Arjay B. Araña

I'm a Filipino freelance writer, offering services for Christian, business, and technical writing. This Listed blog is my public journal, where I post my longer random thoughts, and where I talk about the things I do.

An unexpected turn in the road

I've been struck with a bad cold, and so I am forced to take a rest. And this seems to be a good time to reevaluate the things I'm doing.

I've been doing my preparations for freelance writing, working hard and having little time for other things, but the bottom line is that I won't be launching the business any time soon. That is, if I really want to be known as a professional and well-paid writer, and not just someone who takes on writing assignments at any price, I need to make these preparations.

And this is not just about the financial capital, which I do need, but more about capital in terms of my writing skills and specialized knowledge, and about the establishment of my foundations and workflows. I can't go on looking for assignments unless I know I can deliver to the standards I want to be known. That's just common sense.

So that's the bad news: I can't hope yet for income by offering my writing services. I need more time and money to prepare. But there's also good news: It seems that God has provided a way for me to obtain these things — time and money — and that is, by me becoming a Groove.cm affiliate, and then promoting the platform and some products in its marketplace.

Yes, I'm truly entering now the business world.

Groove.cm or GrooveFunnels (affiliate link) promises to be an all-in-one suite that you can use to build your online business. It's still in the beta stage, and some apps are not yet available, but there is already a website and funnel builder, a blogging platform, a membership platform, email list service, a shopping cart and an online store, and others. You can check out the present available apps in Groove Packages (affiliate link).

Right now Groove.cm offers only two plans, Free and a Premium Lifetime (affiliate link) that costs a whopping $1,997. (But when you realize that you'll have access to the platform for the rest of your life, without paying anything more, you'll definitely agree that this price is good value.) Proceeds from the premium plan are being used as capital, but this offer will soon end and the platform will switch to monthly payments.

I came across Groove.cm while I was looking for an online store that I can use to sell my writing services on the web, but most stores like Shopify and Ecwid are products-based, and are not really fit for my needs. Groove.cm promises to be different, and so I signed up for a free account to check out the platform, and then to my pleasant surprise, a whole new world opened up to me.

Why? Because I've also been automatically signed up as an affiliate, and if I choose to, I can earn commissions by promoting the platform and some products in its marketplace, those that I choose. GrooveAffiliate also promises to be different from its competitors, but since I'm new to affiliate marketing, I can't evaluate that statement. All I know is that I like it when they say that any lead I generated to the platform is hard-coded to me for life. And I will earn commissions when they upgrade — whenever, wherever — even if I'm not the one who has persuaded them to do that (in that case, I'll get 50% of the 20% commission for Free accounts.)

Sounds a good deal, right? Well, there are two caveats involved if I choose to do this. First, I must really believe in the platform, so that I can honestly recommend it. And that means getting my hands dirty in learning the software. Second, affiliate marketing must also become a major part of my life, not just a sideline, in addition to my freelance writing business that I am yet to launch. I must integrate the two.

And so, do I believe in the platform? Yes! It's still in the beta stage, and so its not as polished as I'd like, but I can already make a good start in an online business, even with just the Free account. And because the platform is new, using it will also take some get getting used to, but there are plenty of tutorials available that'll make my onboarding as painless as possible.

And, am I willing to make Groove.cm a major part of life? Yes! I already have a blog and a website under construction (and published in my own domain name for free!) that I will use to sell affiliate products and promote the platform. Furthermore, I'm adding business writing to my offerings as a freelance writer, and I've limited the scope and focus of my portfolio blog for technical writing, WebPublisher.xyz. It will now only focus on ClassicPress and web publishing in general, instead of dealing with two more platforms and talking about web technologies.

Yes, this is a big decision for me, but it's the only way forward that I see. Like everything in my life, I'm doing this by faith, and I'm trusting that God will see me through.

So what now? Well, some of my present works will have to take a backseat while I try to launch my affiliate marketing as soon as possible. Like I said, I'm new to the business world, and there is a lot to learn!

Preparing for freelance writing

For about two months now I've been making preparations for my new career as a freelance writer. Using my past experience in Christian blogging, and leveraging my new place in the ClassicPress' community (where I've promised a blog about web publishing that will promote and support the CMS, together with two other platforms), I've decided to offer writing services for both Christian writing and technical writing. For the first, my focus will be on evangelical and Reformed topics; for the second, on computer and web technologies.

