Developing Your Two Year Plan
I've traveled 48 days so far this year, with about 15 more days scheduled the next couple of months. I've been from Seattle to Santa Fe, Boston to Delray Beach, and a lot of places in between, with an adventure to Iceland and Greenland thrown in. And I have no plans to slow down next year.
Steve Roller back with you for The Writer's Life. I got into copywriting in part for the big money, and I'm on my way. Even more important, though, I got into it for the lifestyle. The ability to work where and how I choose. I've done that from day one, and so can you.
Does it all sound a little too easy? Can you really make good money, travel at will, and call your own shots like a boss?
And can I let you in on a little secret? You don't have to make six-figures to do it. Up until this year I hadn't, and my friends and neighbors still think I live a life of intrigue and adventure.
So how do you do it? First of all, you do have to work. You don't make solid money lounging around in your pajamas, working a couple of hours a day (well, at least not the first few years).
Let me share with you my scenario through last year. If you work hard, I believe anyone can do this within two years, starting from scratch.
1. Monthly clients.
I have a handful of monthly clients that I've worked for consistently for more than three years. Nothing big, and no official retainer contract. I provide good value for what I'm paid, and they like me and my work. This adds up to about $2,500 per month, $30,000 per year.
Client acquisition tip: Look for businesses who put out an online monthly newsletter. Many of them would rather outsource this and focus on running their business. It's the easiest way to get an ongoing monthly gig.
2. One additional project per month.
Where do these come from? Either upgraded projects from smaller monthly clients, referrals from other clients, or people that find my website. Total: $12,000 per year.
Client acquisition tip: With any size project, no matter how small, always suggest marketing and copy ideas that can help the client grow. Whether they use you to implement them or not, they'll see you as a valuable resource. Busy marketers especially like idea-generators who make their jobs easier.
3. One "stretch project" every three months.
You have to get out of your comfort zone and go after these. They typically don't come to you until you're well-established. Total: Around $20,000 per year.
Client acquisition tip: These take a little more strategy. Keep a short list of maybe 5-10 prospects you'd really like to work for. Big marketers in your niche who use copywriters regularly. Study their businesses inside and out, including all their promotions.
Then, connect with them once every six months in a different way. Start with a good direct-response letter. Offer a fresh angle or Big Idea. Maybe send a FedEx envelope (that will get their attention) with an article that could help them. Meet them in person at a conference. Get a mutual friend to introduce you. Eventually you'll get noticed, and with most marketers craving good copy, you might get your shot.
These three types of clients alone, with a very modest way of working, add up to around $62,000 per year. If you could build up to that level within two years, would you be satisfied?
Stay tuned tomorrow when we'll talk about the beauty of freelancing and how it flips the traditional model of work on its head.
Which type of project do you like working on best? Small and steady, or big, longer-term ones? I'd love to hear from you in the comments, and let me know if you have a specific question on any of these three types of clients.
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