This time we’re talking about being a freelance writer. This can be a profitable and satisfying full-time job or side hustle. And just think of all of the companies that need things written, from blog posts to articles, grants to technical manuals. My guest is Charles Silberman, a teacher by day and writer by night.
You’re really entrepreneurial and have also created some online courses. THat’s a bonus we’ll get into later. But first, tell us about your day job to set the scene.
I’m a PE teacher in Maryland. I teach physical education in Montgomery County Maryland. I teach ages 3 – 12. I like it because I can make a lasting, positive impact on the lives of youth at a foundational level. I wanted to branch out because I love writing, had been doing it for my profession for free for some time, and I knew I wanted to monetize it because being a teacher does not pay that great and comes with debt.
Why did you choose writing as your side hustle?
It’s easy for me because I can sit down and right a high quality piece in a short period of time. For me it’s easy. If you do something you truly love and have a passion for it will be easy to do the work. The hard part if you don’t know how to be an entrepreneur. While it has been easy to make the money, it’s not a get rich quick scheme. If you have expectations that you will make money on the very first day, it’s not like that.
Have you always been a good writer?
No! I went from being diagnosed dyslexic in high school —I am not- my writing was that bad— to remedial writing classes and one-on-one help doing basic worksheets on things like subject-verb agreement to where I am now. I overcame great personal odds in my youth that I was lucky to turn into something I am now doing well at. As a famous song says, “Teach The Children Well.” Give them something they can grow by or something to that effect. But, obstacles are not to be seen as a moat that can not be crossed either. I want to inspire people, I guess is what I am saying.
Some of your writing projects have been in line with your training as a teacher. Was that synchronicity nice?
•I contribute to a blog for international PE equipment company. It’s amazing.
•An app company needed 50 reviews of educational apps. I used each app and wrote a detailed review for it. They put those 50 reviews in their app so that the reviews I wrote showed up on educational apps with my name on the byline. It was an exciting moment.
There is a variety of writing work available. One of our steadiest writing jobs is for a criminal lawyer. What do you do for him?
My first long-term client, who still remains faithful, is a criminal lawyer. I have done pages upon pages of content for him. Many were on topics I knew nothing about like forensic science and ballistics, which forced me to grow. What was interesting was that the first set of articles had to do with car accidents, and I had been in a significant accident, so I was able to write from a very personal level.
You have even gotten paid to write poetry, right?
My first favorite project was for a person who wanted to start a poetry site that I helped write poetry for. I cannot count how many I have written, but I enjoy it so much.
And writing for clients on Fiverr lead to other things, right?
I am doing great now, but the confidence I gained going through this process, and the things I have taken risks to do are tremendous because of small success along the way early on and with the help of a mentor. In addition, much of what I have learned, I have been able to apply right back to my field, including using the platform that helped me get started – Fiverr and what I earn there – to fund many projects that are related to my work. I have turned that into a now growing platform of things. I’ve created 4 online courses. And I have an online store as well as my presentations and greater projects coming in the pipeline. Things I get paid for! Things snowball, and where you start is not where you finish.
I guess even your online courses involve writing? How did you create them? And how do you market them?
I wrote the majority of the content for 4 online courses that I created. They are going really well. I just presented at a big (400) person PE conference on two topics that relate to my course. And because of my presenting at this conference, I am helping create an activity pack where I was given free equipment, and am working on a 25-page document for this company to create activities using that equipment. And if it all works out, I could get a share of sales of that. I’ve now got two websites that bring in revenue too. writeguy4us.com and newphysicaleducator.com.
What has the extra money meant to you and your life?
I am single. As a teacher it has given me extra money to save. To not feel like I am living paycheck to paycheck. Helped me with student loans. Helped me get new car when I was in an accident. Helped me do fun things I wanted to do. It’s amazing. My summers have never been so enjoyable. Don’t have to do summer camp. Can travel, see family and really enjoy myself while writing.
And now, the big question I always ask: What kind of money have you been able to make through your writing?
I had been working part time at a rec center making $300-$400 month for 20 hours. I came on Fiver in 2015 and in the same 20 hours made $800. That was just the beginning. Now I average between $25 and $30/hour.
Congrats! What do other people need to know if they want to make money writing like you do?
• Find a mentor. Someone who knows how to do what you are trying to do.
- You have to have a plan and know exactly what you are trying to sell or create.
- And finally, know your prices and how much time you want to give to something for that price.
Charles has written a guest blog post about different kinds of writing work AND he has created a video that explains more about how he is juggling multiple side gigs and how you can too. That will ALL be available at EasyMoneyShow.com/27.