It’s Time for Some Real Talk about the WAHM Online Business Thing

I’m going to go out on a shaky and dangerous limb here:

I don’t think the online work-at-home culture is about making money. Not at all.

I think it’s about a generation of women who want to be in their homes, with their families and be respected for it.

It’s about a generation of women who don’t want to go out into the world to do soul-sucking work in a world that won’t properly appreciate their gifts.

I think it’s about women who have talent, education, life-experiences, and wisdom that they want to do something with. It’s about women who have creative energy oozing out of their very existence with nowhere to put it.

It’s about women who want to make a difference and have a sense of purpose for themselves, not a purpose that relates to their family.

And I might REALLY get flamed for this, but I don’t think it’s even always about making extra money for your family. If your family really needed more reliable income, then you would likely be forced to work outside of the home. The reason I say that?

Because if you really needed more money for your family, you wouldn’t have money to spend on courses to teach you how to make money.

(I do realize that there of plenty of families out there that absolutely need extra income. I’m not talking to those people.)

But from my perspective, the entire earn money online culture exists to get you to spend money on something largely intangible and totally internal: belief in yourself. Meaning. Purpose. Respect for all you do. Respect from your kids, your partner, your community and most of all yourself.

I am totally embarrassed to admit what my work-at-home journey has looked like. It’s involved a lot of online wanderlust, failed plans, domain names, flopped business endeavors and money wasted on those damn courses to teach you how to make money. It isn’t pretty.

You see I’m what you would call a huge effing flake “multi-passionate.”

I am pretty smart. I went to a prestigious college, I passed two bar exams, I owned that book-smarts stuff.

But I am also introverted, creative, anxious, introspective, woefully sensitive and blessed/cursed with an INFP, Enneagram 4 existence.

I’ve made some decent money as a freelance writer. Did I make six figures like the online gurus? Not even close. But I grossed somewhere in the range of $10,000 last year and I am proud of that. And when I started my freelance journey that would have thrilled me. But after listening to so many damn online gurus tell me that I should be able to be making 6 figures and balling out of control, my successful side hustle turned into a failed full hustle. And absolutely nothing changed but my perspective.

My book was published last year by a real publishing house, and I have made literally a few dollars on it. I didn’t get an advance, and I didn’t negotiate my deal at all. I was just happy to call myself published. But even though I scratched something huge off my bucket list, I still fixated on the fact that I didn’t make six figures online by blogging or using Pinterest or clicking on secret messages or whatever the hell we’ve all tried.

Now, I’m a blogger who wants to make this “make money from your blog” thing work. Mostly because I want to write entirely for myself, not for freelance clients who want to pay me pennies to churn out content that will make them real money.

I am like every other woman out there pinning blogging tips, Pinterest marketing tips, affiliate links and searching Upwork all day. Putting pressure on myself to achieve something, even though I have no idea what that something even is.

I’ve raised a 9-year-old who has given me some real challenges over the years, from food allergies to Birth-to-Three services to ADHD and extreme anxiety. I’ve kept our home running through four houses and three states. It isn’t usually neat and Pinterest-worthy, but it was real and there was love.

And I’ve done that while caring for my own struggles with depression and anxiety. I also got sober as a SAHM living in Wine Town, CT.

I haven’t made six figures online. And despite my book smarts, I have given a lot of people online a lot of money to give me something that I don’t think they can: a purpose.

Maybe I am way off in left field and everyone who reads this will think I’m a privileged nutjob. But I wanted to take the mask off and let you in. And if this resonates with even one other woman, I will be thankful. I suspect that there are way more of us than there are bloggers with perfect hair and label makers who make five figures on their blog in a month.

I’m not sure where this blog will take me, but I am committed to writing for myself, and for anyone else out there who might want to read about home office decor and figuring out this WAHM life with the musings of a madwoman occasionally mixed in.

What has your WAHM journey looked like? Have you spent money on online courses? Do you really need the income and want to tell me to pound sand? Let me know what you think in the comments. I would love to hear from you, really. I think this conversation matters.

And if you liked this post, please help me out by giving it a share on Pinterest.

