton Candy Pink on top of a light ash blonde bleach. I had never highlighted my hair before, even with natural colors. Needless to say, I was a little nervous. Overall though, I think the color is great and actually pretty subtle.

I let my creative energies run wild this month and I ended up with pink hair. I'm just so glad that my work incorporates so many different creative outlets. Whether writing, making jewelry, or streaking my hair, I'm glad that I've chosen a creative life.

Where has your creativity led you? Into or out of a job? Into a new relationship? To new friends? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lost is Over, Now What? My Top 10 Ideas for Lost Spin-Off Shows

I thought I would take a little diversion from talking about writing to comment on my favorite television show, Lost. It has sadly come to an end, and I do mean sadly. I bawled during the entire episode, and then totally lost it (no pun intended) over the final scene with Jack and Vincent. Now that Lost is over though, I've got some ideas for spin-off shows that I'd love to see.

1. Lost in LA: What happens when a washed up pilot (Lapidus), a formerly-immortal assistant to a metaphysical being (Richard) and a psychic who can talk to the dead (Miles) share an apartment in Los Angeles?  Hilarity ensues as they learn about life, love and each other.

2. Heaven Can Wait: Ben reunites with the daughter he helped kill and romances her cougar mother, Danielle, all why trying to teach history to inner city youths.

3. The Really Odd Couple: Join Ben and Hurley as they battle the immortal forces of evil and protect the cave of light on the island. On the next episode, Hurley makes a cake and leaves a huge mess in the Dharmaville kitchen right before obsessive compulsive Ben's book club meeting.

4. Punky Kwon: After Ji Yeon's parents (Sun and Jin) both die in an unfortunate submarine accident, she is orphaned and forced to live with her curmudgeon grandfather. She gradually teaches the old codger to embrace life again and take time to smell the flowers.

5. Behind the Music: Driveshaft: An in-depth look at one of the least influential bands in recent history.  Discover how bass player, Charlie Pace overcame his addiction to heroin and reunited the band for one last world tour.

6. Daniel Faraday, The Quantum Physics Guy: Hey kids! Want to learn about quantum entanglement, worm holes and particle accelorators? Join wacky Dr. Faraday as he explores the wonderful world of quantum physics.

7. Everyday French Cooking with Danielle Rousseau: This week, learn how to cook wild boar with rosemary and sage.

8. Cop Out: A gritty crime drama set on the streets of Los Angeles. Two detectives, (Miles and Sawyer) have to work with a tough-as-nails street cop (Ana Lucia) to solve crimes.

9. Glee Club: A look at what happens when new music teacher, Daniel Faraday, has to take over the high school glee club. Can he compete with fellow teacher, Dr. Linus, for funding and students?

10. Dharma and Greg: Join us in the 1970's as new Dharma Initiative recruit, Greg, joins the motor pool and helps conduct scientific experiments on a mysterious island.

Thanks for indulging me in these silly rants. I really am sad to see Lost go, but all good things must come to an end. I guess that's really what the final show was all about anyway.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Use Bukisa to Increase Page Views on Other Writing Sites

 Bukisa is an online writing site that pays residuals to writers. The site works on a revenue-share basis and writers receive money based on page views. At a minimum of only 250 words, Bukisa articles are short and simple to write. Membership to the site is free and anyone can quickly sign up and start writing.

Beyond the potential to make money with Bukisa articles, writers can also use the site to drive traffic back to articles on other sites. By using this simple strategy, writers can increase their income.

Start by finding articles you wrote that highlight a couple of different points. For instance, say you wrote an article entitled, "The Top Three Sushi Restaurants in Chicago" or "Three Green Craft Projects that use Recycled Supplies"? Both of those articles highlight three distinct items under one unifying theme.

After finding these articles, start promoting them through Bukisa. Start by writing a short article about one of the topics in your larger article. For instance, if you want to link back to the article on the top three sushi restaurants, write a Bukisa article on one of those restaurants. Because the original article contains three restaurants, three seperate Bukisa articles can be created and linked back to promote the original article. So for each larger article, you will create multiple Bukisa articles that link back to it.

