One of my goals as a freelance writer is to make good money.
I’m not quite to my freelance writing income goal yet, but 2015 was a very good year. To be precise, I quintupled what I made the year before. I went from four figures in 2014 to a much healthier five figures in 2015.
When I analyzed it, I found my success last year happened because I made some serious changes in the way I run my freelance writing business.
Here are the 10 key actions I took to turbo-charge my earnings:
1. Changed my mind
I stopped trying to be a purist who only writes about green business. I continue to pursue green business clients, but I also took assignments in the broader business realm.
One of these was financial writing. As an MBA, I’m comfortable with the subject. And the assignment – condensing rather dry insurance documents into something much more engaging for an online, consumer audience – kept my writing muscles strong.
2. Put rejection in perspective
After listening to far better writers talk about their rejections, it suddenly didn’t feel personal anymore. It’s like accepting that if you want to swim, you will get wet!
Am I now pitching ideas to anyone who breathes, never caring what they say? Nope. But rejection is not the show-stopping event it once was. I just move on to the next pitch.
3. Boosted my confidence
I attended Freelance Writer’s Den Webinars and the Authority Rainmaker conference in 2015. With this commitment to my own professional development, I know I’m staying on top of my game. And I share what I learn from these events with my clients, so they know it, too.
4. Charged more
The more I wrote, the more I learned about what a reasonable price for content writing really is.
In one case, a client asked for longer blog posts, but the offered price was below my (newly higher) range. So I said:
“You know, I’d love to keep writing for you, but my prices for blog posts have gone up. I can do one blog post for $X (my price) instead of two for the lower price.”
His response: “No problem.”
5. Set concrete goals
From checking the Freelance Writers Den job board twice a week to visiting LinkedIn regularly, I built prospecting into my week as a key task to accomplish.
I spent less time waiting and seeing how it goes with marketing already sent out, and more time contacting people directly. I found that was the most effective way of actually getting work.
6. Embraced my introverted spirit
The corporate world is all about competition.
“Let’s beat the other guy!”
“We gotta be Number #1!”
“It’s all about winning!”
Absolutely NONE of this resonates with me.
So I learned to avoid jobs that were described using sports analogies or other sorts of hyper win/lose terminology. And I succeeded in finding more of my best clients.
7. Worked full-time
I take writing as seriously as any corporate job I’ve held. But that wasn’t always the case.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t always giving my business a full-time focus. Now I spend less time sneaking off to read Facebook and more time searching LinkedIn for prospects.
I LOVE my work now in a way that I didn’t when I was working in a corporate job. I manage my time carefully, and I try to under-promise and over-deliver.
And because there’s no “Great Green Content” without me, I don’t feel guilty about booking time during the work week for priorities like my health and my family.
8. Learned from my mistakes
One of my assignments went south last year. I actually returned money to a client who was dissatisfied with my work. That wasn’t great for my bottom line, but far more painful was the embarrassment.
Instead of retreating under the covers for a week, I asked an expert for feedback. They were generous in explaining how I had missed the boat.
I also learned that I had not asked the client for what I really needed to do a bang-up job. I won’t make that mistake in 2016.
9. Moved on more quickly
They say, “Good things come to those who wait.” But that’s not true for writing jobs.
If a client is serious, they’ll get back to you — fast. For the finance website I landed, I heard back within 24 hours of replying to their job posting.
How much of my income came from that one client in 2015? Fifty percent!
I spent less time wondering about leads that hadn’t responded to me and focused on those who clearly were ready to hire a writer.
10. Measured my results regularly
One of my motivators was sitting down with Freshbooks (my accounting software) mid-year and seeing just how low my income was.
Instead of panicking, I became determined to change things. As my income grew month by month, visiting Freshbooks became a joy and a further motivator.
Increase your freelance writing income
Of all of these tactics, changing my mind was the most powerful. The difference in how I felt each day – in terms of confidence, determination, and energy – was immeasurable.
Give these tactics a try in your own freelance writing business and see how much you can increase your income.
How have you grown your freelance writing income? Tell us in the comments below.
Alison Lueders is the founder of Great Green Content. She helps companies share their green business success stories in ways that are truthful, useful, and fun.