12 Ways You Can Be Inspiring

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some people seem to have a knack for inspiring others. It’s like they’re oozing with brightness and positivity. They somehow just know what to do and say to inspire other people. It’s effortless. Perhaps for some people being inspirational is innate, but I believe there are ways any of us can tap into our light and purposely shine it on people who cross our paths. All you really need to be inspiring is a desire, the rest will follow.


Follow your own path.

People aren’t inspired by other people in the crowd. They barely notice what other people in the crowd are doing. People are inspired by those who dare stand away from the crowd, following their own dreams, living their own authentic lives. It takes guts to break away from the status quo, to allow yourself to be uncomfortable, and to chase the dreams you can’t stop thinking about. But it’s what you have to do, not only to be inspirational, but to achieve your goals.

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less travelled by and that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost

Do what you love.

The concept of “doing what you love” may be a little overhyped. The money won’t necessarily follow. Success isn’t guaranteed. It will still feel like work. Some days you may question whether this is really what you love. When people see you following your dreams and pursuing your passion, they’ll feel inspired to take a leap and follow their dreams. And there’s always a certain amount of pleasure in doing what you love. Even if it doesn’t make you rich, it will make you happy.

Become a master of your craft.

Let’s be honest: there’s nothing inspiring about mediocrity. Ordinary, while sometimes enjoyable, is forgettable. The most well known people in any discipline were great at what they did. Strive to move past your plateau and excel within your passion. Take a class. Read a book. Find a mentor. Venture outside your comfort zone and continually push yourself to new heights, not just for yourself, but to show others that it can be done. People are watching what you do and they’ll know if the walk doesn’t match the talk.

Let your ego go.

Humility is inspiring. Ego will turn people off even when you’re excellent at what you do. If you can learn to be confident without being arrogant, people will love you much more. Confidence is (realistically) believing in yourself and trusting your abilities. Ego is confidence on steroids. Ego makes you over-exaggerate your importance and accomplishments. Be less Kanye and more Taylor.

Share your failures and your successes.

Sharing your successes makes you admirable, but sharing your failures makes you a resource. When you only talk about your successes, you become unrelatable. Most people have suffered some level of loss in pursuit of their goals and can’t identify with someone who’s always won. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ve suffered losses too, but what’s made you successful is continuing in spite of them. If you can help people avoid the mistakes you’ve made by sharing the knowledge you’ve gained, you’ll make their path to success a little easier and they’ll be grateful for it. You’ll inspire them to keep going even when it’s tough or the outlook is bleak.

Be resilient.

We all suffer setbacks on our path to success. It comes with the territory. What’s inspiring is showing how you can bounce back from setbacks, refusing to let them derail your progress. You may fail, but let your failure be part of your success story, not the finality of it.

Share your inspiration.

Inspiration is contagious. To be inspirational, you have to first be inspired. Share the quotes, stories, art, people, foods that inspire you. As you share the things that motivate and encourage you, those in your influence will also be motivated.

Focus on the good in life.

“Keep your face toward the sunshine – and the shadows will fall behind you.” Walt Whitman

Staying positive isn’t always easy, especially when you’re faced with obstacles. If you make a conscious decision to focus on the good, you’ll be a happier person. People around you will notice and want to know your secret.

Help other people.

But not just so you can inspire other people. If you’re helping others for bragging rights, people see right through you and those bragging rights will be all you have. Help others from a genuine place, because you have the ability to help and you have compassion for other human beings.

Make people feel good about themselves and challenge them do to their best.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

Many people perform better when they know someone expects them to perform better. Continually motivate the people around you to be the best version of themselves, to continually strive for the next level.

Share the why behind what you do.

You’re not the only person doing what you do. So share your story, the reason for doing what you do. Talk about the problems you wanted to solve with your product, the audience you wanted to reach with your blog, the needs you’re meeting with your services.

Be inspired.

Inspiring other people starts with you. You can’t share a flame you don’t have. People can easily spot a fake. If you’re having trouble finding inspiration, re-read this list. These aren’t just ways you can inspire others, they’re also ways you can inspire yourself.

7 Signs It’s Finally Time to Start Your Blog


You’ve been toying with the idea of starting your own blog for years. You have ideas, plans, maybe you’ve drafted a few posts already. But somehow you’re still unsure whether starting a blog is the right thing for you to do. When you feel like blogging is calling you strongly, but you’re not completely sure you’re ready to answer, here are some signs it’s time to finally start your blog.

