May 19

Valuing Yourself: Why It's Crucial To Being a Successful Writer

I am the first person to admit I don’t always value myself highly enough. In fact, some days, I feel absolutely worthless. Whether you chalk it up to low-self-esteem or the pitfalls of the creative personality, I have, and continue to struggle with self-worth.

As a writer, this is bad news for business. If you don’t value yourself, how are your clients going to see what you’re really worth? If you think you aren’t worth $x.xx, then you aren’t going to earn $x.xx. Sounds pretty simple, huh? Oh, if it were only true.

Mindset is so important to your success as a writer. If you don’t value yourself, no one else will, either. If you fall into a hole of self-loathing, you can start a vicious cycle that results in a lack of productivity that can seriously impact your earnings and completely derail your business.

I had a major crisis of confidence recently. It was almost enough to make me stop writing, and, if you know me, you’ll know that it takes A LOT to make me stop writing! But, I had fallen into the trap of feeling worthless, and it took a while to come out of it.

You do have to price yourself based on your worth, but what do you do when you don’t know what that worth is?  Ask someone.

If you have a client that you’ve worked with for a while, and if you trust them to be honest, ask them what price they value your services at. This doesn’t mean you have to change your pricing for that client to match it…but it should alter the way you charge future clients. And, feel free to remind your current clients that they are getting a discount from you, if that’s the case.

(If you don’t have clients, but are a self-published author, you might be overpricing yourself. That’s a whole ‘nother blog post…)

My whole point is this: Remember that you have value. Just because people want to pay you less than you are worth, it does not mean that you are worth less.

Just wanted to give you something to think about. Feel free to comment below!

April 1

Successful Freelancing Attitude

quote about success winston churchill; image courtesy duron 123, freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy duron 123, freedigitalphotos.net

When I was growing up, there was a saying that people used, often when they were trying to succeed at something that they’d never done before. “Fake it ’til you make it.” Basically, it means that you do what you have to do to become successful, keeping an attitude of “I can’t lose” while you do it.

Freelancing is, in my opinion, a lot like that. I jumped in with both feet after basically only ever writing for content mills and, way back in the day, Ehow, before it was under Demand Media’s umbrella. Basically, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but I could write fairly well, so I started learning on the job.

It almost didn’t work for me, because although I knew I could figure out how to do the work, I didn’t know how to value myself as a writer. I undercharged, and probably missed out on some good work because marketers knew that I was afraid to value myself at my true worth. Let’s face it, if you lack confidence in yourself, why on earth would someone else have any confidence in you?

I still struggle with this, and only started charging more for my services recently. I’m going out on a limb here, and admitting that I still have a problem valuing myself, though not necessarily as a freelancer.

I recently started a PLR store, and was so proud of myself for getting a few packs of articles up on it. I even figured out how to set up a shopping cart and accept orders. I just *knew* that this was going to be my big break, my first big success outside of freelancing. Hey, I’ll admit, I don’t want to provide a service my whole life! I was so excited, I put up a special pack on JVZoo for the princely sum of $7 for just over ten pages of PLR content.

I launched the pack, waiting for the sales to roll in. Nothing happened. I could practically hear crickets chirping when I visited my seller dashboard. I felt like such a failure.

I lowered the price, and tweeted about it, thinking someone would want my super-cheap PLR pack. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

Oh, my feelings were hurt. I doubted my skills, especially when I saw all these other PLR providers making a killing on their products. I thought about quitting for a half-of-a-second, but then I realized something.

Just because I haven’t been successful yet, doesn’t mean I won’t be successful later. There’s still potential, I just have to find out how to tap it.

If you are struggling to make money online, whether it’s with your freelance writing, your self-publishing, or whatever you are doing, don’t give up. It feels so hard now, but, I promise, with time, you’ll find your way. I’m confident that this is true for me, too.

I’ll tell you what. When you’re struggling, come here, and read my posts. Or email me. We’ll figure this out together, okay?

It is all about having the right frame of mind, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone.

Is there something you’re struggling with, or succeeding with, that you’d like to share here? It’s a no-judgment zone, so feel free to share. 🙂

January 22

Time To Crap Or Get Off The Pot

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Have you ever known someone who constantly talked about their “big plans”, but who never seemed to follow through? Yeah, you know them, and so do I. Heck, I have been one of those annoying people…until now.

