Eight Reasons Why You Must Add Audio to Your Website (With audio Version)

Tracey Meagher is the founder of QuickandEasy Audio, a website that reviews all the latest resources and tools available for adding audio to your website.

Listen to this audio via https://azunivoice.com/2021/09/06/eight-reasons-why-you-must-add-audio-to-your-website-with-audio-version/

Did you know that Internet users remember only 20% of what they read while remembering an amazing 70% of what they hear? Audio on your website will help your message stay with fresh your visitors for longer.

Using audio to convey a personal message to entice visitors to subscribe to your newsletter will result in up to 400% more subscribers than using traditional subscription marketing methods.

Using audio on your website helps to keep visitors on your site for longer. The longer visitors stay the more informed they are about your product and services and the more likely they are to buy your product or service.

Adding your own voice to your website helps prospects identify with you personally, warming them to your products and services in a way that cannot be achieved by any other existing marketing technique and converting more prospects to buyers.

While your competitors still hang around in the dark ages of Internet marketing, placing audio on your website gives you an enormous competitive advantage. Visitors will trust you more than your competitors and trust is the number one vital ingredient for making visitors part with plastic.

Used in emails and ezines, audio allows you to communicate personally with your clients and subscribers, creating rapport and warming your market in a way not possible with text and graphics.

Basic streaming audio buttons can be put on your website for as little as $19.95. Even the most advanced solutions cost around the $97 mark! Considering the uumph these little audio buttons give your site, a once off payment of 97 bucks is not a lot to part with!

You don’t have to be a techie geek to put audio on your website. Most of the solutions out there require no html or flash know how at all. They are designed to be user friendly so even the technophobe should have no problem getting the job done quickly and easily!

What are you waiting for go add audio now!

source: http://freestockphotos.tk/25975.php

Rise of the Audio Blog (With audio version)

This is a guest article by Tanya Chopp that explore the changing world of blogging, are you ready?

Listen to the audio instead

For years, brands have been encouraged to ‘think like publishers.’ This has meant that many companies have jumped into creating editorial calendars and opted into brand storytelling. However, the times are changing. Now, for those who wish to emulate a publisher’s approach to content creation, there’s another major component to account for: audio.

For marketers, audio offers an engaging form of content, one that can help you truly stand out. Here, we’ll dive into why audio content is becoming a more popular form of media enrichment for some of the world’s best publications, and how your brand can take advantage.

Turn Your Blog Articles into Podcasts or Audio Blogs

Most brands that identify as storytellers will also have a company blog. Complementing your existing posts with a narrated audio file can offer a huge asset.

If you think about it from the audience’s perspective, many of us are reading while we’re working. Maybe we’re conducting industry research, or giving our brains a break by visiting our favorite blog. But, how much reading do you get through before you’re interrupted?

In most occupations, there are times throughout the day where we are a little distracted. Just look at how many tabs are open on your browser right now. How many of them did you abandon?

Chances are a lot.

Here are a few other reasons why audio content is a great supplement to your overall content mix.

Audio Messages Can Be Delivered Directly to Multi-Taskers

Further to the point above, audio content is easy for audiences to throw on in the background while they work away at other tasks, like data entry, processing lines of code, driving their truck around the worksite and more.

Reading articles, on the other hand, is an activity that requires total focus. By incorporating an audio player into your blog post or website, you get the best of both worlds – a medium that multi-taskers can enjoy, as well as the ability to serve up your carefully crafted content in its entirety.

Audio Content Can Be Served Up as a Podcast, Offering You a New Way to Get Discovered

If you love re-purposing content, you know that the practice is one way to work smarter and not harder. The articles that you already have, on your blog or through your company publications are essentially scripts, that you can use to create an audio version.

After you’ve recorded your audio blog, not only can you embed the content on your website, you can also serve it up through other distribution channels as a podcast.

Think how much farther your content could go if it was syndicated and distributed through Apple iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and Spotify? Even Amazon is getting into the podcast game. By creating an audio version and submitting your podcast, you’re able to expose your content to new audiences and earn new fans.

Audio Offers a Richer, More Personal Experience with Your Content and Brand

Humans learn how to communicate verbally long before we ever learn to read. Listening to someone’s voice taps into something primal in us, and paints a picture that only the human voice can.

When you enrich the content experience with audio, you stand to draw audiences closer to your brand. Think of the last time you listened to someone tell you a great story, or the last time someone personally helped you by walking you through a challenge.

This is not to slight the written word, which is incredibly powerful, but vocal interactions are much more personal than a written article on it’s own, even if it covers the same subject matter, or holds the same entertaining or educational information.

With audio, you deliver the richness of tone, inflection, emotion, and personality, all of which aren’t as easily gleaned from words on a page.

Lastly, these audio files allow you to express your brand voice in a very literal way… And isn’t that just magical?

With all factors considered, it’s clear that audio offers advantages to brand marketers who are looking to carve out space in a saturated market. Not only are audiences open to audio content, but they’re also demanding it, as well as enabling their homes, cars, cell phones and more to distribute audio content, on-demand.

Will you start producing audio versions of your content?

source: https://www.voices.com

11 Tricks to Get Your Blog Posts to Show Up in Google Searches

Claire Akin runs Indigo Marketing Agency, a marketing firm serving top independent financial advisors.

We all know how valuable appearing at the top of Google searches is, but how do you get there? Allow me to share a few tips with you!

The idea for this post came to me from John Stanton of Seacrest Wealth Management. He wanted to know if there’s a way to write blog posts so they will show up for a given keyword search in Google. John provides annuity reviews in his practice, so he would like to rank for searches such as “Should I keep my annuity?”

