It’s time for a mid-year checkup to see how you’re progressing toward your goals and objectives for this year. By checking your progress now, you have plenty of time left in the year to either
(a) revise those objectives, or
(b) make adjustments in order to still meet them.
Do you need to increase your income?
If, after reviewing your numbers for the first half of 2013, you need to generate more income, consider the following strategies and pursue the one(s) offering you the best opportunity.
1. Increase your sales per editor or company or client.
Talk to editors you’re already writing for about what else they might need that you could provide. Could they refer you to editors of other magazines in their company? or to other section editors on their website?
When meeting with business clients, talk to them about their communication needs beyond your current project. Is there something else you could write or edit for them? Do they need help with their blog(s)? Or do they need help with a white paper or case study?
2. Close the sales cycle.
If your average time from the day you send a query or submit a bid until you complete the assignment and receive payment is four months, what would it mean if you could improve that to three months or even two months? Are you chasing the right opportunities?
Magazines, websites and clients with a poor chance of using you or your work, or a slow sales cycle, are a waste of time. Define your ideal client profile and evaluate your job opportunities against it. If you are not wasting your time on bad opportunities, you’ll have more time for the good ones.
Once you know which ones and how many, begin working toward replacing them with new magazines, websites or clients that appear to decide more quickly on queries, proposals and submitted work – plus have a reputation for faster payment.
3. Increase your close rate.
If you now close 30 percent of the ideas you throw out there, or 30 percent of the projects you bid on, you can increase it to 40 percent or more.
For ideas, spend more time analyzing target magazines’ back issues and websites to see what they’ve already published in the past year. Determine if your idea fits in well but offers something new or different; then show the editor how it adds to what they’ve recently published.
Follow editors’ blogs to see what they are talking about or what their readers are concerned about.
For clients, bid only on opportunities where you fully understand what the customer wants to do and you can connect it directly to what you offer. You do this by listening until you fully understand the client’s concept and needs before giving your pitch.
4. Negotiate better terms.
Editors and clients might tell you price is the most important thing, but ask questions to determine their other values. If you’ve learned that avoiding risk, meeting deadlines, creativity, or clean copy are of critical importance, you’ll have other areas to focus on when it comes time to discuss fees. If you have not differentiated yourself in the client’s mind, they will use their most common tool: price.
Get started right away!
Choose one of these tactics – the one that seems most appropriate for you and your editorial business – and working on it during the month of July.
Then for August, try another – and so on. By the end of September, you should be closer to your target objectives. Plus, you will have discovered and developed the right strategy for increasing your income going forward.
Now it’s your turn –
Share with us what your first-half checkup is telling you – and what you plan to do to increase your writing income or improve your productivity . . .