Two questions I received over the last couple of days prompted this post.
In my experience, the following is probably one of the best pieces of advice you will ever receive as a small business person. I’ve been a “formal” small business owner since 1997 (I started as a freelancer in 1993), and I wish someone had told me this on day one. It’s so simple, yet so powerful at the same time. What is it?
It bears repeating . . .
No one person or thing can guarantee your success in business.
It’s simple because it’s a fact; but it’s powerful because it means there is no one road to success. How you do it may get you there quicker than any advice that you can get from “experts.” In my opinion, too many rely too heavily on so-called experts. This can actually hold you back sometimes.
Actual Emails Received from Readers
Following are the actual emails that I received that prompted me to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon writing this post.
Note: I have two and a half weeks of sheer hell coming up b/t finishing two ebooks I’m working on and client projects. Hence, I had two choices – either write it today (Sunday), or wait until after vacation (I’m off to Jamaica in mid-August).
Email No. 1
I’ve been reading your sites and am interested in the How to Make $250+/Day Writing Simple, 500-Word Articles book. It appears that this was written a year or two ago and I’m a little concerned that it may not be as easy to get business as it was then. Do you think it is still possible to get a reasonable amount of business in a few weeks?
Thank you for your interest in the aforementioned ebook.
The surface of this industry (internet marketing) is just being scratched b/c many don’t even know what “SEO” is. There’s plenty of work — and will be for years to come. You have to know how to market for it though. That’s true with any business.
All I can do is show you how I did it (which I discuss in detail in the ebook), and it’s up to you to chart your own path.
Good luck if you decide to move forward.
Email No. 2
My concern is will your students be able to make a regular, full-time income from seo copywriting after taking your course? (despite the fact that they have no previous experience in copywriting. It is after all a specialist niche, and most people only become specialists after they become generalists).
Note: I’ve corresponded with this reader on four or five different occasions about the SEO Copywriting course. I say this so that my response below is put into some type of context.
Regarding making a living after the course – that is completely up to you.
The course will give you all the tools you need, but as with anything (ie, a college degree, specialized training, vocational education, business consulting etc.), the ability to succeed is entirely up to the individual.
To be honest, I don’t think my course is for you. You seem too hesitant and too frightened to make a leap. In my many years of business, one of the things I’ve learned is that we as individuals let our fears stand in the way of success.
NOBODY can give you the courage to strike out on your own;
NOBODY can give you strength to pull all nighters to meet client demands;
NOBODY can give you stick-to-it-ness, ie, the wherewithal to decide to make something work when it seems like there’s no way that it will;
NOBODY can give you the ability to think for yourself, ie, when or when not to offer a discount, when to turn down a project, when to expand your business, when to hire freelancers, when to fire freelancers, how to set deadlines, and/or how to tackle one of a multitude of other decisions a busy SEO writer (or any business owner) has to make for him/herself on a daily basis.
AND THIS IS WHAT BUSINESS IS – any kind of business.
In short, you want a guarantee – and in the world of business — there simply aren’t any.
I can give you guidelines to go by that have worked for my business; recount actual client scenarios and how I handled them; and point out industry norms that you may want to follow (all of which I will do in the course). But, the final decision is always up to you.
Once the course is finished, I won’t be there to hold your hand. While I will always try to answer questions from students who take the course, what I will not do is act as an on-call consultant who will answer every question you may have as you build your business.
This is what a business consultant does. They usually charge by the hour and they are not cheap; and understandably so. I simply don’t have time to do this.
AND, this is why the course will be in-depth.
But, no course can give you real-world experience. They can give you tools to handle different scenarios as they pop up, but there will always, always, always be something that comes up that makes you go, “Hmm, this wasn’t covered in the course . . . how should I handle it?”
And, this is where you really become a bona fide entrepreneur. You face a situation, figure out a solution and move forward, without wringing your hands in despair, second guessing yourself and/or constantly seeking out “experts” to help you make a decision.
And again, this is what being in business means. It’s what real-world entrepreneurs do every day.
When I started doing SEO writing, I figured out everything I’ve learned to date for myself. I still operate this way. The internet offers a plethora of information – if you’re willing to read it and act up on in. The rest is learned by trial and error. You ingest facts, figure out what makes sense for you and your business, make the decision and move on.
Even when you make mistakes – and you will – you learn from them so that the next time you face a similar situation (and you always will), you’re able to pull on this knowledge. Every successful business person will tell you this.
Again, my course is not geared for someone like you. It’s geared for the confident individual who is ready, willing and able – with the right knowledge (which the course will provide) – to start a professional SEO writing business.
I guarantee that the course will give you all the tools you need to build a successful business as an SEO copywriter. BUT, I cannot guarantee your success. That is up to you.
