Archive for December, 2013

5 Resolutions Every Freelance Writer Should Make This New Year

Monday, December 30th, 2013

2014 Calendar

The end of the year is a great time to look back on what you’ve accomplished in your freelance writing career—and to look ahead to how you’ll improve in the coming year. As we bid 2013 goodbye, it’s time to start considering your strategy for 2014 and making resolutions that will help you be happier, healthier, and more prosperous.

Regardless of where you are in your career—whether you’re an established freelance writer, you’re fairly new to the game, or you’ve made the decision to start freelancing in 2014—these five resolutions will get you further ahead in the game.

Charge what you’re worth

What’s your current pricing strategy for your services? If you started out offering low rates to beat the competition, or the idea of charging more just hasn’t occurred to you in a few years, it could be time to give yourself a raise.

A lot of freelance copywriters worry that raising their rates could drive some clients away. However, keep in mind that the best kinds of clients understand that you get what you pay for—so when you charge higher rates, you’ll have more of those, and fewer clients who are just looking for the cheapest deal with not much thought to quality.

Another point to consider: With higher rates, you can work toward ending the feast-or-famine cycle that comes with the natural ebb and flow of the freelance industry. More money for today’s jobs means a more padded bank account when your project flow is running lean.

Learn to say no

Along with the fear of losing clients through higher rates, many freelance writers worry about turning down jobs. They’ll take every project they can get, like squirrels storing nuts for the winter, “just in case” they can’t find any work next month.

Unfortunately, this road often leads directly to burnout—and what happens when you have 12 projects due next week, but you can’t write a single word?

Resolve to make 2014 the Year of Saying No. With strong planning (and higher freelance rates), you can take on fewer projects and concentrate on doing the ones you enjoy, instead of the ones you do just to pay your utility bill on time.

Find places to delegate more

Established freelance writers, and anyone who finds that they’re consistently getting more work than they can handle, should strongly consider outsourcing.

More companies of every size, in every industry, are outsourcing to third parties—which means the prices for these services are more competitive. If you’re fielding a high volume of projects, you might want to contract with another freelance writer to take some of the overflow.

And if you’re doing fine with your work volume and just want more time to write, there are plenty of non-writing aspects you can outsource—like graphic design, website maintenance, marketing, accounting, or record-keeping.

Rediscover the outside world

Think fast—when was the last time you had an actual, spoken conversation with someone who doesn’t live in your house? Many freelance copywriters get so focused on their business that they forget about the importance of the human connection.

If you’ve been hibernating in your writing cave for long periods of time, make it your goal in 2014 to reconnect with other real people. You might try to get some real-life networking in, attend conferences or trade shows, or just make more time to have the occasional lunch with friends.

Remember why you love what you do

Why did you decide to start your freelance writing business? It’s probably not because you enjoy dealing with difficult clients, chasing down payments, working late hours, or isolating yourself from the real world.

Take some time to remind yourself what you wanted out of your freelance life—and this year, make sure you get it. Treat yourself to a morning of sleeping in as late as you’d like. Work in your pajamas. Indulge in an extra-long lunch. Make sure you’re enjoying the benefits of working for yourself as often as possible, and you’ll be happier, healthier, and more productive without even trying.

Here’s to you—may 2014 be your best year as a freelance writer yet!

How to Become a Career Blogger

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

If you’re a serious blogger, chances are you’ve considered—or dreamed about—blogging as a career. But is it possible to make a living as a blogger? Plenty of people are doing it, and you can too.

These tips will help you shift your blog from hobby to paying job.

Make blogging your business

Your attitude toward your blogging has a major impact on your success. If you treat it like a hobby or side project, that’s where your blog will always remain. To make money from blogging, you have to treat it like a business—whether it’s full-time or part-time.

Instead of working on the blog only when you have a few spare minutes, schedule other activities around blogging. This will result in higher quality and better consistency, which in turn attracts more followers.

Another aspect of running a business that you should incorporate into your blog is investing for returns. Of course, you’re already dedicating time to running your blog. But if you plan to make money, part of your profits should be reinvested in your business, spent on things like custom templates, domain names, and marketing.

Look for multiple income streams

Many bloggers believe that all the money in blogging comes from advertising. While selling ads can generate decent revenue, you shouldn’t rely on advertising alone. Unless your blog is incredibly popular, it’s almost impossible to earn a full-time income through ad space.

Affiliate programs can be a good source of income for bloggers, provided you’re selective about it. Don’t rush to join every program that will accept you. Instead, choose affiliates with strong reputations that offer products or services related to your blog’s topics—and that will benefit your readers.

You can also monetize your blog by offering premium content or selling your own products. Some bloggers offer paid subscriptions for high-value content that isn’t posted publicly to the blog. Others sell related products—books are a popular choice, such as those published by renowned bloggers like Jen Yates at Cake Wrecks and Allie Brosh at Hyperbole and a Half.

Consider multiple blogs

If you’re blogging in addition to working, you know that one blog is hard enough to maintain. However, once you’re a full-time career blogger, you can bring in extra income by running additional blogs related to your primary one.

Not enough time in the day? If you’re running a successful primary blog and one or more secondary blogs, you might consider hiring a freelance writer to generate fresh content, giving yourself more time to dedicate to your core business.

Are you working toward becoming a career blogger? Have any other tips to share? Leave a note in the comments!

 

WBM Featured on The Biz Buzz

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

I’m thrilled to have been interviewed by editor Christina Hamlett on The Biz Buzz about my life as an entrepreneur and freelance writer, my business, and more.

Christina and I discussed how I got started with Words By Melissa, what life is like as a full-time freelance writer and business owner, how the economy is affecting the freelance industry, and what I like to do when I’m not working. I had the opportunity to share some of the best advice I’ve received in seven years as a freelancer, along with some of the things I’ve learned personally along the way.

Head over to The Biz Buzz to read the full interview, and say hello in the comments!

Web Copy: Technology for Schools

Monday, December 9th, 2013

We wrote this home page content for a company specializing in technology for schools.

Education Article: Promoting Early Literacy

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

WBM wrote this education article for an early literacy website.