Are You Digging a Ditch or Praying for Water?

Recently, I decided to change my business model a bit. I wasn’t making what I needed to, and was really falling behind. One of the problems was unpaying clients, which led me to back away from the bidding site clients a bit. I’m not going back on my advice about Elance, it’s great sometimes, but for me, part of the “strategic bidding” is to not bid at all. Had I a large reserve of cash from which to draw while I waited for payments from my clients, I would gladly work there. But, I’m actually making less there than I was making on even Textbroker. Somehow my bids always got lowered in order to get the job, and therein lies my main concern with bidding sites. Not writing them off, but for me, at this stage in my writing journey, I’m kind of over it. 

I started realizing, after talking with a few business-minded friends, (and praying a lot), that I had spread myself a bit too thin. I was trying to work for too many writing outlets at the same time, and in trying to keep up with them all, I wasn’t writing a whole lot. So, I scaled down the places I write to 2 consistent ones and 2 side ones. 

Right now, I write mainly for TextBroker and Constant Content. A few times a week I write a Yahoo! article, and after I wrap up this last Elance project, I plan to publish one Kindle article a week, if possible. Of course, I also prospect to businesses, but right now I’m trying to get back on my feet as quickly as possible, so guaranteed money like TextBroker is a lot more appealing than waiting for clients to pay. This is why it bothers me when people write off content mills. Without them, I’d be back at a corporate job. Freelance writing is not easy, it’s hard, and you can be flying high one month and crashing the next. That’s why I think it’s always good to keep your TextBroker or mill account open and active and advise people not to burn that bridge. In the event you run into a hard time like I did, you can sign in, and select articles til you have hit your goals. 

I’m not going to thumb my nose at money, even if the rate is low, when it’s one of my only sources of income. I don’t suggest anyone else does, either. It’s like the old adage – he who won’t keep a penny will never find many. 😉 

So what does this have anything to do with the title of this post? I’m getting there. 🙂 

The second thing I realized is that much of the time, I’m not really working. I thought I was working, I really did. I was busy, that’s for sure. But most of what I was doing was being a control freak and coming up with different analytic scenarios about what would happen if I made certain business moves, how I could best earn money, what outlets would make me a livable wage, how to reach my goals using various methods, perhaps tweaking my websites a bit, but I never really….wrote. 

For me, this revelation occurred when I was praying and doing a Bible study. Part of the Bible study I was reading was somewhere around 2 Kings where these three kings go out to fight a battle and they’re losing horribly, their people are all out of water. So Elisha, a prophet, was called upon and he tells them essentially to dig ditches and God will fill them with water. 

And it kind of dawned on me that I wasn’t really digging ditches in my business life, so to speak. I prayed a lot for business, sure, but God is not a genie, he doesn’t just go poof! there’s your wish. He usually requires us to work and to do something and to learn something. If the water in the story was a representation of a healthy business, and I was one of the kings, what I was essentially doing was sitting next to my shovel analyzing how to bring water out of the sky, when God was saying just do the work and let me take care of the rest. 

Whether or not you’re religious isn’t the point, it’s a good illustration for work anyway. Our vessel is not a ditch, it’s words on a page. Our water, in this illustration, is profit and money. We can hope for money all the time, but without a vessel to make that money and bring it in, it will always go somewhere else. Perhaps our lack of digging ditches is the reason we feel rained on instead of blessed. If we have nothing to catch the water with, we’ll never get anywhere. 

Once I realized that, I stopped all the analyzing and just focused on doing the work. It’s been two days of hard work, but I’ve been making between $85 and $100 a day on Textbroker alone. Almost miraculously, clients are paying me the day of or the next day, when usually they tend to wait the 3 days. I put in the work and God’s taking care of the rest. 

But like I said – even if you don’t believe in God, I think if you focus more on doing and less on analyzing, you’ll see great results, too. Although, anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge advocate of prayer. If for nothing else, for sanity. 🙂 

Well, I’m off to dig some ditches. 🙂 Happy writing and God bless!

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