How To Gain Muscle And Build Muscular Strength

If you need to know how to gain muscle and build muscular strength then you are in the right place. This blog series will take you there. It contains the top simple secrets I’ve taught clients trying to gain muscle and build muscular strength over the last 20 years. It also contains a master mind meeting with another muscle building expert where we put our heads together to give you the real insider tips and tricks on filling out those shirt sleeves and adding slabs of muscle to your body.

Of course nothing builds muscle quicker than getting to the gym and lifting those weights, but you’ll need some important information first. I want to reveal the real methods of building muscle that work, so you don’t waste any time, get ripped off or get steered wrong by bad advice.

Now before we get started, this is basic stuff. I am going to hit the hard, solid facts of how to gain muscular weight and get stronger… and it’s going to come down to lifting heavy, resting well, and eating enough good food.

REALITY CHECK, if you are skinny, can’t gain weight, and can’t move these numbers compared to your bodyweight – then we need to make you stronger too. Continue reading

Phoenix 1.4 Resolution – I Want To Handstand

handstand on beachI was knee deep in a rant that Sam, in true “coach like” fashion, seemed determined to finish. Although patient, I was beginning to wonder when he’d get back to training because I failed to see where he was going with all this.

But he kept going… “In the simple and uncluttered minds of children we can see truth and purpose. They know what they want and don’t let calculations of the odds sway their determination. Their mind is undivided and their eyes see only possibility.

When we look in their faces we are unsettled by their single mindedness. A child will stamp its feet and stand its ground. As an adult, you try and figure out how to appease the situation. The child doesn’t care. But adults think too much. Trapped in a jail of their own minds and afraid of what they feel and think. – or something like that. I can loan you a copy of Emerson’s self-reliance if you’d like. It’s eloquently put.”

I understood what he meant. “Being selfish is hard. It’s awkward to act on instinct without bowing or considering others in order to get what I need. But I guess I act nice and do things I don’t want to because I need to be in someone’s good books and keep my job.”

“Think of it this way,” said Sam, “Are you being unselfish when you act that way or simply deceitful, lying and conniving?”

That shook me by the shoulders. I often thought of myself as a straightforward, honest and kind person. Not someone who played games, but the truth of the matter was, I lied all day long.

“That’s what I thought,” said Sam driving the point home. “You’d be surprised how much bull crap you put up with and spit out, simply because you’re not self-reliant and feel powerless.” Continue reading

Phoenix 1.3 The Realization

“You ever wake up at night panicked about the fact that you will cease to exist some day?” Sam asked knowing the answer but waiting anyway.

“You do too?”

Even the question made my stomach knot up.

“Of course,” Sam said. “Once you’re past a certain age a ship has sailed. It’s the awareness of death. It changes how you live for the moment. You either panic and try to get the right things done as soon as possible taking short cuts in a manic race – or you relax and just do you. Life is only a string of moments and creativity is maximized by being in each one – without filter. Knowing that death comes for us all, what is there to fear or lose by being our true selves? Even if going where the fish are gets you lots of fish…”

Sam started laughing. Then he snorted.

“What’s so funny?” I asked. Continue reading

Phoenix 1.2 Crisis

Sam continued talking while I gained ground to close the gap between us.

“Lies divide you and shatter your integrity. Especially the lies you try to sneak by your soul about yourself. They leave you collecting pieces of your best self and cradling them in doubt and fear. A fully integrated person is one who knows the shadow and light inside and doesn’t scold or applaud either. What you act on is choice. A lot of choices you make are based on fear. Mostly fear of repercussions. Losing your job. Going to jail. Getting a ticket. Public outrage. Simple embarrassment. The biggest mistake is seeking approval. That, and wanting others to speak well of you.”

Sam turned right down a path without warning. I jogged a couple steps to catch up just as Sam sat down on a log. Continue reading

Phoenix 1.1 Be yourself everyone else is already taken

be yourself everyone else is already taken army photo

“Be yourself everyone else is already taken,” was spray painted on the concrete wall of the overpass. I drove by it every day on my way to the job site. It was about here on the drive that the engine started to get warm. The floor heater of the Chevy Blazer kicked up the smell of effort from a pair of steel-toed boots well past their prime. Those boots were both pride and shackles.

The boots were a source of pride because I finally stuck with something and saw the electrician training all the way though. I did the hours and was qualified. But those boots were also shackles because they meant I did what someone told me to, when they wanted me to, for however much money they wanted to pay me.

I pulled into the parking lot for the monthly safety meeting. In forty five minutes I would be back on my way to the job site to wire up an electrical panel.

That’s what I thought. Forty-five minutes later I was jobless.

After four years of an electrician apprenticeship I was laid off yet again. The work came and went as jobsites popped up and then became finished. Finish at a jobsite and you worked your way out of a job. It was a real disappointment to say the least. After all, I gave up doing what I really liked doing to be responsible and get a stable income.

When I was a personal trainer I had all the time in the world to workout. Matter of fact, I got paid to do it. I ran with clients and sometimes even worked out set for set with them if they asked me to.

Since then, I’d gotten out of shape, developed new aches and pains and was generally pretty disappointed with the way life was going.

