Three Magical Words to Earn More as a Freelance Writer

Carol Tice

Freelance Writer Income - 3 Magical Words to Earn More.

What if there were some magical words you could utter as a freelance writer and earn more money?

You’d probably chant those words in front of the mirror, calling on the Money Fairy to grant your freelance writer wish.

But in reality, it probably sounds too good to be true. Right?

That’s what I thought when I quit my job as a business reporter to be a full-time freelance writer. It seemed like every day was a hustle, and earning more money meant working more hours.

But then something happened.

A prospect called to see if I could do some writing work for them. I took a deep breath, and then I uttered three magical words that unlock the key to making more money as a freelance writer.

Do you know what those words are?

“I’m fully booked.”

This might not be on your radar as a freelance writing goal. But trust me, when you can start telling prospects this, you’re on the edge of a major breakthrough as a freelance writer.

Here’s what happens to your business when you’re fully booked:

The two-year tipping point as a freelance writer

This is what it looks like to be a fully-booked freelance writer. I wrote this down after saying those three magical words to a prospect:

-At the moment, I’m not spending time sifting through online job ads, obsessively trying to make new LinkedIn connections, or beating the street at networking events.

-I only had time to write one post for Make a Living Writing for the week, because I’m so busy.

-I have all the work I can handle, nearly all of it at very nice rates.

-I’m really overbooked, but I’m  hoping I can somehow figure out how to make the workload manageable again in July, once a couple of big new clients ramp up and get going.

It took a heck of a lot of marketing to get to this point, about two years. And it was absolutely worth it.

Here’s why those three words, “I’m fully booked,” are so important and magical:

You relax

The anxiety of starting each month with open time still on the planner is gone. I’m now starting each month with enough work booked to be confident I can pay my bills, and even take my family out for an occasional meal. Being more relaxed makes you more effective and creative, so your work gets done faster, allowing you to make more.

You gain confidence

It’s an ego-booster to realize you are in demand.

You get picky

In the depths of the recession, I took a lot of crazy assignments. One-off projects. Small-business clients with not much money. Quickie articles that paid $100. Stuff I never would have considered in 2007. Now, that’s over. If someone doesn’t fit my image of an ideal client, I can pass.

You start dropping clients

Now you can look at your client list and identify your biggest problem child. You know:

  • The client that pays in over 90 days
  • The client that whines about everything
  • The client that is never satisfied
  • The client that wants a committee to edit your work
  • The client that won’t return your emails for two days, or simply doesn’t pay enough

The next good client that comes down the pike, it’s time to swap that loser out. Repeat this process until you have only top-drawer publications or companies on your roster.

You become more valuable

When you’re fully booked, it’s like smoke signals go up. You start to attract great new clients.

When you tell some prospects you can’t take them on because you’re too busy, they are impressed. You must be a good writer!

They want to hire you even more. Sometimes, they offer you more money in hopes of getting you to kick someone else off your schedule to make room for their assignment. Sometimes, you say yes.

Your rate starts to rise

Besides all the reasons already stated above, your rate starts to go up when you’re fully booked, because you don’t have to spend as many hours marketing (but don’t stop!). You have more productive, billable hours, so that translates to more income.

Say it: ‘I’m a fully-booked freelance writer’

If you’re not, what are you going to do to give your freelance writing career a boost and start moving forward? There’s a lot of work out there. Now is always a great time to make new connections and find  new clients.

Want to be a fully-booked freelance writer? Let’s discuss in the comment section below.

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  1. Bradford Hainesworth

    Can you describe the qualities of a perfect client to yourself? You probably thought immediately of somebody in your business who’s the perfect client. Which is good because the first step in finding more perfect customers is to truly understand what a perfect customer should look like.


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  2. 4 Ways to Analyze Your Writing Business to Maximize Your Income - [...] career, so that’s good (though I’m still hoping to break my record!). I recently became fully booked and can…
  3. Marketing My Writing: How I Learned to Love It - [...] really — for about 18 straight months, gradually rebuilding my customer base until I became fully booked again about…
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