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How Many Languages Does Your Blog Speak?

How many languages does your blog speak? For some reason this morning I was thinking about Christmas – the traditional winter holiday of most of us whites here in the United States. and that’s exactly how the thought showed up – with the recognition that most religions and/or peoples do celebrate a winter holiday.

That led me to poke around on my Google analytics to see just where everyone who reads or at least looks at this blog comes from .


This blog it turns out is read in some 67 countries. Admittedly mostly English speaking in many varieties, with the United States and the UK having the highest numbers. I’m fairly impressed with the idea that I’m being read to one degree or another in 67 countries.

Typical white American that I am, I speak only one language well. I have a smattering of splintered Spanish and that’s it. Lots of people in this close to the border with Mexico where I live are truly bi-lingual. It’s embarrassing.

So what I’ve done is add a translator widget. You’ll find it over on the right down at the bottom… an orange button that says ‘Translate.’ Try it. I’m told the translations are pretty good.

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profitable sustainable freelance writing businessStarting a profitable sustainable freelance writing business is more common sense than rocket science.

That said many of us started our writing business in a slap dash, maybe no plans way. While some of us made it work, we recognize we could have had more success early on had we done a few simple things.

Here are eight tips that will help you immensely create and build the profitable sustainable freelance writing business you want. I’ve put them in an order that makes sense, but don’t get ridged about this. The most intimidating to many will be the website. It’s important and should be close to the top. But don’t let not having all these elements in place, including the website stop you from getting started.

In fact a strong case can be made for starting with marketing, perhaps even before you quit your day job or figure out exactly what you want.

The biggest secret to having a profitable sustainable freelance writing business

Your attitude is ultimately what will determine your success. Negative thinking makes it almost impossible. Visioning what your experience as a successful writer will be like every day will help. Take responsibility, discover gratitude. You’ll be glad you did both.

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solopreneurIn this case, SOLO is a short film about freelancers, aka solopreneurs, in New York.

After I got over my suspicion and personal annoyance at the insistence that New York city is the only place creativity takes place, I found the film poignant. There are no writers, but at least for me, it’s worthwhile because as near as I can tell the only thing I don’t share with these solopreneurs is New York city. It’s always a kick to identify.

You can watch it and other videos at solopreneur.

This quote pretty much sums it up:

In equal parts, inspiring and pragmatic, “SOLO NYC” is emblematic of the daily battle freelancers go through: is this independent life they’d dreamt of? Or, is it the same grind, dressed up differently?

Yes, the entrepreneurial dream always turns out at least a bit differently than we expected.

An app for solopreneurs

As you’ll see if you poke around, this is part of an amazingly complex and detailed promotion of a cloud based application  developed by AndCo.

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When Is The Best Time to Quit Your Job and Freelance?

quit your job and freelanceI’m often asked by folks who have started writing for pay, “When is the best time to quit my job and freelance?”

Truly, I’m tempted to say ‘Now!’

But that’s usually not helpful.

Some will say you can quit your job and freelance as soon as you have six month’s income in the bank. Others will say “never quit your job!”

The issue, of course, is that jobs (mostly) pay a regular wage. It comes every week or two. Jobs are nifty. They often pay even if your sick or spend an hour or so goofing off each day. Many provide things like health insurance and offer 401ks, maybe even with matching funds for retirement. It’s fairly easy to form at least causal friendships at your work place. It’s predictable and it feels secure.

Some problems with jobs

Of course, no job is truly secure. The health insurance benefit will change, and probably not to your advantage. The company may move, or merge or get a new CEO resulting in layoffs. The friends you have at work will probably subtly or directly tell you it’s stupid to quit your job and freelance

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What Is A “How Long Is Piece of String” Question?

Piece of String QuestionI often say “that’s a how long is a piece of string question” when someone asks me about freelance writing.

What I’m driving at when I use this question is something along the lines of “I have no clue. And neither does anyone else.”

Unless you’re showing me a particular piece of string the question simply cannot be answered – not really.

There are lots of questions that are similar. For example, “how high is up?” and in today’s world, “how long is a web page” also qualifies.