This practice is known as search engine optimization (SEO). Showing up for keyword searches helps people find you when they need your help. But, of course, there’s a lot of competition for hot keywords and SEO isn’t as straightforward as it used to be. Here’s what you can to do today to get your blog posts to show up for specific Google searches.

1. Understand the Role of Google

It’s helpful to first consider this challenge from Google’s perspective. They aim to be the best search engine, which means they want to deliver the most helpful results. Google judges how helpful their results are by how long you stay on a given website, how much of a blog post you read, or whether you click through to other content on a particular site. They also consider website credibility indicators, like the total traffic to your website, how many other websites link to your site, and whether your site is connected to active social media profiles.

All of these factors give Google a glimpse into how legitimate and helpful your website is. Their algorithm for determining which search results to return for a given keyword search is constantly being updated to make their search engine better. No one knows exactly how it works, and SEO experts are constantly trying to play catchup.

2. Create Valuable Blog Posts

In the old days, you could stuff “keywords” into your website so that Google would think your site was highly relevant for specific search terms. This meant that you could put “Financial Planning” over and over on the pages of your site to show up for those keyword searches. But Google got wise, and now “keyword stuffing” is actually penalized.

Google calculates your keyword density, or the percentage of times a keyword is used in relation to the total words on that page. If you have a keyword density of higher than around 2%, your post will be punished by the Google gods.

The only way to show up for search results today is to create valuable and helpful content. Google knows if your content is helpful by watching the behavior of people who search for something and end up on your site. Answering a question well and keeping people on your site longer can help your blog posts show up higher in search results. For example, my blog post titled Ten Secrets to Promoting Your Event is one of the highest ranked posts on my site because it thoroughly answers a common search question of how best to promote your event online.

3. Focus on Only One or Two Keywords

For each blog post, focus on one or two keywords to write about. It could be “key person life insurance” or “ETF investing.” By targeting your content to specific keywords, you’re more likely to come up for those searches.

4. Put Those Keywords in the Title, Headings, and URL

Once you choose the keywords you’d like to focus on, it’s important to use them in the right areas of your post. Google gives hierarchical credibility to your post’s title, headings, and URL, so you’ll want to use your keywords in all three: the title, the paragraph headings, and the web address.

5. Add a Meta Description

A meta description is a 160-character (or less) summary of your blog post. Your meta description actually shows up below the title of your post in search results. It’s important to create an accurate meta description so Google knows what the post is about and so that people will click on your post in their search results. Most websites for advisors have areas to add your meta description. If you have a WordPress site, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin to optimize your meta description.

6. Make Sure Your Blog Is Mobile-Friendly

Because the majority of website traffic comes from mobile devices today, Google will penalize sites that are not mobile-friendly because they don’t provide a good user experience. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly, and if you’re not sure, check using this tool.

7. Optimize Your Images

I had a professor in business school that would fail students if they used irrelevant imagery in their PowerPoint presentations. He was so tired of seeing generic profit charts or a thumbs-up sign that he finally snapped. If your image was not relevant to the slide at hand, you would fail.

Like my professor, Google also likes image relevancy. They prefer that you use a relevant image and title your image appropriately. Did you know that screen readers used by blind and visually impaired people depend on images being labeled properly? Adding an accurate label to your images helps your SEO score. You can do this by editing the “alt text” for each image in your post.

8. Create a Lot of Content on the Same Topic

I wish there were shortcuts to mastering search engine optimization, but there aren’t. The best way to be seen as credible and helpful in Google’s eyes is to create a lot of great content on the topic of your specialty.

One of my clients does this as well as anyone. Steven H. Kobrin, LUTCF, is also known as the life insurance guru. His blog posts cover everything you’d ever want to know about life insurance, including:

  • The Guide to Buying Life Insurance (eBook)
  • How Business Owners Use Life Insurance to Fund Buy-Sell Agreements
  • Get Life Insurance if You’re a Cancer Survivor
  • How to Evaluate the Credentials of Your Life Insurance Broker
  • Will Your Life Insurance Cover Your Emotional Needs?
  • Should Your Children Be Your Life Insurance Beneficiary?
  • Premium Financing for Life Insurance
  • The Blunt Truth About Marijuana and Life Insurance

I’m not kidding, Steve does an incredible job covering this topic. Each blog post you create on the same topic adds to your site’s total SEO credibility.

9. Link to Your Related Blog Posts

Remember when I said that Google judges how helpful your site is by how long someone is on your site and whether they click through to your other content? That’s where internal linking comes in. You’ll want to link to your other blog posts on related topics to give readers helpful information and keep them on your site longer. Aim for at least three internal links per post.

10. Get Others to Link to Your Post

Getting other websites to link to your site, or “backlinking,” used to be the biggest trick in the SEO book. But then SEO specialists spent their time adding links to their clients’ posts in the comments of other websites and Google got wise.

Today, backlinking isn’t as powerful as it used to be, but having other credible sites link to your post will help your SEO. Publish your posts on other related sites, share with professional partners, and let key influencers know about your content. Every time an industry leader like Michael Kitces links to one of my blog posts, that post gets a big SEO boost.

11. Share by Email and Social Media

If you found an incredibly valuable blog post on a topic that interested you, what’s the first thing you would do? You’d share it via email or on social media. A lot of “shares” gives Google a big clue that your post is valuable. Share each of your blog posts with everyone in your network by email and on social media.

source: https://indigomarketingagency.com


From A Branch Holly. Holly helps online business owners know exactly what tasks to focus on in their business so they can achieve complete freedom over their time, without working 24/7.

Listen to the audio instead

You’re writing blog posts, putting them out there – but nobody is listening. So what do you do?

The most important thing to remember when it comes to getting more blog followers or increasing your traffic is to know your audience and create content for them.

And I know a lot of you are just getting your blogs up and running which also means you don’t want to be spending a lot of money on this either.

