Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What Is The Biggest Writing Career Danger?

The biggest threat to your successful writing career is complacency. Don’t get too complacent or you’ll find that your writing rates stay the same, the work gets boring and the opportunities might dry up. It’s easy to fall into a routine with your writing once you have work and money flowing in but the worldwide web is an ever evolving medium and if you don’t stay abreast of news and new techniques, you’ll find that the ship of profit is passing you by.

If you want to raise your rates and increase your income consistently month after month you have to work constantly to ensure that it happens for you.

You’ll often hear the adage, “Get in on the ground floor.” It’s very true with the Internet. The dot com boom made many people very, very wealthy because they got in at the right time and timing is very important in the online writing world. With writing rates, I’m told they’ve been cut down by over 60% over average writing rates three years ago because of outsourcing to countries like India where wages are cheaper and in this industry because there are so many people out there more worried about quantity than quality. While that’s a topic for another blog post there is a point: you have to stay competitive, get ahead of the crowd and work constantly to find profitable niches. Keep your ear to the ground to find out about ground floor opportunities before they're too widely marketed. Figure out who is giving out the best secrets so you can find out before everyone else does!

To maintain an upward curve in your workload and rates plus have longevity in this industry you need to do a few things:

-Continuously learn. You have to keep up to date on the lingo, the terms and the needs of your potential customers. Keep up to date otherwise you’ll miss the bus!

-Self promotion. Constantly market yourself to keep your opportunities coming in. If you are on the top of the search engines today you can’t become complacent or you’ll disappear off page one in no time

-Keep looking for jobs. The only way to raise your rates is to apply for new jobs. The only way to get qualified is to apply for better paying, higher quality work so that you can build the experience and expertise you need in order to qualify for the better paying writing jobs. Doing the same tasks over and over will result in complacency. It’s ok to have long term clients but you need to keep working to broaden your skills and horizons as well. Your clients probably won't give you a raise in rates if you don't say anything and if most of today's clients are low paying work, start dressing for the job you want instead of the job you have got :)

-Don’t put your eggs in one basket. Diversify! Get more than one niche and have more than one client otherwise if things drastically change you could be left scrambling. Don’t get too comfy or the rug could be pulled out from under you.

How to avoid complacency in writing?

Each week you should set time aside to read up on your niche and the industry in general. You should also regularly keep in touch with other writers through a group or community forum so you can stay abreast of news and opportunities. You should also market yourself through some way to keep your name in the search engines with new entries at all times. This can be blogs, article directories, e-books, forums or other areas. Staying active in cyberspace will help you tremendously with your writing career.


Brenda Emmett said...

Great post Dana!

I think it is far to easy to say, "Hey, I've got money coming in today and plenty of work. Why should I worry?" Complacency in anything is placing yourself on the side of the road while everyone else passes you by!

Thanks for the great reminder!:)

suewrite said...

This is so true Dana, we have to keep learning and we have to keep working at it.

Michele said...

Awesome post, Dana! I really enjoyed reading this today and it's all so very true.

Thanks for keeping us on our toes!


Courtney - Web Writing Info said...

I'd rather be overbooked than underbooked. :) This article hit the nail on the head, especially when it comes to continuing to look for work. Don't rest on your laurels or you'll end up working your way right out of a freelancing career.