We freelance writers can get hung up on numbers and the numbers we tend to like are big ones. We like to talk in terms of lots and lots.
But big numbers aren’t always better for the freelance writers–especially when it comes to the number of projects you handle. Sometimes less is more for the freelance writer.
You may be thinking, “Are you crazy? How could fewer projects be better?”
Let me explain.
While many freelancers complain about not having enough projects, what most of us really need is fewer projects that earn us more money.
How the Number of Clients Affects Your Writing
Let’s imagine that you have a modest goal of earning $4,000 a month as a freelance writer. (This is a figure I made up because it’s nice and round. Many writers earn less and some earn more.)
Now, there are many ways that you could earn that $4,000 a month. As you’ll see, some scenarios for earning that figure are more desirable than others. Here are some scenarios for reaching your goal:
- You could write 160 short web content pieces for $25 each (a very low rate for original web content, by the way). To do this, assuming that you don’t work weekends, you’d have to churn out about eight articles a day.
- You could write 40 mid-size web content pieces for $100 each (a low average rate). You’d only have to write two articles a day.
- You could provide bundled writing services (consulting, writing, advising) on 10 writing projects for $400 each. You’d have two days for each project.
- You could provide high-end turn-key copywriting services for two clients at $2,000 each. You’d have two weeks to work on each project.
Which scenario do you think is better?
Why Too Many Writing Projects Is Bad
Drawbacks to having too many projects include:
- Lower quality work–You’ll be rushing to get enough work done so that you can earn enough. It will be hard, if not impossible, to maintain high quality.
- Less time to market to high-end clients–Freelancers who rely on having lots of projects often don’t spend much time marketing–they just don’t have enough time.
- No opportunity for breaks–Missing even a day of work could significantly and negatively impact your freelancing income.
- High incidence of burnout–Many freelancers make the mistake of thinking that they can continue to churn out high volumes of work day after day, month after month. Most probably can’t.
- Falling behind skill-wise–Committing to a high volume of work leaves little time for a freelancer to update his or her skills.
A Better Way to Freelance
Focusing on quality work for quality clients is simply a better way to freelance. It results in better work for the client and a better working environment for you.
To achieve this ideal, you will have to spend more time marketing–but in the end, it will be worth it.
The reality is, most freelancers work on a combination of project types every month. They may have one or two high-end clients, but they rely some of the other types of projects as well.
Hopefully, however, most of us are moving away from quantity and towards quality.
What type of projects do you mainly focus on and why?