Update: Nine Months of Being Self-Employed

Update- Nine Months of Being Self-EmployedMy last day at my day job was in the beginning of October of 2013.

That means it’s been around 9 months since I left my day job to pursue full-time freelancing.

It feels like it’s been much longer than nine months though. Time is flying by, but it also feels like it’s been forever since I drove to work and sat in my office unhappily for nine hours each day.

I still remember when I first told my employer that I was leaving. I was dreading the day. I was extremely nervous about what my bosses would say (in my head I was a complete wreck), and I kept saying to myself “Six months from now all of this will be long forgotten.”

Now, it’s been nine months and I haven’t looked back once. I still have no regrets and I am EXTREMELY happy with the decision I made.

Self-employment is still going very well. I am enjoying each and every single day. I enjoy waking up, working, having a flexible schedule, and everything else that has been going on.

Below is my update after being self-employed for nine months.

 

Not having a commute is still wonderful.

I don’t see this ever changing. Yes, I like car rides but I don’t like them when the end goal is to take me to a boring and stressful job.

Being able to just wake up and get straight to work is a great thing. Yes, this usually means that I stay in my pajamas for a good portion of the morning (hmmm maybe into the afternoons), but it’s nice to be able to complete so much work in the early mornings.

 

I’m still getting in more “socialization” even though I work from home.

When I decided to make the switch to working from home, many people seemed worried that I would be bored and lonely.

The truth has actually been the exact opposite.

When I had my day job, there was no talking whatsoever. It was extremely boring and not having a single office friend (I worked independently in a field filled with men who were 45 and older) got old really quick.

Now, I can see my friends and family during the day when they are off from work (I have too many nurse friends). I also talk to other bloggers and readers pretty much all day long as well.

 

The thought of unstable income.

The unstable income is something that still gets me every now and then. There are weeks where I will make hardly no money, and, of course, times like those can make a person nervous.

As a freelancer, I’m sure these slow weeks make most nervous because it almost feels like everything has dropped off the face of the earth.

 

Traveling and being location independent.

One big positive of self-employment for me is the fact that all I need in order to work is a laptop and an internet connection. This means that I can pretty much work from wherever I want.

I have been traveling a lot so far this summer (one week in Vegas, 2 weeks in Colorado, one week in the Caribbean), and I worked nearly the whole time as well. I just scheduled as much as I could ahead of time, and then I brought my laptop to complete tasks along the way as well.

I would like to become more location independent then this though. We have been thinking about taking a long hiking/camping trip where we would drop off our car someplace and hike on some amazing trail that is thousands of miles long (okay, maybe just hundreds of miles to start off with).

I’m just not sure how that would work though as I, of course, still need to work.

Any ideas? Or is this completely hopeless? Haha a girl can dream right?

 

I still enjoy freelancing.

When I publicly announced that I was making the switch, I had many people tell me that I would grow to hate freelancing. That has not been the case at all.

I still love freelancing, and I enjoy it more and more every day. It’s great to actually be my own boss. I love how everything I do affects my business and that I am actually growing a business of my own.

 

What else do you want to know about my nine months of being self-employed?

How is self-employment treating you?

 

How To Know If Freelance Blogging Is Right For You

How To Know If Freelance Blogging Is Right For YouHello! I am still on my cruise and thankfully have a great article from Karen to share with you today. Enjoy!

If you’re a regular reader of Making Sense of Cents, you may know how Michelle went from making money on the side to quitting her job and becoming a freelance blogger. If you are considering to start your own freelance business but you’re not sure whether blogging is right for you or not, this post could help you.

It’s easier for current writers to make the transition from a hobby to an online business. However, as a beginner blogger you probably have more doubts.

 

You Love Writing

I’ll start with the obvious here. Forget about office reports or meaningless documents. I’m talking about creative writing. It’s time to remove the dust from your forgotten kid’s perspective. Wake up your inner writer. If you enjoy telling stories and sharing information, you are halfway there.

 

You Read A Lot Of Blogs

Chances are you already read personal finance blogs (You’re reading this, right?). You could even read other topics like diy home projects or new technology and apps for your smartphone.

The more you read, the more you get to know the blogging business. It gives you the opportunity to find out which topics you enjoy writing about.

Think about your favorite blogs. They have ads or affiliate marketing programs. Some other blogs sell their own products as memberships or online courses and ebooks.

As a freelance blogger your goal will be to help your clients succeed writing relevant content for their readers. This builds trust and eventually leads the audience to buy the products the blogs offer.

 

You Like Meeting New People Online

Most online business owners don’t get daily face-to-face with clients and colleagues. Sure, there are meetings and events but the usual is to be in front of the computer all day.

Your biggest asset will be your online community. If you’re uncomfortable talking to new people or meeting them online, then this may not be for you.

 

You Are Willing To Reach Out To Clients

When most creatives start out, they usually believe their only job is to create.

