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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Writers Worth: The Freelancer's Platinum Rule

Awesome day today on the blog -- we have a guest post from phenomenal writer and excellent friend, Jake Poinier, a.k.a. Doctor Freelance. Jake's been giving out solid advice to freelance writers for years, so it's a thrill to have his words grace this blog.

How do you communicate with your clients? That's a question that most freelancers answer with a laundry list of all the social media tools and methods of contacting clients they use. In his post, Jake shows us why a little more consideration is required, and he assures us your clients will thank you for it.

The Platinum Rule of Client Communications

by Jake Poinier

We all know the golden rule--treat others as we would want to be treated--but that's insufficient when it comes to cultivating relationships. More valuable in a business context is what Dr. Milton Bennett coined in 1979 as the platinum rule: Treat others the way they wish to be treated. What I'm proposing today is a corollary to that: Freelancers and their clients need to communicate in the form and volume that's mutually beneficial.

My personal communications preference is email. Writing is an easy way for me to formulate my thoughts, and it gives me a record of what's been conveyed and what's expected. I know there are plenty of us within the writing world that feel the same way. I also recognize, however, that my clients may not. Some of the key factors include:
  • Channel. As freelancers in 2016, we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to communicating: email, phone, IM, text, Twitter DM, Skype, and so on. If you don't know each client's preference, you should ask. You might be surprised. Some channels are also better for certain tasks, too: If there's a touchy issue, a phone call allows you to hear nuances and react, rather than typing out a message that risks being misunderstood.
  • Frequency. It's equally important to have an understanding of how often communications should take place. Some clients may want updates at each milestone, others may want a weekly summary, while still others only want to hear from you when the whole project is done. Come to an understanding, and then stick to it. 
  • Timing. I am an early riser who will take calls at 6 a.m., and I don't mind interviewing someone on a weekend if that's what's needed to get the job done. You may have stricter boundaries than that, and your clients may have times that work better than others. It's all good, as long as you develop a mutual understanding and respect for each other's style.
  • Purpose. Back in my days as a magazine editor, it used to drive me nuts when a freelancer would pester me with endless questions. (Yes, I realize that there are clients who prefer to work more closely, or who are more patient!) But if you overcommunicate to someone like me, or undercommunicate to someone who's expecting more interaction, you're jeopardizing the relationship. 

Taking Corrective Action 

Your client isn't the only one who has a say, because my variation on the platinum rule is that it needs to be mutually beneficial. If you and a client aren't in sync, you need to address it early, because it's going to get worse. They may not even realize they're doing something that bugs you, or vice versa.

An example: The other day, one of my clients sent me a four-paragraph text message, which is way too much information for me to process in that format. My brain locked up. I sent her an email that said, "Hey Bonnie, got your text, but I have to confess that I'm the world's worst text messager. In the future, if you've got something kinda complicated, please make sure to email it and I'll give you a prompt response!"

Sure, I could have bitten my lip and responded via text, but I knew that would ultimately be counterproductive for Bonnie and me, because I couldn't do my best work.

At the outset of a client relationship, do a quick check to find out the other party's preferences and come to an agreement on protocol. Not only is it courteous, it's smart business.

Jake Poinier blogs on a wide range of freelance topics at DoctorFreelance.com. He's the author of The Science, Art and Voodoo of Freelance Pricing and Getting Paid, and will be publishing a book on referral strategy for freelancers in August 2016. He'll follow you back on Twitter at @DrFreelance

Writers, have you had a client get frustrated with your communication methods?
How often do you ask your clients what they prefer in terms of updates?
What seems to work best for you?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Writers Worth: 5 Ways to Help Clients Value You

Sharon Hurley Hall is one of the most successful freelance writers I know. Her Get Paid to Write Online site has a ton of great advice, and she is by far one of the best social media experts I've ever had the pleasure of learning from. Plus it comes as no shock that Sharon, having an online business, knows exactly what tools exist and which ones work for freelancers. She's the go-to person for all things online, if you ask me.

She's also someone who gives of her time and talent. So when I was looking for guest posts, I knew she'd help, and that it would be fabulous.

I was right. 

5 Ways to Help Clients Value You

by Sharon Hurley Hall

If you don't value yourself and your writing services, no-one else will. That's one of the big lessons I've learned in 10 years of freelancing and nearly 30 years of writing. One thing many writers struggle with is getting clients to see the value they bring. Here are some tips on how to do that.

