Easy Freelance Money-making Shift

What I’m listening to: You Can’t Save ‘Em All by Big Harp

Funny how your career tells you what you should be doing.

At a recent Meetup function, I was asked what kind of writing I do. “Risk management and insurance writing” I replied.

It wasn’t until a few days later that I realized only half of that statement is true.

I’m a specialist – risk management and insurance are a combined specialty for me. But as I went through my invoices, doing a (late) 3rd quarter assessment, I realized something —

I’d only barely touched on the risk management stuff this year. One client, one magazine article. That’s it.

So what was I doing instead? I started listing the clients and their business focus.

Damn. That’s all over the place. Managed care, workers’ comp, insurance articles, profiles, company resumes and white papers, website revisions, press releases…

So maybe now my answer should be “Corporate writing and trade magazine work.”

Without realizing it, I’d already started focusing on these wider areas. So guess what I’m going to focus on in my marketing?

Our freelance writing careers go through these transitions. I remember years ago calling myself the Blog Queen because the first six months of that year, 80 percent of my projects were blog projects. The second half of that year was all about magazine work and some corporate ghostwriting.

Right there is your key to an easier, more lucrative earnings potential. But if you’re like me, you may not even realize the change has occurred.

If you’re feeling a tad stagnant — or even bored — or you feel your marketing isn’t quite netting much, try this little exercise to locate those pseudo-specialties:

Review your current/immediate past clients.

Go back a year if you want, but do look at at least six months of work. Write down the type of project you did for each one. What stands out? Also, note the dates for each project. Was there an increase in the number of any particular type of project? Was it a slight or sizable increase?

Be frank with yourself.

Here’s the tougher part — you may have taken on a ton of resume work or a bunch of blog post work….but you don’t like the work. Are these projects you want to continue taking on? If not, look down your list of projects. Which ones do you really want to be doing?

Attract the work you want.

That means revising your letter of introduction, rethinking what shares and messages you’ll send out on social media, and maybe making a new list of potential clients for you to research. Yes, it’s a little more work, but it’s also a little easier. You have ready-made samples thanks to your previous clients. Use them to get more of what you love doing.

Bonus strategy: Revisit existing clients.

A little bonus advice for you — as you’re going over your project list, look for clients you’ve not heard from in a few months. Time for a “checking in” email asking how they’re doing these days, don’t you think?

Writers, how have you taken advantage of these surprise areas of concentration?

What other money-making boosts have you used successfully?

About the author




  • Sarah Schmidt November 9, 2017 at 8:50 am

    You always have great advice, Lori! Those moments when we describe what we do and give a little elevator pitch can be an interesting opportunity for self-reflection. As in… what do I do again?! It’s a good question to ponder. Thanks for sharing.

    • lwidmer November 9, 2017 at 9:32 am

      LOL I know exactly what you mean, Sarah. Sometimes, it’s the deer-in-headlights response that we’re trying to avoid, isn’t it? šŸ™‚

  • Paula Hendrickson November 9, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Interesting timing, Lori. After a guest coaching call with Anne Wayman, I have two new areas I want to explore more in the coming year. One was already becoming more apparent to me (I even wrote a blog post about it on my website). The other will be more of a creative challenge that, if properly done, could pay off a bit in the long term.

    The first step is making myself set aside time for each of those things. Not sure if I’ll set one day aside for them or an hour per day…but I need to separate those efforts from my ongoing assignments so they don’t get lost in the shuffle.

    Without realizing it, I’d already begun adding social media connections for the first area before Anne and I even spoke!

    • lwidmer November 9, 2017 at 5:03 pm

      There you go, Paula! Anne’s good for helping you narrow down your focus, isn’t she?

      Going to read your blog post right now…

      • Paula Hendrickson November 10, 2017 at 11:03 am

        You’ve already read and commented on that post, Lori.

        • lwidmer November 10, 2017 at 11:37 am

          I noticed that. šŸ™‚

  • Devon Ellington November 10, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    It’s so funny that you’re bringing this up, because that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. And it’s attracted two new regular, long-term clients to me who are terrific!

    • lwidmer November 10, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      That’s a nice bonus! Congrats, Devon. I love it when like attracts like — when they’re good clients, that is. šŸ˜‰