Take musicians as an example. It’s an old cliché to see this authentic musician with his long beard composing amazing songs. And that’s it. Money and fame won’t knock his door.

A famous musician reach out to disc records, sell them his album, go to TV interviews, sign autographs and deal with paparazzis.

Maybe you’re not a musician, but you still need to play more than one role. You’ll make cold calls, send proposals, write guest posts and build your online presence.

It’s part of your job to guarantee you’ll have work to fill your schedule to eventually become a full time blogger and quit your job.

 

You Are Excited To Learn HTML And CSS Coding

You are in charge of your blog. It’s your responsibility to install security plugins to avoid someone breaking through your site.

You’re the only one doing backups and adding anti-spam plugins. You manage your mailing list, your blog’s theme. You are the developer modifying your code to personalize your blog.

You are the business owner reading statistics and understanding what SEO means, what is the bounce rate and how to improve your visitor’s experience.

Someone has to do the dirty work. At least, while you’re still poor. You can hire a web designer eventually.

 

You Want To Run Your Own Business

Let’s face it. Most of us don’t want to work for someone else.

Do you dream of running our own business? So it’s your job to know the time you have available for writing, calculating a fair price for the service provided and increasing the productivity to reach your income goals.

Remember you’ll also be working non-billable hours completing tasks like invoicing, registering expenses and answering emails.

 

You Have Self-Discipline

Working on your own is tough. It’s especially true when you have a day job.

You finally got home after your daily commute. You need to find energy to sit in front of your laptop and pitch to prospects, write blog posts and network with other bloggers.

Unlike your office job, no one but yourself is going to force you to do this.

 

You’re Motivated

This is as important as self-discipline, they go hand in hand. Motivation is key to build a successful online business.

Creating a freelance career is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It requires hard work and compromise.

Let’s say you reached out to 30 potential clients, wrote a lot of blog posts but you’re still not making enough money to quit your job.

Remember this: The hardest moment you’ll face will be before your first success. Don’t give up too easily or you’ll not be able to achieve it.

 

You’re OK With Controllable Risks

Quitting a day job and becoming a freelancer is scary. That’s why most freelancers started slowly. They don’t quit the day jobs right away. They build a reputation, work for clients and make money until they reach the point where they don’t need the 9-to-5 job anymore.

Trusting yourself is a vital part of becoming a solopreneur because you have to make the jump some day. Freelancing means not getting a bi-weekly paycheck anymore. You’ll have good and bad days.

You can minimize the impact of non paying clients and slow months by creating a client agreement and marketing yourself, but the risk will still be there.

 

You Like Working On Your Own

As a freelance blogger, you’ll probably be working from home, a library or the local coffee shop.

You can rent a shared office to keep contact with other entrepreneurs.

However, your main work will be you in front of your computer. It’s up to you to get out of the house and meet with friends and family.

 

You Are Good At Setting Up Your Schedule

One of the reasons I don’t like my day job is not knowing how my day is going to be. You’ll see, working in the IT industry, our clients are small businesses with emergencies, such as hard drive crashes and broken servers. So I’m constantly depending on our support department so I can do my job.

Blogging’s nature is different though. You can schedule what you need to do. Unplanned or last minute events are rare.

 

You Believe In Meaningful Projects And Creating A Purpose

One of your goals could be quitting your job. I get that. However, if you only care about leaving your work and nothing more, freelance blogging is not for you.

You are capable of sharing your thoughts and useful information with readers about a topic you love. You’re helping your clients to build their online presence. If that’s not exciting, I don’t know what is.

 

 

Where To Start?

Test The Waters

Pick A Topic - Michelle blogs about personal finance. I enjoy writing about freelancing, relationships and self-development. Now think of your own interests and pick one or two.

Begin Your Own Blog – You won’t know if you like blogging until you do it. Experiment with your blog design, your writing style and showing your personality.

Do Guest Posts – Network with other bloggers in the topic you chose. Let’s say you blog about fitness. Find popular blogs about that topic and write for them. Related topics are valid too. A healthy food blog is related to fitness, so you can explore those blogs too.

 

Freelance

Reach Out To Prospects – You have two easy ways to do this. You could search on job boards or reach out to clients directly. Offer your services and continue building your brand.

Write – You got the job! Now it’s time to overdeliver. Write excellent content for your client, reply to comments and improve your writing.

Get Paid – You could accept credit cards, but I recommend using online payment systems like Paypal or 2checkout to make your clients feel safer. These systems take a small commission but it eliminates you a big headache.

Repeat – Now you’re a paid freelancer. Ask your clients for feedback. It will help you to improve your services and it makes you look professional.

 

Do you want to blog? Why or why not? 

 

If you want to freelance online, I recommend you read the articles below:

 

Author’s Bio: Karen Martínez is a freelance blogger for hire. She’s the author of Freelance from Scratch, where she shares stories and tips for building a freelance blogging business and a better lifestyle.

