Can I Make Money as a Freelance Writer in This Economy?

Can I Make Money as a Freelance Writer in This Economy? from KrissiDriver.com

With all of the chaos happening in the world at any given time, it’s understandable for people to wonder about their job security. Fortunately, freelance writing is a career that can be done remotely from anywhere in the world, so it’s a business model that has withstood a lot of the turbulence that many industries are facing.

However, with such a strangely behaving job market and so many businesses cutting costs and still recovering from the Covid-19 shutdowns, is it even possible to make money as a freelance writer in the current economy? 

The answer is yes. Here are 5 reasons why. 

 

1. People are still buying things and spending money. 

Although many businesses are struggling right now, life hasn’t come to a complete halt. People are still shopping, whether for necessities or just for fun! Online shopping is at an all-time high and many online retailers are seeing boosts in their business now that people are staying home.

In addition, the US sent a number of stimulus checks in 2020 to help restart the economy, giving many people the opportunity to invest that money back into their favorite businesses. Because of this, many companies are looking to increase their online presence, and they need freelancers to do it. 

 

2. The demand for online content is higher than ever. 

The internet is now the face of all businesses. Any business without a website in 2020 and beyond doesn’t stand much of a chance for long-term survival with very few exceptions. People are spending more time online than ever before in history: for work, shopping, and everything in between. This has greatly increased the need for solid copy written by talented freelance writers.

Many businesses that could have gotten by without a website in the past are now scrambling to develop their digital footprint and most of them don’t have the budget to hire in-house copywriters to do the job. Freelancers are still the most popular choice for many businesses looking for copywriters, bloggers, social media managers, and more. 

 

3. Many businesses are either unaffected by the economic climate or thriving because of it.

There are certain types of businesses, such as law offices or medical suppliers, whose goods and services are more in-demand now than ever. While many small businesses may experience declines based on the state of the economy, there are other industries that are evergreen due to the necessary services they provide. 

A few examples include:

  • Repair services
  • Law
  • Public works
  • Many types of retailers
  • Information technology
  • Healthcare

 

While individual companies within these spheres might be feeling the effects of the recent crisis, these industries as a whole are a great place to look if you want to find stable freelance work, regardless of the global climate. 

 

Can I Make Money as a Freelance Writer in This Economy? from KrissiDriver.com

 

4. There's a need for highly-specialized writing. 

With people spending more time online, there's a higher need for writers who specialize in specific forms of writing. This could mean developing a focus on one type of content, such as landing pages, case studies, product descriptions, social media captions, or long-form blog posts. 

It can also mean narrowing your focus to a specific niche industry, such as asphalt paving or industrial automation. While it’s hard to break into an entirely new niche, it can be worthwhile to have a specialty that you can consider yourself an expert in – it could be the difference that helps you consistently make money as a freelance writer.

 

5. There is always a need for good freelance writers. 

There are lots of people out there who fancy themselves writers, but they simply don't have the talent for it. Worse, there are people trying to write who have terrible habits – their work is full of grammatical errors, incorrect punctuation, or other mistakes. 

If you’re a detail-oriented freelancer with great time management and communication skills, there are businesses out there that would love to work with you. Good talent is hard to find in any economy, but especially now that more people than ever are looking to make a living online. Set yourself apart by being a joy to work with and you’ll be surprised how far you can go and how much money you can make as a freelancer. 

 

Getting Started and Make Money as a Freelance Writer

If you’re considering a career as a freelance writer, now is a great time to start. You’ll need to have writing samples prepared when you apply to freelance jobs, so be sure to have some on hand that are relevant to your chosen niche. 

It helps to create a website in order to organize your portfolio and show clients you know your stuff. I have a whole blog post about how to make your own blog or website

Not sure where to start or even how to be a freelance writer? Check out my freelance writing course, The Write Hustle. I’ll teach you how to get started and at the end of 6 weeks, you’ll be ready to sprout your own wings and fly off into the freelancing sunset.

 

Overall, freelance writing is a great way to build a skill set that you can utilize from anywhere in the world, whether you’re writing for a local business or a client halfway across the globe. No matter how the economy shifts, you’ll have an adaptable career that can grow and change along with you. 

 

5 (Free) Ways to Market Yourself as a Freelance Writer

5 (Free) Ways to Market Yourself as a Freelance Writer from KrissiDriver.com

This article contains several affiliate links to brands I know, use, and trust. I receive a small commission when you purchase services through these links.

As a business owner, you have to market yourself as a freelance writer and be your own advocate if you want to see success. With so many qualified professionals across a variety of industries, the best way to find new clients is to put yourself out there and stand out from the crowd. 

