Sometimes, I think my friends and family picture me behind a dusty typewriter from sunrise to sunset, with a glass of wine nearby, waiting for inspiration to magically flow into words.
Sure, my craft takes up several hours each day, but there are many more items on my weekly task list beyond creating rough drafts and submitting polished pieces to publishers. As an entrepreneur, I’m growing a small business and wearing multiple hats to keep things running smoothly. Here are some key tasks, beyond writing, that land on my schedule each week to propel my small business forward.
I don’t work for free, which means I need to generate invoices for the companies I create content for if I want a paycheck. I also spend time each week making bank deposits and following up on past-due payments. I don’t love these accounting tasks, and maybe in the future, I can delegate them to a virtual assistant.
Even on days when my writing schedule is full and the month ahead is busy, I promote my services. Since I primarily work online, I market myself through my website, social media accounts and by good, old-fashioned word of mouth. I might reach out to a past client and see if they need help with their current projects or accept an interview request to get my name out there on podcasts or in articles.
Manage Social Media
Each day, I post to Twitter and Facebook to engage my audience of readers and colleagues. I try to drum up interesting conversations, share helpful information and just be genuine. It’s not uncommon to see photos of my dogs on Facebook and yoga selfies on Twitter. I’m a real person behind this screen, and I want people to know they can relate to the topics I write about each day.
Update a Website
Although I’m not tech-savvy, I launched and maintain a website to both assist people in my industry and promote my services. It’s my online hub where you can learn how to reach me or view my writing portfolio. If you’re deciding if you need a website or not, you do. When you rely on one social media channel and it goes offline, what will happen to your sales leads and loyal supporters? How will they find you? Remember, you own your website — it’s where potential customers can find you using search engines for as long as you maintain it.
Reply to Emails
I set aside a chunk of time each morning to tackle emails. This is the primary way my customers communicate with me, so it’s imperative I prioritize this task. I clean out my inbox multiple times each day. Over the last several years, I’ve landed more than one project simply by being the first to reply to a request. Treat your email like someone knocking on your office door. Reply promptly, with courtesy.
Develop Future Sellables
It may seem silly after you’ve created a fabulous product or service, but you should always think about the next phase of your business. Will you expand and offer more products? Will your services start to address a new related need in your industry? Even if you feel set in your ways, you will be challenged. When a client asked if I could put together an editorial calendar for her blogging client, I said yes and learned along the way. That experience allowed me to add another service to my roster, which means more work for me!
Create Business Goals
Finally, it’s always beneficial to take a step back and make sure you’re really going down the path you envisioned at the start of your freelance journey. Are you reaching your goals? Do you need to revise your goals? After conducting an audit of my business at the end of last year, I realized it was time to push myself harder and increase my weekly financial goals. Having the numbers on paper is motivational and helps me grow my business each week.
Being self-employed is an incredible adventure that comes with many lessons. If you spend each day solely focusing on your key service, you’ll eventually fall behind in the tasks that create the foundation of a successful, stable business. Take a close look at your day-to-day schedule. Is it time to block out time to catch up on paperwork or dream about the future of your business?