You can’t stop thinking about it.

If you’re always getting new ideas, gathering inspiration from everything around you, waking in the middle of the night with your mind full of visions for your blog, it’s a sign that you’re ready and inspired.

You keep hearing that you should do it.

If your close friends and family are urging you to finally pursue your passion, maybe they’re on to something. These are the first people to see potential in you and your idea and they’re the first people to (voluntarily) join your support system.

You’re unsatisfied with your job.

Maybe you don’t hate your job, but it no longer challenges you. If you’re dreading going to work more and more each day, getting your blog off the ground and monetizing it the right way will let you leave your job much faster. If nothing else, it gives you a creative outlet to add some joy and sense of fulfillment to your life.

You enjoy learning.

Building a successful blog takes skill that you probably didn’t learn in school. Writing for the web is different from writing for academics and you’ll have to hone your writing skills to capture an online audience. You’ll also have to learn your blogging platform (I recommend WordPress), get good at promoting and social media, study your analytics, and come up with monetization strategies. It sounds like a lot, because it is. But, if you’re passionate about your idea and publishing content online, this will all be worth it.

The idea of starting your blog excites you.

And the excitement doesn’t fade. Some of your good ideas may come and go, but if you get one that sticks and won’t go away, it may be a sign that this is your idea. Now the question is, what are you waiting for?

You keep thinking you’ll regret it if you don’t.

Life is too short to live with regrets. What if you sit on your blog idea because you’re not sure if it’s a good enough, then a few years later someone else has become successful from the very same idea you doubted.

The risks no longer terrify you.

At first, the thought of starting your own blog is scary. As you weigh the risks and come up with a contingency plan, you become more at ease with the thought of running your own blog. Your fears never completely go away – impostor syndrome affects even the best of us – but you feel braver about your blog once you have a solid plan for success.

The timing may never be perfect. You’ll always be able to come up with reasons not to pursue your idea, but if it’s something that’s weighing on you, taking the leap may be the best decision you ever made.

Blogging Isn’t a Real Job and 18 Other Blogging Myths You Should Ignore

Tell anyone you’re thinking of starting a blog and expect the comments to start rolling in like the spring tide.

If you’re lucky, your friends and family will be supportive when they find out you want to start a blog. Unfortunately, some of them may only perpetuate myths they’ve heard from others or read online. Don’t listen to the negativity.

Myths like these are like seeds of doubt. They grow in the back of your mind, haunting you anytime it seems like your blog isn’t taking off the way you thought it would.

If you ultimately decide that blogging isn’t for you, don’t let the reason be that you listened to one of these incredibly untrue myths about blogging.


1. “Blogging isn’t a real job.”

The first blog was created less than two decades ago and blogging has only become “mainstream” in the past several years. When people say that blogging isn’t a real job, it’s because they’re thinking of traditional jobs like teachers, attorneys, doctors, nurses, etc.

Blogging, especially as a freelancer or for yourself, gives you freedom and flexibility you don’t get from traditionally “real” job. People may not consider blogging a real job, but you can definitely earn real money. What matters besides that?

2. “You have to write well to be a successful blogger.”

This is only partly true. Your writing doesn’t have to be Pulitzer worthy and that’s fine because fancy writing could alienate your target readers – who likely read on a 7th or 8th grade level. You should be able to write simple sentences and convey your message clearly. You should be able to present your thoughts and ideas clearly using proper spelling and grammar.

3. “You can’t make money blogging.”

If anyone says this to you, just laugh. Cash Flow Diaries has an ultimate list of blogger income reports that proves making money from blogging isn’t just a fluke. The top 25 bloggers on the list an average of $11,520 in a single month.


How many of those “Blogging isn’t a real job” critics makes that much in a month? The highest reported net income was just a few dollars shy of $89K and this is just one month of income. This list only includes bloggers who report their own monthly income. I’m sure there are thousands of bloggers making money who aren’t publicly reporting it each month.

4. “There are already enough blogs on blogging/fashion/makeup/fitness/etc.”

Certain niches contain more blogs than others, but that doesn’t mean there’s no space for you. If you’re passionate about a niche that seems saturated, put a creative angle on the topic to make it unique enough from the other blogs in the niche.