Doing ten hour shifts plus travel time didn’t leave much time for anything except comfort food and some TV at the end of the day.

On my way home, I passed the writing on the overpass again. The walls of life felt like they were closing in. I was getting older, my body was rebelling and I hated losing my job every few months.

The fact of the matter was I was trapped. Trapped by uncontrollable income, a body that was rebelling and debt that got bigger each month.
Continue reading

How To Become A Better Writer And Why You Should

This is the next part on writing. So it’s a work in progress. While it’s about how to become a better writer, it’s also a timeline flow of how I started to sort some shit out.

First things first. If you don’t have mutiple books, then your marketing dollars are unlikely to turn a profit for you. You won’t be able to ever break even on what you pay for advertising and what you get paid back in book sales.

So what does that mean?

It means you need to have several books so that when you market the first and lose money, they may buy the rest in your series.This is where you make money.

So in the hierarchy of things, I realized I didn’t have enough product to make a profit. I needed to write faster, more predictably and with better quality.

No small feat I know.

I started studying books and the first solid piece I found to stop waffling on my books and wasting so much time with abstract bits of writing that fit together was this:


In order to start efficiently rocking on a new story that’s going to sell you must know these things
Situation of distress (the reason this story is happening)
Protagonist who moves us through the story.
Objective that is the solution to the shitty situation
Opposition that directly impedes an easy solution
The climax where the situation is sorted out or everyone burns in a fiery crash.

That’s it for now. I’ve got things to write and sorting those above elements out isn’t as easy as it seems. Check your story. You got what you need?

Fearlessness And Courage – Fear Makes The Wolf Bigger Than He Is

What is courage and fearlessnessWhat is courage? Some say it’s the spirit or mindset that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., with fearlessness. I say it’s the ability to act DESPITE fear.

And what does this have to do with helping you?

To explain, the single most common regret of the dying was wishing they had the courage to live a life true to themselves and not the life that others expected of them? Because when people realize that their life is almost over, they look back on it with clarity.

In your conquest of happiness, courage is key.

When you are about to die, there is a clarity that only exists in that precious moment. Everything pales in significance, and only that which truly matters is able to remain in the mind. In other words, most people die knowing that they didn’t go for it.

This is your life. When you die, it’s a journey you will make on your own. Only you will have to deal with the consequences, so make your own decisions. Those decisions will require courage.
Continue reading

How To Stop Being A People Pleaser Ignore The Opinions Of Others

how to stop being a people pleaser like a cat that doesnt careToday’s car philosophy time is about how to stop being a people pleaser. You must ignore the opinions of others. I’m sitting outside Pier One Imports right now, waiting for them to open. I’m dictating into my phone so this will be more raw than usual. Not really safe for work. To add your thoughts, comment below.This is actually the unedited rough first draft.

I thought I would have a little chat with you ’cause I heard something today that really was cool. That was, from Gary Vaynerchuk. He says so many cool things like sometimes, I guess when you hear things that apply to you sometimes, like you get called out on your own shit? You hear like, “That guy’s an asshole.” Those are probably the people you should be listening to sometimes, I think.
Continue reading

Know Thyself To Thine Own Self Be True – Just Do You

Know Thyself and Know Thyself To Thine Own Self Be True are ancient advice. Here’s what it means and how digging into who you are can completely change your life. In the end, just do you.

Polonius in Shakespere’s Hamlet said, “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Whoever wants to fully realize their true self, must be a nonconformist. It’s up to you to decide what is good and what is not. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the support of the world.

To Thy Own Self Be True – Telling The Truth To Yourself

The truth is like a warm blanket, because when you find somebody whose words ring true, and you know that at the essence of it, what they’re saying is real, that it’s not a consensus of the general population, or it’s not what’s acceptable, so everybody deems that to be the truth, but the actual truth at the bottom.

There’s things that people don’t speak about. Yet you know at a core level that that’s the way things really are. So, truth and honesty, and how they are as a bedrock to a solid relationship with your self matter.

To operate from solid bed rock and not wet sand, you need to just do you. You need to know thyself as the first part and then secondly to thine own self self be true. All else is lies and that leads to separation of self. It tears your soul apart. Like a horcrux, in seven pieces.
Continue reading

How To Lose Belly Fat Fast For Men

Today I’m going to outline how to lose belly fat fast, especially for men.

There’s a big problem out there for guys trying to drop a few pounds and get a lean muscular body. Actually, there are 7 BIG PROBLEMS. But they are easy to fix and you’re about to discover how.

On a recent vacation, I realized how simple losing 8-10 pounds in a month can be. You just need it laid out step-by-step to cut through the confusion out there. So that’s what I’ll do for you.

Have you ever wondered, “Does a regular guy wanting to drop a couple of pounds to look good on the beach really need to go through all the extreme discipline and time suck the magazines say?”
Continue reading

Pistol Squat Progression: How To Do A One Leg Squat

Ray demonstrating a pistol squat progressionAfter I got injured, I looked up all the masters for a good pistol squat progression and am happy to say, I found the answers I was looking for.

If you are broken, it can help you too.

