No matter if you've been writing 12 weeks or 12 years, there'll be a time when when your freelance writing work dries up a little.
For some writers, it's a seasonal hazard. For others, it's because of something they've done (having changed their prices or being out of the 'loop' for a while are two examples that come to mind). However, it's likely that at some point your career, you're likely to see a drop in your work and if you're haven't prepared, it can be a daunting time.
If you have prepared, however, then surviving a drop in your freelance writing business can actually by a welcomed break and give you time focus your attention on other matters.
And preparing for these times? Well, it's actually easy and straightforward and can be done in 5 simple steps.
- Work out your necessary monthly outgoings - the basis of any preparations should be to first work out how much money you actually need to be spending on a monthly basis as a necessity. We're not talking what you consider a necessity - as much as you might think you need cable TV or that case of wine every week, they're not necessities - but actual regular outgoings that if you don't pay, you're going to struggle to survive (think along the lines of rent, utility bills and basic groceries).
Once worked out, add on an additional 10-15% for any unexpected costs that might crop up and this is the absolute minimum figure you need to be aiming to save.
- Setup a separate savings account - next, you should make arrangements to open up a savings account which you can add money to and that you can't get access to without 30 days notice first. As much as you might feel you are strong willed and organised enough to set aside money yourself and not touch it until you need it, the temptation is always there.
Plus, if you can get an account with a 30 day notice period on it, you're likely to get a better rate.
- Put money aside each month - just like you should be doing for your tax, you need to be putting money away in preparation for a drop in your freelance writing business every month. Most would agree that you should aim to have savings that will cover 3 times the figure in point 1 in the event your work dries up, which should give you sufficient time to increase your freelance writing work.
If you're only just starting to prepare for a drop in your freelance writing business, it's worthwhile putting some extra money away to start with to give your savings a bit of a kick start. It may mean that you have to forgo a luxury or two in the first few weeks of saving, but you'll appreciate it should you need to start relying on these savings.
- Advertise, market and promote constantly - one of Jenn's main focuses here at All Freelance Writing is to become a query free writer and the way main theory behind this is to be prominent enough in the industry that clients come to you as a writer, rather than you have to continually pitch to clients.
The more you advertise, market and promote (whilst always delivering work to the highest standard), the more recognised your name will become in the freelance writing industry. And the more recognisable you become, the more companies will start to associate your name with being a quality and reliable freelance writer, which in turn means that should your freelance writing work dries up a little, it is much more likely that you'll be able to keep your head above the water as new clients contact you, unlike someone who has failed to make a continuous effort to promote their services.
- Don't put all of your eggs in one basket - it's an old saying, but there aren't many instances where it's more fitting. The easiest way to prepare for a drop in your freelance writing business is to ensure that the time never comes when you actually have to rely on the money you've saved. As tempting as it can be to take on work from 1 client who's offering to pay you $2,000 a month, it would be much more sensible move to work with 10 separate clients who are each offering $170 a month. Yes, it's a drop in the overall money you'll be taking home, but it's highly unlikely that all 10 clients will stop their work at the same time.