5. “You’ll eventually run out of ideas.”

I remember someone telling me this when I first started writing for About.com. That was over 8 years ago and I still have tons of new ideas every single month and lists of ideas I’ve accumulated over the years. I will admit that once the basics are covered, it gets a little tougher to come up with catchy topics. The challenge at that point is to go deeper into your topic and approach it from different perspectives.

6. “There’s no cost to starting a blog.”

This is partly true, but it depends on the platform you’re using. You can start a blog for no cost at all on a free platform like Tumblr, Blogger, or Wordpress. However, the most successful blogs are self-hosted, which does come at a cost, but you can keep your costs between $100 and $200 a year. For example, I offer a coupon code, GET25OFF, for getting WordPress hosting through HostGator for awesome savings.

7. “Selling ad space is the best/only way to make money blogging.”

There are several different strategies for making money blogging and ad space is just one of them. It may be the best for some blogs, but bloggers make more money through affiliate programs, speaking engagements, and selling their own information products, in addition to selling ad space. You may have to try out different strategies – or a combination of strategies – to figure out which will be the best for you.

8. “Blog income is passive income”

Lots of people start a blog because they believe it can earn them thousands of dollars with only a little bit of effort. While you don’t have to necessarily work dollar for dollar for what you earn, you do have to set up the blog, research topics, research readers, write your posts, promote your blogs, and stay on top of blogging and news trends.

© beachboyx10 / dollarphotoclub.com

9. “Great content is all it takes to be a successful blogger.”

The truth is that great content is only a small portion of what it takes to be a successful blogger. What if no one reads all the great content you’re posting to your blog? How successful are you then? What if people read, but they don’t click your ads or buy your products? Still successful?

Besides good content, you also have to know about optimizing your posts for search engines, including images or other media as needed. Then, you have to figure out the best way to get people to actually read all the great content you’ve written and buy whatever it is you’re selling.

10. “You must have a lot of traffic to make decent money blogging.”

This may apply to free blogs which often prohibit bloggers from using ads unless they receive a minimum amount of monthly traffic. Other than that, fraffic is only loosely correlated to blog income. You can have hundreds of thousands of visitors coming to your blog each month and never make a cent if they’re not convinced to click your ads or buy your product. You can have a small amount of the right kind of traffic and make far more money than having tons of random traffic who aren’t truly interested in your niche.

11. “You can become an overnight success.”

Behind every “overnight success” is years of hard work, dozens of false starts, and tons of mistakes. Even traffic from viral posts is often temporary. Real success is cumulative; it’s built little by little over a period of time. How much time depends on lots of different factors, many of which you can completely control. So don’t give up because your blog isn’t getting hundreds of thousands of page views after just a couple of months. That kind of traffic takes time to build.

12. “It’s better to start with a free site just in case blogging doesn’t work out.”

If you’re not willing to commit just $100 to start a blog, maybe blogging isn’t for you. Free blogs force you to include their name as part of the URL address making your website address something long like: mynewnicheblog.wordpress.com instead of mynewnicheblog.com.

When you pay for hosting you can start generating income from day one and any revenue you make is all yours. Free blogging sites may limit the amount of storage space, which would require you to use third-party services like Flickr to store your images and Dropbox for files.

If you don’t take your blog seriously enough to pay for a domain and hosting, why would your readers take you seriously?

13. “Blogging a lot will is the only way to be successful.”

The more time you spend blogging, the less time you have for all the other activities that go into having a successful blog like networking, marketing, and managing your sales. Great content takes time to create and it’s tough to create a quality blog post every single day. Plus, frequent blogging can lead to writer’s fatigue.

If you believe daily blogs are key to blog growth, work toward generating enough blog income so you can hire writers to help with the content load or to do some of your other tasks to free you up for more writing.

No matter what blog frequency you ultimately choose, make sure you put out quality posts on a consistent schedule.

14. “Picking a niche will limit what you can talk about on your blog.”

It will and with good reason. In my post on blogging rules, I compared niches and blog posts to television channels and the programming on those channels. ESPN, for example, doesn’t broadcast shows on any and everything. The network shows sports content only and that’s why it’s one of the top-rated sports networks in the nation. Do you think ESPN would be as successful if they started showing cooking shows? Nope, people would start going elsewhere for their sports content. Or, a competitor would take the opportunity to steal viewership.

