Have you ever wondered if it was possible for you to make money by freelance writing? I’m here to show you how, and why, you can start your own profitable freelance writing business. Get my free guide here!

How to Start Your Own Profitable Freelance Writing Business

Have you ever wondered if it was possible for you to make money by freelance writing? I’m here to show you how, and why, you can start your own profitable freelance writing business.

Freelance writing is appealing for a number of reasons. It gives you an opportunity to earn money while working from home on your own time. It pays well and if you enjoy writing like me, it only makes sense to get paid to do it!

I started TLB the summer of 2015, but it wasn’t until March of 2016 that I actually committed to blogging regularly. I started the blog simply to blog. I never thought it could ever lead to me making money, especially in such a short amount of time!

Since March of 2016, I have gone from making 1 cent from this blog to making a few hundreds of dollars a month – and my business is still growing.

I couldn’t have gained freelancing clients if it weren’t for my blog, so I consider my freelancing income as part of my blog profit.

While I have zero intentions of turning my freelance writing business into a full-time job as of now, it’s extremely comforting and exciting to know that I could fairly easily turn this into something more if I wanted to. In the meantime, however, I am too excited about where my day-time career is going, so freelancing will remain a fun side hustle.

If you aren’t yet convinced, here are more reasons why you should start freelance writing:

  • Extremely low startup cost – pretty much just need a computer and internet!
  • Work in the comfort of your own home
  • You choose your projects and work
  • Strengthens your writing skills
  • Writing skills are extremely transferable to any job
  • Make money!
  • Create a business on the side for more job and income security

So did I sell ya? Here’s my guide on how to start your own successful freelance writing business.

Decide on your niche

If you’re considering freelance writing, it is assumed you have strong writing skills. While you may think you have the ability to write about any topic under the sun, I caution you against that.

Clients want to hire experts in their field. They want to hire people who are just as passionate about the topic at hand as they are. By choosing a few niches, you are automatically making yourself look more skilled.

Obviously, my niche is personal finance and career. I also have experience in travel writing and legal press releases (from my full-time job…more fun than it sounds!) While I mention my experience in travel and legal writing to those interested, I will continue to primarily advertise myself as a personal finance writer.

Create a business plan

To be honest, the opportunity to get paid to write kind of fell in my lap. I didn’t have a business plan, but since I’ve gotten more writing gigs, I’ve started working on mine. Learn from my mistake and start your business plan “write” off the bat (ok sorry for the pun. It was TOO good.)

Like I mentioned above, the best part of freelance writing is that there is extremely little overhead. You probably don’t need to rent office space, buy a brand new computer, or pay for much inventory. So don’t be intimidated by writing a business plan, even if you’ve never written one in your life. Freelance writing will start off as a one-person show. You won’t have investors or anyone to present your business plan to, so it’s okay to be extremely simple. But you should write a business plan to create a clear picture of your company to yourself and your clients.

A simple business plan for freelance writing could include:

  • What is your company and what does it aim to do?
  • What services will it provide and to whom?
  • How will you market your services?
  • How will you charge and collect money for your services?

Having a business plan will save you a ton of time and confusion. Once you understand your business, you’ll set yourself up for success when finding clients to hire you.

Start a blog or website

I can’t stress this enough. My clients have even said they wouldn’t hire anyone without a blog or website and it makes total sense.

Clients want to be able to see living examples of your work and they want to know that you are technologically savvy enough to put up with the demands of virtual writing.

Having a blog in your niche shows that you have current knowledge of your topic and that you understand how to write articles that people want to read! It helps potential clients understand your style of writing and who you are as a person.

If you aren’t sure about the whole blog thing, at least consider starting your own professional website. Make sure the design is aesthetically pleasing and that it is accessible and easy to navigate. You’ll want to include examples of your work and provide potential clients with an easy way to contact you.

Reach out to clients

With millions of websites and blogs out there, you can’t just sit back and wait for people to stumble upon your freelance writing business. You really need to work for those first few clients.

