Friday Fun: What Do You Think?

Long absence for me due to a long road trip, followed by a week rafting at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, followed by another long road trip — but this post isn’t just about how awesome the life of a freelance writer can be. It’s about something I listened to on the road.

I’m a big fan of audiobooks. I’m also a big fan of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels. As some of you know, Mr. Parker passed away in January of 2010.

This year, a new Spenser novel came out, written by Ace Atkins. The brand was just too powerful (read: profitable) to let my favorite gumshoe die. I listened to Lullaby while on the road.

It’s a competent Spenser novel that to my ear catches Parker’s style and the characters very well. It hit all the right notes, and Atkins was careful to bring in all the elements of the series that make it such a hit. He even touched on a few pieces that we haven’t heard about since the earliest novels (wood carving and Brenda Loring, for example).

He did a good job, but what do you all think about this as a concept. It’s not the first time a deceased author’s story has been carried on by another. Parker himself wrote a sequel to The Big Sleep — so he has less complaint coming than many others.

What do you think about this idea? Good or bad? Pros and cons?

On Developing Relationships

I had a conversation with a new client this week. It went something like this.

Me: Hey dude, here’s that work you offered to pay me a princely sum for doing. (I’m paraphrasing here)

Client: I’m a bit disappointed. There’s guys a lot cheaper than you who look like they can do this.

It would have been easy to pout or rant, or just give up and find another client, at this point. A lot of the artistic sorts who want to write for a living would do exactly that. I admit that I’ve done it once or twice myself. Instead…

Me: I’m sorry to hear that. It’s pretty rare. Could you tell me what you were hoping for?

Client: Here are some examples of what a cheaper guy did for me.

Me: Here’s another article. Here’s where I included stuff your cheaper guy did. Here’s where I do stuff he doesn’t. If you love it, buy it. If not, spend your money on the cheaper guy.

Client: Woah! This is what I was hoping for. Give me some more!

 

That kind of give-and-take took time out of my schedule (which is pretty packed since I’m cramming three weeks of work into one week between two vacations) — but it pays off. The new client might or might not buy a lot of new work from me after our initial agreement expires…but we’re now conversing like friends.

I’ve mentioned before how powerful repeat business is. Relationships with clients and editors are the lifeblood of that repeat businesses.

How about you all? Any stories about repeat customers, or handling an initially poor review that turned into success? Post in the comments below.

 

The Seven Habits of High-Earning Freelancers (Part Seven)

Here’s the final habit in my series on things to do if you want to make it as a freelance writer. Thanks for sticking  with it. Find part six here, and follow the links to the rest of the series.

Habit seven may sound like a bunch of hippie silliness at first glance, but it’s actually something practiced by CEOs of major corporations.

 

HABIT SIX: HAVING AN ABUNDANCE MINDSET

Most freelance writers have the following financial cycle:

  1. Write your butt off.
  2. Count up how much money you made.
  3. Spend that money.
  4. Repeat.

It’s an easy rut to fall into, and it does mean you’re making a little money. But it’s no way to grow your freelancing business. Instead, consider the power of this financial cycle:

  1. Identify how much money you want.
  2. Figure out how much writing will cover that nut.
  3. Write that much.
  4. Spend the money.
  5. Repeat.

This is abundance-based budgeting, as opposed to scarcity-based budgeting. A scarcity-based budgeter asks “Can I afford this?”. An abundance-based budgeter asks “What do I have to do to afford this?”

Making this simple change to your freelancing business makes a huge difference in your chances for success, and your quality of life.

One important caveat….

Even though you should budget your money with an abundance mindset, always spend with a scarcity mindset. Doing anything else adds debt load to your budget that makes it harder to succeed.

How about you? What kinds of budgeting and forecasting techniques help you grow your writing (or other) business?