“A closed mouth doesn’t get fed.”
If you’re like the average writer, you probably pour over weekly job boards and “writers wanted” ads in an effort to build your client base and your bottom line, not realizing there’s a better R.O.I. (return on investment) for your time.
In fact, did you know that many great gigs are not even shared with the general public? According to Matt Youngquist, the president of Career Horizons: “At least 70 percent, if not 80 percent, of jobs are not published.”
Add to this sobering statistic our struggling economy, and the uncertainty of living in the age of a pandemic.
So, what’s the bottom line to a bigger bottom line this year?
Your future is in your own hands. You can either passively wait, cross your fingers, and hope your resume will be chosen. Or, you can be more resourceful by proactively creating more opportunities.
Here’s a case in point:
Some years ago, while browsing websites to submit relationship articles, I stumbled upon an interesting online magazine for singles seeking quality relationships. Upon reading some of the content, I decided to submit a query for consideration. The pay was modest but I figured the exposure would be worth it. Long story short—the editor accepted my work within a few days with high praise.
Though there was no listed “position” for a columnist there, I thought this would potentially be a good fit for my career goals and skill set. So, shortly thereafter, I pitched a few more ideas to the editor; stated my case, and provided links to previous works. Ultimately, I was hired to pen a weekly column.
That fun gig lasted almost five years, and paid thousands of dollars along the way. I succeeded simply because I had the courage to put myself out there. You should, too!
HERE ARE 4 REASONS YOU SHOULDN’T SIT IDLE AND “WAIT” TO GET WORK:
1. COMPETITION IS FIERCE.
According to The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guidebook: “The twenty-first century’s global economy has laid the foundation for the demand of a freelance workforce. For those willing to seize the opportunities presented, the sky is literally the limit.” It further states that a whopping 53 million U.S. workers are now freelancing.
2. YOU CAN COMBAT FEAST OR FAMINE CYCLES.
Taking matters into your own hands just makes better business sense. It works if you work it! Let’s face it, the screening process for being hired after applying for jobs can be long, frustrating, political, and unpredictable. In the meantime, and in between time, the bills are adding up, and your stress levels undoubtedly will be, too.
3. THERE’S A GREATER LIKELIHOOD OF GARNERING WORK YOU ENJOY.
Pitching to (and partnering with) organizations and clients that would present a good creative match for your strengths, passions, and expertise can lead to greater productivity, and better long-term compatibility. (Have you ever noticed how there’s a tendency to procrastinate with writing assignments that are boring, foreign or difficult?)
4. YOU’LL FEEL MORE EMPOWERED.
In the writing and publishing industries, there’s so much we can’t control: deadlines; editors’ revisions to our work; established pay rates for glossy magazines, etc. But, we can opt to take control of our career paths, and our strategic choices.
On a related note here, there is a difference between being PROACTIVE and being a PEST.
Never confuse being proactive with having a sense of entitlement. Always interact with editors, publishers, and clients respectfully and professionally for optimal results, regardless as to whom initiates the contact.
OTHER STRATEGIES TO CONSIDER
- To avoid “false” starts and detours on the path to success, be sure to thoroughly research your targeted client. Does their website content lack diversity? Have information gaps? Need updated info? Assess and apply.
- Go beyond writers’ guidelines. Check the archives of the publication to prevent duplication with your ideas or articles.
- Make sure to target the right department or decision maker to avoid unnecessary delays.
- Be prepared to send related links to your best work for review and consideration.
Jennifer Brown Banks is a Content Creator and Creative Strategist. She’s won the “Top Blog for Writers” award from 2013 to 2020. Check out all she has to offer at her blog Pen and Prosper.