4/21/10

Plucking the Low Hanging Freelance Fruit

Have you ever heard the saying "to pluck the low hanging fruit"? It basically means to go for the easy pay off rather than aiming at the more difficult fruit at the top of the tree.

If you take the analogy seriously, I guess you're looking at taking zero risk and just reaching for the low hanging fruit you can reach easily. While this means you'll be eating fruit sooner, will it be as sweet as the more tempting fruit growing at the top?

Unfortunately, reaching the golden apples at the top of the tree often involves more risk - and a far greater fall if something goes wrong.

So how does this relate to freelance writing?

Think about some of the many, varied levels of freelance writing and you'll see that there's plenty of low hanging fruit lying about waiting for someone to pick it all up. There are also those big, elusive golden apples waiting at the top of the tree for those brave freelancers willing to take the climb to the top.

So which is the right path to take for a freelance writer trying to make an income from this crazy industry? Do you aim at the easy-pickings and bank your consistent cash flow each week? Or should you forego the easy income and go without the cash flow while you're taking the arduous climb to the top for the bigger pay off?

I've heard arguments for and against both options from many, many writers. Obviously there are those who turn their noses in the air at anything that won't pay them what they believe they should receive. Yet there are others who won't strive to reach any higher than the level they've already reached.

The decision for where you want to climb in your own freelance career sits firmly upon your own shoulders. You have the choice whether to aim higher, further or faster, or you can stay where you are comfortably. It's your choice.

Personally - I have a mortgage to pay, so I've become a realist. While I'm happy to make the climb into the higher paying markets at the top of the tree, I'm also very happy to reach out for the low hanging fruit that's in easy reach and brings in regular cash flow. This is what pays my bills.

The difficulty is finding the right balance between the two.

Obviously, if you're only reaching for the easy pickings, the amount you earn is going to be a little lower than the premium-quality stuff hiding right at the top, but at least you know it's regular.

However, by aiming at only the really juicy fruit that promises to give you a really big windfall at the end, you could find that the competition is much fiercer, the risk of failure is greater and you might bypass a lot of golden opportunities along the way.

Oh sure, I'm the first to admit that I aim at (and sometimes get!) plenty of really high paying freelance assignments in magazines and I'd love to get my novel published for a six-figure advance. That would be fabulous.

But I'm not going to turn my nose up at the low hanging fruit that's within such easy reach while I'm on my way to those dizzying heights!

3 comments:

jfjones said...

This is a great post.

I'm still trying to find a comfort level that pays the bills and doesn't involve unnecessary stress.

Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason said...

Sorry about the delete. I'm still figuring this blog thing out.

I wanted to say I love your site. It's filled with so much information.

You even inspired me to create my own site. Do you think you'd look at it and tell me what you think? Thanks!

Jason Little on Writing

Jason