8/14/12

Wow - Productivity and Focus Equals Happiness

Well, it's been a few months since I actually had time to write anything on my poor, neglected blog, but that time wasn't wasted. I've been crazy-busy in the last few months, writing, planning and just making things work. I actually re-structured my entire freelance business from the ground up - and I've never been happier.

You see, for the past six or seven years I've accepted almost all freelance work assignments that have come my way. I have multiple private clients who order regularly and I have other sources of writing income that I focus on as well. This has been my routine the entire time I've been freelance writing full-time.

However, a few months ago I had a bit of an idea.

My logic was that I needed to find ways to actually enjoy what I was writing, without affecting my overall income in any way. Of course, that's easier said than done, right?

Here's what I eventually did:

Increase Writing Rates

My regular private clients are brilliant. I love them to bits. But sometimes they order the most random cr@p that really is quite boring or unappealing. I still write these things because I love my clients and they always pay me on time (which is why I keep them as regular clients!).

Yet, when the vast majority of my working day is filled up with these things it tends to get a little tedious. So I figured that I needed to increase my rates just a little. This allows me to earn the same money in a shorter amount of time.

Weed Out Bad Clients

I know it sounds backwards, but if you really want your freelance writing business to work for you, it's really important to be selective about the clients you work with. I had a couple of clients who demanded the most outrageous things to be done (at no extra charge) on top of regular assignments. At first, I would do these things because I needed the money. Then it occurred to me that those clients are taking advantage of my time and my skills for their own gains.

Rather than continue this, I re-wrote my freelancing contracts and asked them to accept the new terms. Those terms included actually charging those clients when they asked for "just another thousand words on the end of that report", or charging them when they asked me to "just write another 10 different titles for that sales page so I can split-test properly", or "just format that report for me with these fonts, these page borders, a few stock images and maybe a quick cover?"

If they want the extra effort, they can pay for my time. If they don't like it, they can find another writer.

Yes, I lost two clients this way. You know what? I don't miss them. I much prefer working with clients who respect my time and my writing.

Increase My Service Offerings

Usually I tend to write SEO web content, magazine articles, press releases and ebooks for my clients. These things have been enough to keep me busy (and well-paid) for years. However, I also realized I might be limiting myself.

So I increased my service offerings to include writing email autoresponder series, video marketing scripts, and sales copywriting.

Each of these things required some study and a lot of practice to get right. But I can now charge additional fees for those clients who want these additional services :)

Increase Passive Income

Once I'd figured out a way to keep my income stable by working just a little less each day, I sat down and filled that extra time with ways to build up my passive income a little more. Yes, I earn some income from Google Adsense. I earn some commissions from promoting affiliate products on a different blog I own. I also earn royalties from a few ebooks I wrote. These things are very handy, but they're never going to amount to a full time income.

So I focused on maximizing these wherever I could. That included adding a new ebook to my collection to help boost my royalties overall. It also included working a bit harder on marketing my sites to increase visitor numbers overall.

Phew.

When you put all these things together, it actually did make a big difference to the bottom line for my freelance writing business. I find I'm more productive, simply because I'm working more on things I truly enjoy. I kept all my good clients, so that keeps me happy. And I have a wider variety of things to write about, which keeps me from getting bored with writing the same old things day in and day out.

So - is it time for you to re-structure your own freelance writing business yet?

What are your thoughts?

4 comments:

german technical translation said...

Clarity is your most important objective. Keep thoughts separate. Write simply, candidly and logically.

freelance writing said...

Focus and with strong determination you will succeed in everything you do. Freelance writing and being a writer is not easy. It is very stressful but if you love what you are doing and you enjoy every single second of it you will get a productive output.

Jonathan Howard said...

Greetings,

My name is Jon and I'm a High School English teacher. Freelance writing is something I have been interested in for a very long time, and after recently being laid off, is something I have been pursuing ever since. While I have written for various websites: AC, Helium, and now constant-content, I find information such as the kind found on your blog very valuable. Every writer deserves praise for their work, and yours is a very valuable resource for people like me.

Thanks,

Jonathan Howard
Author of Of Things Man Made-- The Ongoing Sci-Fi/Fantasy Series. www.ofthingsmanmade.com

Carreira said...

I started freelancing one year ago and I got my first "real" jobs this month.

I think all freelancers should start by getting published and earning some at HubPages because getting some income from all that writing goes a long way in getting morale for us freelancers.

I still remember the thrill of getting my first bucks. Try it, sign under me - http://hubpages.com/_1zvhuhklphwby