Think of who might need your services. Are they companies? Bloggers? Make a master list of potential clients and their contact info.

If you are regularly commenting on blogs you would like to write for, it’s easy to just shoot the blogger an email saying you enjoy their work and to keep you in mind if they are looking to hire writers. Having natural relationships with other writers is incredibly helpful for more reasons than finding work!

If you’re reaching out to large companies and websites, however, you likely do not have a direct contact. These are big-time businesses, so keep it professional. Simply find a contact form and send a professional email, stating that you are a follower of their work and that you would like to be considered as a contributor and why they should accept you. If you have links to any work, include a few.

If you’re not feeling super confident with reaching out to larger companies, focus first on scoring some smaller clients. They are more likely to work with you and teach you a few things and give you references to other clients.

But whoever you are emailing, make sure it is written well and always err on the side of professional. Even as a small blogger, I get emails from writers that start with “Hey,” and have a ton of spelling errors. Not a good look!

Keep in mind that you will face rejection a lot. It isn’t fun, but not everyone is always hiring freelance writers, or they may have a different budget. You have to keep trying and once you score one, the rest come easier!

Have a service mindset

Freelancing is NOT EASY. There are strict deadlines and it’s up to you to create contact. If you’re not an organized person, it can be challenging to cater to multiple projects and deadlines.

So above all, remember to only take on what you can provide exceptional service for, and make sure the client is a good fit for you. One of the best parts about being a freelancer is that you can choose who you want to work with.

It might be tempting to take on a ton of jobs and clients who either aren’t writing about a subject you are knowledgeable in or who are very demanding to work for. Don’t chase the money! Only take on what feels right and what you can do well. For example – I personally would never, ever take on a sports freelance writing project. Because I. Know. NOTHING about sports! I would waste my time trying to research the topic and be disappointing to the client. I wouldn’t be delivering exceptional service and my career would suffer.

As you gain more clients, keep in tune with their needs and wants. Some clients may want you to check in often, while others may want you to charge ahead with little direction. If you’re not sure what they prefer – ask! Ask all your questions ahead of time so they are out of the way. You will want to ensure you both are on the same page moving forward.

Understand the business side

Freelancing should be run like a business. You need to dedicate time to the financial side of your business, the marketing, and customer service.

You’ll need to develop a process. How will you organize conflicting deadlines? How will you invoice clients? How will you deliver your writing?

As far as the financial side goes, keep in mind – you likely are not paying taxes on whatever you earn, so you will be responsible for your own quarterly taxes! This means you will have to pay money in taxes every quarter, so it’s important to save your earnings. The last thing you want as a freelancer is a hefty tax bill!

DC over at Young Adult Money wrote this amazingly helpful article about freelance taxes – check it out!

To keep track of my freelance finances, I personally have my own Capital One 360 savings account, where I put all of my freelance earnings. I also put my travel fund, wedding fund, and emergency fund all within my Capital One 360 savings account, which is why I love it so much! Use my referral code and get $25 when you open an account with at least $250 in it.


My personal experience with freelance writing has been amazing. I honestly had no idea I could grow the beginnings of a business from home so quickly.

The fact that I can pick my own clients, make money from home, and create my own schedule while having almost no overhead makes freelancing a fun and profitable business. I love that I can grow it as much as I want…it’s very empowering!

7 Productivity Hacks to Combat Procrastination

Raise your hand if you’re guilty of procrastination (me!!)

But for real, sometimes we find ourselves getting so overwhelmed with all that we have to do that we don’t know where to even start. Or maybe the task at hand is SO FREAKING BORING that we can’t focus for more than .3 seconds.

So the only solution to combat procrastination is to wait until the very last second and cram to get something done, right? Wrong!

As much as we all use excuses like “I work well under pressure,” or “I do my best work at 3:00 am,” these are just lies we tell ourselves to make procrastination okay.