Here are a few of my resources I pulled from. In some way, shape of form, they all contributed a piece of knowledge to my pistol squat progression that at some point glued onto another piece to bring me to the final objective of doing a one leg squat.

In the end I have the routine and approach that showed me how to do a pistol squat that worked for my body. My body’s kinks, injuries and limitations. If you’ve weight lifted using the squat, deadlift, bench, overhead press your whole life, then our bodies are probably similar.

Continue reading

Free Books Announcement List

Welcome to the free books announcement list. If you are on this list you’ll get an advance email
containing a free amazon download link for kindle to get each new book or short story I publish FOR FREE before it goes full price on Amazon.

The link I email YOU, will be active for 24 hours.

What Kind Of Books Will You Get?

I write military sci-fi, sword and sorcery, self-help and fitness books. So it’s a mix of fiction and non-fiction.

Subscribe to the FREE BOOK mailing list

* indicates required

My Story On Becoming A Writer

This is my story on becoming a writer. When I got out of the military I moved to Calgary to become a personal trainer. But I struggled getting clients and started to become desperate for money. writing my way out of debt from the gym

That’s when I wrote this in my journal…

That general malaise.
When all the work is finished at the end of the day.
Board but listless on a Sunday night.
Knowing and preparing for my upcoming plight.
The struggle to profit and make the months rent.
Each moment not productive costs another cent.
Second to hour and hour to day,
Time expires past 30 and then its time to pay.
I could brush it off and enjoy my time,
But I can’t relax when I count every dime.
The truck is squeaking, the gas is low,
So where are the clients, that’s what I’d like to know.
If I were a squirrel, I’d be scrambling for nuts,
But I can’t find enough to get out of this rut.

One of these days, I’ll start my car from inside,
And even feel proud to offer someone a ride.
I wont stare at the gas each time I drive,
Or scramble for nuts, just to survive.

Sometimes I feel like I’m hanging off a cliff,
Struggling for a hand hold that I always just miss.

I wrote this back in 2002. Those were some tuff days. I remember coming home from the gym to find a bag of groceries hanging on my door. Being this way was not something that I was proud of so I kept it pretty quiet. Someone knew and someone cared enough to help out without hurting my pride.

I also remember my friend Tim who worked the counter at the gym giving me some credit to buy my protein powder for the month. He said he knew I would make it and I could pay him then.

It was shortly after that when a client decided that he wanted to sponsor me to compete in the southern Alberta bodybuilding championships. With his help I went on the win the light heavy weight title. During that time I wrote two books, Your First Competition and The Fat To Fit Program.

Fast forward to present day. I woke up this morning at a time of my choice to do a radio interview with Don Russell from WBT- AM 1110 to talk with the folks in Charlotte, NC about my book on Getting Started Working Out. One of many I have done over the last couple of months as part of my media campaign.

I checked my clickbank account to see how many copies of my program I sold while I was asleep. Then I logged in to see how much my adsense account had made.

I finished a cup of coffee as I sent out a few new clients to my personal trainers that I have hired over the last couple of years and then typed out this article before going back to bed for a nap.

As I went through my binders and notebooks from a couple of years worth of goal setting and dream lists, I realize I have become what I set out to be. I am healthy, have an abundance of time to use as I like and 90% of my income happens no matter if I step into the office or not.

Wherever you are now, you can get to where you want to be. Write down what you want and put today’s date on it. Start working on something that you love to spend your time on that you know will help other people. The amount that you can help other people is directly related to the amount of money you can make.

Start with the intention that every bit of work you do will be used infinitely to create income without your physical presence. Automation is the key to unlimited wealth while still having the time to enjoy life.

How do you know what is the thing that you should be spending your time on? Something I read in the book ” The Alchemist” was a big help to me. “Where your tears fall, your treasure lies”. If you find something that really moves you and creates an emotional response deep in your soul, you have found your passion. Anything else you spend your time on will fill you with tension and unhappiness.

You have to follow your heart and your intuition. This is the only way you will make it through the tuff times and still be happy until your finances catch up with your dreams.

This is when I thought I was going to retire and live in Mexico at the ripe old age of 28….

But Then Everything Went To Shit

I got kicked out of the gym I was running my business in. They saw how much my personal training business was making and wanted to keep it in house.

Amazon kindle came out and my $39 pdf books were selling for perceived as a $2 value now.

The bottom fell out of my google adsense revenue when they went public.

I started teaching boot camps outside and was making good money but had to shut down in for the Canadian winter.

So I decided to open my own gym financed by my own line of credit.

Here’s how I got into debt…

Back in 2011, I was sitting in my gym you see above, staring at the excel spreadsheet in front of me.

I saw no way to dig myself out of the $55239.00 business debt I’d created, and had scrambled around like a squirrel looking for a nut for months.

Facing facts, I mustered my courage and went upstairs to talk with the landlord.

Sitting in front of him I swallowed my pride, “I’m not going to make next months rent. I’ve already used all my line of credit to make last months rent.”

He just stared at me, so I continued. “I wanted to come talk to you and see if there was anything we could do about the 5-year lease agreement I signed.”

