Amazon Self Publishing Vs Self Publishing Companies And How To Self Publish A Book – Authors In Chains Ep2

Authors In Chains - Amazon Self PublishingIn episode 2 of the Authors In Chains Podcast we cover “Amazon self Publishing Vs Self Publishing Companies And How To Self Publish A Book.”

Raymond Bayly self publishes through amazon and puts out softcovers. Robert Davies has gone with an indie publisher, so what are the perks of that? Ray Burton hasn’t got a clue other than uploading a doc to make an ebook version. JRR is in the process and looking at options. Let learn about self-publishing.

What follows are my notes, what I’ll be taking action on and of course – the podcast. You can also always get a copy of the podcast on the main site for us four monkeys at

Here are each of our twitter handles:
J.R.Rioux @JRRioux_Author
Raymond Bayly @raymondbayly
Robert Davies @rcdaviesbooks
Me – Ray Burton @RayBurton

Twitter For Authors – Authors In Chains Podcast #1

Authors In Chains - Twitter For AuthorsListen as Ray Bayly, Rob Davies, Ray Burton and J.R. Rioux discuss Twitter for authors. We talk about followers, analytics and motivations for authors to use twitter as well as tips for success and statistics on hash tagging and more.

Writer accounts seem to end up being writers following writers but does it actually reach readers and increase the bottom line? Does it put money in your pocket or is it a waste of time besides being fun?

What follows are my notes, what I’ll be taking action on and of course – the podcast. You can also always get a copy of the podcast on the main site for us four monkeys at

Here are each of our twitter handles:
J.R.Rioux @JRRioux_Author
Raymond Bayly @raymondbayly
Robert Davies @rcdaviesbooks
Me – Ray Burton @RayBurton

This is the only book I’ve ever bought of twitter based on marketing: The book collapse – Collapse (New America-Book One) by Richard A Stephenson @StephensonRATX

Evan – The Last Librarian on Twitter (@FromTheWastes)- Reads a lot of post-apocalyptic books. Gives great advice if you are looking for something to read.

We also go over tips and tricks on reaching readers outside the writing community and the magic of twitter analytics.

Now if Twitter doesn’t increase the bottom line for you, is there any reason to bother with Twitter other than fun?

Some would say because publishers want to see that you have a platform before they consider taking your books. Which begs the question, “Do publishers have anything to offer you that you can’t get by self-publishing?”

We tackle that.

Do you know what the prime time for tweeting is? Apparently it’s 12-6 PM. Is there a way to automate that? Yup.

The Hashtag websites mentioned: RiteTag and Hashtagify

I’ll add more notes as on what I am personally putting into practice and the results I get from them. Update: You can see how I feel about twitter marketing for authors in my response to Evan below.

This has been a big step forward for me in my story of becoming a writer. Getting to know others in the self-publishing industry is a cool thing and can help you learn things faster.

Any questions about this podcast or suggestions for what to cover next?

Podcast Player and Itunes Podcast Link is After The Newsletter Signup Below

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.
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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.
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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.
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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?”
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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.

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

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

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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

Just The Facts About Fitness Newsletter
My top 10 tips, tricks and training advice hacks each month. Plus - newsletter subscribers get my newest books/courses for 50% off during the first 24 hours of release – sign-up here to join.
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.
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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.
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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.
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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?”
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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

How To Lose Arm Fat Fast

lose arm fatIf you want to know how to lose arm fat fast, this is how to do it. A nice lean set of arms will naturally happen as your overall fitness improves, but there is one specific exercise for flabby arms that I want to share today. This exercise, along with reducing overall body fat, will bring those arms into super shape and make you look forward to going sleeveless.
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The Man Who Chases Two Rabbits Catches None The Power Of Intention

I’ll never forget the day Grandpa told me, “The Man Who Chases Two Rabbits Catches None.” I was feeling lost and pulled in many directions. I had to learn how to focus my power of intention and figure out what I wanted. I jumped from one shiny object to the next. I was getting older and felt like I was running out of time. I was stuck.

So I took a trip out to the cabin and visited Grandpa… here is the 1st rough draft of that visit.

“Do you regret all the time you spent doing other things?” I asked seeing he was watching a movie in his mind.

“That’s a tough one. I mean it would have been great to have committed to something earlier but I don’t know that I would have known what to commit to. It took all those garbage experiences and happenstance bits of knowledge to get to this place.” He said waving around at the cabin. “Early on I didn’t even know that writing was an option. I’m glad I jumped ship once I knew though.”

