Taking control of your freelance writing career.
Calculating your rates
You may feel you’re doing really well if you manage to land your clients, but how do you go about charging? Does the cliché, “Charge what you’re worth” ring true with you?
Some writers recommend that you should take the salary you had prior to your freelancing career and divide that into forty hours per week.That would be a great idea, but what of your marketing, your admin, analytics, correspondence and everything else that goes into being a freelance writer? Especially if you’ve built your own website that needs constant updating?
The general consensus for the freelance writer seems to be $100 per billable hour.
Here I feel it so important to quote a really talented dear friend and professional medical transcriptionist. When asking Jeanne her thoughts on the risks of freelancing, I chose to save her verbatim reply,
Oh, btw, careful of clients who “scope creep”. Those are the clients that give you a task and agree a rate. Then, when you return the work: “oh, could you just edit this, do that, do this….” Before you know it, you haven’t been paid and you’ve written/rewritten/re-engineered your work to be five times what it used to be. Especially in writing it happens. Keep a look out for that!
Now you have work coming in, pitches going out, editing of docs, researching pitches and, and, and… and you’re about to lose your mind! Haha, one can get very overwhelmed very quick! Right?
Open a spread sheet, I find Google docs to work really well, and track your pitches by using columns for Title, Date, Pitch, Final Submission, Follow up date, Publication, and Result. When pitching, bear in mind to connect with a specific editor, in that way you are personalizing your pitches, so you can also add Editor’s Name, Email Address and Editor Notes to your spreadsheet. Invariably you pick up something about the editor that may come in way useful at a later stage, I like to have a category just for that purpose.
Be enthusiastic about your spreadsheet and personalize it to meet your specific needs, high light, color, change font colors, bold and underline. There is such a wonderful feeling of changing the highlights as your doc goes from pitched to published!
Try my Free Tracking Spreadsheet to get you started.
On the left side I have a column ‘Focus Points’, these are pointers that I know need extra focus, weak spots that I manage to identify, as I the name implies, the things I need to focus on.
The ‘Notes’ space on the left is for any feedback that I receive that may help in future pitches. I jot down anything noteworthy about a website, editors, or even apps that I may use in the near future.
Below I have my personal Goals divided into three columns Top Goals is pretty much straight forward, a Must Be Done refers to things I’m not to keen to do, but know that it will be beneficial to do, and then there is a third column of things that need more thought, research or are just niggling for consideration.
Below that list is the same list but it is for The Write Styles and the same lists appear there.
I find that my spreadsheet is a great motivation and inspiration. The more colors and columns that are created, the greater my achievements! So this Spreadsheet is where I spend my focus, once it is busy and colorful, I know my freelance writing career is too.
Feel free to download my tracking spreadsheet from Google Docs.
Planning and time-schedules.
I love using Asana, it somehow makes you feel as if you’re a part of a huge team! The basic software is free and allows you to collaborate with up to 15 persons.
Setting up your projects and targets with Asana is really easy, and the notifications keep me up to date, and rather inspired. The beauty of Asana is you can create daily or weekly schedules, assigning time needed to each as you choose. You can copy projects or start afresh, either is as simple as the next.
Asana also makes use of Search Views to get status updates, allowing you to sort and filter information however you choose to do so. Once you’ve found what you’re needing, you can favorite that search for easy access at a later stage.
You can, believe it or not, even create a “Someday Maybe” project and have brainstorming with new ideas, potential ideas, future improvements on your websites. Things that you literally would think of doing “someday”
I have never been one for admin duties. Asana is brilliant in helping me with my self-proclaimed admin weakness. What Asana does for me personally is it gives me stringent discipline, by setting deadlines for email responses. That way I don’t have 1,000’s of emails in my inbox, I also don’t miss great opportunities as often now and I definitely don’t start my replies with “Apologies for my tardiness… “
You can create various new tasks from your email by simply emailing Asana, really nothing to it at all. You can also use multi-select to update more than one task at a time. Asana is fuss-free!
Asana also has a Google doc similarity in that it allows you to share your documents directly with your client by simply sharing a link, but Asana also allows you to create a template to do so, and that becomes a time-saver.
But wait, speaking of time-saver, I have followed up on some reviews and recommendations about a rather different time-saver.
Instant Product Engine is software that I have not as yet personally tried out, but it is making a huge noise out there and the reviews all seem to be in favor too!
It is a content magnet that creates unique ‘profit-pulling’ products that you can customize with your title and your name as the name of the author in less than 10 min. Thereby, you can cut your product creation time down to a few minutes. They also have a 30-day guarantee on their product.
Well, may this help you in your freelance writing career, please remember to subscribe for your newsletter!