Procrastination sets us up for some pretty unhealthy habits. It brings unneeded stress into our lives and messes up our schedules so that what we could have done weeks ago becomes first priority last minute.

Continue reading “7 Productivity Hacks to Combat Procrastination”

The Best (and Affordable) Christmas Gifts for Your Best Friends

This post may contain affiliate links.
Last-Minute Holiday Gifts for your BFF

 

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Since the holidays are right around the corner (!!!!!), I thought I’d share a few fun products for your bff!
Even though I am doing a no-gift Christmas, for those of you who chose to buy gifts, I wanted to include some options.
Not ready for a no-gift Christmas? Here are some alternative, money-saving ideas instead! 
The watch is a little more expensive, but quality, and would be such a great gift for someone close to you or a splurge for a secret Santa!

Happy shopping!

Why I’m Doing a No-Gift Christmas

Is anyone else Christmas obsessed? I’ve been listening to Christmas music since early November…I know, I am one of those people.

There is some *magic* about the season that, as corny as it sounds, leaves me feeling refreshed, inspired, and thankful.

Ever since I moved from Iowa to South Carolina, the holidays have looked drastically different for my family and me. I actually couldn’t make it home for two Christmases in a row due to working in the hospitality field. Christmas was an extremely busy time of year for hospitality, so I would always end up working (side note – be sure to tip any hospitality workers extra this season!).

Now that I am no longer in the hospitality industry, I am fortunate to make it home to spend time with my family over Christmas. It isn’t always easy to get home, however. A round-trip on a plane costs upwards of $375, and it is a 20 hour drive to my hometown from Charleston.

This year, my fiance, dog and I will be loading up the Jeep Wrangler and driving the long distance home to Iowa. Getting to Iowa isn’t even the most challenging part. Our families both live in the Midwest, but they live about 2.5 hours away. Which isn’t terrible, but that means that just because we are in Iowa doesn’t mean our travel is over.

Last year, my family recognized how difficult it was to even get together for the holidays. It sounds cheesy, but I have 3 sisters who live in various parts of the country. Two of them are married and have other families to visit over the holidays as well. To get our whole family together, for even 12 hours, is an achievement.

So we decided to quit giving each other Christmas gifts.

And last year’s gift-free Christmas was so wonderful that we decided to do it again this year.

Continue reading “Why I’m Doing a No-Gift Christmas”

4 Alternatives to Traditional Christmas Gift-Giving

Is anyone else Christmas obsessed? I usually get in the Christmas spirit in the summer and listen to Christmas music until Christmas day. I know, I know. I’m one of thooooose people.

I just can’t help myself! Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year, and it’s the only time I get to see my whole family.

Anyway, it’s no secret that Christmas, as beautiful and jolly (!!!) and wonderful as it is can be damaging to our finances. Gifts cost a ton of money, plus the cost of travel expenses, food (and more food…and more food….) and higher entertainment costs. The total cost of Christmas can very easily reach over $1,000 or more.

While buying gifts is very generous, most people aren’t attached to receiving gifts. Why not consider alternatives to traditional Christmas gift-giving to save some serious money during the season? Here are 4 alternative ideas for you to try.

Secret Santa gift exchange

Have your family pool together to do a secret Santa gift exchange.

If you don’t know how it works, you simply put everyone’s name in a hat and have everyone draw one. You only buy one gift for that specific person.

The hardest, but most fun part about this is keeping who you’re shopping for a secret! And it’s more fun to pick out one really amazing gift for one person instead of trying to scramble for gifts for everyone.

Set spending limits

Together with your family, decide how much you are allowed to spend on gifts for one another.

You could do something fair, but affordable, like $30 per person max. Or you could really challenge one another and do a $10 gift limit. This forces you to get creative with your gift giving.

Make homemade gifts

For those of you who have been #blessed with DIY skills (unlike me), making your own Christmas gifts can save you a ton of money.

