What Could You Do With a Free Month in Freelance Writers Den? (Contest)

Carol Tice

Freelance writer contestIn the spring of 2011, I was sitting in Chicago at SOBCon, listening to a lot of really inspiring online business visionaries, when I got a crazy idea: I should stop musing about whether I should launch a paid membership learning community for freelance writers, and freakin’ launch it, already.

It had become clear I couldn’t execute on my mission of helping the most freelance writers earn more the fastest by coaching writers one at a time. I needed to create trainings hundreds of writers could view at once.

It was also clear that a lot of writers are cash-strapped. If I wanted to help many, I needed to find some affordable way to give many writers access.

The answer seemed to be a membership platform.

Would this really work?

I got crazy busy. Surveys were conducted — what would you want in a writer learning community? What would you pay for that? Webmasters were hired. E-courses were created. Software was purchased…and then, more software when some of the first software wouldn’t talk to some of the other software.

Thousands of dollars were spent, on a flier that writers would find this platform useful for building their writing income. It felt risky…but it also felt like I was moving in the right direction. I felt compelled to create this, to try it out and see if it would help writers.

Just a few months later, on July 11, 2011, Freelance Writers Den opened its virtual doors. All my one-on-one mentees to that point got a free ticket in the door, which helped get things going. We ended that first month with about 100 members.

My big dream and whole business plan was that maybe, if I worked and built this platform for oh, five years or so, it might hit 500 members. Which seemed like the point at which the model would make sense.

But that’s not what happened. Instead, we hit 500 members before the first anniversary.

Today — ten multi-week bootcamps, over 100+ hours of live trainings, and 45,000 open forum comments and hundreds of private messages later — the Den has more than 1,200 members.

It’s still hard for me to believe. Still pinching myself, every day.

I am thrilled beyond words that the Den has turned out to be such a useful resource for so many writers. Seeing the many posts in our “Share Your Success” forum about writers who’re getting better clients or charging higher hourly rates is an absolute highlight of my professional career.

And we’re just getting started. The Den continues to grow and to offer new resources — at members’ request, we’ve just added a forum where members can share feedback and comment on each others’ blogs. Our job board now includes member profiles that are searchable by prospective clients. And this fall, our next bootcamp will be about self-publishing — the booming opportunity for writers to diversify their business and add more income.

That’s the story of how the Den came to be, and how it grew. What’s next? An essay contest to celebrate our third anniversary, among other goodies!

Contest details:

To celebrate the Den anniversary, I’m holding a contest right here on the blog. Contest begins today (Wednesday, July 9.)

First prize: 1 month free in the Den.

Got prizes for 6 runners-up, too: three 20-minute mini-mentoring sessions with me, and three e-book bundles of every e-book I’ve got.

To enter, post your answer below on the topic: What I Could Do With a Free Month in Freelance Writers Den.

Where’ve you been so far as a writer, and what could you do with your freelance writing career if you had access to those Den resources?

Hint: Pleas about how desperately broke you are will not get you a win. Brilliant, compelling writing and a unique story will.

I’ll come on back and update this post to announce the winners on Monday.

Eligibility: Current Den members are ineligible to win the free month, but may win any of the other prizes.

Good luck, all!

P.S. If you don’t win, take heart — a month in the Den is just $25 — and there’s no obligation, you can quit anytime.

P.P.S – OK, I’m back with the winners! Congrats to ebook winners Michelle B, Penelope, and Amber E, who won three free ebooksThe Step by Step Guide to Freelance Writing Success, How to be a Well-Paid Freelance Blogger, and 13 Ways to Get the Writing Done Faster. Also excited to announce KJ, Kim H and Amy N snagged free 20-minute, 1-on-1 mentoring sessions with me.

And our 1-month free in the Den winner is…drumroll please…Cindy Brown! Congrats to all the winners. This was a very tough contest to judge, folks! I loved so many entries — you’re all awesome.

The Freelance Writers Den: Learn More

118 Comments

  1. Cindy Brown

    Thank you so much, Carol. I look forward to seeing what you and Linda have to share in the Den. I regret that I will be out of town the next two days because I really wanted to dive in and absorb all I can… and fast!

    I attended one of the free webinars you put on recently and I was impressed with the quality and value of what I saw.

    I even signed up for J-school once and then became ill and never took the course. Hopefully, the Den will re-inspire me and get me out of this pit stop!

    There were so many good entries. I want to say that everyone did a great job on their entries. I can tell that everyone really wanted this win because the heart was certainly in each and every entry. 🙂

    • Carol Tice

      If you signed up for J-School before, you can participate with the current class, Cindy — we just started a round. Just email help@freelancewritersden.com if you have any trouble accessing the course materials or forums. Happy to have you!

  2. Rashawnda

    I read so many wonderful stories here about how people have found their journey to begin writing. I can only hope to learn from such a community of learners and add to their stories my own and how a month’s membership with The Den would help me realize a dream crushed so long ago: freelance writing.

    As a youth, I was constantly writing stories, poems, and songs. From my faith to my environment, everything served as an inspiration. I will never forget two instances that shaped my future path. One was as a fourth grade student. My teacher, Mrs. Watts, signed us up for a poetry writing contest where the winner would have their poem published in the local newspaper. I wrote about the night and used many metaphors in that poem because that was the time when my favorite cousin passed away. The judges thought that the poem was too complicated for a fourth grade student to write on her own, so I was disqualified and the prize was given to another student who wrote about a puppy–something more “realistic” from an eight or nine year old. My teacher came to me and said, “Don’t let that stop you from writing baby because you have a great gift and I know what you can do.” Unfortunately, that experience changed my zeal for writing, suppressing those once creative thoughts and drawing them inward. Although the next year–at a different school–my poem equating the growth of flowers and spring to our time in school was printed in the school graduation bulletin, it never took away the sting I felt from that disappointing loss.

