Freelance writing can be tough, and there seems to be a lot of “experts” and “gurus” these days who claim to know what’s best for you but are not willing to put their money where their mouth is.
Things change really fast, and I realize that it might be more difficult to succeed as a freelance writer today than it was a few years back when I started. In an attempt to demonstrate the effectiveness of what I teach, and as a way to help you get results, I contemplated starting a challenge where I go from ZERO to $1,000 monthly within two months.
So, feeling a bit crazy on the 2nd of June, I posted the following message to the Writers in Charge Facebook page:
Honestly, when I posted that message to Facebook I thought that very few people will respond and I might not even have to bother myself with the challenge. I was wrong. A LOT of people decided to take me up on my offer, and I was overwhelmed by the response.
Within the first few days of posting the Facebook message, 400 people had responded that, YES, they want me to do the challenge. That’s A LOT of interest!
At the time of writing this, there are over 460 responses.
Even though I’m an experienced freelance writer, the thought of doing this is a bit scary; there’s the very real possibility that I will fail… but won’t that be fun?
While I’m very confident about my approach, at the very least I’ll be announcing this challenge to about 30,000 Writers in Charge subscribers. That means, if I fail, at least 25,000 people will watch me fail — the thought of this is a bit scary! 😉
Regardless, I’m doing this, and I want you to follow along. I’m confident in my abilities and what I’ve been teaching on this blog, and I want to demonstrate that my techniques work through this challenge.
Currently my plan is to turn a ghost — a figment of my imagination — into a successful freelance writer that earns at least $1,000 in monthly freelance income within a month or two. In the process, I’ll be laying it all bare — my strategies, exactly what I’m doing and when, etc. — so you can see what I’m doing. I’ll be documenting the whole process on this blog; you’ll see when (and how) I get my first client, the rates I charge, the nature of the work I do, etc.
My plan is to create an identity to use for this challenge, but a reader made an interesting comment on Facebook when I announced my intention to start this challenge (see her comment below):
I thought about Laura’s suggestion, and I think it could be fun too.
With that, I’m considering one of two approaches:
1. I create my own “newbie” identity and use it for this challenge
2. I select a beginner, randomly, from within the audience and use that reader for this challenge. If we go with this option, the reader has to be an absolute beginner; in other words, the reader can’t have a writer website or any other foundation as a freelance writer. I’ll handle everything.
With option two, I’m going to select someone who basically is just starting as a freelance writer and has nothing that can lead to success. I’ll then handle everything — personally — and make this person a successful freelance writer.
Ultimately, it is up to you. You simply have to vote to decide which of the two options you prefer: do you want me to create an identity or select someone from within the audience?
If you decide that you want me to select and use someone from the audience, I will let readers volunteer their identity (more on that later). I’ll then select someone randomly.
You can cast your vote in the Facebook group for this challenge.
If I will be using an identity volunteered by a reader, there are a few terms though:
1. I’ll only be going with a complete beginner; if you have a writer website/writing business already, you can’t volunteer your identity — even if you aren’t making money yet. The idea behind this challenge is to show that anybody can succeed, so I want to use someone who doesn’t already have a foundation. I also want to control everything right from the start and show my readers exactly what needs to be done and the rationale behind it, so this is important.
2. I’ll be taking charge of the whole process; If I use your identity I’ll be the one registering the website, doing all the communications on “your” behalf, etc, for the duration of the challenge. You won’t have access to anything (including the website and email address) except what is publicly revealed; you’ll also only be able to watch as a part of the audience. Your only involvement — during the duration of the challenge — is that you allowed me to use your identity for this challenge. There’s a silver lining though. I explain below.
3. There is a silver lining; after this challenge is over, if I happen to use your identity, I’ll be handing over everything I built from this challenge to you (minus the money earned of course! 🙂. This includes the site I created, social proof built and clients acquired… at no cost to you. I’ll transfer everything over to you, and I’ll have you change the details; I’ll no longer have access. It is YOUR business now. As a reward for volunteering your identity, I’ve basically built the foundation for you.