The great thing about this strategy is the fact that you end up making money on all fronts. You increase your  page views for your other writing sites. You also earn residual income from your Bukisa articles. It's also a simple way to create a great amount of content with the same key words and topics. This helps to prevent research burnout and writer's block.

Use this writing strategy to work smarter instead of harder. Sign up for Bukisa and start writing short articles that can promote larger articles. It's one way to generate a larger audience and greater income without much more effort.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Suite Writers Now Accredited to Write Google News Articles

Yesterday I received a message in my inbox informing me about the new Suite news accreditation program. Suite writers who have written over 30 articles have the opportunity to become accredited to write Google news articles. The accreditation process is extremely simple and it doesn't seem like there is much of a difference in the article formatting of news articles.

Suite has provided new learning hubs to help writers understand which articles are considered newsworthy. It also provides help on formulating titles and attaching seo-optimized images. Aside from those tips, the basic Suite style of using seo sub-headings and third-person writing is still intact.

So what's the advantage of writing Google news articles? Well, news articles, on timely issues, could result in a high number of page views and added clout to a writer's resume. I must say that it was quite a thrill to see my first news article intermingling with big-name media conglomerates like BBC news and MSNBC.

The down side to writing news articles is the fact that they will eventually lose their appeal and cease to generate page views or income. Even at their height of popularity, these articles will probably not bring in as many ad clicks as the evergreen Suite articles.

All in all, I think this new opportunity is fantastic. I probably won't be writing a ton of Google news articles, but it's nice to know that I have the option now. It's just one more way of expanding my writing experience. I'm sure I'll also learn much more about writing online news stories as the program continues.

If you want to, check out my first dive into the deep end of the Google news pool here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Say Hello to the New Ceramics Feature Writer

I've taken the next step at Suite101 in becoming the ceramics feature writer. Now I will be writing four articles a month on all things clay. As a ceramics minor in college and someone who has taught high school ceramics, I'm excited to share my knowledge on the subject. Beyond the obvious instructional articles, I will also be writing about mosaics, art schools, specific artist bios and ceramic art history. It should be fun.

In exchange for my clay knowledge, I will earn an extra 20% on top of my current residuals, and then an extra 10% once I reach 100 articles. I'm pretty excited about the added income and the extra motivation to keep writing.

Because I also need a lot of time to work on my jewelry, I'm focusing on writing ten ceramics articles to save in my drafts. They will be my emergency backup articles for those times that I'm too busy with jewelry to focus on writing. I've got two down and eight more to go this week.

Anyway, I just want to emphasize again how much I appreciate Suite101. I have discovered numerous opportunities through the site from contests to my new position. I'm excited to be on board and I can only highly recommend the site to anyone else who enjoys writing.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

eHow's Writer Compensation Program is Over

I can't really say that I'm surprised that eHow decided to end their WCP. Though administrators continually told eHow members that nothing was changing, they announced this Monday that articles could no longer be published through the eHow publishing tool. Instead, all future articles must be written through Demand Studios.

Though I am a Demand Studios member, I am upset that eHow publishing tools are no longer available. Publishing with Demand Studios can be so much more arduous due to the inconsistent editors and the time it takes to find a title. Ofcourse you can create your own assignment, but it is still not as simple as eHow.

I also think that the closing of the WCP will only logically lead to mass article sweeps. It only makes sense that Demand Media would want to flush out old content in favor of flat fee articles that would make them more money over time. Because of this, I strongly encourage all eHow writers to back up their articles as soon as possible. If the articles get removed, you can post them to AC or Bukisa.

Anyway, I'm hoping that the transition to the Demand Studios publishing model for eHow content will be relatively simple. I guess only time will tell. I do know that I will continue to diversify my content over a number of sites to protect myself from any future sweeps or problems.

How do you feel about eHow's decision to drop the WCP?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Writing for Residuals: It's a Marathon, not a Sprint

I'm sure there are a number of people online who could refine SEO research down to the finest of sciences. I'm not one of those people. Yes, I have learned what separates good SEO keywording from the bad, but I have yet to pinpoint a formula for making thousands, or even hundreds of dollars in the short term, off of one article.What I do know, is how to keep it real, kind of like J-Lo (just kidding).

