If you're a brand new freelance writer (specifically Web writer), or if you're currently working for peanuts and are trying to find a way to improve your writing career, Debbie Dragon's Make Money from Writing e-class program might be a good place for you to start.
What Debbie will Teach You
I'm going to focus on what you'll learn specifically during the first four weeks of the program (the portion I've worked though before doing this review). Here's what Debbie will show you:
- How to get yourself set up (from your Paypal account to setting up your workspace to work productively).
- How to achieve that all-important balance between your work life and family life (something a lot of freelancers struggle with).
- Different types of freelance Web writing, so you can choose what types of projects you're interested in pursuing.
- The differences between working as an employee, independent contractor, or sub-contractor.
- How to set up accounts with freelance bidding sites where you can find writing gigs.
- How to write and make effective bids on those bidding sites, to help you land more work.
In addition to your weekly e-classes, Debbie holds conference calls with program members, where you can ask questions, share your own success stories, and hear from other people participating in the program with you. These will be archived on the members-only area of the site, so even if you come in later than others, you can listen to those archived calls.
Debbie even gives members a chance to get paid gigs directly through her - she not only will have project notifications available, but she subcontracts projects directly to members when her own schedule is full.
Debbie and I actually disagree quite a bit about how you should start a freelance writing career online. If you read this blog, you probably know that I don't support freelance bidding sites (even when I was new). However, the fact that it's not my cup of tea or how I coach new writers to get started doesn't mean that it won't work for you to help you get moving in Web writing. Debbie's goal is to give you a starting place where you can then take steps to increase your income as you build your reputation and client base.
I know not all writers are going into freelance writing with a lot of credentials, strong marketing abilities, or even much experience. If you just don't know where to start to get your writing career off the ground, Debbie's method will give you a nice step-by-step program to make that happen.
Maybe you're not earning anything at all from your writing now, and you want to build some paid experience. Maybe you're looking to dip your toes into the Web writing world to see if it's for you. Maybe you're just looking to build a part-time income to earn some extra money. Maybe the cost of living where you are is low, so you're not looking for gigs paying a huge amount for articles. Maybe you've already started, feel underpaid, and you want to figure out how climb the career ladder. In those cases, I think Debbie's program will help you get moving instead of simply thinking "Gee, I'd like to be a writer," or "Gee, I wish I were earning more," without actually doing anything about it.
I know a lot of writers who stop by here are already earning $50 to several hundred dollars per article writing for the Web. If you're one of them, the program might not teach you anything that you don't already know. However, if you're looking to start a new career, increase your current earnings, or simply add bidding sites and other techniques into your gig-getting arsenal, Debbie offers tips that can help you do those things much more effectively than you might be able to do on your own.
You guys and gals should know how I feel about networking - it's essential to get to know other writers. That's how you get referrals. It's also how you find people who understand your struggles (and your high points) as a freelance writer - let's face it, if we're working alone, and our family might not understand what we do, it's comforting just to have like-minded folks to talk to. If nothing else, I think most new writers could really benefit from the direct interaction they can have not only with Debbie, but with other writers in the program through the conference calls. Debbie informed me that she also plans to add other bonuses to the program in the future.
The Make Money from Writing program seems to still be pretty new, and I have a couple of suggestions for features that might make it even more attractive moving forward:
- I'd love to see an archived list of links in our member area to each of our past classes. We can access them from our old emails, but we don't all save old emails. Yes, we can bookmark the pages, but seeing all member features in the member area would be ideal. I can understand it could be a logistical issue though - finding a way to have it update separately for each member.
- It would be great to see a private forum / community in the member's area for members to network with each other beyond the conference calls (given that calls can be difficult to coordinate where everyone can interact).
Make up Your Own Mind
It really doesn't matter which of the groups above you fit into. Debbie's generously giving you a free one-month trial (4 weekly e-classes) to the Make Money from Writing program. So if you're a new writer, give it a try - by the third lesson you may very well have your first client. If you're an established writer, check it out too. My way isn't going to be the "right way" for everyone, and it's very possible that you'll pick up something new or find ways to get some extra gigs. Even if you're earning a lot now, there's nothing wrong with having other options available to bring in "filler gigs" when you have a slow period.
So give it a try, and come back and share your own thoughts on the program. Let us know what your status was going into it, and how it helped you to progress.
After you've all had a chance to check out the program in the free trial, Debbie and I will be partnering up - I'll be holding some kind of contest here where the winner will get a year's membership (or something similar) to the writer mentoring program. So give it a shot to see if it's something you're interested in, and you just might win a free membership beyond that free trial a few weeks down the road!
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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.
She owns 3 Beat Media -- a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.
Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.
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