Freelance writing is largely about the big picture. As you gain experience and build your professional reputation and visibility over time, you earn more money and freelancing becomes a more stable income source.
That said, the big picture doesn't motivate everybody. Sometimes you need to see changes now to convince yourself to even stick with this freelancing thing. If that sounds like you, you're in luck. There are some simple things you can to today to start turning your freelance writing career around.
Here are five things you can do within the next 24 hours to see more success in your freelance writing business.
1. Set smaller goals.
It can be easy to get so caught up in long-term goals and expectations that you forget to keep making progress towards them each day. They seem so far off.
You don't have to give up on your big goals. But consider setting some smaller ones as well. For example, don't think in terms of a yearly income goal. Instead, think in terms of what you need to earn this month, this week, or even tomorrow.
A simple change in perspective can sometimes light a fire under you, forcing you to turn ideas and plans into actions.
2. Reconsider your rates.
If you aren't seeing the kind of freelance success you had hoped for, chances are good that your rates are at least partly to blame. Increase them. Today. Seriously. Go to your website and publish your new, higher freelance writing rates. And the next time someone contacts you for a quote, use those new rates as your guide.
I'm not saying you should immediately raise rates on existing clients (unless those rates are abysmal and you know it). But raise rates on new clients. See if it helps you attract a different breed of client, and pay attention to how your prospects react.
Keeping rates too low can be an issue of confidence. Sometimes all it takes to build new confidence is one new client saying "yes" to higher rates. So give them a chance to say "yes."
3. Update your website's copy.
The copy on your freelance writing site can mean the difference between a prospect reaching out to you and you never knowing they existed.
Take a fresh look at your website copy. Does it feature clear calls to action, such as to contact you for a quote? Do you have a call to action on most, if not all, pages? If not, fix that. Small tweaks to your web copy today can mean bigger and better gigs tomorrow.
4. Put out feelers in your network.
If you want to increase referrals quickly, ask for them. Reach out to your network today. Send a few emails. Pick up the phone. If you're available to work with new clients, tell them that. And tell them you'd appreciate it if they could pass along leads they might have.
It's also a good idea to give members of your network some idea of what you're looking for -- what size businesses or publications you like to work with, what niches you do or don't cover, and specific examples of the types of projects you take on.
Sometimes a lack of referrals is simply a matter of your network not really understanding what you do. Maybe they heard about a friend needing a brochure for their new business, but they didn't know you wrote brochure copy as well as web copy. Tell them that.
5. Run a short-term promotion.
This is something most freelancers I know don't do. And I'm not sure why.
Discounts and promotions are great tactics when you're just getting started or if you're stuck in a rut. And if you've set your rates properly, you should have room to offer discounts occasionally without hitting your rate floor. It's no different than spending that money on other marketing or advertising. In this case, it simply goes back to the client. Plus, it creates a sense of urgency.
One tactic that's worked well for me and other freelancers I've worked with is to offer a new client discount on a first order. It doesn't have to be a big discount. It's just an extra nudge to drive some sales from prospects who might be on the fence.
Another option is to offer a referral bonus. In this case the 10% discount (or whatever discount you set) wouldn't be an actual discount for your new clients. Instead you'd pay it out as a referral bonus to the person who referred the new client to you. It's similar to affiliate marketing, only on a more personal basis through members of your professional network.
Doing any or all of these things can help you build a more successful, and profitable, freelance writing business in the near future. Long-term growth is great. But remember that you have the power to make changes today.
If you were going to do one thing today to change your freelance writing business, what would it be, and why? Leave a comment below to share your ideas and experiences.