15. “You can’t be successful unless you SEO every post.”

Optimizing your posts for search engines is a great traffic boosting strategy, but you don’t have to use it for all of your posts. Some posts may not be keyword-friendly and trying to force keywords can make your writing sound unnatural to readers.

Don’t rule out posts because you can’t make them search engine friendly, there are other ways to get traffic to these posts. But make sure you are using search engine optimization tactics for all the posts you can, where it makes sense of course.

© Marek / dollarphotoclub.com

© Marek / dollarphotoclub.com

16. “If you’re not successful right away, then blogging isn’t for you.”

There aren’t many blogs that launch to thousands of waiting fans. If you dig through the archives of your favorite professional bloggers, you’ll see that they were blogging years before they became successful. It can take several months, years even, to build a successful blog and that’s perfectly normal.

17. “You have to be an expert in X to be a successful blogger.”

A blog is not an encyclopedia. Most bloggers are very upfront about letting you know they’re not experts in their fields and some blogs are based on a “learn with me” type of style.

Expertise isn’t necessary, but be honest about what you do and don’t know. Your readers will appreciate your authenticity. After several years of research and writing, you can definitely establish yourself as an authority on your topic.

18. “All you have to do is start blogging and people will find you.”

There are millions of blogs on the internet and more being started every day. It’s extremely unlikely that someone will just stumble upon your blog and it goes viral. You have to actively promote your blog through search engine optimization, social media, email, and other marketing tactics to spread the word and start building traffic.

19. “You have promote on every social media platform to be successful.”

The top social media platforms (right now) include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. Not all of these platforms will produce the best results for your blog. Plus, trying to run a blog and maintain an active social media presence on multiple platforms can get overwhelming. You won’t able to do it all. Start out by focusing on just one or two platforms, the ones your target readers are mostly likely to use.

Sure there are some hurdles in building a successful blog, but don’t let any of these blogging myths keep you from trying.

11 Unbelievably Simple Rules for Building a Wildly Successful Blog

It’s hard to get people to read your blog.

Imagine walking into a room with hundreds of people are talking, each of them vying for the attention of everyone else. Now imagine walking in amidst the ongoing conversations and trying to get someone, anyone to listen to you.

That’s how it is with blogging.

One source says two million blog posts are written every single day. That’s a lot of noise. Your little post has a lot of competition.

To have a successful blog – one that gets read, subscribed to, liked, shared, and purchased from – you have to do a lot more than just set up a free blog and start posting. If you want to have a successful blog, certain rules must be followed.


Pick a niche.

Picture your blog as a cable television channel.

If your blog was ESPN, you’d post sports content all day, everyday. You wouldn’t post about kids toys because that’s not what your audience wants to see from you. Or, you’d attract people who are interested in kids toys, but may be in interested in purchasing the premium sports content you offer to keep the lights on.

Successful bloggers select a niche and focus on that topic. When these bloggers want to write about something off topic, they start a totally separate blog, with a new domain. Successful bloggers don’t dilute their brand by trying to integrate more than one topic under a single blog.

Set goals for your blog.

But isn’t “having a successful blog” a goal? Nope, it’s too vague. Success means different things to different bloggers so you have to define what success is for you at the stage you are right now.

Decide how many subscribers you want to have, how much traffic you want to receive each month, and the amount of money you’d like to make.

Goals take time to reach and while it’s easy to publish a blog post, it’s not as easy to get noticed and build a strong readership. Set a realistic timeline for achieving your goals.

Once you reach your initial goals, set new ones to work toward.

Post consistently.

This may mean posting daily, weekly, or twice a month. Figure out how often you’re going to post, set a schedule, and stick to it. There’s no faster way to lose your audience than to post inconsistently.

Create quality blog posts.

If you want to stand out and create loyal readers, you need to provide valuable information for your readers. Quality is not the same old posts that every other blogger is writing. Quality is a new angle on an old issue, a fresh view of a stale topic, an innovative approach to a stubborn problem.

Before you start writing a blog post, do a quick internet search to see what else is out there. If the first page of the search results is filled with results exactly like what you want to create, go back to the drawing board. Tweak your idea to make sure you’re providing quality that your  readers can’t get anywhere else.

