Writer • Editor • Digital Strategist

What Can Freelancers Do with 15 Minutes?

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August 14, 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Time is a commodity that’s precious to all of us, but freelancers in particular can feel the “time is money” worries daily, as can anyone who owns a business I’d venture to guess.

When I was first getting started with freelance writing, if I wasn’t writing articles, interviewing a source, or getting story assignments from editors, it felt like I was losing money or wasn’t productive. But, what I’ve come to learn is that I need to set aside time weekly to grow my business through different avenues, particularly interacting with editors, brands, sharing on social media, and building relationships.

You might say “I don’t have 15 minutes to spare daily,” but I challenge you to try any of these tactics at least once a day for a week. It’ll help sustain you when you’ve turned in all of your freelance writing assignments and don’t have additional work on the horizon. (Those quieter times tend to be when freelancers beef up their marketing, connecting and social media strategizing.)

Believe me, if you check email less frequently and take a 15- to 20-minute break after turning in an assignment, you can get a lot done. Set a timer on your phone or computer (I use e.ggtimer.com) and then give yourself permission to take on one of these tasks.

• Schedule social media posts for the next day, two, or week.
• Look back to the editors you worked with a few months ago or last year and reach out to say hello, see how their summers are going, and ask if there are any content needs you can address. (Learn how to find any editor’s name and email address.)
• Update your website. I did this after coming back from vacation. It took me about 40 minutes to change some images and update links but changing the top navigation of my homepage and manipulating dates on content freshened up my portfolio page.
• Find new connections on LinkedIn and connect with them.
• Take another few minutes and endorse friends, colleagues, editors, and associates for skills on LinkedIn.
• Add an article to your site or a portfolio you have on another site.
•”Pin” some of your recent articles on Pinterest.
• Share your latest published articles with the sources you interviewed.
• Scan published print articles into PDFs for future sharing with sources and upload them to your site.
• See which hashtags are trending on Twitter and Instagram and see if you have an article or post that could include that tag.
• Read an article that’s in your “to read later” folder.
• Update your expenses and tax write off documents if you keep track of them throughout the year. (I do in an Excel doc and find this helps!)
• Share an article from another site, writer, or news outlet that you admire in social media and tag them.
• Read the message threads on one of your Facebook Group pages to see what’s trending, discussions people are having, and if there’s a solution you can offer to a user who posted a question.
• If you’re a fast writer who can knock out a blog post quickly, you might be able to publish one in 15 to 20 minutes. (I’m not that fast yet.)
• Take care of some of the business side of freelancing if you don’t have a set time for that, like following up on pitches, invoices, articles sent to an editor, and paying bills. (Some freelancers find it helpful to block out a set time for these things weekly, or use an accounting program that tracks invoices like Quickbooks.)
• Watch a YouTube video, TED Talk, or listen to a podcast of someone who’s an expert in your industry or someone has valuable entrepreneurial information.
• Send a quick pitch to an editor you’ve already worked with and have a good relationship with. You can probably have a more casual tone in the email and get a feel for if they are into something you’re kicking around in your head as a story idea. (Here’s how to come up with story ideas.)

What do you do to keep you business momentum going and growing, even when you’re super busy?

Psst! My Freelance Writing Online Course, Get Paid to Write: Become a Freelance Writer just launched on Teachable!


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