Member Update – Your First Hour

3 minute read

Once your writing business gets rolling — you have a few clients, there are projects on your calendar, deadlines you need to meet — one of the problems a lot of freelancers face is keeping up with their own business-building activities.

If you don’t stay on top of developing your skills, managing your business, and marketing yourself, then you’re setting yourself up for a feast or famine cycle that looks like this…

You get busy with client work. Everything is good. You’re making money, paying your bills, enjoying your life.

But then you wrap up all your projects and… tumbleweeds.

Now you have to scramble to line up the next batch of projects.

It’s a stressful way to build a business.

Here’s a simple trick to help you avoid the feast or famine cycle…

Reserve the first hour of your workday for working on your business.

Set a Recurring Meeting

It’s easy to look at a block of time and think, “It’s no big deal if I shift that to another time of day, so I can take this appointment.” Or book this meeting… or whatever.

But you need to get into the mindset that it is a big deal.

You are your own most important client. If you had time booked to meet with a client, you would go to great lengths to avoid moving that meeting around. You agreed to it. You’d keep it if at all possible.

Treat the first hour of your day as a client meeting. Schedule a recurring meeting on your calendar to remind yourself that it’s important!

Why the First Hour?

Truthfully, you can schedule your business-building hour at any time of day. But there are some good reasons to make it the first hour.

Many people are at their freshest at the beginning of the day, and a lot of people are at their most creative. If that’s true for you, and you want to give your business your best… then that would be your first hour.

As the day wears on, things come up, sometimes things you can’t ignore. It’s easier to keep your meeting with yourself when it happens at the beginning of the day.

And you send yourself a signal that your business comes first.

How to Spend that Hour

You can dedicate that hour to whatever makes the most sense for your business. That might mean you work on your content marketing… you network on LinkedIn… you send pitches to clients… or you work on developing a new skill.

You might even choose to have each day of the week dedicated to its own thing.

How you spend this hour will be different for your business than it would be for mine. The important thing is to think about what will move your business forward. Ask yourself, “What will make the most difference in a year?” And then prioritize what you do based on that answer.

If you can commit to working an hour on your business every day, you’ll start to see growth in your skills, in the number of projects you land, and in how much control you feel like you have over your income and your schedule.

Give it a try for at least the next month and see what kind of difference it can make for you.

In Case You Missed It…

Have you read anything recently that you couldn’t put down… Something that really drew you in and made you want to know what was going to happen next? Whether it was fiction or nonfiction, you were likely drawn in because you were emotionally engaged with the writing. Emotional engagement plays a big role in persuasive writing, including paid ads. In her newest PPC & Advertising column, Zoe Blarowski gives you five ways to infuse more emotion into your ad copy.

Studies show that marketing — including email — is much more effective when it’s personalized. Personalization makes it relevant. It makes the person reading feel seen and understood. And it makes readers more likely to watch for, read, and interact with your emails. Personalization goes way beyond including a reader’s name in the subject line. In her latest Email Marketing column, Michele Peterson shares why and how to layer more personalization into your email messages.

Have you built a marketing plan for your business? If not, you can use Jennifer Ayling’s 2024 marketing plan for inspiration and guidance. She shares the details of her marketing strategies and plans for implementation in her Reality Blog. You can read that right here.

3 Things I Think You’ll Like…

Setting regular work hours for your business can benefit both you and your clients. Here are 10 things to consider.

Have you mapped out your ideal day as a freelancer? This can be a useful exercise in getting organized.

If you need a little extra help with planning your writing into your day and managing your projects, you’ll find some good tips from Rock Content right here.

That’s all for now. Have a great week!