Stay on top of trends.

To be an authority on your topic – someone who everyone else turns to for advice – you must stay on top of the news and trends in your topic. Subscribe to the top blogs in your niche. Sign up for Google Alerts to get daily news related to your keywords. Sign up to receive press releases from companies in your niche.

Staying on top of what’s on in your niche is just a start. You also have to pay attention to trends in blogging, social media, and affiliate marketing (if you promote affiliate links).

When I first started blogging 10 years ago, daily 500-word blog posts were the norm. There was no Twitter or Pinterest. Facebook had just introduced status updates (and most of them were made in third person!).

Today, daily posts aren’t necessary for success and 500 words may not be enough, at least not when you start out. The most popular posts are upwards of a thousand words.

Blogs that remain successful year after year embrace and adapt to changes.

Create social media accounts for your blog.

Social media marketing is one of the best ways to build your blog audience. It allows you to promote your blog content, provide additional value to your readers, and engage with your audience.

Don’t bother creating social media accounts if you’re not going to maintain them. Nothing looks worse than a Twitter account that hasn’t been updated since 2013 or a Facebook page that only receives sporadic updates.

Take advantage of tools like Buffer and Hootsuite that allow you to schedule posts to your social media pages. Even if you automate some tweets, make sure you’re also logging on frequently to engage with your community, respond to comments, and post messages that don’t solely promote your content.

Publish error-free, easy to read posts.

Proofread your post, and then proofread it again. Spend time going through each blog post to be sure it is grammatically correct and contain no spelling errors. Remove unnecessary words from your posts so they’re easier to read and understand.

Produce original content.

Don’t steal. It’s ok to borrow ideas from other bloggers or websites, but it is never okay to copy and paste another person’s work, even if you give credit.

Cite your sources.

I don’t mean to sound like your high school English teacher when I say this, but if you use someone else’s words or images, make sure you give them credit.

It’s ok to use a small portion of someone else’s work without asking for their permission, it called fair use, but even when you do this, make sure you let your readers know where the work came from.

Make sure people know you exist.

Publishing a blog post and then walking away from it without doing any extra promotion is like walking into a crowded room, whispering something important, and expecting someone to hear you.

Imagine if you walked into that crowded room with a megaphone. And instead of standing in one place shouting your message, you walked the room from one end to another, talking to first one group of people, then another, captivating them with your words, mesmerizing them with your delivery. Do you think people would listen to you then?

You have to promote your blog the same way.

Promote your posts on social media with sharable tweets and images. Send updates to your email subscribers. Tell your friends about it. Guest post on some other blogs in your niche. Don’t be too cheap to spend a little bit on advertising if you’re serious about building your blog readership.

Inject your personality into your blog.

In a world where millions of blogs are being published everyday, many of them on the same topic, your personality is the only thing that really separates you from the next person writing about blogging or parenting or relationships or weight loss.

Make a habit of putting a little of you in every post you publish. I love this awesome quote on The Middle Finger Project: “Personality is the difference between being loved vs. liked, ordinary vs. iconic.”

Don’t let your blog be a whisper in a crowded room. Make these rules part of your regular blogging habits to build a successful blog.

14 Ways to Stop Doubting Yourself and Go After What You Want

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler. -Henry David Thoreau (paraphrased)

© eelnosiva / dollarphotoclub

© eelnosiva / dollarphotoclub

Here in the southern United States, there’s a plant called kudzu. Legend has it that kudzu was brought over from Japan to help farmers stop soil erosion.

The problem is that the southern environment is perfect for kudzu, so much so that the vines grow as much as a foot each night during the summer. If it’s not maintained – and in many areas it’s not – kudzu can completely engulf an area of land, covering trees, houses, and anything else in its path.

Doubt is like kudzu.

Doubt is one of the biggest enemies of success. Doubt tells us that we can’t reach our goals, that our dreams are unattainable, that we don’t have what it takes to succeed.

Doubt tells us to settle for a life that’s less than what we desire, to remain complacent even though we’re capable of achieving much more, to bury our talents rather than sharing them with the world.

You can prevent doubt from suffocating your dreams and here are 14 ways to do it.

Let the success of others motivate, not discourage you.

Comparison is the thief of joy, said someone (some attribute the quote to Theodore Roosevelt and others say that is misattributed).