1. Show Them the Science
There are plenty of stats out there to show that using professionals to create content pays dividends for business. Content is key not just for sales, but for engaging and retaining customers and producing engaging content remains a top challenge for marketers and the businesses they serve.

Include some of these statistics on your website (I have them near the end of my services page) and you can start to make the case for the value of good writing. A good starting point for stats you can use is the Content Marketing Institute, especially their latest B2B marketing and B2C marketing reports.

2. Highlight the Benefits
If you take another look at my services page, you'll see that I also include some of the overall benefits to customers of using professional writers. Everyone wants to look good to their customers. If you can help them to do that, you're a valuable resource and worth the rates you charge. Whether you're helping your clients create trusted information or improve their site's search ranking, that has a value to them in terms of authority and sales.

3. Be Visible Online (and Offline)

I'm a big believer in the importance of having a website: your own online space where you can showcase your work. But that's not all you need. You need to be wherever clients are searching for you. Depending on the client, they could find you on social media, via a Google search or via a content distribution site.

As well as keeping a running tally of the work you do, make sure you share anything you are particularly proud of in multiple places. If you find out that a particular piece of writing has performed well, share the stats and the writing again. And keep an eye on social proof - search for your authored content on Buzzsumo to see what's got the most attention, then take a screenshot and share it.

Other ways to increase online visibility include:
     Sharing all authored content on social media as a matter of course.
     Sharing selected pieces of content on LinkedIn, both to your profile and within relevant groups.
     Creating a Pinterest portfolio board (here's one of mine).
     Adding content to a portfolio site like Contently, PressFolios, Clippings.me or another similar site. Laura Spencer shares some of the options in an article on her Writing Thoughts blog.
     Getting and displaying testimonials, recommendations - even positive tweets (use this guide to embed them on your testimonials page). This is more social proof that highlights your value.
     Sharing your best work on your own website. I do a regular-ish roundup post which gives me one place to send potential clients to see my work.

You don't have to put every piece of work on every site. Aim for a spread which gives clients a snapshot of the type and quality of writing you can do.

Don't forget about offline networking. If you're getting clients from the local community, attend events where you can give out information about your services. I've found it useful to create a one-page sheet which briefly describes my background, key clients, key metrics and writing services. It's a conversation-opener which has brought me a few clients in the past.

4. Set Limits and Expectations

Nothing says that you value yourself and your time like a little bit of scarcity. In other words, don't be available all the time. This might seem like a scary concept when you start out in freelancing and want every job, but if you are always available, clients will run rings round you, plus it's a one-way ticket to burnout.

Let's face it: no matter how much we love writing, we all have other things to do with our time, so we have to make time for those things. Here's how I did it:
     I started out by no longer being available on weekends.
     Then I began limiting my working hours to school hours.
     I also gave myself at least a week's lead time for each writing job.
     Then I blocked out time each week to work on my writing business.
     Then I started putting external events that were important to me in the calendar FIRST, and building writing time around that.

In practice, that means sometimes I have to say "no" or "not right now" to clients, but I've found that most of them are willing to wait for quality, even if the wait stretches to a month.

You have to be firm. The other day, a prospective client offered to triple my usual rate if he could jump ahead of the line. I had to explain that it wouldn't be good business to treat my existing clients that way. After all, he wouldn't like it if I did that to him as soon as someone threw more money at me.

5. Create a Pricing Baseline

Another part of setting expectations is giving clients a ballpark figure to work with. I do this by putting guide prices on my site. (The word "guide" is important, as it gives me leeway to adjust my estimates for different types of writing jobs.) I know not everyone does this, but for me, it's got rid of the time wasters. By the time clients approach me via my website, I know they have seen the prices, and that starts the conversation at a different baseline.

These tips really work, helping clients' mindset shift from seeing you as a hack for hire to a valued partner. What would being valued by clients look like for you?


Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional freelance writer and blogger. Her career has spanned more than 25 years, including stints as a journalist, university lecturer and ghost writer.  To work with Sharon, visit her website or connect with her on Twitter @SHurleyHall.

How do you show your value to clients?
Does your price conversation with clients go more like a tug-of-war or have you found a way to demand your price and get it?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Writers Worth: An Interview with Jake Poinier

There are some people in the freelance writing community you simply must get to know. Jake Poinier is one of those people.

I'm not sure where or when I bumped into Jake in the online world, but thanks to his congenial personality, we became friends. He's one of the few writers I've met in person, and I can say he's just as congenial in person as he is online.

A corporate wonk who's built an amazing freelance writing business, Jake is a great source of info on freelancing -- when Doctor Freelance is in, you're all but cured.