Newbie Blogging Chronicles vol 2

This month, I worked on content for this site, and I actually built a brand new Amazon affiliate site at Cozy.Clothing. My theme over there is basically curating clothes like Lularoe, but cheaper and on Amazon Prime. Check it out!

I also decided that I love using WordPress to build my sites. I can see why something like Wix is attractive. I actually do run a site over there and it was super fast to get up and it looks great.

But there is just something about creating on WordPress that really does make you feel like a techie badass.

One of the reasons I have been able to get so much from WordPress is that I switched from Hostgator to Site Ground last month.

The switch from Hostgator to Site Ground has my site running really fast, and it is allowing me to experiment with more plugins without worrying about overloading my site. This was really important on my Amazon affiliate store because it has a LOT of photos involved, as well as Woocommerce and WooZone which are pretty heavy duty plugins. Plugins can slow things down, so it’s important to keep tabs on that.

I’ve contacted Site Ground support THREE different times this month (all in one day actually). Each time they were no-nonsense and fixed my problem ASAP. I loved that they didn’t waste my time with a lot of questions before getting started. I was like, I need this thing, and they were like, boom, done.

The best part of switching what that Site Ground will actually transfer your site to their hosting platform for FREE! I’ve used GoDaddy and Hostgator, and so far there is no comparison.

You can try Site Ground starting at $3.95 when you use my link.

When working on my new site, I bought a new premium e-commerce theme that I’m not super happy with. So far it hasn’t fully delivered all that it promised too. For instance, loading the dummy content turned into a whole thing. And the platform I’m looking at looks totally different than the one in the tutorials on YouTube.

After spending a FULL day trying to install that sumbitch, I threw my hands up and gave up. Envato Market wanted 50 bucks to install it for me. I thought this was steep, especially since I KNOW how to install a theme. I was also concerned that if I paid them my $50 that they still wouldn’t load it to my specifications, and that I would have a terrible time trying to get in touch with someone about it. I wanted to return the theme for a refund, but I was not eligible for one. Apparently, “I’m not techie enough to make this work” is not a valid reason for a refund at Envato.

Thankfully, I headed over Fiverr to see if I could find someone that could help me out for less money. I found a gig that promised Themeforest installation with loaded dummy content for $20. I decided to go for it.

I’m so glad I did. The seller was soooo fast and communicative by email. For instance, my cpanel flagged his login because he was in India and I had been on it here all day (score one for Site Ground security). I was able to get him the verification code they gave me, and then he got it done really quickly. I was so pleased–he really was the themeforest expert he claimed to be. After spending an entire day cursing at this thing, he got it done in like two seconds.

So shoutout to user erside2211 over on Fiverr. If you need this type of work, DEF. check him out. Here is a screencap of the gig I bought from him:

So if you’re still thinking about making the leap to self-hosting, be sure to check out Site Ground. I’ve used GoDaddy and Hostgator, and I can’t imagine any service that is doing a better job than my homies over Site Ground.

(This post contains affiliate links. I will earn a small commission if you purchase through my link which costs you absolutely nothing.)

The Newbie Blogging Chronicles–vol. 1

site ground for new bloggers

My January Update

I’m not a new writer, but I am new to blogging. Someone was asking how I like it. My answer was: um, I love it!

I realize that I may still be in the honeymoon phase when it comes to blogging, but I am enjoying every step of the way. It’s amazing how much different it feels to write for myself entirely, instead of ghostwriting content for other people’s websites or blogs (what I did a lot of last year as a freelancer. You can read about my freelance writing experience here).

I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot more than I would have expected so far! In less than a month I hve

  • Created this self-hosted wordpress blog
  • Moved by blog hosting from Hostgator to Site Ground
  • Signed up for a few affiliate programs
  • Made my first (tiny) affiliate sale!
  • Increased my Pinterest following
  • Have powered up my Pinterest presence a ton by using Tailwind
  • Joined a few Pinterest group boards
  • Joined several Facebook groups for bloggers (there are fantastic resources)
  • Written and published 14 posts counting this one!

I’m proud of myself for churning out that much content. I hope that I am able to pick it up.

