Even though I have plenty of regular private clients every month, there are times when orders slow down and things get quiet. Most months my clients will order at the beginning of the month, with some ordering at the beginning of every week. This lets me know how to schedule my time and work out what else I can get done.
Believe me, March was insanely busy. In fact, it was a record-breaking month for me in terms of jobs ordered by clients AND income earned. I was loving it!
Unfortunately, there are months when clients simply don't need any work done and things go very quiet. April is that month for me and my business.
This is terrible news for someone with a mortgage to pay and a hungry daughter to feed! That's when my 'Plan B' of attack kicks in really hard to help the money keep coming in, just because I have this strange need for - well, you know - FOOD!
So here's how I've been coping with a really quiet April so far:
Constant Content is a tried and true back up income earner for me. I tend to sell quite a lot of very narrowly focused niche articles here every month. I've learned that the more narrowly focused the topic, the higher I can set the price tag on each article.
As an example, I've sold several 500 word articles this week already for a minimum of $100 US each article.
Now, I know everyone reading this is also a freelance writer, so I'm not going to give away my exact niche, (sorry guys...) but I will say it's to do with advanced financial topics.
However, rather than try to guess what a customer might buy, use the "Requested Content" section and actually write what customers are already looking for. This greatly increases your chances of a sale.
Reminding Clients About Services Offered
A good friend of mine gave me this idea, and I have to admit it's worked very well for me this month. I went back through the list of my private clients who haven't ordered anything for a couple of months and made a note of these.
Then I put together a shiny new price list that includes all my services. You know the type of thing I mean - a nice list showing the writing services I offer (SEO articles, blog posts, press releases, spun articles, reports, ebooks etc) and then showing all my prices for them clearly.
This often reminds clients that they don't need to just order one type of writing service from me. In fact, it can be a great way to showcase your range, especially to those clients who may not have realized you offer other services aside from the ones they've ordered from you previously.
Play with the Currency Exchange
One of the biggest benefits of being an international freelancer is playing the currency exchange to your own benefit. I only know of two or three freelance writers who do this on a very regular basis and it can be quite profitable - if you know what you're doing.
Here's a very simplified example of what I mean:
I'm Australian. This means I need to use Australian dollars to pay my bills, buy things I want and - most importantly - buy FOOD! (yes, it's lunch time. I'm really hungry. Is it obvious?)
But I don't always charge my clients a fee in Aussie dollars. Instead, I'll charge in a currency that either:
a) suits their particular global location
b) choose a currency that is more profitable for me at that point in time.
Last year, the Aussie dollar was worth about 0.82 cents per $1 US dollar. This means that if I charged a client $100 US for a job, I'd actually receive $121.95 AU. Nice!
Unfortunately, today the Aussie dollar is now worth more than the US dollar ($1.042 as of 12 April 2011). If I charged a client $100 US today, I'd only receive $95.96. That's a pay CUT of nearly $26 per job for doing the same amount of work. That's just not acceptable!
So I emailed my clients and gave them an option. They can pay me in Aussie dollars, or they can choose to pay in Canadian dollars (CAD), UK Pounds (GBP) or even Euros (EUR). But for today, the only way I'll accept a payment in US dollars is to charge more money per job so I'm not going without.
This is difficult when a large portion of my client-base is American. Also, most clients hate price rises - even though they're aware that I'm receiving a pay cut as a result of keeping prices static.
But a girl's gotta eat... (I really should make some lunch soon, huh?)
Okay, that's enough of the math lesson. The point of that section was to illustrate how it's very possible to increase your income by being aware of the effect the changing values in currency can have to an international writer.
So... what tactics do you use to increase your income during those quiet months? I'd love to hear about them!