It can be intimidating to market yourself when you have no budget, but it can be done! Here are 5 great ways to promote your writing and secure new clients – and best of all, they’re all completely free. 

 

1. Have a Professional Email Signature

Whether you’re pitching articles or corresponding with contacts in your industry, the life of a writer involves a lot of emails. Having a professional email signature is a low-stakes way to boost your image and promote your online presence. 

Whether you want to link to your social media profiles, plug your website, or add a line advertising your skills, taking the time to craft an attractive signature will show that you know what you’re doing and that you’re serious about your services. 

Make a point to include your picture, too, to further personalize your message. People like being able to put a face with a name.

 

2. Create a Website 

A website is the best way to showcase your work, tell potential clients a little about yourself, and boost your search engine optimization through site content and blog posts. A professional-looking website builds trust between you and your client and gives them a taste of what you can do. 

(I wrote a bit about why you should have a personal website here if you still need convincing.) 

While a custom domain and hosting services cost money, there are plenty of free website builders out there to help you get started no matter your skill level. That said, I recommend you set up shop with WordPress.com as a beginner. While there is a free option, I recommend purchasing your own domain for $18 USD annually (this looks more professional than the free option which includes “.wordpress.com” in your URL) and choosing one of the paid packages, either the Personal or Professional options. 

 

Get Fancier

While WordPress.com is a great place for beginners, your capabilities are very limited. For example, you can’t add “plugins” (apps that give you more robust functions like collecting email addresses or checking your SEO strength) unless you pay for WordPress’s Business option, which is quite expensive.

What does it take to be a freelance writer? post graphic by krissi driverIf you’re looking for more functionality, I recommend hosting a WordPress website with SiteGround and creating your site with the very user-friendly Divi Theme from Elegant Themes. Divi is a drag-and-drop theme that is incredibly versatile and easy to use. You don’t need any experience building websites or need to know any code. There are lots of informative video tutorials to help you learn the system and make the different templates your own.

You’ll also want to create a portfolio, whether it lives on your site or on an external platform like Contently. Clients almost always want to see an example of your writing before they agree to work with you, so make sure this space is organized and easy to find. 

All that said, if you do choose to start out with WordPress.com, once you start seeing more success as a writer, I do recommend that you make the switch and pay for your own domain and hosting. At that point, you might even want to invest in a custom logo or web design to help curate your client’s experience. For your very first website, however, a site with WordPress.com is more than enough to make a difference. 

I teach newbie freelance writers how to set up their own websites – both on WordPress and via SiteGround hosting with the Divi Theme – in my Start Freelance Writing course. If you’re feeling apprehensive about getting started, sign up to get help and support. 

 

3. Get Published on Other Sites

Guest posting for high-traffic websites is a great way to get your name out there and help build your reputation. You can pitch guest post ideas to big names in your niche or offer to swap posts with another writer to put your work in front of new eyes. 

If you don’t yet have any connections in your niche of choice, no worries! Websites like Medium allow writers to post blogs and maintain an author profile while occasionally promoting articles within the platform, potentially netting a lot of views. 

LinkedIn is another great place to market yourself as a freelance writer and posting your content. If the right person shares your post, you could be looking at a significant boost in views. Not to mention, LinkedIn makes it easier than ever to network with other writers and potential clients. 

 

4. Be Present on Social Media 

Social media is one of the best marketing tools to have in your arsenal. A consistent social media presence is free to maintain and allows you to meet potential clients and other writers alike. You never know what social media friendships will turn into business opportunities later down the line.

When it comes to social media success, there are two things to remember: Consistency and engagement. You need to post regularly in order to stay relevant in the eyes of the social media algorithms and you need to interact with other users in order to forge meaningful connections. 

Most people can tell when someone is only on social media to promote their own agenda and it’s not interesting to follow someone who only talks about themselves. By making your posts meaningful, liking and commenting on other profiles, and delivering consistent, relevant content, you’ll have a social media presence that others will want to keep up with. 

 

5. Nail Your Pitch

As a writer, your pitch is often your first impression with a potential client. You might have the best website out there but no one will visit it if your pitch letter is underwhelming. 

If you have writer friends, ask them to look over your pitch letter before sending it out. Look at examples of real pitch letters online that have seen success. Plenty of writers are willing to share what worked for them in order to help others in their industry. 

 

Trying to market yourself as a freelance writer can feel scary, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to find new clients. By using these free tips, you’ll be well on your way to reaching new heights in your freelance writing career. 

