February 19, 2013Between writing and self-publishing my own line of ebooks, putting out two newsletters per week (sometimes three); writing articles for my article directory; and working on and overseeing client projects; my writing days are full. Some days, it’s all I can do to breathe. And, I don’t even have the responsibility of children and/or a spouse!
Whether you’re an experienced freelance writer with a stable of clients who keep you busy, or a newbie just starting out looking for clients – there’s ALWAYS something to be done. Your days should never be empty.
Tip for New Freelance Writers: Even if you don’t have clients, your days should be busy with marketing; creating samples for all the services you offer; setting up (and interacting on) your social media accounts; compiling a marketing database; composing marketing emails to test; etc.
Again, just because you don’t have clients, if you’re a freelance writer, there’s always something you can be doing to bring in those clients, ok?
Because the life of a freelance writer can be so hectic, following are eight time-saving tips to keep you sane — and increase your income at the same time.
I. Get Marketing Done First: Without clients, everything else is for naught. So, get your marketing done first.
How does this save time? It gets you in the habit of marketing so you land writing jobs faster and don’t have to “squeeze” it in later, and/or fail to do it altogether.
II. Create a Follow-Up / Touchbase Email for Existing Clients: The Pareto Principle says that 80% of your business will come from 20% of your clients. So, don’t forget to follow up regularly with existing clients.
Many of us get so busy scrounging for new clients that we forget to service the money makers right in front of us.
How does this save time? You spend less time looking for new clients – who are harder to convert into paying clients than your existing ones.
It also has other beenfits, ie, it puts your follow-up marketing on auto-pilot so you: (i) don’t fall into the habit of not doing it; and (ii) don’t one day find yourself with no clients and have to spend massive time REBUILDING your client base.
III. Track Your Marketing: Once you know which marketing methods are producing the greatest number of freelance writing jobs, you can double down on them.
How does this save time? You can stop wasting time with those that aren’t as effective and get right to the ones that are.
IV: List Your Freelance Writing Rates on Your Website: Some freelance writers list their rates on their websites, others don’t. I always preferred to list mine, for the following time-saving reason.
How does this save time? It helps you weed out those who can’t afford you. Most of the time, when clients contact my SEO writing company, it’s to clarify a few things – and proceed with placing an order. I don’t have to address the “what do you charge” question.
This brings me to my next point, which is . . .
V: Explain Your Services: What I mean by this is, give potential clients as much info as you can up front so that if/when they do contact you, it’s mostly to iron out a few details, not go through the whole dance of how much does this cost, what’s your turnaround time, which payment methods you accept, etc.
How does this save time? It eliminates a lot of the questions we just went through.
For example, I recently relayed how I landed an ebook writing job. This same client referred a colleague a couple of days ago who wants us to write an ebooklet for her company as well. And, guess what? She already forwarded the information requested on New Media Words’ ebook writing services page.
This page is very detailed, telling clients how much we charge to write ebooks, what we need from them, when we’ll be in touch, etc. I can’t tell you how much time this saves – and how much busy clients appreciate it.
VI. Fill in the Blanks Later: When you write, fill in the blanks later. As in, don’t stop to look for stats, quotes, etc. Just put a note in there so you can come back to it and keep writing.
You know who uses this trick? Stephen King. I ran across a blog post on another writer’s blog yesterday while preparing this post, and this is what it said about the uber successful author:
Stephen King likes to write the story first, leaving blanks for research. E.g.: Type of sofa, handgun or security recording equipment. And that may be the best way to write most types of novels, allowing us to focus on the story itself, not on the things we don’t know.
Well if it works for him, who am I to argue!
How does this save time? It allows you to write the meat of the story (article / blog post / etc.) first, then go back and stick in the details. If you stopped every time you need find a stat or quote, it can lengthen the writing process exponentially. And as freelance writers are paid by the writing job, that can have an adverse effect on your income.
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VII. Work with Your Body Clock: Most are freshest – and hence most productive — in the morning. I’m not a morning person and tend to be the most productive between 4 pm and 7 pm.
Some days, I’ll have a deadline and will find myself having to start writing in the morning way before I want to. And you know what? It takes me what seems like twice as long.
I’ve been freelancing since 1993, so I’ve learned to work with my body clock instead of against it. For example, I’ll complete other duties in the morning (eg, marketing, uploading an ebook, updating a web page, creating an ebook cover, etc.) and save the writing until later in the afternoon.
No one way is right or wrong – just do what works for you.
How does this save time? You get more done – quicker – when you feel rejuvenated, whenever that is.
VIII. Log Off! Many days, I’ll sit at my computer long after I know I should have logged off trying to get a jump on the next day, or finish a task from the previous day. And, you know what?
I usually have to go back over the project/task – sometimes just tweaking, other times doing it almost all over again. And it’s because I was working while I was tired. As I get older, the one thing I’m learning is when to call it a day – no matter what I think can’t wait.
How does this save time? It saves you from re-doing what you could have done right the first time if you weren’t tired. Also, it keeps you healthier – your eyes, your back and leg muscles, your mental state, etc. Rest is every bit as important as any other healthy thing you can do for your body (eg, exercise, eating right).
How These Tips Can Increase Your Freelance Writing Income by at Least 25%
Let’s say you’re earning $30,000. If you started marketing consistently, ie, doing it first thing in the morning, and managed to pick up three new clients who gave you $7,500 a year in assignments ($625 per month), you’ve increased your income by 25% annually.
Think this is doable?
I can tell you from experience, heck yeah! Now imagine if you incorporated all of these tips.
Have Your Say
What time-saving tips can you pass along to other freelance writers? Do you already do any of the above? Did any of these resonate with you? Please share in the comments section below.
To my American friends, hope you enjoyed President’s Day!
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