Image via 123rf by Gustavo Toledo

 

Ways To Make Pennies, Hundreds or Thousands A Month By Blogging

Ways To Make Pennies, Hundreds or Thousands A Month By BloggingMy monthly income reports I publish each month are some of my most popular posts. I love reading income reports on blogs, and it seems like all of you do as well!

Almost 100% of my income each month (such as the $13K from June from my monthly income report that I published on Monday) comes from blogging or services related to blogging. Due to this, many of the questions from readers that I receive are all about how I make money blogging.

That only makes sense, of course.

When I first found out that you can actually make money from blogging, I emailed a few bloggers who posted income reports as well. I knew I loved blogging, so if I could make some money from it without annoying my readers and still getting the same enjoyment out of blogging, then why not?

Blogging is something that I still love doing, and luckily it pays my bills now. I don’t know how my life would be right now if I never would have started blogging. As a reminder, I started my blog as a way to keep track of my finances and improve my life, and everything happened form there.

 

Like I always say…

Blogging is not an easy way to make money. There is a reason why most bloggers quit after 6 months and that is because most people do not realize how much work goes into blogging. Also, many people do not make a single cent from blogging, and those who do make money usually pour their heart and souls into being able to do so.

There is a reason why I named this article Ways To Make Pennies, Hundreds or Thousands A Month By Blogging, and that’s because some will only ever make pennies. That is the honest truth, and I’m not here to sugarcoat things. I made a very small amount when I first started out, but luckily I didn’t give up and it grew from there.

I will say that I love blogging. It’s something that you won’t know if you love or hate until you actually start.

 

Read these other blogging related articles here on Making Sense of Cents as well.

  1. How to Start a Blog – Tips for a Beginner – This article is more of a technical article about blogging. It shows you how to get started with your hosting, picking a domain and starting your blog. If you are interested in starting a blog, you MUST read this :)
  2. Blogger or WordPress – Tips on How to Move - I started out on Blogger, and around one year after that I made the switch to WordPress. I highly recommend that EVERYONE switch to WordPress. Don’t believe me? Read this article to find out about the many reasons.
  3. Tips for Beginner Bloggers Part 1 – The Basics – Everyone makes mistakes when blogging. Read this article to learn from my mistakes and improve your blogging skills ASAP.

 

Below are different ways for you to make pennies, hundreds or thousands of dollars each month by blogging:

 

Ways To Make Pennies, Hundreds or Thousands A Month By BloggingAffiliate income.

Affiliate income is something that I mention in my income report each and every month. It is an area where I really wish I was more successful in each month.

How do you make money through affiliates? Affiliate income is where you place an affiliate link in a blog post and try to make money from people buying the product through your link. This can be a good way to make money because if there is a product out there that you love, all you have to do is review the product and hopefully others will be interested in the product as well.

This income can feel passive as well because all you need is a review article and hopefully people will read that article for years to come.

There are many different affiliate programs out there that you can check. These include Flex Offers, Commission Junction, EJunkie, Amazon, and so on. If you enjoy a product, there is probably some sort of affiliate out there for it.

A new program I have been trying out is LinkVehicle. They handle affiliate offers, sponsorships, and more.

 

Paid posts/advertisements/sponsorships.

Paid posts and advertisements are where you place an ad on your blog in exchange for money. This might be in the form of a sponsored review, a guest blog post, a sidebar link, an advertisement within a newsletter, and so on. There are many different forms of paid advertisements on websites.

There are advertisers out there who want to gain new customers and just want no follow links. But there are other advertisers who just want link juice and purely want do follow links. If you are interested in paid posts and advertisements, head on over here to read further.

 

Google AdSenseAdSense.

AdSense is an ad service that I have always used, but haven’t really seen results until recently. There were several months (over a year) where I only earned pennies each month.

It felt like it took forever it reach my first payout (that happens once you have $100 accrued). However, once I reached my first payout, it was very exciting. I have AdSense ads on many of the websites that I own.

What is AdSense exactly? AdSense is an advertising network within Google that allows website owners to place advertisements on their websites. These ads are picked out by Google, and you just place the size and type of ad widget that you want on your website. You are then paid per-click and per-impression.

Where should I place the ads? This is a question I often receive. I am no expert when it comes to AdSense. However, I do know that each and every blog/website out there is different, and different placements work for different people. I would experiment and see what type of AdSense layout works best for you.

 

Write an ebook.

I haven’t written an ebook yet, but it is something I am working on.

If you are an expert in an area or have something to share that you know others will read, then an ebook may be something that you are interested in. However, I will say that most people do not profit largely from an ebook because so much time needs to be devoted into creating it. An ebook though can be a good way to expand your audience, offer a free product to your readers, and so on.

There are a few people out there who makes thousands and tens of thousands of dollars each month from writing an ebook though.

 

Are you interested in making money through blogging? Why or why not? 

How do you make money blogging?