He looked over at the bookcase and then to me. “They say one of the greatest mistakes in life is to spend your whole life fishing only to discover that is was not fish you were after. Better to find out what you’re about when you have some time left. Not when you’re laying on your death bed.”

He took a sip of tea, and mumbled, “Two rabbits.” Then looked out the window for a minute and continued.

“If you don’t focus on whats important in your life, then someone else will. I remember when I first got back into fitness after a long run working up north. Life had gotten out of balance for me and I shoved fitness aside because I was so beat up at the end of the day. All I wanted was a meal and the bed.”

I could see his face change as his mind drifted deep into the memory.

Then his focus came back. “Anyway, I decided to get my lower body mobility back. I was in a lot of pain. I could barely walk. So I concentrated all my efforts on a 30 minute a day squat challenge. I spent 30 minutes total by the end of the day stretching in the bottom of the squat position. It took me almost three weeks before I managed to accumulate a 20 minute day. This was because of several things. Chores to do. The place I was in seemed embarrassing to squat. The pain in my knees and hips. The list goes on but the main issue was me. I didn’t use the power of intention on this thing that was important to me. I let the outside world and it’s distractions take more importance. But when I learned to focus, my lower body turned back the clock and I moved without pain again.”

He smiled pleased with himself and looked at me to see what I thought. I said, “That’s kind of one of the things that worries me. That whole thing about trying to catch fish, then realizing your don’t care. I don’t want to run out of time and realize things on my death bed.”

“Worrying about running out of time is not all bad Ray. As long as you don’t let the stress get the better of you. A little fire under your butt and an appreciation of our limited time on this planet is a good thing. Things in limited quantity are precious.”

“I like that,” I said. “If it weren’t for death. Our time wouldn’t seem so precious.”

“If you are unsure of what you want to commit your life to, center it around the thing you do in your spare time. Later you can see what is at the core of your hobbies that you enjoy so much. For me and physical training, I realized it was the freedom in the movement I gained. The freedom of doing something on my own that rewarded me for applied correct effort. These are things that later I found in writing as well. Physical freedom to do the work where I wanted and to do it on my own and write my own check based on my own effort. If you have an interest in anything, use your power of intention. Focus and concentrate. Stick with it until you are good enough to get paid for it. It matters. It’s the only way you’ll be happy during the process of getting good. After people start paying you then you better like it. It’s become your job. You’ll spend 40 hours a week for the rest of your life doing it. Decide to quit jumping around when things get boring or a little discouraging. So many rabbits. Stick with the thing you know you like through the hard stuff.”

I nodded. “I’ve never had a clue what I was supposed to do when I grew up. And now I’m growed up.”

“Like I said, these things work themselves out over time. Like trying to hit a target at an unknown distance. You fire and adjust based on your results. You can go ahead and keep your options open but all you end up with is a lot of options and no sense of purpose. No real value to yourself or the world. Not like the guy that has been wrenching on motorcycles his whole life. Everyone knows he’s the go to guy when you need that job done right.”

I knew a guy that wrenched on motorcycles down the alley like that. “So the more specific I can get over time and through experience the better?”

“Yes. Some say that general knowledge is better. I disagree. Vagueness waters down not only emotion but also the application of available effort.
 It’s the same with hoping, wishing and wanting without taking action. It’s all weak… undedicated… a limp handshake with yourself.”

I scrunched up my face.

“You don’t agree,” Granpa said.

“No. I do agree. It’s just the limp handshake thing hit close to home.”

“Good. Helpful truths always bear the sting of disinfection. You need to be specific about the goal. Not because you want to plan out step by step how you are going to make it happen or anything like that. Some things people have done in this world are step-by-step, but your desires will be unique. A unique dream is going to require a unique approach. This means , you won’t know how you are going to achieve your dream. This is why you must use the power of intention and focus on achieving your dream only. So you can let your gut show you the right steps to take and at the right times.”

He lost me a little bit there so I spoke up. “So I take focused actions, measure the results and change action based on that?”

“Kind of. Measure your progress towards your goals, sure. But you can’t control the timeline to achievement, only your actions. Do more of what works and drop what doesn’t. Eventually, you will be doing so many things correctly that the goal will come. You must only entertain ideas of the goal being complete. Then take the actions that present themselves. You cannot measure the things that matter in life. Things like happiness, family, relationships, quality of life. These are states. Not facts and figures. Understand?”

“It seems like a lot to keep track of,” I answered.”Do I track major goals in each area of my life?”

