Making more money and keeping your credibility

If you weren’t lucky enough to join our latest Trade Secrets workshop, Gemma Wilson has you covered. She’s summed up her key takeaways and some pearls of wisdom from the session.

As writers we might do what we do for the love of the craft, but at the end of the day, money matters. And whether you’ve been writing for 20 months or 20 years, your practice might shift – but often the main challenges still come down to the same thing: money.

How much is enough? What should you charge? How long can you actually keep on chasing that unpaid invoice for?

Elise Valmorbida and Fiona Thompson took on all this and more for the latest 26 workshop ‘Trade Secrets – How To Make More Money’. Sharing struggles, solutions, and personal experiences for a fast track to financial fierceness.

It’s impossible to capture all the tips, resources and discussions from the afternoon, but here are a few starting points for moving past ‘money’ being a dirty word, and into an assertive, abundant attitude.

1. Knowing your worth

What to watch out for:

  • Low (or no) paying clients
  • Putting being ‘nice’ first
  • Ignoring red flags for bad jobs

The solution:

There’s nothing wrong with being nice – but it goes too far when it rules your work and limits your earning potential. Cap your client list at one low-fee payer who’s good for exposure and make room for jobs that pay what you deserve to get.

Your next action:

Trust your gut on jobs – don’t be afraid to say no, and don’t feel guilty for it either.

2. Project your worth

What to watch out for:

  • Not enough clients
  • The wrong type of clients or jobs

The solution:

Update your profile. Having a clear USP, specialism and business name helps build your value, attract the clients you want, and justify them paying you more.

Your next action:

Ask your clients for testimonials, and get them on your website and LinkedIn profile. 

3. Smooth out client troubles

What to watch out for:

  • Clients going missing partway through a project, or when it’s time to pay

The solution:

This one is often out of your control, but there are measures you can put in place for the worst-case scenario – like a solid contract that has a clause for late payment fees.

Your next action:

Introduce a billing schedule to all of your jobs, with 50% payment upfront.

4. Get specific

What to watch out for:

  • Scope creep – jobs that move beyond what was agreed at the start and make your project fee worth half of what it’s meant to be.

The solution:

This one’s all about preparation: get it nailed at the briefing stage, list specific tasks in the proposal and watch out for ‘nice’ relationships pushing the parameters of what’s acceptable.  

Your next action:

Introduce tiered pricing options to your next proposal so your client has the choice of what they really want, based on the money involved. 

5. Managing your money

What to watch out for:

  • Everything’s going right, but you’re still not earning quite enough

The solution:

If you’re working with project fees, billing for big expenses on top, and know what you can offset against tax – there’s only one thing left… 

Your next action:

… Put up your rates! See: knowing your worth. Clients pay for your expertise and experience, not just your time. It may mean losing a couple of clients in the short term, but you’ll keep the ones that really value your work.

Your final action for more money-making trade secrets? Look out for the next workshop, I fully recommend it. It’s a thoroughly thought-out, interactive session that’ll leave you full of ideas and enthusiasm for making more money, whatever your stage of career.

– Gemma Wilson

Gemma is a Northern-born, London-based freelance writer specialising in brand messaging and non-profits www.wordsbygemma.com

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