In this Monday with Michael episode, I share my story of going from broke blogger to wealthy writer.
In this day and age, there is actually no excuse to just be an aspiring writer or aspiring blogger. You can be a successful writer too.
There’s so many websites that will pay you online if you know how to get clients and make it work.
Let’s dive into how to do that with the 5 steps I applied to go from not making any money blogging to 10x my income as a freelance writer.
Transitioning from Blogger to Freelance Writer
In January of 2018, I knew I had to do something different than blogging. I was putting in 16+ hours a day blogging but was not seeing any financial gains. My savings were running out and I knew it was time to change.
I had to change my mindset! I wanted the blogging lifestyle – the freedom to control what I wanted to write about and when I wanted to write it. But truth was, if I had continued on the blogging path, I would have ended up broker than broke.
So I switched from blogging to freelance writing. It wasn’t an instant money windfall, but over time I scaled my income – and in only a few months I made more money than I ever did in 18 months of blogging.
5 Simple Steps that Will Take you From Broke Blogger to Wealthy Writer
I wanted my blog to work, I didn’t want to write for anyone else. I wanted to do that, but it just wasn’t working and now that freelance writing is actually making me money, I can hire a team to help grow my blog! But first you must transition to actually making money as a freelance writer. Here are the five steps:
- Admit that your blog is not working (and that you might need to go all in on freelance writing).
It’s easy to think you can do both, but admittedly, it took me losing my first big client to realize I needed to focus on freelance writing first – it was actually making me money!
- Pitch clients. And then pitch some more.
Most people are terrified of pitching because they are terrified of rejection. The hard truth is though that if you are not pitching, you are not making money writing!
- Double your rates.
Don’t undervalue yourself! If you deliver your content and hit deadlines, clients are gonna want to work with you.
- Find a niche that you are excited to write about.
It will make life easier and you will be excited to work on writing when you love writing about the topic you are hired to write about!
- Find a second niche that you love to write about.
I have made $40,000 in the last two years writing about my 2nd niche! There is value to yourself in writing about things that you love to write about. Get a 2nd niche.
Are You Ready to Start Your Freelance Writing Career?
If you are ready to take the next step and launch your freelance writing career, I would love to help you build momentum!
I still have a few spots left in my coaching program, schedule your free discovery call today!
Speaker 1: 00:01 You are listening to episode number 55 of inspire your success podcast. On today’s episode I’m going to talk about how you can go from broke blogger to wealthy writer coming up.
Speaker 1: 00:15 All right, welcome back. This is your host, Michael Leonard. And as always, thanks again for tuning in or watching here on YouTube. So this is a Monday edition of the show where I’m really going to talk a lot about the freelancing journey and what that takes to, uh, figure it out and speed up your success because, uh, I’ve been at it for a few years now and I am just always super transparent with you guys that the first little bit of my journey was extremely, extremely Rocky. So, um, one of the reasons I started this was to really help you speed up success because I know what it’s like to go through your days and spend hours online trying to figure out this blogging, writing, freelancing, digital entrepreneurship thing. So you know, again that that’s a pretty good start to this episode because as I talked about in teased in the intro is that this is really my story about going from broke blogger to what I like to call wealthy writers because I hate the term broke writers, broke bloggers, like you know, it’s just one of those things that you hear consistently, but with so much opportunity out there today, you really do not need to settle for that anymore.
Speaker 1: 01:24 And you don’t need to be an aspiring writer or aspiring blogger. Like you can be a successful writer. There’s so many websites that will pay you online if you know how to get clients and make it work. So again though, I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself, but this is where I want to start with because here’s where I was going through and here is where you might be at right now. And where I know a lot of bloggers are because blogging has an unbelievable appeal, right? I mean, think about it. Like you get to start a brand, you can write about whatever you want. You can create a cool looking website, you can start a YouTube add a podcast do Instagram where you can just focus on your blog like you are your own boss. You get to do all this stuff. It’s exciting.
Speaker 1: 02:07 Like literally it was intoxicating for me for a few years, like the amount of uh, potential that is out there. It’s really cool. I mean, you know, there’s people out there that I know personally that make over $100,000 a month from their blog, but then there’s, you know, a lot more people that are still struggling or just gave up. And that’s why I talk about, you know, in a previous episode about why most blogs fail is because it’s pretty tough if you don’t know much about digital marketing. And if you don’t understand SEO and Pinterest and Facebook ads and all this other stuff, it can be extremely taxing. I mean you can literally, if you actually calculated your hourly rate that you’re spending on your blog and the amount of money is producing, you are probably working. If you’re like most people, most bloggers in the beginning you are working for like slave labor wages.