“No, that’s too much to handle. Pick two or three of the biggest areas you are unhappy with and strive for the best you can imagine in each.”

“Explain please,” I asked.

“I used to make spiritual goals, financial goals, physical goals and relationship goals. I made 1,3, 10-year plans. Some of them I made happen and some of them I didn’t. I was modeling how the experts told me to set goals. Goals are what you think will bring you happiness. Which is what everyone wants. Happiness. And the funny thing about happiness is that what makes you happy changes as you age. When I was younger I only wanted to crawl through the jungles of Panama and be the next Rambo. Now I want more time sitting in the yard with the wife and cat. The thing is, you’re happy when you are making progress on an area of your life that sucks.”

I sucked in air like a vacuum cleaner. “I can tell you right now the things that suck the most in my life.”

Think about the words, “Healthy, fit, sexy body.” Only think of them as words on a page as if you just wrote down your goals. Now sit back and think, no make that dream, of you standing on a beach feeling sexy, healthy and fit. Do it,” he said waving his hand at my face. “Hold that image in your mind with your eyes closed for a minute or two.”

The corners of my mouth started to rise with my eyebrows.

“You like, huh?”

I nodded.

“There is a difference isn’t there? That’s the difference between simply setting goals the old fashioned way or using the power of imagery. Do that a couple of times a day to motivate yourself to take the actions that are needed to become that dream.”

That made sense to me because I was excited about the image I had created. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about where to get a gym membership.

Grandpa continued. “We think in pictures. Not words. Writing is a weak form of communication. Speech is even worse. I pull up my mental pictures anytime I lack motivation and it’s also how I fall asleep at night. I fall asleep with the awesome feeling of living my dream. I see my beautiful wife smiling at me, I see my two dirt bikes parked next to my jacked up chevy blazer. I smile to myself as I look at the property in the mountains with a river running through it. Of course that’s only the summer because in the winter I have a mexico dream…”

Remember those dirt bikes I mentioned? I know what they sound like, I know what 2 stroke motor oil mixed with gasoline smells like. I’ve seen the jacked up blazer in black, I went and looked at it long ago and I own one now.

It’s not about the law of attraction making something magically show up on your doorstep. It’s about telling the software in your brain what it is you’re trying to achieve so that in every choice you encounter on a daily basis, you make the one that course corrects towards your mental picture. If you feel anxious, your gut’s probably telling you to take the other option.

“Early on I realized I was great at wanting things; but practically incapable of getting what it was I wanted. Think about it. So many times I decided on a course of action and simply didn’t follow through with it. It took a long time for me to realize that if something was important to me and I didn’t have it yet, then what I needed was focus. Narrowed thought and energy of will.

Now it sounds simple in theory but theres two things to combat. Your mind and the will of others. You must be selfish with your time. You cannot let the agenda’s of others lives or desires distract from the outcomes of your life. Until you know a process like the back of your hand you cannot handle outside stimulus from outside sources. You will lose focus on your main objective and your flow gets disturbed.

***Example: Cats and driving.

Everyday you are going to run into distractions. Go back to your dream. Make sure you know what path you are on by spending the last five minutes of every day before bed, dreaming that you ARE what you want to become. Feelings, smells, tastes.. everything. You’re subconscious will put together some steps, actions, situations for you to play out the next day. Do them.

You choose, for example, a certain aim in life. You decide to become the inventor of something never achieved. This choice from here on determines two things for you. First, it determines just which of the sensory experiences of any given moment are most likely to be selected for your conscious perception. Secondly, it determines just which of your past experiences will be most likely to be recalled.

From the instant that you make such a choice you are on the alert for facts relevant to the subject of your ambition. Your attention will be zoned in on finding these bits of info . They are presented to your consciousness with greater precision and clearness than other facts. All facts that help you in creating that invention, will from here on out, cluster and cling to your conscious memory like iron filings to a magnet. Anything that isn’t important to this main pursuit you have chosen gets shoved to the background and gets little of your conscious attention if any at all.

All the wealth of your past experience is still yours—a concrete part of your personality. All that is required to make it available for your present use is a sufficient concentration of your attention, a concentration of attention that focuses persistently and exclusively on only the actualization of your biggest dream and passion.

Are you starting to see the importance of desire and specific focus on the attainment of your dreams?
If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.

“Where I had huge success, I had narrowed my concentration to one thing, and where my success varied, my focus had too… and the light came on”

“You need to be doing fewer thing for more effect instead of doing more thing with side effects.”

