Recently someone in an email writer’s group I belong to posted a survey inquiring about how business was going for everyone these days. A couple of writers responded that they were busier than ever, while the majority of respondents reported that business was at an all time low.
These survey results could have easily scared an aspiring freelancer away from the prospect of going it alone; however, the survey asked some very specific questions to get to the heart of the matter of why some writer businesses are thriving while others are barely breathing. I have to say that those who responded where very honest.
Here are some of the questions that were asked:
1. How is your writing business going this year?
2. If you have set goals, how are you doing on them at this point in your business?
3. How do you feel about the future?
4. Will you stick with working freelance for the long haul? Will you stick with writing for the long haul?
5. What kind of supportive people or groups do you have around you?
6.What do you think you need to do next? (charge more, market more, sell more, network more, soul-search more)
Big surprise: most of the people who responded saying their business was essentially in the toilet admitted that they were (1) Not setting goals, (2) Not willing to stick with freelancing as a long-term choice (or preferred to use it as a side income “taking work as it comes”) and (3) were taking NO active steps to generate more business (marketing, networking, etc.).
Clearly the responses to this survey revealed that the problem is not a lack of available work, it’s more a lack of planning and putting action into finding those opportunities that are out there. Your ability to stick it out through the highs and lows, create a plan, follow it closely and put forth effort to network and promote your business is necessary. Otherwise how will clients know who you are and what you do?
I’m having the busiest summer I’ve had since I began freelancing full-time during the summer of 2007. Much of this is because I’ve been networking and marketing my services. I can always be doing better on the marketing end of things because I tend to slack off when things get too hectic. Although there is no magic freelance writing blueprint (everyone’s journey is different), but the previous bulleted list is a good place to start evaluating the way you run your business.
So I’m curious – how is your freelance writing business going so far this year?