 

What Does It Take to Be a Freelance Writer?

What Does It Take to Be a Freelance Writer? from KrissiDriver.com

This article contains affiliate links to brands I know, use, and trust. I receive a small commission when you purchase services through these links.

Deciding to be a freelance writer is a dream for many people. The ability to work from anywhere and make your own schedule is pretty appealing, especially now, when it’s more common than ever to work remotely due to the novel coronavirus. 

But not everyone is cut out for freelance life. Whether you’re looking to write full-time or just as a side gig, there are a few key traits that any good freelancer should have. Here are the most important qualities to develop if you want to pursue a writing career. 

 

1. Organization

Freelance writing can easily get kind of chaotic, especially if you have multiple clients. A good freelancer knows how to keep their deadlines straight, whether that involves keeping a meticulous paper planner or using a project management software like Asana, ClickUp, or Trello

Personally, I use ClickUp – which I only just started using recently. I like their paid version better than Trello (with whom I had an account for years and used it only sporadically) because I can switch between the board and list views. 

Since working on The Write Hustle, my freelance writing course, ClickUp has been a game-changer. It’s helped me keep track of what I need to get done every week for the course as well as ensure I’m keeping tabs on all my work for my own freelance writing clients.

I also use my Google calendar and set up daily reminder emails to keep track of my own content as well as my clients’ content. Between these two systems, I keep my freelance writing business on track.

 

2. Discipline

When it comes to freelance work, there’s no manager checking in to make sure you’re writing at any given time. It’s easy to get distracted by other tasks you want or need to get done (hello, Netflix and all the books I’m trying to read!), but you need to have the discipline to work – even though it’s always easier (and tempting!) to nap or watch TV! 

A freelancer should have solid time management skills, especially if you’re writing as a side hustle. It’s hard to maintain a work-life balance when you work from home, so you’ll need to make sure you can get your work done on time while juggling all of your other responsibilities. 

It’s not always easy, but setting up consistent routines can help you get into the groove. I’ve found that having specific days where I focus on certain clients or projects really helps me to not only stay organized but know what’s coming up every week. I use my ClickUp and Google calendars religiously. 

 

be a freelance writer with krissi driver

3. Detail-Orientation 

Often, writers who write for agencies or big companies will have an editor to look over their work before it goes live. When freelancing, however, you have to be your own editor. It’s important to have a good eye for detail so you don’t send over work that’s riddled with mistakes. 

Not everyone is a natural perfectionist, though, and that’s okay. Thanks to spell check, the burden on you is significantly reduced. Of course, spell check alone isn’t enough to guarantee a perfect article. Read everything over several times before you send it to a client to detect any grammar or syntax mistakes that spell check might have missed. 

My biggest tip is to read your work aloud. It makes you feel a bit stupid, but it works like a charm. Sounding out your sentences gives you a better idea of how they flow and grammatical errors can be more jarring when you hear them than when you read them. 

If you really want to get fancy and be extra-sure of your work, try reading paragraph-by-paragraph from the end and read in a pattern of 3 to 4 words at a time. Each sentence takes on a new cadence and, believe it or not, you’ll spot things that feel or sound awkward (or straight up don’t make sense) better than you will if you’re just reading straight through from beginning to end.

Once you’ve read “backwards” and have made changes, start again from the beginning and read it aloud naturally to ensure everything still makes sense.

If all else fails, try giving yourself some time between finishing your piece and sending it to the client so you can look it over with fresh eyes before submission. Sometimes being too close to the work can blind us to otherwise obvious mistakes. 

 

4. Professionalism

While some people might think freelancers sit at home in their pajamas all day, freelance writing is a job like any other. You have to take your own work seriously if you want your clients to treat you right. 

Be on time if not early. Never send work late – I live by this rule: “Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable.” Sending work after the deadline you’ve agreed on is a no-no.

Be courteous and respectful in emails and conduct yourself the same way you would if you had a boss looking over your shoulder. Know your worth and don’t be afraid to stand your ground. Your clients will respect you more if you stick to your rates and take pride in the work you do.  

 

5. Resourcefulness

Freelance work ebbs and flows. One month your calendar might be booked solid, while the next… crickets. Factors like holidays, time of year, or current events can all affect the number of freelance jobs available at any given time. 

That said, there is always a need for freelance writers. There is a place for every story and plentiful opportunities across the internet. Sometimes you have to hit the virtual pavement to find new gigs, but it’s doable. 

If you want to rely on freelance work as a source of income, you’ll have to be resourceful and manage your workload so you’re never left with no (or not enough) money coming in. Sometimes this involves spacing out client work so you’re not overwhelmed all at once, but other times all you can do is make sure to have a savings cushion to get you through the lean times. 