I’ve also really become pretty comfy finding my way around WordPress. Self-hosting is the way to go, and the switch from Hostgator to Site Ground has my site running really fast. I am experimenting with a lot of plugins, but my page is still loading quickly because of Hostgator. Plugins can slow things down, so it’s important to keep tabs on that.

The best part of switching what that Site Ground will actually transfer your site to their hosting platform for FREE! I’ve used GoDaddy and Hostgator, and so far there is no comparison. And I love that I am helping out the “small guy” on the block because they are out here giving the best service.

You can try Site Ground starting at $3.95 when you use my link.

What’s Next?

My plan is to continue to churn out good content, and to find a way to make my blog profitable. With all of the love and inspiration I’ve found in the blogging community, I’m sure my next month of blogging will be even better 🙂

 

(This post contains affiliate links. I will earn a small commission if you purchase through my link which costs you absolutely nothing.)

 

 

 

 

14 Course Reviews, ZERO Affiliate Links: My Opinion on Some of the Internet’s Most Popular Paid Online Business Courses

I have a confession: I’ve taken every online course under the sun.

Well, that’s an exaggeration. But I have taken a lot.

This is not my first foray into the internet business rodeo. I’ve been working online for some time. And I have started a few online businesses that failed, like:

  • Digital marketing for attorneys
  • SEO white labeling
  • Coaching a women’s lifestyle group
  • Writing fiction books on Kindle
  • Other things I am probably blocking from my memory out of shame forgetting about.

And with each new venture, I really wanted to make it work. My goal was to go balls out and unafraid to invest in my business. I have always felt like I’m really investing in myself (at least that’s what all of the amazing online salespeople convinced me I was doing.)

There’s also the matter of that little early midlife crisis I might be experiencing. My daughter is growing, I’m getting older and I want to find my purpose. Damn by INFP insatiable desire for my life to have special meaning!

So online entrepreneurship has been where I’ve put my blood, sweat and tears over these last few years. I want to work at home, I have been out of the workplace game for a long while, and it is just want I think would make me happy. And in my question for online success, I’ve come across a few valuable teachers who know their stuff.

I’ve also had a few disappointments.

The Online Business World is Really Pyramid-y

I think it’s time to say it: most online businesses seem to be marketing to other online business people. It’s like B2B2B2B2B…it drives me bananas.

What do I mean by pyramid-y? Well, it’s like this:

Step 1. Person establishes online career

Step 2. Person may or may not have varying degrees of success with said online career

Step 3. Person wants to diversify their income streams to include more passive income and less of their time and labor.

Step 4. Person writes an online course to sell information to others who want to follow in their footsteps.

Step 5. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Sound familiar? If you are reading this, then I know it does.

 

And look, i’m not knocking the hustle.

I know it sounds like I am, but I’m not. I actually really enjoy taking these types of courses. I’m fascinated by this business.

It’s just my observation of the online business industry and I think it’s about time someone said it out loud. Judge for yourself how you feel about this type of business, hell, I am probably in that type of business with this blog. But, it needs to be discussed openly. Because sooner or later this bubble is going to burst.

I know that information products and digital products and virtual work are here to stay. What’s going to bust is the levels and levels of people who keep doing the same.damn.thing. Innovative products that solve a real problem will always be successful. But pyramid schemes won’t. That’s my two-cents, at least. But what do I know? I am not an online guru and I have not made six-digits online, so grain of salt and all that.

I feel passionately about the topic of online courses and resources and I have for some time. Sometimes I recommend a course, book or free to someone because I thought it was valuable. Other times, I have chalked up my money spent to the game.

But in the spirit of the online business pyramid culture, most course reviews are given by affiliates. And while I don’t think that means that they are dishonest, I do think it probably colors the review in some way. Call me a skeptic.

That’s why I wanted to give honest, fully uncompensated reviews of the courses I have taken (and paid resources I have purchased). I want to share what I liked and what I didn’t like. And most importantly, tell you if I would I buy them again.

I’m seriously fearful that this post will get me blackballed on the interwebs and that I might as well pack up this blog and go home.

But this is a post I’ve wanted to write for along time. So let’s get started.