Speaker 1: 02:57 I’m talking like a couple of dollars, maybe an hour. I mean maybe most blogs don’t make money even the first few months or longer depending on your niche and content creation and schedule and things like that. But again, if you really calculate it all it, it’s tough. And again, I’m never trying to sway people to just start freelance writing, but I always just want to talk about it because again, this is coming from experience like I literally, and I’m a very motivated guy. I mean I was ambitious as ever when I first left and I got started blogging, I was like, I’m going to figure this out. I spent thousands of dollars on online courses. I worked 16 hour days. I did all that stuff everybody says to do. And after seven months of doing it as my full time job, I barely had anything to show for it. I mean, literally I was making some money on ads and occasional affiliate sale, but for the most part I just wasn’t making much money online.
Speaker 1: 03:51 And you know, that took a big hit on me for, for me, that really hurt because I felt like I didn’t know what else I could do. I mean, it wasn’t like I was just working an hour or two a day and be like, Oh, it didn’t work. Right. Like I was putting everything into it. I was literally getting Pinterest coaching and SEO courses and, and all this stuff. I mean, I was like all in and I was always writing. So it was tough though because again, no one was reading it. And so if no one reads it, you’re not going to build an email list. You’re not going to get site traffic, you’re not going to sell ads, you’re not gonna sell affiliates. You’re not going to sell your own stuff. And it makes it really hard to keep the lights on. I mean literally I had saved so much money from when I quit my job that that was the only reason I was able to keep this thing going.
Speaker 1: 04:35 But finally, like I was talking about January of 2018 was the turning point is cause I was like, man, I gotta do something different. Like if I keep doing this, my savings will run out, my credit cards will max out and I will have to crawl back to a nine to five with my head down because it just didn’t work. If I kept doing what I was doing. And that’s the biggest thing is that I recognize it. Like I was like, Hey, you know, I had to have a hard conversation with myself because I wanted it. I wanted the blogging freedom, right. I want to be my own boss. And when you do write for other people, you technically still have someone to kind of report to at times. Again, you can still, you know, write at 1:00 AM if you want to or take the week off or take a weekend off or you know, you have a lot more flexibility.
Speaker 1: 05:16 It’s not like you’re in a nine to five, but for some reason I was very resistant to starting freelance writing, but once I got started, I mean it was in a few months, I had already made more than I had for the last 18 months of blogging and it was just so much easier. I was making money, it literally in a fraction of the time. Um, and then, you know, just as compounded since 2018 and 2019 and now into 2020, I’m having one of my biggest months ever here in, in January and February. So it’s like, it’s crazy how it works sometimes because blogging again, that’s why most bloggers fail. They’re just there, don’t figure out how to make money from it. And quite frankly, it’s not very motivating if no one reads your stuff or if you have a YouTube channel and no one watches it or things like that.
Speaker 1: 05:58 But you know specifically that that’s where I was. And so I made the switch. I was like, look, I gotta get this thing going. I have a professional golf dream. I’m chasing. And again, I never want to go back to work for anyone else. So I switched. And again it wasn’t instant. It wasn’t like the next day I made $10,000 as a writer. But over the year, you know I was able to go from $650 the first month to $6,500 a month in monthly income in 12 months. And that was only working part time because I still was blogging. So here’s kind of my five step framework for how I went from broke blogger to wealthy writer. And hopefully you just kind of understand a little bit more of the context now. So that way you don’t think, I’m just bashing on blogging. Like I wanted my blog to work, I didn’t want to write for anyone else.
Speaker 1: 06:42 I wanted to do that, but it just wasn’t working. But I’m so glad I found freelance writing. And here’s the first thing. So first thing is I had to admit to myself that blogging was not working. I had to have a hard conversation and look at myself in the mirror and be like, man, Michael, this is just not doing it, man, you got to do something else. And so I really trimmed down, I don’t want to say I quit blogging entirely, but I probably spend about 80% less time on it. So that was really the first thing is that I spent, you know, a lot less time on it so that way I could spend more time pitching clients, starting my writing career and obviously it worked out very well but I had to kind of have that conversation with myself and it’s very difficult.
Speaker 1: 07:24 I get a lot of people lately it seems like have been dm’ing me on Instagram asking, well can I just do both? And you know, again, I’m never going to tell anyone what to do with your writing business, but I will say from experience it is challenging to write your own content and have a, you know, roster of clients and if you have another job as well, I mean that you are really spreading yourself thin. Again, I’m never going to tell you what’s possible, what’s not. What I will tell you though is in my own life I struggled with it. You know, I tried to hold onto that blog and I was like, Oh I’m gonna, I’m one article away. I’m going to figure this thing out. And you know, for a while when I started for the first few months even, I mean it still like was pulling me back.