It’s almost impossible not to notice what those around you have accomplished, especially in the social media age. It’s ok to see what people around you are doing, but don’t use it to put yourself down or beat yourself up about where you are in life. Instead, use it as inspiration and motivation to set your own goals and work toward them.

Stop trying not to compare.

I think it’s unreasonable to expect that you’ll never compare yourself to anyone else. There’s nothing wrong with making a simple comparison between what you and the next person has achieved. What matters most is the conclusion you make from that comparison.

You can think to yourself, “Sam has achieved so much more in life than I have. He has such great charisma and charm. I’ll never be able to achieve as much as he has because I’m just too shy.” Or you can think, “It’s amazing that Sam has accomplished so much. I bet I can achieve similar results if I work as hard as he did.”

Don’t get caught up in the (wrong) details.

Focus on the things that matter. I’ve gone through cycles of blog ideas, but I sit on them for so long because I can’t think of the right domain name. I can’t find the right theme. And weeks go by before I can make a decision when those aren’t even the things that make great blogs. It’s the content and the writer that makes a great blog.

Realize the amount of control you have in your success.

Success comes to those who work for it, who are prepared for the opportunities when they come, and who can work through hurdles efficiently.

Sure, things happen in all our lives that can make success – at least our definition of success – more difficult to achieve. How you respond to those events is what will keep you where you are or propel you forward.

You can’t always control the things that happen to you, but you absolutely can control how you respond to it.

Stop worrying about the possibility of failure.

The only way you truly fail is by giving into your self-doubt and not trying at all. Worrying doesn’t prevent failure, it just prevents you from trying.

No matter what you try to achieve, there will be obstacles, roadblocks, and setbacks. Learn from your failures and use the lessons to climb another rung on the ladder to success.

Remember that even the most successful people started somewhere.

We seldom have the opportunity to follow a successful person from the very beginning of their journey. We see them once they’ve already reached success and that vantage point is deceptive.

Some of the biggest websites, mobile apps, and other technology started in a garage. Famous singers got started singing to thin crowds in empty dive bars. Many of the top bloggers started with only their mom reading their blogs. Even real estate mogul Donald Trump started out with a measly $1 million loan from his father.

Recognize that success doesn’t look the same for everyone.

Don’t define success by what another person has achieved. Define success in your own terms and be ok with how you’ve defined success. Your final destination won’t be the same as any other person’s and neither will your journey.

You can certainly borrow from the experiences of others. Learn what worked and didn’t work for them. You’ll have to tailor even those experiences to fit your unique circumstances.

Stop trying to perfect it.

Perfection is unattainable. It doesn’t exist. If you’re trying to get it perfect, you’ll always end up discouraged.

Get started. Continue to improve your process as you go along, but don’t be crippled by a desire to release a perfect product, give the perfect keynote speech, write the perfect blog post. There is no such thing as perfect.

Stop overthinking it.

Negative thoughts can avalanche and paralyze you, leaving you unable to take action on the things you want to accomplish. Stop mulling over every single thing ad nauseum. Make a decision and commit to it. If it doesn’t work out, revise your plan and keep going.

Focus on the things that inspire you.

Think about your goal and dreams, the things you want to accomplish for yourself and for your family. Imagine the results of your hard work…

…a single mother reading something you’ve written and saying that you changed her life

…a small businessman struggling to maintain sales and having his business 180 after consulting with you,

…your kids one day saying how proud they are of how hard you worked to accomplish your goals.

Be inspired and stay inspired.

Remember that no one’s criticism is harsher than your own.

No matter what anyone says about you and what you’re trying to accomplish, nothing they can be any worse than the things you’ve said to yourself when you’re in the bowels of self-doubt.

If you can shake off your own criticism and forge ahead, you can get over anything that anyone else can say about you.

Read positive books, think positive, surround yourself with positive.

Proverbs 23:7 says “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” If you fill your heart (and mind) with negative thoughts of self-doubt, you’ll be a negative, self-doubting person. But if you focus on things that are positive and believe in your ability to achieve, you’ll do that.

For non-Bible believers, a similar quote from Buddha “The mind is everything. What you think you become.” And from the Dalai Lama, “In order to carry a positive action we must develop a positive vision.”

