Is your writing business humming along? Excellent. Read on if it isn’t. I’ve been mentoring several writers over the past 12 months who have made the switch from employment to full-time writing.
Similar challenges cropped up for all of them, so let’s look at three major challenges and some tips which will help you to overcome those challenges.
1. Remember Your Outgoings: Cover Expenses First.
The biggest challenge was cash flow. That’s hardly surprising. It’s the big challenge for all small businesses. You get an influx of cash, and then nothing. This makes it hard to budget, even if you have a full order book. Clients can postpone projects, take their time paying you, or even vanish.
These two tips will help:
- Cover your expenses. Every business has expenses and taxes. Know what your expenses are each month, then look for retainer clients who will help you to cover these monthly outgoings;
- Over-book. Yes, I know this is hard. You’ll end up working long days, and weekends. However, you need to get a cushion to cover your monthly expenses for three months at least.
2. Persistence Wins. Set Your Course, and Keep to It.
It takes around three months to become established in delivering writing services in an area. Then you’ll you have a constant stream of work coming in (as long as you keep marketing – see tip 3). A couple of the students decided they’d change from one form of writing to another after a couple of months. This meant that they were starting from zero in the new area.
Once you’re established in an area like copywriting, or commercial business writing, or whatever, you can build your clients in a new area. However, make sure that you’re established, and that you have retainer clients in an area, before you try something new.
Keep sending out introductions to your services to new prospects, blogging, or networking, as much as you can. You may feel as if “nothing’s happening.” Then you’ll get four new clients in one day, and make double your usual monthly income in 24 hours.
“Feast or famine” is common in freelancing, especially when you’re just starting out. People need to come across your name several times, and then remember you when they’re hiring a writer.
Tip: stick with what you’re doing for three months.
3. Keep Prospecting, a Little Every Day: Ten Minutes Is Fine.
Marketing is a big challenge too. You’ll get busy, and feel that you don’t have time to market. You don’t need hours of time. When you’re busy, spend ten minutes a day on it. Create templates for your marketing materials, and send out a couple of emails, or make a couple of calls.
You can do a lot in ten minutes. Consider that that’s 50 minutes a week, and that you’re seeding future growth of your business.
Review your writing business every three months…
Give yourself time to get used to running your business. Your marketing takes time to kick in. In the meantime, HUSTLE.
Big, vital tip: track what you do each day. I’ve just started to do a lot more tracking, and it’s amazingly motivating.
Please remember these tips. Today, almost anyone can become a full-time writer. The work is out there. Yes, freelance marketing places are packed with low-priced projects. That’s fine. The market is global. You can get great clients, and far exceed what you can make at a day job. Have fun.