Search the Archives

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Writers Worth: 6 Things to Do Today to Improve Your Business

Just a few more days to enter: comment on any one of the Writers Worth posts, and you could win one of these prizes: An Amazon gift card worth $25 or a copy of my ebook Marketing 365! Just leave your comment to enter the random drawing. Winner to be announced June 2nd!

Yesterday was a bit futile in terms of getting anything useful done. Morning appointments cut hours off my work day. Then there were the projects - both work and home - that pulled at me from all directions. It felt like I was in a dryer on high heat. I was just tumbling around and not landing on anything for any length of time.

As I struggle to get work done, help out with moving furniture back in, take care of dinner, and help with wedding plans for two weddings, I'm also trying to make this Writers Worth Month the best it can be for you. So as you juggle your own stuff - both professional and personal - here are a few ways to improve your business without working up a sweat:

1. Write for yourself. Press release, brochure, media kit, or social media blast -- whatever it is, make it something promoting your business. Tell people you exist and remind them that they need you.

2. Turn down a bad fit. I've turned down offers I'd initially accepted after I realized the work was going to outpace the pay rate. If you can't speak up for yourself, speak up for your business. Say no thank you and stop worrying about how the client will react. That's not your concern. What is your concern is your own financial welfare.

3. Decide your boundaries now. You may not want to write for universities or you may think proofreading couldn't be more mundane. Brainstorm your ideal situations and especially those situations you consider to be deal-breakers. If you know ahead of time what's not acceptable, you're more likely to walk away when you need to.

4. Go one level higher. Suppose you've been working with a magazine that pays 40 cents a word. Right now, look in that same genre and locate at least two other magazines paying even 10 cents more per word. Improve your income by aiming higher. Also, I have a loose rule about magazines -- if they pay too little, I get one, maybe two clips before I move on, using those clips to get a better rate elsewhere. I'll also ask the editors if they can bump up that rate before I move on. Sometimes it takes just asking.

5. Approach one more new client today. Make that your challenge -- before today is over, get in front of just one more potential client with a letter, a LinkedIn connection, a social media share, whatever it takes. Make it a personal connection, not just a retweet or a comment on a thread. Introduce yourself where you can, and ask for the job when it's appropriate.

6. Define your target. Whether it's your target income goal for the month or your ideal client, put some definition around the idea. Put pen to paper and figure out what your monthly earnings should look like. Do the same to decide which clients need you right now and how you're going to reach out to them. Whatever your target is, make time to think it through.

Writers, what simple things do you do to improve your business?
What's your favorite tactic for increasing your value, your earnings, or your client base?


Cathy Miller said...

Lori, one effective (and simple) thing I do is suggest topic ideas to existing clients.

I don't know why it took me so long to realize clients appreciate the ideas. I tended to do the project and wait for them to come to me for the next one.

I think writers who write for magazines are accustomed to pitching ideas. Those of us who work more for corporate clients don't think about initiating project ideas (at least I didn't until I wised up).

Lori Widmer said...

Excellent point, Cathy! I've made suggestions for ghostwritten articles, but why not for press releases or white papers?

Irreverent Freelancer said...

I haven't done #1 in ages. I need to get back to doing more of that. And Cathy's suggestion is spot on. Over the years, I've gotten quite a few extra projects by knowing my customers and contacting them whenever an idea struck me, for example for a press release, that would be perfect for their business.

Anne Wayman said...

Realized that it's time, once again, to raise my rates ;)

Ashley said...

I'm working specifically on numbers 4 and 5 right now. Already making progress! Writers Worth Month is always a good reminder and incentive to do all of the things on this list.

One other idea is to review your business plan and make sure you're still on track. Sometimes as we go along, we get pulled in new directions. Not necessarily a bad thing, but those new directions need to be included in the business plan if they're a good fit. If they aren't working, a review of where we're aiming to go is a good way to purge those things from our marketing.

Jennifer Mattern said...

It's funny how often we forget to write for our own businesses, isn't it? I've been sitting on a white paper for far too long.

Paula said...

First, Lori: thanks for mentioning a hot dryer. I totally forgot about my laundry!

All of these are great tips. I was shocked last week when a simple LinkedIn update or comment drew the attention of a colleague who decided to see if I'd like an assignment. Yes, please, and thank you very much.

Thanks for bringing us a month's worth of very valuable information, Lori!

Lori Widmer said...

Kathy, great seeing you again! I miss your blog like crazy.

Anne, that sounds like a good realization. :)

Ashley, I'm happy to provide the kick in the butt. LOL You're doing great.

Jenn, you've been sitting on that other project that I've been dying to see launched, too. Any plans for the reveal?

Happy to be of service, Paula. LOL Isn't it crazy how well those social media connections work out when you bother to engage with people?

And thank YOU for contributing, Paula. Much appreciated.

Next Process said...

It's always a great idea to set goals. Targeting one more client a day is a good one. Even if you don't get that client it still opened up the door so it could potentially happen. It definitely wouldn't have happened if you didn't contact them so doing this opens up the door to more business.

Words on the Page