The Samurai Writer Takes Up His Elance

If coaching has taught me anything, it’s that accountability is a formidable tool for personal change when wielded constructively. People often hire coaches to hold their proverbial feet to the fire, and that can be well worth the cost.

Another approach is to follow the success crumbs of someone who is already doing what interests you. That’s how I’m going about adding freelance writing to a mid-career change repertoire.

I signed up for Angela Booth’s Sell Your Writing Online Now, and for $37 per month I get a weekly lesson on a particular writing topic, along with some exercises. And usually a bonus file. (BTW Studying Angela’s online marketing approach for this course is a great way to learn about outsourced passive income streams, ably run by her virtual assistant. But that’s a story for another blog!)

elance mark mcclure

A recent lesson was to sign up and get some experience with the online freelance sites.

And as you can see from the graphic, I’ve now got a profile on

Elance and others like it, bring together buyers (looking for writers, software programmers, virtual assistants) with service providers such as yours truly.

Right now I’ve made sealed bids for three jobs, two tech blogging roles, and some writing for a personal growth site.

Sealed bids make it interesting because only the buyer can see what everyone is asking for. I’ve been advised to go with slightly less than my advertised freelance writing rates but not to compete with the bottom feeders.

(No disrespect intended, but one cent per word is a market best left to others; you really get to understand the free market and globalization of labo(u)r resources by competing in an Internet-enabled marketplace like Elance. I can handle that, gulp.)

I’ve also found it helpful to check out other more established writers on Elance and then go find their own professional blogs.

And the accountability aspect of Angela’s program?

Well, you get what you pay for! If I needed full-on personal accountability I could hire her as a private writing coach. I don’t need that at this stage and am motivated enough to just get with the program, although I’ve emailed her VA for support and advice. That helps.

Other than putting food on the table (a good one, by the way!), what accountability approaches are you using to help learn and earn in these testing times?

(2020 Update: I no longer offer services via Elance.)