Quick note about DIY – I literally have no DIY sills, but I try hard. I crocheted scarves for everyone one year and they were the saddest thing ever. I mean, they were hideous. So only DIY if you’re confident in yourself and in your own skills 🙂

Focus on birthday gifts instead of Christmas gifts

This is what my mom decided to do. Instead of going ham on buying Christmas gifts, she gives each of us a generous birthday gift. Before, we used to do small gifts for birthdays and big gifts for Christmas.

This saved my mother a ton of money and a ton of headache! Since she is still a mom, she insists on getting us stocking stuffers for Christmas so we still have something to open Christmas morning.

Following my mother’s example, I started to do this as well. I love it because it makes that person’s birthday extra special and gives me time to search for a gift I know they want.

Budget-wise, this works incredibly well for me. Instead of saving hundreds of dollars for Christmas gifts, I can save and spend that money throughout the entire year for everyone’s birthdays.

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Christmas is such a happy time of year, and I think you’ll find that by committing to an alternative form of gift-giving, you’ll have just as much, if not more, joy during the season!

How to Plan for Retirement When You’re Young and Broke

Okay, y’all. Let’s talk retirement.

I know you’re just dying to talk about this so you can thank me later 🙂

Retirement is not a fun topic, but it is necessary, especially for millennials. No one really taught us about retirement before or after graduation, so it’s up to us to educate ourselves.

Say you graduated college with the average student loan debt of $30,000. You find your first job that pays $32,000 (again…an average). Your student loan payments for a 10-year payment plan are around $400/month. Your salary means you bring home around $2,600 (that isn’t including taxes!!!) Assuming 25% of your pay goes to taxes, you bring home right at $2,000 a month.

If you’re bringing home $2,000 a month, nearly 1/4 of your take home pay is going to student loans. Then you have other expenses, such as rent, utilities, car payments, insurance, an emergency fund, and food. There isn’t much left at the end of the month. How can you be planning for retirement when you literally have no extra money left?

I’m going to save the convo on how much you actually need for retirement for another time. But here are some helpful resources in the meantime. But in short – you’ll need to be saving A LOT more for retirement RIGHT NOW than you think you need at a rate much higher than what you are currently doing.

Thinking about retirement sucks. When you just entered the workforce, you can’t fathom to think 40+ years in advance to retirement. And there are so many unknowns about the future. Will we have social security benefits? Likely not. What will the inflation rate be? Hint – $100 today won’t get you too far in 40 years. You need to save even more money to plan for some unknown future.

But instead of focusing on what we do not know or what we can’t control, let’s focus on what we can do right now to plan for retirement. Because, believe it or not, you can and you need to start saving today.

Decide what priority is most important right now

When you have a relatively small income and a lot of debt, you don’t have much extra money to work with.

Like the example above, trying to pay for everything on a small budget when you just graduated is extremely challenging. You can’t be expected to save thousands for retirement when you’re making an entry-level salary, and even more so if you have student loans. Retirement is extremely important, but the good news is that you DO have time to save more.

Start by free up as much money as you can in your budget. Then prioritize where any extra money should go. If you have a massive amount of student loan or consumer debt, maybe that should be your focus right now instead of planning extensively for retirement.

If you have a manageable amount of student loans, consider what would be the best option for you. If your student loans have a relatively low interest rate, you might be better off financially to invest any extra student loan payments into a retirement account that would earn a higher (and long-term) interest.

But, please, keep in mind that money is not black and white. Retirement, paying off debt, and being able to afford to live are all important. You can’t focus on one entirely and ignore the others. You need to find the balance that works for you.

Take advantage of employer sponsored retirement plans

Most companies offer a retirement plan of some sort. If yours doesn’t, and you are a full-time employee, consider finding a new company that does, and start your own IRA (here’s an awesome guide) Because it is a huge benefit to you!

A 401k with your company is simple enough to start. If you’re unsure, just contact your HR or Benefits Manager and they’ll help you out. You can easily have money deducted out of your paycheck and directly into your retirement account every month.

