Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Opportunities to Make Money

Opportunities multiply as they are seized. ~Sun Tzu

And by opportunities--for the purpose of this post--I mean money. Sure, it doesn’t grow on trees like the photo suggests (wouldn’t that be convenient!?) but I sincerely believe that opportunities to make money multiply as they are seized. My experience as a freelance writer proves this point.

When I was just starting out, a potential client approached me about a project that involved writing copy for trade publications. Yeah, okay, I can do that. What's the project? 

Extracting contaminated PCBs from transformers. 

Whaaaat? I was clueless... but broke. What to do, what to do?

I was honest. I told him I didn't consider myself a technical writer of that kind but that I was a quick learner. I let him know that I was willing to give it a shot if he could make the resources (engineers) available for me to ask loads of stupid uninformed questions. We further agreed that if I didn't 'get it' in a reasonable time frame we would part ways respectfully. No harm, no foul.       

Many seasoned freelance writers will tell you to find your passions and build a niche for yourself. I agree with that advice 100%. But I am also passionate about food and shelter. I certainly didn't want (or expect) to build a niche as a Polychlorinated biphenyls writer but it paid the bills. And it lead to more writing opportunities.

You know what? It was interesting. Not interesting as in 'how does Raquel Welch still look so good at her age' interesting, but interesting. I dug in, focused, and learned a lot. I wrote about PCBs for quite a while (and if you know about PCBs, this post is really showing my age!).

So that's my advice, for what it's worth. Grow your own money tree. Go boldly forward. Seize those opportunities and they will multiply. 

This post is in participation with the Group Blogging Experience, and this week’s topic is a picture prompt. If you want to blog with us, go to the GBE2 Facebook page and request to join the group. Everyone is welcome.


  1. Great idea! Sometimes we must step outside our comfort zone to grow the tree.


  2. Excellent! I write a lot of interesting content, "Not interesting as in 'how does Raquel Welch still look so good at her age' interesting, but interesting." great line!



  3. Great post, Langley. So interesting to hear about you jumping into the world of technical writing and PCB's. Wow, you were brave to pursue that writing assignment. I still haven't found my niche with writing though I do tend to favour short stories and am enjoying the blogging.

    I definitely haven't found out how to make any money at it but I know how to spend money on courses and workshops. heheh. I think I stay in my comfort zone too much because of my of lack of confidence. Gotta be adventurous like you and just dive right in.

  4. Raquel Welch and Dick Clark must be related. LOL. This is a great post.

    --Diana Jillian

  5. YIKES! My problem is time right now. Juggle. Juggle. Juggle.

  6. Great advice! I like to eat and have shelter too... hehe


  7. Guess what? I know what a PCB is :) At one point in time my team was in charge of building them :) Fun times, thank you for the reminder

  8. I was a corporate writer, but I know what you mean. I learned more about mining and road building than I knew existed, much less wanted to know. And it was interesting, esp. the big trucks. I stood on the hood of the biggest truck in the world (3 stories tall, 450-ton payload) the first time the engines were started. I seriously don't think many subjects exist that I wouldn't find interesting in some way. Of course, I've run into a couple I never did really understand....
    : - )

  9. Great advice. "Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity".

  10. Sometimes taking even one step off the beaten path is just enough to both challenge us and provide for us.

    Good work...both in getting the job done and writing about it later!

  11. Great advice and a good article. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! And I'm a Twitter follower now!

  12. I am making very little money writing, but I have used it to maintain my sanity for many years. That has to be worth something!
    I have completed three novels and have put 2 of them on cd for audio sales, but have sold less than 2 dozen because I haven't actually gone out and marketed them.
    Making a living writing would be my dream as well as, I am guessing here, most of the members of this group. It's what we do for the love of it, for the sanity it helps keep in check and because one who writes, must write.
    I don't think that's a bad thing.
    Great post, thanks for sharing.

  13. This is wonderful advice, Langley! Thanks for sharing! :)

  14. This is wonderful advice and inspirational!!
    Thank you, I needed that today!


  15. my favorite so far.....oh to apply this and truly GROW!!!!!!

  16. I would love to find a way to make money writing and still be able to care for my kids...

    Food for thought. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Wonderful advice and a great blog!

  18. I loved this post...it's all about testing the waters, getting your feet wet...and maybe learning how to swim!! You'll never know if you can do something until you try!! Bravo. Cheers, Jenn

  19. i had to come back and re read this..hope your dad is doing ok....you're finding time for silence and the balm of replenishing!! (hugs)

  20. hi Langley!
    I've given you a BLOG AWARD. Feel free to drop by anytime to pick it up. Just a little something to brighten up your day. :)

    warm regards,

  21. Seems we do what we have to do before we do what we want to do while we await the fantasy of a money tree coming true ;)


  22. Very nice, Langley. We never know unless we try!

  23. This is encouraging. Great advice for all of us.

    Tossing It Out

  24. Awesome advice. I think I'm getting bolder with snagging opportunities the longer I do the freelance thing, but I never wander far from my comfort zones. lol

  25. When I first started writing professionally, I swore I would write only what spoke to me--"nothing for just the money or the byline."

    Ha! Looking back, though I've written a great deal of stuff that means a lot to me, most of it was for the money and/or the byline!

  26. Good for you for stepping outside of your comfort zone! I think that writers are naturally curious people, so we can find what's interesting in anything. :)

  27. you have officially won the
    V.P.A. award You can go to GBE2 to copy (download) award to post on your blog!


Talk to me.