 

6. Great Writing Skills

Last but not least, the obvious answer: In order to succeed as a freelance writer, you have to have strong writing skills. 

The good news is this can be learned! Writing for the web is different from creative writing or journalism. The flow is very conversational and as long as you have a solid grasp of spelling and grammar, you should be able to learn the rhythm with a little practice. 

If you want to improve your writing, there are plenty of resources out there to help you learn. Udemy, Coursera, and Skillshare are three big-name online education platforms with plenty of writing courses. Hubspot Academy is another great website to learn about writing for the web. 

 

While not everyone is cut out to be a freelance writer, it’s possible to learn if you have the drive. With a little dedication, you can master these skills and start earning money while living the freelance dream. 

 

6 Tips for Starting a Blog

6 Tips for Starting a Blog from KrissiDriver.com

This article contains several affiliate links to brands I know, use, and trust. I receive a small commission when you purchase services through these links.

Starting a blog is a great way to bring in additional income for military spouses, remote workers, and everyone in between. It can be done from anywhere in the world and all you need to get started is a little time and determination. While it’s difficult to become a major influencer in this day and age, it’s not hard to monetize a blog. 

Many companies are willing to work with micro-influencers with a small but loyal following, not to mention the other money-making options you have at your disposal, such as affiliate links, ebook or digital course sales, and more. If you want to get started on a blog of your own, here are 6 tips to help you get started.

 

1. Choose a specific topic. 

You’ll have a much easier time attracting an audience as a blogger if you have a specific topic that your blog is about. Choose a niche, such as fashion, books, food, or crafts, and make sure the bulk of your posts are about your chosen topic.

While you can branch out with off-topic posts on occasion, it’ll be hard to keep an audience if every post is about something wildly different. By choosing one main topic, readers who are interested in that topic will want to stick around. 

 

2. Host with WordPress.com.

WordPress makes it easy to get started with a blog. Once you make an account, you can choose from a selection of templates and customize them to match your vision. You can start for free or choose a very affordable annual plan for as little as $48 a year.

WordPress is easy to navigate and highly popular, which means there are tons of resources out there to help you make the most of it. There’s a reason it’s one of the most popular blogging platforms around.

 

3. Find a “dot com” domain.

You’ve probably seen a variety of different domain types, but for your blog, you’re going to want to go with a “.com.” It’s reputable, but most of all, that’s the default most people associate with a website. It’s easier for people to remember a “dot com” domain than any of the other options, even options like .net or .biz.

Try testing out different domain ideas with Google Domains to see what’s available before getting too attached to a name for your blog (but don’t buy from Google!). Ideally, you want the domain to match your blog name and it might take some trial and error for you to find one that’s available. 

When you find a name that’s available and you’re happy with it, hop back over to WordPress and get started setting up shop.

 

4. Use free stock images. 

As a blogger, you can get in some serious hot water by just using photos you find on Google Images. The best way to avoid a lawsuit is to use photos that are free for personal and commercial use. 

You can find these on free stock photo websites, such as Unsplash, Pexels, or Pixabay. Be careful to read the licensing restrictions on each photo you download, however. If your blog generates any kind of revenue, you’ll have to stick with commercially licensed stock photos. 

 

5. Create on multiple platforms.

The fastest way to grow your audience is to expand your web presence to different platforms. By increasing the number of places you can be found, you’ll increase the odds that new readers will stumble across you. 

Social media is a great place to start as it allows you to interact with readers and other bloggers alike. Friendships forged on social media can lead to long-lasting connections and even business collaborations down the line. 

Potential sponsors take social media following into consideration when deciding which bloggers to work with, so growing your audience is important for that reason as well. 

 

6. Be consistent. 

Finally, it’s so important to be consistent with your content and your posting schedule. If you don’t post for a long period of time, your readers may assume you’ve abandoned your blog and stop checking back for updates. 

Regular posts, on the other hand, will keep your blog fresh in their minds, and they’ll know they can expect new content from you on a regular basis. Consistency is key to attracting and retaining a loyal audience.

 

Blog Content Strategy Planning Spreadsheet from KrissiDriver.com

 

Consistency also plays a huge role in search engine optimization (SEO). When people do a search on Google, SEO determines the order in which results come back for each search. The big goal for bloggers and marketers is to land on the first page of search results. This is a big topic that takes a lot of time to understand and it’s not a short-term game – good SEO takes time – but it pays to know that keeping your blog consistently active is an important part of the deal.

