Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Thought-Provoking Title

It instantly grabbed my attention. As a long-term freelance writer, how could a freelancer be wealthy? The two words did not seem to go with my reality. I've known and met hundreds of freelance writers and the majority of them fit the expected profile of a starving artist. Yet here's a book called The Wealthy Freelancer, 12 Secrets to a Great Income and an Enviable Lifestyle. Can you see why this book caught my attention?

Each of these 12 secrets are valuable but I wanted to write today about Chapter 8: Bring Focus To Your Freelance Business. Pete Savage writes, "In my early years as a freelancer, there was nothing focused about my business..." (page 147) On the next page, he makes a profound statement, "Focus is what helped me go from barely paying the bills to busting through the six-figure income barrier. Focus is what allows Pam Magnuson to easily identify the companies and trade shows that are likely to be lucrative sources of business for her. And focus can take you from good to great."

Next Savage gives three key criteria to bring focus to his freelance business: Discover, Identify, and Position. He gives a great deal of detail about these three words but he explains it allows you to:

1. Discover what you have to offer.

2. Identify the market you'll serve.

3. Position yourself in the market.

From my experience of working with various freelancers, many of them have never done the hard work of looking inside and experimenting to see what they have to offer to the marketplace. Are you a novelist or a nonfiction writer? If you decide that you are a novelist then what type of novelist? If you decide that you are a nonfiction writer, then what type of nonfiction writer? Are you a copywriter or a magazine writer or someone who writes radio scripts? Each of us have to invest the time and energy to experiment and find the place where our writing can be used. A part of this experimentation is the willingness to apprentice and learn the skill and craft of writing instead of assuming that our work will instantly skyrocket to the top (a very common assumption for example is that an author has written a bestseller--however you define the word bestseller--which is an entirely different discussion).

Second you have to identify the market that you will serve. Please don't say your writing is for "everyone." I've seen many an editor roll their eyes (at least feel like rolling their eyes) when they hear that statement. Let's think about the book market for the moment. Books (fiction or nonfiction) are written with a primary market in focus and often a secondary market. As you identify this market, Pete Savage encourages freelancers to ask, "Is the market viable?" He asks a series of pointed questions to help the reader identify the market that they will serve.

Finally he encourages the freelancer to think about their unique selling proposition (USP) in the market. I found the contents of this chapter to mesh with the hour-long video that I watched today from bestselling author Brian Tracy speaking on 10 secrets of lifetime success.

The Wealthy Freelancer has much more than a thought-provoking title. It is loaded with valuable insight for every writer.

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