What’s on the iPod: Sing by Ed Sheeran
It’s been a fairly slow week so far. After the last two weeks of 9-hour workdays, I’m glad for the breather. I have a few projects still pending, and I’m working through edits with a current client. I’m marketing (aren’t I always?) and there have been a few inquiries as a result.
A writer friend was relating her recent success with a new client in which she was able to double her rate — a result she’s intending to copy in future client dealings. Not that her rate was too low — knowing this freelancer, it was probably right on the money. But what her experience taught me was that even when I think I’m in a good place, there’s always room for improvement.
That goes for you, too. Every one of us, whether we’re sitting in our sweet spot or still trying to find ways to get to a decent number, could stand for an increase in the revenue. But at times don’t you feel like you’re just sitting there, stagnant?
Here are a few ways you can increase your revenue without breaking too much of a sweat:
Improve your bio. Does your bio say “Patricia is a freelance writer who specializes in healthcare, technology, and software development”? If so, you’re probably missing out on some serious traffic (and client hits). Why not get specific? “Patricia is a freelance writer who writers about the Affordable Care Act, workers’ compensation benefits, top business technology, and new software releases for businesses.” Why is this better? Keywords, folks. If you tag it, they will come.
Brainstorm the possibilities. Open a Word document or grab a notebook. Now, without thinking too long, write down every possible place you could find writing work right now. Don’t dwell on it — just toss it on the list. You can give it more thought later. Where to start — where you’re already working. Where else to look — where you’d like to be working, places where your current skills transfer easily, places that are supporting industries/clients to those you already work with, etc.
Promote your current work/projects/clients. Get in the habit of using social media to promote your latest article. Don’t forget to promote your clients, too. Also, mention what you can of current projects, especially the type of project. For example, “Just finished the last page of the technology white paper” or “Coffee, then back to work on carpentry blog entries.”
Find smarter ways to work. I have a system of article writing that starts with the query letter. By setting up the query (and the questions) to mirror how I’ll write the article, I give editors a clear picture of what I’m doing, and I give myself an instant outline. What other project shortcuts can you dream up that can help you decrease time spent and increase the number of projects you can take on?
Raise the rates. If it’s been longer than two years, you’re due for a raise. Consider that employees get an average of 3-5 percent more every year. Your $50 an hour may have made sense in 2001, but you’re way too low to compete with what serious clients would consider professional rates. Do a little homework, then set your new rate where you’ll be better positioned to compete.
Knock the small jobs out of the park. I’m not saying spend six hours writing one press release, but really pay attention to every detail. Go over the conversation, the notes, one more time, Make sure the small project is a home run. Happy clients come back. What better way to make them happy than by treating that 300-word piece like it was going in The New Yorker?
Writers, how do you increase your writing income?