 

Starting a blog requires a significant up-front investment of time and energy, but once the initial legwork is done, it’s a great way to put your writing out there and share your thoughts with the world. With hard work and determination, you can turn your blog into a source of income in no time. 

 

Why You Should Start a Blog or Personal Website

Why You Should Start a Blog or Personal Website from KrissiDriver.com

This article contains affiliate links to brands I know, use, and trust. I receive a small commission when you purchase services through these links.

Have you been thinking about starting a blog to document your travels and experience living and working abroad? Or maybe been meaning to start one and haven’t gotten around to it? 

Maybe you actually did take the leap and took the preliminary steps to start a blog but haven’t been writing much…

Or maybe you:

  • Don’t realize how having a blog or personal website can help you after you leave teaching or living abroad and continue on a different career path.
  • Feel intrigued by the idea of keeping a blog about your adventures.
  • Aren’t quite sure what you’re doing or how to get started.
  • Get overwhelmed at just the thought of starting and maintaining a blog.
  • Feel excited but don’t know where to start or how to get organized. 
  • Have concerns that you’re a “bad writer” and you’re allowing that self-lie to hold you back.

 

No matter where you are on the spectrum, worry not. This guide is for you – to educate you, help you get started, keep you organized, and finally spread your wings and take flight on your own blogging journey.

 

Busting Myths: “You shouldn’t start a blog because…”

There are plenty of people out there who will tell you you’re wasting your time and that no one is going to read what you put out. (You don’t have to confine yourself to writing, either! But more on that later.)

Here are a few myths you’ve probably heard and possibly bought into:

  • The world doesn’t need another [insert your favorite topic here] blog.
  • There are too many “influencers” and there’s no place for another one.
  • You’re not a good enough writer.
  • You’re too shy to get in front of a camera.
  • You don’t take nice enough photos, OR 
  • You don’t take any photos!
  • It’s a waste of time because nothing will come out of it in the end.
  • No one but your mom and grandma will read your blog.
  • You don’t know what to do and it will require too much effort to figure it all out.

 

These are all bullsh*t. The internet is a big place and, believe it or not, there are plenty of reasons why you should start a blog and maintain it.

 

You need a blog and/or personal website – full stop.

More than likely, if you're reading this, you fall into one of two categories:

  • Like me, you’re teaching English and using your earnings to pay off student loan or credit card debt or simply trying to save money, OR
  • You’re a military spouse along for the ride while your other half works as an active duty service member and you haven’t been able to land an on-post job or found something that keeps you occupied.

Regardless of which bucket you fall into (or if you don’t quite fall into either one), here are the realities: teaching English isn’t going to net you much income in the end and the fight for nabbing SOFA-approved jobs isn’t worth the energy – at least not in many cases.

 

Why You Should Start a Blog or Personal Website from KrissiDriver.com

 

Having a personal blog and/or website is a fantastic way to stand out in a crowd and potentially make more money or help you prepare for whatever future you’re hoping to have or create.

Here are a few reasons why having a personal website or a blog is a smart move:

  • A blog gives you a place to point potential future employers. Depending on what you choose to write about, having a consistent and polished-looking blog can help you look more professional. It can also help you demonstrate your communication skills.
  • You can build an audience and possibly make a little money on the side. You may not be making enough money from your blog to quit your job and write and travel full-time, but things like affiliate links and advertising can earn you a few extra hundred dollars every few months (or more!).
  • You can start a side gig and turn it into a bigger, more profitable business. When you’re teaching English and/or living abroad on a special visa, there are a lot of restrictions. As a teacher, you likely aren’t allowed to hold another job outside of your employer’s school and academy. As a military spouse, you’re confined to the agreements made by your government and the government of the country where you’re stationed. But no matter where you’re living – South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, or elsewhere – if you’re earning money on the side and funneling it through a bank account in your home country, you’re not doing anything wrong.

 

There may be a million of them out there, but blogs are still valuable and relevant.

 

Setting Up Shop

Now, do you have to spend a lot of money to make a fancy website?… Nope! You sure don’t.

What you do have to do is commit to your blog or website. Regardless of whether you’re finally open to getting a thing up and running or picking up where you left off months or years ago, you’ve got to be willing to make a plan and put in a bit of work because, in all honesty, it’s not a complete cakewalk and the writing and editing and publishing isn’t going to do itself.

Let’s start by talking logistics. You’ve probably heard of different places to start a blog or set up a website, like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. While they all have their strengths in one way or another, I highly recommend starting and sticking with WordPress.