Blog followers aren’t really like social media followers. Social media posts get engagement right in an instant. As soon as you post an update you’re getting likes, comments and shares.

With your blog traffic and followers, it’s more of a long term game. And you need to learn how to play that game the right way.

In order to do that you need to create content around keywords that people are actually searching for, so you can be found by your target audience.

And to do that, I’m going to teach you a simple six-step strategy.


I know some bloggers prefer to be spontaneous, but I truly believe that you have to have this down if you want to get the right followers and traffic coming to your blog.

So here are a few things to remember when it comes to your content strategy.

You want to keep people on your website for as long as possible and internal linking is the best way to do that. If you’ve got a new blog post and you want it to do well, you can go back to all your old blog posts and add a link to your new blog post within those where relevant.

This will keep people on your site for longer which will increase your traffic, followers and authority.

For every blog post you create you should pick a focus keyword for it. Now you want to aim for a long-tail keyword. So let’s say you’re a food blogger.

You could just write a blog post on how to cook. Or, you could write a blog post on how to cook vegan. Or you could go even deeper and write a blog post on how to cook vegan meals, or how to cook vegan for beginners.

The more specific you are the better.

It’s like anything. If you talk about a trending top or a hot product or a big influencer,  you’re going to get more views and followers because more people are going to be talking about it.

You could do a blog post on “how to blog like such-a-person” and mention an influencer. If you let them know you’ve created this, it’s pretty likely they’re gonna share it.


There are lots of people in every niche who are blogging and I know that can feel intimidating. So how can you stand out?

You use your own experience and your own expertise.

What I want you to do is create a list of all the blogs you know that are in your niche.

Then check them out on social media and see:

  • What content people are interacting with
  • What content people aren’t interacting with as much
  • What you can add and how you can make it better


One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your blog posts is doing a really long introduction. People have come to your blog post for a reason. They want to be inspired, entertained or educated.

Focus on getting to that as soon as possible with your content so people actually read your whole post.

A great formula to follow is: situation – problem – result.

Start off by outlining a situation and hooking your readers into that so they can relate to it.

Then you go onto enhance the problem that’s being caused in this situation.

And finally, you show your reader the result that they could get if they read your blog post. What are they going to get out of this specific post?

So for example, if I was writing a blog post on this topic (how to get more blog followers), it would look like this:

  • Situation: we all want more blog followers
  • Problem: there’s so much noise out there that it’s hard to stand out
  • Result: by the end of this blog post, you’ll have the exact process to get more blog followers

Include all those things into your introduction and then get into the meat of your content.


What I mean by interlinking your blog posts is making sure that when you look at your editorial calendar, you can see how all your blog posts link together.

So you write a blog post on how to get more blog followers. Then you write another post on how to increase your SEO strategy and write another post on how to increase your traffic.

They all interlink and cross-promote with each other.

If you do that and link to your other blog posts within a specific post? It increases your sessions, pageviews, and it also increases time on your site.

So think about how you can cross-promote and make sure your blog posts flow from one to another.


You need to find the right “thing” to contribute to. Luckily, there are so many blogs, websites, and publications out there that will allow you to share your voice.

I’d also focus on making connections rather than trying to sell yourself.

For instance, I have a digital magazine called Blogging Breakthrough that is purely run by contributors. But the people that contribute haven’t just come out of the blue. They’re people that have built up a connection with me and who have reached out to me on social media before. That really works.

And make it easy for the person you want to contribute too. Don’t just email them and ask a general question. Tell them what you’ve got in mind for your blog post so the person doesn’t have any option but to say yes.


This is going to be key if you want more blog followers, because nobody is going to see your blog posts unless you actually promote them.

On the day that you publish a post on your blog you want to share it:

  • Multiple times on Twitter
  • On your Instagram feed
  • In your Instagram Story
  • To Facebook
  • In Facebook groups where there’s a promo thread
  • Wherever you can on Pinterest

This will boost the views on your content, generate more engagement on each of your social platforms and drive more traffic to your site as a whole.

And then what you want to do is KEEP sharing it. The average lifespan of a tweet is only 18 minutes. You need to share it the next day, the next week, the next month and so on.

source: https://abranchofholly.com

The Most Useful Writing Advice I’ve Ever Been Given

I’ve been studying writing for 20 years now. I’m at the point where I’ve now taught more workshops than I’ve been a student in, and yet I still feel like I’m constantly on the search for new gems of knowledge about writing to both share with my students, and use in my own practice.

I’m also intrigued by what I remember teachers and writers telling me, and how hungrily I consumed what they had to say. I think this is partly because we see the talented writers that are our mentors as touching some magic that we, too, want to touch. This is, I think, why so many writers are asked questions like: “What is your process? What time of day do you write?” I think the subtext of all of these questions is, “How do you access the magic, the muse?” And, privately: “Would that work for me?”

Here are some things that teachers I was lucky enough to have taught me:

“Just because it happened to you doesn’t make it interesting.” I often repeat this line to students. From a writer who writes a lot of thinly veiled fiction based on her real life, this piece of advice is key for anyone writing nonfiction to understand. The personal is only interesting if it reaches into the universal.

“Don’t go to weddings.” This is a real thing a quite famous writer told our graduate workshop. Her point was this: Don’t miss class. Above all, prioritize your writing and your work here. While we all thought it was rather eccentric at the time, and I personally think you should go to every wedding possible because they are so fun, I do see her point. What I think she was trying to tell us is it’s time for you to start taking yourself seriously as a writer, and to treat writing as your job.

