Carol Tice is the founder of the award-winning Make a Living Writing blog (founded 2008) and Freelance Writers Den paid membership community (founded 2011), which now has 1400 members. She coaches home-based freelance writers on how to grow their income with her proven program, Freelance Writers Den 2X Income Accelerator. Her own freelance business ramped to six figures in the downturn of ‘08-’10. Her freelance clients have included Forbes, Entrepreneur, Seattle Magazine, Delta Sky, Costco, American Express, Deloitte, and many more. She’s the author of 2 print books and 10+ e-books.
- CEO Hack: Staying away from work for some time
- CEO Nugget: Think about where the winners are and align yourself with them
- CEO Defined: Understanding you can't do everything and delegating
Free ebook The Recession-Proof Freelancer: https://www.makealivingwriting.com/recession-proof-freelancer
Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Question mark is values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is I am CEO podcast.
Gresham Harkless 0:29
Hello, hello. Hello, this is Greg from me. I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today of Carol Tice have make a living writing blog. Carol, it's awesome to have you on the show.
Carol Tice 0:39
Hey, thanks for having me.
Gresham Harkless 0:40
No problem. Super excited to have you on and before I jumped in, I want to read a little bit more about Carol so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And Carol is the founder of the award winning make a living writing blog, and freelance writers den paid membership community, which now has over 1400 members. She coaches home based freelance writers on how to grow their income with her proven programs, freelance writers den to x income accelerator, her own freelance writing business ramped to six figures in the downturn of 2008 and 2010. And her freelance clients have included Forbes entrepreneur, Seattle, Seattle magazine, delta, Sky, Costco, American Express, Deloitte, and many, many more. She's the author of two print books and 10 plus ebooks. Kara, are you ready to speak to the imcl community?
Carol Tice 1:24
I'm ready, let's go.
Gresham Harkless 1:25
Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I wanted to hear a little bit more on how you got started. Could you take us through what I call your co story, we'll get started with all the awesome things we're working on.
Carol Tice 1:34
Okay, well, I got into freelance writing by kind of by accident from songwriting, I entered a couple of essay contests that I won. And both of those markets asked me to keep writing for them. And the next thing I knew I was scrambling around taking some UCLA extension courses because back then there wasn't like online learning. And learning how to report mostly on the job. I feel like I'm the last person they let in the door before everyone had to have a j school degree. I just I had 12 years of staff writing jobs kind of I freelanced for about five years, then I had 12 years of separating jobs. And then in 2005, I got back into freelancing. And my blog just kind of grew out of outrage, I saw, I felt discovering the world of content mills and kind of writer exploitation. And, you know, people getting paid $5 to write things, and wanting writers to know how to navigate the sort of emerging online content marketplace and not fall for scams, which there are a lot that target writers not get ripped off, understand where the value clients that good paying clients still were, how to stay out of what I call the underworld of freelance writing the sort of Upwork Fiverr, kind of in content mill world and earn well. And I thought maybe, you know, I'd read a few posts, maybe write an ebook about that and be done. And 1200 posts later and 12 ebooks later, there is still just so much need to learn about how to do freelancing as a business, you know, people come out of the corporate space, and they start writing or designing or something editing, translating, but they don't have any business experience. And I think you and I, having reported a lot on entrepreneurship, and startups and business, small business and stuff, had a unique advantage that we probably went oh, you know, I know what this is. It's a business, I should probably run it like one. But what I learned is that most freelance writers don't do that. They're following their muse. They're writing this and that, oh, someone asked them to write something they say yes, you know, it's just very passive. They're hanging around fiber, bidding on whatever's there, you know, rather than I need to steer this ship in the direction, I want it to go, and I need to do consistent marketing. You know, there is no like little clothing boutique in your town, that you would expect to stay in business if it never did sales or ads in the newspaper or chamber events at the store, or put their name on the little league jerseys or nothing. But freelancers somehow expect to their business to just sort of work by magic and without doing any marketing. So that's kind of what I bring to the table is that marketing discipline?
Gresham Harkless 4:21
I know you touched on a little bit about what we can find on your blog and in your community. Can you drill down a little bit deeper and tell us a little bit more about that and how you serve the clients you work with?