*Deep breath* Here we go.

 

 

 

 

7 Places Where I Find Real Freelance Writing Jobs

young woman working on laptop

The Gig Economy is EVERYWHERE Online

If you have ever considered working from home, you have no doubt come across the massive amount of information on the web to help you find freelance writing jobs . It seems like everyone and their mom has a course on becoming a freelance copywriter or content writer.

The thing that jumps out at me, however, is that many of these so-called gurus don’t seem to have much copywriting experience under their belts. The way that the online business and freelance community is set up, it seems like some people to begin selling courses and coaching to other people who are trying to live the dream, instead of working on their actual freelance income themselves.

The old adage, those who can do, and those who can’t teach, is VERY apropos when it comes to the online freelance writing world.

And I admit that I did spend (and sometimes waste) a lot of time, money and tears on finding the right information to help me 1. develop my skill set and 2. find decent freelance work. I’ve kissed a lot of frogs–now I stick to the channels that I know are legit and effective. Here are a few of the places that I found my current clients.

1. Join Facebook Groups

 

A friend of mine clued me in to this resource last year, and it led to me getting some great referrals. There are many Facebook groups out there for freelance writers to network and share job information. Some of these groups are publicly searchable. Others are kept under wraps because they are closed or secret groups that require an invite.

But the good thing is, once you get into one or two groups, you will quickly learn about the other lesser known groups who like to stay on the down low. Pay attention to the feed for a few minutes each day. You will learn about possible gigs, other boards or practical writing or career advice.

2. Check out sites Find Freelance Writing Work On Upwork–But Be Choosy

 

Upwork and other content mill and bidding sites get a bad rap. And much of it is totally deserved. Upwork is no exception, but it can lead to good clients when used correctly, and with the right mindset. When it comes to Upwork, there are two important things to remember:

Do Not Try To Get Business by Being the Lowest Bidder

While this may get you a few gigs, they will NOT be the types of clients you want, trust me. I’ve even run into my fair share of scammers on Upwork. WARNING: If they want to get you to chat and to be hired off Upwork, be very wary. While I have had legit Skype interviews with Upwork clients, they always hire me on the Upwork site.

Upwork takes a hefty commission when you’re hired. Upwork charges the freelancer a fee of 20% for the first $500 billed with a client. Then, the commission rate drops to 10% for lifetime billings with the client between $500.01 and $10,000. If you find a really long-term client, the commission drops again–5% for lifetime billings with the client that exceed $10,000 (I’ve never gotten to this threshold with any clients). But the fee scale is another reason that you only want to spend your time on good, quality clients on Upwork. The one-offs who are looking to pay pennies aren’t worth it.

Always Use Highly Relevant Samples Only

I got this advice from high-earning Upwork guru Danny Margulies of freelancetowin.com. 

Danny teaches something he calls the “Crystal Ball Method.” The idea is that you give the prospect a look into crystal ball at how you can help them solve their specific problem with your work. He suggests putting together what he calls a Minimum Viable Portfolio (MVP). The MVP is:

  • One single writing sample
  • Which is targeted toward what the client is looking for. Not a cut and paste sample or clip
  • Completed in 20-20 minutes.

The point is to stand out among all of the cookie cutter, cut and paste bids the prospect will receive. By doing some really quick online research, you can stand out from the crowd, and have a better change of getting better paid gigs. Check out Danny’s site for more details on his methods.

3. LinkedIn Pro

I learned about this from a colleague I met through some old-fashioned LinkedIn networking. Who knew the site actually worked for that purpose?

Anyway, I reached out to a writer in my niche who lived in a different city located in my state. I complimented her on her experience in the field that I was trying to grow into, and she graciously offered to have a phone chat. During this conversation she gave me two great LinkedIn related tidbits.

  • Join LinkedIn groups related to your niche or potential client base. I did some of this, but I did not get any work in this way.
  • Sign up for the LinkedIn Profinder program, which has been great.

To join LinkedIn Profinder, you must complete a simple application. The first time I submitted my application, a representative got back to me and told me that my LinkedIn profile needed some work. She gave me suggestions about how to optimize my profile to look better to potential clients.

