don't fall for these freelance writing myths by melinda j. irvine

7+ Freelancing facts they don’t mention in the brochures

Now don't take me the wrong way here, I love my freelance writing life. But I've seen more than one marketing blog that seriously overstates the benefits of freelancing (probably for the purposes of recruiting students/trainees into their freelance learning…

Making writing your profession can be very challenging for cashflow. Most of us writers are self-employed in sole trader-styled small businesses, where we do all of the billable work ourselves. Even when we reach a point where we can hire some help, our assistants can really only help with administrative stuff. If we get sick or want holidays and extra reading time we sacrifice our billable hours, reducing our income and profitability. To maximise cashflow it’s essential to plan and balance long-term writing projects with your writing clients and short term projects. You need to be very strategic about any new writing work you take on otherwise you might find yourself unable to sustain your income and pay the bills. Looking at the big picture it’s all about how you manage your time so you are always working on a mix of short-term projects that pay immediately on completion (like writing blogs and articles), mid-range projects that pay in advance or in milestones (like the content for a full website) and then large projects that yield long term passive income (like writing books and content for courses). Let’s look at each of these areas briefly to give you an idea of how strategic you must be to really make money writing.  Short term projects  Short term projects are a bit like coffee, they give you a quick financial hit and then it’s over. You can make money as a writer delivering on short term jobs like:- * One-off blogs and articles * Linkedin Profiles * Resumes, CVs and Job Applications * Short poems and flash fiction * Copywriting landing pages or company profiles * Content for websites And they’re an important part of a writer’s income stream. But unless you’re dealing with an existing client, short-term projects can take up loads of your time (possibly a lot more than you are billing them). It takes time to build relationships with clients or to pitch new publications as you need to learn about their businesses, their client base and their readers. When you first start your writing business, unless you have existing client relationships in place you’ll find yourself spending a huge percentage of your time chasing new clients, writing proposals and pitching new publications. It’s very easy to become caught up in that process only, where you aren’t investing any of your time in longer term writing projects that can deliver a more sustainable income.  Regular Writing Gigs When you get your business to the next stage, where you have a regular client base you can relax at little bit. But only for a minutes. You always want to be seeking regular writing gigs so you can just get on with the writing without having to pitch and fight for every job. Stuff like:- * Writing a weekly or monthly eNewsletter * Managing a client’s social media posts * Regular updates to a website * Regular blogging for a client * Editing an online eZine or journal Technical Writing Projects Technical writing in the right niche can pay really well for creating things like user manuals, training workbooks, employee handbooks, reference guides, warning labels, product catalogues, customer service policies or FAQs. Technical writers are paid to take complex subjects and write them into clear, easy understand text. Your best strategy is finding a niche in a specific industry or job role so your research time is minimised and you build on your knowledge with each writing assignment.  Passive Income Investing your writing time to create saleable products that generate passive income is some every writer should to strive to achieve. Of course this takes up large chunks of your time and the returns don’t happen until after the product is completely finished. But the rewards manifest in ongoing royalties, subscription fees and commission payments. The other great thing about passive income for writers is once you’ve written the materials you can delegate the marketing (if you have the resources of course) to administration staff or a VA working remotely. Over the coming weeks I’ll be blogging about each of these topics separately, but for now I’ll leave you with a  brief overview to give you some ideas. Books Naturally every writer aspires to have their books published but unless you can attract a publisher to print and market your books you’ll be relying on your own efforts as a self-publisher.  Many writers find success self-publishing eBooks in the non-fiction market, writing for a specialised niche. Others self-publish fiction and use a whole host of tactics to get their work out to the reading public. Andy Weir, bestselling author of ‘The Martian’ first published that book chapter by chapter on his personal blog. Workshops and Courses Creating your own workshops, webinars and online courses is becoming an increasingly popular side hustle. Websites like Udemy and Teachable enable individuals like you and me to create professional online training courses in our unique area of expertise. Affiliate Sales Affiliate marketing is a popular business model for making money from websites and blogs. As a writer you can sign up for an affiliate account with online retailers (Amazon.com is a great example) and embed personalised links to their products on your website pages and posts. Every time a reader clicks a link and buys a product within a certain timeframe (say 60 days) you receive a commission. Sounds easy hey? The thing I don’t really like about affiliate marketing is very often it’s done covertly in posts like “10 Essential Books for Writers”. The writer probably hasn’t read any of the books and they’re convincing readers to buy stuff based on the profile of their blog rather than the what’s in the best interest of their readers. Pay-per-click Advertising We’ve all seen the annoying banner ads and pop-up boxes that flood our eyes  when visiting news websites, blogs and social media sites like YouTube. Again you sign up and register for an adwords accounts with companies like Google or WordPress and receive a commission every time a reader clicks on an ad. Be Realistic and Remember Your Reputation The concept of passive income is excellent but the ‘set-and-forget’ business models that gets touted around the make-money-quick websites and lead pages is far from realistic. Of course you should write great materials but there is still a lot of work to be done in the marketing as well as keeping the books, course materials and workshops up-to-date. My final point on passive income and affiliate marketing is to remember your professional reputation. Use integrity and be honest when promoting affiliate products or writing training courses and workshops. Make sure they add value to your readers and strengthen your professional reputation.  Managing Your Time When you’re a writer and small business owner, your ability to manage your time is just as important as your ability to write. Though sometimes I think time management and personal productivity is such a fundamental part of writing that it cannot be separated. You must manage your time in order to finish the novel or get that client’s website copy finished. Use a strategic approach to securing clients by seeking a range of short-term and long term writing assignments as well as committing to the ongoing development of your own personal writing projects (like books and courses). Write with integrity and promote affiliate products that have genuinely benefited you, and you can enjoy long term success in your writing business and regular, consistent cash flow.

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