December can be a slow month for many freelance writers.
Bloggers, entrepreneurs and companies slow down for the holidays, leaving many freelance writers with very little work.
This isn’t always the case though. My last December turned out to be a great month for my business. I landed a couple clients and had consistent writing all month long.
But, if you’re new to freelance writing and don’t yet have a full roster of client work, this is a great time to take a pitching break and focus on your business.
By giving your freelance writing business a little TLC and attention, you’ll be able to have a more strategic plan and overview of what you want to accomplish for the next year.
Let’s look at five important must-do’s you should do before the end of the year.
1. Empty That Email
The dreaded inbox.
If you’re anything like me, you have a full inbox and everything is flagged (because every piece of email is important, right?).
When you start picking up more clients and networking with other freelance writers and influencers, you’re undoubtedly going to have more emails in a day.
It’s not unusual for me to have between 20-30 emails waiting for me when I wake up. In a full day I can have up to 60 emails.
And since I don’t have much time in a day, I flag a lot of my emails and tend to them when I have time. But, as you can see from my 716 flagged emails in queue, now would be a good time to empty my email.
And I’m not the only one on this quest to inbox zero. And I don’t mean unread emails, I mean emptying read emails and flagged emails and junk emails.
Are you with me? Start 2016 with a clean slate.
2. Send a Personalize Thank You to Clients
Okay, maybe you don’t like or enjoy every single one of your clients, but for the good clients and your ideal clients, show them your appreciation with a personalized thank you or e-Card.
Depending on where your client is in the world, you can even hand write a personal thank you.
I’m all for wowing my clients. Things like handing your work in days before the deadline or being available will be noticed by your clients.
I receive emails all the time from clients who value my work and like my work:
So, to show these clients you value their business, send them a personal thank you.
3. Run an End of Year Performance Review
Okay, I’m sure you’ve had a performance review at your last job just like every other employee at your work. Well, since you are your own boss, it’s a good idea to take a hard look at the last year and review your strengths and weaknesses in your business.
Doing this will make forming actionable goals easier since you’ll have an overview of the success – or lack of – in your freelance writing.
Some metrics to review are:
- Personal Metrics – rate your performance with pitching, marketing, networking and client satisfaction. If you made goals in the beginning of your freelance writing journey, look back and see if you met any of them or look to see what other steps you need to do to accomplish them.
- Quantitative Metrics – here is where you can look at the numbers to see how successful you were in the last year. How many clients did you land? How much money did you earn? How many hours did you spend writing or how many pieces did you write? You can also look at weekly metrics such as how many writing pieces are you writing per week or how many pitches are you sending out per day? And don’t forget to look at your productivity and finding when and where you are the most productive. These numbers can help you form a solid plan for the New Year. Up your game and elevate your business!
- Qualitative Metrics – look at your own satisfaction level. Are you happy doing this or do you find it too stressful? What areas are you weak in and how can you improve on that? Look at your writing and ask yourself if you are producing the best content you can or if you need some help.
I wrote a goals post recently as a way to show my journey as a freelance writer and course creator.
4. Update Your Portfolio
Do you have a portfolio on your writer website? If you do, this is a great time to update your portfolio, change plugins and streamline your content.
After a year of freelance writing and landing clients in new niches, I wanted to make sure my portfolio was reflective of my growth as a writer. For example, last year I broke into the WordPress niche and I needed to update my portfolio to include this niche.
I wanted to land more clients in the WordPress space so it’s advantageous of me to market this content on my portfolio page.
Look at your portfolio and see if it has the best content and the most up-to-date content (or noteworthy content) you have.
Also look at the structure of your portfolio page. Does your page have a brief introduction? What are prospects looking at when they land on your portfolio page? Is your page organized? Does it have subheadings or categories? Are there thumbnails of your posts? This is a nice touch to add to your page and breaks up your text.
5. Start Writer Website
The new year is right around the corner and a good way to start marketing your freelance writing business is with a writer website.
The best way to start attracting more freelance writing jobs is with your own website.
If you already have one, maybe it needs an overhaul.
It may be time for a new theme and a whole new look. Now is the perfect time to spruce up your copy, color and overall brand of your freelance writing website.
This is exactly what I did when I was a new freelance writer. My very first website was a simple site using the Sketch theme.
There really wasn’t much to it and it didn’t really convey my personality. I had all the elements of a writer website and it did it’s job. My site was converting and I was landing clients with it.
But, I wanted something different that was more modern and more me. And my colorful website was born:
I know have a new look but this site served me well. I generated a lot of inbound inquiries with this site, but felt I outgrew it and changed it again!
Make Use of Your Extra Time
I don’t know about you, but I enjoy auditing my business. I get to see what needs improvement and what areas of my business I’m lacking in focus and needs my attention now.
And December makes for the best time to do this. The slow month sort of forces you to focus on your writing and business.
I’m not saying to stop pitching completely; you need income for the month and if you haven’t landed your first client yet, by all means, make 1,2,3,4 and 5 all “pitch daily.” Do what you have to do to pay the bills and make a living.
But, if you suddenly have more time this month, use it to improve your business and grow your biz at the same time. This will only generate more work for you in the New Year, so why not take the time now to earn tomorrow?
For this year end, I’ll probably blog through the holidays, work on emptying my email and do any end-of-year accounting. What are your year-end plans for your freelance writing business?