August 28, 2013

Freelance write your way to six figures and other savvy business talk

How can writing be your money tree?

While I nursed twins,  in my undies, in my 
living room, I wrote and got paid for it.

There was a time I supported a family of three from freelance writing funds and partly still do, a decade later.

It all started, not with my costly education, but with my experience and relentless nature.
The rejections are plenty, but take them as lessons and gracefully move forward. Rest assured, they are always leading you to pearlier gates.
A NY Times editor told me on our first meeting, "the last guy that spelled my name wrong, didn't get the job."
He said this with no smile at all.
"Oh" gulp.
"Then again, he now works at the Wall Street Journal. So who am I to judge?"
I spelled his name wrong, he printed my stories and photos.

Don't take it to heart.
Smile.
Always be charming.
I wrote for the NY Times about bunnies that had birthday parties and were healed by chiropractors, companies that fed Brazil 3 times a day, or art shattering the status quo.
Anything I thought of I'd pitch it to corresponding editors, all of them. 
And I'd follow through with photos I'd get dirty, or wet for, and words I'd dance for. 

There's print and then there's broadcast. An entirely different animal.

I monitored major network television and Bloomberg Radio in Manhattan for 8 years right out of college, and took it with me to live on an island off the coast of SW Florida.
I was able to travel w/ this work because a friends brother played Bloomberg radio for me, in his basement for an entire year.
I also made a very good friend at DISH Network, who supplied me with the Live NY broadcast feed.
The gift of gab, goes a long way, as does the generosity of others.

I didn't do much negotiating in those days and they got me for a steal, however that writing took me very far and came to far away lands with me.

I wrote about 9-11 during the day the towers fell, while my co-workers and I watched out our windows at the disaster, we compiled the news surrounding it.
This was a time of great uncertainty.
My director Andy said, "I guess this work will last through the war, but I'm not sure."
This was the market I entered.
Uncertainty.
A fight or flight playing field.
No one was sure what was going to happen next and the tone was, purity and panic.

Politics, finance, red carpet, sports, or war-
Anything People, Places, Things, or Ideas related, I regurgitated it.
For ten hours a day, from the broadcasts around the world, I delivered the meat of the news between two coasts and two countries.

The job always looked classy on the outside,
but on the inside there was an old radio plugged into an even older laptop, in a dingy basement, doing some of the dirty work, and a war going on in the background. (So vintage.) Meanwhile, I pitched for other journalism and photojournalism writing contracts the entire time.

It paid the bills and became residual.
I took it with me, as I kept moving forward.

It's a fun game like we played as kids, but don't forget to collect after you pass go, or if someone lands on your park place. "It's an energy exchange and has to be seen as so." Sara Kauffman said about taking money for thai massage. Be on your toes about your pay, but know that like a Dr. in his residency, you will have to do your time. And lots of it, for free possibly. Enjoy the ride.

Then comes film, again an entirely unique beast to write for.  

I found that documentary films in post-production need commentary, cinema verte, transcripts, blogging, PR, photojournalism, networkers and more. 
Post-production work in film, is always paid for, unlike the volunteers that come with pre-production (Tasha Oldham sentiment from the "Peace bus.")

The language and skill I learned along the way, from those far greater than myself.
Don't be afraid to hang out with the big dogs.
Everyone is small at something, at first.
Like life, business is constantly moving and growing, morphing and changing.
Don't try to trap it, fly with it.

I found an NYU film director on Craigslist.
Yes, Craigslist.
Be savvy about social media, don't knock it.
The artist running Urban Outfitters Navy Yard was told by Urban upon his hire, "We make most of our money from social networking. Do you Instagram?"
Use it wisely.
Through the NYU film director's training, I came to work with some of LA's great film producers and directors. I also learned a lot about writing and my name now appears on a  few great films.
That's worth its weight in gold.

Photography:
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
William Blake

To see the world through a lens.
It's a gift so many of us possess seeing moments in our minds, noticing colors, shadows, light and brilliant spaces. My photographs were getting gobbled up by newspapers like The Sun, The Herald, Orato in Canada and even magazines (magazine editors were the toughest for me to please.)
Not all published photos need to be done by the professionals. There are many prints that just need a few shots. If you make them stand out, you may be called to take on the professional gigs next time.

My stories were getting published weekly, along w/ front cover photos. And it was my sole income, for awhile. (See my portfolio here if it helps you,
http://muckrack.com/sarah-k-grundy)
I learned a few tough lessons about the "Ethics of Journalism." Similar to the law in some circles, or like a pirates code in others! (Use the search bar for my older blogs regarding the ethics of journalism.)

Now I'm learning to write for grants, cash for cures, medicine, scientific research, health, nutrition, fitness, yoga and coaching. Like a snowball rolling down a hill, writing is one of those skills that never stops growing. Keep feeding it.

A few noteworthy lessons:
Confidence is key, as is class.
Trust your "gut."
Don't be afraid to work for less, sometimes until you have a ground to stand on.
When you do, don't be afraid to ask for more.
Then go to battle for the bucks. It's respectable I promise. Just be down to earth about it and never greedy.
Look for the greats that will teach you something. It will empower both of you.
Keep your mind so wide open, that there is no opened and closed, just space and time.
Rarely say no. Unless it's too much for you to handle, or delegate.
Delegate. Find students who are looking to learn.
Take Criticism like a lady, or gentleman.
No efforts are ever wasted.
They lend to your versatility, make you more recognizable and garnish your resume. That goes a long way.
A Harvard research study recently published findings on the benefits of distractions. Even those can boast you in ways lending to setting you back on track. 
What is garbage to one, may be gold to another.
Everything can be recycled or revamped. (This blog was revamped from circa 2008)


What are other ways to add to the pile of cash in the tool shed even if you can't write?

With summer just around the corner and vacations on the horizon, make your space start paying the bills a bit.

 A stunning actress friend of mine in NYC, lives in the heart of Soho. She often rents her space.
As she hops a plane for India, a family of four enjoys the lavish life she has worked hard to build for herself, in the city that never sleeps.

A family near and dear to my heart recently took a spring break trip to Arizona, while a group of college kids convened on her Queen Village household for a hockey tournament stay.

I'll be renting my space for film shoots, while I find waves to ride and cabins in the woods with rivers for fishing to hide in while I embrace solitude for a nice refreshing break from the grid.

Ideas of house swapping is also an idea already visited by Hollywood film plots, and dear family friends, who were able to rent their home, while they rented their friends home in New Zealand, while their friend rented a home in Europe, maybe from a friend?

 Click here for a website for pimping your pad for a few pennies, https://www.airbnb.com/)

Partner up and share your story! I've been building a business on partnerships for just under a year. It's simple, with most companies FREE and you can earn a healthy commission for promoting for them. I team with products that I already love and use to  make it a no brainer. I always chat up what I love and see work. Why not make a profit from that? I coach in how to do this, ask me how! Lastly, have you heard how simple it can be to make a generous living on You Tube and blogs, or vlogs? If you have a camera you can do this. Ask me how. My twins are You Tube Stars and did it all on their own. 

Happy earnings! 

If you want to chat more about this feel free to email me, sarahgrundyfitness@gmail.com 
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