For Freelance Writers, The Recession is Over — So Start Your Marketing Engines

Carol Tice

The Time to Market Your Writing is NowI hate to get cranky on everybody, but I’ve had it with the whining about  how hard it is to find good-paying freelance writing assignments in this terrible, down economy. The fact is, there are a lot of signs of recovery out there. A couple of them:

Retail sales have been rising for several months now.

I’ve had about 10 really solid leads turn up in the past two weeks, way more than I’ve been seeing in recent months. My own personal economic-recovery indicator.

Do you know the first things that happen at the beginning of a recovery?

  • Savvy companies start to ramp up their marketing — a recent FedEx study showed 42 percent of small businesses said they were contemplating increasing their marketing budgets. FORTY-TWO PERCENT! Know how many small businesses there are in the U.S.? Oh, more than 20 MILLION.
  • Magazines begin selling more ads and adding pages or expanding their number of annual issues.
  • New magazines are born — I counted six of them in just one week in my recent Wooden Horse newsletter.

My point: It’s time to stop using the recession as your excuse for not earning.

There’s plenty of writing work out there right now, and there’s going to be more. You can get in on the start of this up-trend, or you can be one of the last to jump on the bandwagon. Put it out there now, because the universe is starting to respond.

I got an email out of the blue this week from a Fortune 500 corporation looking to start a new e-newsletter for its customers. I would bet that this sort of thinking is taking place at many, many big companies right now. They all want to be first in line to get their share of the recovery. And they’re going to need skilled writers to help them achieve that goal.

It seems like twice a week now, I’m talking to some small business person who needs social media explained to them. They’ve heard they need a blog or articles on their site, but they have no idea how they promote that online and use it to drive traffic. The opportunity in this niche alone — presenting complete social-media proposals that include promotion and blogging or article-writing — is huge.

I speak from experience, since 2009 was my best-earning year ever — you can defy the downturn. And now, it’s not even as much of a downturn anymore!

So it’s time to stop moaning about low-paying content sites that rip you off, rear up on your hind legs, and start marketing your writing business. Send queries. Meet prospects. Use LinkedIn or Biznik. Put up a billboard. Whatever’s your speed.

You’re out of excuses, so get out there and find clients who’re willing to pay you a living wage. More and more of them are out there every day, now that the economy is finally thawing.

Later this week, on this blog and on WM Freelance Writing Connection, I’ll be talking about a couple of specific niche opportunities for you to think about as you make your marketing plan for growing your business in 2010.

What will you do to capitalize on the recovery? Leave a comment and let us know your strategy.

Photo via Flickr user psd


  1. Matt Hugg

    I echo our colleagues above. Maybe it’s just writers as a group are a depressive bunch and can only see the glass as half-empty? I find that talking about how to market and sell my work much more uplifting than the rants I sometimes read from our fellow writers on the esoteric details of punctuation (not that punctulation isn’t important, but the electric company won’t take payment in commas!)

    Jessica made a good point when she said “presenting yourself as a professional, in it for the long haul (not as someone who is unemployed and just looking for quick, easy cash until the next job offer comes along).” Making the distinction between those of us who are ongoing consultants or freelancers who are in business and those who are “consultants by convenience” when they’re in transition between job can be a real challenge. Carol, is this worth addressing in your blog someday?

    Best wishes,

    …Matt (

  2. Jessica McCann

    Great article, Carol. I agree with your points and those of the previous commenters. I’ve been freelancing full-time since 1998. Survived and thrived during the 2001 recession; doing the same now. It’s all about working hard, adapting and looking for new opportunities. It also has a lot to do with presenting yourself as a professional, in it for the long haul (not as someone who is unemployed and just looking for quick, easy cash until the next job offer comes along).

    Jessica McCann
    Professional Freelance Writer & Novelist

  3. Jessie Haynes

    Carol, I am with you on this. Freelancers are business owners. Business owners are responsible for their own bottom lines. Freelancers only need find themselves a specialty that is marketable for them, a target market to focus on, and to start building visibilty and a base of networking contacts to earn.

  4. Jenn Mattern

    I’m with you 100% on this one Carol. Any freelancer worth their salt will do better in a recession, not worse. Freelancers are more in demand in general, even if some previous regulars cut back. I hope you don’t mind me plugging a link, but back when these excuses first started coming around during this recession I put out a short free e-book on that very subject:


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