Get Off the Couch and Get Started Already…

Writing from your home is a great way for military spouses to bring in extra income. If you have any ability at all putting words together, you can probably do just fine out there in the freelance world. There are tons and tons of resources available to you.

First, if you want to check out opportunities in ANY work-from-home genre, check out Rat Race Rebellion.  They pre-screen the job listings before listing them on their site…just for you.

If you are going the freelance writer route, there are a couple of resources I will recommend, especially if copywriting, which is writing for business,  is your gig.

First, you should consider purchasing a couple of wonderful books to help guide you on your course. The Well Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman is a fabulous resource, complete with a full blueprint of how to get started in freelance copywriting. The Copywriter’s Handbook by Robert Bly is the quintessential guide from the man who created the world of freelance copywriting as we know it. Both of these books are essential to get you started in the right direction. You might consider signing up for their newsletters and blogs, as well.

Once you get some groundwork in place, you will need to start the marketing end of your business. You must let people know what you do. Get some business cards printed and give them to everyone you see. Get a website with your portfolio (however small it may be) and make sure the site’s listed on your business cards. Do some pro bono work to get your portfolio built up. Try doing some freebies with your favorite charities. Bottom line – spread the word!

Also, it may be smart to start out, especially if your overseas like I am, to bid on work with the content mill sites like Elance. One writer, a friend Peter Bowerman  mentions in his book, Trish Lambert, makes a very healthy income working through Elance. She also offers  coaching on how to grow your writing business through Elance. There are a few other sites, like Guru, iFreelance, GetAFreelancer, Scriptlance and oDesk. Check out Trish’s profiles on Elance to get an idea of how to develop yours. Using these sites can be a great way to build a portfolio, especially if you really don’t have one at all. But, be careful…don’t work for nothing! You will see lots of posts asking you to write a 500 word article for $5…that’s just thievery!

Now, armed with a few steps to get started, it’s time for you to get up off the couch already! Get over to your computer, check out the information that’s right there at your fingertips, get yourself online and get your business started. Take the first step…you know the rest.

Until next time…


Published in: on February 4, 2010 at 4:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

White Paper Revolution…

Earlier this week I attended a webinar on white papers. It was hosted by two very amazing and successful copywriters, Bob Bly (the grand poobah of copywriting, author of The Copywriter’s Handbook) and Mike Stelzner (the godfather of white papers, author of Writing White Papers) and full of very useful information.

As a copywriter, I’m very excited about the white paper. It’s what Mike calls a ‘cross between an article and a brochure.’ It’s a report or article written in somewhat persuasive language that either highlights a new idea, solves a problem, or educates the reader with a soft-sell at the end.

According to Eccolo Media, research shows that 77% of business decision makers read white papers in 2009, up from 68% in 2008. That’s a very impressive number. Additionally, a staggering 84%of business decision-makers ‘find white papers either moderately or extremely influential in their purchasing decisions.’ source: Webinar – 5 Ways to Grow Your Business with White Papers and the 3 Mistakes You Must Avoid (Mike Stelzner, Bob Bly)

White papers, also known as free reports, guides, e-books, etc. offer something of value to the customer. Offering a free report, one with valuable content that appeals to the reader, is a great way to capture a customer’s information and continue the marketing process. If your white paper is strong enough, i.e. has value for the reader, that reader will be more likely to become your customer. You will establish credibility and rapport instantly, making it easier to sell them on your business.

White papers are the new way to market your business. Consumers have become savvy and don’t want the hard-sell. If you can establish yourself as an expert, as an educator, as a business who cares about the well-being of its customers, you can capture more of the market. Humans, by nature, are self-centered and self-driven. Tap into that basic trait and you can create more business than you can ever handle.

P.S. Go visit these sites for more in-depth info on white papers:

Until next time…

Published in: on January 23, 2010 at 10:11 am  Leave a Comment  

The Illusion of Control

This past week I’ve had a number of things go wrong, the biggest being the loss of the internet in my home office. I live a in a rather remote area and rely heavily on the internet to stay connected to the outside world.  Needless, to say, it was a bit frustrating. Add to that a number of other small catastrophes and the fact that my husband is away (again) on a six-week TDY and I’m sure you won’t have trouble imagining the amount of intense frustration I was feeling.

I was on the phone with my husband during a ‘mini break-down’ and he, being the supportive husband that he is, was trying to calm me down. One thing he said really kind of set me back a bit. Mostly because it’s something I know and have known for a long time, but I sometimes get so wrapped up in the moment I lose sight of the big picture.

