"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

15 Business & Blogging Lessons I Mastered in 2015...And You Should Too

As we come to a close on another year, I think it's important to review, revisit and revise our freelancing and blogging practices, for a more profitable, progressive and productive year ahead.

Experience is a great teacher. In fact, what I have learned over the last 12 months, you won't always encounter from a formal business "education".

Some lessons were costly; while others were simply "character developers."
I share them with you to hopefully shorten your learning curve and help you to move forward in your creative goals in 2016.

Pencils ready?

Here they are, in no particular order... 

1. Never, ever quote a price on a project without eyeballing it first.
What a potential client refers to as "quick, fast, easy, or only..." may be based upon their limited or non-professional assessment. If you dictate a price based solely on his or her word, you'll be stuck with it. And trust me, things can get sticky here. You could end up losing a lot of uncompensated time for your services. Be forewarned.

2. Putting all your "eggs in one basket" can be detrimental, and, well... dumb.
In the world of freelancing, there are many things that could go wrong, folks. Where do I begin?  A client promises to pay, but is unable due to a tough economy. You lose important files as a result of a bad computer virus, and have difficulty recovering. Your favorite editor leaves the publication for which you've been freelancing for years. Get the picture here? Diversify, diversify, diversify for greater survival!

3. "Activity" is not the same as productivity.
Have you ever spent countless hours at your computer, and at the end of the day, had nothing "concrete" to show for your efforts? Ouch. Which is why you should A). Plan your day, with desired goals and a to do list. B). Limit the time you devote to blog hopping and social media efforts. For the best results, make sure that your activities are either enhancing your bottom line, or building your business.

4. Pause* to go the distance.
Contrary to popular opinion, blogging is hard work. And I can attest. With 6 years, and over 600 posts under my belt, I can tell you it takes dedication, commitment, discipline, and an abundance of creativity. And did I mention chocolate? Because of this, it's crucial to take periodic breaks; to make time for fun, frolicking, family, and rest. In my opinion, it's why so many bloggers lose steam, burn out, and abandon their sites. Don't be one of them. "You can't give from an empty cup."

5. Learn from your mistakes, but be mindful of your successes.
Not too long ago, I came across an old journal where I jotted down some goals I had for 2013. Well, it turns out that this "hot shot" wasn't so hot, upon reviewing that list. It's been a while, and I still have yet to secure an agent, get published in the "Chicken Soup" series, or publish my book on blogging and writing. For a day or two, this realization had me down in the dumps. Then I had a reality check. Or as Oprah often called them, an "Ah-ha" moment! Though I had not achieved several of the goals I set for myself,  I had:
been published in new markets, bought a new printer for my office, garnered more blog followers, listed my services in an online directory for creative professionals, and completed a poetry book for publication.  My point here? Keep a balanced perspective and keep going.

6. You've got to spend money to make money.
Unless you intend to write recreationally, or totally as a hobbyist, you've got to spend money. Invest in yourself. Not enough writers do. Take a class to hone your skills. Purchase books to build your knowledge base. Pay for an Ad to promote your service or book. Which ties into number 7...

7. Don't forget to market!
No doubt, you'd much rather write than sell. I feel you on this one. But, marketing is crucial to building your platform, and earning what you desire and deserve. There's just no way around it. Trust me. For 2016, why not put a "Marketing Plan" in place?  Here's a great article on what to include and  how to approach it, courtesy of Forbes.com:

Well that's it for today. Your class has concluded.
Please join me next week for part 2 of the 15 Business and Blogging lessons I learned in 2015.
I'll be taking attendance. :-)

Thoughts?  Agree or disagree? What would you add?


  1. Excellent class! :) I agree with these points. They are the important ingredients to obtain a good balance. Thanks for this timely reminder!

  2. I especially like # 5. And I'm realizing what a constant thing marketing has to be. There's lots of competition out there; younger, smarter, more energetic. Almost has me giving up at times. But we press on, right? Great lessons, Jen.

    1. Sue,

      Keep going and keep growing! Lovely to hear from you. :-)

  3. Thanks for your post Jennifer, especially Nr. 7 is a good one!

    Also thanks for the link you share about the Marketing Plan, because that info is practical for making improvements in that area, not only for what selling writing is concerned,

    Also for the Christmas Holliday Designs in our online Zazzle (Christmas) Shop, the last few months we did put together 'Packages' with for example matching designs we created ourselves for things like Christmas Labels, - Invitations and - Menu Cards

    (The designs are a combination of Photo's and
    Cartoon-like drawing & Lettering)

    The designs that are also - Customizable - with your own background color, and your own customizable text,

    We now have 24 Christmas Holliday Designs in Shop, (with more to come) and it's great that also Zazzle has build in promotion strategies in place with things like easy to use share buttons etc. etc.

    Talking about sharing, you can discover a banner with Images of a few designs on my writing blog, and you can see more of them with the link to our Shop, it would be great when you tell (many:)) others about it!

    I would love to see what you think about the designs.

    1. Hi there, H.P.,

      "Long time, no hear from." Welcome back. I'll look into those designs soon. :-) Great to reconnect today.