In yesterday’s post The Dark Side of Writing I was touching on the often neglected or overlooked aspects of running a freelance writing business. While in an ideal world everything is rosy, there will be challenges in your business. The sooner you recognize them, the better you will be prepared to deal with them – as long as you stay true to yourself.
As promised, I’m writing this article to talk about my solutions to the challenges my own writing business has brought me in recent times. Quite frankly, I’m getting to the stage where I’m overworked and if I don’t act now, I will end up having a melt down eventually.
Eliminating hold backs
For those of you who weren’t here yesterday, here is a quick recap of the dark sides of writing:
- Lack of time off
- No room for growth
- Long hours
- Lack of residual income
- Networking challenges/branding
Flipping the dark side into something more organized and long term is the aim of this experience.
I suspect many of you struggle with similar aspects of your business. If you do, then I suggest you take a close look at what makes you money and what costs you money in your business. This is where you start.
For me, I’ve struggled mainly with two major parts of my business in the last couple of months.
The first one is the sheer pressure of running an ever growing freelance writing business without having anybody to fall back on if something goes wrong. If you are realistic, much could go wrong and if it does, it will be too late to organize things and execute damage control. Plus, an increasing workload means a decreasing amount of time for yourself.
You need to be clear on your future and how you intend to live it. If you can develop a long term vision to look at your business from another perspective and with much bigger eyes than you currently do, you will possibly manage these transitions very smoothly.
The second challenge I had was the lack of time to build my niche sites. I talked about this in the past and while I did manage to move ahead after I last mentioned it, the going was too slow for my liking.
You might think how can I possibly free up time when I’m fully booked and hardly have time for myself. I thought the same, until I looked at the bigger picture. And I show you how.
My target is to earn a minimum of $2,000/month extra by the end of this year with my niche sites. But for that to happen I need to build them hard and fast. Because building a site is only the start. So I’ve decided to take the bull by the horn once and for all and free up some of my time to do just that.
How I do this will be explained below under solutions to challenges.
I’ve always stated that writing doesn’t provide us with residual income. Even though I absolutely love what I do, I want to have that peace of mind. I want to know that regardless whether I wrote for a client today or not I’m getting paid. I also want to know that I can quite comfortably take one month off and not worry about getting paid during that time.
This is where the residual income comes into play. My business needs to have multiple aspects of income. I’ve always been a believer that your eggs need to be carefully spread out, not just placed in the one basket. Running a freelance writing business is doing exactly that. If the basket breaks, so will my business.
Solutions to challenges
In thinking how I can possible eliminate all my challenges while still growing my business I’ve decided to do the following.
Instead of checking email first thing in the morning and reading my feeds I spend every morning until 1PM building my niche sites. Just to give you an idea. I have about 70 domains I need to work on. My ultimate target is to own at least 100 but I have a feeling this figure is probably way low.
After eating lunch I am checking my email and answer anything that takes less than 10 minutes in all. Everything else will have to wait.
Then it’s on to writing for my various clients. On average I write for 5-6 clients every day. This is besides writing for my own blog, commenting, reading RSS feeds and marketing.
Since the day has only so many hours, latter often falls behind. Since reading RSS feeds and commenting doesn’t get me paid and fed, it is those things that have to suffer. I don’t like it, because I love to keep track with what is happening in the blogosphere.
So, while all of you are fabulous people and some are great friends, none of you pay my bills. If I fail to visit your blog at times and therefore not comment on your posts, this is my official apology that it isn’t because I don’t care, but because I’m working at building my future.
I hope you respect this decision.
Evenings are usually totally dedicated to work since my birds are asleep, the house is quiet and I can work in peace. So I make the most of it and get a lot of my writing done during those hours. Is it ideal? To be honest, no. I would rather work early mornings and finish by evening, but right now, this clearly isn’t possible.
Since my birds are free birds, meaning they are on my shoulder, on my head or wherever they feel like perching themselves, I get too distracted during the day to keep working undisturbed. Therefore I flipped my days around to give them and hubby more quality time during the day, while still getting my niches built and concentrate on the writing at night.
It’s tiring, but it works and in the last few days I’ve gotten already 6 niche sites done, they are all setup and ready for promotion, which brings us to…
Yes, I’ve decided to hire a VA. My niche writer is currently on hold until I have caught up with my backlog of articles written for my niche sites.
He will get more work as soon as I’ve exhausted all the articles he has written over the past couple of months.
But, once the niches are ready I still need to promote them and for that I’m hiring a virtual assistant. They can do the boring but essential tasks of link building and promotion.
To give you an idea where to start looking for a VA, here are some resources:
My next step is to get some quotes and then it’s all systems go. Doing this will allow me to effectively double my time. It is also an instant solution to all my existing challenges right now.
My VA will free up my time to concentrate on what I do best, allow me freedom to keep building my niches while knowing they are being promoted and give me room to breathe for future business growth.
As the business grows, so will the hours I outsource. As you can see, this is a win-win situation for all involved.
I don’t intend to outsource any writing at this stage, but if my business happens to grow much more I will, starting with the lower paying clients first, much like Peter Hilton suggested in his comment on my last post.
I’ve already come to the same conclusion and feel it is the right move in the right direction to allow for maximum growth of my business.
You can do similar things in your business, even if you are not a freelance writer. The key to finding workable solutions is to look at the situation with the end in sight.
Then work backwards.
The essential of automation
I want to leave you with some food for thought. Unless you find ways in which to automate your business without much of your input you will always be your own slave. Don’t get me wrong, running my own business is a dream come true, but having said that I rather spend some time on the beach or travel the corners of this world than working 24/7.
The idea is to have a business that pays you, even if you don’t work at all.
I hope this has helped some of you to see the bigger picture of your business. I would love to hear whether you think you could apply some of these strategies for your own business, or whether you prefer to do it differently.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are having a fabulous day.
Keep posted of how this is going to pan out over the next couple of weeks as I will post status updates every once in a while. Do to so, you can subscribe to your update reports right here.