He said, “You only have control over your own actions. You are stressing yourself out over things you have no control over. You can only control how you react to the situation, not the situation itself.” Words of wisdom.

I learned that lesson a long time ago in the course of working in the sales and marketing industry. Since becoming a military spouse, however, I’ve really had to remember and apply that philosophy more frequently.

It’s our plot in life as military spouses to accept whatever is thrown our way during our spouse’s time with the military. We are shipped all over the world every so many years. We have to learn new languages and cultures. We are forced to give up our friends, family, careers and stability for this military life.

We are asked continually to sacrifice. Our spouses are deployed, sent on TDY or remote assignments, leaving us behind to raise the children, take care of the house, the car payments and whatever else comes along. And we do it with a smile.

In the military life, we have absolutely no control over what happens next. We don’t choose where we will live. We don’t choose when or if our spouse will be deployed. We have no control over those actions.

What I’ve come to appreciate in my short time as a milspouse is the adaptability of the people around me. I’m more and more amazed at how resourceful everyone I’ve met seems to be. How everyone has learned to reach out, ask questions, find answers and make this life work.

For many who have been in it for some time, it’s become a dream lifestyle – a permanent vacation anywhere and everywhere in the world. Now that’s taking what might be considered a difficult situation and turning it into an adventure! That’s the power of a positive reaction.

 And that’s the point. We don’t have control over what other people do or say. We have no control over the world around us. We can’t change the things that happen to us. All we can control is how we respond to it. And it’s more important than ever to keep that in mind.

Giving up my former career was, in the beginning, very difficult. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with myself. I never saw myself as a stay-at-home mom before. But, the most amazing thing happened: I rediscovered myself. I found that I could have a portable career, make a decent supplementary income, and love what I do more than I ever had in my previous career fields…all because of the military life.

If it had not been for the fact that I’m stationed overseas, where interstate commerce laws can be a factor, I never would have really considered a freelance career seriously. Writing was a hobby. One that I immensely enjoyed more than anything, but still a hobby nonetheless. But now it has become a lovely new lifestyle that I can take with me ANYWHERE in the world!

See? Taking a seemingly difficult situation and turning it into a whole new adventure. That’s what I’m talking about!

Until next time…

Published in: on January 17, 2010 at 6:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

And here we go….

This is my introductory post in my new blog specifically designed to talk to other military spouses uprooted from previous careers to find themselves wondering if  the writing life is for them. I was one of those people (not just women because there are a lot of men out there, too) who had a career and a path. And I was moving right along on said path at a happy and swift rate. Until I met my future husband…

I didn’t know much about the military life before I met him. I had intentionally avoided the whole military scene and wanted no part of it. But it’s true what they say about true love…you’ll give up pretty much the whole farm just to be with your soul mate.

I was not the youngest bride. I waited a very long time to meet my perfect match. And I would have said whatever it took for us to be together. I’m sure many of you felt the same way. No one really told us what we were getting into when we signed up, right? I mean they tried…but we were practically deaf and blind by love.

The truth is, no one could have told us everything about being a military spouse. There’s just way too much to tell. I knew I would eventually have to give up my career…the first PCS would take care of that. I knew I’d have to move several times, making it difficult to make and keep friends. I knew that my life would be completely different in more ways than I could imagine. But those are just words. They don’t convey the emotions that go along with all of that. That’s what surprised me most. I thought this journey would be the most exhilarating of my life…and it is. But it hasn’t been a bowl of cherries!

But, it’s an adventure. I’ve been sad and depressed. I’ve gained and lost weight. I’ve lost myself and then found myself. I’ve discovered things about myself I either never knew or just forgot about. I’ve let go of the old and grabbed on to a brand new me. It’s really the most adventurous ride I’ve ever been on.

2010 marks a brand new start for me in more ways than one. I’ve just ventured out on my own as a professional copywriter and I’m very proud to announce the launch of my brand new website:

I’m on a new path full of bright, shiny ideas and dreams. I’ve finally gotten myself to the place I always needed to be. This blog is my journey. Along the way I would love to have some company while I share lessons learned, pitfalls avoided, or not avoided, strategies to improve your life and anything else that comes along. I hope that this blog will be an inspiration to all the military spouses out there who are still trying to figure out what’s next.

If that is you, I just want to tell you to relax. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.  And a brand new future isn’t something you want to rush anyway. Take a little time for yourself and explore everything you think you might be interested in. I didn’t just rush into my writing career. I took some time off. I went back to school…which is a really great place to start.

Until next time….

Published in: on January 7, 2010 at 3:44 pm  Leave a Comment