But in all seriousness, I will tell anyone who is listening that online writing CAN contribute significantly to a monthly income and it has the POTENTIAL to turn into a full-time job. Will most people be able to quit their day jobs and just write for residuals though? I'm afraid the answer to that question is, not anytime soon.

Making a Full-Time Living from Writing Residuals

Those who wish to live off of residuals need to start writing now and commit to the long haul to build their monthly residual streams. For most people, it could take years of dedicated writing before they are making enough from residuals to quit a full-time job. That said, it IS possible, and can become a reality by following some key steps.
  • Diversify: There are many sites that pay residuals for articles. Some are better than others and each has its own method of assessing performance and payment. As a writer, I think it is important to experiment with each of these online platforms to see which ones work best for you. Writing for a number of sites is also like writer's insurance. For instance, if a website goes out of business, a writer can take articles from that site and publish them at one of the other sites he or she writes for. During that time, the writer will still be earning residuals from all of the sites he or she has written for. Some sites that pay residuals include Suite101, eHow, Associated Content, Bukisa and Triond.
  • Prioritize: By writing for a number of sites, you will quickly learn which ones provide the largest return for your writing time. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that the majority your writing time should then be dedicated to those higher-paying sites. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't continue to write for other sites, but just that you should focus the majority of your writing at the more successful sites.
  • Learn SEO Research: Read up and learn about SEO research strategies. It really does help to drive traffic and increase residuals. There are a number of wonderful online resources and learning hubs provide some excellent tutorials for beginners. Absorb all of the information and apply it as often as possible.
  • Write: This should be the most obvious tip, but many people just write four or five articles and expect to see residuals streaming in. Unfortunately, that's not how it works. Instead of worrying about daily stats and earning trends, just keep writing. I always think of a twist on the Nike slogan, "Just Write It". Believe me, writing every day is the best way to create residual wealth.
  • Endure: Luckily, I have run some distance races in my time, otherwise I would really struggle with residual writing. Online SEO writing is much like a marathon. It is all about incremental steps toward a far-off goal, and it requires fortitude. It is so easy to quit at any point along the course, but anyone can reach their goals with commitment and persistence.
  • Plan: Financially successful writers treat their writing as a business. They set work hours and quotas to help them progress toward their goals. One of the best ways to stay productive as a writer is to create a long list of possible articles and post it next to the computer. A list like this allows writers to progress from one article to the next without sitting and pondering the next writing topic. Writers should also set a weekly or monthly article quota for each site they write for. Writers should also set long-term goals. Perhaps they could write a series of online articles that could later be put together to create a book. Each writer will have his or her own goals, but it is important to have an idea of where you are going so that you can create the path to get there.
  • Scale Back: To make a living from writing, many people will have to scale back their finances. This might not require huge changes. It could be something as simple as giving up Starbuck's or renting movies instead of going to the theater. For others, this might require moving to a less-expensive house or even town. I'm lucky as I live in an area with a low cost of living, but I've even found ways of cutting costs here and there. I'm trying to make more food from scratch instead of eating out. I'm also living on a clear budget that helps me keep close track of my finances. If you need help creating a budget, there are a number of budget calculators online that can help you determine your monthly financial needs.
Keep Plodding Toward Financial Success as a Writer

Bottom line, writing is not for anyone looking for a get rich quick scheme. It takes a long time to create revenue streams large enough to equal a full-time job. That said, it is possible to build wealth over a long period of time with focused dedication and endurance. Remember that you are running a marathon and you have to run it to the very last mile to see the benefits. Stay dedicated and keep the faith. You will reap the rewards in the end.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Buck up Buttercup and Work, Work, Work!

Lately I have been spending a lot of time online and little time actually working. I'll get on the writing forums, read blogs, play around with my Facebook page and even create iTunes playlists. None of these things are getting me to where I want to be financially. They are also deceptively time consuming. You feel like you are doing something when, in reality, nothing gets done.