As an added incentive, if I use your identity, I’ll offer you two months of coaching to ensure you’re able to cope; this way, you don’t just “lose” everything after the challenge. Instead, you’ll have training and support from me to ensure you have a thriving freelance writing business even after all is said and done.
In short, if I use your identity you own the following things from this challenge:
- The website created
- The clients acquired
- The articles/media acquired
- All accounts and passwords created with your identity as part of this challenge
I also believe it is worth saying that, if you volunteer your identity, your identity will ONLY be used for this challenge and nothing else; that said, I won’t require anything too personal. Basically your name and headshots/photo will do.
4. If I happen to use your identity, you are giving me permission to feature you in my promotion messages, case studies, articles and guides released on this website (paid and free). No sensitive information will be revealed, but I will have to show people the emails I sent as a part of the challenge, actions I took, etc, and that I means I have to reveal the identity I used (that’s basically a screenshot showing messages/your profile). If that’s you, you’re giving me permission to showcase the process I used as well as the success I achieved using your identity for as long as I want.
So, that said, it is up to you; do you want me to create my own identity or use someone from the audience? You can vote on the Facebook group for this challenge.
5. I’ll give the audience about a week to vote, then I’ll officially kick-start the challenge by announcing my strategy. The 60 days will start counting when I reveal my strategy.
You Can Also Participate in this Challenge
I want to take things up a notch! I want this to go beyond me being an actor and you being a spectator; I want us all to be equally involved.
By the time this challenge is over, I want as many people as possible — who followed along — to also have their own successful freelance writing careers.
In essence, I want you to watch what I do, understand my rationale for doing them and apply the same to your freelance writing business. At the end of the 60 days period, I want as many participants as possible in this challenge to have a thriving freelance writing business.
So, here’s what you can do to participate:
1. Don’t miss an update. This is very important. I’m taking a strategic approach to this and all the steps are important; you will see why later on during the challenge.
In order not to miss an update, you should do the following two things:
- Subscribe to the newsletter created specifically for the challenge. You can do that by visiting this website: YourFirstOneThousand.com
- Join the Facebook group created specifically for this challenge. You can do that by requesting to join here.
I’ll be making most of the announcements related to this challenge in these two places.
2. Do exactly what I do. Don’t add, and don’t subtract. As you will see, I’m taking a strategic approach to this.
Right now, I already have a strategy designed to achieve my goals; basically, this is a blueprint I’ll be following to a T, and I’ll be revealing my strategy at a future date.
I can guarantee that you’ll get results if you do things exactly as I do it.
3. Do not hesitate to ask for help. This blog currently has about 30,000 subscribers. I get A LOT of messages, and I reply to VERY few… because I can’t reply to everybody. This blog is just one of my projects. I have many projects — including but not limited to my offline businesses, my freelance project, academic pursuits, etc, and very limited time.
However, for the sake of this challenge I’ll be opening up access to myself for the duration of this challenge. For as long as this challenge is on, I’ll be answering questions RELATED to this challenge on the Facebook group.
It is important to note that I will only answer questions related to this challenge, and I can only guarantee a response on the Facebook group.
How do you know if your question qualifies? Simple: if it is a question about something I did, or asked you to do, in this challenge, it qualifies. If you’re having a struggle doing anything I did or asked you to do in this challenge, you can ask on the Facebook group.
Here are the most essential things you need to know about the challenge:
1. I’ll determine the issue of identity to be used for this challenge based on your vote. Your vote will determine whether I create an identity or whether I randomly select a beginner from the audience. You can vote on the Facebook group.
2. You have to sign up to the special newsletter I created for this challenge in order not to miss any update.
I will be making challenge-related announcements to the challenge-specific newsletter before informing my main newsletter, and, sometimes, if there will be a conflict with the existing blog content schedule, I’ll be making an announcement only to the challenge-specific newsletter. Without being on this newsletter, there’s every possibility that you will be missing updates related to the challenge.