So, what’s an employer match? A match means your employer will contribute whatever you put into your retirement account, up to a certain percentage. Every company is different, but to use as an example, say your employer will match up to 5%. If you make $32,000 a year and put in 5% of your own salary into a 401k, you will have $1,600 in your account. Then your employer will contribute an additional $1,600, making your account hold $3,200. Then, of course, you earn money on this through interest 🙂

But say your employer will match up to 5%, but you only put in 3% of your salary. You put in $960 a year, and so does your employer. So you essentially are losing out on $640 worth of free money from your employer.

If you’re really unsure about where to start saving for retirement, make it your goal to save at least the full amount that your employer would contribute so you are taking full advantage of what your employer is offering. Don’t leave any money on the table.

Remember, retirement will have to be your #1 priority at some point

Saving for retirement might not be a big deal to you now, but at some point in your life, it will be your #1 priority. If you fail to save now, you’ll be desperately saving later in your life.

It can be hard to imagine, but we are in an age where pensions are rare and social security is not promising. Any retirement you hope to have is your responsibility.

And doesn’t it break your heart to see elderly people working still because they failed to plan out their financial future? I don’t want to be working when I’m 70, or even 50! I want to be retired and enjoying my life, free from work.

Make more money

If you think the possibility of making more money is out of your control, you are wrong. Once you start realizing you have control of not only your spending, but your earnings, your life will change.

If your job doesn’t offer a retirement program or doesn’t pay well, always remember you can find another job. It might take some time, but you are not bound to any job, unless it’s a contract.

Side hustling is another way you can make a lot of money quickly. There are limitless possibilities on how to make money on the side of your full-time job. Maybe you want to dog sit, nanny, work in a restaurant, restore cars, do woodworking, sew, or be like me and blog and freelance on the side. You’d be amazed at how much you can earn!

Unless you’re working 80 hours a week at your full-time job, there really isn’t an excuse to not start a side hustle. Even if your side hustle is making $50 tutoring for one hour a week, you’ll earn an extra $200 a month, which could even pay for your student loan payment. It really isn’t hard, in fact, many people I know turned their side hustle into a full-time job because they loved it and had more opportunity doing it.

Takeaway

To sum up retirement (and you’re like, why did I read the whole article when the final point is right here?)

  • You need to save now. You might not be able to save a lot now, and the good news is you do have time to save more.
  • Finances are all about balance. You can’t focus on just one aspect at a time because you have more than just one priority. You may have to focus on paying off debt or increasing your income before hardcore saving for retirement, but you should always be saving something for retirement.
  • Don’t leave money on the table. Aim to save enough to get your employer to match your retirement contributions at the very least.
  • Remember, you have complete control over your finances. You can earn more money or you can blow all your money. If you aren’t where you want to be financially, you have to look at yourself.
  • Remind yourself of what retirement actually is. By saving now, you’re putting money away to stop working and travel the world if you want. By not saving now, you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of work ahead of you, even when you’re old.

7 Things You Can Do Today to Make Tomorrow Better

You know those days that you wake up and everything seems to be going wrong? You slept in, you throw on some wrinkled clothes, you skip breakfast, and you jump in your car and see you’re low on gas? Yeah, not the best way to start a day.

I’ll let you in on a secret: organization is one of the biggest keys to success. Time is limited, and organization allows us to optimize our time to meet our goals. Whether you want to get out of debt, save money, or learn a new skill, it all takes time.

Since I’ve started my blog as my side hustle, my time has become extremely valuable to me. The only way to balance a full-time job, blogging, freelance writing, planning a wedding and spending time with friends, family, and my fur babies is to be organized.

By spending as little as 15 minutes the night before, you can ensure that you are more organized tomorrow. Here are 10 things you can do today to make tomorrow better:  Continue reading “7 Things You Can Do Today to Make Tomorrow Better”

10 Ways to Stop Impulse Shopping

How many people do you know who are fairly decent at budgeting, but then BAM, their closet is spilling over and they can be found at the mall every weekend? I’ll let you in on a secret: that used to be me.

