How I Turned My Passion for Storytelling Into a Full-Time Income

Welcome, Rebecca Alwine,  a freelance writer, army wife, and mother of three. Today she shares with six tools shes uses to grow her freelance writing business. 

I experienced a lot of growth in 2017, personally and professionally. I made the decision late in 2016 to make writing a career, instead of a sometimes job. I knew that it would mean more hours of work, more overhead, and more learning. I quickly learned that outsourcing was imperative to growth and that outsourcing doesn’t have to mean paying another person.

Sometimes a program can help you with that. In 2017, I experimented with several different tools, some free and some paid for to help keep everything straight. I wanted to share my favorites with you, so you can use them as you continue to grow.


Gmail is nothing new in this day and age, but it’s the program I use most frequently. From alternating between any number of email accounts to merging calendars, I find this to be the best program for keeping everything straight. Google Drive has allowed me to work with others directly on a piece and to share with clients, even while switching computers easily.


When I first started freelancing, I was invoicing using a template in Excel. I quickly realized that was not the most efficient use of my time. So I found, a free invoicing tool. I like how intuitive it is, how it allows you to set up recurring payments, download invoices, and keeps track of expenses. It even allows clients to pay you via credit card. *WaveApps is free!


After keeping track of expenses using Excel, I also tried it using Wave. I liked it, but I didn’t find it to have everything I needed. As a freelancer, starting in 2018 I will be required to make estimated quarterly tax payments, which is something QuickBooks self-employed can easily help me with. In 2018, I made QuickBooks my invoicing and accounting software and have been very pleased with what it has to offer me.


Though several of my clients hire me to manage their social media, it hasn’t always been my favorite thing to do. I like to keep things organized, on a schedule, and do as much in advance as possible. Buffer allows me to do just that! I can plan ahead on all of my social media platforms, limiting the amount of time I spend preparing to post, and I can use that time to interact with others instead. And, Buffer is getting ready to automate Instagram, so yay! *Buffer is free for a limited profile.


When I first heard people talking about Tailwind, I was sure they were talking about sailing. Sure enough, this was something I should have been paying attention to long before the Fall of 2017. But, I’m here now! Tailwind operates similarly to Buffer and HootSuite but focuses on Pinterest. It helps you plan your pins, organize groups, and schedules pins for when they will be the most effective. I learned this year that the best time to pin is evenings. Who wants to be pinning in the evening for work? I’d rather be pinning for fun then. So I like Tailwind, which has a free trial.


Organizational tools are some of the hardest ones to decide upon. As I work with a variety of clients, who all have their system, I’m forced to learn most of the ones out there. I regularly work with Trello, Basecamp, and Gather Content. My favorite is Basecamp, but it’s too pricey for me on my own. I strongly dislike Trello, though I am giving it a fair shake the first half of this year for my professional organization, and I may become a convert.

The growth I experienced in 2017 can be attributed to spending more time on work, and less time worrying about the little things. By streamlining my processes, I was able to concentrate on paid work. I’d say it worked out, as I grew by 400% in one year. Which of these tools can you implement to increase your growth potential this year?

Rebecca Alwine

Rebecca Alwine is a freelance writer, army wife, and mother of three. Over the past 10 years, she’s discovered she enjoys coffee, lifting weights, and most of the menial tasks of motherhood. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found hiding behind the sewing machine or with her nose in a book.

Her writing experience includes military family topics, research pieces, guest blogging, and much more. She’s a contributing writer for ARMY Magazine, a regular contributor for several publications including PCSGrades, Military OneClick, and ESME, and has also been published in Ms. Magazine and The Atlantic’s City Lab.



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