Sunday, December 28, 2008

The freelancer writer's guide to getting organized

If you are looking for clients, then it’s best if you have a schedule to follow. You may get lucky with random bids, but in the long run, you need to have a proper schedule to keep the steady stream of clients coming in.

15. Don’t procrastinate: it’s very easy to use excuses such as ‘I need to organize my desk first’ to delay the actual task of job hunting. Don’t let any excuses put you off your selected schedule. Make one, which includes time each day or week to look for clients, and then keep to it. This is one of the most important tasks of freelancing and should not be neglected.

16. Clear time and space in your home/office for this job: keep a designated place be it at your desk or kitchen table, and make sure you include a phone, fax if possible and of course your computer. If you are using the writers guide, yellow pages or other directories, then have them ready to use at your side.

17. Eliminate chaos: You need to have a clear desk and clear mind before you begin. So make space in your schedule to also pay off your bills, clear your desk drawers and finish pending tasks; at least some of them. Know that you can finish the remaining tasks at hand after you write your bids or pitch for new business.

18. Keep the basics at hand: As suggested earlier, this includes your guides, directories, a phone, a fax if needed, paper and pens, a calendar, a day planner and whatever else you need to go client hunting with.

19. Monitor your job hunt: You may need to develop a system to keep track of the jobs you’ve applied for, the bids you’ve placed and the client pitches you’ve made. This could be a simple excel sheet or a folder on your desktop. Tracking is very important if you are to follow up; the second key to landing a job.

20. Update your portfolio: Schedule in time each week or month to update your portfolio. This way, when clients are interested in hiring you and visit your site/portfolio, then can see up-to-date work you’ve done.

21. Research, research, research: A sizeable chunk of your client hunt should be put towards research. Research the organization and the person you will be dealing with, the product or brand you’ll be hopefully working on, and the market you’ll be targeting. You can never do enough research to get it right, and the more you do, the better your pitch will be.

22. Build your network: I’m committed to handing out my business card x amount of times each day (the x varies depending on the amount of business I have on hand). Join groups, associations and writers organizations. The more your network, the more you can get the word out – You’re a freelance writer and you can produce excellent work for them.

Congratulations, by reading this you’ve taken the first step towards getting your working life more organized. Good luck in your search for new clients. Hopefully, now you’ll have the skills and time to tackle them.


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