The NEW KNEW strategy for Freelance Writers starting with NOTHING » Your Online Biz

The NEW KNEW strategy for Freelance Writers starting with NOTHING


Words can be fun and I’m having some here with the title of this post but I’m actually very serious.

I want you to get paid for what YOU KNOW.


As a freelance writer you have to understand that this is what you bring to the table in the first place.

Specific knowledge about something important.

This is supposed to be WHY you’re writing the article in the first place right,  remember?

You KNOW something and you’re informing the reader.


I know how it is.

When you’re struggling as a freelancer you tend to look up to other established bloggers and published writers like wow,  they’re awesome.

Then, you tend to feel inadequate with your own “freelancer self” and you start to feel as though you just don’t “measure up”.

Well, that’s because you’re looking at it wrong.


You’re all caught up in THEIR story (which is compelling many times admittedly) while simultaneously ignoring your own.

You see value in their experiences and accomplishments but with everything you’ve been though in YOUR life you see what, a boring re-run of an old cancelled sit-com?

The point is even the best bloggers in the world were just like you at one point.  Even the highest rated bloggers in the #IBCT had to write their very first post or register their very first domain.

The difference is they KNEW something very important that you haven’t learned yet.




So I’m letting the cat out of the bag. (Who put the cat in the bag anyway?)

> I’m spilling the beans.

> I’m revealing the great grand mysterious secret.

> I’m running out of interesting sounding metaphors so here we go…




The NEW KNEW strategy for Freelance Writers starting with NOTHING



#1 – Start with what you already KNOW.

Is that you?  Ms. I raised two kids as a single parent?

Does this describe you?  Mr. I speak two languages?

What about you, Mr. I’ve already beat that new video game twice?



You have to understand the value of your KNOWLEDGE.

If YOU don’t please explain to me in the comments below WHO WILL?

The biggest reason why most freelancers fail to get their articles published is because they write about what they DON’T KNOW.

That would be like me writing about how to take politicians seriously.

The biggest reason why freelancers make this mistake is because they don’t understand the value of THEIR own knowledge.

I’m just trying to prime your mental pump and get you to think in another way, a more successful way.


For example.

If you know how to speak two languages then you need to understand how valuable this knowledge and skill is to millions of people.

Just as you struggle with grammar, editing your articles in English you need to understand that there are millions of other people just like YOU going through the exact same process.

You are uniquely QUALIFIED to speak to these people and add a tremendous amount of value by sharing your experiences with them in your native language and then by helping them follow your path to crossing over into English publications.

THEY will be impressed with your English even if US editors find it to be poor and ignore your guest post because it’s not “PERFECT”. 

You need to know that “English as a second language” is huge niche, it’s basically it’s own industry with tons of opportunities–just search around you’ll see. [Check out this post from Ana Hoffman]

If you’re serious about making a name for yourself.

You need to get serous about going for what you know.


Same thing for the single mom wannabe freelance writer/blogger.

If you and your children are well taken care of and you feel as though you can help others  you need to understand this knowledge is tremendously valuable.

There are tons of magazines, websites, and blogs that focus on parenting, housekeeping, etc.

Why not take advantage of your extremely valuable REAL knowledge instead of “trying” to write about “social media”?


Oh that’s right because you didn’t know how valuable your knowledge is.

Well, strike that excuse off the list.


Get your shirt today and tell the world that doing is greater than trying, available in women’s custom fit and men’s premium quality t-shirts.


The same goes for the video game addict type which I never understand because video games have to be the biggest waste of time in the history of mankind.  

However, many people would be shocked if I told you that the video game industry is larger than the MOVIE industry.

There’s big BIG money in gaming as obviously there are millions of people who also love to sit around all day wasting time.

SO, if you’re a freelancer but you can’t even finish an article because you can’t put the controller down, guess what you should be writing about?





#2  - Stop talking about what you ain’t got.

That ain’t gone get you no where.

I’ll tell you what you ain’t got.

  • You ain’t got time to worry about what you ain’t got.
  • You ain’t got nobody who care’s about what YOU ain’t got cuz they worried about what they ain’t got themselves.

BTW I love how the word ain’t stubbornly forced it’s way into becoming a real word over the years. When I was in elementary school it was like a crime to write the word ain’t now it’s part of spell check ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!


I get emails from people who remind me all the time of why they are struggling pointing to the fact that they don’t have this or they don’t have that and that’s why they’re not successful.

