From Dreaming to Dollars: 30 Days to Freelance Success By Sharon McElwee

For years, I dreamed of becoming a writer. The hope that somehow, someday, I’d break into the business led to thousands of dollars spent on classes, market listings and books, hoping that I would find the secret to others’ success.

After 10 years of dreaming of getting more than impersonal rejection slips and duped into another scam or “write for exposure” job, I finally started to make some money. Broke and desperate despite a full-time job with the government, I replied to an ad on craigslist as a “Masthead Editor.”

The meager pay gave me enough confidence to pursue other writing gigs, and I picked up two more steady writing jobs.

Within 30 days, I had made $1000 for my efforts. Six months later, I have quit my full-time job to pursue my passion. I left the masthead editor job when they stopped paying and I make thirty percent more money working three hours a day than I did in my eight-hour-a-day, full-time job.

I market myself constantly. I have a blog, LinkedIn profile, use a manual traffic exchange, actively comment on eHow, and promote myself through email signatures. When I was pennies short of earning a royalty check, I posted a bulletin to 135 friends on MySpace and gained enough article views in a 12-hour period to get paid out!

Traditional marketing methods work, too. Business cards, postcards, coupons, and a car door magnet are some of my marketing weapons. Being a graphic designer and my previous sales experience helps, too. Handing out brochures at my 16-unit apartment building garnered work from neighbors.

The most important lesson I’ve learned is to not give up. I have to stand up for myself and not be afraid to ask for what I want. I turn down work that doesn’t pay what I’m worth. Marketing and follow-up are the keys to success. I’m no longer waiting for my “big break” to come. I am a writer when I say I am. My someday is today.

Sharon McElwee is a freelance writer, photographer and graphic designer in Tampa, FL. Favorite topics include spirituality, the mind-body connection and business. She enjoys helping businesses and people keep in touch with those most important to them, online or off. Sharon loves email! Drop her a line at sharonmcelwee – at – or visit her blog at