As an expat looking to get started somewhere simple, I recommend setting up shop with WordPress (which I may also refer to as “WP” moving forward).

WordPress is a great place for new bloggers to get started for a lot of reasons. Here’s a quick snapshot of why:

  • There’s nothing technical you have to do. Believe it or not, setting up a blog or website from scratch can be hard work, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing (like most people, including me). WP has tons of free and paid templates you can use to make your website and blog look super cool without the headache of designing and organizing things yourself.
  • There’s a built-in community. If you want to get started building a “real” audience, starting a blog with WordPress gives you a leg up by creating opportunities for you to be found by other WP bloggers. 
  • You can always change things later. The flexibility of WP means that even if, someday, you do want to move to private hosting and have a super-fancy website design, you can! 
  • You can add features as you grow. In the past, you weren’t able to add any external apps or “plugins” to a WordPress blog that was created on WordPress.com. (WordPress, the company, actually has a few different ways to build blogs and websites, but that’s not the direction I’m pointing you toward in this article.) That was a bummer because to get and use a lot of those amazing plugins, you had to host privately, purchase or “rent” a theme, and set up everything yourself. BUT NOT ANYMORE! You have more flexibility now and can add things as you need them. 

 

If you’ve been considering other blog platforms like Blogger, Squarespace, Wix, or even Medium (there are a lot of options out there), I can say with confidence that you’ll be happiest with WordPress in the long run. I have firsthand experience with all of these platforms and they’re simply not as robust or advanced as WP

 

The Strategy: Planning for Your Blog 

Finally, we’re getting into the fun part!

Before you can write, record, or publish anything, you’ve got to pick a name and actually plan what you’re going to write, record, and publish.

 

1. Pick a blog or website name.

This is probably the simplest part of getting started with a blog, but not necessarily the easiest! 

There are a few steps to finding the perfect blog name.

  • What will you write about? List a few broad ideas, then get really specific.
  • Who will read your blog? Think about what you have to offer or want to share and consider who would be interested.
  • What do you want your blog name to “say” about you? Choose a few adjectives that you feel like describe you.

Here’s the reality you need to be prepared for: Your super creative name may already be taken by someone else. That’s the reality of the internet this late in the 2000s. But even if your original idea isn’t available, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed. 

Remember those adjectives you wrote down? Go to Thesaurus.com and pop them into the search engine. Write down a few synonyms that you like equally (or almost!) as much. Be ready with both lists; you might need them. 

Don’t forget, too, that you can always use your own, actual name. Case in point – that’s what I’ve done! I have a couple of other websites by different names for different purposes, but I decided that my brand for this website would be best if I simply went with my own name: Krissi Driver. This might be an easy fix to your “cute name” being unavailable.

 

2. Research available domain names.

This is an important next step. You’ve already done a little homework to choose a name for your blog and hopefully, you’re going to nail down an exact-match domain name ending in “.com.” There are a couple of ways you can do this.

I recommend using Google Domains to search for domain names. It’s quick and it will tell you if your full domain is still available on the internet. Google sells domain names for $12 USD each, but don’t buy it from there just yet! Right now, you’re only checking availability. (You can also do this when you sign up for your WordPress account. The WP engine will tell you if your preferred domain is available or not.)

If you’re not lucky enough to be able to get your first choice, here are some ideas for finding a close second:

  • Use your name. Like I said above, if your chosen name isn’t available, you can always go with your own name. If you have a unique name like me (Krissi Driver), chances are your name domain will be available. If you have a rather popular name like Sam Smith, you may need to also incorporate one of your adjectives from your lists or use a middle name or initial.
  • Try spelling one of the words a little differently. Don’t get too crazy because you want your domain to be easily memorable. Something like “cre8ivejane.com” might work instead. 
  • Add a dash. If your blog name is “Diane’s Adventures” and the domain “www.dianesadventures.com” isn’t available, see if you can add a dash in the middle to break up the words. This way, it will read “www.dianes-adventures.com.” That may be all it takes to get the domain you want. (If you go this route, be sure to stress to folks asking for your website that there is a dash. Otherwise, you’re sending them to a different website, very possibly a competitor!)

 

3. Decide what you’ll write/vlog/talk about.

As we already discussed, there’s more than one way to run a blog and it doesn’t all have to revolve around writing.

If you’re a writer, great. If you’re not, try incorporating videos or podcasting to take the pressure off all the writing. 

Better yet, combine 2 or all 3 of these options. Keep in mind, though, that for the internet to know who you are and find you via search engines (if you’re at all concerned about that), you will need to incorporate at least some written content into your posts.