I don’t know what to tell them.

All I can say is where there is a will there is a way.

Listen to me very carefully: You do not have a right to be successful. 

Not in this life.

You have to earn it and that starts with focusing on what you do have.

Your grandmother was right when she told you to count your blessings.



#3 – Everybody plays the fool, Sometimes.

The key to this point is the word, SOMETIMES shout out to Smokey Robinson.


When it comes to “test posts” or specwork just say NO!  homie don’t play dat

If you think that some bastard won’t steal your work then you will find out the hard way.  If you want to get taken advantage of then go ahead and send them your article as a “test” and good luck with that.

All I can tell you is one thing REAL clients never ever expect is something for free they’ll pay you your fee.

So, don’t worry if you’ve been taken advantage of in the past by clowns; just don’t fall for that foolishness next time.



#4 – Don’t waste time get QUALIFIED and SHINE!

Human logic is hilarious.

We tend to just DO NOTHING when we don’t know what to do.

My goal is to remove this excuse from your vocabulary and ease your mind so that you can get going and shine like the star you are.

If you still don’t KNOW what you KNOW then consider these top INDUSTRIES where the demand for content is high:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Family / Relationships
  • Green / Environmental
  • Health
  • Home improvement
  • Law & Finance
  • Tech /Gadgets/Gaming
  • Travel
  • Web Design / Online Marketing / SEO

If you don’t feel as though you KNOW enough about these topics, guess what?

You need to invest your time DOING something important in one of these fields so that you will have experience to draw from when you write.  Otherwise your content will be boring AND weak as a non-alcoholic  beer. 


First choose the INDUSTRY that you’ll participate in as a freelancer.

If you’re starting from NOTHING here’s a step-by-step strategy that ABSOLUTELY will help you get to the top:


a. Get your name domain. 

If you don’t want to invest $20 in your career to create a domain how serious are you about this industry? REGISTER NOW FOR THE FREE WEBSITE WORKSHOP

If you were going to be a barber would you try to get started WITHOUT scissors? Would you try to start a lawn care business without a lawn mower?

YOU NEED YOUR OWN DOMAIN for many many reasons but in this case if you’re starting from nothing then you need it because you can use it as your portfolio/resume.  Even if you don’t pay for a hosting account at least buy your domain name and point it to your LinkedIN profile.  This will give you professional email and elevate you in impression over the other writers who don’t have their own domain yet.  

Anyway, since you’re starting from nothing when you first set up your site you won’t have very much to say so just fill up your about page with some interesting facts about YOU.

Share what you are working on, where you come from, where you are now in your career, and where you’re going.  Keep it simple and it will work like a peppermint on hot breath. 



b. Get published.

I recommend writing for HubPages when you’re starting from nothing because they’ll pay you a portion of the adsense income that your page generates.

This will also help you understand one of the most popular business models “adsense” as the more popular your articles are the more money you’ll make from their revenue sharing program.

However, I don’t recommend focusing on the income from HubPages so much, the point here is just to get your articles published.

If you make a few extra bucks from HubPages woopty-doo the real money will come later.



Ezinearticles is also a good place to get your first writing samples published and get some experience dealing with an editor as they WILL NOT automatically approve your articles.   Your articles have to meet their standards and you may as well get used to this “approval” process by upping your game when you write for these entry level sites.



c. Get guest posts published.

If you use this strategy your guest posts will get published because editors will actually WANT your articles.

You have to understand editors NEED high-quality ON TOPIC content just as much as you need to get exposure so there is a natural WIN-WIN.

That’s why it’s important to make sure you really impress with your HubPages articles because editors will read these “samples” of your work before they approve your guest post.

Action Items:

  1. Make a list of the top blogs in your industry that accept guest posts.  There are tons of “guest posts lists” out there, just select the blogs that are compatible with your industry and create a top 50 or 100 list.
  2. Start from the smallest blog on the list.
  3. Read through the blogs most popular posts to determine what type of posts they like to accept.  List posts, How-to, Story, Review, etc.
  4. IF it’s not clear if they accept guest post or not send the editor a inquiry to see if they are open to publishing guest posts.  A very simple super short email that goes something like this will do the trick:
    “Hello BLOG-NAME editor,

    I’m DJ at mydomain.com I’m a freelancer with tons of experience in [wasting time playing video games] and I’ve been checking out your blog and I think it’s really cool.  I have some interesting ideas for [time wasting gaming] articles that I think your audience would enjoy.  Please let me know if this would be possible, thanks.DJ
  5. IF it’s clear that they do accept guest posts just go ahead and write your article and submit it to them following their guidelines.
  6. Repeat this process on each blog on your list starting from the lowest until you have been published on what you would consider a “popular and recognizable blog”.  NO, you don’t have to get published on the top blog on your list just keep going until you get published on a blog or a website that you’re confident people will recognize.



d.Get good at writing the 7 most important types of articles. 

