My November 2017 Review and Monthly Income Report 129

My November 2017 Review and Monthly Income Report letsreachsuccess lidiya k

Welcome to my November 2017 monthly review and income report. It’s been a focused month. I made improvements to the way I do and organize my work, and am expecting to see results over the next few months.

Discipline starts with good self-assessment, followed by a solid plan.

I’m back to spending some time doing affiliate marketing, getting the ins and outs of it (but for quality products only). It’s one of the genuine ways to do things online, assuming you’re not just promoting spammy sites and putting links everywhere. That means you’re looking for easy money, which is never a good strategy in the long-term and won’t lead to getting people interested.

I do it the way I like, which is by creating valuable content and mentioning somebody else’s course or offer inside that is relevant to the topic.

Anyways, how was your November? Here are some things I did or planned.

Removed all comments from the blog.

That was a big move and one I’ve been considering for years now. I share the why behind it in details in this post.

Quite many big publications have done the same.

But in a nutshell, my reasons are:

  • Spam gets in the way and takes time (even with a good plugin to stop it);
  • The conversations these days have moved to social media, instead of a single platform such as a blog. That also gives people a chance to share their opinion in front of their audience, and gives more exposure to everyone;
  • It’s another step to a more minimalist look;
  • The meaningful comments actually stopped coming years ago. If they don’t add value, and haven’t done it for that long, then it’s simply not a necessary feature.

First I deleted all existing comments (more than 4000). Then I disabled the function so that no future comments are allowed. Now the comment field isn’t there anymore, and there’s one less element on the page to create clutter.

Had a great consultation with an accountant.

I’m moving my online business to the Netherlands as of January 1st. And if all goes well, I want to have other things ready in advance. One of these is an accountant.

I contacted a few people online around 2 months ago, when I was still unclear about how things work in this country in terms of VAT, being a new freelancer, insurance, etc. Now I do after doing a proper research, and can say the country is giving enough benefits to those working for themselves, whose income isn’t big. The premiums are plenty, and the accountant helped me see the big picture.

Numbers are a funny thing. But without keeping an eye on them, things can easily get out of control.

During my 1-hour visit in his office (which ended up being in another city, but that doesn’t really matter), he explained it all to me. The details, together with the big picture. Now I know what to expect, when to have my business records prepared, what sums of money to give and what I might receive back at certain periods, etc.

Added a News Category to the blog.

One thing big publications have in common, even if it’s in the self-development niche, is that they share trends and current events. So I created a new category, called it News, and went through all past articles to see what can be included in it.

Then I began adding new things there too. It’s shorter, to-the-point content.

Examples include:

  Jeff Bezos became the richest person in the world;

  • Tim Ferriss published his new book Tribe of Mentors;
  • A new tool you might find interesting;
  • Tech news;

And more.

More interactive posts.

How to Buy Existing Websites to Grow Your Business

Long-form content is important, but big blocks of text are boring. So there’s a better way to write in the digital age.

Shorter paragraphs (1-3 sentences), shorter sentences, more bullet points and using headings more often. But it’s also important to break text with images, videos and other types of content.

So that’s what I’m turning into a habit now. Even with guest posts, I’m making edits to divide longer paragraphs or sentences into shorter ones, to add 1-3 images, and even one video that’s relevant to the topic.

You can also be including a social media post inside it, or an audio player (to a podcast episode, for example). It’s so normal to see all types of content in one place now, that it makes the page more interesting and interactive. In fact, those who aren’t doing it, will be left behind.

Got my dose of personal growth.

In the October monthly review, I mentioned I have more free time now and it’s a quiet period. So I’d like to learn a new skill or do something else related to personal growth and going out of the comfort zone.

Well, I chose that to be a crash course in Dutch.

Took the decision without overthinking it, did a quick research and emailed a few schools. Depending on the date, price and material that would be covered, I chose one.

It took place the last 2 weeks of November and it was great. I got a better understanding of the culture and learned a ton of grammar that I’ll now master before continuing.