Good luck in finding a course that suits your needs and in any career you may choose to pursue.
I just want to add a little more to this seemingly never-ending conversation.
I get the most emails from readers about two things: (i) they want some type of guarantee about freelance writing; and/or (ii) they want someone to hold their hand (ie, show them what to do every step of the way). This just ain’t gonna happen people.
Successful freelance writers are busy freelance writers. And, most of us just don’t have time to mentor someone. This is why many of us have blogs and websites, and also write books/ebooks on the subject.
We use these outlets to try and dispense as much of our knowledge as possible, but don’t expect other freelance writers to get back to you every time you send in an email. Use the web to do research.
I had one previous subscriber to my newsletter tell me recently to unsubscribe her because I hadn’t answered questions that she’d sent in. To be honest, I didn’t remember but even if I did, it’s impossible for me to personally answer every question a reader sends in. I’d never get any work done.
MY LIFE AS A FREELANCE WRITER & BUSINESS OWNER
I produce my own ebooks, co-author others; put together e-courses; AND handle client projects. This is in addition to the administrative duties required when running a writing business, eg, billing, sourcing work to a team of freelance writers, doing quality checks, handling client contracts, writing copy (yes, I still do a lot of that); etc.
I also update my own blogs and websites, and do most of the marketing for my ebooks and my companies (InkwellEditorial.com and NewMediaWords.biz).
I used to work upwards of 70 or 80 hours a week. During the last two years, I’ve tried to cut back on that.
I now work — on average — 7 to 9 hours a day because I’m also a runner. I’m perpetually in training for some type of marathon, of which I try to do at least two a year. This means I have to spend 1-2 hours a day, 4-5 days a week, training. Because I’m in my 40s, working out is important to me — not only for my physical health, but for my mental health as well (it keeps me sane; gives me time to think and de-stress).
Bottom line: My days are full.
IS FREELANCE WRITIING FOR YOU? WHY SUCCESS BELONGS ONLY TO A FEW
If there’s one subject on the web that’s well covered, it’s freelance writing. You just have to take the time to research it and have the guts to make a decision. And, this is where the fear factor comes in for most.
They read everything possible on a subject, yet still lack the fortitude to just make a decision. So they consult expert after expert, looking for some type of guarantee before making a decision. There are no guarantees in business (or life).
Why some of us manage to be drowned in work, while others struggle to making a living as a freelance writer can be attributed directly – in my opinion – to facing whatever obstacles we see and trudging on.
“Get your ass on the street and hawk your wares.”
We don’t wait for someone to hold our hand and/or give us a reassuring pat on the back that we’re making the right decision. We trounce our asses out into the business world and hawk our wares.
Are we afraid? Hell yeah, some of the time.
Do we lack confidence? For sure, sometimes.
Do we make mistakes? All the fucking time.
“Do you have the balls to succeed?!”
BUT . . . we also:
Learn from our mistakes . . . and trudge on;
Don’t spend time listening to the “experts” around us b/c we’re too busy . . . trudging on;
Spend hours doing research to make the most correct decision possible . . . before trudging on;
Have a greater fear of working for somebody else . . . so we trudge on; and finally we
Don’t spend time doubting ourselves even when we make mistakes . . . because we’re too busy . . .
There’s a reason that micro- and small business owners are the backbone of American enterprise. If you’re full of fear, lack sufficient confidence, and/or are looking for a guarantee of success – quite frankly, you’re not cut out to be in business for yourself.
Look for a job because a small business will eat you alive – it will be beyond what you can handle. No class, degree, specialized training or even a hold-your-hand consultant will be enough for you to succeed.
Interesting Small Business Fact: Did you know that most businesses fail within the first three years? This underscores the fact that being in business for yourself is tough. BUT, it is soooooo rewarding. And, that’s why so many aspire to it.
“Business takes guts. And unfortunately, there’s no class or training that can give’em to you. You either have’em, or you don’t.”
GET SEO COPYWRITING TRAINING
If you’ve got the balls and the guts – and are just lacking the information – to start a successful SEO writing business . . . get the SEO Copywriting Training you need.
Where to Get Small Business Help
FYI, if you need small business help, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is THE place to start. They’re online at SBA.gov, and offer a plethora of programs and services to aspiring entrepreneurs, eg:
Mentoring via SCORE (the Service Corp of Retired Executives);
Strategic planning; and
And, this just scratches the surface.
Follow us if you found this post helpful!
P.P.S.: Updates about the SEO Copywriting Course will be posted every Friday (unless there’s a significant spike or it sells out midweek).
Copyright © 2009: Yuwanda Black for SEO Writing Jobs. This article may not be reproduced or redistributed without the express, written consent of the author.