“Research, research, research (for inspiration as much as anything else).” I’d always thought of research as an academic, or even scientific, endeavor rather than a creative one. Boy, was I wrong. Fiction writers, poets, and, of course, nonfiction writers can benefit immensely from research. And research can be traveling, walking through your setting to take in the sensory details, or it can be reading old folk tales. I’d always thought, “Okay yeah, you research to make your work more realistic — but you do it to make it more real?” You do it because your work deserves that kind of investment on your part, but you also do it for inspiration. The details in Hans Christian Andersen (the codfish as paper in “The Snow Queen”!), the actual turns of phrase an old fisherman uses, the smell of the desert in spring — these are the goldmines of good writing. And you won’t find them unless you look.

If you are bored, it’s not because you wrote it, it’s because it’s boring. Margot Livesey actually said, “If you are bored, it’s not because you’ve read that section so many times, it’s because it’s boring.” And it’s really true, and countless times it’s saved me from being boring.

“Take out one dull line and add one stunning detail on every page.” This is from my exquisite writing mentor, Melanie Rae Thon, and is one of the many gems she has given me over the years. It is exquisite advice, and shows the dedication and diligence Thon gives to her own work. It is a really concrete action writers can take to drastically improve their writing. When I take this practice to my own work, it reminds me of adding a coat of oil to dull wood. It just immediately shines it up. It’s also wonderful to ask others to give their writing that kind of attention, and makes writers feel more proud of their work.

“Draw Antonio, draw Antonio, draw and do not waste time.” In her book, The Writing Life, Annie Dillard writes that these are Michelangelo’s words to his apprentice and it’s such an eloquent, history-laden phrase — such a perfect balance between poetry and timelessness — that I’ve tended to use it as a mantra over the years. Whispering it to myself when I’m tired and frustrated. I feel it connects me with artists over time and it reminds me:

Hey, just keep doing what you are doing. That’s really the only way to get better at it.

Sadie Hoagland is the author of American Grief in Four Stages and Strange Children. Her work has appeared in Salon, The Daily Beast, Writer’s Digest, Five Points, The Fabulist, South Carolina Review and Elsewhere.

Source: https://medium.com

5 Websites That Pay Writers Besides Medium

Listen to the audio version of this post instead

Ashley Broadwater is a lot of things: a writer, a friend, a girlfriend, a passionate woman. She is a mental health advocate, and, a body positivity enthusiast.

Guidelines, rates, my experiences, and more.

s a recent college graduate in a pandemic, I’ve struggled to find a traditional job. However, I’ve always had an interest in freelance writing. I love a lot of publications and working for myself, making the option ideal in those ways. Throughout my pitching and freelance endeavors — the failures and the successes — I’ve been thankful that Medium’s Partner Program has helped keep me afloat.

However, after several months of freelance writing, I’m ready to dive into other publications. I’ve learned you truly have to try, be brave, and put yourself out there, even when it’s hard. Anthony Moore’s article about how you can’t possibly do something poorly 52 times in a row also encouraged me and has stayed on my mind. Plus, I know pitching helps you build relationships with editors and gets your name out into the world.

If you’re hunting for publications that pay like I am, the following information may help.

1. POPSUGAR Voices

What They Look For

POPSUGAR aims to celebrate diverse stories with an encouraging, upbeat tone. The editors love stories pertaining to body image, parenting, fitness, shopping guides, pop culture theories, relationships, and more. You can find additional information and examples of those stories on the website.


Submission guidelines and more information are on the website as well.

Next Steps

You can submit a story through this website. You should hear back with an acceptance or rejection within 30 days. If they accept your story, they’ll likely also add you to a dashboard where you can pitch additional stories and accept prompts from editors.


$50–100 per article (after your first article is published) within 30 days after publication.

My Experience

I’ve been a part of POPSUGAR’s Voices program since June, and I’m so thankful for that. The editors are kind and helpful, and often it’s an easy and fun way to make $50 here and there.

2. Bitch Media

What They Look For

Currently, Bitch is looking for pitches about timely pop culture and political pieces. For example, see this Twitter thread from the senior editor.


Bitch has a thorough set of guidelines for various kinds of submissions.

Next Steps

You can email your pitch to the senior editor, Rachel, at rachel@b-word.org. If you don’t hear back in a week, feel free to check-in via email. You can also pitch through Submittable.


$150–175 for digital stories, usually within 2–3 days of publication.

My Experience

While my pitches haven’t been accepted by Bitch yet, the editors always reply in a kind and timely manner.

3. SELF Magazine

What They Look For

SELF’s categories are health, fitness, food, beauty, love, and lifestyle. The editors are looking for stories pertaining to personal or public health and wellness. Currently, they’re focusing mostly on service journalism, which is actionable, but they also take product roundups, cultural criticisms, the occasional feature, and service stories based on personal experience (but not personal essays). For more information and examples, see the article on pitching.


For guidelines and more information, see that same article.

Next Steps

The pitching article contains the editors’ emails, what kinds of pitches they each take, and what to include in your pitch. Make sure your pitch entails each element listed!


$300 an article is the current base rate for stories with minimal to no reporting, but reported stories start at $400 and features start at $800.

My Experience

I just started pitching SELF editors, and I’m feeling excited. The one-week turnaround and great pay encourage me, and I love the work they produce.

4. BuzzFeed READER

What They Look For

BuzzFeed READER takes personal essays on almost any topic (family, food, religion, sex, disability, hormones, body image, drugs, travel, race, and more) and timely cultural criticisms. If your article doesn’t fit one of these categories, they may still take it — see examples of what they’ve taken on the submission article.


Guidelines, word count details, and more information are also in that article.

Next Steps

Pitch your idea to reader.pitches@buzzfeed.com. If you’re pitching a personal essay, they suggest sending your first draft instead of a pitch. If they’re interested, they’ll get back to you within two weeks.