If you do a search for quotes on positive thinking, you’ll see the great writers, thinkers, philosophers, and entrepreneurs repeatedly say focus on the positive.

Think of everything you’ve already accomplished.

Did you finish college? That’s a feat on it’s own. If you graduated high school, you accomplished more than many people. If you got a GED, it shows dedication to a goal that many people would have given up on.

Instead of focusing on what you haven’t achieved, give yourself credit for the things you have accomplished. It takes hard work to reach any goal and to have achieved what may seem like the smallest objectives shows that you have what it takes to do more.

Be The Little Engine That Could.

It’s one of my least favorite children’s books to read  – the sentences are wordy and underpunctuated – but the story of The Little Engine That Could is so motivational, despite it being fiction.

When the toys and dolls needed to get over the hill to the boys and girls and no other engine could or would bother to take them, the little blue engine saved the day by repeating a mantra “I think I can.”

When you’re faced with a task that’s more difficult than you expected or your goals seem so far out of reach, don’t focus on the difficulty, focus on your potential. Believe that you can. Squash the seeds of self-doubt before they have a chance to bloom and work toward the things you want to achieve.

If You’re a New Freelance Writer, You Do Not Want to Make Any of These Mistakes

Having been a freelance writer for almost ten years, I get a lot of questions from people interested in becoming freelance writers.

Whether you want to freelance full-time or use it as a way to make extra money on the side, you have to be sure you’re taking the steps. Mistakes waste your time, cost you money, and can turn you off to freelance writing all together.


1. Not charging enough.

Eager to get their foot in the door, new writers often accept jobs that pay just a few bucks for 500 words or so. Do you realize how much you have to write at this rate to make a livable wage?

I’ll confess that I was guilty of this 9+ years ago when I first started freelancing. When I calculated how many $5/500 word articles I had to write to match the salary I was getting paid, I knew I’d have to make some changes.

I raised my rates slowly over the years. I just regret not raising them high enough fast enough.

2. Letting clients talk you into accepting less.

There are people out there who want to hire freelance writers, but don’t won’t want to pay higher rates. Sometimes it’s because they don’t truly understand the value of quality writing and want to get good writing for cheap. Just walk away; it’s not worth it.

You can sometimes work within a client’s budget by doing less work for the same price. For example, instead of writing six blog posts for $100, negotiate for two or three.

Always have in mind the lowest you’ll accept. That way, when clients want to negotiate with you, you know the price point you can’t accept.

3. Not knowing when to charge by the hour, by the word, or by the project.

There are lots of different ways you can set up your rates and you can use any of these depending on the project.

For example, an hourly rate works well for longer projects that don’t necessarily have a word count or you can’t estimate how long it will take to complete the project. The clients have to agree to pay you for your time and you have to do the work of tracking the time spent on the project.

In most cases, charging by the word or project works.

4. Writing about something you have no experience in.

If you’ve ever taken an English or writing class, you’ve been told to “write what you know.” When you write about something you don’t know about, you end up having to do more research. This, in turn, increases the amount of time you spend on the writing assignment and lowers your hourly rate for that project. Even if you’ll have to do some research, you need to be at least a little familiar with the topic of the writing assignments you focus on.

5. Accepting every job that comes your way.

Again, eager for some work and flattered that people want to hire you, you may be tempted to say “yes” to every prospective client. However, you’ll have to turn down some jobs, particularly if they’re outside your expertise, pay lower than you can accept, or require more time than you have available.

If you feel bad about saying no to a good freelance writing gig, have a few other freelance writers in mind that you can refer the job to. Make sure you’re not sending bad clients or bad writing jobs to other writers.

5. Taking on too many writing jobs at once.

At first, having too many writing jobs sounds like a great problem to have. The more jobs you have, the more money you can make, right? Except that overscheduling yourself makes you more likely to miss deadlines, creating a negative reputation with your clients. Get good at estimating how long it’s going to take you to complete a writing assignment so you can schedule your time appropriately.

6. Not getting clear enough instructions on what your client wants.

You want to complete your assignments with as few rounds of editing as possible, especially if you’re writing short blog posts. (Longer assignments like ebooks may have multiple drafts.)

To reduce the amount of rework you need to do, ask as many questions as you need to upfront so you completely understand what the client wants from you.

