Writers, Put a Premium on YOUR Time to Increase Your Bottom Line! by Jennifer Brown Banks

Writers, Put a Premium on YOUR Time to Increase Your Bottom Line! by Jennifer Brown Banks

“Time is money.”

Have you ever noticed how “well-paid” professionals put a premium on their time, and hold their services in high regard?

Think about it. Lawyers will charge a consultation fee simply for answering a question over the phone. Plumbers will assess a service call fee just to troubleshoot a pipe problem (even if they don’t fix it). And even though doctors take a Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm,” some certainly don’t mind the “harm” they cause with excessive fees for doctor’s office visits and co-pays.

My point here? Writers need to take a page from these professionals’ playbooks. It’s time for a paradigm shift. As an entrepreneur I know often states: “Don’t cheat yourself. Treat yourself!”

Consider this…

So often, in our efforts to earn a living as writers, we look at how we can produce more work to produce more income. True? But that’s only part of the equation. Our success is not only dictated by what we produce, but also by how wisely we preserve and govern our other resources—specifically our time and energy.

In this article we’ll examine some of the ways losing time and productivity affects what we earn, and ways to increase our mindfulness and our bottom line.

But before we do, I’d like to give a little background on how this piece came about. A cautionary tale of sorts (with 2 clients), that forced me to become more serious about wasted time and better business practices.

Requested a phone consultation with me; she was in the process of launching a new blog and needed my expertise on direction and strategy. We exchanged emails for a few days before arriving at the specifics. There was just one problem. She didn’t have the money to book my services in advance, but promised to pay the day before our designated meeting. Since we had done business together before without incident, I allowed it. A few days prior to our meeting date, I reached out to her to confirm it. She cancelled. The “check she was expecting had not arrived.” We rescheduled for a second date, for a few weeks later. Again, she was a “no-show.”

I typically don’t schedule coaching and other specialized services without upfront payment; I’ve been burned before. I made an exception here because I really liked her and didn’t want to lose this client’s business. Big mistake. The hours I originally ear-marked for her could have potentially been spent working with another (PAYING) client, or on another business project to advance my goals. In important business matters, we need to remember to make decisions with our heads, and not our hearts. Our survival depends upon it.

Sent me an S.O.S. because she was booked to do a speaking engagement and desperately needed a professional Bio to be created for marketing materials. To make a long story short, she asked me to give her a quote on the project. She considered my fee too high. To accommodate her budget, I gave her a big discount to move forward. The next day she contacted me to tell me she had found someone else to do the work for even cheaper, so she changed her mind and withdrew her request.

I lowered my rate and ended up increasing my frustration in the process. “I could’a had a V-8!”

Word to the wise: clients who base their work with you solely on price will very often shop around and secure cheaper services. And in so doing, devalue your time, expertise and unique creativity. Insist on fair pay for a fair day’s work.

In addition to the above scenarios, here are ways we, as writers, often lose money without realizing it:

To attract future business and to give clients a sampling of how we can help them with their “pain points,” it’s not unusual to provide free consults or coaching sessions. This works to an extent. Don’t give away too much too soon. As a famous expression states: “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” Instead of an hour consult, provide 15-minute free consultations; or give a free consultation with a book editing project or other paid service. Get the idea here?

According to Telegraph.co.uk, the average person has about five social media accounts, on which they spend approx 1 hour and 40 minutes daily. See more specifics HERE.

Though social media has its benefits, it needs to be wisely monitored and minimized. There are an array of things social media time could be more wisely devoted to: researching job markets; crafting a query letter; updating your blog; responding to emails and de-cluttering your inbox for greater efficiency. You can even use a kitchen timer to stay on top of things. Need I say more?

It’s not uncommon for a client to change the direction of a creative project. Or some simply want a few “tweaks” upon project completion. Re-writes come with the territory. But to save you time and sanity, be sure to specifically outline (in your contract or formal agreement), how many revisions will be provided for the stated price. Anything above and beyond that should be billed separately, to ensure that you are properly compensated for additional work and labored hours.

Time counts. Consider it an asset. Budget it, much like you would your money, and you’ll find yourself with more of both!


JENNIFER BROWN BANKS is a veteran freelance writer, award-winning blogger, ghost writer and author. Publishing credits include: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha and Chicago Sun-times. Banks considers herself a time management guru, (in addition to being a writer). Learn more at her popular blog, Pen & Prosper.


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6 Responses to "Writers, Put a Premium on YOUR Time to Increase Your Bottom Line! by Jennifer Brown Banks"

  1. jenniferbrownbanks  August 21, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    I definitely understand your new policy. Appreciate your input today.

  2. jenniferbrownbanks  August 21, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    I like the idea of a prepared script. Thanks for your feedback.

  3. Anonymous  August 20, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Some people equate buying my books, priced at $18-$20, as a down payment in unlimited free phone or email consultations. Thankfully, I have a pre-written script informing readers how to schedule time with me through an online service. None of these readers have ever followed through, and that ensures that my valuable time focuses on paying projects.

  4. Anonymous  August 19, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    I recently had a situation where someone wanted me to write her bio within 48 hours. I wrote a bio based on our conversation and she changed the whole thing. I called her to and asked how she wanted to be presented (as a business owner, employee, etc.) she said she didn’t know. From this point forward, I will not work with anyone that cannot answer the purpose of the project or give me a vision of the results.

  5. Angie Papple Johnston  August 16, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    Yes! The more you value your talent and time, the more your clients will, too.

    • By Angela Hoy - Publisher of WritersWeekly.com  August 16, 2018 at 11:43 pm

      You are absolutely right!! 🙂