Well, 2021 is here. While I know many people were happy to see the back of 2020, I’m not sure this year has been the unburdened, fresh start that we all hoped for. I know that sounds like a downer, but I think it’s important to recognise that the world is still topsy turvy.
And it’s going to be like this for a while.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t be optimistic.
By nature, I’m a glass half full / glass overflowing kind of person.
I feel like I naturally look on the bright side of life and embrace possibility.
So it’s probably no surprise that I really believe that this can be the best year for freelancing.
And if we’re talking purely about financials, I know 2020 was a super profitable year for loads of freelancers (me included).
Because even though some magazines and newspapers are slowing down on commissions, corporate organisations are hungry for great writers.
So, if you’re a feature writer or content marketing writer or you do a bit of both (or want to), here are 3 easy ways to get your 2021 off to a great start.
1. Rekindle relationships
The quickest and most effective way to find freelance writing work quickly is to reconnect with people that you’ve lost touch with.
Ideally these would be past clients (that you liked working with) who have dropped off your radar.
If you’re a newbie freelance writer, reconnecting with old school friends, previous colleagues or connections is a great way to let people know what you’ve been up to (and possibly that you’re available for work).
So much of my work has come through reconnecting with people.
Not convinced reconnecting is going to be worth it? Here’s the one factor that predicts whether you’re going to be a successful freelance writer
2. Raise your rates
Does the very thought of raising your rates raise your blood pressure?
I get it.
Asking for more money is rarely easy. Or comfortable.
But [insert old wisdom that you’ve no doubt heard endless times]:
If you don’t ask you don’t receive
If you’re working with corporate clients, the beginning of the year is the perfect time to let them know your rates are going up.
And if you’re writing for editors of magazines, newspapers and digital publications, it’s always worth asking if there’s room in their budget for an increase.
And even if they say no, keep asking.
Gently. Politely. Each commission is an opportunity to negotiate. Seriously.
3. Put yourself out there
Unless you have a killer website that is bringing in potential clients and editors to you every day, you’re going to need to market yourself.
This looks different for different people.
For feature writers, it usually means pitching. A lot.
When you’re starting out as a freelance writer for magazines, newspapers and digital sites, it can feel hard to break in.
But often it’s a numbers game.
Yes, you need to have a great idea but you also need to pitch your ideas regularly.
Don’t just sent one pitch and wait for a response.
Send one pitch and get started with another.
I remember reading an interview with an advertising executive who said that he was expected to think of at least 45 fleshed out ideas for one ad campaign.
Often within the space of a week.
Thinking of so many ideas taught him to trust that there would always be more ideas and not to be too precious about any of them.
So be generous with yourself – know that your last idea isn’t your greatest or your only one.
There’s plenty more to come.
Marketing for corporate writers
If you’re a corporate writer putting yourself out there looks a little different.
You’ll want to have a strong LinkedIn profile (Is that an eye roll I see? Give it a go – LinkedIn can be such a fruitful platform).
You need to make sure you’re sending out letters of introduction (and not just one or two, I’m talking at least one a day, ideally more).
And you want to make sure you’re hanging out where your target clients are.
Show up, engage with them and be genuine.
And do it regularly.
Marketing yourself really is as easy as that.
As always with freelancing, you have to be patient, but doing these three simple things consistently will ensure you build yourself a successful freelance business where your glass is always full.
How has the start of 2021 been for you? How are you ramping up for this year?