Skillfully refine your freelancer repertoire by specializing in the 7 most popular article types.


Don’t just write articles just to write.

After you understand the value of what you KNOW you need to understand the VALUE of the TYPE of CONTENT that you can create.

These are the “items on the menu” if you will that your clients will buy from you later.

This is the key when it comes to making real money.

NOTICE:  If you are adverse to WORK then now is the time to leave this article.


Still here? ok good.

A qualified freelance writer will have experience writing many different TYPES of articles here are the most valuable:

  1. Industry Reports.  
    A perfect example is the awesome 2013 wrap up that Michael Stelzner published for Social Media Examiner.  This takes time, money, and energy to create but there is a reason this post has over 3,000 social shares.  You get out of what you put in–never forget that.  However, if you don’t have the money to fund you’re own survey of thousands of industry professionals you can write about your take on the results of other industry reports.  Just make sure you give credit where it’s due and NEVER plagiarize unless you’re a clown.  
  2. Case Studies.
    Readers and editors love case studies.  Why? Because they identify a good example of an important case or instance in the industry and they usually explain some meaningful point in detail or they reveal the results of an experiment.  Either way this content is always popular on blogs and websites as there is so much quality information that people can take away.  Don’t miss the 13 most important posts of 2013 for Your Online Business for links to excellent case study examples.
  3. Interviews.
    You can build a career out of exclusively landing and writing interviews.  SERIOUSLY.  If all you ever did as a freelancer was write interviews with successful and known people then guess what?  You will become successful.   The problem is successful people won’t do an interview with anyone that they don’t consider to be successful on some level themselves.  Don’t miss the interview series Your Online Biz
  4. Tutorials
    Detailed step-by-step how-to articles will always be popular as people are always trying to solve some problem in their lives and they want to do it themselves.  Share with the world what you know about disciplining your child without beating them or how to deal with English as your second language like a boss, or how you got past the flying dragon unicorn on the latest time wasting video game.
  5. Product Reviews
    Think about it like this.  What do you do before you buy something new?  You probably do some research online and this will usually lead you to some review.   Here’s a tip on getting traffic from your reviews try to be the first to publish your “deboxing” review.  Also, cover all the aspects like product demonstration and explain features by comparison to the nearest competitor.  This will resonate with readers much better.
  6. Expert Analysis & Reporting
    If you ARE an expert then you should have no problem writing articles with expert analysis on industry trends, news, and latest happenings.  You should be speaking not “from your opinion” but by what your analysis has proven to you is a fact.  You should provide stats to document how and why you came to this clam and explain in detail why this is important.  Don’t miss Guest Posting vs Social Media which is best for traffic?
  7. The Story
    This has also been called “EPIC” content, I don’t know why but every time I see this phrase I think about the old Michael Jackson Off The Wall album (rip mj).  Anyway, so called “epic” articles are really all about “the story”.  You can call them whatever you want but in the industry it’s known that it’s all about the STORY.  What’s important here is to understand that YOU are a success story yourself in the eyes of someone else so don’t underestimate your accomplishments.  I’m still impressed by the story of this 17 year old who built a blog to the top 40k in Alexa WITHOUT A LAPTOP.  This is what a story is all about it, inspires and grabs your attention.



#5 – Pitch clients with confidence and get paid.

Mr. Miyagi knew what he was doing when he told Daniel son to wax-on, wax-off.

He knew that once Daniel son completed this extremely difficult training regiment that he was PREPARED to be the best.

Until you KNOW you’re ready this is all that you should focus on.

Your preparation and commitment will make you the best freelancer that YOU can be.

Don’t worry about your competition FOCUS on the concerns of your readers and how you can help them in the most meaningful and important way possible.

