How to Drink Well Through the Dry Spells
Let’s face it—life as a freelancer can sometimes be a roller-coaster. Here’s how to keep those stressful dry spells to a minimum.
One quality we successful freelancers have in common is our ability to take on a challenge. No, not just with our assignments. But with our lifestyle, too.
We ditched the 9-to-5 grind and a steady paycheck for a creative, rewarding career where, for the first time in our lives, we decide how our days are spent. And when we're wall-to-wall with writing assignments, life is good. Checks are rolling in. Clients are happy. And we congratulate ourselves for having the guts to leave corporate politics and prison of a staff job behind.
Then, at some point, the feast turns curiously famine-like. Your client cancels a project. Your prospecting packages go unanswered. Clients are slow to pay. All situations completely beyond your control...
Or are they?01.
Find a secondary niche.
But various industries go through their own economic roller-coaster, too. What's hot this year may suffer a slump the next. Response rates go down; postal rates increase; and clients cut budgets. And you get left in the lurch.
So what to do? Find a secondary niche. What other subjects would you like to write about? Once you decide, then target clients in that niche.
In the fall of 2003, my alternative health assignments slowed down to a trickle. It turned in to a very long, 4-month dry spell. I knew I had to do something to bring money in--and decided to try my hand writing about another subject I was passionate about: personal finance.
I contacted some financial newsletter companies and received assignments writing email blasts and online Special Reports to their subscriber base. These were quick, fun assignments that I turned around in a couple of weeks. And they provided some good income until my alternative health client base came back.
Another benefit of a secondary niche? You keep burnout at bay. When you write about one subject for years on end, it's easy to feel stale after a while. Those personal finance projects were a welcome break from my usual healthcare grind. And when I returned to writing health copy, I felt more motivated, clear-headed and refreshed. My copy was snappier, too.
Create Passive Income.
It’s called passive income. It can be an e-book you wrote and are marketing on a website; acting as an affiliate for a variety of products or services; or even selling a product of your own.
When copywriter, novelist, avid gardener Victoria Rosendahl suffered a second car accident in 2000, her husband came up with the design for a method of gardening that doesn’t require bending or kneeling. They nick-named it GardenRack.
When Victoria saw a slowdown in her copywriting schedule, she decided to turn GardenRack into a product for other gardeners. After all, it was perfect for folks who have stopped gardening because of arthritis in their knees or back, and GardenRack's height can be customized to each gardener’s individual needs.
Victoria designed and wrote the website and set up an online store. Today, she enjoys a nice, passive income from sales of her innovative gardening product.
If you have found that copywriting assignments have thinned out lately, think about the things you know and create a product for yourself. You can write an e-book and sell it over the internet for very little expense. You can develop a new product, like Victoria did, or you can look into affiliate marketing.
Once you create your product line, set up a web site and sign up with a credit card processor (such as PayPal), you could sell these products for years without lifting another finger. As time goes on you can add more products to give your income an even bigger shot the arm.