“So when you think about success, think about dominoes. If you focus prioritize everything and put all of your energy into accomplishing the next most important thing. Hit the first domino and bigger ones will fall behind it. You do the right thing and then the next right thing”

“It applies to the smallest moments of the day when you’re trying to decide what to do next”
Putting effort into pushing two dominos makes you weak and they may not fall. Push one thing with all your strength.

“When you see someone who has a lot of knowledge, they learned it over time. When you see someone who has a lot of skills, they developed them over time. When you see someone who has done a lot, they accomplished it over time. When you see someone who has a lot of money, they earned it over time… 98% of the time. Sometimes you only see the last 15 minutes of their life movie special and assume it was an overnight success… but 98% of the time, there was years of preparation for that one shot that pushed the big domino.

Discipline can be defined as training to improve strength or self-control . Discipline is important if you ever want to reach your goals. In the up and coming generations, things want to be acquired now. It’s my belief however that if it is VERY hard to discipline yourself to do something a certain way, it may be that there is another way or method you should be pursuing in order to bring about the same result. That, or your dream isn’t amazing enough to really stoke your fires.

Keep in mind that if you could wave a wand and instantly get the body you desired or all the money you wanted, you would be missing out on the greatest benefit of pursuing any challenge. The skill of discipline, patience and self-discovery.

Your motivation and dedication levels are directly linked to how important your dream is to you. If you feel your dream is important enough, the motivation will take care of itself. You must have a set purpose in life, and you must give your powers without hesitation, obstruction and without reservation to the accomplishment of that set purpose.

You. Must. Focus. If you do not, your life will drip away slowly and pathetically like drops of blood from a limp, apathetic, slit wrist.

What I have come to understand is that many people are smart enough to know what needs to be done to move toward their best lives, the knowledge is out there everywhere for just about every conceivable pursuit. What I also understand now thanks to my experience with others that want to achieve something worthwhile is that knowledge is not what makes us succeed or fail most time. It’s putting that knowledge into practice. So if people know what needs to be done to move confidently towards their goals, why are they not doing it?

I feel one reason people don’t put 100% effort into their dreams is that its easier to stay where you are now and enjoy your bad habits than it is to put in the effort on a trip to your dreamland if your not 100% sure that this map will even get you there. You just have to realize that even though the map may be wrong, you won’t get anywhere if you don’t start walking. More than likely, you’ll meet someone on the way that can help you out with a little advice.

I know you run into obstacles, every one does. It’s normal to hit obstacles. It’s practically mandatory. So, the deal is, stop using obstacles as a roadblock and learn from them. Add them to your arsenal of things you know how to solve.

Some times you just cant get over a wall.. you go through it.

You have to drop the story line in your head that says you are anything other than what you really want to be. Its time to get tough and take possession of the results you cause in your life.

When I was in my thirties, I thought strength was key. What I was actually looking for was some sort of control in all the chaos. When I was a working soldier or making a career as an electrician. No control. But as I pursued strength I realized it was expensive to maintain. So much protein and eating. So much food and more weight always required. Then one day I noticed I could not do the simple things that untrained old people in other countries do while I was on tour of duty. I saw old ladies sit in a full squat and roast coffee beans for long periods of time. I saw old men lower themselves on one leg to the ground below from stair less houses and leap over rivers. These were people that ate once or twice a day or sometimes not at all and I realized I had so much going on outside my body with eating, supplements, bars and weights that I could close my circle and master my self before I had to waste time on procuring skills that were externally and internally expensive. It still took me ten more years and more loss of mobility to realize that I wanted more than anything to enjoy the full use of what my body was capable of on a daily basis. I wanted to kneel, jump, rest in a squat, run and sprint like an animal. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to square away everything with myself. I wanted to strip away everything that wasted time on things I didn’t want and I wanted to focus all my time on learning through reading and recording it through writing so I could constantly remind myself what I knew during moments of clarity. That one of the best hobbies I could have was to move freely and bodyweight mastery is a life time pursuit, a passion I could grow old with. That’s why you see the chinup bars, dip bars and other things like ropes around here. Another thing was that as my circle of interest closed in, I realized it should go even tighter. That even inside trying to master my body, that spending time on too many movements meant that none of them ever got the focus and attention required to see their full potential. Hunters say that when you chase two rabbits, you don’t get any. It’s true. Even a pack of wolves zone in on one animal and relentlessly chase it down until it gives up it’s treasure.

Think about that when you go to school and take subjects your not interested in.