Once you’ve:

  • Written enough articles on the Hubpages level to get a guest post published, and
  • Written enough guest posts to demonstrate that you can write the 7 most important types of articles, and you’ve
  • Updated your blog with links to all that you have done showing off your portfolio then…

You’re ready to start pitching clients with the FULL expectation of getting paid.

If you don’t know where to find clients you should download the 101 Ways to Get Paid to Write eBook.   It’s FREE and there are over 100 sources of blogs and websites that advertise publicly that they pay writers for content.

Here’s an example pitch that you can use that I know for a fact works:



Good morning [BLOG-NAME editor],

I’m [DJ at mydomain.com], I’m a freelancer with tons of experience in [wasting time playing video games] and I’m responding to your offer for content.

Please find my submission attached titled:  [Why playing video games all day makes you smell like feet.]

I wrote this article today specifically for your blog as it addresses [feet smell] and [wasting time]  which I noticed are popular categories on your site.

I look forward to hearing your feedback.




See how the pitch is short and to the point and discusses WHY the article should be seen as useful by the editor?

This is key.

When you’ve earned it you don’t need fancy tricks all you have to do is write your stuff and pitch your work.




You may be thinking, DAMN.

How in the world am I going to have time to write articles, pitch clients, and write guest posts.

Well, it’s hot in the freelancer kitchen I have to keep it real with you so if you no can stand the heat then you should out get of the kitchen.

Once you’re qualified and you KNOW IT then I recommend this strategy:  WRITE FOR MONEY THEN FOR PROMO THEN FOR BOOK





If you want it then you have to work for it.

It ain’t easy brother.

It’s not simple sis.

I’m not telling you this because I want to discourage you.

I’m telling you what’s good so that you will prevail as you should.

If you’re David I’m just saying, “Yo, Dave don’t forget your slingshot brother, you’re gonna need it, you know that’s a Goliath out there right?”

So don’t get worried or frustrated just follow the direct path to success as described above and if you have any questions post them below and join the discussion.

If you really want my help subscribe and reply to my welcome message with your question in an email I do everything in my power to help you out personally if you agree to help someone else in the future. 


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What's up! I'm Darnell the founder of Your Online Biz. I believe "We come from absolute greatness. Accomplishing the extraordinary is the least that we should expect from ourselves." In 2012 I launched TruckLicense.net which redefined how to get a CDL without expensive trucking school. I also created the #IBCT - International Blogger Championship Tournament which features the top 64 blogs worldwide in a competitive comparative analysis. When you support me you help #PayItForward as I contribute 10% of my online income to help children in need.

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20 comments on “The NEW KNEW strategy for Freelance Writers starting with NOTHING
  1. kaviyarasu says:

    I am one of your reader and i want to submit my post for guest post wanted $100 in a topic “How i turned my rejection $10 writing work into $14 + it’s my first attempt to contact company directly!!!!
    Where to send the content?
    Awaiting for your reply,
    Thank you.

  2. Dawn says:


    You managed to clearly lay out a simple (not easy!) strategy while making me laugh!

    * I agree about video games being a waste of time.
    * Lol at gamer odor!

    Seriously, this post was worth money, at least to me. I have been feeling pretty discouraged and this post helped me to see why and how to get over.

    Now I’m gonna get that dirt off my shoulders and #writesohard. :)

    Thanks so much. Merry Christmas. May you continue to be richly blessed.


  3. That’s laying down the pavement, Mr. Darnell Jackson. A clear road to a definite goal.

    Now, about the vehicle to travel the road. I suppose it could be called 4-wheeled dedication with a purposeful steering wheel.

    Several months ago, I subscribed to your email updates. The more I receive, the more I’m impressed with what you do, the tell-it-like-it-is-with-gentleness articles you write. I’ve been making a living on the Internet since early 1998 (writing software for websites), so I think I have enough experience to recognize quality when I read it.

    Will Bontrager recently posted…What an API IsMy Profile

  4. Ihejirika Paul Emeka says:


    Your are a real Mass communicator! You said it all.I accepted most of your explanations and detailing.Must one open up a website before commencing? Must I register for a domain before accepted and how do I go on doing that? How do I send the domain money and where can I send to? Again I like you comments and guide.As a Novice in the web business, I need detailed guide on how to start writing and submitting to Editors.


