It’s a New Year with New Rules for My Freelance Business — Want to Join Me and Fire Up Your Career Too?
I don’t know about you, but 2014 was a challenging year for me — from a computer crash in January to a bike crash in September, it was a year of bumps and bruises.
I’m hoping for a better year in 2015.
But hope won’t be enough — I’m going to have to work my butt off.
In a year of challenges, I let a few important aspects of my business slide.
But that’s behind me. Now, I’m climbing back on my horse (or bike!) and making that ride back up the mountain, no matter what.
I’m sharing my new year-new rules list with you — hoping some of my plans inspire you to have the best freelancing year of your life, too.
My New Rules for a New Year of Freelancing
1. Expand my twitter base.
I’ve been resistant to use twitter because of the time-suck component. So, I’ve set a goal for myself to use it this year with great intention — including connecting to my fellow freelance writers, to leaders in my industry, and to prospects.
Also, I’ll use twitter to build my base — including sharing more tweets than I generate. This is a strategy recommended by leaders in my industry!
By the way, let’s connect on Twitter! I’d love to tweet with you in 2015. You can find me at: @paigewriter.
2. Double down on LinkedIn.
The experts say you don’t have to be on all of the social media platforms, but you do have to be active on the ones that net the biggest results for your industry. For me, that’s LinkedIn. It is simply the best networking platform for my business. ALL of the people in my niche are there, including (I hope) my future clients.
I’m going to leverage this treasure chest this year in several ways, including connecting to people I target as potential prospects, finding all of the companies in my niches and contacting them, and staying active by posting more information and participating in more discussion — and maybe even submitting articles to the LI news feed.
If you and I aren’t already connected on LinkedIn, let’s get connected now. Find me here.
3. Solidify my place in my niche.
For my entire 30-year career, I’ve resisted boxing myself into a niche, choosing instead to be a bit of a renegade and write for many industries. But today the marketplace is so niche-focused that I’m biting the bullet and allowing myself to become a subject-matter expert in my niche.
I’ve already tested this concept with an email campaign in which I mentioned being an expert in each prospect’s industry (I finessed my experience a bit to accomplish this). And the result proved the theory — the responses I received from companies were based on the fact that I had experience in their specific industries! So carve out your niche — and own it!
4. Market my business even when I’m busy.
I have known that this is the smart business habit since I started freelancing in the 80s. But have I done it? No, I have not.
Every time I’ve been busy with client work, marketing has gone on the back burner. Only when worked slowed down (okay, when it stopped!) would I get back to searching for new clients. I’ve been lucky, because I’ve enjoyed several very long periods of steady work — even years at a time.
But the downtime was always painful. And, now, I’m over the roller coaster. I’d rather do what I’m supposed to do and keep my prospecting activities alive and well, so I can avoid the painful periods with no work.
5. Get more active on G+.
I’m so embarrassed to admit how bad I’ve been about using G+ — even though most experts agree that it’s a great place to be active. To make matters worse, I’m not even exactly sure how to use all of the features of Google’s social media site. This had got to change in 2015 — wish me luck.
Oh, and please connect with me on G+ (and please resist judging at how little I’ve used the site). Thank you!
6. Encourage more of my fellow freelancers to get into content marketing – and carve out their niche ASAP.
Content marketing is the best thing to have happened to freelance writers ever.
Just at a time when being a freelance writer was on a fast train headed downhill, thanks to the content mills, along comes a marketing discipline that demands high-quality content — and lots of it. This created a goldmine for writers who have the skills to write quality content.
But, be forewarned, content marketing is no walk in the park. You have to produce results or you’ll be tossed to the wayside. When you hear someone say that content marketing is just like the old marketing with a new name, walk away. Content marketing is different that the old-fashioned feature-and-benefits marketing style. It is an art and science — and it’s evolving all the time.
Writers who want to become sought-after content creators should learn all of the moving parts of the discipline — before they ruin their reputation. And believe me — the wealth of work in this area is attracting lots of writers. Nature abhors a vacuum — and in the freelance world, a vacuum containing a lot of work will be filled fast.
That’s why I created the Content Marketing Masterclass — to help writers learn what really matters to today’s content marketers, so they can get up to speed fast and start finding their content marketing clients. Check out the Content Marketing Masterclass here.
7. Keep learning new writing skills.
Almost every profession requires an element of continuous education. Yet, many writers just keep coasting on their original writing skills and knowledge.
I’ve noticed over the years that the writers who continue to acquire the best, highest-paying clients are focused on continually learning new things. I’m a compulsive learner — I love to learn new skills, hone my craft, and stay on top of what’s working and what’s not.
To share what I’ve learned with other writers, I have created an innovative new course, called Content Marketing Writer Skill Builder workshop. I predict this is going to be a fun and inspiring way for my fellow freelance writers to sharpen their talents — and gain an upper hand in the increasingly competitive world of freelance writing.
Check out the Content Marketing Writer Skill Builder workshop here — and add your name to the list to be notified when the course starts early this year.
8. Share more insights with my fellow freelancers.
I started this blog as a place to share insights and experiences from my long career as a freelance writer with other freelancers.
Over the years, I learned so much from my peers — and I want to extend that generosity out to my freelance peers. But I fell off of my goals for the blog in the past year.
That is going to change this year. I’ve created a schedule and made a commitment to post weekly (baring illness and vacations). I hope this means I provide more writers with more useful insight to help them create the freelance careers of their dreams.
9. Keep my prospecting blog on schedule, too.
Along with sharing my freelance writing insights with my peers, I also want to keep my business blog on track as well.
This year I learned the power of blogging first hand. A marketing director contacted me and said that she’d heard good things about me from a colleague. When I checked my records, the main contact I’d had with her colleague was sending him my blog updates. That was a clear message that having a business blog works.
Even when you think you are just publishing into a huge void, keep your business blog humming along, because you never know who’s reading it — and who’ll you attract.
10. Triple check for typos!
A few of my comrades in writing have kindly emailed me to let me know when they’ve found typos on my blog. To them I want to send a heartfelt thank you. Thank you for your kindness and understanding of my disability.
I suffer from a mild form of dyslexia — and because of that I frequently misspell words (words that I actually know how to spell, but the circuits in my brain see them as correct). I’d love to have a full-time editor looking over my shoulder and reading everything before I hit the publish button. But since that’s not practical, I just have to go forward — hoping everyone understand.
That said, I will work harder on proofing my work and hope I discover my typos before you do! (When I fall short, I welcome your kind emails!)
So, what are your freelance career plans for this brand-new new year?
I hope they are exciting and produce wonderful results.
Happy New Year!
Photo credit: © Sondem