Speaker 1: 08:05 I’d maybe get a quote unquote viral hit or I’d get an affiliate sale and be like, Oh see I can do this blogging thing. And it kept pulling me back. So you really have to make that commitment. And again, when I spent less time blogging, I could spend more time writing and then actually start making more money. So that’s something you just need to understand because your time is valuable. And most people just use their time, like they’re going to get more of it, but you can always make more money but you can never get your time back. So you want to guard that very, very closely. And you know, I even had a client that I’ll have a whole nother episode about it, but I had a client in the first few months, actually that was like a $3,000 a month retainer client. And um, it was great.
Speaker 1: 08:46 I mean, I was like so excited. I felt like I’d finally made it. It was, uh, it was ghost writing, but it was for a bestselling author, also a very well known guy in the industry. And uh, you know, I thought I had made it, but I spent too much time blogging and that meant I didn’t edit my stuff well enough and that actually led me to losing that client. So I’ll have a whole other episode about that and I had to learn the hard way that, you know what, I just can’t do it all. So that’s something I just encourage you to think about before you start trying to do both. Because again, I get so many people lately just want it all and I love it. That’s why you’re following me. You’re listening to this, you’re watching this, you’re, you’re obviously you’re, you’re ready to take it to the next level and make money as a writer.
Speaker 1: 09:25 But you have to understand that you have to guard your time and try not to do too much because then you’re going to kind of half ass it and not produce great results. And if you don’t do that great results for your clients, they’re not going to want to work with you, which is exactly what happened to me. So I can get just something to think about when you are figuring out writing versus blogging. So I’ve had a whole nother episode as well. I think it’s two or three episodes back, so make sure to check that one out. Uh, the next thing that I did is to transition from broke blogger to wealthy writer is to really just pitch. I mean it really writing is just a numbers game. And I talk about this with anyone. I work with them. I one on one accelerator program or any of my students in inside my course.
Speaker 1: 10:05 I’m always talking about this, like it is just a numbers game. It is all about pitching because most people just want to, you know, do everything else other than pitching. They want to build the website and build the up work and get a nice fancy email and make the website look good and they’re delaying pitching. And the reason is, is because most people are terrified of pitching because it’s going to lead to rejection. Crickets, I’m not good enough. I should have never started this. All these things that we think about, right? But for me, I had to pitch, I mean literally my back was against the wall. It was like, well, if you don’t pitch, you’re not going to get paid. And if you don’t get paid and your blog isn’t working, you’re, you’re kind of screwed. Right? So that was where I was. And I don’t want you to get to like rock bottom.
Speaker 1: 10:49 Like, I want you to try and move away from that as soon as possible. So get your name out there. If that is the biggest thing I did is I just started pitching. They, I remember one day I sent 40 or 50 pitches in one single day and that led to some of my first gigs and really started building that momentum that I talk about often in this show. But it never would have happened if I had just said, Oh, I’m going to do five today or 10 today. Get your name out there. Just pitch, build some experience, get going. So that’s one of the first things that I’ll say. The third thing that I did was I doubled my rates after about, ah, about six months or so. So that’s a big one. And uh, you know, at the time I was a beginning writer.
Speaker 1: 11:30 I didn’t know what to do. So most of my writing was about 10 cents a word. And really I was at that point where I was like making three, four, 5,000 a month. But I wanted to make more. And I talked to one of my mentors, Benjamin Hardy, and he simply said, you know, double your rates. It’s that simple, like just you’re worth it and you can do it. And doubling my rates was one of the best things I ever did because I’ve never went back. I’ve only continued to go up and I’ve always delivered. Clients have always been like, wow, you know, you’re, you’re worth even more than that. Or I’ve, you know, gotten new clients at 25 35 cents a word, like all that. But it really is important if you have skills and you can be a great freelancer and network and deliver your content and hit deadlines, clients are gonna want to work with you.
Speaker 1: 12:14 So a lot of times you’re probably undervaluing yourself because I know I did. And I don’t want you to do that because that’s one of the easiest ways to just spend way too much time writing and not getting nearly enough money in that PayPal account. So I challenge you to double your rate or at least one and a half x it. Just raise your rates, pitch some new clients, and see what happens. There’s only a few things that can happen. It can either say yes, they can say no, or you can negotiate and get some sort of higher rate than normal. I mean, that’s really it. So I challenge you to do it again. If you are someone that’s worried like, am I good enough? Am I not? That obviously means you care, which means you will step up and you will either deliver the work or you will learn a valuable lesson about becoming a better writer.