Friends, meet my friend Jake Poinier.

Q: How long have you been freelancing?
Jake: I did my first freelance job when I was just a lowly assistant editor at a trade magazine--a short piece in the Bottom Line Personal newsletter--and I continued to do occasional copywriting for ad agencies and other publications during my entire magazine career. I went full time in 1999, after quitting my job at a custom-magazine publishing company. Best decision I ever made.

Q: What’s your area of focus?
Jake: This is a terribly difficult question to answer! I call myself an omnivore, and what I like best about freelancing is the variety: short ad copy, long white papers, websites, video scripts, editing books, project management. Similarly, I enjoy working with and learning from clients in all sorts of industries. The only thing I won't do is PR.

Q: How were those first few years of freelancing?
Jake: Starting out, I had a lot of pressure on me, since I was the only income for my family. (In retrospect, that was a benefit, because it created incredible focus!) I'd saved a lot of money at my job, knowing that I was going to quit, but didn't want to dip into the emergency fund. I had a few immediate clients from the side jobs I'd done, and parlayed those into additional clients. Early 2001, though, was rough. The red-hot economy of my first two years had cooled off, and budgets dried up. I felt like the Maytag repairman waiting for the phone to ring. Lucky for me, I stumbled across Peter Bowerman's "The Well-Fed Writer." His business-oriented philosophy aligned with mine, and the 400-odd cold calls I made using his suggestions paid immediate and lasting dividends.

Q: What’s been your toughest challenge? Why?
Jake: Psychologically, that early part of 2001 was the worst. To put a positive spin on it, though, it proved that I could survive.

Q: What was your a-ha moment – the event or circumstance that shifted your perspective or had you changing the way you do things?
Jake: Writing and publishing my books on freelancing, starting in 2013, was a big one. Although I had edited and ghostwritten numerous books for other people, it's a whole 'nother deal when you're responsible for the business logistics. I'm still learning--so I have new a-ha moments every week.

Q: If you could tell new freelance writers one thing to help them build a better business, what would that be?
Jake: The overriding message is exactly that: Think of freelancing as a business, not simply a string of ongoing writing assignments. On a one-specific-thing level, I'd recommend what I called creating a team of "Super Friends" in a post last fall. I learned early in my magazine career that I could derive major benefits from relationships with skilled graphic designers, production staff, and salespeople. If you tried to operate in a silo, as if the words were the only things that mattered, you were limiting your understanding of the business and your career opportunities. It's good to have a network of other writers and editors, but my business wouldn't exist without complementary creatives.


Writers, have you tried creating your own Super Friends team?
Who would you want on such a team?
Any questions for Jake?

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Writers Worth: An Interview with Princess Jones

Sometimes you just need a little royalty in your life. That's where Princess Jones comes in.

Princess is one of those people you just want to know. Desperately. From her tweets to her Facebook posts, Princess has this wit, this razor-sharp awesomeness to her that I can't help but want to be around. On top of that, she's a fantastic, successful freelance writer. 

So imagine my happy dance when I finally got the courage to connect with her on Twitter, for something about her made me shy (I know, right?). I gushed a little (a lot) when she then connected with me on Facebook (or me stalking her and she agreeing to be stalked). 

Friends, meet my newest friend, Princess Jones.

Q: How long have you been freelancing?
Princess: I’ve technically been freelancing since college, which would make it 15 years. But I went full time in 2008, which makes it 9 years.
Q: What’s your area of focus?
Princess: I specialize with food, drink, and hospitality businesses. In terms of work, I’m a copywriter and I’ve recently branched out into WordPress design.
Q: How were those first few years of freelancing?
Princess: They were both the magical and terrible. I had no idea what I was doing. I jumped without a plan or a net. I had no savings and no regular clients. But I wouldn’t say I was that scared. I didn’t know enough about what I was doing to be scared. I just felt like if someone else could do it, I could, too. Strangely enough, things went really well. I had some new clients right off the bat and then I got a regular gig within two weeks. I wouldn’t experience those tough lean periods until I was in the middle of a business reboot years later.
Q: What’s been your toughest challenge? Why?
Princess: My toughest challenge has always been the prospecting. It was the most time consuming and the most soul crushing part of the work. I have issues with going through “pick me” processes--apartment hunting, dating, job searches, etc. I’ve always had to work to make it less of an active activity and more of a passive one.
Q: What was your a-ha moment – the event or circumstance that shifted your perspective or had you changing the way you do things?
Princess: Specialization was my a-ha moment. For years I circled it but couldn’t quite make it happen. I knew it was going to be necessary to take my business to the next level but I kept finding excuses not to do it. (Note: this is a universal problem in my life.) I hesitated because I was worried I wouldn’t get to work on anything outside my specialty and I’d get bored. Wrong! I work on so many different things but I make more money and my prospecting process is so much more efficient. The only thing keeping me from doing it was the challenge of wrapping my mind around it. I wish I’d done this on year two instead of year eight. 