Basically, I haven’t even covered A1 yet. It takes one more week (10 hours) to finish that textbook and consider the level done. But no rush here. I first need to learn all the vocabulary and feel comfortable using all that I was taught during these 2 weeks.

It also lead to some discipline as I needed to be there for 2 hours at 10 am every workday for 2 weeks. So I structured my days differently. Also studied for an hour or two each evening. Was nice. Not easy, but worth it knowing it’s just for a short period of time.

If you’re looking for something to get you out of the rut, start learning a new language :)

Syndicating content on Medium and LinkedIn.

Branding is a never-ending process. And the personal brand of a freelancer and blogger must include daily activities. I just turned something else into a weekly tradition – republishing content on 2 other big places.

That’s and LinkedIn Pulse.


To build authority. You can see Neil Patel republishing an article there almost daily. He only shares the intro, though, and then links to the original source. I do something similar.

On Medium, however, there’s an actual option to import an article. I copy the link from a piece of content on my blog and paste it there, then improve it a bit and add images.

syndicating content on

I also created the Let’s Reach Success publication there.

That might lead to gaining an audience on another platform. And after all, the point of that content (I’m only republishing the best) is to be seen. So it makes sense to put it elsewhere instead of just on my site.

Sometime ago I wrote a post answering the question ‘Should I start a blog or write on Medium?’ There I talked about the tremendous benefits of blogging and having your own platform. But there’s another way to do it. Have your blog, and syndicate your content on Medium :)

November Income Report

The revenue for November is $2156.

To compare, in October that was $1881. And in September $2325.

Note: The new thing you’ll see below is that the last item isn’t November Week 4, but it covers the last 10 days of the month.

Here’s the thing. Till now I was tracking my budget monthly, but breaking it down into weeks (Mon-Sun). It worked for me, and might be for many people, but it’s not the right way from an accountant’s point of view. So as I’ll need to be doing things right from January on, I’m starting now.

That means December, and every next month, I’ll have a so-called weekly review (to see progress and plan the next week) every 10 days, instead of every 7. And it won’t matter if it’s Monday or the weekend. I’ll just follow the date.

So, let’s break November down into weeks to see what happened.

November, Week 1

Revenue: $753

Sponsored posts: 15

November, Week 2

Revenue: $405

Sp. posts: 7

November, Week 3

Revenue: $191

New client: 1

Sp. posts: 7

November, Last 10 Days

Revenue: $807

New client: 1

Sp. posts: 13

One thing is sure: I didn’t focus enough on finding new freelance clients this month. Which is necessary to bring work for the next few weeks. I need more discipline in that aspect.

I had some different expenses this month, but it all went down well. That was the fee for the course, and other one-time things. December must be easier in terms of spending.

I will be heading back home in Bulgaria for the Christmas holidays. And while for some people visiting family in another country means spending more, in this case it’s the opposite.

Thanks for reading this far and hope you enjoyed my monthly review. Till the next one!

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How I Became a Location Independent Freelance Writer 28

How I Became a Location Independent Freelance Writer

Writing is what I love doing and I managed to turn it into my career. But that wouldn’t have been as enjoyable without having the freedom to work from anywhere and move to my favorite country. So after I became a freelance writer, I also took a few steps to become location independent.

Let me share how that journey looked like for me and maybe inspire you to take the leap and not just become a freelancer but also travel the world or just leave your home country and never look back.

Stage 1: Overcoming The Doubts

I believe all change happens on the inside first. In the case of becoming a freelance writer and a lifestyle designer, you’d first need to do a couple of things related to developing a strong mindset.

To begin with, define what you don’t like about your current lifestyle. Be clear about it and see yourself living a better life some time from now. This vision will also help you realize what you truly desire.

For me, it was freedom and independence but in a specific way.

