Have you ever wished you could ask another mom blogger some questions about how they manage the juggle and still kick butt in their business? Well, I have. So I did!
One of my favorite bloggers is Elna Cain. Elna is a professional writer, mompreneur and blogger over at Twins Mommy. She also has several other blogs as well!
As one of the most productive people I know, I thought I’d ask Elna a few questions about freelance writing, her blog, and her advice for us all.
Hi Elna! Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started making a living online?
Hi! I’m Elna and I’m a writer and a mom to twins.
I’ve been freelance writing for over two years. I started freelancing after my maternity leave was over and I needed to find a way to contribute to the finances. Since finding a job outside of the house meant daycare for my twins, I knew that any paycheck I would have would go towards the daycare costs.
And, well, I couldn’t imagine not being with my babies for more than an hour, let alone a whole day! Heavens no!
So, I needed to find a way to stay home and still earn an income.
How did you decide that freelance writing was it for you? Did you consider other types of online work, like being a virtual assistant or social media manager?
My husband has always worked from home and mentioned that I could do some VA work or writing work.
I began finding mom bloggers that did some freelance writing and I was hooked. I am a creative person and enjoy writing, so I thought this was a great fit for me. And it has been!
I know you were paid around $1 for your first freelance writing efforts. How did you overcome what must have been a big let down?
My first official writing gig was for a content mill. These places undervalue your writing and only pay you pennies for bulk projects.
I wrote one toy description and was paid $1.62. I almost gave up freelance writing. I couldn’t believe the time it took me to write that and the amount I was paid for it. It did not add up.
But, I still kept persevering. I decided to go to oDesk (which is Upwork), but didn’t find any work there. It wasn’t until I set up my own website and pitched to jobs that I finally landed an awesome writing gig.
What was the smartest move you’ve made in your freelancing career?
The smartest move I’ve made as a freelance writer is to create my own writer website. I started on market platforms and that was the wrong idea. Freelancers tell you to jump on Upwork and find work quickly, but most of this work is ghostwritten – so you can’t even market your posts to get clients – and low paying.
As soon as I put up my own service-based website, within that month I landed my first gig.
How do you think having your freelance writing background has helped you with Twins Mommy?
I started Twins Mommy 9 months ago as a passion project. I wanted to connect with other work-at-home moms with little ones. But, this somehow changed early one when I decided that I wanted to grow my blog.
I started attracting other moms that wanted to grow their traffic and build their email list. From there I focused my content to help these moms have a strong foundation before turning their blog into a business.
I found the switch easy since my freelance writing niche is digital marketing. For my clients, I write about ways to market your business via content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing or inbound marketing.
I was able to use my knowledge and help mom bloggers with their blog.
How do you find the time for Twins Mommy among all your client work and writing for your other blogs?
I don’t have much time at all! There are two things that help me though: automating my promotion strategy and typing fast.
I use several automation tools – Tailwind, BoardBooster, Buffer, Grum and IFTTT – to promote all my blog posts. This shaves off hours a week from my schedule.
As well, I’ve practiced typing faster over time. I can type a 1,000 word post in about 40 minutes, so it’s no problem for me to create 2,000 word posts or even 5,000 word posts for my blogs.
But, of course, I really don’t have much time in a day for my client work and personal projects. That’s why I have help. I delegate work like my editing and some writing and research to other freelancers. This helps too!
If a mom reading this wanted to start freelance writing and get an income going quickly, what’s the one thing you recommend?
If you want to get started with freelance writing quickly, I suggest you draft up three samples. I like creating a blog post as a sample, but you can create any type of sample based on what you want to write about – greeting cards, email newsletter, white paper, product description, etc…
I would set up a portfolio either on Pinterest or with Contently. From there, I would start pitching on job boards like ProBlogger and network on Facebook and see if anyone needs writing done for them.
If you already have a blog, then you can set up a service or Hire Me page on your site and use your posts as samples.
How many hours a week do you spend writing?
I don’t track my writing time, but I suspect I spend 25 hours a week dedicated to writing. That’s writing blog posts, newsletters, social media posts, emails responses and client pieces…oh and course lessons and other course material.
I imagine from your workload you must be very disciplined when you sit down to write. What do you recommend moms do to minimize distractions and get things done?
For me, I have to turn off my email and social media. I use MS Word instead of Google Docs, which makes it easier to not be tempted to be online and “accidentally” go on Facebook. I do take a lot of breaks to check email and social media and this fits nicely with the Pomodoro technique.
I also have a schedule that I work by every day and I use Trello to keep up with my content schedule and a planner for to-do lists.
I’ve read your future plans for Twins Mommy (super exciting!) Part of your plan is to phase out freelancing and focus on your blog and infopreneur-ism. What’s your advice to other moms (like me!) who want to do that? Should they skip the freelancing stage and go full-on infopreneur? Or build a foundation with freelancing first?
Freelance writing is a great way to start making an income quickly. This can open the doors to collaborations with other freelancers, writing opportunities on top blogs and allow you to explore business opportunities. At least, it did for me! My freelance writing led to coaching and creating a course and, now it has led to creating Twins Mommy which introduced me to a whole new audience.
There you have it! Elna has given some great advice for anyone wanting to get started with freelance writing. She also has a course – Write To 1K – that gets into all the details of starting out as a freelance writer. It was only after I took Elna’s course that I really started to grow my writing income.
Click here to learn more about Write to 1K and start your freelance writing career today!
Are you a freelancer? Tell us what you do!