I just read- once again, a post from another freelancer asking other writers how they balance their time online. It’s too easy, without a plan, to get distracted into twitter or FaceBook, and discover at the end of the day that you haven’t really made any money. Here are a few things I’ve done to increase my productivity as an online worker.
1. Know where the money is While there is value in social networking,there are very few people who are making a living from it, and they’re generally employed by companies who pay them to create a personality or face for their company. It’s an important part of your toolbox, but not the most important part. If you’re trying to build a career as a writer, then you need to write. Period.
2. Create a goal. I didn’t say a “reasonable goal” or a “working goal” and I didn’t say a “long or short term goal.” I don’t care what kind of goal you set, as long as you have some kind of something that you’re working toward. If your goal is “$3000 a month income” then you’ll work at whichever tasks bring your income higher. If your goal, however, is “$3000 a month in residual income each month” then you will be working differently, not focusing much on the progressing dollar amount, but upon writing high-income SEO articles.
3. Diversify. On the Demand Studios writers board recently, a woman was lamenting that she lost her job. She has bills to pay, she’s devastated. I’d be devastated, too since DS is currently my #1 income provider, but I have other options, I can simply increase my work at other sites in order to make up for it. You can’t keep all your eggs in one basket, you MUST position yourself so that you have several ways to reach your goal.
4. Pay Yourself First – Create your own websites. I can’t stress this one enough. I try to devote as much time to my own websites as I devote to other sites, so if I spend 1/2 an hour writing a Suite 101 article and then 1/2 an hour writing a few Demand Studios articles, I spend an hour writing for one of my own websites. My sites grow slowly, sometimes, regrettably, I fail to use the SEO techniques that other sites pay me for. Nonetheless, my sites all end up paying for themselves (Less than $10/yr for domain name and Godaddy hosting for $15/month)
On my home calendar, I list each of my home-grown websites and I try to add an article to one daily, even on days when I’m not working for other sites. This helps me a lot when I find that a topic has become boring to me. Forcing myself to add content to it on a regular basis helps the site’s readers and me. I have been able to find loyal readers for each site who can guest-post an article or help me out when I need it.
5. Don’t forget your offline life. I came home from vacation with ten thousand new article ideas, an overwhelming desire to work on my vegetable garden and of course, a new domain name. I’ve managed to be just as productive because my mind is at rest now that I’m home. We have a new goal- to move to the San Juan Islands, and I created a website, SanJuanFamily.com, to help me document all the things I’m learning about the area. With any luck, the site’s monetization strategy (as soon as I figure out how to use OPenX) will pay off and the website will fund our island home, right?