For a while now, I’ve been saying that I would start my own PLR business, writing and selling PLR articles online. (PLR stands for Private Label Rights, and PLR articles are those that are sold to a number of different people, not sold exclusively, but that can be altered once bought)

I bought PLR ATM, by Tiffany Lambert, a little over a year ago. I had been following her blog since I started writing online in 2012, and loved her ballsy approach to working online. I kept telling myself, and anyone who would listen, that I was going to start my own PLR site, selling content to marketers.

I write well, ( I had also purchased Tiffany’s Ghostwriting Cash and was making decent money implementing it) so I knew I could manage creating the content, but I was nervous about the technical side of things. I had no clue how to build the website, since it required allowing people to buy their articles and download them.

I put it off, saying I’d write the articles first, then start the site. But, I kept putting off the writing, since there was no site to put them on. I watched others start their own sites, and I was jealous, but not enough to do anything about it.

Then New Years came, and I got sick of talking about my plans. I decided that I wanted action, I wanted a piece of the pie that everyone else is enjoying. I decided it was time to, pardon the expression, “crap or get off the pot.”

Today, I bought a domain from Namecheap.com and set up my brand new PLR site! It isn’t up and running quite yet, because I had a few hiccups getting my files set up via ejunkie.com, but watch this space!

This is going to be the year I change my business life, build my ‘online empire,’ and boost my income to improve my family’s life. I want my own slice of the pie, and I’m prepared to put in a little effort to do it!

So, I guess you can say I’ve decided to “crap” and stay on the pot, so look out, world, lol!

What about you? Is there something you’ve been putting off? There’s no time like the present…crap or get off!

January 18

Honesty and Openness In Online Business

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When I first started looking for ways to make money online, I was shocked at some of the really outrageous people who were trying to sell me stuff on promises that I’d “make money overnight”, or I could just buy their product and push a button in order to earn thousands of dollars. Yeah, right. Whatever! See, I might have been new to the business of earning online, but I wasn’t stupid. So, I made sure that I was super careful about who I listened to, and where I put my own hard-earned dollars.

I was immediately drawn to anyone who confirmed my own suspicions that you don’t have to spend lots, or any, money when you are just starting out. I valued the advice of people who told me to slow down, take the time to hone my skills, learn new ones, try new things, and not be afraid to fail.

I loved finding out that there were actually people who built six-figure earnings every year from patience, hard work, and being honest with their audiences. It made me feel like, “Hey, if they can do it, and they started with nothing, so can I!” So can you!

What I really wanted to say in this blog post is that not everyone who earns a living online is honest and open about how they do it. Some people sell you products and make claims that they can’t really substantiate. They make a killing selling to desperate, needy people, then move on and sell another product to a different group of desperate people once the first group catches on. Kinda like those old timey snake oil salesman, but a lot slicker.

In my experience, the best way to build an online business is to start by doing what you already know how to do, whether that’s writing, taking photos, helping people, or just being yourself. Heck, some people make good money by just being themselves and putting all in a blog, adding some ads and monetizing the whole thing.

If you don’t have any “skills”, learn some. If you can spend a few hours reading posts on Facebook or keeping up with celebs, you can spare half an hour a day to learn how to write a blog post or how to build a website.

One of the smartest people I know in online business is Tiffany Lambert. She is as honest and open as it gets when it comes to making a successful living online. She started the same way many people do…by chance. She didn’t have a clue when she started out, but she’s one of the most successful people I know now. Check her out, and take a look at people like Dennis Becker and Mike from Maine. These are all real people, just like you and me, who wanted to be successful, but didn’t really know what to do. So, they taught themselves, learned from others, and shared what they know for free or very little cost, so that we could do the same.

Even if you don’t want to make loads of money online, I recommend checking them out. Their stories are quite interesting, and they are just “good people,” as my Nanny Padgett likes to say. When I think about how I want to build my own online business, I know that I want to be the kind of “good people” that others can trust. I am learning, I don’t know it all, I mess up, I don’t make a fortune yet, but, you can trust that what I tell you is the truth. I wouldn’t want to be lied to or swindled while I’m building a business, and I promise that I won’t do those things to you, either.