The website says they pay competitive rates. Who Pays Writers says the average for BuzzFeed is $0.22 a word.

5. VOX

What They Look For

For their First Person section, VOX is looking for diverse writers, even those who may need support with writing. They’re looking for personal pieces and have had the most success with ones focused on parenting, relationships, money, identity, mental health, and workplace issues.

Vox is looking for other content as well, such as The Goods (a money series), The Highlight (features), Future Perfect (meat coverage), Science (as well as its intersection with politics and the economy), and more.


You can find guidelines, examples of accepted stories, and more on the website.

Next Steps

Send your pitch or draft to the email listed along with the section you’re pitching, listed on the website. If you send a pitch, include what you want to write about, personal experience or qualifiers, and the basic points you want to make.


The website says they’ll discuss payment specifics upon the acceptance of your draft or pitch. One writer on Who Pays Writers reported getting paid $0.33 a word.

Pitching takes practice, and I’ll be the first to comfort you in saying I too have been rejected and ignored many times. Even freelance writers who make $10,000 a month have been.

I’m choosing to remember that even rejections teach us something. They help us learn how to better market ourselves and our work. They remind us we still and always have more to learn. And they make the acceptances even more exciting.

I encourage you to push yourself to pitch these publications or others and to try to not get too down if they reject or ignore your pitch. It happens to everyone, and your time is coming!

Listen to the audio version of this post instead

source: https://bettermarketing.pub/

I‘m trying to make a living writing. But it just doesn’t work

Author of Struggling Forward, also Tim Rettig is currently in the process of writing a book about the psychological journey of struggle, which all creatives have to go through, as they are working towards their dreams.

So, I am 26 years old. I have been blogging for about 5 years now. For the most part, I was blogging on my own website. Seven months ago, I have made the shift to Medium.

I’ve also never done this (completely) full-time. During all of those five years, I have been studying (and still am writing my MA thesis). Plus, I’ve worked on all kinds of other projects and jobs during that time.

But then, eight or nine months ago, something changed completely in my life.

My father passed away unexpectedly.

This led to a big creative shift in my life. Whereas previously, my goal had been to become the worlds best writer on intercultural communication I was now no longer willing to make the sacrifices necessary for that.

Why? Because that path has led me to move to three different foreign countries over the past seven years. All the while, I rarely met my family (including my father).

My father’s death essentially made me realise, that I am not willing to be far away from my family on a permanent basis.

But it also put me under enormous pressure.

Whereas previously, I had always been partially supported by my parents, I now had to figure out a way of making a complete living quickly.

At the time, I had also gone into a serious relationship. And considering that we wanted to move to Germany to be closer to my family (where she’d first have to finish her studies), I would now have to provide a complete income for two people. Not just for myself.

So, I made a decision, that is probably quite foolish.

I realized that from that point onward, my responsibilities would only keep growing. And if I ever wanted to make it as a writer, then I would have to go all in on the process right now.

And that’s what I did.

Over the past seven months, I have published around 250 articles on Medium alone. My estimation for the total number of words, which I have published (not written) during that time, is around 300,000.

I’ve also build my readership to levels, that I have never experienced before during my years of blogging. Now, my articles are averaging around 15,000 views and 5,000 reads per month.

But still, I have made $0 in the process.

And very little reason to think, that this will change anytime soon.

The main problem.

The main problem is actually a pretty obvious one. Blogging, in itself, doesn’t make you any money. Regardless of how many readers you attract through your words, you need a product to sell.

You might think: “why don’t you just work as a freelancer?”.

But you see, that is the whole point. During those five years, I have worked as a freelancer a lot. And I desperately want to get out of this cycle of being dependent on freelance money. Because it takes me away from doing the work, that I really want to produce.

Making enough money as a freelancer, requires you to put a lot of time and effort into the process. Often, so much time, that you hardly have any time left, to produce your own work.

So, I really want to make my income from my own products.

Problem is, I just barely managed to keep up my habit of writing more than one article per day. That in itself, was an incredibly difficult exercise.

Adding to that the difficulty of writing a book on the side, would’ve been completely impossible during that period of time.

Now, things are a bit different. I now feel confident that I can maintain my daily publishing habit. But at the same time, I am running more and more out of time. In a few months:

  • I will completely run out of money.
  • I will have to finish my MA thesis.
  • I will have to make the move back to Germany (which is going to be expensive and takes a lot of administrative work for my partner).
  • I will have to reach the point, where I can make enough money for the two of us.

So, there is all these things, which I have to juggle at the same time, making it incredibly difficult to get my book done, and thus starting to make money. Plus, I know that even if I get the book done, it is a completely unrealistic hope that it will make me enough money to live off that income alone.

What am I going to do about it?

I don’t know.

All I can do is to focus on getting my book done as quickly as possible, while at the same time continue building my readership. And to hope for the best, for whatever comes after that.

Time pressure.

“Literature is a wonderful profession, because haste has no part of it. Whether a really good book is finished a year earlier or a year later, makes no difference” — Stefan Zweig

This statement by Stefan Zweig, is really interesting.

I certainly agree with it, in that there is no haste for when to finish a book, when it comes to the impact of that particular book. The problem with that statement shows itself in the word ‘profession’.

Writing is a profession. Unless we have the capability to earn a living from our work, we simply can’t continue pursuing that profession on a full-time basis. This puts most writers under immense time pressure, to finish their work, so that it can generate an income for us.

Our work will be rushed.

And we won’t take the necessary time for it to evolve into its best possible version.

That’s why, I think, the writing profession is becoming less and less indistinguishable from the profession of online marketers, who only care about quick money.

It becomes less about quality, and more about sales. Less about providing value for our readers, and more about what kind of marketing techniques to use.

And I am worried, that I will succumb into this state, too.