  5. Somesh says:

    Hello Darnell,
    I think your article is pointless for most of the ‘freelancer’ writers because everything you mentioned is true and most of them know these marvellous tricks. But, the point is that they wanna go for easy money which is impossible. It is great that someone is waking them and making aware about the fact that freelancing writing is possible with a little bit of dedication and proper perception.
    Thanks for this article for the ones who wanna succeed.

  6. Great article, Darnell.
    i got some ideas from this article
    and i like your way of writing article

  7. Twisha says:

    Freelance writing can be a great career, but it takes time and effort to build yourself up as a dependable, trustworthy writer. Starting freelance work can be overwhelming whether you want to pursue it as a career or a part-time hobby. The best place to start is with online publishing platforms and work your way up.And this tips are really helpful for any freelance writer..thank you for that.

  8. Max Arthur says:

    The beauty about freelance writing is that you can master any topic if you want.
    Max Arthur recently posted…sportspickreport.comMy Profile

  9. Allen Taylor says:

    Great article, Darnell. You just gave me a couple of ideas. I love it when people do that.
    Allen Taylor recently posted…How To End Writer’s Block In 5 MinutesMy Profile

  10. marilyn cada says:

    hello darnell. thanks for sharing this inspiration. you have mentioned that the market of English as a second language is huge. many ads that i found usually requires native english speakers or U.S. based (and i am neither of them).

    in addition to the information you shared on your ebook, where do you think i can find clients that need non-native English speakers?

    i already applied to around 10 clients but none of them do not yet respond but still I want to search for more clients. i have only chosen 10 out of more than 100 clients since i have the skills that the 10 clients need. like what you said, we should write something that we already know.

    another option that i consider is cold-calling to companies owned by non-native English speakers (or whose clients are non-native English speakers) since i just found out that 50 percent of freelance job vacancies are not posted in job boards.

    am i in the right track? or do i have to do something more?

    thank you for your time
    marilyn cada recently posted…Guest-Blogging Contests that You Must Join this January 2014My Profile (dofollow)

    • What’s up Marilyn,

      I think you’re definitely on the right track by discovering what you know by testing different strategies it will take you some time to figure out what will work consistently but eventually you’ll get there (It took me years). If you don’t have time to wait and you want to speed up this process then I recommend the resources in the 101 ways to get paid eBook. If you’re a subscriber you already have a copy but if not sign up here=====> http://youronline.biz/101-ways-to-get-paid-to-write/

      English as a second language is huge. Think training, tutorials, test preparation in the education, training, and even parenting industry. There are tons of teachers, students, parents, etc. looking for curriculum and training material in multiple languages. If you’re fluent in two languages then you can help both sides, the English speaking and the non-English speaking. If I could speak two languages I would focus on both.
      Darnell Jackson recently posted…In two yearsMy Profile

  11. CARL STUART says:

    Thanks Darnell for this excellent article. You really enlightened me on matters pertaining to writing gig. By the way I have written over 100 case studies, health reports, expert analyses and product reviews. How can I commercialize these already written articles.
    Also, I can re-post your article in my Facebook pages, I have a combined total audience of over 3000 friends, and these friends in turn have about 300 other friends and thus your article can be read by over 600, 000 people just like. By the way, how can I monetize my Facebook pages(they are all personal pages)? Also, are there sites that can pay me to post their info in my blog?
    Sorry for the long list of questions?
    Thanks D

    • What’s up Carl,

      In order to commercialize your already written articles you can create a training course or a video program. I would start with the most popular articles as they have been proven by the public.

      That’s the core of this article:

      However, you will need a blog if you want to promote your products effectively, OWNERSHIP HAS PRIVILEGES.

      As far as Facebook goes the best way to share this post would be to use the facebook share buttons or paste a link to the article on your page.

      When it comes to monetizing facebook pages read this article so that you can see where I’m coming from on Facebook:

      Also this article on Google+:

      In short you want to buy YOUR own domain and promote and monetize those pages.
      Once you have your own site with a following like you mentioned above you could find people that may want to pay you money to post on YOUR blog. This is called a SPONSORED POST in the industry.

      However, I have to say most people hate sponsored posts and they have been found to be ineffective long term as audiences feel like they’re being “juiced” instead of enlightened. Therefore, it’s best to monetize your site in a different method such as adsense or promoting affiliate products, this would be much more effective.

      Thanks for commenting Carl, I appreciate the feedback
      Darnell Jackson recently posted…In two yearsMy Profile

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