As a working mum of three, I’ve got into the habit of planning my ‘New Year’ with their new academic year in September.
With this in mind, I’ve come up with my short list of resolutions for a more profitable year of freelancing.
1. Be more selective with freelance projects:
My workload is such that I now work with two ghostwriting clients a year, and fit smaller editing projects in between.
When you consider that I spend a minimum of 4/5 months writing a book, I simply can’t fully immerse myself in the experience of writing and researching for more than one person at a time. As I’m spending so much time working for someone, I need to ensure we’re a good fit and this of course requires forethought and careful planning.
If you’ve taken my Freelance course, you’ll know that I don’t uphold the ‘feast or famine’ scenario freelancers sometimes talk about. If your workload is so sporadic that you’re either extremely busy or have no work at all, then – sorry to break it to you – you’re not planning your workload properly.
You should be having conversations a year, six months or at the very least, three months in advance, so that you know what your projects are for the forthcoming year.
You should also be working hard at gleaning retainers, so you have something ticking over in between and after each project.
This has worked really well for me these past couple of years. I’ll be doing more of the same next year.
2. BE healthier:
I’ve been eating a mostly plant-based diet for nearly a year, with occasional fish once or twice a month. (I have found that I hardly miss eating fish, so I suspect my diet will soon be exclusively plant-based).
Not surprisingly, I feel healthier, I’m sleeping better, I’ve ditched a host of illnesses (the details of which I won’t bore you with), and have even managed to lose weight.
I now also regularly take a half-hour lunch break to turn things over in my mind while I’m away from the screen. This often results in me returning to my desk with new ideas.
I must, however, squeeze in some exercise. I hate gyms – wild horses won’t get me into one – so, “find an alternative” is on the agenda to keep me in tip-top working condition.
3. Give myself a pay rise:
I gave myself a pay rise when I recently completed a large writing project.
I find the end of a project is the ideal time to reflect on what went particularly well (or what didn’t). Previous projects will also throw light on ideas for new service packages, which will give you an opportunity to offer them to a new client, or suggest them as a retainer for an existing client.
Are you taking time to ensure you’re charging the fees you truly deserve?
4. Stay organised:
I’ve turned into one of those writers with quirky writing habits to keep on top of my writing schedule.
Like most writers, I must first gather my thoughts together before I settle down in front of the screen, so I find it helpful to jot notes down in my notebook the night before.
When I’m writing, I shut down my browser, sign out of Outlook, put my iPhone on ‘do not disturb’ and let the landline go to voicemail.
My long-suffering husband now knows that if he pops back home for something, there’s absolutely no point in attempting a conversation with me because I’ll (truthfully) be too focused on what I’m writing to hear him (honest).
(And yet oddly enough, it’s not too distracting to have on some light Bossa Nova in the background to help the writing flow).
What tweaks will you make in your schedule to help you stay focused on your writing day.
If time is money, YOUR time is your most precious asset.
Be careful how you use it.