Carol Tice 4:30
Yeah, so the paid community grew out of a couple things. One was that I joined a paid community for blog based business called ailis blogger club that was run by liova bouta from Zen habits and Mary yaks. And as soon as I got into it, I just went, this is amazing. And there needs to be something like this for freelance writers. And there isn't and I started using around creating it and then I went to sob con which was Liz Strauss's successful online business conference, the limit 100 thing in Chicago, years ago places like 2010. She sadly died recently. But I met a huge number of influencers there, Chris Brogan, so many, many people, Carol Roth, Tim Sanders, and Derek Halpern, just so many. And I came out of kind of the inspiration and the things I learned there, resolved to launch it. And 90 days later, like it was launched, I just like, took a credit card spend three grand I didn't have. And when I got to stop talking about this and provide it. So the other side of it was that I just kept getting emails that were like, Oh, my God, I have a client meeting tomorrow, I don't know what to say, I don't know what to bid. I don't know what to do. And I knew that I couldn't be the free 24 seven Dear Abby of freelance writers for the rest of my life. And that there was a need for kind of real time information. And that ability to benchmark rates with a community and just a lot of freelance writers operate in a lot of isolation and freelancers in general, you know, we're in our house, everyone's kind of learning what this is like now, to just be kind of home alone trying to do this. And it's hard to connect, and have kind of that sense of community. And that's why I started a community and I get people who are American expats abroad, people living in very small towns, you know, even people in big cities who just don't seem to find that community where they can say, you know, oh, I'm thinking about bidding this to this kind of client, what do you think about those rates, you know, and now they said this, and my check is late, and what do I do now, and that they just have so many questions. And so this platform is where they get them answered, we have been creating trainings, so for every year, you know, three, four new trainings every year for since 2011. So we now have like, 300 hours of training about how to do every blessing, decent paid type of writing, and how to market your business as a newbie as a mid career. So we were kind of like the lynda.com, of freelance writing information, it says, All you can eat, kind of platform, my dogs gonna bark, someone's at the door,
Gresham Harkless 7:02
I'm gonna say, no worries, will care. I definitely appreciate that. And so you might have already touched on this, but I want to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. And it could be for yourself or your business or combination of both. But what do you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique?
Carol Tice 7:15
That's a good question. The thing is, you read a lot online about creating platforms that run on autopilot, and you make money in your sleep, and blah, blah, blah. And that's not my business. And it's really not the business of almost anyone I know, in online business, any of my mentors are, we all run very high touch businesses. You know, I run coaching programs, where it's like, 50, people are alone with me for six months on forums every day. And unlike masterminds, and in general, what I find is people pay for access to you, and access to your information. And you know, when we run classes, we're giving homework feedback on forums, and, like, I have almost nothing that just sort of, is here, grab this self study course thing and go off. And I don't know, my audience has too many questions for that. I just don't think that's really, it. I mean, maybe it could be if I could care less, and be like, Okay, bye. I'm on a beach, you know, but I guess that hasn't been how I wanted to do business and how I think you really impact people's lives in a meaningful way. In my space, I feel like people need to hear from me and the other pro writers on our den moderator team staff, and really get input on their specific situation, you know, and so I'd say I just say, say, I'd say, you know, don't buy the myth that, you know, don't, don't imagine you're just going to set some e course on autopilot and do some SEO, and, you know, it's just gonna make you a fortune, like, I just don't know, anyone that really happens for we get down in the trenches and work hard for people. And maybe that's just because I come from a working class background, and I am used to hard work and believe in, you know, earning it. But that's how it's worked for me. And I think that's what you can bring that no one else can bring, you know, everybody can throw something online and I think it doesn't feel authentic and it doesn't help people to the degree that it does when you are really available. And you can do that in a mass way, you know, 50 people at a time or like with the den 1400 people at a time.
Gresham Harkless 9:43
Gresham Harkless 9:44
there needs to be a point where like, you're on live with them and they're looking into your eyes and they can tell that you care about them in a very personal way. That you know, there's just a lot of scams and ripoffs on the internet, you know and people out there to just make a quick buck off of people. And people are very sensitive about that. At this point, I think most people are pretty sophisticated consumers of online learning and online information. And you have to be different when I do emails, like I give out my cell phone number, and say, Do you have a question about this class? Like, call me up? And you know, some of them do just to see if I'll answer. And if I'm a real person, and you know, people need that. And I get that, you know?
Carol Tice 10:26
Yeah, that's so no, I, I
Carol Tice 10:28
just, you know, I think that there's a reason that most people don't do paid community because it is very high touch. And they don't want to put in the time, or they open up a community like that. And then it's it goes to the forums or goes down, no one's responding, you know, and it all just kind of dies away. They have 100%, monthly churn, you know, people die, and then they quit, and they don't quit, because they're not really there for people.
Gresham Harkless 10:51
I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I wanted to ask you for what I call a SEO hack. So this could be like an app or book or a habit that you have. But what's something that makes you more effective and efficient.