 

Blog Content Strategy Planning Spreadsheet from KrissiDriver.com

 

Once you’ve determined what you’re going to do, start writing out an initial topic list. Over time, you’ll likely add to and delete from this list: Things will change and you may decide you want to shelve some topics or dive into new ones. Eventually, you’ll probably revisit the same topics in a different way. 

Remember: Blogging is a long-term game and it’s not a one-time deal. All of your content is (or should be) valuable and will remain so for months and years to come. This isn’t a be-all, end-all list. It will evolve over time but for now, you need to have a solid idea of where you’re going.

 

4. Decide how often you’re going to publish a blog.

Consistency is key, my friend. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you can’t commit to writing or recording a video or podcast more than once a month, don’t. Keep it simple and call it good.

 

Start creating!

You’ve got your list and you’re ready to set up shop, so get going!

Be sure to share what you’re doing with your friends and family so you can build up a small following. Do some research and learn about the importance of building a mailing list and how to do use social media to grow your audience. No matter what you’re putting out, there are people out there who want to hear it.

 

This article contains several affiliate links to brands I know, use, and trust. I receive a small commission when you purchase services through these links.

 

5 Ways to Make Extra Money as an English Teacher or Military Spouse

5 Ways to Make Extra Money When You're an English Teacher or Military Spouse from KrissiDriver.com

If you’re living abroad as an English teacher or military spouse and currently making little or no money, there’s a good chance you fall into one of two categories: You’re teaching English or you’re affiliated with your country’s military.

As an expat English teacher, you have a job. You also have pretty good job security, at least for the length of your contract. For many people, that’s enough. 

They’re not making a lot of money, but they’re making enough – enough to send home and make payments on their student loans, pay down credit card debt, or maybe even save some. 

If you’re affiliated with the military in some way, maybe you’re the spouse of a service member and are here for a temporary stay. You may have looked for jobs on post which are already few and far between – which also makes even the most entry-level, mundane jobs highly competitive.

If you’re like me, maybe you make enough money (or your spouse does), technically, to live on or pay down debt, but you’re wishing there was a way you could bring in more cash.

Maybe you also have expensive tastes… 

Or you like to travel a lot and traveling can get expensive… 

Or you’d like to pay down your debts even faster… 

Or you’d simply like to be able to make more money

The secret is that you can!

Just because you’re working on a restrictive teaching visa or living within the confines of a strict life-work government agreement abroad doesn’t mean you can’t bring in money other ways. You can absolutely pull income from other sources without breaking your teaching or work visa agreements. 

How is this possible?

Here’s what you probably do know: If you’re an English teacher, your contract and visa agreement states (most likely) that you cannot hold a job in the country where you’re residing outside of the job provided by your visa sponsor (your current employer). In some countries, you may be able to get a second job with explicit written permission from your boss, but those permission slips are often hard to come by. 

If you’re a military spouse, you can’t get a job making money “on the local economy,” or anywhere off post where you’d be liable for paying local taxes on earnings and get paid in local currency.

Based on that knowledge alone, you’ve probably been thinking you’re stuck with your one job or, like many teachers and military spouses do across the globe – tutoring or teaching secretly and getting paid “under the table” in cash to avoid being caught by immigration or the education officials. 

(While teaching or tutoring “under the table” is certainly an option for you, I don’t recommend it in most countries. South Korea, in particular, tends to be pretty lax on private tutoring as of the time of this writing, but technically it’s against the law. I’m not sure of how seriously other countries treat these rules.)

 

5 Ways to Make Extra Money When You’re an English Teacher or Military Spouse at KrissiDriver.com

 

Here’s the big “secret”: No matter where you live and work – South Korea (where I have worked for over 5 years!), China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Hungary, Costa Rica… Teachers and military dependent spouses like us with specialized visas are scattered all across the globe – you can make money in your home country. 

Your contract and subsequent visa agreement stipulate that you cannot make more money than what your visa sponsor is paying you that is taxable in that country. It says nothing (and legally can’t) about your taxable income in your home country.

In plain English, this means you can have a remote, internet-based job or work for yourself and funnel your earnings through your home country without ever overstepping or endangering your work or visa.

Pretty exciting, isn’t it?!

If you’re interested in finding ways to make money while keeping your day job abroad, this list is for you. While it isn’t completely exhaustive, it’s a good place to start.

Here are 5 ways you can find work and legally bring in more money every month without jeopardizing your visa.

1. Teach (more) English online.

As native English speakers, we have a lot of doors open to us that simply aren’t available to much of the rest of the world. Not only can you teach at your day job, but you may be able to also juggle teaching online.

