As we wind down the year, I find myself looking forward to next year and the strengthening economy. But first, I wanted to look back at why 2009 was my best-earning year ever. This analysis pointed the way to a couple of key strategies for earning more in ’10 that any writer can use.
To sum up:
1) I diversified. Like mad.
2) I was open to offers to write in new formats I hadn’t yet tried yet.
In 2010, I plan to stick with this strategy, diversifying and staying open to new writing concepts as they emerge in the fast-changing world of freelance writing.
Many writers complain on my online forums about how awful particular markets are right now. I’d say they’re particularly awful for people who have all their eggs in one of them. One writer on one of my forums recently sniffed, “I write non-fiction only for magazines, and I’ve seen that market dry up this year.”
Well, boo-hoo, but are you going to just sit around and watch your sole income stream evaporate? Or are you going to market your business and secure your income by diversifying what you write, and for whom?
When I look over my client list for 2009, it has a lot of new names and projects in entirely new formats for me, including online-only exclusive pieces for print magazines, online-only magazines, “learning centers” for corporations, articles for major search portals, even articles for the Facebook fan page of an international conglomerate. I leapt from just writing my own blog to blogging for a national magazine, to blogging for corporations.
Recently, I’ve heard from writers who say their 2010 goal is to write only for print publications, or do only copywriting, or only blogging. I say that limiting your vision isn’t a good strategy right now. Successful writers in 2010 will remain open to all the possibilities.
Don’t be scared to take a flier on a new writing format. When I got back into freelancing in 2005, I got a call from a startup CEO whose company I’d previously reported on. He wanted to know if I would ghost-blog for him and write a few advertorial articles for his company Web site. Well, I had never done either of those things, and back then I hardly knew what a blog was, but I said, “Sure!” That tiny start in corporate copywriting has led to well more than $100,000 in copywriting earnings since. If I’d said no there, I likely would have earned a lot less over the past five years. Being open and diversifying works wonders for your bottom line.
Personally, I am a platform-agnostic when it comes to publishing. If a market pays well and I think I’d enjoy the writing and can deliver top-quality work on the topics, I’m game. If I had committed to only writing for print publications — which is where I started in my career — I would have passed on the majority of my 2009 income. So far, I’ve already booked some interesting new clients for January, including my first project that includes doing social media for a business.
What new markets do you plan to explore in 2010? What new clients will you find? I think writers with a diverse client list and an openness to new formats are going to see massive success next year. Hope that describes you.