How Far In Advance Do You Plan Your Work?

One commodity we all have and that is quickly disappearing is time. The smart freelancer plans his or her own schedule well in advance, including marketing today for next seasons jobs.

One commodity we all have and that is quickly disappearing is time. The smart freelancer plans his or her own schedule well in advance, including marketing today for next season's jobs.

Several different blog articles I’ve read recently have proven to be excellent food for thought as I plan my work schedule for the next few months. Although the calendar says July 21st, my mind is already on the fall months as I lay out what I’ll be doing from September through November. As a freelance writer whose income is solely dependent on work that I get from others, I need to plan well in advance to ensure jobs keep flowing. And, in this challenging economy, I can’t afford to lose valuable time!

Reaching Customers Online For Less

Even as companies weigh their options during difficult times I know that many are taking a closer look at their online options in order to keep their businesses competitive and to save money. Since the mid-1990s, the internet has played an increasingly important role to help companies connect with their customers, but these days it could end up being the most cost effective move that they make. This means that for the freelancer who is well versed in blogging, writing web content (copywriting), and/or making good use of social media (such as Twitter), then they have positioned themselves to pick up important new work.

After all, if a company can pay you a thousand dollars or so every month to reach their customers, they’ll save many thousands of dollars over previously used, but costly advertising methods including print ads, radio air time, perhaps even television commercials. Or, the company may still use these options but cut back enough to increase their exposure online, which is where you can step in.

Blogging Evangelist, Lorelle VanFossen

If you are a blogger and aren’t familiar with Lorelle VanFossen, then you’re missing out on one of the most important weblog minds of our day. A self described “blogging evangelist” Lorelle offers tips to help bloggers, particularly WordPress users, get the most out of what they do. Lorelle offers tricks of the trade and often shares information that is critical to the success of professional bloggers. Last week, on The Blog Herald, I came across her article titled – Blogging Jobs How Much Are Bloggers Paid to Blog? – which offers comprehensive guidelines to help bloggers set their prices.

Indeed, Lorelle noted the “sweat shop mentality” of this business which suggests that many bloggers aren’t getting paid what their worth or at least aren’t taking into consideration what it takes to write an article. Though on some subjects I can crank out a compelling and interesting 400-500 word article in as few as 20 minutes, there is a lot of other stuff that goes along with writing including research, editing, obtaining a photo, publishing, responding to comments, and promotion. Personally, Lorelle’s article served as a reminder that I need to make sure that I’m charging what I’m worth otherwise the project just may not be worth it to me.

Catalyst Blogger, Jennifer Williamson

I first came across Jennifer in 2007 when she launched Catalyst Blogger. Jennifer is a copywriter who has been working over the past six or seven years as a freelancer, which is the same length of time for me. I believe that we share a similar outlook on work including methods to bring in new clients.

One marketing method that Jennifer recently used is worth exploring – 10-Minute Marketing Tip. Like so many freelancers, Jennifer is sick of the job boards which often have us compete for jobs at wages that are plain awful. Instead of relying on these sites Jennifer has taken to creating an email campaign where she contacts web designers, offering her skills as a copywriter to them. Jennifer is also looking at developing a post card campaign which she admittedly is pressed to develop from a timing perspective. But, that reason won’t hold her back because Jennifer is also looking ahead and knows that today’s busyness can only be extended if she takes action now.

Freelance Folder, Laura Spencer

Soon after I launched The Article Writer Blog (the forerunner to this blog) in December 2005, Laura Spencer began to show up, contributing comments and exchanging links with me. Though she still manages her “WritingThoughts” blog, she is more active as a contributor to Freelance Folder, one of the hottest sites for freelance writers.

Not directly related to the train of thought I’m on with this article, but important nonetheless, is Laura’s article titled – Working For Friend And Family: Can It Ever Work? – which is a must read for self employed people. Though I haven’t had much of a problem in this area, on occasion a request from a friend or family member does come up.

Now don’t get me wrong – I love to help people out. I just don’t have time to take on many projects from people I’m close to as these requests invariably come with a lot of other stuff too including emotional baggage, a desire on their part to get something for free or at a ridiculously low rate, or needing some other hand holding too.

FYI, I also am considering what Laura and some of her commentators shared to consider how I manage social media – if someone constantly comes to me for a stumble, wanting to write a blog comment or to take up my time in other ways that detracts from my work, I draw the line there as well.

Enriching The Experience Of Bloggers

I’m often the richer for it when I peruse other people’s writings, something that these three bloggers offer on a regular basis. I can’t depend on the economy improving to ease my work, but I can plan with care now in order to ensure that my position is strong in the months ahead. How far in advance do you plan your work? Do you have other tips you would like to share?

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Comments

  1. Thanks so much for including me in your list of valuable resources that you regularly read. I appreciate your frequent comments, experience, and insights.

    I know that I’ve learned from your posts as well!
    .-= Laura Spencer´s last blog ..Available Now – How To Start a Freelance Writing Business E-Book =-.

  2. You’re welcome, Laura. Thanks to you I’ve been finding some very good information on Freelance Folder which is a wonderful resource for writers, bloggers and others who work for themselves.
    .-= Matt Keegan´s last blog ..Policy Institute Urges Minimum Wage Increase Delay =-.

  3. Matt, I find it very difficult to plan my work nowadays, especially since we run a news site. Basically, in the morning we check out the press releases we receive and see what is good for print, then we do work for our current clients, then we try to spend some time with our family in the evening. Months in advance is no longer an option… We only plan in advance for our customers.
    .-= Mihaela Lica´s last blog ..Fast Lane Picks S&A Cherokee as PR Agency =-.

  4. Mihaela, we’re not all that different. My day to day stuff plays a significant role in determining exactly what I do on any given day of the week. However, as far as getting new customers goes, I work on that all of the time, with an eye toward the future and what projects await me.
    .-= Matt Keegan´s last blog ..Policy Institute Urges Minimum Wage Increase Delay =-.

  5. Matt – As always you do a great job. This is something I will save for a future time that I can start planning my work much better. [a grand-daughter has definitely added a wrench into things! :-)]
    .-= Dominique´s last blog ..the Humpty Dumpty delimna =-.

  6. Dominique, I’m glad that you found something of usefulness in what I wrote. And, I understand that a blessing has come into your life — I think I would be busy with a child more than anything else. Blogging can wait!
    .-= Matt Keegan´s last blog ..Back On Track, Well Kind Of =-.

  7. While I’m not a professional blogger, I do enjoy reading professional blogs for ideas and tips. I particularly enjoyed the “How Much Are Bloggers Paid to Blog?” post. I didn’t realize blogging could be such a lucrative business.
    .-= Jake´s last blog ..How To Get Free Business Consulting Advice =-.

  8. I always plan my posts for few weeks ahead. I try to find interesting topics and information, and when I do I try to write something about it that could help people achieve some useful information. That is nothing complicated and high-minded, just ordinary intelligence ;)
    I like the links you showed here, directing to few people ideas and tips. I have not read them all, but after reaching Lorelle VanFossen articles I see that there is something interesting that I could read more about. Maybe tomorrow I’ll se the rest.

  9. Lorelle is a fantastic mind when it comes to blogging, offering solid tips and advice to help people succeed. My blogs are the better for it thanks to what she shares.

    Having a writing plan is a good way to go, something that keeps the blogger on track and focused.
    .-= Matt Keegan´s last blog ..Back To School Savings Await Families =-.

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