Grinding It Out versus Growing A Business
There were two separate stories about pitches on my main Medium feed this morning. One about pitching to journalists and writers about THEIR clients for publicity purposes and the other one was about pitching your article to online publications.
They both had some excellent points — keep it about the person you’re pitching to. How does it benefit them? Don’t get bogged down in filler words and useless information. Provide a draft/additional information if needed.
But the pitch article I see missing is the one for full-time writers and editors who don’t want to do one-by-one blogs and articles.
I decided at the very beginning of my writing career that I was not going to spend the bulk of my time trying to get individual articles into major publications.
The main reason for me is the time and effort required versus the results or money.
When you look at people who talk about the money they make pitching individual original pieces to Forbes, Business Insider, Inc, etc, they are often making very little money — or even doing it for free for exposure.
Now, the exposure is awesome, and when I happen to have a perfectly well-suited article, I sometimes take 5 minutes to email a pitch to a magazine.
But the grind of putting out separate individual pieces in the HOPES that one of them will take it, and if they do, then waiting 4–8 weeks for publication and even longer for potential payment is not something I want to do.
That is just me, personally.
There are a million lists online of websites who pay for articles. Here is one from Carol Tice, another from Bamidele Onibalusi, a long one on Freelance Writing Gigs, one from the Penny Hoarder, and this one by David Trounce.
This is not a BAD way to go about making money. Clearly, there are plenty of websites willing to pay for articles.
But let’s break it down:
If each site pays on average $50 per article and you want to make $5000 per month (a $60,000 annual salary), you need to write, pitch, get accepted, and get paid for 100 articles each month.
If you only want to work Monday through Friday, that is 5 articles per day you need to research, write, find publications if you don’t have one in mind, and pitch. This does not include following up on payment or the ones who don’t pay until it has been up for a month, or any other restrictions.
In contrast, I made $8,000 last month with 6 clients.
Instead of pitching myself to individual publications or writing one article per website, I went directly to clients.
I pitched myself to small companies and entrepreneurs. Right now, my 6 clients are:
- An online publisher (monthly blogging, book editing)
- An entrepreneur and business coach (email marketing, web copy)
- A global public speaker (monthly blogging, email marketing)
- A startup technology company (blogging, managing blog)
- A medicinal cannabis business (weekly blogging, managing blog)
- A small digital marketing agency (weekly blogging, press releases)
As they come and if I have time, I also take on editing books, ghostwriting, and book coaching.
I work Monday through Friday and only on the weekends if I have a special project or major deadline coming up.
All of my clients are longer-term. We have contracts, I charge one monthly retainer, and they pay every month. I have built a relationship with these clients, meaning we work together even better over time, they rely on me and trust me, and I know what they need on an ongoing basis.
For me, this is a reliable, more stable income, without having to grind out a bunch of articles every day.
It also means I can really build a rapport with these people. By doing so and focusing on maintaining a real relationship, it has resulted in all of my current clients being referrals from previous ones.
This is how I have built my freelance writing into a business. A real, thriving, stable business built on clients, not pitches to individual publications.
Now, this is simply what worked best FOR ME. I am under no illusion that my way is the only way or even the best way. It’s just what works for me and MY business and my life.
What have you found works best for you? Is it all one or the other, a mix of both, something I didn’t even mention? I’d love to hear and learn from you!