31 Days of Freelancing: A More Persistent Freelancer

What I’m listening to: Honey I Been Thinking About You by Jackie Greene

Wow, just a few more days until the holidays, both Christmas and Hannukkah. And Kwanzaa. It seems the planets are all aligned this year.

This is my week to disappear until after the holiday. If it’s yours too, have a great time unwinding! You’ve earned it.

If you’re still at the computer, working or not, now might be a nice, distraction-free time to get some behind-the-scenes work done on your freelance writing business. This week in particular, I’ve tried to make these strategies easy enough to set up/use so that you have no more than 20-30 minutes of your day invested.

Building a freelance writing business is really that simple at times.

So let’s see what’s on today’s agenda:

December 20: Your Persistence Plan

Remember the goals we set a few days ago and the loose plan we put around reaching it? Here’s where things get a little more detailed. Not a lot — remember, it’s supposed to be simple — but we are bumping up our activity a bit.

Being persistent, in freelance writing, means putting some commitments around our plans. Here’s what we’re going to do today:

  • Schedule marketing
  • Schedule follow-up

That’s how you become more persistent — and more consistent, too. To reach your goals, you have to endure over the long haul (persistence). That means you have to be unwavering in your approach (consistence).

So we’re going to schedule both our marketing and our follow-up efforts. Start here:

  1. Open the calendar app.
  2. Open an appointment time.
  3. Write down what message you’re sending and to whom.
  4. Open another appointment time (or use the same, if you like).
  5. Write down which contacts you need to get back in touch with.
  6. Schedule it as a 15-3o minute appointment, and set your reminder.
  7. Before clicking Save, tick the box that makes this a recurring event.

So how often should you be doing this? Ideally, every day. Of course, your marketing method per day can, and probably should, change. Today it’s sending/following up on LOIs, tomorrow some scheduled tweet time, the next day a webinar or LinkedIn group time…. Make it your schedule, and make it one you’ll follow.

Let’s assume you’ve contacted 20 potential clients and have just added 14 more Twitter followers you’d like to engage. How the hell are you going to keep track of all that?

One of two ways to do that:

  1. Excel
  2. Word

Seriously, just write it down. Make your own tracking sheet that shows whom you’ve contacted, when, what the message was, what the response was, and when you followed up. It can be done in Excel quite easily. Honestly, if Word is your comfort zone, you don’t need Excel. Just create a table in Word, headers, and you’re good to go.

Here are some good habits to get into:

  • Make your weekly schedule, complete with new contact names, each Friday for the following week. Or make it recurring and just use a numbered system from your tracking sheet (“Contact numbers 75-100” tags or “Smith through Tarlington” or “Acme through Cornerstone” tags — whatever works for you).
  • Mix up your marketing to avoid your own boredom. If I had to send LOIs and only LOIs every day, I’d soon lose interest in my own words. Don’t lock yourself into one method of reaching clients.
  • Change is good, so change whenever you feel like it. That means Tweeting every day for a week might appeal. Then you want to hit LinkedIn more often instead of Twitter…whatever it is, test other patterns to see where your sweet spot is.
  • Add this to your accountability report. If you have to tell your accountability partner that you sent only three LOIs, you’re going to be more likely to stick with your marketing so that you don’t feel embarrassed admitting a lack of activity.

Writers, how has persistence helped your business? 

What one thing do you do every day that you’d consider marketing?

What advice would you give to other writers looking to reach their targets?

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