My struggle to stay focused is more than just the average daydreamer's. I was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder when I was very young. I'm not sure I even needed the diagnosis though. The kids at my school were well-aware of my space-cadet mindset. They even stuck alien and space stickers on the back of my desk chair.

Now to clarify, I have the type of ADD that lends itself to daydreaming and spacing out, not the type that makes a person run around in circles and fidget in a chair. I was perfectly happy to watch a plant grow, instead of focusing on the daily lessons. I think that same mentality crops up in me from time to time in my adult life as well.

Over the years I have learned to deal with my ADD. I have never taken medication for my lack of focus, so I have been forced to learn coping mechanisms to get through the day and be successful in life. Though it hasn't always been easy, I'm glad I became somewhat self-reliant in my ability to correct my inattentiveness. Sometimes though, I will still go through periods where I will allow full days to go by without really focusing on anything that needs to be completed.

So I've decided I need to just make a schedule and stick to it. Even though focusing is more difficult for me, I've got to buck up and work in order to reach my goals. To compensate for my ADD, I'm going to set shorter timed work sessions for myself and set a buzzer to alert me of when it's time to work and time to stop. I'm also going to set a limit to my freetime on the Internet. I can so easily lose time online if I'm not aware of how quickly it is passing.

Anyway, this post is almost like a note to myself to be more self-sufficient and find a way to make it happen, regardless of my challenges. So to myself I say, "Buck up buttercup and work, work, work!!!"

What are the challenges keeping you from your goals?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I Took the Amazon A-Store Plunge

After putting it off for a while, I finally decided to take the Amazon A-Store plunge. For those of you who haven't heard of an A-store before, it's a store that is made up of Amazon affiliate products. You pick the products and then when someone purchases a product, you get a percentage of the profit.

I knew that niche marketing was important in setting up the shop. As a vegetarian, I always have problems finding high-fashion products that don't use animal materials, so I decided to create a Vegetarian Fashion store. I also incorporated a blog onto the site to drive traffic using SEO blog posts.

I set up the store on a Google Blogger site, just like this blog. I integrated the store into the heading and then placed the blog postings at the bottom of the page. I have no idea if this will be successful or not, but I will monitor my progress and report back.

I'm really just feeling my way through this process blindly. I really enjoyed choosing my products and setting up the site, but I have had very little success with affiliate marketing. I decided that it might be worth my time to invest a little more effort into the process though.

Anyway, I would love to hear any advice from those who have had some success with an A-store. I am sure there are some marketing tips that I am missing. I'm curious to see how the first month of the store pans out. I'll make sure to report back on my progress and let everyone know what worked and what didn't.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Suite!!! I'm a Winner!

I have been so happy with Suite. I find that my earnings are steadily growing and the community of writers is the best on the Internet. This month has been especially great for me as I passed my 50 article goal and started receiving my 10% bonus. I also was a winner in the Sweethearts Writing Challenge.

My Article "Unique Valentine's Gifts" was chosen as a winner in the challenge. My philosophy is to participate in all of the challenges on the off chance that I could win and make some extra money. That said, I was really shocked that I won, especially since Valentine's Day is my least favorite holiday. Perhaps it was that unique angle that gave me the edge though.

Anyway, I must say that Suite has really paid off for me. I am making more money per article than I do at any other site. They also have challenges each month that provide extra opportunities to make money. I also have learned so much through Suite with their Learning Hubs that teach about keyword research and seo writing. Perhaps that best part of Suite though, is the supportive and knowledgeable writing community.

By frequenting the forum, I have learned so much from other writers. I am still somewhat shocked at how willing so many writers are to share the tips that have made them successful. I love this aspect of the writing community. I find that everyone wants everyone else to succeed. Their are very few people who are guarded or resentful of others' success.

So basically, I just want to say thank you to Suite writers and editors for helping me become a better seo writer. And another thanks goes out for choosing my little article for a winner in the writing challenge.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Online Freelance Writing Terms for Beginners

When I first started out as an online freelance writer, it took me a while to understand all of the lingo and slang used in this profession. So, to help some of the newbies out, I decided to write an article on online writing terms. I've posted a portion of this article below. The entire article can be seen here.