3. Join the challenge-specific Facebook group.
Now, I’d like to clarify something: When I initially announced the challenge to my list, I got several replies from people who told me that they have had to delete their Facebook account, so there’s no way they will be visiting Facebook. That is understandable. See, I hate Facebook too; in fact, I have a plugin in my browser that limits my daily activity on Facebook to about 20 minutes or so. It’s also been a very long time since I went to the Facebook homepage; I simply go directly to my blog page, and to important notifications and comments that concern me.
However, Facebook will be a core part of this challenge for so many reasons:
- With around 1.7 billion users, half of all internet users are on Facebook.
- It is the only way I can manage the interactions, and from what I’ve seen so far there will be a lot. If not because of client interaction, and the fact that I have to use email for outreach and to respond to customers, I would have stopped using email long ago. I don’t LIKE email. It’s that simple!
- I’d have gone with blog comments but it is not centralized. Also, one of the main reasons I disabled comments on this blog is spam, and that hasn’t changed since I made my decision years ago. I might open comments on a few posts here and there, but it will be mainly disabled.
- It creates a sense of community; other people can easily respond to your queries, so it doesn’t always have to be me. Seeing others share their successes, and difficulties, will make it easy for the whole community to succeed.
- It makes the challenge fair; since the Facebook group will be a closed group, and I have to personally approve all applicants, the challenge process will be fair. It’s difficult to balance keeping you updated and giving the profile I create more exposure than is necessary; my really good posts on this blog can get as much as 10,000 views the month they are published, and they get indexed and ranked real quick too. I don’t want that to create an unfair advantage. I’m estimating that maybe a few hundred people will join the group. That ensures people can still follow along and see what I’m doing, and that the identity gets only the exposure it deserves — by being exposed just to writers who want to follow the challenge.
- That’s what I want to use.
That said, I can understand if you’ve sworn never to visit Facebook in your life. That’s understandable, and by all means don’t. You will still glean a lot of value from the updates on this blog, and you can stay on the newsletter too — I’ll share key information there that I won’t share on this blog. You will still benefit. The main sense of community will be on the Facebook group, though; it’s also the only place I can guarantee a response to user queries in relation to this challenge. You might get it via email too, but most likely you won’t.
Unfortunately, that’s how it is now and I don’t intend to change it; I believe that’s what is best for this challenge at this stage.
Here’s a summary of what you need to know:
- I’ll either be creating an identity or selecting an identity to use from the audience depending on your vote. It’s up to you!
- If the majority vote that I choose someone from the audience, I’ll randomly select a volunteer and will only need a name and headshot/photo to build a profile.
- If I use your identity, you will get everything from the challenge (minus the earnings) at the end of the challenge. This includes the site created, clients acquired, etc.
- If I use your identity, you will allow me to mention/feature this fact in my blog and elsewhere for as long as I want.
- I’ll be making most announcements to the challenge-specific newsletter (sign up here) and the Facebook group (sign up here).
- I’ll be announcing the identity used on the Facebook group. Not on the blog.
- You can not only follow the challenge, but you can also participate. Simply follow my journey and do the things I do, and you should be on the right track.
- I’ll be answering questions related to this challenge on the Facebook group.
- You have about a week to vote; after that, I will announce my strategy and officially kick-start the challenge. We’ll also start counting the 60 days then.
I Want Your Feedback
I’m doing this for you.
I have a stable and very successful freelance writing career, and I’ve been doing this stuff for around six years now. I don’t doubt my ability. The point of this challenge is for you to benefit, so I want it to be shaped exactly how you want. If there’s anything you want altered in my approach above, please comment below and let me know. While I generally disable comments on Writers in Charge, I’m leaving them open on this post. Let me know what you think, as well as what you’d like to see and what you wouldn’t like to see in this challenge.
CEO, Writers in Charge