What I’m reading: Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck
What’s on the iPod: Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison
Hurry on over to Jenn Mattern’s All Freelance Writing. Jenn, who is a writer and business person we should all emulate, has given yours truly the space to rant on about more things worth-related. Give her comment love, will ya?
My mom has come for a visit just as A) I returned from Vancouver, B) Writers Worth Week revs up, and C) my car decides to finally die. I say “finally” because it’s had this intermittent starting issue for two years now, and the mechanic can’t diagnose it unless it dies and stays that way. So it’s a good thing. Just bad timing.
I will be in and out today, but leave comments! Remember, all comments this week that offer some form of advice are entries. Four lucky commenters will receive a free copy of The Worthy Writer’s Guide to Building a Better Business. Leave some advice for your peers and take away the same from them.
How often has this happened to you – you decide you’re going to make a certain income this year, but months go by before you realize you haven’t come close? You’re not alone.
One of the areas in which writers make a clear misstep in their careers is in their goals. Sure, a writer will say “I’m going to make $80K this year!” and he or she may in fact do so. But how are they getting there?
I struggled with this, too. I had the goal in mind, but I wasn’t setting up the targets in order to reach the goal. Then I got smart about it. I decided the only way to hit the goal was to hit the target.
So your worthy advice for today – define your target. Decide today how much you will earn annually (it’s not too late to set a goal like that). Now go one more step. Decide what you’re going to earn monthly in order to reach that goal. It’s simple math.
Of course, that leads to a bit more planning. Once you see where you need to be earnings wise each month, you should do the following:
Examine each current client relationship. Which ones are paying you adequately? Which ones aren’t? Keep the clients that are helping you reach the goal. The ones that aren’t paying enough but are taking up a lot of your time need to go.
Look at your networking and marketing. If you want to hit a target, you have to aim. Marketing and networking are your eyes locking in on that target. You may need corrective lenses – in other words, a revamping of your current approach – in order to see your target more clearly.
Be honest about your actions. If your current marketing plan isn’t working, why? Is it because you’re targeting the wrong people or because you’re not consistent with it? The best marketing and networking plans in the world are killed by inertia. You may not realize it, but it’s relatively easy to find new clients. Just define a path that suits you and apply it liberally.
Emulate your peers. Do you have a freelance friend whose career you envy? Look at what he or she is doing to attract those clients. Ask. Ask if you can shadow that person or pay him or her to coach or mentor you. Learn from people who are making it happen daily.
Open new doors. Current clients are great, but there’s only so much they need. Spend an hour or two looking over your clients’ businesses. What other companies and clients are there that do similar things? What cross-over industries can be tapped for writing help? If you’re interested in Magazine A, how would your articles fit into Magazine B?
Aim higher. I can’t stress this often enough. Always be looking for clients up the food chain, not down it. You may snag a neat little blogging gig that pays you $75 per post. But how does that compare to the newsletter gig that pays you $1,200 a month? Be aware of how many lower-paying gigs you take on, and pretend each one reflects directly back to your reputation. Each one does. You’ll be putting your experience in a portfolio. Seek out those jobs that will look the best.
How do you define – and reach – your targets?