7. Choosing the wrong clients.

When you’re first starting out, it can be difficult to select the right clients. You don’t know what you’re looking for yet. But, let me give you some signs that a client is not worth working with:

  • They take too long to email you back.
  • They’re not paying enough for the project.
  • Their preferences are unclear.
  • They email you too much.

8. Doing more than is necessary to make your clients happy.

Customer service is a necessary part of the job. You never want your clients to walk away unpleased with the work that you’ve done for them. However, you shouldn’t jump through hoops to please clients who are insatiable, especially when you’ve agreed on the specifications, clarified their expectations, and made reasonable efforts to do a satisfactory job.

On the other hand, if you have a client who politely asks you to make reasonable changes to the work, it’s probably ok to do the extra work to make this client satisfied. Learn from the experience and know what you can do next time to avoid the additional work.

9. Expanding the work without adjusting your rates.

If a client wants to make project changes that will take more time, you may have to adjust the rates. Don’t agree to a change just to make the client happy.

Think about it, if you take your car for an oil change and then decide you want to have your tires rotated too, the mechanic is going to charge you extra. The same thing goes for your writing jobs.

When clients make requests for additional work, let them know you’re happy to make the adjustments, but also quote them on the increased time and cost.

10. Working with just one client.

If you’re freelancing on the side for some extra money, having just one client may be ok. But serious freelancers who want to grow their writing business cannot do this.

Working for a single client isn’t really freelancing, you’re more like a contract worker. And if this client leaves, you are left with no clients. You’ll have to find another clients – likely several clients – to fill that void. You’re probably a little rusty on your marketing considering you’ve been relying on just one client which means it may be a little harder getting new clients.

Diversify your income among various clients and projects, even some of your own projects.

11. Not taking a deposit.

When you’re a new writer and you don’t have much experience choosing clients, taking at least 50% deposit on your projects should be a rule. You can make exceptions from time to time, but requiring a deposit ensures you get paid for your work.

I don’t make exceptions for new clients or big jobs. However, for a blog or website that hires freelancers often and they have a defined pay schedule, I don’t push for a deposit.

12. Not setting payment terms.

Payment terms don’t have to be complicated. You simply need to state how much you should be paid, by when, and by what method.

Is the payment due upon completion? Do you accept personal checks? Have a written payment plan either posted on your website or included in your communications with prospective clients. Make sure your client agrees to the payment terms before you start work.

13. Not sticking to deadlines.

If you’ve set a firm deadline for a project, stick to it. Don’t be that person who’s habitually asking for extensions and sending work after the date you’ve committed to.

Use a calendar to keep track of your deadlines and take every effort to meet them.

14. Treating freelance writing like a hobby.

Freelance writing isn’t something you can just dabble in here and there and expect to make a serious income. Freelance writing is a real business and you won’t be successful if you don’t treat it like one.

15. Spending your money as you get it.

Financial management is crucial to long-term success as a freelance writer. I collect freelance writing income in a separate account and pay myself monthly like I am my own employee. It’s much easier to track income this way rather than making $200 and $300 deposits here and there.

16. Starting a .wordpress or .blogpsot blog.

Yes, it’s free, but it is one of the worst looks you can have for yourself as a serious freelance writer.

Buy a domain. Get hosting. Find a theme or template – there are plenty of free ones, but you can buy one, too. It will be a $100 investment tops, but the instant credibility you gain from having a hosted blog is worth it.

17. Starting a blog about freelance writing.

Unless you’re establishing yourself as a freelance writing expert to help other freelance writers, your blog shouldn’t be about freelance writing. Your blog should be about whatever you’re an “expert” in, e.g. interior design, personal finance, fitness, etc. If you’re a new freelance writer, chances are you don’t know enough about freelance writing to run a blog.

18. Not updating your portfolio with your latest and greatest work.

Your portfolio is one of the ways clients decide whether they want to work with you. Treat your online portfolio kind of like a resume. As you complete additional work, update your portfolio so it’s a reflection of your growth as a freelance writer. As you add newer work, delete the older work that may not be an accurate representation of your current skillset.

Mistakes Don’t Have to End Your Freelance Career

Mistakes happen. Even people and companies who’ve been in business for decades can make mistakes.

Bookmark this list and read through it every few months as a refresher to make sure you’re making all the right moves to be a successful freelance writer.

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