There are some well-respected companies including VIPKid and DadaABC that hire English teachers (at the time of this writing, only from the U.S. and Canada – sorry everyone else!) to teach one-on-one classes online with Chinese children.

Depending on where you are in the world, this could work really well with your schedule or it could be tough. But if you can hack the hours, it’s a great option because you’re paid through your home country bank account

As an English teacher outside of China, you’re not competing directly with your current employer which is the key point here. Yes, you’re teaching English BUT you’re teaching English to children your employer would never be able to market to or attract anyway. There’s no real conflict of interest.

However, if you’re currently teaching in China, this would be a major conflict of interest for rather obvious reasons. I wouldn’t advise going this route… But, if you dare, it’s an option.

BONUS: If you’re interested in teaching for VIPKid, send me an email and I’ll put you in touch with my friend, Gwendolyn, who’s been teaching for VIPKid for more than 2 years. She will gladly coach you through the hiring process and help you get a job with the company. 🙂

2. Find a remote job.

I got my start as a content marketer in 2015 by working 15 hours a week as a paid intern for a completely remote boutique content marketing company. In the two years I ultimately held that position (and moved from intern to actual employee), I never once met with any of my co-workers in person. It was awesome and so much fun.

There are plenty of businesses that follow this kind of model and have no interest in hiring and forcing their team to work in a physical building together. You might be shocked at how available some of these jobs are.

If you’re not keen to teach more English (which I totally don’t blame you for) or if you’re not really interested in being your own boss and starting a business, finding a job is your next best option.

Dynamite Jobs is a place for location independent biz owners to post open positions at their company. Some are full-time but many are part-time. If you’re just getting your feet wet, there are also occasional positions for internships like the opportunity I had. Keep an eye out and don’t be afraid to reach out to the hiring team if you’re interested.

We Work Remotely touts itself as being the “largest remote work community in the world.” 

3. Start your own business.

There are so many ways you can go about starting your own gig online. You can:

  • Start an online store and dropship products.
  • Get crafty and create things, then turn around and sell them online via your own store or via sites like Etsy.
  • Become a virtual assistant and help other business owners manage their email inbox, WordPress sites, and so much more.
  • Start a freelance writing business and write articles, blog posts, newsletters, white papers, and beyond for clients across the globe.
  • Learn to become a web designer and create amazing websites for other entrepreneurs or companies.
  • Become a coach of some kind. There are tons of things that people are willing to pay money for to be coached. (Depending on what area you decide to coach in, you could do it locally or do it online via Skype or other digital phone call.)
  • Create an online course and teach people how to do something you know how to do.
  • Become an expert in Facebook ads, Pinterest management, or Instagram everything and charge a boatload of money to do it for other businesses.

I mean, it’s the internet. The possibilities are practically endless.

4. Monetize your thoughts.

You probably know some stuff and/or you have some opinions about things. Thanks to outlets like YouTube, podcasts, and blogs, you can monetize your own thoughts and words by simply putting your ideas out into the world.

If you're interested in getting into blogging, you can add some affiliate marketing and make money by helping direct buyers to other brands you trust and approve of. Ever heard of “passive income”? Affiliate marketing is a great way to achieve passive income.

There is someone out there who needs and/or wants to hear what you have to say. Let your voice and your perspective be heard.

5. Create something new.

This goes hand-in-hand, in some ways, with starting your own business. Depending on what you’re creating, you could potentially sell your brainchild to someone else someday or market and sell it yourself.

I’m talking legit inventions, new business ideas based on existing business models, apps… you name it.

We all have great ideas – maybe even those million-dollar ideas just like Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, had. It’s all in how you think about things. Have a problem? You’re probably not the only one. Find a way to fix it and it could be your best idea ever.

Literally.

 

No matter your current situation, there are loopholes and there are ways for you to create your own work opportunities. Whether you’re looking to temporarily make money on your own terms or you want to transition out of a traditional job and do your own thing, I want to give you the tools that will help you get there.

With a little self-study, elbow grease, and consistency, you can create the job of your dreams and bring in as little or as much money as your heart desires. Believe it.

This is something I’m incredibly passionate about – helping other expats realize their potential to make more money and forge their own “work destinies.” My story may have started very much like yours, but in just a few short years, I’ve managed to grow an incredible business to supplement my teaching income. 

If you’re ready to start learning more about what you can do to change your own life and work on your terms – build your “work destiny” – subscribe to my newsletter! I’m working on new courses and so excited to connect with you and learn more about your story.

 

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