Q: If you could tell new freelance writers one thing to help them build a better business, what would that be?
Princess: I would tell them that building a better business starts with acting like a business. It’s really easy to get into the habit of treating it like it’s some side gig because the start up costs are minimal and you can do it in your pajamas. But if you treat it like some side gig, you will limit your income and scope to side gig territory.

Writers, do you specialize? If so, when did that occur and how did it come about?
Do you hate the prospecting process as much as Princess does? What do you do to make it easier?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Writers Worth: An Interview with Joy Drohan

Not long ago, Jake Poinier and I held a freelance marketing webinar, an hour of fun and advice. In that session sat Joy Drohan.

From that point to this, Joy and I have been friends. She's a sweet person who's a lot shier than I realized. I thought she was preserving her privacy when she started sharing her monthly assessment with me in email every month (and kudos to her -- she shares it with someone).

No matter what the reason, it was evident to me she was someone who proactively sought ways to grow her freelance writing career. Not only did she attend that session, but she asked questions, shared her story, and applied what she'd learned in our marketing webinar. And whatever she's doing, it's working. I won't share her results without her permission, but she's knocking it out of the park financially these days. She's an inspiration to me, and I know she'll be an inspiration to you, as well.

Friends, please meet Joy Drohan. 

 Q: How long have you been freelancing?
Joy: I started freelancing part-time in 1995, while I had a part-time job as a writer/editor at an environmental research institute at Penn State University. My first client was a Swiss professor who needed someone to edit his refereed journal articles on soil bioremediation (the use of microorganisms in soil to inactivate toxic chemicals) before submittal. I also hung signs on bulletin boards around campus, offering editing for $11/hour.

I eventually cobbled together enough work from a few different sources that I became a full-time employee at Penn State, and I continued to freelance. In 2000 we moved to Shepherdstown, West Virginia, for my husband’s job. That area has a lot of federal facilities, and around town and through the local Audubon Society’s birdwatching trips, I met some key people who worked at them, which helped me land some small contracts.

I felt like I’d arrived when I won a contract to edit five reports for the National Park Service. (My initial bid was so low that they asked me if I wanted to rebid it. I did, but it turns out the bid was still way too low for the amount of time the work actually took. I bit the bullet on those reports, but that work did lead to continuing work with the Park Service, which I always love.)

During this time, I also rode the commuter train part-time into the Washington, D.C., suburbs for a while to work part-time as a copyeditor for a private government services contractor for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In 2003 we moved to Las Vegas, again for my husband’s job. There I first freelanced full-time. I brought along some on-going projects from West Virginia and Maryland, which eased the transition as I got to know people in Las Vegas. My business grew each year until we had our first child in 2006, after which I worked only part-time.

When our daughter was just three months old, we moved to upstate New York, again—you guessed it—for the hub’s job and to be closer to our families. We moved again in 2007 back to central Pennsylvania, so my husband could take a job at Penn State. In 2008 our son was born, leaving me with limited time to work. I reinitiated contacts from my grad school days and prior employment at Penn State, and these kept me pretty steadily busy with long-term projects. (It was then I learned the value of having long-term clients to invoice monthly and smooth out cash flow.)

My family has been fortunate that my work is mobile, and it even helps me when we move because I meet more people who might need my services. (I find that most of my clients are people I’ve met in person, or people who know someone I’ve worked with.)

Q: What’s your area of focus? 
Joy: I focus on writing and editing about environmental and agricultural science and forestry—everything from editing books and refereed journal articles to writing 4-H curricula, grant proposals, website content, academic administrative reports, magazine articles, etc.

I also write and edit frequently about higher education issues, landscape architecture, and historic buildings.

Q:  How were those first few years of freelancing?
Joy: When I started out, I was supplementing a full-time job, so any money I made was gravy. I had no idea at the time that I would eventually make my living solely as a freelancer through my own business. I was an extremely shy child, so I never would have believed back then that I could successfully run my own business.