I am worried, that I will make irreversible mistakes, and destroy the trust of my readers in the process.

A solution?

I was asking myself the question of how I can turn my disadvantage (lack of money), into an advantage. And there is something I have come up with, which might just work.

This is my plan:

I’ve got all of these blog posts. And I would like to compile them, edit them, bring more structure into them, and add additional work to it. After that, I would sell that as a book on Amazon.

So far, nothing special about that.

Many people are doing that.

But my main problem, is the lack of money to hire an editor. And that’s what I thought about, for a long time. After all, I don’t want to sell a low-quality book, and disappoint my readers.

So what if this is a book, that evolves for rest of my life?

Here’s how I imagine this:

At the end of the book, I would add a code. With that code, people can get access to a private e-mail list, only for people who have purchased the book. Then, I would continuously bring out new, updated versions of the book.

I would also use the first income, which the book generates, in order to hire an editor. In this way, I would continuously try and make this book the best work it possibly can.

When people purchase any version of the book, they get access to a download area, where they can also download all other versions.

This would give me all the time in the world, to make this book the best work, it possibly can be. I don’t need to rush into its completion. Because, as a matter of fact, the book is never going to be finished.

The book will evolve, as my thinking evolves.

Some final words:

I hope that this article didn’t come across as being nothing but me whining about my current life situation. It is true that I am a bit frustrated with where things are going, and concerned with my near-future (when it comes to my financial situation).

But isn’t this true for most of us?

After all, most writers (and other types of creatives) struggle with making a living from the thing, they love the most.

I just wanted to show, that you are clearly not alone in your struggles. Finding a good balance between making a living, and doing the kind of work we really want to be doing, is a problem that all of us are facing.

Sure, there are options available to all of us: whether it is coaching, holding webinars, or doing consulting work. But all of them are easier said than done. All of them require significant time investment, in order to become profitable.

Time, that we might not necessarily have.

So, I wanted to ask of you: what do you think about my proposed solution? Do you think my plan of continuously bringing out new versions of the book, and making them accessible to people, who’ve bought previous versions, will be acceptable to readers?

Would it be interesting for you, to follow the journey of a piece of work, that is going to evolve over many years?

And, would you be willing to excuse an imperfect first version, for the sake of enabling the work to develop further?

Let me know in the comments below!



source: https://writingcooperative.com

15 secrets and tips to set you up for massive freelance success

Jess Eddy is a digital product designer. She writes about design, teamwork and exercise. Currently she is based in Sydney, AUS.

By Jess Eddy

If you’re considering a freelancing career, congratulations! Working for yourself can be highly rewarding and more importantly, a great way to grow. I’ve learnt a lot working in full-time roles, but I learned a whole different set of skills working for myself. It gives you a unique perspective that you can’t find in full-time employment.

I freelanced for different startups in New York City for almost six years as a UX Designer. It was a great time to freelance; the tech scene was bubbling up and didn’t stop. I loved it. There are pros and cons to both freelancing and working full-time. What you really need to figure out is if freelancing is right for you.


Think about the right time to transition

Knowing when to quit your job to begin a full-time freelance career can be difficult. When I made the move, I transitioned out of a full-time job at a financial technology company. The timing worked for a few key reasons:

  • I had work lined up. I had been moonlighting for a while and had a handful of clients. I lined up work before quitting my job, which gave me some stability.
  • I had a cushion. I had some savings so I knew that if I weren’t making money right away or all the time, I would be OK.
  • I was confident in my skillset. Even though I still had more to learn, I knew my skills were good enough; I could run my own projects.
  • There was market demand. It was easy to see that my skill was in demand, which gave me confidence that I could find freelance projects.

If you’ll have no problem getting a full-time job again, giving freelance a chance is less risky as you can always go back to working full-time.

If you aren’t confident in at least three of these points, it might not be the right time for you.

Being successful at freelancing has a lot to do with the setup. I tried (and failed) once before being successful because I didn’t meet a few of these criteria.

Work out the logistics

There’s a handful of fairly mundane but super important things that you need to do when you freelance: Things like project tracking, pricing, invoicing, and contract and proposal writing, to name a few. Work out the logistics ahead of time so you’re not scrambling to do so on the spot.

Know how you will manage projects, keep track of your time and invoice. Get a basic working contract together to protect yourself and start to think about what a proposal that you write for a project might look like.

When it comes to pricing — don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth or cost based on the value you’re delivering. Clients usually have a harder time with a price before they work with you as you haven’t established trust yet. If you do great work and the client is happy, the price will be less of an issue.

If you’ve never written a contract before, that’s OK. Find examples — it’s easier than starting from scratch! Here are some services that can help:

Don’t forget: when you are self-employed, you must buy your health insurance (in the United States at least). Check out what The Freelancer’s Union has to offer. freelancersunion.org/health

Go deeper into pricing

Pricing technically falls into the logistics category, but it’s worth calling it out separately as it’s a tricky topic to get right. There are different ways to price, the two main types are hourly and per project.

I always try to avoid hourly rates or billing as it’s too granular. Granular in that, it’s very easy for money and pricing to become a target when it’s broken down on an hourly level.

There is more opportunity for the client to nitpick and make comparisons about the work and the time it’s taken to create. It also opens the door to the client micromanaging the project to “save money,” all the while making it harder for you to do your job and good work!

The reality is, when you are making, there’s a lot of work that happens behind the scenes that clients don’t necessarily see. All the brainstorming and internal rounds of design you did, or the drafts of copywriting, before having work to present.

My preference has always been never to reveal an hourly rate but to work on a project rate instead. Project-based pricing means looking at the project as a whole, scoping it — usually with the client — and then putting a price and timeline on it. In this scenario, you and the client are looking at the overall value that is being delivered instead of an hourly, line-by-line setup.