Shopping was such an emotional habit for me. I’d shop when I was bored, when I was lonely, when I was stressed, when I was procrastinating. Shopping made me feel better for a little bit, but it wasn’t solving anything.

The worst part of it was that I was buying a lot of cheap, poor quality clothes. But my closet quickly became filled with, so put it bluntly, a whole lot of crap.

It wasn’t until I moved that I realized just how much junk I had. For someone who has moved 7 times in the past two years, that was a lot of baggage to carry around. Something needed to change.

Now, I still love to shop, but I have definitely curbed my impulse shopping habit. Here’s 10 steps I took to stop emotional shopping:

Clean out your closet

This is the only way to see just how much stuff you have bought and things you haven’t even worn. When I cleaned out my closet, I realized I was getting rid of hundreds of dollars of clothes that I had not worn once. What a waste!

Research classic, staple items you need to build a solid wardrobe

No matter your personal style, figure out the basics. You likely will want a nice coat, a few pairs of quality jeans, some black heels, etc. Write these things down! They are items you will want to invest in and maybe even splurge on. Predict how many years of use you can get out of each item.

Make a list of all clothes you need, and which season they fit

Keeping a running list of every item of clothing you need will serve you in so many ways. If you’re having a moment of weakness and want to impulse shop, you can use this list to make sure you’re buying only things you actually need. This list also provides opportunities to find more items on sale because you know what you’re looking for.

Be smart and buy at the end of the season

Have you ever noticed how swimsuits go on super sale at the end of summer? When at the beginning of summer, they are ridiculously expensive? When you create a list of exactly what you need, you can be on the look out for these end-of-season deals and can save a ton of money.

Sure, you might miss out on buying the hottest trends of the season, but trends come and go anyway. To me, spending money on timeless pieces that I can wear for years to come is worth far more than buying a new trendy piece every single year.

Save up for high quality pieces

If you are buying an item that you will wear almost daily, then it is worth it to splurge on a higher quality. For example, when I lived in Iowa, it was imperative that I had a winter coat. I wore it every day for almost 6 months out of the year, so it was worth it to invest in a higher quality coat versus a cheap one. Plus, it kept me nice and toasty 🙂

If it’s not on your list, no buying!

This will force you to really think through your purchases ahead of time and eliminate any possible impulses.

Acknowledge your emotions before shopping

Be aware of how you feel and be honest with yourself. Are you shopping because you’re trying to fill a void, or are you truly shopping because you need clothes?

Ask yourself how many wears you’ll get out of that outfit

Calculating cost per wear is a great guideline to know if something is actually worth it. You can learn more about it here.

Only buy clothes you absolutely LOVE

If you’re like me, half the stuff you buy on impulse is total junk. Maybe it was on sale or maybe you were just feeling emotional while buying it. If clothes don’t make you feel great, then they aren’t worth buying.

This can be a hard lesson to learn for some who view clothes as simply functional. Clothes can say so much about you, so I encourage people to spend time and money dressing themselves in a way that makes them feel great.

Have fun and shop on!

Shopping can still be fun, even while trying to curb impulse shopping and while sticking to a budget. Be smart about your purchases and be in tune with your emotions and you can’t go wrong.

6 Weekly Habits for Improved Finances

Interested in improving your finances? You’re here and checking out a personal finance blog, so you’re taking a good first step!

Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to just know and learn about personal finance. In order to improve finances, you have to take action.

It can be completely overwhelming to pay off potentially thousands of dollars of debt, save for the future, invest, learn to budget, and understand healthcare all at the same time.

The easiest way is to aim to improve your finances in an organized way. By focusing on doing a few small things a week, your finances will take a turn for the better.

If you’re looking to improve your financial situation, here are 6 weekly habits to start implementing now.
Continue reading “6 Weekly Habits for Improved Finances”