Friday, April 26, 2013

Eight Ways to Expand Your Business

If you’ve been freelancing for a while, perhaps it’s time to think about expanding your business. Other small business owners have the luxury of being able to hire help, open branch locations, even franchise their business. Unfortunately, most of those don’t work with freelance writing.

Working for yourself, by yourself, means that you can only do as much work as you have time. And there are only so many hours in a day. That puts a limit on expanding your business. Sure, you can take on larger projects, but when you work on a large project, such as writing a book, you don’t have time to do the smaller ones. And frankly, most book projects don’t pay nearly as much in the long run as working on a bunch of shorter and less complicated pieces. So how can you expand?

1. Revise your sales presentation. When the same bland renewal notice for a magazine subscription arrives in the mail, you don't give it a second look. If you want to renew an editor's interest in your material or build up assignments on a higher level than in the past, you must revise your presentation. Analyze the way you pitch ideas now and see if you can improve on it. How well does your current method sell your ideas? Is your timing and the sequence of ideas logical? Is the market holding you back or are you holding yourself back through fear, lack of expertise, or timidity?

2. Create a brochure. Don’t forget you are a business. And businesses advertise. Some kinds of writing may allow you to run ads in journals or newspapers. But the majority of what you do most likely doesn’t lend itself to direct advertising. So why not create a brochure of your work. Hotels do it. Airlines do it. All sorts of businesses do it. This doesn’t have to be an expensive, glossy affair. It can be nothing more than one page folded in thirds. You won’t have too much room, but there’s enough to include teaser quotes from your writing and perhaps a few photos. Short excerpts of articles will do the trick.

3. Keep up with marketing chores. And don’t forget, that many top freelancers spend several hours a day doing marketing chores, staying in contact with publishers, editors, agents, and other clients either by phone or Email.
4. Use books as premiums. If you’ve written books, consider using copies of them as premiums—gift books to corporate executives which they then gave their employees or rewards for contests that you run on your Web site and Facebook. Naturally, you’ll want to sign each copy.

5. Create or improve your Web site. And speaking of Web sites and social media, if you don’t have a good Web site yet, create one. Today, more and more people look to the Web to find professionals, including writers. But don’t just focus on selling, give visitors to your site something in return—information on writing, itself, or the subjects you write about. Both will draw them to your site.

6. Publish pieces on Kindle. The longer you’ve been freelancing, the more material and information you’ve acquired. Use some of it to create articles or short stories and perhaps short ebooks that you can sell on Kindle. While this may not bring in lots of cash, it helps you use materials that lie fallow in your files.

7. Promote a book through articles. If you have a book about to be published, you might want to try to write several short articles on a related subject and get them posted at key Web sites online. They’ll give you greater visibility and subtle promotion for both yourself and your book.

8. Apply for grants or enter contests. Lastly, consider applying for grants or entering contests from time to time. Nothing boosts a career like an award. But don’t concentrate on either of these. It’s actually easier and less time-consuming to just write and publish your work than it is to seek out a chancy result like either of these.

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