His face didn’t change at all but he put down his pen, sat back and looked at me. “The lease is a legally binding document. The fact is that you owe me four more years of rent at $4500 a month,” he paused, “Having said that, I appreciate you not doing a midnight move.”

I felt a sliver of hope as he continued, “I’ll let you out of your lease if you move out and lock the doors immediately… and agree to pay $1500 a month, for the next ten months to buy out of your agreement.”

“Done,” I said.

So that’s where we started. From here I’m going to share with you both the mistakes and the wins as I write my way out of debt.

On with the journey.

Totally Confused About How To Fix This Debt Mistake

A cold wash of failure melted over me as I headed down the stairs out of his office. I now had a large debt and no income or place to do business out of.

“What now…” I sent an email to all my clients telling them that boot camp was now outdoors. I refunded personal training and membership fees for those people that only wanted to work with me at the gym.

Then I got on Kijiji and got a job as a Framer swinging a hammer. I framed houses during the day and taught boot camps at night.

The math was brutal. $1500 a month I owed on the lease buy out. Line of Credit at $30,000 and credit card at $14,000. The dessert was $11,000 owed to Canada Revenue, a combo of taxes from personal as well as when the dividends I was taking as an owner were reassessed as employee income.

The numbers said I was going further into debt despite working full time as a framer and doing boot camps at night.

I picked up a job doing data entry, then a motorcycle apprentice, then an electrician apprenticeship. I was miserable the whole time and frantically tried to find a job I loved that paid well.

It was while doing data entry that I started writing Cullers War on my lunch hours and doing personal training at night. After finishing Cullers War I would have one fiction book and two non-fiction fitness books I could sell “How I Won My Second Bodybuilding Contest” and the previously mentioned book on how to start working out.

Then when I started the electrician apprenticeship I added the Rise From The Ashes podcast for some after hours fun reading my fiction like old radio broadcasts. No one really dug it though so I stopped doing the fiction and started recording some thoughts on philosophy and how we can use it to improve our daily lives.

The electrician apprenticeship started at $18/hour and after 6 months I still wasn’t quite making ends meet.

Canada Revenue called demanding payment. If I agreed to a mandatory $200/month, they wouldn’t dock my pay.

“Enough is enough,” I thought.

A man should be self-sufficient and financially prepped to take care of his family. I was against the ropes and went for a meeting with a bankruptcy guy. He laid it all out for me but I couldn’t pull the trigger.

I wanted to fix the problem by becoming better at whatever it was that I sucked so hard at that got me into this position. I felt like doing bankruptcy would fix everything now, but I still didn’t know how to “make it” on my own. It would be a patch on an already shitty blanket.

The electrician apprenticeship would pay around $40 an hour by the end of my four-year apprenticeship. If I could just make a bit more now, this was a workable long term plan for getting out of debt.

I kept teaching boot camps at night in the park. It helped but I had to shut it down each year when I went to school for electrician training and also the Canadian winter.

From closing the gym doors to getting a workable plan that would allow me to just barely pay the bills stopping further debt increase, took two years.

I wrote in fits and starts. Sometimes I was motivated and often I just gave up.

I thought, “Now I just have to get through four years of electrician training or figure out something better…”

Cutting Costs And How I Promote My Writing

As I blog into the future about this, you can expect an account of my adventures as I cut costs and look for supplemental income from writing to pay down this enormous debt weighing down my balance sheet.

How will be different from other “Fuzzy-Feeling-Half-Truth” blogs? I’m 42. I read on financial blogs about people who avoided debt, saved money and invested. The reason? Because they didn’t want to be wage slaves at 41. Well, I missed that train.

There are a lot of people that have everything humming along perfectly until a bump in the road. A hospital bill, a failed business, car repairs at the same time as the furnace goes down, etc.

Things get sideways. Figuring out how to get everything back on the rails is the groovy part.

From the time my finances went sideways to the time I am sharing this with you is around 6 years. The first draft of this article went live January 4, 2017, and my debt was at $44,910. It took six years to pay off $10,329. $1721.5/year. I needed to do better.

That small dent in achieving my goal of no more debt also indicated my level of financial success as a writer. In other words, poor.

In those 6 years, I had my corporation dissolved and my taxes reassessed as well. This added a few more thousand to the debt. Up and down, back and forth.

Time to shove a stick in this revolving bicycle wheel.

Why Am I Telling You This Dear Writer?

I’m telling you this because I want you to know that if you feel like you are getting knocked around like a ping-pong ball, I understand. As a writer, it feels like you are playing tennis against doubles without a paddle and breathing through a half plugged straw.

I know know that having money doesn’t relieve money stress. Spending less than what comes in the door does. This applies to those who make very little, and to those who make a lot.

How To Make Money Writing – 4 Ways With Pros And Cons

how to make money writingOver the next 2000 words I will answer the question of “How to make money writing” from my personal experience. In 2013 I refocused on writing as an income source in order to write my way out of the $54000 business debt and become financially free.

Here’s what worked and what didn’t.

There are 4 ways I make money writing. Some of them are better than others when it comes to the cash flow they can bring in. I’ll explain each in detail.