I mean, I don’t really need to travel the world. It was enough to spend a few weeks in Thailand and to always have the chance to get back to a destination like that if I feel like. But what I truly desired was to leave my home country, Bulgaria, and instead move to the Netherlands.

However, my transformation started many years ago, before I even knew that’s where I wanted to live. First, I wasn’t satisfied with my life back then. I was already in my 20s and I always felt like I wasn’t spending my time right. So something had to be done.

Doubts are scary.

In fact, they are one of the reasons why so many people all over the world never start a business, end a relationship, travel or else.

Once you get through that stage though, you start having hope, you visualize a better life, and you finally take action. And once you take the first step, magical things begin to happen.

For me, that first step was to define my passion (personal development) and combine it with writing, which I simply loved doing and felt like it was the right way to spend my time.

English is just my second language. I had no official degree in what I’m doing. I wasn’t tech-savvy and had no idea how the Internet actually worked.

But the desire for a different life and more meaningful activities was stronger than any lack of knowledge or experience. So I dedicated the 4 years of my life during university to building the foundation of my online business and the lifestyle I enjoy today.

Stage 2: Getting The First Clients

This is How I Became a Top Rated Upwork Freelancer

I began writing, first on my blog (more on that below), then for others. But the magical ingredient here is reading.

I spent a ton of time (still do and probably always will) reading about people who were already living the life I was after. And that changed it all. I overcame all the doubts because I saw all that I wanted was possible. If other people were living like that and they all started from nothing, then it’s just a matter of time till I get there too.

That encouraged me. And my motivation never decreased because of some people I started following consistently and seeing their progress kept me action-oriented too.

It was time to earn my first dollars freelancing.

The good thing about the Internet is that you don’t have to be anyone in order to land your first gig. Once you do, the second one is easier. You just need someone to pay you for your freelance services so you can have confidence in your abilities and improve your skills.

I never thought I’d be able to call myself a freelance writer, not to mention be location independent together with that. But I left the big picture behind for a while and focused on simpler things. Such as:

What can I do today to land my first client?

After researching, I realized there are sites for freelancers where employers post jobs and I can apply to each that seems like a good fit for me. And so I did.

I created my profiles, had low rates (because any money was good money for me then if it was online), and applied for a few jobs. I had no idea what to say exactly so I just went with what felt right.

I introduced myself when pitching clients and told them how I can help them with their project. Rejection here is normal as there’s a ton of competition.

Eventually, someone hired me for a job and I made my first $20 or so.

It was a short and sweet gig and I did a good job. The communication with the client was smooth.

It’s hard to land someone for the first time, especially in my case. On my profile they could see Bulgaria and that English isn’t my native language. Also, that I’m new to the site and have no previous feedback. Basically, not the most trustworthy freelance writer to hire.

But there are new employers to such platforms too and they are ready to hire you as long as you have something to offer them.

So if you want to make money online and eventually turn that into a business, become location independent and work remotely, or just want to do what you love freelancing, then create your profiles on sites like Upwork, Guru, Freelancer and PeoplePerHour and start pitching.

Stage 3: Building a Blog and a Brand

5 Tips to Negotiate a Higher Salary in an Interview

The 3rd crucial step in my journey to becoming a location independent freelance writer was this blog.

Let’s Reach Success started as a personal blog on self-improvement. But consistency was the key and I seemed to be good at this. It’s because I love writing too of course. It eventually turned into my biggest project and today it’s my portfolio.

There are more than 1600 articles in the archives, a whole book store, proper design (thanks to this premium theme), authority, and a story behind it. Which makes me and Let’s Reach Success kind of a personal brand.

If you haven’t started a site yet, you’re wasting time. Whatever it is that you wanna do online, you need that one platform.

I’ve written a quick guide on how to do that. Check out How to Set Up a WordPress Site on Bluehost. Don’t worry, the technical aspect is easy and I’ve outlined the few simple steps you should take to have your site up and running in less than 30 minutes.