How do you feel about online business people who are less than honest? Is there anyone you have had amazing experience with online that makes you think they’re “good people?” Please feel free to share in the comments section below!

November 13

Big changes, exciting new stuff!!!

I’m officially pooping my pants hereI have just made some big steps towards spreading my wings on the world wide web!

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I have been half-heartedly blogging on this and a couple of other sites for a while now, but I finally decided that I wanted and needed to take this blog in a new direction. I am going to be focusing much more on how to help families improve their financial situations through working for themselves, especially working online, but also through starting their own small business ventures.

I have a lot of friends who I see struggling on a daily basis, and I struggle, too. My family earns good money, but we are up to our eyeballs in debt, struggling with medical bills for a kiddo who goes for weekly doctor’s visits, and trying to keep ahead of the bill collector from month to month.

I have friends who are single parents, working two and three jobs to make ends meet and who still can’t find the extra money to enjoy their time with their kids.

I have young married friends who have little babies and struggle to afford the necessities, and even young married friends who are afraid to have babies because it’s too expensive.

Well, I say screw that. I know from experience that there is money to be had online and off, if you just know where to look and are willing to WORK for it.

Yes, I said the ugly, four-letter word that a lot of people don’t want to hear when it comes to trying to make real money online. But, the truth is, it takes time and effort to make money online. But, I know that there are ways to make small amounts of money online that can help add to your main income, or big amounts that can replace it, if you take the right steps and put in the sweat equity, so to speak.

SO…in summary, expect some BIG changes around here. I’m going to be detailing my own journey as a self-employed freelance writer/internet marketer and I’ll be introducing you to others who can help YOU make money on the internet and beyond. Look for video blogs, links to useful products and websites, and a real dose of, well, reality.

I hope you will follow me on this journeyI know we’re going great places!

 

Jess

November 29

Depression and Your Money

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Depression is a sneaky illness. It can creep up on you or hit you like a smack in the face, depending on your circumstances. The ads on television remind us that ‘depression hurts’, but it can also wreck your finances.

Speaking from experience, as someone who has battled clinical depression since I was a teenager, I know exactly how depression can affect your money, both in the way you earn it and the way you manage it. Depression can make it impossible to focus on the day to day business of managing your money, making you miss payments or spend money without keeping track of it. It can even affect your ability to earn money to support yourself and your family.

You can actually become depressed from having money worries. This type of situational depression is extremely common, especially around the holiday season. If you are sitting under a mountain of debt and facing a Christmas with few gifts, it can be extremely stressful.

Getting Help for Depression

How can you cope with depression that’s affecting your finances? To start with, understand that it’s okay to ask for help. Whether you choose to see a doctor or therapist, or you rely on your friends and family to help you through the tough times, know that it’s extremely important to accept help.

There is no shame in being depressed. In many cases, depression is an illness caused by an imbalance in the brain, just like ADHD or ADD. In these cases a doctor can help, but even if your depression is a result of being overly stressed, there are ways you can feel better and take control of your life and money again.

1. First and foremost, if you are feeling severely depressed and considering harming yourself, go see your doctor! You may benefit from an antidepressant that can help you start to feel better. Sometimes, just getting a diagnosis and talking to a professional can help you feel more in control.

2. Whether your depression is situational or something you’ve battled your entire life, you’ll benefit from getting some exercise daily and eating healthily. Taking care of your physical well-being can also help improve your mental health, so make it a priority to take care of yourself.

3. If you are feeling depressed because you don’t seem to have enough money to make ends meet, make a list of your financial priorities. Food, shelter, healthcare and transportation are the minimum basics. Everything else, including debts, can be addressed once your basic needs are met. Just making a list and having a plan can help you feel more in control.

4. Don’t give into self-medicating your depression through overspending or binging on food or alcohol. It won’t help, and it will make your situation worse!

5. Talk to someone. Whether you turn to your doctor, your spouse or just a trusted friend, don’t suffer in silence. Often, just discussing your depression with someone who understands can help you feel a lot better.

I hope that if you are struggling with depression you do seek help…we all deserve to feel happy and hopeful, no matter what our finances look like!

Do you have any helpful tips to share for dealing with depression and your money? Please feel free to share below!

