Making Sure Your Calendar Stays Full From Month-to-Month
If you’re not working remotely full-time for a company, then there’s likely a niggling in the back of your mind—where am I going to find my next freelance writing lead? It’s a question novice, as well as seasoned freelance writers face. We have a steady stream of work from our anchor clients, in addition to one-off assignments coming in.
Then the one-off assignments begin to dwindle. Our anchor clients are dependable, but not enough to be sustainable. What’s the solution?
(FREAK OUT!!!!) Okay, no, that’s not right.
In a previous article I discussed how, when you don’t have freelance writing work, you “job” is to find some. You can read it here:
Don’t Have Writing Work? Then Your Job is Finding a Job.
“It sounds simple at its core. Do you have writing work? Are you working as a freelance writer full-time? Answering these questions determines how you’ll fill your time. If you don’t have work and you’re a full-time freelance writer-your job is to find freelance writing work. Instead of getting up each day and writing, you’ll be spending your time differently. First, we’re going to discuss some strategies for ensuring your schedule doesn’t clear.”
In that article, I went into several strategies for how to make sure your freelance writing calendar doesn’t clear. That’s disastrous when you’re working as a full-time freelance writer. My writing income is a substantial part of my household budget, and I don’t have an out-of-the-home job, so working diligently to keep my calendar full is a priority.
Is it Always Going to Be Busy?
I have noticed, though, that there are months throughout the year where there are ebbs and flows. For example, the summer months are when I have the most difficult time keeping my calendar full. It could be because:
- Editors, company owners, and other clients are going on vacations.
- There’s a lapse in the client’s need for content during that quarter.
- The companies are experiencing turnover due to internships changing, promotions, or other transitions.
- Your point-of-contact is no longer working for the company, and you don’t receive a notification.
- A personal or another kind of family issue may unexpectedly come up for small business owners.
In the past year, the last three months, in particular, I’ve experienced each of these instances with companies and clients.
What am I doing to remain vigilant?
I find that, if I’m in contact with clients I’m currently working with regularly, the work remains steady. For those who have been in the freelance writing business for years, that’s an obvious solution. However, if you’re a novice, you may feel shy about talking about your availability, sending thank you’s when you receive work, and following-up on invoices. I’m not saying that you should be inundating editors and clients with tons of emails. That’s a mistake. These individuals already receive a lot of messages. Instead, you’ll be responding to their e-mails, and not letting too much time pass between follow-ups.
It’s also a habit of mine to reach out to clients and editors I’ve worked with in the past. If several months have lapsed without receiving an assignment, I’ll follow-up with them. In many cases, it results in new work. During other instances, they’ll respond explaining why the work is lapsing. Then, there are those times when no response comes at all.
What else am I doing?
Finding more one-off assignments, as well as anchor clients, is always a priority of mine. That’s why I send out massive amounts of pitches every week and respond to freelance writing job listings. I also receive pitch requests through platforms like ClearVoice, as well as email requests from potential clients who are looking for articles.
One of the most frequently asked questions I’m asked is where freelance writers can find work. So, I wrote an article about that topic. You can read about it here:
Still the Most Often Question I’m Asked
“Out of all the questions I’m asked about freelance writing, the one that comes up the most is, “where can I find freelance writing work?” New writers don’t want to know the “secret” to find the hidden gems or where they can find “goldmines” if they sign up to specialized lists or services. They want straight answers about how to do this, where they can find leads, and who to contact. Why does it have to be a mystery? The simple answer is — nothing about finding freelance writing work has to be mysterious.”
The last thing you want to do is freak out if you calendar starts clearing of freelance writing assignments—even though that’s likely going to be your first response. I know it was mine when I first started writing. Instead, think about the time of year and why things are beginning to dwindle. How can you be vigilant and turn things around? Do you need to send out more pitches and queries in comparison to usual? Stepping up your game will help keep work consistent and your calendar full!