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Freelancing, farming, and decisions…

~~~ Notes from Minnesota ~~~

Hey Freelancer,

Greetings and salutations from the Great White North. (Actually, it’s pretty brown around here.)

I’m in a pickle.

Recently invited to take part in what could be an interesting writing event, I’m having second thoughts. Thing is, time is precious. This shin-dig would represent 24 hours of travel, a week away from the office, and uncertain benefits.

Plus, I’m a hermit. Also, I’ve been on a creativity jag that I’m loathe to lose. Oh… and I’m slated for what could possibly be my final cancer check-up shortly thereafter… assuming my lymph nodes have shrunk, every bumple cooperates, and the vitals check out. Traveling doesn’t do much for my blood pressure and strange foods muck up the blood numbers.

But it’s quite an honor… one I don’t feel enthusiastic about.

So… I figured, why not see what you think? How do you make decisions like this? Send me your thoughts. You can hit up the comment section or just hit “reply.”

OHHHHH… and be sure to check out the MP3 version of this emag. If you like it, I’ll continue this fun experiment in upcoming issues. You can find it here:

‘Til next time,

Beth 🙂

P.S. Check out our personal bestsellers!

1. Stuck: Transforming Everything You Think You Know About Creative Blocks

2. Bob Bly’s Guide to Freelance Writing Success

3. *New Title!* Pocket Power: Become the Person You Were Born to Be

4. Advice to Freelancers: Make a Living Loving Your Job

5. Jumpstart Your Writing Career and Snag Paying Assignments

Let’s talk shop!

This month in the Creative Entrepreneur Newsletter? We’re discussing advertising your writing, audience selection, and some hard truths when it comes to persuasion. Oh… and if you want to make a living writing, make sure you do one thing first. (How’s that for a teaser?)

Heck, it’s only 4.99 a month, the price of a mocha.

Freelancing is ever evolving… unrecognizable from when I began during the Internet stone ages.

So… let’s untangle these crazy, all important topics. We’ll gossip (just a little). Share the latest and greatest info. Perhaps we’ll have a little fun, too.

Let’s hang out at the Mocha Club.

Get more info here (and download a complementary issue of The Creative Entrepreneur Newsletter.
Just click here.

Freelancing Like A Farmer
Beth Ann Erickson

I began my illustrious freelance career with visions of tweed coats, elbow patches, cigars, and pensive photos. My mind’s eye saw a cluttered office, checks strewn across my desk, and waking to one illuminating thought after another. I believed I’d tap at the keyboard, mail queries, read my articles on glossy paper, and assignments would flow like water.

Small problem with that scenario. Tweed coats don’t look good on me. I don’t smoke, never have. And I usually wind up looking goofy in photos, no matter how hard I try to strike a pensive pose.

Ah, but my desk is cluttered. I do occasionally find a stray check in amongst the mounds of papers. But illuminating thoughts? Bah.

There’s a fundamental problem with my original scenario: my imagined freelancing model missed a crucial element necessary for financial success.

For example, the cash I expected to earn from writing articles just didn’t add up to the numbers I hoped they would. Seriously. Spending weeks writing, rewriting, and finally submitting an article, only to reap a whopping 25 bucks just didn’t pay the bills.

Then I decided to write books. Unfortunately the small royalties barely covered my promo expenses. It’s exciting to sell books, but we needed some large volume sales to make this endeavor financially worthwhile.

How ‘bout publishing? Again, after wholesaler discounts, distributor expenses, author royalties, and postage, we’re talking some pretty slim profits. And again, we’re talking volume sales and lower expenses and prop profits.

But then something magical happened. I discovered the wacky world of copywriting.

In case you’re unfamiliar with copywriting, a copywriter is a master persuader. They write ads, direct mail, sales letters, and such. Better yet? They help sell books by crafting back of book blurbs, creating ads, ferreting out keywords, and more.

Copywriting isn’t difficult. But there are definite tricks to the trade. And you can cut your learning curve by years if you receive proper training.

But here’s where things really get cool. Turns out these new persuasive skills made it far easier to write awesome queries. Boom. Article sales jumped.

Next, I revised the sales copy for my books. Boom. Another jump in sales.

I applied “copywriting language” to everything I wrote and kaboom… even more sales, more exposure, new readers found me.

And I haven’t even mentioned how I use copywriting as a business: writing for clients, businesses, and other authors has turned out to be quite lucrative as well.

By combining my writing skills with copywriting psychology, my self-promo time is automatically sliced in at least half because I’ve learned stealth persuasion to draw potential clients my way.

So… where does the “farming” come in?

Simple. Rather than concentrate on one aspect of your writing career, think like a farmer. Plant many seeds and watch them grow at different rates.

Instead of becoming an article writer extraordinaire, write articles when the spirit moves you. Submit them when they’re polished. Start writing the novel that’s burning your heart. Eventually publish it. Research a nonfiction title. Write ad copy.

Just keep planting seeds (remember, you’re a “farmer”) and before you know it, you’ve got more paying clients than you could imagine.

But copywriting’s the linchpin that binds all these endeavors. That’s because effective persuaders control their destiny… and their income.

So here’s to effective “farming” and inevitable success.

(If you’re curious about the whole “freelance like a farmer” concept, join the Mocha Club. I cover these concepts in great depth every month. Check it out here. )

You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.”


Published inPodcastWriting Etc.