What’s on the iPod: Fast Cars and Freedom by Rascal Flatts
A slow, albeit nice week. I enjoyed having time to really concentrate a full day to poetry. The article I’m writing is roughly outlined and I’ve lined up some interviews already, so it’s just waiting until the contacts can talk. I worked on a few small projects, but so far the big stuff is still out of sight. Looming (I can feel it), but not yet here.
So I continue to market as though nothing were in the works. You have to.
I saw a discussion on a the 5 Buck Forum recently about how and where to market. That’s a pretty big question, so the discussion went in a variety of directions. Each response was good, and it was based on that writer’s particular experience. That I love. No one pushed the only way to do things, and everyone learned something new.
So that begs the question — how do you find your particular process when you’re brand new at it?
That’s this week’s Free Advice Friday topic.
Finding Your Process
For me, finding my way in freelancing was a series of hit-and-miss attempts. When I tried something that worked, I stuck with it. At first, maybe I stuck with it a little too much. It can be dangerous too, because the work either dries up quickly or your stagnate at the same work paying the same rate. Ideally, the goal should be to find a mix of projects and clients so that your workload is staggered, your rate is constantly improving, and you’re interested in what you’re doing.
Here are some ways to use what you already know and improve the way you do things:
Explore what intrigues you. For instance, Paula Hendrickson mentioned letters of introduction on this blog a little over three years ago. I asked her to write a blog post about it. Her post changed my marketing for the better. While not every idea you hear or read is going to work for you, trust your gut. When something catches your attention, look into it a little more.
Brainstorm. Get out a sheet of paper or a fresh Word document and just write out every conceivable way in which you can contact a potential client. Be creative — don’t edit your ideas. Brainstorming is the fun part where you can write down whatever you like. If you can dream it up even if you have no idea if it will work, it belongs on this list.
Choose two. They don’t even have to be ideas that will necessarily work. Right now, you’re just going to choose what appeals and play with them. Ever wanted to do viral marketing? Dream up various ways in which to reach clients through this method. Want to send out printed newsletters? Think of whom it is you’d send them to. Just play. Don’t think it’s all written in stone. It’s not.
Make a schedule. My own schedule is pretty simple — I reach out to clients via email and social media every week. I write down how many people per week I’ll contact and how I’ll reach them. I do this every week. Also, I keep it small. That’s key because part of your schedule should include following up on previous contact.
Advertise it. I use the Accountability thread in the 5 Buck Forum to report what my marketing efforts will be on any given week. I say to advertise your schedule because it’s a super way to motivate yourself into actually doing what you’ve planned. If you don’t want to advertise your efforts online, partner with someone and make sure you report in regularly on your progress.
Check it. Every month, I do that right here on the Monthly Assessment thread (and I invite you to join in any time you like). If you’re looking at your efforts every month, you’re able to see what’s working, what isn’t, and where a change is in order. For example, why keep hosting webinars if attendance has dropped to practically no one? Or why send newsletters that two people out of 1,000 are opening?
Change it. Don’t be afraid to try something new. In fact, strive for new methods. If something isn’t working, replace it with something that might. And as always, check it and adjust as necessary. Also, push yourself into new areas in which to market when you feel yourself stagnating in the same area. It could be that you’ve outpaced where you are now.
Writers, how did you come by your current process?
How does that compare with what you were doing last month/last year/two years ago?