One minute there is no work to be seen…for miles. The next? You have projects and deadlines coming out your ears. In a perfect world, you would have a steady stream of projects flowing in, one after the next at a speed that matches your writing pace exactly.
But, the world isn’t always perfect. And this is how I deal with it when it isn’t:
When I’m not busy with client work…
…I use my time wisely. There is always work to be done, really, in terms of promotion and marketing. And action is key – stay busy with something. Approach a company you’ve been dying to work with, rewrite your website, rework some blog posts as articles, network on Twitter, answer questions on LinkedIn. As you take action and reach out, the work is sure to come. Do not sit, mope and think your world is ending. It’s not (unless you sit around and mope and think your world is ending!)
When I’m happily busy, but not overwhelmed with work…
…I never stop thinking about the future. This means that I continually network, market, pitch to new clients, seize opportunity and write all of my thoughts and ideas down in a place I can find them (very important).
When I’m so busy that I can’t see straight…
…When it rains, it pours – cliche, but true. The busier I am, the busier I get – which is why I’m encouraging you to stay busy in the case of scenarios #1 and #2. But you do need to manage your time. If you say yes to every project – make sure that you either give realistic deadlines or that you actually have the time to get everything done.
If someone approaches you for a job, and you simply can’t do it ‘right now’, you will be faced with one of the hardest decisions we face as freelancers (or at least those of us who are not also highly skilled fortune tellers). Do you:
1. Turn down the work not knowing if the next week will bring a freak occurrence of ‘all current projects are now on hold.’
2. Say you can do it, but not for a month (or whenever).
3. Worry that saying #2 will cost you the job.
4. There’s also the ‘law of scarcity’ option where clients love that you’re so busy and will wait because You are the goods.
5. Take the job but siphon it off to a junior/’nother copywriter. In this scenario, you can take a finders/editors/management fee from the project fee and pay the other writer the rest. And you’ve come through for the client, keeping the relationship strong for future projects.
6. Worry that the pinch-writer won’t pull it off like you could, which means you’ll have to scramble to redo the work (one way to avoid this is to find a really good No. 2 writer – and 3 and 4 in case 2 is busy – that you can count on for quality goods).
How about you? What balance issues do you come up against in the non-secure and wild world of freelancing? And how do you handle them?