My writing arsenal breaks down into four basic chunks. They are;

  • Creative Fiction
  • How To Non-Fiction
  • Commercial Writing I.E. Copywriting
  • Content Marketing – Blogging And Articles

I will start with the lowest income producing, and end with the highest income producing writing. Please note that while you sometimes write for pleasure, the main focus here is writing for income until your debt is fully paid off.

Writing solely for money is instinctively wrong to me because I am a big fan of Ray Bradbury and in his book Zen In The Art Of Writing he talks about (page 140) The benefits of working without making money, writing for joy and how it all works out in the end. I love the sound of it, but just can’t bet the farm on chances anymore. (Note From The Future: Maybe I should have listened to Mr.Bradbury)

So here we go…

Creative Fiction Writing – This is the writing that most authors want to succeed at. Self-publishing on Amazon has certainly helped some achieve that goal. Not me. (Check out fiction vs nonfiction writing and reading for the lifestyle factors.)

When it comes to making money writing, creative writing is my loser of the bunch. It’s not for lack of potential but the fact that a lot of the steps to success are outside your control.

Battlefield Barren is the only creative fiction book I have for sale, and maybe the lack of quantity and quality is the problem. Most authors have multiple fiction books self-published before they hit the combination that really starts to pay off.

Time and guesswork is not a luxury some of us can afford.

The main problem is that creative fiction is a “Want” purchase and not a “Need” purchase. Getting your name and marketing to the point where people WANT your fictional writing can take years. For some, it never happens.

Fictional writing is speculative (ya, I did) and you don’t control much of the process when it comes to the income you make. You create a book out of thin air and hope, even with market niche research, that someone will want to buy it.

Hope is not a plan.

Because of these things, there is a lot of time invested with hardly any solid evidence that the effort will pay off. The upside is that if a book does take off, a one-time effort will allow you to continuously make money from the same time investment, for a long time.

How to Non-Fiction Writing – This one has the same pro upside as fictional writing. It continuously pays if you have written something people want to buy. The way it differs is that there is more of a “Need” factor when it comes to the customer’s buying decision.

People will instantly buy a book by someone they’ve never heard of if they think it will show them how to solve a problem they are having.

For example; writers sit all day to write, this makes them gain weight. So a lot of writers want to lose weight. That can be both a want and a need depending on the outcome of their last doctors visit.

As a personal trainer turned writer, I have the skillset to write such a book. A book called “Weight Loss For Writers,” that answers the question once and for all, “How To Lose Weight When You Sit For A Living.”

If you can identify a group of people that want a book written, and there is a gap in the market, and you figure out how to let the people know you can solve their problem… you’ll make money writing.

If someone wants to know how to do something, or how to fix a problem and you can write a solution for them to solve their problem, then they will gladly exchange their money for your expertise.

The trick here is finding a real need in the market. One that is being underserved and then providing a solution at a price that people will feel is a value.

Copywriting and Freelance Writing (Content Writing) – This is the new kid on the block for me but also the one with the greatest upside potential. You can make more on a single copywriting job than some of your books have made since you published them. The only con of copywriting is that it is work in the traditional sense. It takes time to write and it’s a one-shot.

Copywriting and most types of commercial writing require that you put effort into learning the client’s needs for each specific job. It requires conscious thought to get down the correct information in order to achieve the correct outcome. In other words, it is not semi-enjoyable escapism like fiction writing, nor is it regurgitating what you may already know about (unless you are a niche copywriter like I am with fitness copywriting.)

As I write this I am up North working in a Gas Plant. This is a necessary evil to slash down my previous business debt as fast as possible, but the days are long and physical. All said and done, it’s a 12 hour day, then supper, shower and the rest is free time. There just isn’t much wiggle room to write except by waking up at 4AM.

So with content writing and copywriting, you use up the remaining free time in your day to make more money. If you stop writing, you stop getting paid. There is no living, just working.

This is when it really hit me.

What if I did content marketing myself. If my copywriting, content marketing, email landing pages and sales funnels are so good that others pay me to write them… then why don’t I do more of it for MYSELF?

Now I do. I write more for MY business than other businesses. My content continues to work for me. The sales pages for my own products sell the products and are little oil wells producing income every day.

If you are good at what you do, then every day you write for someone else you’re doing them a paid favor. If you spent the time writing for your own business, you’d be investing.

Which leads to your fourth type of writing that earns income.

Content Marketing i.e. Blogging And Articles -Your website or blog is so important for you as a writer or business owner. It brings in job opportunities but it also acts as a passive source of income especially if you are good at what you do.

Eventually, the money you make from blogging can surpass the business it was meant to promote.

What you do is create engaging content that is sharable, interesting, or that sells a product to someone that needs and wants it. If you can do that, then not only are you in demand to do it for other people, but people will want to learn how to do it from you.

And it makes money for you while you are out in the gas plant connecting electrical wiring for exhaust fans up north in -30 freezing your butt off.

How To “Consistently” Make Money Writing

Getting Paid – Regardless of which path you take as a writer, it always comes down to getting someone to buy your work. This, of course, requires customers. If you are writing to make money then you need the most predictable way to find customers that want what you are providing.