There are times when I’ve agreed to an hourly rate, however. Hourly arrangements can be an excellent way to supplement the income from larger projects. I’ve worked with clients who needed design support on a weekly or monthly basis and usually in these situations, the client has an understanding of the hourly rate. Or at least the overall time you might spend in a week or month and the price, which is easily broken down into an hourly rate.

Hourly rates can also make sense in cases where you may be needed intermittently after completing a project. For example, you might design something, then make yourself available on an hourly rate basis for implementation issues or questions.

Ensure you’re getting paid what you’re worth and for the value, you are creating for your client. Check out Dan Mall’s book on Pricing Design, as well as Freelance, and Business, and Stuff by Amy Hood.

Benek Lisefski wrote a massively awesome post about value-based pricing and it’s worth a read: What to charge as a freelancer: does value-based pricing live up to the hype?

Define your process

If you’re a designer, you should work out your design process before freelancing. That’s not to say that your method is the same for every project. You’ll encounter different scenarios and clients will have varying needs, but you should generally know and be able to articulate your process.

The same applies if you’re a writer or a developer and so on. Clients will want to know what it’s like to work with you and what they can expect. Be transparent and document it somewhere. Share it with potential clients either on your Website or in a nicely designed PDF.

Be ready to market yourself

If you’re going to freelance, you need to embrace self-promotion. But that doesn’t have to mean shouting in the streets and handing out flyers! You just need to be ready to promote your services and expertise.

At the most basic level, this means having a Website with optional, supplemental PDFs. PDFs are an excellent option if for any reason your Website can’t do all the work.

For example, when you’re starting out it might be easier to put your work and references into a PDF if you don’t have the wherewithal or time and money to develop a comprehensive Website.

When I was freelancing, I created very targeted PDFs for different contexts such as mobile design.

Having promotional material for a specific niche allows you to take a highly targeted approach in marketing yourself and connecting with your audience.

Pay attention to the questions and inquiries you get from prospective clients and see what makes sense to turn into a promotional PDF for future use.

Think in scenarios

When you freelance, there are different scenarios in which your services can be helpful. After having spent some time freelancing, I was finally able to see how the same set of skills could be bundled up and marketed in specific ways. Here are some common scenarios I experienced when freelancing.

A company or founder:

  • Has a SaaS product that needs a complete redesign
  • Is raising money and needs their app idea visualized
  • Needs to design a new feature but lacks internal design resources
  • Requires ongoing design support for a set amount of time weekly or monthly (or even longer term)
  • Needs an Android version of their iOS app designed

The benefit to thinking in scenarios is that you can use them to better market your services. It’s great material for blog posts or “Services” pages.

By directly addressing scenarios, you allow prospective clients to better relate to you, which is excellent for increasing the chances of working with a client.

Form an LLC

Yes, snoozeville but this is something you need to do.

There are a couple great reasons to form an LLC (or a separate business entity). First of all, you want to protect yourself. An LLC separates your business finances from your personal finances and belongings.

In the very rare case a client sues you, they will sue your business, not you. The other great benefit of an LLC is that it makes accounting and taxes much more manageable.

If your personal finances are intermingled with your business finances, it will not be a fun tax season for you (as if taxes could ever be fun).

I highly recommend getting a bookkeeper or using a service like Bench. Trust me when I tell you, you may think you’ll balance your books, but you won’t.

This is the least fun part of any business — unless you love accounting (if so, what kind of freak are you?)

Lastly, a new law has been passed in California that makes it harder for creative agencies to work with freelancers that do not operate as a business.

Specialize in something

Is there a niche in your industry that you’re really good at or want to focus on? Specializing in something allows you to build trust with prospective clients more quickly and in essence, be more “sellable” to people looking for that exact service.

For example, a designer that focuses on mobile design for Android may be more likely to get freelance jobs in that realm than individuals or agencies with more generalized skills. The market is very competitive, so there are no guarantees, but if you position yourself in a certain way, you may be able to increase the odds of getting very specific freelance gigs.

Think about finding clients

One of the top questions potential freelancers have is, “How do I find clients?” Honestly, it can be hard finding clients if you’re starting with no network, but it’s very possible! Word of mouth is the best referral and this is something you can achieve over time as you build a network. There are ways to find clients and projects when you don’t have a network yet. Here are a few ideas.

  • Directly market your services. Look around in your area for companies you’d like to work for and create a list. Find contact email addresses. Come up with a simple and friendly email pitch containing links to your site and or work. Start sending emails. Be prepared for low conversion rates but you never know where these inquiries will go! It’s actually quite exciting.
  • Use LinkedIn Premium for lead generation. LinkedIn Premium gives you the ability to message anyone. In an effort to drum up business while I was in Philadelphia for a brief stint, I put together a list of startup founders and emailed every single one of them. I didn’t hear back from most people but the effort did result in one paying project.
  • Scour relevant sites daily. There are relevant job boards and forums where warm leads are looking for people for you. Invest some time each day in browsing sites and doing outreach. To help manage this process you can set up an RSS feed so the job postings from different sites are all in one places. For designers, here’s a short list of sites to get you started:
  • Dribbbledribbble.com/jobs
  • Authentic Jobsauthenticjobs.com
  • Design Jobs Boarddesignjobsboard.com
  • We Work Remotelyweworkremotely.com
  • Angel Listangel.co/jobs
  • Designer Newsdesignernews.co/jobs
  • Folyofolyo.me
  • Smashing Magazinesmashingmagazine.com/jobs
  • Startup Jobsstartup.jobs
  • Workshopletsworkshop.com/job-boards-for-client-work
  • Designmodo Jobswww.designmodo.com/jobs

See more ideas such as paid acquisition and “feeder products” from Brennan Dunn at Double Your Freelancing.

