By Megan Harris
Freelancing can be a difficult job. You work long hours, sometimes after a full-time job and other responsibilities, and have to deal with the feast and famine cycle that is common with contracting work. A good way to combat this is to pursue more jobs than you can take on each month. Here’s why you should do it and a few ways this will help you battle feast or famine and keep business consistent.
What’s With This Crazy Idea?
If you’re reading this and think I’m crazy, just hear me out. Freelancers worry all of the time about the feast or famine cycle where some months are high paying and during others you find yourself eating Ramen Noodles and pinching pennies. It’s not fun and doesn’t feel very stable, but the tradeoffs like having a more flexible schedule and being choosy about who you work with can make it worth pursuing.
The idea behind over-applying to jobs is not only to battle feast or famine, but to keep your eyes open in case other projects you have fall through. If you have stable clients, you might feel secure for some time, but you should always remember that plans may change. It is always a good idea to keep an eye out for new opportunities, and applying each week or each month is a good way to do this.
If you take this crazy idea and apply to jobs or send out pitches each week, good things can happen! Here are just some ways over-applying can benefit you as a freelance writer.
Not all the jobs you apply to will lead to work. This is a given in freelancing because clients might choose someone else, change the pay rate to something you’re not comfortable doing, or scrap the project altogether. There are a million reasons why you might not get the job that are outside of your control.
However, you can increase the number of connections you make if you apply to many jobs, which makes your network larger. A project might not work with them, but they may know someone else that needs your particular skill set. It’s worth it to apply to multiple jobs you qualify for if it means getting your name out there.
Think of sending out pitches or applying to jobs as good practice in marketing. When you apply for many jobs, you learn to talk about yourself better. It might be easy for you to write copy for others or talk branding with a client, but what about your own brand?
Overbooking yourself with jobs gives you an opportunity to practice your way to better marketing practices. You learn how to better sell yourself and your services, so even if the job doesn’t go through, you have worked on your job skills anyway.
Let’s say you apply for ten jobs one week and either never hear back or are told they chose someone else. Those weeks might feel discouraging, but don’t give up! You might find that you will get business in other ways.
Perhaps you are down about the job posts, but soon get a bite from a blog you wrote or a referral from a past client. Just getting out there and applying to jobs can give you karma you can benefit from even when the jobs don’t work out. Putting good vibes out there through applying to jobs can pay off in ways you didn’t imagine before.
It might seem like contradictory thinking, but when you freelance, but you should try to apply for more work than you think you will get each month. Overbooking yourself gives you more flexibility to do what you want and make a stable income. Plus, increasing your network and working on your marketing are added bonuses! Give it a try and see how it pays off for your freelance business.
About the Author
Megan Harris is a freelance copywriter, editor and social media manager. She writes about the freelance life at MeganWrites.com and likes to motivate others with her story of how she became an independent writer. When she’s not writing, she researches her family tree in her spare time, hangs with her husband and their dog, Cooper, and is earning her Masters in Public Administration at University of Illinois-Springfield. You can also connect with Megan on Twitter or her Facebook page.