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6 Things You Did Right Last Year

Writers WinBy Lori Widmer

Even if it wasn’t the banner year you were hoping for, even if you never quite reached that goal you set, you did some things right last year that kept your career alive. Why else would you still be in freelancing?

Here are a few things you’ve done that you can be proud of:

  1. You kept at it. That may sound like a “duh” statement, but think about it in terms of just how much effort that little step has taken you this year. You had to find work. You had to take no for an answer sometimes, and you had to deal with unruly clients on occasion. But you didn’t quit. Oh, you wanted to. But you didn’t. That’s a pretty big success in itself.
  2. You remembered to market. The toughest part of the job, the one we most overlook, is marketing. But you did that. When you realized you were staring at the next four weeks without work, you got out there and put your name in front of people. Bravo. Now there are that many more clients who know you exist and that you do a good job.
  3. You marketed when you were busiest. You scoffed each time I’ve suggested it, but you did it, didn’t you? The result was you had work lined up for yourself once all that other work was completed. And now you’re going to continue doing it because it makes perfect sense, right?
  4. You planned ahead. Experience taught you that July and December are fairly slow. You realized that in order to glide through the lean times you had to work your tail off in April/May and September/October so the checks would be there when you needed them. You knew that magazines need copy always, that there are no slow seasons for monthly pubs, and you scored some gigs to keep you working in those slow periods. Good for you.

  5. You chased those invoices. Even the clients you’ve been dying to work for have troubles getting invoices paid. You developed a collection process and you made sure you applied it to every single client because you know that consistency is one of your weapons should you have to escalate to litigation. You’ve established a consistent pattern of collection and this client received the exact same treatment. Any judge would see you’re the professional in the equation.
  6. You backed away from work or clients that didn’t fit. You realized that working for someone who’s crazy or nasty isn’t worth any amount of money, just as you realized that working for much less than the standard we freelancers charge isn’t serving your career at all. You learned to discern. Amen.

What else did you do well last year?

Lori Widmer is a freelancer who refuses to let a little recession get in the way of her career success. She blogs regularly at Words on the Page.

Two newsletters:
Abundant Freelance Writing – a resource for freelance writers including 3x a week job postings.
Writing With Vision – for those who want to get a book written.

Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Now this is the kind of post that raises my spirit. Because, really, I DID those things! I did them right! I did #1, which I feel is the most important one. All the others are just follow-ups, really.

    I did things right last year. Thank you very much for pointing it out to me.
    Jane Rutherford recently posted..About that Writing Schedule thingMy Profile

  • I didn’t have a particularly good year in ’10, but at least I got #1 and #6 right. Hopefully, this year, I’ll get better at marketing. ~fingers crossed
    Aparajita recently posted..LuckyMy Profile

    • I think those are the most important points, Aparajita. Good for you. Great way to start ’11!
      Lori recently posted..The Freelance NeversMy Profile

  • Hah, I complained when my old boss forced me to do collection calls (I don’t actually work in the accounting office at the Day Job), but now I realized that’s something I will probably have to do for myself. Having to chase invoices at work means I won’t be too scared to call my own clients, because I know how to do it.

    Yay for transferable skills!
    Elizabeth West recently posted..SolitudeMy Profile

    • See? Every miserable little task is eventually useful somewhere else. 🙂 Love it, Elizabeth! Great perspective.
      Lori recently posted..The Freelance NeversMy Profile

  • Wendy S. Johnson

    It’s funny how, in the beginning, I would’ve scoffed at #6. There was no way I would turn anything down. Fast forward a few years and now I’m choosy about which ones I can or want to take on.

    Of course, bad experiences from the past has a lot to do with it, but at least I learned how to move my butt a little faster to avoid being kicked. LOL!

  • Diana

    I’m on the bandwagon of thanking peeps like you, Lori, and Anne for my success as a freelancer last year. I’ll admit I had fairly low goals – but they were met! And now, with all of the new info I’m garnering from in-the-know pros like yourselves, this year’s goals look even better. Cheers to all of us who stuck around. Clink, clink 🙂

    • Congratulations on meeting your goals, Diana! Peeps like us are glad to hear it. 🙂 See, we encourage you because we know you can do it. And you did. Hooray!
      Lori recently posted..Worthy Tip- This Job- Not That JobMy Profile

  • Great post, Lori! Thanks for the reminders. It’s satisfying to remember all the good things we did right – including persisting!

  • I owe accomplishing #3 to you, Lori. And regarding #5, I’m pleased to report that as of the first week of January, I have no invoices beyond 35 days outstanding. It took a LOT of chasing to get three paid by a client who was 9-10 MONTHS overdue, but I ultimately did it!
    IrreverentFreelancer recently posted..The Ultimate Get-a-Clue Freelance Request for the Week of January 10- 2011My Profile

    • Congratulations!

    • Oh, I’ve no doubt you’d be chasing that invoice, Kathy! Good for you. I’d do the same. Clients who owe money still owe it no matter what tactics they may use to avoid payment – including delay.
      Lori recently posted..Worthy Tip- This Job- Not That JobMy Profile

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