The new year is approaching faster than I'd like to think, so this week's writing challenge is about getting your affairs in order to more effectively grow your business next year. It's time to evaluate your progress and rethink your freelance writing rates.

Has your freelance writing career been growing satisfactorily, or are you still not earning as much as you'd like? Are you working for a caliber of client that you're happy with, or do you want to focus on a different market next year to build a stronger portfolio? Are you charging too little for your current market? Are you charging too much for your target market? Can you branch out into other markets or create additional income streams around your writing? Now's the time to think about changes you can make in the new year to improve your chances of freelance success.

I'll use myself as an example. Here are some of the changes I'll be making in the new year (and why):

  1. I'm increasing my press release writing rates from $99 to $249 per release. Yes, it's a drastic increase that most people wouldn't make, but I do have my reasons - I have always offered low-cost press releases (low from an actual PR professional at least) as a marketing tactic to draw in clients who would then pay me more for other work like copywriting, other types of PR writing, or PR consulting. I don't need to do that anymore. I do know that means that I won't be able to draw in as many clients as I do now, but I've decided to continue the current rate for one year for past press release clients to soften that blow. I don't expect the decrease overall to affect my business negatively; quite to the contrary. I've been wanting to cut back on services for a while now, and this gives me room to do that.
  2. I'll also be increasing the rates on some of my other PR writing options, and decreasing rates on some other types of services.
  3. As I mentioned, overall, I'm planning to cut back on services. Frankly, I know there's more potential for long-term earnings  if I move to more "passive" revenue streams as opposed to relying on limited billable hours. My business model is changing to reflect that. I'll be much more focused on the publishing side of my business (earning from my own writing instead of client-contracted work) than offering services.
  4. I'm getting rid of one of my blogs (ChickTech.net), and launching another one which will absorb most of that content (Jentrepreneur.com). I'll actually be working on that in coming weeks, but it will probably not be "officially" announced until early 2008.
  5. I'll be making sure that this blog, All Book Marketing, and BizAmmo are all on a daily posting schedule (or as close to it as possible) in 2008, and I'll slowly be building NakedPR up to that same level.
  6. I'm going to be overhauling my business site, and adding a company blog.  I don't plan to monetize that blog at the moment, but I'll reevaluate that once it's up and functioning.
  7. I'll be launching a few smaller niche sites, and re-launching my indie music webzine. The webzine (AudioXposure.com) will actually be highlighted as a sort of case study through 2008 on Jentrepreneur.com to track it from its lack of earnings and traffic from being stale for months to its revival (hopefully).
  8. I'll be more heavily promoting my short Press Releases Made Easy e-book.
  9. I'm releasing a second, longer, e-book on building pre-launch buzz for a new book in December (if it goes according to plan), so I'll be promoting that through 2008.
  10. I'm planning to release a longer e-book on press releases next year with case studies, samples, etc. This will probably be an e-book plus a variety of add-ons, and will be sold as a "kit" through a domain I have at PRWritingKit.com. That's my next big step on that front before I finally jump into a larger press release distribution service project.
  11. I'm also planning a second e-book in 2008 on pre-launch buzz (this one being for pre-launch buzz of a website or online business).
  12. I'm determined to finally finish my book proposal (which I may or may not have mentioned here before - It's been sitting most of this year while I've been preoccupied with other things). I'll likely start working more heavily on this after we find a house and deal with the moving process.
  13. I'm also planning to finish the first in a series of books I plan to self-publish on indie music promotion and managing the business of being a band or solo artist. I don't think the niche is big enough to appeal to larger publishers, and I'm so connected within that niche, that I feel I'd be better off doing this one solo and reaping the financial benefits of it that way. The series is going to be called the Indie Black Book Series, and will be an ongoing project pushed through my webzine.
  14. I'll be putting more effort into cleaning up my article link directory at FreeDeepLinks.com. Once it's cleaned up, I may opt to sell it off.
  15. My indie music directory will be scrapped completely, and re-launched as a part of the music webzine.
  16. I'll be adding a business directory to BizAmmo.com.
  17. I'm soon going to be lowering the maximum buyer count on my PLR article sets. I'll be focusing in '08 on selling those sets, and then I'll very possibly be stopping them altogether. I'm not planning additional sets at the moment - they're just not profitable enough to justify it compared to my other work and sites.

So there you have it... the planned changes I've set for myself for next year. Obviously it's a bit complicated for me, as I earn by providing a few different types of services, informational products, and from websites / blogs, so there's a lot of tweaking in store for me. Hopefully your changes won't be such a headache. 🙂

What kind of changes are you planning for 2008, and what steps are you taking now to prepare for the new year?

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