Q:  What’s been your toughest challenge? Why?
Joy: I struggle most with uneven income. In the last year or so, I’ve finally come round to the realization that I need to be marketing basically all the time and my earnings are smoothing out (and at a higher level). I try to make at least two contacts every week now. These could be people I know but haven’t been in touch with for a while, or people whose organizations I’d like to work with. I also force myself to make follow-up phone calls to people I don’t hear back from. I’ve been surprised at the number of times I get people on the phone on the first try. I’ve also been surprised at the high level of positive feedback I’ve gotten from my emails and calling. And I’ve found that making the calls is not nearly as bad as I’d feared, and is sometimes even kind of fun.

I’ve also started breaking large project invoices into smaller, more frequent bills to smooth out cash flow.

Q: What was your a-ha moment – the event or circumstance that shifted your perspective or had you changing the way you do things?
Joy: When I was finishing up my master’s degree in environmental pollution control, my thesis advisor signed me up to present my research at an international conference. I was terrified, but there was no getting out of it. I had a long time to prepare, so I just kept telling myself that I was the expert on this work, and my talk and my slides were done far in advance. So I practiced and practiced and practiced. On the big day I was nervous, and I sounded it, at least starting out, but as I went on, I got calmer and more confident. Overall, it went much better than I could have hoped, although of course it wasn’t perfect. I have since thanked my advisor several times for forcing me to make this presentation, because thereafter I knew that if I could do that, I could do anything.

I’ve carried that confidence into my business, and without having lived through that presentation, I doubt I’d have had the backbone to continually do what it takes to run and grow my own business.

Q: If you could tell new freelance writers one thing to help them build a better business, what would that be?
Joy: Don’t ever assume that any client is permanent. People change jobs, funding falls through, you’re underbid, etc. You really do have to be marketing all the time. There are many ways to do it. Find the ways that best suit you. Get out and meet people face to face, especially when you’re starting out. Use all your contacts. If you do good work and meet deadlines, most people will be glad to help spread the word about your services. 

Writers, how does your story mirror Joy's?
Do you have questions for Joy? Any story of your own to share?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Writers Worth: The Trouble with Worth

Writers, prepare yourself for a virtual ass-kicking.

My friend Yolander Prinzel is here to tell you why the idea of worth doesn't stop at what you're charging. It's funny -- when Yo sent this post to me, she thought it was too negative.

Not a chance. It's the wake-up call many freelance writers need. If your goal is to make a living writing, your first priority should be to answering your clients' needs, and do so from a position of value.


The Trouble with Worth

by Yolander Prinzel

When we think about what we’re worth, it often comes from a selfish standpoint. Now, don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying it’s selfish to determine what you’re worth and ask for it. I’m simply pointing out that when freelancers set rates, they often decide what value to put on their time, how many hours they want to work, and what their various expenses are. They then determine how long each task will take and then set their rates.

But what does all that mean to your prospective clients? They don’t care how you value yourself. They also don’t care how long something will take, what your expenses are or what a “fair” charge would be. Your prospective clients have a different value they care about—and that is the value you offer them. That’s what they want to hire and pay you for—the value you bring to the project, not the value you’ve determined you have.

That’s what bothers me so much about these websites that give freelance writing advice as if anyone who can string a sentence together can be a successful freelancer. It’s simply not true. After seven years of full-time freelance writing, I can confidently say that in order to enjoy success, most writers need to offer value—better yet, offer value that other freelancers don’t.

The same is true of your marketing. When you thoughtlessly reach out to people, you aren’t thinking about what kind of value you can offer them—you’re thinking about what kind of value they offer you. You’re trying to snare them as clients, not because you can give them something they need and can’t get elsewhere, but because they can give you what you need—money.

Look, freelancing isn’t free. I believe in charging what you’re worth but you can’t do that until you understand the value you bring to the table and you know how to communicate it properly. Once you do, not only will you feel better about charging what you’re worth, but clients will feel a lot better about paying it.

Your freelance business is just that, your business. And while that may mean that you set the rules, determine the entry fee, and become the gatekeeper, it doesn’t override the fact that you’re providing both a service and a product. If you want to get paid what you’re worth, you have to understand how your worth translates to value for your customer.  
  
Yolander Prinzel is a freelance financial writer. She has written for a number of publications and websites including American Express, Covestor.com, Advisor Today, Money Smart Radio and the International Travel Insurance Journal (ITIJ). Her book, Specialty Ghostwriting: A New Way to Look at an Old Career, is currently available on Amazon.


