How to Hop Off the Hamster Wheel of Freelance Content Creation

August Birch
Aug 7, 2019 · 6 min read

Automate your freelance writing income and stop trading time for money

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Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash

Last night I earned money while I slept. I was literally sleeping (just like they say in those YouTube ads, where the guy yells a lot and says you can earn effortless cash in your underpants — I mean, while wearing only your underpants). I woke up and checked my phone (you know, the thing we’re not supposed to do when we greet the day) — there it was, money in my in-box.

This happens every morning.

I write this, not in a spammy, sleazy, info-mercial sort-of-way. I write this to give you, dear freelancer, more return on your most-precious asset — time. They don’t make any more of it. And whether you’re rich or poor, fit or flabby, we all get 24 hours to play with.

If you’re a writer (especially a freelancer), you know the bulk of your money will come from your efforts behind the keyboard. Eventually, you may have a few books you can sell, but you’ll earn much of your income from one-off projects.

You work. You get paid. You don’t work. You don’t get paid.

This is a tough way to exist and a hard equation to escape from. There are only so many hours in a day. Some of those hours are spent sleeping. If you spend all your writing time trading time for money, there will be a ceiling to your income. And don’t get me started on what happens if you get sick. Just ask J.C. McBride about that one.

Email is the solution.

When writers build a tribe of like-minded folks, who all want more of what the writer has to offer — we can develop an automated income stream to help buy us more time to write our bigger projects.

I hear this a lot, “but I just want to write!”

I get it. Most writers enjoy the writing part and have little interest in the marketing portion of the work. But if we don’t tell people what we do, we won’t sell any of that work that took our valuable time.

Email solves this ‘time for money’ problem.

Using automated welcome sequences, each new reader is taking through a carefully-curated series of relationship-building letters. Maybe you offer a free course, or some other valuable treat to entice new subscribers to part with their email address.

No matter how you get new subscribers to your list, you can use email to automate part (or most) of your income.

Email is the great multiplier

In the era of the gig economy, we writers can use email to turn our one-person publishing business into a giant empire without wasting a single word. I can write an email a year ago, but a new subscriber will get it tomorrow. He won’t know or care when I wrote it. The email will be new to him.

With email we develop relationships while we sleep.

It’s impossible to do this with one-off letters. When we pre-design an email sequence, not only do we release a slow drip of who we are and how we can serve the reader, but we also encourage the new subscriber to interact with us.

Email stops the cyber-begging.

When we write our automated sales messages with a cool head, we remove all the desperation from our sales language. The ‘ask’ is subtle. We don’t need to beg. Not only do we provide a ton of value with our welcome sequence, but we also pepper the sequence with offers for our work.

If you connect with your readers in a meaningful way, on a regular basis, and you provide them with a ton of free value in the process — a certain percentage of them will jump at the chance to support you.

We can test our messages too.

Maybe your first, automated ‘ask’ didn’t produce the results you wanted. I tweak mine all the time. I try to beat the ‘control’ (as they say in the copywriting world). This is why email is so great. You can change anything and send a better version the next time.

Once you get a message that works, you set it and forget it (until it stops working).

Email stops the dirty trade

Day jobs are the biggest culprit of the dirty trade. What’s that, you ask? The dirty trade is where you work for money. When you don’t work, you don’t get the money. Much of freelancing revolves around this practice as well.

We look for clients. We close the deal. We do the work. We get the money.

Then, we’ve got to look for more work and start the process again. If a freelancer sleeps, she’ll wake up with the same amount of money she went to bed with (unless a client paid an invoice overnight, but the work had to be done first).

But sleep-earning is just an example.

When we automate a certain portion of our earned income, we take the stress off our bigger projects. The lights and the phone are paid for. Maybe even the mortgage. It doesn’t take a lot of daily sales to pay for the average mortgage (sorry, California, you’ll have to sell a few more, but this will work for you too).

No, you probably won’t automate all your income through email, but this process allows you to cherry-pick your freelance clients more than you could if you were desperate to eat.

If all your income is through trading time for money, you’ve built yourself another day job.

How to make automatic freelance writing income with email

This is not for the lazy of feint of heart. The set-up will take a lot of work to get right and not everyone is built for it. But, this can be done with a tiny budget, and if you work your face-off, you too can create income while you shower.

Here are some ways freelance writers stop trading time for money:

  • Paid newsletters (write them once and distribute to many)
  • Courses
  • Books
  • Patron-type model where people donate small amounts to support your free content
  • Mastermind groups with a paywall
  • Monthly group coaching (This is a hybrid. Yes, you have to trade time to get paid, but you coach a lot of people at once, so you can scale your efforts as big as you want, with a single call)
  • Affiliate income

All these income streams are possible if you own your email list.

You don’t have to quit your bigger projects, but these extra income streams buy you more time. There’s nothing I hate more than using a piece of content only once.

I rarely send one-off emails. Most of my emailing is automated. I write an email two years ago and it’s sent thousands of times, day after day, with each recipient feeling as if I wrote it to them, just now.

It’s time to jump off the wheel of freelance writing hell

We need you fresh-faced and less anxious.

We don’t want you to take less than your worth, because you’ve got to make a payment on your kid’s braces.

We want nothing but you best work out there, for the best customers, finished within the best time period.

Email will help you close the gap.

Email will give you more time to do your best work. More time for writing and less time chasing one-off projects.

When you’re ready, I’ve developed a free email masterclass called the Tribe 1K. Inside, I’ll show you everything you need to know to generate your first 1,000 subscribers (and your next 1,000). It’s time to automate some of your freelance writing income.

The class is no joke. It took me two months to develop. But you don’t have to believe me, I’ve got a ton of testimonials from happy students on the enrollment page, too.

Tap the link and enroll below.

We’re waiting for you.

(Enroll in My Free Email Masterclass: Get Your First 1,000 Subscribers)

August Birch (AKA the Book Mechanic) is both a fiction and non-fiction author from Michigan, USA. A self-proclaimed guardian of writers and creators, August teaches indie authors how to write books that sell and how to sell more of those books once they’re written. When he’s not writing or thinking about writing August carries a pocket knife and shaves his head with a safety razor.

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August Birch

Written by

Blue-Collar Indie | Marketing & Email Tips for Writer-Creators | Tap for My FREE, Tribe 1K Email Masterclass: bookmechanicmedia.com/your-first-1000-subscribers/

The Book Mechanic

Down-and-dirty growth strategies for commercial writers and creators, with a blue collar work ethic, and a no-nonsense voice.

August Birch

Written by

Blue-Collar Indie | Marketing & Email Tips for Writer-Creators | Tap for My FREE, Tribe 1K Email Masterclass: bookmechanicmedia.com/your-first-1000-subscribers/

The Book Mechanic

Down-and-dirty growth strategies for commercial writers and creators, with a blue collar work ethic, and a no-nonsense voice.

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