July 13

Shame and Guilt

imageWe’ve all been there…standing in the checkout line at the grocery store with all your food and your credit card in hand because your bank balance is too low to pay for the groceries.

Having buyer’s remorse after using your credit card to pay for something you have tried to convince yourself that you needed, but secretly you know you don’t.

Feeling guilty that your kids aren’t going away for a vacation or that they don’t have the most popular brands of clothing.

There is nothing good about feeling shame or guilt over being broke or in debt. Unless you let it become the impetus you need to break the cycle and get your finances in shape…then it can be a painful, but useful, tool.

Now, let me clarify. I am not talking about feeling guilty that you are choosing to pay off debt instead of slapping Gucci and Nike labels on your kids’ backs; that’s just good common sense and responsible parenting.

I’m not talking about parents who ask family for help providing money for Christmas or camp or extra curricular activities that enrich your child’s life because you just don’t earn enough to cover these and put a roof over their heads. We all need a little help sometimes, and one day you’ll probably be in a position to return the favor. I hope you do!

I am talking about the guilt you feel when you spend money you know you don’t have because you are stuck in a heap of debt and you don’t know what to do.

Now, I personally don’t think that guilt and shame are ever something you should embrace, except, as I said, when it compels you to action. What is the point in feeling guilty about not earning enough money? There isn’t one…you could be a millionaire and still feel guilty about not providing something to your family, whether it’s your time or something else you feel you aren’t giving.

But, money has so much emotion attached to it. Negative emotions like shame, guilt and depression when we don’t have enough of it, and positive ones that we experience when we get a windfall or have extra for stuff we want. A lot of this has to do with society’s ingrained beliefs that life is only worth living if you have lots of stuff. We all buy into this belief from an early age, and then feel guilty when we can’t live up to the standards society has set for us. Well, that is just bullcrap.

Money is just a tool used to buy things. There are two types of ‘things’: things you need, like food, shelter and clothing, and things you want, like fancy brand name clothing and expensive toys. The key to getting a grip on the emotions associated with debt and money is to change your perspective on it.

Once you retrain your brain to realize that stuff isn’t as important as emotional freedom from guilt and shame you will find a peace like no other. It’s not easy and you’ll probably find yourself ‘relapsing’ into old thinking habits every now and then, but keep the bigger picture in mind. Financial freedom and emotional peace are worth more than any ‘stuff’ there is.

Have you ever felt guilt or shame about your finances? How did you cope with it?

May 31

Be Afraid, I Dare You!

We all have times in our lives that we feel a little, or a lot, scared and uncertain. Personally, whenever money is involved, I get freaking terrified. If I have a bill that is due and don’t have enough money I start to panic, then I take a deep breath and have a stern chat with myself.

‘Self,’ I say, ‘you need to calm down. Fear is normal, panicking is pointless.’ So, if I can’t panic, what can I do? The answer, silly, is whatever I can.

When I left my job at the bank to stay home with the baby, I was terrified. I had seen what being on one income with two kids was like, and it wasn’t pretty. Now we had three and I did not want to be living in Brokesville, USA and struggling to make ends meet. I had a strong curiosity about making money online, but was worried I would just be wasting my time and annoying my family by being on the computer so much. I was afraid. It was not fun.

I don’t like to be afraid of failure, but I know that the only way to be an absolute failure is to never even try, so I did try. And I did not fail…I actually helped my family by bringing in a little extra money every week. It wasn’t a lot to start with, but it was more than the nothing that I would be bringing home if I never tried.

I have a friend who lost her job. She was, and probably still is, terrified that she won’t be successful at finding another one that’s a good fit for her. If she doesn’t try, she will definitely fail. But, if she takes even one baby step towards finding another job, she’ll be a success in my eyes. Who knows, this could be the start of something new and amazing for her…but if she lets fear stand in her way she’ll never find out for sure.

Are you afraid of failing financially? Good. Fear is okay…it’s like a slightly mean friend that makes you do stuff that you don’t feel comfortable doing but end up really enjoying. Let fear push your butt off into the deep end of the pool and then show it how well you can swim! Just don’t let fear hold you under the water for too long…if you don’t start kicking up a storm you’ll just drown. Instead, swim for all you’re worth! You might not be the best swimmer in the pool, but at least you won’t drown there.

What are you afraid of?