Earlier this month, I spent a long weekend watching birds and Monarch butterflies. I took part in a few hikes, went on a boat tour, and attended a few lectures—all centered around birds. Being close to hundreds of birds and thousands of butterflies was a thrill…but also how I make a living.
Being around animals and interviewing experts about animals is joyful. Then sitting down to write about my findings allows me to relive the experience all over again.
This wasn’t always the case. I have been a fairly successful freelance writer specializing in interior design, alternative health, and travel. My desire, however, was to write about animals. Finding paying jobs where I could write about animals seemed almost impossible.
Then five years ago, I started blogging…anyone can do it and it’s great fun. You don’t even have to be a writer.
My blog, PetNewsandViews, allows me the opportunity to share what I know and love about pets and wildlife. And because I now have a following, advertisers and sponsors are paying to be on my site. Around 10% of my income now comes from advertisers; a further 20% from sponsored articles. And I only spend about eight hours a week working on it.
While I’m blogging, I’m also branding myself as a pet expert.
Every once in a while I get an assignment from an editor at Cat Fancy and Dog Fancy. I also wrote for Pet Products International. Now, I write about pets for Family Circle, DIYNetwork, and parade.com. None of this would have happened if I hadn’t grown my blog.
Blogging and writing for parade on a weekly basis has been beneficial. I got the gig at parade thanks to my blog…and my blog traffic has grown because of the parade gig. Both jobs allow me the freedom to work pretty much any place in the world—as long as I have access to the Internet.
I have worked on the road too. I’ve been invited to speak at conferences, and will take my laptop with me to work on stories and post on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Nowadays you really don’t need to be in an office to work—you can be anywhere in the world.
When I travel, I carry a small laptop and use my cell phone for tweeting messages about my stories, and posting links to my Facebook and LinkedIn pages. This way, readers can have access to my work.
Even traveling without a laptop hasn’t been a problem. When I need to write on a bigger screen, there is always a hotel, motel, or B&B that has rooms with computers for their guests to use. And there are a number of Internet cafés, where for a small fee, you can write and upload stories to your blog. I’ve even sent emails with stories to my editors while traveling.
It’s the freedom of a new way of working.
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