For me, this has now become a “Marketing as if your life depended on it” situation. I am 42 and there is only so much youthful life left. I don’t want to be out in freezing weather, sitting on steel beams any more. You’re reading this because you need to figure out how to make money writing, so I’ll assume you are of the same mindset. You must do what is required, and not what you want, in order to pay off your debt and get to the point of being a full-time writer with physical and financial freedom.

The Goal: To live the ultimate self-reliant, enjoyable and free lifestyle.

Writing Specifically For Money And Not Pleasure (no pleaure at all…)

Upwork is a mixed bag. I tried it and got more work than I could handle, it just didn’t pay that well. I’ve since stopped being active there but maintain a profile for visibility. The great part about Upwork was I went through a process… THE process of querying a job, winning the bid, doing the work, getting a 5 start referral and getting paid.

It’s like graduating from writing for money school. You check all the boxes and are now ready to step out to the real world. The processes are the same, but now it’s for the real money.

The methods I chose were the most reliable methods for myself. The ones I consistently did to make money writing.

My 4 Methods Of Getting Writing Clients:

  • Upwork
  • LinkedIn Connections
  • Content Marketing
  • SEO

Lets look at each of the options and my experience with them…

How To Make Money Writing Online Using Upwork

How To Get Freelance Writing Jobs For Beginners Using UpworkThe day I was laid off from my job (the first layoff of 3 layoffs) as an apprentice electrician I decided to really crack the code on how to get freelance writing jobs for beginners. I had time on my hands so I started with how to get work on upwork. Long story short, I built a business on Upwork but decided that freelancing on my own is better (read on to learn why.)

Why Upwork? If there is low hanging fruit, I’ll eat it. At the time it was the only thing that got me copywriting clients on repeat. I put a resume on Indeed for new clients.

I’ve been copywriting for my own business since 2002 but when I lost the day job and experienced a huge dent into my income I decided to go all in on this freelance writing business.

I like making money with words. So I applied myself more to what I enjoyed doing, than what I didn’t.

The goal was to make a minimum of $40,000 that year from copywriting. I did not succeed, but you will be able to skip my mistakes and take action on only what DID work, and save yourself some time.

First thing my brain did was go into damage control. I had been doing research on how to get work on Upwork for a while and thought, “Well, it’s now or never.”

I purchased two books from Bob Bly that I used to increase my offline copywriting clients. These books were:

Setting Rates As A Beginner Writer

I’ve been blogging since 2002, so I had writing experience. It just wasn’t specific to freelance writing and getting paid.

I decided that with a little specific study into copywriting and writing white papers, perhaps I could be a third as good as Bob Bly.

So I copied out his rate sheet (price schedule) and then divided everything by three. Those were my rates.

This helps immensely when you bid on a project or someone offers you a job. Just stick to your guns and turn down any freelance writing jobs if they don’t match or exceed your rates. Unless you don’t have a single job yet. If that’s the case, you need to get at least a few so you can afford Mac and Cheese.

Freelance Writing Jobs For Beginners On Upwork

I was on the verge of buying a $475 Upwork course taught by someone when I first started out. I thought it would show me how to get work on Upwork faster. I held back on pulling the trigger because they never responded to my email or when I tweeted them a question. Both were a response to a question they asked in their newsletter welcome email. It must have been an automated tweet and autoresponder.

Lesson 1: As a self-employed business owner, do what you say you will and do it when you say you will. This will put you ahead of the hucksters and fly by night people. You will eventually stand above the crowd by standing on the shoulders of this one principle.

I also noticed after the initial launch of their Upwork course, they stopped doing podcasts and new articles on their blog. It’s a good thing I didn’t buy the Upwork course right away. I would have mourned that loss of cash as the layoff went on for months.

Because of this, everything I will share with you are free things I learned online.

I’m Sharing This How To Get Work On Upwork Journal For A Couple Of Reasons:

  • To keep track of what works and what doesn’t as I try different things. I can forget sometimes that I’ve already cracked a code… only to realize later that I already knew it.
  • I’m pretty pissed about all the people that say they know how to get work on Upwork and I can’t separate the fact from the fiction. I really want to find out the truth about how to make money on Upwork
  • You may be in the same situation. If so I hope this helps you short cut the process so you can feed your family.
  • I consider it my #1 task/mission to write my way out of debt as a freelancer and leave the 9-5 grind. Then show others how to live free as well.

How I Started On Upwork Doing Copywriting

My first client was right after I opened an account. I had my friend hire me through Upwork to do a simple email opt in form on their anti-aging spa website. I did this instead of having them pay me personally. It was worth the hassle just to get on the Upwork client radar and get a review in the system.

For my Upwork profile, I looked at my best selling fat loss program’s salespage and pulled that to display as proof of my copywriting ability.

Next thing I knew, I was invited to a job by a non-profit organization to design a landing page, lead magnet and series of follow up emails. I did the work and then the client went silent and wouldn’t respond to any communication. After enough time, the Upwork default payment protection kicked in and I was paid out by Upwork automatically. (Coincidently as I write this over a month later from getting the initial job, the client messaged and wants to talk. There was a family emergency on their end.)

