Wednesday, April 25, 2007

How to Organize Your Day to Become a Successful Freelance Writer

$1,000/Week is Very Possible Putting the Following into Motion

Freelancing is all about managing time. With over 14+ years of experience as a freelancer, there are still things I learn on a regular basis to increase my income.

If you want to become a successful freelance writer, you have to first begin by organizing your day to make it happen. If you focus on organizing one day, then follow that plan for three weeks to make it a habit, you'll have no problem achieving success in this field.

NOTE: Most experts agree that for something to become a habit, you should do it for at least three weeks - continuously - before it will stick.

WORK-FROM-HOME E-BOOKS: Freelance from home! Just a reminder, Inkwell Editorial's work-from-home, how-to freelance writing e-books will be back on this weekend.****************************

1. Block Out Hours for a 10-hour Workday: I know, I know, this is not popular, but for the first year or so, you are going to have to put in 9 or 10 hours a day (sometimes more) to make it happen. So, just get used to it.

People wonder how I do all that I do and the my answer always is organization and willpower. I know what I want and am not afraid to work hard to get it. So, 10 hours - wrap your brain around it and move on.

2. Create a Marketing Plan: A marketing plan is like your map to success. Without it, you will be like a dog chasing its tail - going around and around in circles making no progress at all.

Of course, creating a marketing plan means deciding what type of writing you want to do, who your target market is, how you will reach them, how much it's going to cost you, what your pricing schedule is, etc.

This doesn't have to be fancy, and it doesn't have to cost a bundle - but it is a must. Remember, marketing is a numbers game. If send out 50 mailers a week, that's 200 hundred a month. A 1-3% return will bring in 2-6 prospects.

If you close half of these, that's 1-3 new clients a month. When you look at the numbers like this, it's really not so hard, is it?

Build up your client list to 25 or 30, and you should stay fairly busy.

3. Create a Realistic Pricing Schedule: Many freelancers work for peanuts. Hey, I still do sometimes. But, it all depends on my goal. I have an income goal that I set each month. If I feel like I'm falling behind that, you betcha I take on low-paying projects.

Stipulations for Low-Paying Projects

I don't do it on a regular basis and I have certain stipulations that must be met (eg, is this going to be a repeat client, a bottom line (I do have a rock-bottom minimum), what the project is, how long it's going to take, etc.

Industry Wage Minimum

I've given up on this market having a stable industry norm, as discussed in my 11/7/06 post, Should Freelance Writers Have a Minimum Wage?

Some writers are going to rail that you're low-balling; some clients are going to say that you're too high. I say create a pricing schedule that works for you. As discussed in 2/8/07 post, Are You a High Stakes or Low Balling Freelance Writer?, only you can decide what "price" is right for you.

4. Diversify Your Income Streams: As I said in my 1/31/07 post, How to Make $100/Day as a Freelance Writer, "Choosing two or three different types of writing you can do well. For example, you might do resumes, articles and web copy."

Also, create your own products to sell, eg, e-books; use write-for-pay sites like; and/or set up a website on sites like to sell t-shirts, mugs, etc.

Diversifying your income streams means that when projects dry up, you're not left out in the cold.

5. Market, Market, Market: While this point could fall under Tip #2, I wanted to write it as a stand alone - last.

Make it your business to get out a certain number of marketing messages a week. Whether this means mailing out 100 postcards, sending out 200 emails or, attending two networking events and passing out 20 brochures.

You can't get business unless you get in front of prospects. Staying home, surfing the net, lamenting about why no business is coming in will not make you successful.

For the first year at least, you're going to have to work your butt off to get business in the door.

If you want to make a bonified living as a freelancer, get in front of repeat-paying clients. This only happens by consistently - I repeat, consistently - marketing.
Copyright Notice: May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to
Like what you read here? Find the content useful and informative? Subscribe to the Inkwell Editorial feed (under the LINKS section to your right) to receive new content immediately upon publishing.


BloggingWriter said...

Great post, Yolanda. I'd like to feature it in the next edition of my newsletter (with proper credit of course)


Inkwell Editorial said...

Feel free Sharon, and thanks for reading. Good luck with your blog.


laura said...

Great (and needed) article. Time management is key.

domestika said...

Just found your blog by way of Sharon Hurley Hall's newsletter - and I must say there's a lot of good reading here, with very sensible advice grounded in the real world of the writing business. Thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge!
~ Jen

Shawn said...

Hi -- just found your blog. It's fabulous and so I just wanted to let you know that. I like all of the posts, but I'm picking this one to comment on because it really gave me a nice wakeup call. I'm pretty new to blogging and so it quickly became an obsession. One that seems to be paying off as I think I'm going to get a freelance job blogging ... BUT, it won't pay nearly as much as my other work so ... this post is awesome. Because I am a full-time mother with no sitter and now, suddenly, a freelancer as well, I realized I hadn't actually gotten myself organized. Anyway ... so thanks.

Also, LOVED the template idea. I am writing 10 stories in 5 weeks and wrote a template today for all of them because they are for the same publication and with the same format. Awesome. Thanks.