Every freelance writer has been there. One month you have more work than you can handle — you pull all-nighters, you let your laundry pile up, and your social life diminishes to a mumbled morning hello when you pass your kids in the hallway on the way to the bathroom. The next month, the work dries up, and you scramble to line up new projects … on the upside, you have time for more than monosyllabic exchanges with your family, and your friends start to recognize you again.
Obviously this is less than ideal. It’s a cycle that creates stress on both ends. Wouldn’t it be better if you had enough work all the time, but not so much you felt like you were drowning? Of course it would.
And we all know the answer to breaking the feast-or-famine cycle. It’s consistent marketing. But, I’ve discovered you actually have to do something else first.
You have to do consistent work.
For example … does this scenario sound familiar?
You get up Monday morning and review your weekly to-do list, but nothing is pressing yet, so you do a few of the easy items, and then you procrastinate. Maybe you clean the house or spend some time on Facebook or read a book. It’s not wasted time, but it’s not the best use of your time either. Tuesday goes much the same. On Wednesday, you get an email from a client with a rush project, and now suddenly you’re behind. The rest of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, you spend in a blind rush trying to get through your most urgent to-dos while also delivering on the rush project. At the end of the week, you met your deadlines to everyone else, but didn’t really make progress on any of your own business projects and you didn’t get ahead on any upcoming projects either.
The first step in breaking the feast-or-famine cycle is actually breaking the habit of only working hard when you have to. If you had worked three or four or five solid and serious hours on Monday and Tuesday in the scenario above, then when that rush project came in, you could have finished it and still made some progress on the not-urgent-but-important tasks on your list.
If you fall victim to only working hard when you have to, I challenge you to try breaking that habit by the end of June. Then, report back and comment on how it’s changed your productivity.
New on the Site
If you missed Brian Clark’s webinar on Google Authorship, the playback is now available, and you need to make time to view it. It will change how you approach your web-writing career. Right now is one of those rare times when you can see a trend forming and have the opportunity to ride the wave. Don’t miss it!
If you’re considering working with nonprofit organizations or trying your hand at cause marketing, make sure you read John Torre’s latest post on writing effective fundraising letters.
Then, check out Jim Wright’s latest Reality Blog. He looks at why we get overwhelmed and how we can still be productive in the face of the “overwhelm monster.”
Mark Your Calendars
Please join me next week on June 5th for our live Member Update webinar. You’ll get an inside look into the most popular content on the site, a rundown of upcoming events, and some helpful suggestions on staying motivated.
On June 11th, Jean Baliko joins us live to give you a guide to using three simple marketing metrics to show your clients the value of the work you do. This event can help you position yourself to land more clients and earn more money. Don’t miss it.
Around the Web
Rae Robinson is providing you an inside look into how she’s launching her own Money-Making Website. Get inspired by her journey.
Learning to be content can be a powerful tool in becoming more successful. Check out these five secrets to living contently from two well-known billionaires. Read this with choosing a niche in mind, and I bet you’ll have an a-ha moment.
I love this color/emotion guide and the impact colors have on logos. From Daily Infographic.
Google has just rolled out Penguin 2.0. If you’re not using best practices when it comes to back-linking (or don’t know what those best practices are), give yourself a few minutes to get in the know with Heather Lloyd-Martin’s take on the topic.
That’s all for now. Make it a great week. Remember to work hard … even when you don’t have to!
Wait… one more thing. Considert taking the summer Money-Making Website Challenge. You’ll build a passive income, hone your web-writing skills, and make yourself a more valuable web writer. Not sure you have the skills or ideas to do a Money-Making Website? Look at what other AWAI members just like you have done. Websites about water, rabbits, tomatoes, and many other day-to-day topics are making serious money for their owners! None of these people have special technical skills, and yet they’ve found success with Nick’s formula. They took the last Challenge, and built websites that are earning money for retirement, college expenses, home improvements, and fun. Check out the stories in Successful Website Owners Revealed and get inspired.