I was over the moon and couldn’t figure out why everyone thought this Upwork thing was so hard. I decided to tweak my profile and see if I could attract even more clients… and I heard crickets. I didn’t get a new job until a month later.

Getting More Freelance Writing Jobs For Beginners: The Action Plan

I was doing a couple of proposals a day and wasn’t hearing back from anyone. So I tweaked my profile again and kept submitting proposals. Finally, I heard back from someone to edit and smooth out their “About Page” for them. I completed the work on Upwork, did some edits in response to their messages and returned the final work. I waited on them to read over my completed work and release the payment.

While waiting, I fired out as many proposals as I could. At the end of the day, after 8 hours of working on proposals, I completed TWO. That shows you how long I took on each and the quality I put into them. Looking around at other posts, I realized this was not nearly enough. If that was the case, I realized proposals take a lot of time which is better off spent doing other forms of marketing to get clients.

What You Should Do To Get Freelance Writing Jobs On Upwork

Instead of wasting time with a lot of proposals, I suggest:

  • Filling out your profile 100% with examples of your best work
  • Have 3-4 examples of what you do best in your portfolio
  • Have a half decent headshot.
  • Make sure you include the keywords of what you are good at in your title and profile. The Upwork search engine will display this in a list of “specific freelancers” to clients searching for what they need.
  • This is all I did to get jobs. It was all the strength of my profile and invitations to work. A very small amount of work came in due to proposals and it was not worth the time spent writing them.

Upwork Update January 31 2017 I believe I started looking for freelance writing jobs in September of 2016.  That’s when I set up my Upwork profile. Writing this four months later. I just received Top Rated Status as a freelance writer on Upwork. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t proud of this. I also received an email from a past client that has more work for me again. Looks like Upwork is one side hustle that is paying off for me.

Setting Rates On Freelance Writing Jobs For Beginners

One important note here on setting your rates on freelance writing jobs for beginners. I took a second look at my rates when this client came back because of the excellent job I did. Instead of blindly using a third of Bob Bly’s rates, I looked at my time carefully. I made $27/hour as an electrician at the time. When I get an electrician job again there would be no point in writing if it didn’t make the same amount. If writing made less, I’d be better off doing electrician overtime work if I wanted to get out of debt quicker.

At any rate, the clients job was a very technical white paper. I needed at least 4-7 days to research and then write. Multiplying 4 days x 8 hours x $27/hour I came up with $864. Holding my breath I quoted $750. The first white paper freelance writing job I did was $450.

As simple as that, I gave myself my first raise.

Choosing Freelance Writing Jobs For Beginners: Be Picky

I don’t take low paying freelance jobs anymore at 4 months in. If I get a weird vibe from a job invitation I simply decline it. This allowed me to work less but make the same money. I was also able to work with high quality clientele instead of bargain shoppers. The thing about bargain shoppers on Upwork is that they usually offer no concrete parameters to work with, pay a low rate, then expect a lot of revisions.

How does that differ from a good quality copywriting client?

A good copywriting client on Upwork has a specific job for you and a result that they want from it. For example, “I need a health and fitness sales page to sell *this* product to *this* audience and I need it by Tuesday. Can you do that for $1200?” That would be an easy client.

A bad freelancing client is vague despite your attempts at getting clarification of expectations. The thing about Upwork is that if you get a bad client right off the bat who gives you a low star rating, it will affect you for a long time. It pays to be choosy about what jobs you take on there.

Pulling The Plug On Upwork

Update: 13th November 2017
I’m all done with upwork now. Nothing drastic happened but I feel it is much better to be 100% control of my freelance writing business then worry about Upwork policy changes. A good example would be how they can change the commission they take from your work.

I built a business that relied on Google Adsense years ago and I heeded the lessons learned there. You should not build a business that can be wiped out overnight by someone else making a decision. It is better to put in the legwork and do all the accounting, sales and marketing and customer relations yourself if you want to run a real freelance writing business.

If you take 100% responsibility you also keep 100% of the money and don’t have to pay out 20% of it to upwork. If you desire, you can pass these savings onto long term clients as thank yous.

SEO And Content Marketing

SEO is trying to be pretty enough at the dance to get asked onto the floor. While warm emails are “Working the wall” and asking everyone that makes eye contact, if they’d like to dance.

If you can take the “No’s” you’ll end up with a lot more “Yes’s.”

To predictably get clients you must be proactive. A pretty website sitting in the nether space of the Internet is hoping at best. It worked ten years ago, but now the competition is fierce. Although you can’t ignore SEO for getting clients, it’s not the controlled way of scaling up your business.

So if SEO is just icing… what’s next?

Using LinkedIn And Cold Calling Prospects

My plan in a nutshell? Actively go out and make connections on LinkedIn with companies I would like to work with. Build a connection with them and then pitch my service/ideas to the places I want to work. Be able to withstand the emotions of ten rejections to every single yes. Go get my 100 rejections as fast as possible. Do this continuously until I have 10 long-term clients. Then get their referrals. Also use the testimonials and clips and put them in my author/copywriter website to build even more business through my own content marketing.