This new career path has come about as I was planning and talking about the web-publishing blog in the forums. A number of community members suggested that instead of monetizing the blog itself (which isn't likely to be successful), I should use it as a portfolio for something else I can sell, like my services. And so the idea for freelance technical writing was born, and later, since it's already a strength that I have, I decided to add Christian writing as well, and then to pursue freelance writing now as my new career.

This is my plan: Because I had some experience writing for a content mill (thankfully, only for a very short time), I know better than to sign up and depend on freelancing platforms like UpWork. I deserve better compensation than what they could ever give me. I believe that I have what it takes to become a competent writer, and with some study, I know that I can bring my skills to professional level. Therefore, for my work as a freelancer, I intend to look for my own clients, and then to establish it as a real business, with license and everything.

Initially, I'd only looked at establishing three new Hugo blogs (static sites) before I could start the work:

  • Arjay B. Araña – my main site, my new personal blog, which will also serve as the front for my freelance writing business.

  • Unbreakable Faith – my Bible-studies blog, which will use a number of Bible-study methods, and which will serve as my portfolio for Christian writing.

  • WebPublisher.xyz – my web-publishing blog, which will feature the Hugo, TikiWiki, and ClassicPress platforms, and which will serve as my portfolio for technical writing.

However, as I made preparations, many more things-to-do reveal themselves to me, so that, now, I honestly can't say when I can officially begin my new career, even at a limited capacity. Moreover, I had to take care of some things first. For instance, because of the emotional and spiritual burdens of the past several years, I decided to start with a clean slate as much as possible, and so I closed down most of my old sites, even my Facebook account. So now my only major concern is this writing business, and I have four brand-new social accounts — LinkedIn, Mastodon, Hubzilla, and yes, this Listed blog — four accounts that need my investment of time.

Now, for the details on my lists of things to do:

Of the three Hugo blogs I've planned, I already got my main site up and running on www.arjayarana.xyz. However, the other two are still very much on the conceptual stage. The good news is that I will base these two blogs on the main site, so at least I won't have to build them from scratch.

Last week, I spent much time organizing, expanding, and making ready my Christian and writing references, and I'm glad to say that I've finished those works. But I haven't yet done much about my references for computers and business.

Right now I'm working on my computer, preparing it for what's coming — choosing and downloading software applications, and customizing them. (That is how I came across Standard Notes and this Listed blogging platform.)

But the largest works yet are the studies that I'll need to be doing ASAP:

  • I need to strengthen my knowledge of the Bible and of theology.

  • I need to brush up my writing skills, and because I'm relatively new to technical writing, learn some new ones.

  • I need to learn how to use competently a number of software applications, like LibreOffice for producing my writing products, and like GnuCash for my business accounting.

  • I need a crash course on computers and computer science, both as a review of what I already know (which isn't much, since I'm not a real techie), and to gain new knowledge.

  • I need a crash course on contemporary business, from general concepts down to specifics on how to run my own business, including bookkeeping.

  • Lastly, I need to read a lot of articles about freelance writing itself, so that I'll know how the trade is done.

Yes. So much to do. And so little time. Just like how it's always been in this life journey of mine.

For a long time my life has been in a constant state of change. Always being tested by God. And always seeking what he wants me to do. Now, as I work on establishing my freelance writing career, I'm really hoping that I will find at last a settled and secured place — a place that God approves of and blesses — a place where I can finally put down roots, and where I can finally enjoy life.

Note: I know that I don't need to finish first all these things before I can start writing for clients. I can, for example, defer the business aspects, and for now focus on either Christian writing or technical writing. I'm thinking of the second, technical writing, because it's the one that needs much more work, and perhaps the one that promises greater rewards. (I can already do the first, Christian writing, though not yet to the level of excellence I'd like to achieve, and so if opportunities arrive, I can take clients for it.)

Signed up for Standard Notes and Listed

Yes, I do have my Hugo-made personal site at www.arjayarana.xyz.

But since I'm also using that as my front for freelance writing, I can't just post there anything I want, esp. my random thoughts. (And besides, updating a blog made with Hugo is a bit of a pain.) I need a new and simple easy-to-post-to blog for my public journal. But I don't want to sign up again for Blogger, or WordPress.com, or Tumblr. I'm totally over using those services.

And so I'm trying out blogging in Listed via the Standard Notes app. And I'm hoping very much that all this goes well. The idea that I can easily make posts without the hassle involved in CMSs, even using my smartphone, is very powerful.