A freelance writer should:
- have a website
- maintain a blog
- actively participate in the online community
- participate in social media
- make marketing an everyday priority
To varying degrees, I’ve believed all of those oft-repeated recommendations.
Today, I’m questioning conventional wisdom.
I’ll spare you my long tale of personal navel-gazing and the various mini-epiphanies that led me to reconsider many aspects of my business model over the last few months. Let’s just say that I’ve decided to change a number of things and that decision forced me to take a brief hiatus from many of my usual online activities.
As I slogged through the last month, I was a little worried about not having a fully operable website (it’s still awaiting completion and a re-launch as I write this). I worried about not blogging. I wondered what a dramatic decrease in community involvement and social media might do. Mainly, I wondered how in the hell I was going to make a change if I wasn’t actively marketing myself in the process.
My decision led to a very rough patch as I moved from one set of policies and procedures to another. There was a major cash flow hiccup as I moved from Model A to Model B. Not pretty, but temporary.
Now… Well, things are good. Hell, they’re better than ever. And that’s happening even though my domain currently points to a little Blogger.com blog that says, “I’ll be back soon”. It’s happening even though I haven’t been blogging. It’s working without much professionally oriented social media utilization, without spending a great deal of time interacting with the freelance writing community and without an intensive marketing effort.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not as if things are just magically happening. I still work. I just haven’t been involved on those fronts lately and it really hasn’t had a negative impact on my business. If anything, my abandonment of the conventional wisdom is making me money right now by providing me with more time to focus on writing.
It’s possible that I’m an exception to the rule. The conventional wisdom may be conventional because it’s true for most folks. I realize that I started in this field a few days after YouTube launched and that I have a network of contacts that new people don’t have. If I was starting today, what I’ve been doing probably wouldn’t work.
All I can tell you is that I basically took a month off from this “world” and nothing horrible happened. I had a brief and pronounced cash flow dip (which I could have avoided if I had enough patience to roll with Model A for an extra month), but it was brief.
I’m here to tell you that there’s no law requiring you to blog twice per day. There’s no rule demanding a professionally designed website. You can live without Twitter and Facebook if you’d like. You don’t need to comment on this post to show that you’re a part of this community in hopes that will somehow put money in your pocket.
Everything is optional.
Maybe I’m just really slow. Maybe I just wandered off into some very high weeds and became slightly lost . This post may seem like common sense to many of you. This whole learning experience has been eye opening for me, though.
I’ve long laughed at conventional wisdom, but I’ve held close to it in many ways with respect to building my business. Not anymore.
I’ve decided it’s about my/your plan and not THE plan. Again, everything is optional.
This realization has been liberating. Now that the world is spinning a little slower, I can get back into the things I love and I can ignore the rest without worrying that I’m going to somehow doom myself. I know better. I slammed on the brakes for a month and lived to tell the happy tale.
When I get my site fixed to my satisfaction, I’ll slap it up there. I do have some blogging plans. I do plan to be active in certain discussions. I’m making those choices based on what I want to do, however. I’m not making them because I think they’re essential.
A good plan is a good plan. Even if it runs contrary to conventional wisdom.