Assessing the freelance writing business
Wile most people consider money a taboo topic, for freelance writing business money is an unavoidable consideration. It is quite simple. You have to earn enough of it to survive. After all, a ghostwriter has to balance their earnings in order to keep their family from going broke or they’ll end up back at their day job in no time at all.
Unfortunately, too many end up failing, which makes money a taboo worth breaking.
Something that is often missing from the freelance money conversation is where money is spent. In order to be a successful ghostwriter, you have to spend money and not just throwing cash around blindly.
You need a spending plan.
Every year about this time, I sit down to do my taxes. I don’t do them myself because I have sadomasochistic tendencies, or I’m too cheap to hire an accountant. Rather, I do my own taxes because I want to see where my money goes.
Here are four questions that I ask myself about my freelance writer spending:
How Do I Value My Time?
A look at the simple bottom line earning tells you how much you make per year. Often this number comes across as a shock, and through the years, I’ve been shocked both ways.
Look at how much you made and give an honest assessment how much time you spent getting to that number. Are you valuing your ghostwriting time correctly?
An answer of “no” here should lead you to make necessary price adjustments.
Am I Delegating?
This was a big revelation for me three years ago. Looking at my bottom line, I realized that I was spending too much money (in the terms of time) trying to learn things outside of my immediate skill set, like web development and graphic design. More valuable uses of my time would have been developing the ideas and concepts, and spending a measured amount of money on paying a professional for their skills.
These days, in the “gig economy” you can baby step into larger expenses. For example, go check out Fivver for basic conceptual ideas before hiring a pro through Thumbtack.
What Is My ROI On Client Capture?
This is perhaps the most important bottom line consideration for the burgeoning freelance writing business. Sober looks at your taxes should answer the question: did you spend $5,000 to secure a $2,500 client?
Be honest with yourself here though. Building a presence takes time. It’s the long game. Writers who are impatient with this process and pull the plug early on this end up losing in the end.
On the other hand, focus your efforts and dollars accordingly. Smaller investments in finding clients through places like Linked In and Thumbtack can build professional rapport and they’re cheap to get into.
Am I Really Going After The Big Fish?
This is one I ask myself every year. Am I investing in getting the jobs that I want? Getting paid and doing work you love are two different things altogether.
That is a strange reality, but get used to it.
Look at your bottom line. Think of your time. More than this, think of your energies. Are you investing enough professional energy into projects you want to do? You need to answer this because more than anything else that sustains the long term writer’s life, doing the projects you love is the most important.