That was electrical school for me. I sat there in school learning something I thought would get me where I wanted to go but really had no interest in. The information was a force feed. I kept shoving it in and trying to keep it down but it wouldn’t stay. Two days later my brain had long vomited it out and I couldn’t remember any of it. But when it comes to random facts about animals or biology, I remember stuff from when I was a kid and never forget it.

“That’s exactly why I think it’s important to get into a career you are at least interested in. It makes the learning more of a feast than a force feed. You suck it all up and retain more of it and that makes you good at what you do which gives you a sense of pride.”

Stop learning about things you have no interest in and start doing something with what you know and make your knowledge grow from that kernal.

The smaller you can get your circles the more focused your mind can be on you and your happiness. The bigger and more circles there are, the less mental energy can go to each.

The best thing you can do right now is anything – take action. Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could. You know so much already. More information is not the answer. Act 1% on what you know, then feel free to look deeper.

Go over things ten times if it’s worth learning before you move on. Then once deep knowledge is acquired, look for more information to absorb.

When say go over each book ten times, I really mean it. Knowing things is knowledge but putting them into use is wisdom and that takes a deep and automatic knowledge of the subject.

Knowing the information is not enough. I used to have all sorts of weight lifting, mobility and stretching books. I had stacks of yoga videos. I went through it all and one day realized it still hurt to move my body. I lacked the focus and wisdom to put all that knowledge into action. To simply start putting my body through those motions that were required.

So what I’m saying is make your life into smaller circles. Get rid of the extra distractions.
“Like my social media?”

“Yes, like your social media. I tried all that stuff when I launched my book a few years ago and found out how thin it spreads your attention. I had to get rid of it. It’s too addictive and sucks too much time.

With Facebook gone, I think about life. Without Instagram, you enjoy moments and realize what truly makes you happy instead of snapping a picture and moving on. Without Twitter, you have an extra five minutes to prepare your lunch instead of spending money eating out, or five minutes to simply think and remember that you had something important to do that day.

At first I wrote these things in my phone, on the notepad app. Phones are handy for a lot of things but I realized I ended up with tons of these little digital notes in my phone and when I looked over them I would get lost in them and still have no concrete action plan. So then I got an actual notebook and flash cards. I write bigger vauge thoughts in the hardcover journel you see over there. That’s a morning and night thing and the flash cards contain the real mind benders of ideas that I want to keep hold of and not forget. Of all the flash cards floating around I have one master card. It’s my focus card and it holds only the three most important actionable things I’m working on.

He pulled the card out his pocket.

“I keep this on my everywhere. I’m never without it.”

He flicked the corner of the card like he held the secrets of the universe.
“This is ground zero for me. When something interesting pulls me in a direction, I ask if moves me closer or further towards whats on this card.”

I wanted to know what was on that card. In thruth it would be the deepest desires and most important things to my grandfather. Rarely would you ever get to know a man that deeply. Grandpa lifted a butt cheek and slid it back into his rear jeans pocket.

I couldn’t resist, “What’s on the card?”

“Doesn’t matter. What matters is that you decide when you are most happy and then write what you need to do to increase that area of your life.”

“I think it does matter a little Granpa. I’d like to know what is so important to you that you would obsess about it by carrying a card with you everywhere.”

“Obsession is what the unfocused see. The card is about focus. Even if it was obsession, what’s wrong with being obseesssed, fully consumed by something that deeply interests you. It’s that or floating around like a speck of dust on the wind. At the mercy of the lightest puff, going nowhere, going anywhere, hoping for the best. Nah. That’s not my bag. I want to be warm, I build a fire, which means I need to chop wood, so I need to sharpen the axe. Something on my card might be as simple as “enjoy the day” and that’s why someone might see me sharpening an axe. So that evening I can have a fire. Small steps lead to the big important stuff and the big important stuff is players choice.”

“There’s so many things I want, I don’t think I could fit them all on one little card.”

“That’s kind of the point. Most people can’t multitask their lives. You have to DECIDE what’s important to you and make it happen. That means a small list. Sharpshooter style.”

“Zone in and nail it with one shot.”

“Absolutley not. You need to take shots, see where you hit, adjust for windage and elevation and then try again. You could try several times before you hit the mark.”

“That’s not how it goes in the movies.”

“That’s why I watch very few movies,” he laughed.