Google Adwords - Google Adwords is an advertising program run by Google. Online writers use Google Adwords to research keywords. When those keywords are used in an article, they help to generate ads on writing websites and article pages. The ads, when clicked, generate income for the writer and the writing site. This is how most online writing sites make money.

SEO - SEO refers to search engine optimization. An online freelance writer uses SEO keywords and phrases to make an article easier to find by search engines. These keywords are commonly typed into search engines to find articles and web sites. A writer can find keywords using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. By typing a few keywords or phrases into the keyword tool, a list of related keywords will be generated. For example, a writer who types "cocktails" into the keyword tool might generate related keywords like "fruity cocktails" or "cosmopolitan cocktails". By using a variety of these keywords, a writer can make it easier for search engines to find an article. When articles are easily found by search engines, more people read the article and the writer makes more money.

PV's - PV's is an abbreviation of page views. It refers to the number of views that an article, or a collection of articles, receives in a given time. Writers strive for high PV's but it is only one piece of the puzzle when writing to make money online. Writers must also pay attention to CPC.

CPC - CPC refers to cost per click. When looking up keywords on the Google Keyword Tool, writers can choose to view the average estimated CPC for each keyword. The CPC is the estimated amount of money that an ad will generate when someone clicks  . . . read more

Google AdSense For DummiesSearch Engine Optimization For Dummies

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Perks of Associated Content

Associated Content was one of those residual writing sites where I signed up, wrote a couple of articles and then forgot about it. I had been focusing so much of my time on eHow and Suite101, that I neglected Associated Content for a good four months. Recently though, I had some time to explore the site and learn about the perks of writing for AC.

One of the first things I noticed when I started with AC, was the fact that the PPM was relatively low, starting at only $1.50 with a possible maximum of $2.00 over time. This fact initially put me off of AC, but then I started to think about it as a plus and this is why: As opposed to many sites that focus on page views and cost per click, AC writers need only to worry about page views. This means that writers can make more money writing about high page view but low CPC topics than they could on other sites. This allows more freedom of writing topics.

The other great thing about the static PPM amount is that it won't go down. It is a clear and predictable number that writers can count on. This allows writers to have a good idea of how much money they will make each month and it is a transparent payment system that helps prevent fraud.

Another perk offered by Associated Content is the fact that they offer a number of ways to present information. People can submit content in written form or as an audio or video clip. Even though I'm not too interested in making videos, others may find videos more appealing.

Associated Content also offers assignments that provide upfront pay as well as residuals. Though these assignments seem to be few and far between, they do exist. This allows writers to make even more money from the site.

Finally, I also enjoy the fact that Associated Content does not require members to publish a quota of articles per month. This provides me with the flexibility to leave the site for a while and come back to write when I have more time. I will still be earning residuals on my writing during that entire time.

Overall, I'm convinced that AC is a great writing site and will be a great asset in my attempt to pay my mortgage via residual income. Though their initial pay is lower than most, I think their perks make them well worth the writing effort.

What are your feelings about AC? I'd love to hear about others' experiences.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Why am I Not Writing More for Bukisa?

So I just realized that I have only two active articles on Bukisa. To be honest, I'm not really sure why I haven't written more articles for the site.

Though Bukisa doesn't seem to show a great PPM (pay per 1000 views), it does provide a great venue for writing many articles in a short amount of time and could turn out to be another decent money-maker.

Bukisa articles need only to be 250 words long and can be written on any topic. Like eHow, Bukisa's articles are simple to write and anyone can crank out quite a bit of content in a short amount of time. Though it would be tough to make decent money on Bukisa alone, it could help to add to my income from my other residual sites.

For this reason, I am going to try to increase my Bukisa articles over the next couple of months. I'm dedicating one day of the week solely to my writing and the rest will be primarily focused on jewelry. Hopefully by diversifying the sites I use, I will be able to make a more steady stream of monthly income.

My ultimate goal is to pay my mortgage solely from residual income. This will take pressure off of my jewelry business and will help when I have lean financial months. I'll try to keep everyone posted on my Bukisa experience. Hopefully I will have some good news to post.