Thursday, April 21, 2011

My $125 article bonus

Yesterday I received an unexpected $125 article bonus based on a "how to" I
wrote 2 months ago. Took me all of 20 minutes. But my bonus didn't come from
my client. It was money I didn't have to spend, thanks to freelance writing.
This is the story: My washing machine went kaput. We'd turn it to agitate or
spin and get this nasty grinding sound as if one part was moving but the
other wasn't. Made a few phone calls around town and someone came by to take
a look at it. My wife was there when he showed up. She told me he removed
the broken part within minutes and said "I can fix it for $135. I have the
part in my truck. Give me a call if you want to do this."
That's a good chunk of change for someone who took it off in a matter of
minutes. I got home, looked up the part and found out it cost $20 if we wait
a few days for delivery. I called around town and found a store that had it
for $10 bucks! That was a great price. One problem: how do I put it on?
Then it hit me again: duh! I can figure this out because I've already
written articles on how to take washing machines apart! A few months ago,
one of my clients offered up multiple titles on how to remove the giant
white shell of your washing machine. I had no clue how to do it at first,
but after an hour of research I was able to produce nearly a dozen articles
on various models. It's not as hard as I thought it would be.
I asked my wife if he had to take off the shell and she confirmed it. I went
to the store, bought the part, came back, and looked up my own "how to" for
Whirlpool washer shells. In 10 minutes the shell was off.
Now all I had to do was locate where the part was removed. Fortunately the
appliance store gave me a parts breakdown with my purchase. Back to the
internet for additional research on how to remove/install a direct drive
motor coupler. In five minutes I found someone who had a nifty instructional
video. When all was said and done, my washer was doing a load of towels in 2
And that's how I got my $125 bonus. $10 for the part, but no cost for
This might seem like an off-the-wall, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity but it
isn't. As some of you have read in earlier posts, my freelance writing
didn't begin because I was an expert in a specific subject. It came because
I knew how to type in someone's requested format and I know how to look for
stuff online. Slowly but surely I started to look like and become an expert
in some subjects because of my curiosity. And anything that can save me
money or time pokes my curiosity even more. At much annoyance to my friends,
I've sometimes sounded like those Bing search engine commercials where
someone spits out a topic and instantly I start giving out information like
an encyclopedia.
I really don't blame that repairman for wanting to charge such an amount for
what he could have done in less than an hour. Money is tight nowadays. But I
didn't think it was a fair price, all things considered. I would have been
willing to give up 40, maybe 60 dollars for his time and cost for parts. But
why do all that when I can use my freelance writing know-how and take a shot
at it myself? I have nothing to lose but time.
Hopefully you'll find opportunities in the future like I did. As always, if
you're interested in becoming a freelance writer, check out my book at

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