“My wife always says I’m a water baby because I like the tub so much. Most people think why take a tub when you can shower. Same reason I use a straight blade razor instead of a disposable. It slows you down. Like the sharpshooter I make small adjustments and big adjustments. Every day I think about where I’m going and if what I’m doing is on track but a couple times a week I get in the tub and just let my mind go on the important things. I research, I let my mind work on stuff and reorganize as I stare at the tile wall. It’s amazing how many problems a blank tile can solve.”

“That’s a lot of time thinking. I’d go a little stir crazy I think.”

“It is a lot of time. Probably an hour in the morning and at least that at night but without it I start to feel rushed. Like things are happening to me instead of me directing my life. I realized that a long time ago when I used to wake up to the alarm and 5 minutes later I was out running with the rest of the platoon on morning exercise. It was all a blur until I hit the bed at night and then I’d do it all over again. Running around, taking orders. So reactionary with zero control over my day.”

Before you go to bed at night and every morning as you wake up, outline the general plan of your activities for the day. Select only the important things that are involved in living the life of your dreams. Do not bother with the details.

Think of the logical order for your day’s work. Don’t think so much on how you are going to do things but more of the things you are to do in relation to your ultimate out come. Your dream life. Keep your mind on results not methods. And having made your plan, stick to it. Be your own boss. Don’t let anything tempt you from your set purpose. Make this daily planning a habit and hold to it through life.
You’ll find yourself having synchronistic events and that things will “magically” work out for you.
“Magically? My problem is I keep fizzing out on stuff just when I start to get a little better. It’s like I word hard to fix a problem that’s realling getting me down and then as soon as it’s gets a little better I go off and chase something else. I know I do it and yet I continue to do it. The end result is I never really get awesome at anything.”

“I’m not so sure that’s a problem yet. Usually you’ll run around inside the circles of your interest. Like for me, I’d jump back and forth between bodybuilding, powerlifting, and bodyweight exercises. I’d never really get good at any of it but when you think about it, all of it was physical activity. Now what was it about all those activities that drew me in? The joy of activity and play as an adult. The physicality and improvement.”

My eyes widened. “That’s so true!”

“See, If you are going to succeed, if you’re to do big things, you have to be a trooper. You must keep your eyes trained like a laser beam on the vision of the thing you want. Your dream. You must stay in the race until you get your “second wind.” You must be master of yourself and learn to dig deep into who are and what you are truly capable of.

If this sounds like too much work, don’t start yet. You have no passion for it yet. Its not important enough. The reason, the WHY,is not there. Reevaluate the goal and what it means to you until the outcome of your efforts will be something that you truly desire.

Doing the things that need to be done to get what you want are easy when the thing you want is truly your hearts desire. There is no WORK in pursuing your passion. There is only effort.

There is effort when you bike up a hill. There is effort in gardening. There is effort in everything we do that involves a physical action. We don’t give it a second thought if we enjoy the actions that move us towards our desire.

Make sure you are working in your passion, towards your dreams or you are in for a lot of HARD WORK.
The fact is that to be truly busy in the pursuit of your dreams you must be never be in a hurry. You must work systematically. You must economize effort. You must permit no distractions and do your work leisurely. You must take time to think things over in a natural way. You must work when you work, and you may play when you play.

How much time do you spend in rest and relaxation? How much should you spend? Can you answer these questions accurately? You can if you are working in your passion.
The answers are what ever you want them to be.

There is no work. When you become uninspired you rest. When you are tired, you rest. When you are inspired, you drop everything and act.

You are your passion. Your passion is the core of who you are.

Your work should be a source of pleasure to you. If it is simply a disagreeable task that has to be performed to make the bills then it’s a terrible grind. If you have to force yourself to do it by shear will power… then this will be a long, slow grind and when you finally do achieve something working through all that internal friction, it probably won’t even make you all that happy.

Hold the right thoughts persistently in mind, and you cannot help working steadily on toward the goal you are thinking of. Keep steadily at work with the right thoughts persistently in mind and success is sure to come.

The world has always realized that singleness of purpose, concentration of effort, is essential to success.

I’m sold Grandpa. How do I make this happen?

Here is what you can do now, to make tomorrow better. Its the power of intention mixed with action.

The Man Who Chases Two Rabbits Catches None – The Power Of Intention Summary

There is a lot of talk about the power of intention these days and as well there should be. Intention is the start of all great things. Dr. Wayne Dyer made it famous with his book, and the movie “The secret” is latest proponent of this mental mind set. What needs to be said though, is that the power of intention without action will never grow into anything bigger than the brain cell it came from.

