Two more days until 2020. It’s time to think about your writing income.
Here’s why: there’s a big chance you’re earning much less than you could. As a group, freelancers are underpaid. Additionally, they’re either overworked, or are struggling to find work.
Something to be aware of in 2020…
Your writing income is your CHOICE
There’s no ceiling on your income as a freelance writer.
You can earn as much as you like.
If you want to increase your freelance income, decide that you will:
- Communicate your value (commit to doing this for every gig);
- Negotiate your fee for every gig;
- ASK — and keep asking.
Freelancers hesitate to communicate their value. Indeed, you may not be aware that you MUST communicate your value.
Moreover, once freelancers get a gig, they avoid negotiation. As I reported:
I’ve been coaching writers for a couple of decades. In all those years, I’ve never found a writer who over-charged. Mostly, they under-charged. Some under-charged so grossly that they were going broke.
The killer freelance mistake: thinking that asking once is enough
Asking for a gig once isn’t enough.
Put yourself in your client’s position. (This applies to past, current and prospective clients.) Your client is busy, above all. He may or may not see your message. If he sees it, he thinks: “I’ll get in touch later.”
Then you’re forgotten.
Create a follow-up workflow for clients and colleagues and act on it. (There’s a sample workflow below.)
Want to boost your writing income? You need a workflow to help you to follow up
I keep my follow-up strategies in Trello, because I can see what I need to do at a glance.
You follow up with:
- Prospective clients. Create a creative strategy to win new clients. One email message or a direct message on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn isn’t enough. Create a follow-up process which ensures that you follow up at least six times over three months.
- Current and past clients. I nag my freelance writing students to follow up creatively — never send out blanket mailings. Customize all your communications.
Here’s an example of customizing. Let’s say you’re writing web content for a company which sells an app. The app’s doing well, but it has few reviews.
Hmmm… what if you wrote a review package for the company? You could write four reviews which the company could offer to its affiliates. Would the affiliates use those done-for-you reviews? It’s money for jam, so they probably would. You decide to ASK — and you’re hired to write the reviews.
You also need to follow up with colleagues: public relations people and customer service reps, graphic designers, and web developers.
Again, customize your communications and follow up at least six times. Your freelance income will double and triple when you do.
A sample workflow to help you to follow up: customize it to suit your needs
Here’s a sample workflow to use with prospective freelance writing clients.
You’ve been introduced to these folk, or you’ve introduced yourself.
In response, you’ve sent an information packet on what you do, with a proposal.
- Make contact a week after your introduction with a short email message: “Hi (prospect’s name). I’m resending the info and proposal in case you didn’t receive it.”
Who knows, maybe he didn’t. So send the material again.
- It’s two weeks later. You’ve received nothing from your prospect yet. It’s time to forget the first proposal you sent — obviously it didn’t inspire them. Create a fresh proposal: make it something you’re sure they need.
Here’s why you develop TWO proposals: to show enthusiasm — that you sincerely want to work with these folk — that you’re committed to it. People respond to enthusiasm. They’ll remember you. You’ll stand out in the vast crowd of freelancers — 95% of freelancers would never bother to do this.
- Your new proposal is ready. Three weeks have passed since your first communication. Send something like: “Hi (prospect’s name), I recently worked with X (a company in the same industry, or a publication.) I can see that you are (whatever they’re doing. Maybe they’re opening a new facility, or are launching a new product) If you’d like some help with that, I’m available immediately. Contact me at (phone number.)”
- No response? Zero, zilch? That’s fine. Wait another month. Then get in touch again. Say whatever you like; remind the marketing manager or whoever you’re communicating with that you’ve been in touch and have sent them two proposals. You’d love to work with them: is there any way you can help?
Are you concerned you’re “bothering” them? Nope. This is normal business practice. Some clients will hire you after the third followup, some will hire you after the tenth.
Keep following up. I’ve had prospects hire me five years after I approached them and followed up several times.
You can boost your freelance income in 24 hours when you follow up
Your follow-up process ensures that clients remember you. They hire you, and hire you again, after their first experience of working with you.
To summarize: ASK and keep asking.
Create a follow up workflow now.
Here’s what can happen… One of my students resisted creating a follow-up workflow. Finally, I convinced her to at least try it.
The result? She made $1,278 in the first 24 hours. A week later, she’d made $11,640.
To repeat: your writing income is your choice. Commit to making 2020 your best-ever freelancing year.
Happy writing. 🙂
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.