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Freelance Writers: 4 Quick Things to Check before the Start of Every Busy Season

If you’ve been a freelance writer for any amount of time, you know that there tends to be a workflow cycle to the editorial industry. Right after Labor Day signals the beginning of the busy season. And like taking a long car trip, there are some tune-ups you should do before hitting the freelance writing highway.

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How to Maximize Your Freelance Writing Income Every Year

If you haven’t already, following are four quick things you should assess to ensure that you earn as much as you possibly can every fiscal year.

1. Know Your Profit Centers

Do you offer a variety of services, eg, social media marketing, ghost blogging, white papers, SEO article writing, ebook writing, etc.? If so, do you know which service earns you the most? The least?

If you don’t, it’s time to get jiggy with your numbers. I once had a business mentor who said to me “If you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know your business.” Now that I’ve started to take affiliate marketing seriously, I really see how important that is.

It’s important to know your numbers because it tells you how and where to concentrate your efforts. As time is money in freelance writing – especially if you’re a one-person shop – then you need to maximize every hour of your work day.

If you don't know your numbers you don't know your business. Click To Tweet

How to Diversify Your Service Offerings by Paying Attention to Your Numbers

When I first started writing SEO content in 2007, I started out by offering one service – SEO article writing. These were usually 400 to 500-word articles and I charged $25/article (for non-technical content) and $35 for technical content.

But clients also start requested blog posts. These are just shorter articles, but they didn’t want to pay the same for a 250 or 300-word article as a 400 or 500-word article. So, I added blog post writing for $15 (200 to 350-word posts).

Clients loaded up on these short little suckers – and they tended to be easier and quicker to write.

Once I ran some numbers, I realized that although I didn’t think of “blog post writing” as a separate service, my clients did. So, I started marketing for gigs that way.

And you know what? Many of those clients who were willing give me a shot for $15/post went on to become full-fledged article clients too.

But if I didn’t realize that I was selling more of these shorter articles (ie, blog posts), I never would have switched up my marketing tactics and landed clients who went on to order higher-paying gigs too.

This is an example of why it pays to know your profit centers. Some other advantages are you can:

(a) bundle services and push each invoice higher;
(b) get rid of non-profitable services; and
(c) recognize when it’s time to add a new service(s).

How to Find Your Freelance Writing Business Profit Centers: 3 Steps

(i) Go back through a year’s worth of invoices and create columns for each service.

(ii) Under each column, write down how much you’ve billed in the last 12 months for each service. Add them up.

(iii) Go back through a year’s worth of client emails/correspondence. Why? To see if there are services they’ve been asking for that you don’t offer. Also, look for clues as to services you can possibly bundle and/or offer as a discount to increase the amount of each invoice.

Doing this type of deep digging into your freelance writing business at least once a year (twice yearly would be idea), will keep you on top of where your profit centers are and how to maximize them.

How Knowing Your Numbers Can Create A New Freelance Writing Income Stream

I’ve repeated this story often, but it’s relevant here. When I was doing my taxes for 2010, I realized that over half my income that year had come from my self-publishing efforts – ecourses and ebooks. I was shocked.

So I spent all of 2011 writing and self-publishing 50 ebooks. By 2014/2015, almost all of my income comes from my own personal projects. I publish fiction, non-fiction, ecourses and do affiliate marketing.

But if I’d never paid attention to my profit centers, I may never have been able to move away from writing primarily for clients, to writing for myself. So if you don’t know your numbers, take a day to go through them. Not for nothing — it’s fun to see old invoices (especially those fat, juicy ones) and realize that, “Hey, I’m really making a go of this freelance writing thing!

2. Update Your Writing Samples

When was the last time you reviewed your writing samples? Many times, we as freelance writers use the same samples year in and year out. And if they’re for a big brand like Microsoft or McDonald’s, darn skippy! I’m not saying get rid of these necessarily.

But, do you have newer ones that better reflect the kind of writing you’re doing today? For example, long-form content is all the rage these days. Do you have a couple of samples of this kind of writing on your site?

Also, even when a gig doesn’t specifically state or talk about search engine optimization (SEO), most online writing requires some knowledge of it these days. Do you have at least one SEO writing sample in your portfolio?

Have you developed a new skill, eg, writing white papers, or editing/writing medical content using AMA style? Have you added these your online writing portfolio? If not, do so. You could be missing out on a whole new client base by not taking an hour or so to update your online portfolio.

3. Update Your Website

Why HostGator is the best web hositing company for freelance writers (IMO)When was the last time you updated the wording on your website? This is particularly important if the bulk of your work is in the SEO sector. The reason is, certain wording dates you and your skill set.

I’m particularly bad about this. A few years ago when I updated my  SEO writing company’s site, I was horrified to see that it still had references to outdated online marketing tactics like article marketing and PLR articles. These were hot in 2007; not so much in 2017.

So go through your website and update the wording, delete services that are no longer profitable, and make sure it looks – and sounds – recent. Old wording makes clients think your skills are not updated, when nothing could be further from the truth. You may just be too busy working to get to it.

So while your old clients may know what you’re capable of, you may be sending the wrong message to prospective new clients about your skills.

4. Make Constructive Use of Testimonials

Are your clients constantly praising you, but you’ve never gotten around to adding their stellar praise to your website? Do you have the same three testimonials up from when you started two years ago, but have a backlog of a dozen or so new ones that you’ve been meaning to add to your site?

You know the one where the client says your copywriting skills increased their lead generation by 15%? The one where you completed the project early and under budget? The one where they were so impressed with you that they put you on retainer?

Existing clients are some of your best marketing material. Add those testimonials to your site; spread them throughout a downloadable, benefits-oriented ebooklet for prospective clients; add them to your email signature; etc.

Existing clients are some of your best marketing material. Click To Tweet

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Conclusion

Now that the busy season is here, give your freelance writing business the tune-up it needs to maximize your earnings. These four areas are quick, easy fixes that can be done in one day or less – and pay big dividends throughout the year.

Thoughts?

When was the last time you gave your freelance writing business a tune-up like this? Did this post spark an idea? What would you add to the list? Share in the comments section below.

P.S.: A Practically Fail-Proof Way to Start an Online Writing Biz

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