1) Get out of your comfortably uncomfortable zone. You are there because it’s easy to tread water there even though you’d prefer to be caught up in the current of a passion filled life. When you do new things each day, life is filled with a sense of accomplishment. You are creating a space for things to happen in your life. Think about this; if you changed absolutely nothing in your life, would anything different happen? Probably not and if it did, it is not something you consciously invited. If you didn’t create it by doing something different, you have no way of making more of it happen if you liked it. Worse, if you didn’t like the change that came, do you know what to stop doing so that it doesn’t happen again? This makes you passive victim.

2) Do what you can and let the results look after themselves. You can never totally dictate how any set of circumstances will turn out. You can however have control over the actions you take in trying to have a favorable outcome. You will come across this idea in the book “The Four Agreements”. All you can ever do is your very best. Once you do that, the results are out of your hands, so let it go.

3) If something makes you feel “blah”, then change it. Long story short however is that you get one shake at this. If something makes you unhappy, try to change it or you have no right to bring other people down complaining about it. You can change your circumstances or you can continue on the same path. The choice is yours. If you don’t want the most from your life that you can possibly have, that is your personal choice. You CAN have whatever you want however when you intend more and then take action on it.

4) Do what you like over and over. If something makes you happy, do it as much as you can. Make a list of things that really crank you up and do as many of them as you can as often as you can.
When you find a core set of things, see the connecting lines and you’ve found your purpose and passion.
If you spent every day doing things that made you happy, would you be happy? It is a simple question with a simple answer. Sometimes too simple for most to realize and make happen. But you can.

5) Don’t lie to your self. Don’t settle for second best if you want more. Don’t make yourself comfortable in situations that are not your ideal. Don’t spend 20 years in a job you don’t like. Do you really love your job or is that something you tell folks because you cant handle the truth? Are you happy with your partner or are you just scared to lose the little happiness you DO have? Don’t lie to yourself and when the truth surfaces, take action on the answers your soul tells you.

6) Workout. Your body carries around your brain and your soul. A dysfunctional body makes life that much harder to enjoy.

7) Have a high moral code. This code is your code so stick to it. Until your actions are in sink with your beliefs, you will never feel content or at peace with yourself. Other people have their own codes, so don’t be upset when people don’t agree with you in every situation.
An example of this is a smoker who wants to be fit. At their core, fitness is their true desire and every time they have a smoke, that little voice inside starts chirping. That little voice can get really annoying after a while! Until your actions match your true desires, you will feel conflicted inside.

If you’ve been a plumber for 15 years and for 15 years you really wanted to be an electrician… that’s very sad. Nip it in the bud. Is there is a situation, person, feeling or anything else that is getting to you?

Drop everything and deal with it now. Things like this are festering wounds to the mind and get worse with time.

Why would you not deal with this here and now? Probably because you are scared. You feel fear of some sort. Learn to become fearless which really means learn to work regardless of ever present fear. The worst thing that most people can think of that can happen is death. Ever hear a dead person complain? You have to go sometime, might as well do your best to have things the way you like them while you are here.

I have never regretted taking a chance. Mistakes are a part of a well lived life. The only regrets I ever have are missed opportunities to make my life better because I was scared.

You are the main actor in the movie of your life. You write the script. Only you can make the plot something that you are willing to watch each and every day. Intend it and take action.

If you do this, you can be happy and get what you want out of life. BE THAT THING, that you want to be first in your mind, then let go, follow your intuition, do what it tells you, listen to yourself, and you will be happy.

Other people don’t know what you’re cable of, and you know what? Neither do you, not yet. Not until you do your very best, will you know what you can achieve when you truly apply yourself. Outside influencers don’t even matter. People that call you names and make judgements shouldn’t even come onto your radar. Other people can think what they want. That’s not you. Unless you want a life like them, you shouldn’t even waste a breath on lending them your ear and headspace.You are, and can be so much more. You must believe it, before you can achieve it. You have to feel and vibrate the way “that which you want” does. Dream it strong enough so that you believe it and you will start to become it both in vibration and by your outward actions towards it. You’ll do these things because THAT is what you are.
Here’s the shortcut. Be what you are supposed to be instead of trying to be something else. What I mean is if you are trying to achieve something that the world has shown you to be worthy instead of doing what turns you on, you’re in for struggle. BUT, if you keep going with what lights your fire, lots of things that are required to achieve your idea of success will come a lot easier.
Look, a deer doesn’t have to try to be a deer. It IS a deer and so does the things a deer does. There is some learning involved to be a good deer but it will be easier to learn and become good at then if the deer decides that success means being a meat eating trout. That will involve a lot of internal and extrernal struggle. Know yourself.

