Your January Freelance Writing Income Boost

What I’m listening to: Runaways by The Killers

It’s nearly Thanksgiving — time to think about January?

What? January? Already?

If you want income to be rolling in at the start of the new year, then yes. Already. In fact, you should have thought about it even earlier.

It’s not too late, however, to find freelance writing work that will pay around the holidays or just after. Who wouldn’t want money coming in just as you’ve emptied your account buying gifts?

If you’ve been a determined, tenacious freelancer, you probably already have projects lined up (or ones you’re working on) that will put cash in your bank account by January.

If you’ve been a typical freelancer, you’re looking at the calendar and murmuring “WTF?”

So let’s get you some work that will get you some cash, okay? Start with any or all of these:

Magazine articles.

Be prepared to hear a lot of no-thank-you responses: budgets may have dried up already. However, you can push back a little — suggest the article for a February or later publication date. You write it, they can pay you on or just after January 1st. I had that happen once — I’d proposed it, the editor said yes, but asked if he could pay when the new budget appeared. That, freelance writer, is your chance to gain awesomeness points.

Repeat customers.

They may not be thinking about freelance work (they’re thinking about wrapping up internal projects), but that’s a great time to tap them on the shoulder and offer to help. People are out on vacations. Projects still need to be done. You’re able to proofread, edit, revise, and do all the grunt work their employees aren’t around to do. Then there are additional projects you can suggest: year-end blog posts or newsletters, holiday letters to their customers, sales letter revisions, website refreshes….

Temp work.

This one could be tough just based on your location and the temp agency you contact. Some have a process that requires you to take editing or writing tests (at their offices), and they may be like one temp agency close to me — they never call even when the job fits perfectly. But do look on LinkedIn ProFinder or other reputable places for companies seeking temporary help.

A targeted client.

Whenever I suggest researching and targeting a client list, I can swear I hear a lot of you groaning. Okay, let’s take that idea and turn it into a bite-sized project: research and market to one client.  If it were me, I’d choose a warm lead — a company or client you’ve spoken to or corresponded with. Perhaps an interview subject, or a person you met at a trade show, or a new editor who’s been interacting with you on social media. Look them up. Learn about what they do and how they do it. Find out who their customer is. Then write a killer marketing pitch — not too sales-y, but something that shows you understand who they are and want to help.

Writers, where do you turn when you’re needing to bolster the income?

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  • Paula Hendrickson November 16, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Great timing, Lori.

    One of my clients has a quick turn-around time, so I’ve literally had times where I nab an assignment, do the interview(s) the same day, write and turn it in the next day and it’s on the client’s site by the following morning. I’d bee sitting on an idea to pitch them that would be best run in late December. Then in this morning’s email I saw a press release that tied perfectly into my idea, so I dashed off a three sentence query—noting that I won’t be available to work on it next week even if I can land an interview for this week. She replied within about two minutes saying, “Great. After Thanksgiving is fine.”

    They pay about 3 weeks after invoice, so that one article alone should cover all of my gift-giving expenses this holiday season.

    • lwidmer November 20, 2017 at 8:55 am

      I love those assignments, Paula! Right now I have a regular assignment that’s going off the rails — I contacted seven people for interviews. Only one responded with actual feedback (emailed interviews). Two others have promised, the rest have ignored.

      Free publicity seems to be a scary thing these days.