One big problem I have attempting to run my own blogs, as well as offer my services as a freelance writer, is balancing my time between them. It is tempting to look at my own personal projects as something I can keep putting off since they don’t pay me money immediately like the freelancing does. In addition, since I’m writing for myself rather than a client, I don’t have to worry about losing my own business.
I’ve found, however, that if I don’t put the same priority on my own projects that I do my clients, things don’t get done the way they should. My blogs would sometimes go many days, or even weeks, without getting any of my attention. In the past I had a site which I built up well, and it was getting some fairly respectable traffic numbers, but then it was neglected because I put all my focus on writing for my freelance clients. Over time, that site dwindled and I ended up getting rid of it because I thought I just didn’t have the time to keep it up.
The fact was, I was just putting too much focus on my freelance writing clients, and not enough on my own projects. Since my own projects are designed to try to build up a more passive income, I look at them as longer term investments. Over time, I’d like to get to the point where I can be much more selective on which freelance writing jobs I accept, and spend more of my time building and expanding my personal projects (including this site). For now, however, I need to keep a healthy balance.
Ideas for Balance
First of all, I’m not making this post pretending to be some sort of expert in this area. As some of you know, I often go 2-3 days without posting here, and it is almost always because I got a large order from a client. This is an area where I continuously struggle, and I would love to hear about any strategies you have for being successful both as a freelance writer, and as a blogger with your own sites. For now, however, here are some tips & tricks I’ve used that have helped me quite a bit.
- You are a Client – Treat your own projects just like they were from an outside client. Even though you might not get paid for your writing today, you’ll earn much more from a successful blog over the long term.
- Reasonable Goals – Don’t try to commit to writing 5 posts per day on your personal blog, while still writing 10 articles for clients each day. For example, my goal for this site is to post at least 3-4 times per week (though ideally I’d like to get 1 per day in). This is a very reasonable goal for me, and if I stay focused I can get that done without causing my freelance clients to suffer.
- Add Your Writing to Your Agenda – I keep track of all my freelance writing orders in a simple spreadsheet. In order to make sure I don’t keep putting my own work off, I’ve begun adding the posts I want to write for my own site into this spreadsheet as well. I simply leave the payment field blank.
- Estimate Your Earnings – While it is virtually impossible to know how much a personal site will earn in the future, it can be motivating to at least estimate your earnings. Even if you simply make up a figure of $100 earned per article you write (spread out over the next 5 years, for example) it is much easier to prioritize writing for personal projects.
- Choose Enjoyable Projects – One of the best things about writing for yourself is that you get to pick what you write about. When starting a new project, keep that in mind. Even if you think there might be a lot of money to be made writing a blog about the science behind paint drying, for example, it isn’t likely going to hold your attention very well. Choose topics you love reading and writing about, and you won’t have as much trouble giving your own sites the attention they require.
As I mentioned before, if you have any other suggestions, please post them in the comments below! I know I could sure use any help in this area I can get! Hopefully these simple tips will help you a little bit as well.