If you want to be a best selling, financially free musician than you must do what a musician would do. But you must BE what you want and make sure that what you THINK you want is really in fact what you want. You can never become something that does not FEEL right.

I say this because if at your soul, heart level, you feel you are a musician or artist then you will naturally want to create music more often than you will want to ride horses. However, if you want to make money as a musician but would rather be out riding horses most of the time, then you will have to work VERY hard, show LOTS of discipline and FORCE yourself to take the right actions.

When what you want feels right, taking action is already there 90% of the time because you WANT to and so the process becomes a lot easier… and FASTER.

See? Just like one the quotes out of one of my favorite books called Walden. “One of the greatest mistakes in life is to spend your whole life fishing only to discover that is was not fish you were after.

Not to sound dramatic but learning how to focus can change your life. It isn’t easy, but it’s powerful and simple.

People are using the simple, powerful concept of focus to avoid overwhelming distractions in their personal and work lives so they can focus on what matters most.

YOU WANT LESS… You want fewer distractions and less on your plate. The daily barrage of e-mails, texts, tweets, messages, and meetings distract you and stress you out. The simultaneous demands of work and family are taking a toll. And what’s the cost? Second-rate work, missed deadlines, smaller paychecks, fewer promotions—and lots of stress.

Yet, you want more productivity from your work. More income for a better lifestyle. You want more satisfaction from life, and more time for yourself, your family, and your friends.

“If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.”
“Where I had huge success, I had narrowed my concentration to one thing, and where my success varied, my focus had too… and the light came on”
“You need to be doing fewer thing for more effect instead of doing more things with side effects.”
“It applies to the smallest moments of the day when you’re trying to decide what to do next”

Why would you not deal with this here and now? Probably because you are scared. You feel fear of some sort. Get over it. The worst thing that most people can think of that can happen is death. Ever hear a dead person complain? You have to go sometime, might as well do your best to have things the way you like them while you are here.

I have never regretted taking a chance. Mistakes are a part of a well lived life. The only regrets I ever have are missed opportunities to make my life better because I was scared.

You are the main actor in the movie of your life. You write the script. Only you can make the plot something that you are willing to watch each and every day. Intend it and take action.

If you have an example where you have done this even to the smallest degree, please share below and help inspire others to do the same.


Monday Motivation – Get Motivated Using Intrinsic And Extrinsic Motivation

how to get motivated success road signThis guide has everything you need to know about how to get motivated.

So if you want to increase your will power to get in shape or change any area of your life, you’re in the right place.

Keep reading…

I’m a retired soldier and have been a personal trainer for 17 years. Here’s what I know about how to get motivated and develop self-discipline in one 8,000-word (and growing for the book version) article. A lot of different shapes, sizes and types of people were able to get motivated and achieve their goals by using this information.

It wasn’t that way at first though…

Before you continue, remember that learning how to get motivated only gets you in the mood to do things. We have intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation, which are both temperamental and fleeting. Self-discipline will always win the day. And we’ll talk about that.Self-discipline is getting things done, even when you don’t feel motivated.

I believe anyone can learn how to get motivated and accomplish any goal by following these 10 steps

  1. Understanding The Difference Between Self Discipline And Motivation
  2. Motivation Begins With A Desire – Focus
  3. Modeling And Learning
  4. Making A Plan
  5. Stacking Instrinic Motivations For Discipline And Habits
  6. Become The Thing – How To Get Motivated From Dreaming And Visualizing
  7. Never Give Up – Only Modify The Approach
  8. Becomimg Patient
  9. Loving The Work
  10. Expecting Success

If you would prefer to read this on your digital reader, there is a book on the way. I will email subscribers to the newsletter when it’s published. There is an open discussion on how to get motivated set up in the comments after this guide.

A few years back I had great success personal training people that came READY to lose weight and get in shape. The kind of people that needed to know WHAT to do, and how to do it.

Unfortunately, I was only having mediocre success with the others. Those that needed motivation.

My military approach gleaned from my time in the Army was based on people that WANTED to push through. In personal training, these are “easy” people to train. They do what you tell them and are usually the achiever/athlete types.

What I had to learn, was how to motivate those couldn’t push through whatever it was that held them back.

About that time, I also put my gym into the financial hole. I moved into a new location, with too big a lease payment and no business plan. At the time, this was MY biggest personal failure. Now I knew what it felt like to want something, but feel beaten.
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