Past clients usually make the best future clients. They’re already impressed with your work ethic, they know why you charge what you do and they love your style. You don’t have to dazzle them with flashy advertisements to reel them in, and you don’t have to walk on eggshells when you deal with them because you’re already familiar with the way they do business.
Do you have to be paranoid when you deal with editors and publishers? No. Should you be aware of your rights, responsibilities and potential red flags? Yes.
It’s tempting to put querying aside while you’re working on assignments, and then pick it up again when the work runs out. The problem is that, by then, it’s too late. You end up with a gap in your assignments – and your income.
Before I launched my freelance copywriting business, I spent three full months planning my escape from corporate America. (Four months if you count the month I spent over-thinking whether I should quit my day job . . . or not.) I read Peter Bowerman’s book, The Well-Fed Writer, cover-to-cover. Twice. I built a website and created an online portfolio. I converted my rarely-used formal living room into an office. And I planned my business implementation strategy.
These early efforts paid off. Within 90 days of starting my business, I had replaced my full time income…
At 40, after several years as a stay-at-home mom, I returned to college to complete my associate’s degree to make myself more marketable when I returned to the workforce. A medical secretary by default, most of my courses were business related. However, one of my electives, Newspaper Research and Reporting, put me on a new and unexpected career path…
Katy Terrega’s book, It’s A Dirty Job…Writing Porn For Fun And Profit! Includes Paying Markets!, reminded me of my own secret experiences as a writer of confession stories — stories for which I got paid. Did I sell my very first confession story? No. In fact, the first couple stories were flatly rejected without a word. Then, for some unknown reason, I thought, maybe it’s because I’m using my actual name: “Russ Heitz.” Maybe they don’t accept confession stories that are written by men. After all, ninety-nine percent of all confession stories have a first person female narrator. And how could a man possibly know how a woman feels about anything?
When I started using the genderless “R. L. Heitz” on the first page of every manuscript, the Macfadden checks started rolling in.
The current recession reminds me of why I pursued a freelance writing career and have never regretted my decision.
It’s hard to single out a low point in my writing attempts, but I have one that illustrates what we have all heard – keep trying and read your target markets.
During the Summer of 2004, I began to devote more time to my writing. Each day, I worked on articles and essays about the places I’ve traveled to as well as other personal experiences. I also made a daily commitment to study markets, and read writing skill-themed articles so as to improve my authoring abilities.
Although I have been freelancing for a while and tackled a few high paying markets, I still find myself looking at the medium paying markets to chase after.
Recently, as I scanned through my market lists, a gig caught my eye. It was a travel writing gig, but then when I saw the pay it said $300.00. It suddenly threw me!