After spending a little time on my profile, the accepted me.

The LinkedIn Profinder advertises vetted professionals to potential clients. I get periodic emails about jobs which might be a good fit for me. If I like the posting, I can reach out to the prospect with an initial bid and a note. I usually put something in the bid box because you have to, but I tell them that I would love to learn more about their needs in a phone chat, and that after that I would be happy to give them an accurate price.

I’ve gotten a few steady clients through this program, so you should check it out.

4. Creative Placement Agencies

 

I got one good, long-term client through Creative Circle.

Joining their corp of freelancers was easy enough. I found a job listing on their site, and I filled out the required information to register and was contacted by an account manager the same day. I applied for a few positions and I settled in with one remote, out-of-state client who turned out to be a great fit.

Tip: Don’t just look at positions in your geographic area! Go through each city and look for jobs that are off-site. That’s how I found an out-of-state gig which worked out just fine.

5. Angel.co

 

Angel.co is easy to avoid at first because the platform looks a bit strange at first (at least to me). But I got a really fun content gig on here and I’ve met some really interesting startup entrepreneurs.

The good thing about Angel.co is that many of the employers are startups who are doing interesting things. For instance, I got to write for two major comedians on monetized content sites curated by a startup.

When you look for jobs on Angel.co, be sure to make a search for “Remote OK” positions. Then, when I click to apply, I always leave a friendly, conversational note in the optional space to send a message. I never just send off my profile without a personalized note to the contact.

One word of warning: read the job posting carefully. Some startups lack capital, so they’re looking for people to work for equity, not cash. I have never been interested in doing that.

6. Blogs

Even though the beginning of my post said to avoid online freelance writing advice gurus, that isn’t to say that there are not several quality blogs about freelancing that have valuable information and job postings. A few good ones are:

And my personal favorite…

Problogger

Problogger has what I have found to be the best online job board aimed at bloggers and content writers. The job ads usually have details and well-written. Another pro is that they often display the name and links to the posting company so you can vet them yourself. It’s a free, straight-forward job board where I have had some luck.

7. Cold emails

Finally, I have had a surprising amount of success from writing cold emails to companies who employ content writers in my niche.

My former career was in law, so I have a lot of clients who require SEO blogs and other content for lawyers. After searching Google for “legal content companies” and I sent emails to all of the companies in the first few pages of search results.

I wrote a short email explaining who I was and what I do, and asked if they were looking to add any content writers to their team. It was a success: I got two steady clients from this method.

____

Finding good freelance writing jobs can be time-consuming. Hopefully, this list will help you weed out some of the junk when it comes to beginning your freelance writing journey. I would love to hear from other freelancers, especially people who provide services other than writing.

Got questions? Leave a comment below, or find me on Facebook.

 

Work-at-Home Crafters–Get Ready for Craft Shows in 2018!

I adore summer festivals, and my hometown Rochester, NY always had the best festivals. I think it was because our winters were so long and snow and dreary, we made the most of every single summer weekend. When I remember summer festivals and craft fairs, I remember fresh squeezed lemonade (the kind with half a lemon floating in the cup). And I also loved talking to all of the crafters and artisans who were selling their work.

Even in the age of Etsy, craft shows and art shows are definitely still a thing.

I know that a lot of creative workistas out there are crafters. And for crafters, the craft fair and craft show season is crucial.

Instead of typing “craft fairs near me” and hoping for the best, you should check out Fairsandfestivals.net. This membership site takes all of the guess work out of the planning process. They compile detailed info about thousands of craft events in the US. You also get a free e-book about craft show and festival profit, and a newsletter too.

The other great part is that you can build a webpage with photos right on their site. Since the site is targeted at craft enthusiasts, it will get your name out there to other like-minded people.

Are you a DIY maven who is amping up for your biggest sales year yet? No more searching “Craft fairs near me.” Consider using this tool to dominate craft shows in 2018. Give it a try, it’s risk free for 60 days, so it is definitely worth a look.

Are you a craft-at-home entrepreneur? Check out our post on finding your signature office style for more ideas to decorate your workspace.

(This post contains affiliate links.)