Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Freelance Writers: 14 Tried & True Ways to Make More Money (Pt 2 of 2)

Continuing yesterday’s post, Freelance Writers: 14 Tried & True Ways to Make More Money:

8. Do a Freebie: When all else fails, this is a great standby.

As a personal example, I recently decided that I wanted to do some work for a local government agency (I’ve seen some of their material and it’s not up to par, and I also have several more ideas that could increase their visibility in the community).

So, I’m currently working on a brochure that I plan to present to the communications manager, whom I happen to know from networking (see, “Why Every Freelance Writer Should Join a Chamber of Commerce” on InkwellEditorial.blogspot.com).

Now, I’m doing this “freebie” because I know that if I can get my foot in the door, I can get more work from other city agencies.

So, when all else fails, a freebie can be your calling card.

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9. Create a Backlog of Material: There are days when I just want to write. I don’t want to market, I don’t want to do follow up calls, I don’t want to do interviews – I just want to write.
Sometimes, I have the luxury of giving in to this. I may turn out 5 or 6 articles and come up with ideas for a dozen more and create outlines for those.

This is why I always have a backlog of material. On days when I don’t feel like writing, I will market the pieces I’ve written. The point is to take advantage of whatever mood you’re in, as long as it’s not throwing in the towel.

NOTE: The following are what you might call cerebral ideas, but you have to get the brain moving before anything else can work, soooooooo:

10. Stop Procrastinating: We all do it – but have you ever stopped to figure out how much it’s costing you in real dollars?

When freelancing, time is money, so if you can cut down on the surfing, answering email, talking on the phone – whatever it is that sucks up your time – and churn out one more marketing task a day, think how that can add up over weeks and months and by year’s end.

11. Pay for Knowledge: Many times, we get so stuck in our own world that we don’t take the time to expand our skill set. And I’m not talking a grave amount of time here.

Eg, how long would it take you to learn how to build a simple website? Learning how to do this can add a whole other revenue stream to your business. I falter on this myself.

I ordered a new software almost two months ago and have yet to open it. I bought the program because it would allow me to add another revenue stream to my business, but I have yet to get around to opening the box.

I tell this story to make a point – if you are a real do-it-yourself, then by all means, e-learning and/or figuring it out yourself might work for you.

HOWEVER, if you are extremely busy and/or a procrastinator, take a class with an instructor. You will get the knowledge you need and are more likely to use it than let it sit on a shelf and collect dust (note to self: open the box!)

12. Create a Dream Life: What do I mean by this? Think where you want to be in 5, 10, 15 years and ask yourself if what you are doing at that very moment is propelling you toward that life.

This has snapped me back in line on hundreds of occasions. When I get unmotivated, lazy, and/or find myself doing something other than what I should be doing during the hours I set aside to devote to my “business,” I remember that I want to have the option of retirement at 55, that I want to travel 3 months out of the year, that I want to be debt free in 10 years, etc.

Your goals may be different. But when you make your dreams a priority, not a distant “someday goal” to achieve, your every action will be oriented towards making it happen.

Nothing succeeds like perseverance – there will always be those who are smarter, faster, funnier, wittier – whatever. But, a field you can always compete on is perseverance – most don’t have that.

13. Become an Optimist: Although this may sound a little new agey, we really are what we think.

If you start to dwell on how hard freelancing is, how frustrating, how underpaid you are, how many rejections you received – and believe me, I KNOOOOOWWW the feeling – you start to internalize those negative feelings. This stops the natural flow of ideas.

So, by all means, eat that pint of ice cream when yet another client cancels a project, but don’t grab a cookie too. Grieve and move on.

I’ve come to embrace my failures as much as my successes because invariably, I can pinpoint a success on a failure. What I mean is, I can look back and go, wow, if that [bad thing] had never happened, then this [good thing] never would have.

It is absolutely uncanny how life works. Life is a series of yings and yangs. Learning to appreciate this will only make your life easier – on all levels.

14. Do Something Completely Different: And I’m not just talking about projects – I’m talking about life. Try bungee jumping, motorcycle riding, hang gliding – the point is to recognize something you’ve always wanted to do and finally just do it!

Have you ever eaten the Raisin Bran? You know how after a while the raisins settle in the bottom of the box and you have to shake it to get them to come back to the top.

Well sometimes you have to do that to life – that is, shake it up for it to offer you its best. Even if the only thing to come out of it is one more thing you crossed of your life’s “to do” list, then, you’ve gotten your two scoops out of life – if only for a day.
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