Curious about why I’ve included the length of a web page? Because, at least in theory, you can put a whole website and a bunch more on what is technically a single page. You’ve probably run into sites were you keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. There’s no absolute limit on the length of a website… oh there are practical limits, but there’s even disagreement about what that is.

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You’ve probably heard the horror stories about freelance writers getting taken to the cleaners by bad clients who:

  • Insist on paying under-market rates
  • Are a pain to work with
  • Don’t pay on time… or at all

None of us want to get taken advantage of or live in misery working for dishonest, cheap or unprofessional clients. In my four years as a freelance writer, these are the techniques I’ve used to avoid falling into the “bad client” trap.

Don’t Get Taken Advantage of by Bad Clients 

The following strategies fall into two categories:

  1. Avoid bad clients altogether by recognizing them ahead of time and scaring them off.
  2. Sidestep unprofessional client behavior once you’re under contract.

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How To Blog for a New Industry in 5 Steps

blog“Fake it ‘till you make it” is a common phrase in the business world. This is easier said than done, of course, especially for bloggers and freelance writers. Here are some tips about how to blog for a new, and perhaps unfamiliar, industry.

Bloggers and freelance writers are accustomed to being thrown into new industries — having to not only learn a whole new subject — but then needing to write about it, too.

Writing about anything takes at least some surface level understanding of the subject, and a deeper knowledge if you want the content to be high-quality. As a freelance writer who has been thrown into the software development industry, it has been a wild ride learning the ins and outs of the tech world in order to produce content that works.

Do Your Research

This should be the “go to” tip when working for any new client or industry. Thorough research, beyond the scope of your assigned blog topic, should be the first thing you focus on. Use white papers, internet searches, internal company documents, and even competitor sources to begin to develop an understanding of the industry, company, and specific services they offer.

Blindly writing before doing any substantial research will only hurt you in the long run as you get to the editing phase and find out you were off base.

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4 Ways to Set Yourself Up to Be On Time

on timeI’m one of those people who is usually on time. Yesterday when a client again missed a phone appointment, I began to wonder again about how I run my life so I’m almost always on time. Here’s what I learned.

Without some structure time gets away from all of us

One of the joys of freelance writing is the ability to control our time, and it’s one of the problems as well. I started freelancing when my kids were young and when I quit going to a regular job, I started going back to bed once they were off to school. After a week or 10 days of that I realized I had to do something differently.

I solved the problem by grabbing a legal tablet (this was back in the typewriter days) and pen and head for the nearest restaurant.  I’d have coffee, maybe some breakfast, and write for an hour or so. (Was I ahead of the curve? Maybe.) Then I would head home and either write from those notes or work on whatever writing project needed to be worked on.

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careerFor many of us, the prospect of being a career freelance writer has been a lifelong dream. It holds more meaning to us than just a job we could do to pay the bills. That being the case, when we set out on our journey to become a writer, we are anxious to get it right.

The logical solution to ensure we start out on the right foot would be to do some research about freelance writing. After that, make a plan of attack, and then put the plan into action. This is a perfectly sound approach. However, sometimes we can get stuck on step one, the research.

Too much research can stall your career

Excessive research is the perfect mask for procrastination, fooling you into believing you are working toward your goals, when really you aren’t.

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How Gratefulness Can Improve Your Writing

gratefulnessIt’s amazing what happens when you have some gratefulness.

I woke up yesterday annoyed about a certain person in my life. I recognized I wasn’t being fair at all and I was close to  letting those feelings impinge on my whole day.

Fortunately I meditate most mornings and as I was sitting I realized I could look for a bit of gratefulness about this person.

It came to me that he’s kind, knowledgeable and supportive about an area of my life that seems particularly complicated.

As I had these thoughts I could feel my body begin to relax. I continued my mental list and came up with probably 10 things I could feel gratefulness around this person. It shifted my whole day from negative to positive.

Gratefulness helps words flow

I’m not sure why making a gratitude list helps writing, but it does, at least for me. There’s a ton of science to back up that statement. One example is How Gratitude Can Change Your Life by Dr. Rick Hanson. He’s got a whole list of  how a bit of gratefulness literally improves our lives, including:

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