Speaker 1: 12:57 So hopefully that gives you that permission. And again, I don’t hope you don’t think you need it from me, but I want someone to tell, tell you that you can charge more, you are worth it. Do not take these super, super low wages and think that’s all your worth because I know you’re not. The fourth thing that I did was I found a new niche because when I started I was all in the personal finance. You know, that was the, I was the guy, I was the Roth IRA guy at work. I was talking about stock options, all that. But I just hated, uh, personal finance after a while. Hated writing about it. I was just tired of writing about, you know, four or 5,000 word blog posts on it. I kept getting things like insurance and pet insurance and life insurance and just like random stuff.
Speaker 1: 13:39 And honestly I was burnt out. I was regretting it. Um, you know, I didn’t like my clients. I was uh, just had a bad attitude and you know, I just wasn’t that interested and it’s not that I didn’t want to help people in that, but I just, I didn’t feel as though I was aligned anymore cause I was doing a ton of personal growth, you know, walking on fire with Tony Robbins and going to every seminar I could and then all this and I felt really more aligned to that personal development. And once I started doing that and I switched to more of the self improvement, motivation, things like that, I started to make a lot more money. And it was a lot easier to do. I never felt like I was dragging myself or forcing myself to pump some energy drinks to, you know, get some content created.
Speaker 1: 14:20 So I’m very, very passionate and I tell all the people inside my courses and coaching that you should write about what you love. I really truly believe that it’s going to make it a lot faster. It’s gonna make a lot easier and there’s a niche for everything out there. So that’s something that I did. And really the fifth thing, the final tip to go from broke blogger to wealthy writer is I got a second niche and you know, I talk about this a lot because I want people to hear it. I really like, you know, repetition is how you learn. And the fifth thing I did is I got a second niche. I really started writing about golf a lot. And like I said, I, I tallied up 2018 and 2019 numbers and I got paid over $40,000 to write about golf. And that’s from maybe five clients or less.
Speaker 1: 15:03 So again, you know, there you should have a niche. Like you really should have a main niche and it could be golf, it could be anything you want it to be. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a secondary niche and a lot of people out there telling you the other otherwise. But I’m living proof that you can have more than one. And you know, as long as you clearly communicate that to clients and you have it on your website and you’re obviously knowledgeable about it or want to learn more about it, you can absolutely do it. And so that really helped me again, that $40,000 extra in the last two years really helps. So again, I’m definitely not here to bash blogging. I know a lot of bloggers, I’ve had bloggers on the show, right! And for me though, that’s just what I’ve seen.
Speaker 1: 15:43 And I just want to help you make money online so that way you can create more freedom and the life that you’ve always wanted. Because I’m here to tell you it’s 100% possible, but you have to spend your time wisely. So just a quick recap of how I was able to do it. Again, I stopped blogging a lot. I probably cut down 70 to 80% I pitched like crazy. I got out there, I got my name in front of people, I landed gigs and built momentum. From there I was able to increase or actually double my rates. I switched niches from personal finance to personal development. And then I got that secondary niche of golf writing. So you know, I challenge you to think about where you’re at right now. Maybe you’re someone that’s experiencing that and you’re trying to do it all, but you know, you’re just not doing anything really that good right now.
Speaker 1: 16:26 Like, you know, forgive yourself, understand that you’re ambitious, you’re, you’re trying to do it all, like that’s great. But you know, sometimes you have to niche down and spend your time super wise so that way you can really make some progress, make some momentum. And you know what I’ve done like another thing too with freelance writing has helped me start this podcast. It’s also helped me hire a small team. So now I can help grow my blog. So also something to think about is like how else can you make money to leverage so you can get help for your blog? Because again, blogging requires a lot of your time, a lot of your energy, a lot of work. So it’s really nice if you have assistance and VAs both domestic overseas, however you want to do it. There’s a lot of ways you can grow a team online. So hopefully that gives you some things to think about. Again, I’m just here to help share some of my journeys. Be super transparent with you because again, I want you to speed up success a lot faster than I did. So if you have any questions, again, always email [email protected] where we can address future questions on episodes as well. So thank you again for listening. I appreciate you as always, and I hope you have an Epic day.
Subscribe for New Episodes
Thanks for tuning in to this episode of the Inspire Your Success Podcast! If the information shared in these weekly conversations and interviews have helped you in your business journey, please head over to iTunes, subscribe to the show, and leave an honest review.
Your reviews and feedback will not only help us continue to deliver great, helpful content, but it will also help us reach even more amazing entrepreneurs just like you!
- Episode 112: 7 Lessons From My Failed Blog - July 21, 2020
- Episode 109: 5 Ways to Upgrade Your Life During This Pandemic - July 13, 2020
- Episode 108 – From Dream Job at Google to Full-Time Medium Writer - July 9, 2020