Blogging is a must for every freelance writer. Here’s why:

First, you get to showcase your work. You can write articles all the time and show them to clients. Whenever you want to start writing about a new topic, you’ll simply start covering it on your blog and then provide samples to employers.

You become known as an expert. If you stay consistent and provide unique and quality content frequently, people will know you’re the go-to blogger in the niche. Together with your unique voice and all other things you’re doing on the side, you can build a name for yourself. That means clients will start finding you soon.

Blogging is a learning experience. There’s a lot going on in the archives on my blog. If I go back, I can even see how I’ve grown over the years. Your writing will change too and that’s okay. Your site becomes your biggest project, especially if you’re a writer yourself. Also, it’s thanks to wanting to improve Let’s Reach Success that I’ve learned so much about optimizing content, making money from a blog, and more.

Stage 4: Setting Up an Online Business

Now that you’ve overcome the doubts, have landed your first freelance client, and have your own blog, you can turn that into an online business soon.

First, of course, you’ll need to have some decent income monthly to be a proper location independent freelance writer. Although plenty of people register a company from the beginning and then slowly grow their freelance business.

However, in the beginning, I had no idea what I was doing. I was paying taxes and fees for the freelancing platforms I worked with and that was enough. I wasn’t sure how much more I could make each month.

When I got to a few hundred dollars monthly, though, (which is an amount you can live with back in my home country if you aren’t paying rent), I decided to fix the legal part and register as an independent worker there and start paying my taxes.

Over the next months, I truly believed I’m now a freelance writer earning money from my craft and loved it. Of course, I also wanted to grow, build skills, land better clients, improve my site and see what else I could be doing online.

Stage 5: Choosing Your Ideal Destination and Moving There

amsterdam - the dream location

When I was making $1000/month from my blog and freelance writing services, and because the business was online, I finally felt like I could soon move away and start a new life.

The country I wanted to live in was the Netherlands. I already had friends there and knew it was the place to be for me. So I booked a place in Amsterdam with AirBnB and dedicated these 10 days to finding my new home.

I needed it to be affordable and in a good neighborhood and that’s exactly what I got.

Because I wanted to be there so much and worked hard for it, there hasn’t been a day since I moved that I didn’t wake up with a smile on my face.

That’s one of the main aspects of lifestyle design. Doing work you love and making just enough to be able to live the way you like.

Of course, Amsterdam isn’t cheap so I had to limit my expenses and change things.

Stage 6: Living The Location Independent Lifestyle

I did some traveling too. Spending 5 weeks in Thailand cost me a lot in terms of money (although it could have been cheaper too but I didn’t prepare well) and focus. But it’s safe to say these weeks have been the craziest and most adventurous ones in my life.

I might go back there, but that’s not necessary. I love my daily life too and don’t need an escape from that. The important thing about being a location independent freelance writer is that you have to enjoy the freedom of being where you are. And if you earned your chance to get there, it tastes even better.

Stage 7:  Mastering Working Remotely and From Home

Location independence and freelancing aren’t for everyone as it’s not easy, there are sacrifices to be made and plenty of challenges. One of them is getting distracted and not doing focused work on a daily basis.

One thing I did right though was to build some good productivity habits and eliminate procrastination and distractions early on. In fact, that was when I started making my first money as a freelance writer.

It’s nice to imagine how you can live and work from anywhere 6 months from now. But if you don’t build the discipline in advance and learn how to structure your day so you can do your best work, you won’t make it.

Here are some things that can help:

My Best Productivity Principles

How to Stay Productive While Living The Laptop Lifestyle

Stage 8: Growing The Freelance Writing Business

My focus is on increasing my income now. I got to over $3500. These come from sponsored posts here on Let’s Reach Success and freelance writing for clients.

I’m working on other things too such as increasing book sales and building systems to earn passive income from affiliate marketing. But these don’t come naturally to me so it takes time.

So that’s how I became a location independent freelance writer and how you can do the same.

Here are the exact steps I took to become a location independent freelance writer: