Here in the US, state of NY for me, we have spent nearly three months staying home, distancing and masking when we go out, and generally trying not to get infected or infect others. As everyone knows by now, this is likely the new normal for the foreseeable future. I’ve had enough time to think about the lessons this pandemic is teaching me about my profession, whether I want them or not.
And I think it is improving me as a freelance writer.
Twelve lessons and how to act upon them
Some of these lessons are practical and relatively easy to act upon. Others are broader reaching and longer term. For me, with my fascination with installing small habits to initiate bigger changes, the taking action part is critical. Abstractly thinking about change is just that: abstraction. Acting to change, no matter how small the action, is what gets the wheels turning.
Skills are more valuable than information
The things I know how to do are what make me money, not the subjects I write about. If I’m tasked with editing a series of industry glossary entries on subjects I have to get up to speed on, I can. The skills my client wants are fast turnaround, accuracy, SEO friendly edits, and clarity in my writing. And my skill at getting up to speed on a subject fast.
I am selling these abilities more than just subject matter expertise these days.
No matter what I charge, I’m cheaper than a direct hire
Let’s say I’m trying to earn $125/hour when I do a project. Am I pricing myself out of the market? Compared to a 40 hour salaried worker, the answer is no because they only pay me what we’ve agreed on when the work is done. My full time hire counterpart gets paid every week for all the hours, regardless of their output, plus benefits.
With remote working, more clients are realizing that it is actually easier to manage projects with freelancers than keeping employees engaged and busy. The action item here is being faster and better and less complicated. And offering yourself as a viable alternative that saves them money and time, while making them look good (don’t forget that…