by Terreece Clarke
It’s a simple rule that isn’t easy to follow. It applies to all stages and areas of a writer’s career and is key to their success.
The Gig Hustle
In the beginning, writers usually do one of two things – they either start off with fire, running after every gig they can get, or they dip a toe or two into the pool and test the waters. Regardless of the approach, new writers must always hustle to get new gigs, experience and clips. Successful writers go beyond the virtual world, keeping their eyes and ears open in their everyday lives. Local publications, businesses and organizations are all sources for work, contacts and gigs.
The same holds true for established writers. If you’ve been in the writing world long enough, you know a gig can end at any time, for any reason. Not only can steady clients fall by the wayside, new, dream opportunities can crop up without warning. Often the only way to find out about these opportunities is to keep a watchful eye.
For example, take your local parenting magazine. Parenting articles may not be your niche, however they may need a web designer or sales letters and brochures for their clients. Say your niche is in the automotive field, that same magazine may accept a pitch on an automotive care article.
The Branding Hustle
What’s your platform, brand or niche? What’s your product focus? Brand hustling coincides with the gig hustle. While looking for gigs, writers also need to look for branding opportunities. Build your web presence. Find blogs, web sites and leaders in your field. Keep abreast of the latest happenings, post comments when appropriate (and when you have something relevant or constructive to add) and follow interesting figures on social networking sites like Twitter and Digg. A writer must also build a web site, keep it updated and include the latest news and happenings in their career.
The Networking Hustle
“I didn’t know you were a writer! What do you write?” If people don’t know what you do, you are doing a poor job of marketing yourself. Registering yourself with your local business associations, placing business cards on community boards, sending brochures or sales letters to organizations and even tabling at appropriate events are all grassroots strategies to get your name and services out there. The same holds true online.
In essence, to always hustle is to always look for ways to improve. Revisit your web site and business card information periodically. What does your marketing material say about you? What are other writers doing?
Check your gigs. Which are supporting your platform or niche? If you’re lucky enough to have steady clients, ask yourself what can you do to produce better product. How can you exceed their expectations?
Look for ways to streamline the business of writing. What’s the most productive way to look for gigs? How can you minimize the intake process for clients? Is your billing software working for you? Are you utilizing your editorial calendar? Are you meeting your quarterly financial goals?
Everyday is a hustle. Evaluate yourself, your business, your writing and your opportunities. It’s the only way to obtain and maintain success.