Carol Tice 11:01
I am a Sabbath keeper. I am always offline from Friday sunset, to actually through to Sunday morning, I could technically for religiously come back on after sunset as a Jew on Saturday night. But I learned that that was a bad idea, because I work on Friday until Chavez. And then I would come back on Saturday, and then Sunday, I would always want to get it a little jump on Monday. And then the night What do you know, I'm working seven days a week. Yeah. So I try and stay away from all the work stuff and an online business there is just a tyranny of this idea that you have to be always on, always on, always on always responding. And I'm here to tell you it's a lie, and that you're gonna burn out if you do that. And it's, it's the it is like a disease.
Gresham Harkless 11:43
So I wanted to ask you now for what I call a SEO nugget. So this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or if you happen to a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.
Carol Tice 11:54
Well, I guess I want to go to my sort of recession proof Freelancer type of type of advice, because you know, there's a lot of chaos right now. And a lot of people are worried about how their business is doing. And what I learned in the last recession when I was building my freelance writing business to six figures, in 2008 910. Write in there is in every economic Cataclysm, there are, it's not all losers. It's winners and losers. Think about where the winners are both which industries are winning, and within a space. Who is winning. Because if you go towards the winners, and align yourself with them, there is so much work I get on with my coaching students. And I'm like, I'm worried about you guys, do you have clients and they're like, Oh, my God, so swamped, I haven't been on in mind, sorry, you know, so behind with checking in with you all, because I'm a busy, busy, busy. Everyone I know, who understands how to market their business, and follow the money in the marketplace. And who is winning is very busy right now and has a lot of clients and a lot of work.
Gresham Harkless 12:58
I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different, quote unquote, CEOs on this show. So Carol, what does being a CEO mean to you?
Carol Tice 13:08
The thing about being a CEO is that you can't do everything, and that you have to delegate, and that we have a hard time letting go. And I feel like that's kind of been the story of my business is that I was always really slow to delegate each thing that I needed to delegate. And then as soon as I got someone doing it, and I wasn't doing it, it was always just like, Oh, my God, this is so much better. Why did I not delegate this so long ago, you know, is that when I first started hiring a webmaster, I was paying him like 500 bucks a month or something. And nothing was getting done. And I was still doing a million things and we weren't getting the projects done. And then I heard like a real webmaster at a real wage. And all of a sudden the business started to go, you know, and I was just like, God, why didn't I invest that money before? Like, don't be afraid to invest in outsourcing? What you isn't a core thing that you are good at? Awesome, awesome. Awesome. Oh, Carol
Gresham Harkless 14:00
truly appreciate that definition. I appreciate your time even more, what I wanted to do is pass you the mic so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know and of course how best they can get ahold of you and find out about your ebooks and all the awesome things that you're working on.
Carol Tice 14:15
Well, all my ebooks are at make a living writing calm and the recession proof freelancer, it's free. Go get it, it's free. It's really the best place to start getting to know what I teach about freelancing. 1200 free posts can't be wrong. And you can learn about the community site through there or visit freelance writers den calm. And what else did you want from me?
Gresham Harkless 14:37
anything additional? You want to let us know?
Carol Tice 14:39
I don't know. I just the thing is, you know, I talked at the beginning about that time I was I spent musing about opening paid community. And then I went and did it. And and I'm sorry I didn't do it a year sooner. You know, I think that you have so little to lose and so much to gain In going after a business idea that you have, and just understand that if you're having a business idea that you are a rare breed of person, most people, like they hate their corporate job, but like, they are never going to have the courage to do this, to go for something like that. And you know, what's the worst thing that happens, you crawl back and go get it done and another day job and save up some money again, you know, do it don't have regrets that you wanted to be your own boss and run your own life, but you just kind of never scraped up the nerve to try it. And the barriers to entry online, in online business now are so low, you know, it's not like you have to sell a family farm to, to do it. So do it, you know, just do it and listen to your audience and find out what they need from you and deliver it and you won't go wrong.
Gresham Harkless 15:51
Yeah, absolutely. find that out and do it over and over again. And that'll lead you to success. So I truly, you know, appreciate that reminder, we will definitely have the links and information in the show notes as well. But I think I love that that last point because so many times we think the fear or the pain is really in trying and failing but the real pain is in regret and never trying anything at all and wondering if we could have done it. So I appreciate you for obviously reminding us of that for creating community and opportunity for people to do that as well too. So appreciate you so much, and I hope you have a great rest of the day.
Thank you for listening to the IMC o podcast powered by Blue 16 Media Tune in next time and visit us at I am CEO, CEO, I am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us a five star rating grab CEO gear at WWW dot sceeto gear.co This has been the mF CEO podcast with Gretchen parklets. Thank you for listening.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.