The Result? I contacted hundreds of people through email and phoned a hundred local specific businesses as well. I came up dry. If I’m honest, I didn’t really want to write for other people. It’s just what I thought I had to do. But if I hated doing that… then why shouldn’t I just hate something that paid more and keep the writing for my joy.

For now, I continue to write about things I like and make some money with my Amazon books. The reality is I make more in a day as an electrician then I do all month as an author online.


Next Steps: On Becoming A Better Writer – this is where I start to get my shit together and found out where I was going wrong. It’s a journal of activities. Don’t expect much.

Cullers War Fan Page Monthly Free Read And Podcast

Welcome To The Monthly Pulp Fiction Free Read.

Do you like action, adventure, and mayhem? How about a post-apocalyptic wasteland with soldiers protecting walled cities from radioactive creepy crawlies?

Cool. Me too but you’ll have to supply your own heavy metal soundtrack. I’ve got Judas Priest playing over here.

Anyway… you can get all of the above with the FREE monthly adventure podcasts and kindle downloads. Think old time radio and pulp fiction. You can get it all here on this page by clicking the link at the end of this article.

I hope to see you around here more often and here’s a little about the series below…

-Ray Burton

Rise From The Ashes Newsletter
Weekly fitness tips and training discoveries sent to you in an entertaining short story.
I am not a robot

The Barrens is a vicious post-apocalyptic wasteland where battles rage between Union Forces and a mutant Hoard army. It’s a dystopian world where you must choose between the safety and rules of living inside the wall, or the danger and chaos of the freedom outside.
Continue reading

What Is Self-Reliance And Why It Matters

self-reliance and my thoughts on emerson
Excerpts and thoughts on self-reliance and what they mean to me. Starting with Emerson and adding as I go. As I read and re-read different essays and passages from the past, I will edit them and makes notes on what affects me most. You can sense the great messages in writing from the past, yet some of it gets lost in the older language used. As I go through this and understand the deep messages, I’ll put them into easier to understand vocabulary.
Continue reading

How To Use Goal Setting Theory For Your Best Year Ever

goal setting theory - monks destroy goal mandalaMost goal setting theory guides say to form a life long, 25 year plan. Then work your goals back from there to do what you should right now. I don’t agree.

I’ve been there and tried that. The problem is that you truly don’t know the person you want to be in 25 years. You think you do. If you are living life fully, you never know what experience might turn all your best-laid plans on their ears!

14 years ago I was in the Canadian infantry and my goal was to become a sniper, crawl around in the jungles of panama and save the world. Now I’m writing to make a living. How does that work?

Life has a habit of changing. That means you and your goals will too. Why do you think there are so many divorces? People grow, they evolve and they become new creatures. Sometimes they turn into creatures that just don’t see eye to eye on things anymore. Their goals and expectations for life change.
Continue reading

Surviving Debt – Preppers Forget Economic Self-sufficiency

Economic Self-sufficiency And Surving Debt For PreppersI’ve always been into prepping. From setting traps and tying knots as a kid, to my days in the Canadian Infantry. I’ve always invested in skills rather than stockpiles. But one day I realize the biggest threat facing me was surviving debt and increasing my economic self-sufficiency. … and I needed to fix it fast.

No more debt became my battle cry.

Surviving Debt and Economic Self-sufficiency to protect familyThe thing about surviving debt is that its a slinky and sneaky enemy. It’s a covert ops kind of threat to you.

See, it’s sexy to load up on .45ACP and argue about if it will be a flood or nuclear winter that will take everyone out. It’s not so sexy to suggest simple budgeting or developing self-sufficiency skills to get your ass out of debt.
Continue reading

Happiness Can Be Found In The Darkest Of Times

This is a conquest of happiness blog at the coreAt the root of everything I write, this has become a conquest of happiness blog. All the goals we chase in life and all the things we pursue – have happiness as the seed of inception. These summary notes are the thoughts generated by reading books, listening to audio’s and putting one foot in front of the other.

Sitting on the side of a mountain, a boy and his father were on a bowhunting trip when a scene unfolded in the valley below.
The father pointed, “Do you see the wolves eating the deer from the rear up?
The boy watched fighting the desire to pull his eyes away, “Yes.”
“Do you know why they do that?”
“No, dad.”
“Do you think it is to let him enjoy life a little longer before they have to kill him? Maybe because they are sorry they are killing him?”
The boy watched the deer’s hind quarters crumble under it’s own weight.
“I don’t know,” the boy said looking away.
The father lit a cigarette, “They are keeping him barely alive so the meat stays fresh longer.”
The boy crunched his eyebrows and looked at his dad, “Is that why the factory gives us the weekends off?”
Continue reading

How To Prepare For A Bodybuilding Competition

bodybuilding competition preparation bookHow To Prepare For A Bodybuilding Competition is the guide I wrote for winning my second show after losing my first bodybuilding competition.

Let’s get started…

What in the world were you thinking? Do you really want to spend twelve weeks starving yourself and going through every mental twist and turn of pre contest prep for your first bodybuilding competition? The only reward being to get a pat on the back or a silly little trophy? Continue reading