Even if you didn’t make New Year’s resolutions on January 1, how about taking a little time today to think about how you can improve your business in the coming year? These ideas and plans don’t necessarily need to be framed as “resolutions,” but, rather, how about as tactics or improvements?
Taking even little steps to work on how your ghostwriting business functions, can have a tremendous impact on your happiness, job satisfaction, and financial health.
Here are four things you can do this year to boost your business and personal well-being:
Raise your rates
Raise your rates. Raise your rates. Too few ghostwriters are earning what they’re worth, which means they’re giving their value away.
There are plenty of organizations and individuals who are willing to pay well for skilled writing help. Either because they don’t have the ability, the interest, or the time to tackle writing tasks themselves, many opt to outsource it to a professional, though not all are willing to pay professional rates for quality work.
Sure, there are clients who will only pay a fraction of what the work is worth. It’s likely they do this across the board in their business and life. They’ll only pay pennies when they should be paying dollars. And you don’t want them as clients. They’ll take too much of your time, leaving you with earnings that are a fraction of what they could be.
Include contract expiration dates
We’re hearing more frequently about clients who decide to take an unexpected hiatus from their writing project. That’s fine, as long as the ghostwriter has been notified and is willing to put the work on hold. Otherwise, that work, for which they had blocked off time, causes a major hole in their schedule and bank account. That can lead ghosts to have to scramble to fill time they thought they had already sold.
An even bigger problem, however, is when that same client suddenly reappears months or years later expecting to pick up where they left off. Unless you’ve addressed this in your agreement with them, you may get stuck with continuing on the project without extra compensation for the stop and start.
So, this year, consider adding a clause that addresses what happens when a client goes AWOL for a matter of days or weeks. Perhaps after 30 days of no word or no work you consider the project cancelled, and which triggers a restart fee when the client wants to get back to work later in the year. There are a number of ways to structure this, but plan in advance for sudden stoppages so that you don’t lose money.
It’s important not to let your professional work rule your life. The best way to avoid that is to set business hours—when you are officially open for business. During those hours, you’ll answer the phone and respond to emails and texts. But outside of those hours, you won’t.
Communicating those operating hours to prospects and clients is also important, to set expectations. If you never respond to emails on the weekend, or after 6:00 pm, tell them. And then stick to it.
If you start responding at midnight, or within 5 minutes of a client reaching out, they may come to expect such responsiveness. Instead, consider scheduling your response for the next day, so you can cross it off your to-do list but not give the impression that you’re sitting at your computer 24/7 waiting for their email (even if you are).
Take a vacation
Regular rest and rejuvenation is important for your mental and physical health. Granted, it’s hard to plan much travel in the current age of COVID, but think of ways you could get away from your current view to another safe space. Maybe that means renting a lakeside cabin or ski chalet, with its own kitchen, to avoid too-close socializing. Or maybe you elect to take a weekend away in a hotel to recharge with room service and a pretty view. A staycation, when you spend time at home not working, can also be a safe way to relax.
I hope that taking care of yourself and your business is on top of your priority list for 2022.