    Throughout middle and high school, I had many conflicts with my English teachers, slowly turning me off the path of writing and onto a different career path. Oftentimes I was told that I gave too much detail or wrote too much. Sometimes, I found myself getting bored with reading stories that were so old and out of touch with my everyday reality. However, I still enjoyed reading books and writing on my own. Many times, during my bouts with depression and starving myself due to some sexual abuse suffered, writing literally saved my life and kept me from committing suicide. I didn’t mean to get too deep here, but just thinking back on how God used writing to help me and in turn help others was amazing to me.

    While in college, I completed an internship for teaching at a school where we were invited to go to a story telling assembly. This woman began telling the most amazing stories, to which I thought, “I want to do this when I grow up. I want to write and pursue telling my stories around the world.” However, the rejections and sting from those earlier experiences made me suppress those feelings. Still, I began writing and taking more English and grammar classes in school. I still struggled with accepting my work, often revising and then undoing the revisions or chucking what I now see as pretty good pieces of work in the trash after working incessantly during class time. In my last semester, my grammar teacher told me that I had a special gift for wards and that he hoped the best for me. I never forgot that as I marched across that stage and went into what seemed to be the traditional job path.

    As much as I enjoyed teaching, there was something missing with what I was doing. I loved working with the children and teaching them but I felt that it wasn’t true to my ultimate purpose in life. During a class I took in graduate school, we were asked to do an exercise where one person would look at our eyes and tell us what they saw in us. She immediately noticed how well I wrote and said that you should be writing. It confirmed already things that others said and what I was being led to do. By this time I began doing informal writing pieces, helping others win scholarships by editing their essays, writing resumes and biographies for family and friends, and composing song lyrics and poems for different occasions. It would still be a full year before I began making moves to follow this path and pursue the writing dream I had so long ago.

    I would benefit from freelance writing advice from this site because I don’t know where to start or how to begin. I’ve seen some ads on Craigslist and researched them mostly to be scams, so I know what I should not do. I think that this site will help me know what I should do so that I don’t make so many mistakes going forward. Whether I win or not, I hope to pursue this calling in my life so that by the words I write that someone may be uplifted, encouraged, and changed. Maybe some young child may decide that their dream isn’t too lofty or unrealistic to pursue.

  3. Alexandra

    What I could do with a free month?

    I have always heard if you want to do something well, learn from someone who has been successful at it. On the Ask the Den Mothers call, a chock-full of good and helpful spontaneous information came tumbling out so fast it was hard to keep up with it all! Clearly, these women know their stuff. The Headline class I took also reflected the level of expertise in the Den. My tour of the Freelance Writer’s Den dazzled with all its freelance-specific learning opportunities and resources. It’s like a school for how to be a freelance writer! Being able to take advantage of The Freelance Writer’s Den resources could clearly be a game-changer for me.

    My freelance business and I have been through a lot together. I’ve worked with a garden variety of businesses and projects over the last 15 or so years. When I couldn’t make ends meet with the business, I would take another temporary job. Getting by with reduced energy and time, I dragged my small, but breathing, freelance business with me. Then the job would end and my attention would return to the business redefining the market, again — until the next time I had to seek employment elsewhere.

    Over the years some ideas worked, others didn’t. There have been courses in business, books, coaching and first-hand experience. I’ve written 1000s of words, including 2 novels, multiple short stories, 100s of freelance projects and am now cresting 700 blog posts. I have learned many things and honed my craft, but have not yet brought it all together: to more clearly direct my business and do the “right” things to help it grow. I feel my business has been on the runway, usually with the engine running. From time to time I’ve been able to get it taxiing, but never able to lift it off the ground.

    I would use the Den resources to learn all I can to build my freelance business. Much of the learning I’ve done has lacked the focus of Freelance Writing Business. I would start with the Freelance Writer’s Basics, do Freelance Business Boot Camp and move onto How to Get Great Clients, How to be a Well Paid Blogger and keep going from there. Tapping into the accountability group would be another way to use the resources, so I can be sure to put the methods into practice.

    My networking muscles could be worked getting involved in the Forums. I’ve been unsure about where to go to guest post and comment. The Den feels like a welcoming place to strengthen my social media sea legs and ask questions that only another freelance writer can answer. With a writing and business blog of my own, I’m sure I could add to the discussion. Overcoming the narrow vision of isolation, I would revel in the community of mutual support and seek feedback on my marketing pieces.

    I admit. I would use the resources of the Den to build a business that can pay the bills. But my wish is that, with such an education, I can do better than just surviving. I want to build a business which not only offers home-based balance, but also the opportunity to do the work I love ~ helping others say what they need to say. My plan is to go farther to use the flexible schedule and growing income of a thriving freelance business to manifest my “intellectual property” projects and to share what I have to say with others.

    The Den’s understanding support, writing-specific business teachings and added perspective on my plans and programs could be exactly the fuel I need to lift my business off the ground!

    The tea is steeping. My slippers are on call. May I please have a seat in the Freelance Writer’s Den?

    Thanks!

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