Hello, fellow travelers, location independent folks, move-abroaders, WISH-you-could-move-abroaders, just-testing-the-water-of-a-nomadic-lifestylers, and regular ol’ I-simply-want-to-freaking-work-from-homers.
First of all, let me just say: I almost broke Microsoft Word with that above sentence. It just … could … not … handle … so many made-up words.
Second of all, I’m quite glad to have you here. If you missed the quick explanation to what this series is all about, you can find introduction to my location-independent lifestyle here. After getting roughly the same reaction – “Holy crap, you’re moving where?? How on Earth can you afford that?!” – from dozens of people, I decided I should put all the answers in place regarding how I transitioned to an online business and moved to Belize.
Because I can afford it. And you can too.
We’re going to start with the story of how I built my business, stone by stone, including the platforms I used to start earning money right away. If you’re wondering whether content mills are for you, I’ll provide some answers on that front, as well as several ideas on how to land your own independent, high-paying gigs.
In future posts, we’ll talk about how to ensure you’re fully established online (so you don’t have to worry about losing your income stream abroad) and how to take advantage of your location independent status, as well as hear from other people who have done it. Throughout, I’m going to talk about my own experience, but I’ll also be sure to point you in the specific direction you need to go if you want to replicate any of these steps.
Letsa getta started (Mario voice)!
So where did I start writing? For multiple small companies in Portland, Oregon. However, I quickly realized that I wasn’t happy going into an office, following someone else’s schedule or lead, or being stuck in one place.
So I moved online. Where did I find work? The answer might surprise you: It wasn’t with my own clients or with university contacts. It was an online writing platform to which I found a link, completed the intensive but simple signup process, got approved to start writing … and went for it.
The platform I used – which I’m afraid I can’t reveal, since my contract specifies anonymity – takes a bit of adjustment, and I started at veeeery low-paying jobs. The platform uses a rating system, and I began at the lowest. But my husband was able to support my introductory period, and as soon as I was done having babies and wanted to take my work seriously, I quickly built up to a very good salary.
I’ve been at the highest-paid level for several years now, so I make 7 cents per word. That might not seem like much (I charge significantly more off the platform), but I don’t have to do any marketing or vetting for great clients to find me. Plus, I don’t have to sign contracts, answer questions or perform administrative tasks. That takes up at least half of my time with my own clients, so it’s completely worth it for me. I just write, and often make as much as $500 or even $800 in a day.
I, perhaps like you, at first looked down my nose at my online content work. I didn’t tell people what I did because I thought I should be this amaaaaaazing reporter for the New York Times or something. But now? I’m super proud to work there, and I tell people all the time (just not on a mass basis, because again, contract). You know why? Because I work full-time as a writer. If you can’t say that about your job yet, you might want to rethink your assumptions.
And if you need more proof of my sincerity, consider that I’ve chosen to keep my contract with this platform for three years after starting to make good money under my own name. That right there says it all: In my opinion, it’s a great place to work.
Again, I’m sorry I can’t offer more information, but what I can tell you is this: If you’re having trouble getting started with a writing career, then putting in your dues for a year at a lower-paying rate before making great money is probably worth it. You can get started in the evening around a day job, and build from there. Not many other career changes/upgrades will allow you to do that. If you’re wondering whether it’s for you, ask yourself what the alternative is, and make your own choice. For me, being location independent was more important than anything else, and this was the avenue I chose.
That said, there are, of course, other ways to make money online.
The online platform avenue may not be for you, and that’s okay. I also love working with my own clients, who bring a greater range of challenges and new experiences to my humble little copywriting table. These have come from a combination of my website and LinkedIn profiles, as well as other social media platforms. I also created a Free Resource Library on my website, which allows me to reach even more customers, as well as prospects for my two courses:
I’m going to cover all these ideas in more depth in the next part of the series. (Specifically, I’m going to talk about what direct marketing copywriting is, how it has made me so much money and how I’ve become location independent as a result.)
For now, just know that building a good career with steady client work and income may take a few years. If you’re like I don’t have a few years, bitches, I need work NOW!!!
… calm down. In that case, I recommend keeping your day job or signing up for one of the above courses, which will significantly help you in your pursuit of writing work.
However, I was able to build my career pretty quickly through the above combination of income streams. Even when it got tough, I kept working at it and now, I have enough to keep me busy all day, every day. Plus, I have the freedom to set my own schedule and, most importantly, move where I want. This has put me in a position to be able to move to Belize, where I’m currently typing this from the comfort of my own living room, enjoying the two sets of French doors that let in the Caribbean breezes and drinking coconut water that a dude made in my yard earlier today.
So what does this post boil down to? This:
… and most of all, chill. This series is going to give you a lot of information about what it takes to become location-independent as a writer, and it will be hard to absorb all at once. That’s okay. Just concentrate on absorbing the ideas and slowly putting them into place. If this is really your dream, you’ll get there one day. Believe me, it took a decade for me to do it, but looking back, it could have happened a lot more quickly. So stick with me, and I’ll show you how.
If you want access to more resources that will help you improve your skills stat, go ahead and click the pretty pic below, and you’ll be taken straight to the signup page for more than a dozen free copywriting and marketing resources. Boom: writing career hacked.
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