Writers, describe in one sentence what your value to clients is.
How can you frame that so that clients care?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Writers Worth: Spelling it Out

Why everyone should follow Cathy Miller right now -- she's made the leap from corporate life to freelance, and has done so successfully. She dropped a six-figure corporate career -- literally quit without warning -- with the hope that freelancing would give her a life filled with satisfaction, not stress.

Another reason to follow Cathy -- she's a giving person and a smart business communicator. She's also one of my offline foursome of fun, and I'd not be able to get through this career without her support and her wicked sense of humor. For a quiet woman, she can surprise you with her lightning-fast wit.

Cathy writes with a wisdom and an introspection that just draws you in. I'm a fan. I know you will be, too.

Writers Worth Spelled Out

by Cathy Miller

Are you stubborn? A bit of a bulldog? That could come in handy as a freelance writer.
I have a pronounced stubborn streak. Don’t tell me what to do or not do. I try to apply that feeling to the “do onto others” philosophy. So, every year when Lori Widmer’s Writers Worth rolls around, I admit I cringe a bit about telling others what they should do or feel.

Instead I share my experience for what it’s worth. And what I’ve found is my stubborn, bulldog self serves me well in my freelancing career. That and my age. The older I get, the more I focus on what’s worth the energy.

Even the best writers have their doubts. It may be a fleeting moment or a nagging ache. Sometimes you have to spell out your writers worth (or writer’s worth if you’re more possessive). Seeing it in print works wonders. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

For What It’s Worth


  •        W – Writing – You know it starts with writing. I bet you’re a good writer. You probably would not have gone down this path if you didn’t deep down believe that. And you know what? That’s something to be proud of. Not everyone can write well. Believe it.
  •          R – Return – You offer your clients an incredible return on their investment. You save them time. You save them money (no matter what you charge). Think about how much money it would cost them to hire a full-time writer. Keep that in mind when you review your rates.
  •          I – Income – And speaking of rates. Your income is personal. Only you know what you need. Clients don’t dictate your rates. Either they can afford you or not. A self-professed guru doesn’t know you. So how can he or she tell you are doing it wrong? Start with what you need. Then review that return. Now, we’re talking worth. Is it time to raise your rates?
  •          T – Thought-provoking – You bring more to the table than your writing skills. You help clients think. You help them become better communicators. You help them focus on their business. That right there is worth plenty.
  •          E – Energy – This is my number one trick for reigning in my moments of doubt. I apply it to both my professional and personal life. I ask myself – is it worth the energy? Is it worth the energy to lower my rates and stress about earning what I need? Is it worth the energy to write a piece without pay? Is the hard-to-work-with clients worth the energy? You get the idea.
  •          R – Rejection – Rejection happens to all of us. The proposal that goes nowhere. The article idea the editor rejects. I was raised with the attitude – everything happens for a reason. That doesn’t mean rejection doesn’t hurt. But I look at it as clearing the path for something better.
  •          S – Stubborn – Remember that bulldog?  One definition of bulldog is stubbornly persistent. I like that. You are going after this writing career. Don’t sabotage (another ‘S’ word) your business by buying in to books, courses, lectures that make no sense for your business. Don’t sabotage yourself by missing deadlines or accepting less than you’re worth.
  •          W – Work – Think about hiring someone to do work for you. Would you hire them, then not pay? Would you pay them below minimum wage? Or would you pay him or her what is fair?  Why should your writing business be any different?
  •          O – Oxymoron – “Paid writer” is NOT an oxymoron. Substitute the word “professional” for writer. Paid professional. That is what you are – a professional. Why the heck shouldn’t you be paid? And paid well? In certain circumstances, an unpaid byline is the biggest oxymoron of all.
  •          R – Repeat – My “is it worth the energy” is my personal mantra.  Find what works for you to remind you of your worth. Repeat often.
  •          T – Terms – View the terms of your writer’s contract. Are they representative of your worth? Beware of client contracts with provisions like indemnity clauses that hold you liable for everything that goes wrong.
  •          H – Help – You increase your worth when you seek help. How? By expanding your knowledge base, becoming a better business person, and discovering more resources.
Knowing your worth spells success. Find what works for you and believe. Unleash the bulldog.


Cathy Miller has a business writing blog at Simply stated business. Her blog, Why 60 Miles, is in the early stages and inspired by her passion for walking 60 miles in 3 days to support research for finding a cure for cancer.



Writers,which one of these points is/was hardest for you to achieve?
How do you define your worth? How does it differ from how others define a writer's worth?
At what point did you become your own bulldog? What did it take for you to get there?

Words on the Page