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How to End Writing Procrastination in 1 Step

end writing procrastinationEnd writing procrastination in a single step. It’s really quite simple – maybe not easy, but simple.

You know the kind of thing I’m talking about – that article, or blog post, or book you’ve been postponing. It might be work for a client or it might be writing something for yourself. It doesn’t matter. You’re simply not getting it done.

You can, you know.

End writing procrastination in a moment!

Here’s the one step you can take that will end that procrastination:

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contingencies - woman with water thrown in her faceI regularly add an amount for contingencies when I’m creating the price for proposals. My goal is to protect myself and my business in the unforeseen events that can happen between a client and me as their writer.

Since I generally work by flat fees, I simply add between ten and twenty percent, even twenty-five percent,  to the total proposal. I don’t spell out that I’m adding a charge – there’s no reason to because my fees are my fees; how I got there really isn’t any of the client’s business.

I decide how much to add based on the type of project and how I feel about the client. If the project seems not clear enough and I can’t get clarity I’ll add at least ten percent. When the client seems difficult, I tend to go for the higher addition.

Here are the four reasons I love factoring in fees for contingencies:

Covers you for some scope creep

Scope creep is that sometimes subtle client request for additions that aren’t included in your proposal and contract. Left unchecked they can eat into your profit. Although you want to refuse or get more pay for major changes in the scope of the project, it’s also nice to accommodate the client’s request for some additions and know your price was high enough to allow you to do so without resentment.

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charge for writing“I’d like to charge for writing using a flat fee but I don’t know how long it will take me.”
“I always charge hourly so I know I’ll get paid for every minute I work.”

And so the debate continues. Is it better to charge for writing by the hour or by coming up with a flat fee for the whole project.

Of course, like so many things in freelance writing the real answer is “it depends.”

The pros and cons of charging for writing by the hour

The pros

Charging by the hour is dirt simple… provided you have a decent way to track all your time. You simply multiply the number of hours by your rate, and submit your invoice.

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creating contentCreating content is often what we freelance writers do these days. When you’re asked to write content for a client’s website, or when you suggest a client needs content it helps to understand what that client is trying to achieve.

Some of your clients will know exactly what outcomes they want from their content and even have ways to track the success, or lack of success, their published content gives them. Others will have only a vague notion that ‘content’ is something they should ‘do.’

As writers our job is often to help our clients clarify their goals. If we’re smart, we sometimes go further and actually work with them to set reasonable goals for the writing they then hire us to create content.

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fear competition“How can you say I don’t need to fear competition! There’s so much I’m probably going to have to lower my prices!”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard something like that over time! I’ve even bought into the idea I’m competing with other writers more than once. Fortunately I’ve learned to let that notion go.

Fear of competition is based on the idea that there are a limited number of good freelance writing gigs out there and you have to beat someone else out if you’re to be able to earn a good living. Which means, of course, that you can also lose.

What I mean by no need to fear competition

Sure, chances are whatever your niche there are other people wanting to write in it. I’m not suggesting that you won’t lose gigs to other writers from time to time, or that it will seem that way.

But before we panic let’s look at some facts:

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How I Started My Online Editing Business

editing treeI was surprised when I discovered a love of editing. I mean, who loves that? It’s a weird thing to be sure, but I find editing very satisfying and rewarding. I’m meticulous about the English language; bad grammar, spelling mistakes and poor punctuation all bother me. Editing is a way to fix it all and get paid at the same time.

I started editing in our home school. Educating eight kids over 29 years gave me plenty of opportunities to hone my skill and make sure my eight kids could write well. This paid off for them. One daughter won a local writing contest. One son, who at 28, wrote such a glowing cover letter for his resume he was offered an executive position that many people don’t see until they are in their 40s. Another son has launched a successful blog. Yet another son got a promotion at his job as a result of an essay he wrote on his application (which I edited). I knew I had the skill to help people write better, whether through coaching like I’d done with my kids, or by editing.

I wanted to grow my editing business

I wanted to edit for others on a larger scale. I did a few blog posts for friends and landed a few book editing jobs through word of mouth. I also did some bartering with my editing. I scored free Tai Kwon Do lessons for my two youngest sons by editing a children’s book written by their instructor. I wanted to keep expanding.

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tracking timeOne sure way to improve your writing income is to begin tracking your time. You need to know pretty accurately how long it actually takes you to write whatever kind of writing you do for income.

When you begin tracing your time you’ll discover several things:

The most obvious is how long it takes you to research and write whatever. Yes, you should also time your research, and the time it takes you to find the best photos or graphics or create them. Of course the phone calls between you and your client should be timed and recorded. If you need to buy something for the project, you need to track the time it takes to find it, order it, pay for it etc. as well as the actual costs.

Perfect for setting rates

Knowing how much time you’re spending by actually tracking your time puts you on firm ground when setting your rates. If you’re charging by the hour you can also use your time tracking as part of your invoices.

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Freelance Writer, What Business Are You Really In?

freelance writers offer solutions what businessA typical freelance writer, when asked what business they’re in say ‘writing.’ If the person asking already knows they write, they mostly look confused. And it’s true, writing is our game; it’s what we do.

But a freelance writer is not really in the business of offering writing. Sound crazy? Hear me out:

Every freelance writer offers solutions to their clients.

Every client you’ve ever had, and every client you ever will have has a problem they believe can be solved by someone writing something for them. This is true when the client is an individual asking you to handle their social media posts, or a publisher who wants a guidebook to your home town written, or any corporation that’s selling anything and working to have more customers, both inside and outside their door.

It’s more about feelings

Strange as it may seem at first glance, the solutions they buy are more about their own feelings than the actual facts around the problem. This may seem counter intuitive, but over and over again we see it happen, with ourselves and with everyone we know. Tony Robbins suggests there are six human needs: (1) the need for certainty and comfort, (2) the need for uncertainty and variety, (3) the need for significance, the (4) need for love and connection, (5) the need for growth, and (6) the need for contribution. Note that each of these are really about how people feel.

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Interview NoteA thanks for the interview note can actually land you the writing gig you just interviewed for.

Why? Well, let me count the ways:

Most people don’t send a thanks for the interview note

Study after study confirms that candidates for jobs who do send thank you notes after an interview are much more likely to get hired than those who don’t. Those studies are published one way or another again and again, and still few thank you notes are written. When you do, you’re standing out from the crowd.

Your interview note gives you a chance to explain

Even if the interview went smoothly, there may be something you want to briefly explain. Perhaps the client was hoping you had more experience editing images; you can say how willing, even eager you are to polish your image editing skills.

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life coachAwhile back I was working with a Life Coach, something I’d done with great success off and on over the years. I’ve also had great luck with therapists when I felt I needed some help. Learning to ask for help has been a good move for me.

This time, however, the Life Coach I was working with stopped in the middle of a session and asked me if I had ever considered becoming a Life Coach.

I laughed and said that I’d noticed coaching writers often meant doing some life coaching since it was hard to separate one from the other. It turned out he trained coaches and invited me to work with him to learn the ins and outs of the business. I was tickled.

After several days of thinking about it, and talking to three coaches he’d mentored, I decided to say ‘yes.’ As some of you may recognize I’m a big believer in the power of yes.

What is Life Coaching?

Google that question and you’ll get all sorts of answers. One that I like is “A life coach is someone that looks to empower others by helping them make, meet and exceed goals in both their personal and professional lives.

Of course I’d change it a bit, perhaps to this: “A life coach is someone who helps others find their own answers, so they can make, meet and even exceed their goals in their personal and professional lives.”

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