Always keep in mind: you’re not obligated to work with every client that comes your way.

There are typically red flags with people that may not be good to work with for whatever reason. It may be around pricing, how quickly they respond to emails or the level of control they want to have over decisions made in the project. When you’re working with people you’re comfortable with; you’ll produce better work.


Build great rapport with clients

Your clients are your lifeblood. Always offer excellent customer service by treating them with respect and running projects to the best of your ability. If something goes wrong and it’s your fault, own up to it. Take responsibility! Think about what your relationship pillars are.

Mine are honesty, transparency, and communication. Honesty in that I will always be truthful and direct. Transparency in that I want clients to have clear insight into the project and process, an understanding of its status, and easy access any deliverables. Communication in that they’ll hear from me frequently with updates and questions regarding the work we’re doing, so we can all move forward together, productively.

Set realistic project expectations

When you start scoping projects, it’s difficult to understand how much time and effort a project might take. You get really good at this over time.

It’s tempting to bend to a client’s timeline or budget because you want to please them or you really want the work. This is not good business though.

Be realistic with time and cost. If their budget is too low, offer a way to decrease the scope. If their timeline is unreasonable, be honest and communicate what you can actually do within the timeframe.

Some clients do expect that you’ll do whatever they ask, but the best clients listen and adapt with you.

Set up the project schedule (deadlines) and stick to it. This is actually really hard in practice but it’s a very good habit to get into it.

Put the project milestones in a calendar and send calendar invites to your client.

If you have a project that is supposed to last a month but the timeline gets blown out, that impacts your future income and your ability to schedule work. A project schedule will help keep you and your client accountable.

One of the main reasons projects go over schedule is the client gets feedback to you too slowly or wants more design cycles than you’ve scoped. Deadlines help reinforce expediency.

Don’t forget that meetings with clients take your time as well — and you will have a lot of them!

A good rule of thumb is, whatever the project cost is, add around 25% for meetings and general project management. So, if the cost of a project is $5k, add $1,250. Consider anchoring your percentage to the size (and bureaucracy) of the company. The larger the company, usually correlates to more meetings and well, inefficiencies.

Be a leader

When you work with clients it’s easy to get wrapped up in their vision and approach. However, what separates great freelancers from mediocre ones is the ability to understand where the client is coming from and propose a different plan if you discover theirs is not suitable.

Perhaps a client wants to build a fully functioning mobile app with their idea that hasn’t been validated. You know that this will cost thousands upon thousands of dollars and will likely fail.

It’s OK to have an open discussion about this and propose a different, lower risk approach. In the end, if the client decides to proceed anyway, you gave it your best shot, and you can still do some exciting work.

Document projects as you go and have fun

I can’t tell you how many times I completed a project with a client and kicked myself because I didn’t take any photos of the workshops and epic meetings!

Documenting projects allows you to create really lovely case studies after the fact, which will help you land more work.

Plus, it’s nice to have photos of you and your clients — oh the memories! Oh, and you can use pictures and such for social media…remember that self-promotion thing we talked about?

Don’t forget to have fun!

Remember, a client’s perception of you is the entire experience of working with you so bring some good vibes. If it’s anything like the movies, people remember the peak moment and the ending!

Write about what you do (content marketing)

Writing about your craft is part of your portfolio. Writing showcases how you think and problem solve, which is what the best creatives do well. Writing is also a great marketing tool and can be a supplemental part of your Website.

Is there a question you get asked a lot of clients? Make a blog post out of it and point clients to it!

Write about topics that involve working with clients or about the work you’ve done. This type of content resonates with prospective clients and helps you build trust without even meeting them.

Your articles may also show up in search results for potential clients that are searching for the exact thing you’re writing about, allowing them to come to you! Writing can be a great lead generation tool and will help you create a reputation in the community.

Ask for testimonials and referrals

Following up on building excellent rapport with clients. When you do this, it’s much easier to ask a client for a testimonial, which you should do!

Testimonials are part of marketing yourself and are “professional proof” which increases trust in other prospective clients.

Testimonials can be published on your Website, in marketing PDFs, and on LinkedIn. Having recent testimonials is vital as the older a testimonial gets, the more irrelevant it becomes.

Referrals are a great way to drum up new work and clientele. A referral means either asking your client to directly recommend you to people in their network who may also need your services, or asking them if they know anyone who might be in need of your services so you can reach out to them yourselves.

As with anything new that you try, there will be stumbling blocks, but it’s all part of the learning process — and the learning process can be exhilarating.

Once you start to form some mastery around freelancing, you’ll be thinking of ways to solve new challenges such as increasing your freelancing rate or finding bigger and better projects to work on. Take the time to get your feet wet and learn the ropes!

source: https://medium.com/@jesseddy

Attention & Body Image

This a powerful video from Jessi Kneeland. Jessi is an amazing woman and a coach who’s goal is to empower people with body image issues. This is how she introduces her self in her blog.

“The short story is that I’m a coach, writer, teacher, and speaker dedicated to helping folks break free from body image issues and love themselves. The long story is that I used to hate my body. A long time ago, I would have said that “body image issues” only affected fat women or women with eating disorders—not me. I’d always had the kind of body society says is “acceptable” for a woman (whatever the hell that means) and I felt totally “normal.”

Now let us check out the video.

Hey there!

If you’re like a lot of my clients, you’ve probably come to think of “needing too much attention” as a weakness, character flaw, or problem. But have you ever stopped to think about the relationship between getting enough attention and body image??

Check out today’s #transparenttuesday video to see how many people (especially girls, women, and femmes) end up obsessing over and hating their bodies simply because they were unable to get adequate attention for reasons outside of how they look!

source: https://jessikneeland.com