10 Tips to Help You Get in the Zone to Write

Getting in the zone to write can feel like a big challenge. It requires a careful balance of both creativity and productivity.

10 Tips to Help You Get in the Zone to Write

And if you’re trying to write to deadline, this could end up being stressful.

Or, perhaps, impossible.

10 Tips to Help You Get in the Zone to Write

Getting into the zone to write is less about magic and more about finding the right routine to switch your writing brain on. Butt in seat, get to work kind of thing.

As you gain more experience creating the zone rather than waiting for inspiration to strike, you’ll develop a bank of strategies you can rely on.

To help get you started getting in the zone to write, here are some tips.

Figure out the best writing routine

Bad news first: There’s no ideal time of day to write.

Certain people are more productive in the mornings, while others prefer to get their heads down in the evenings.

I’m NOT a morning person but I figured out that’s when I’m the most productive. So guess what? I get up early and I write.

The important thing is to find what works best for you. This is really important as there will always be something other to do than write.

And once you find your ideal routine, stick to it.

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Think about what’s inspired you in the past

If you’re struggling to get into the zone, think back to what’s helped in the past.

Recall a time when you managed to be productive and did great work. What was your environment like? What time of day was it? How did you mentally prepare ahead of time?

Here are some tips to get inspired, and you might find something familiar on the list. 

Outline your goals

As with any project, the best way to be productive is to break it down into smaller tasks.

Set time limits for each task and reward yourself when you achieve them. The SMART goals method is useful. It helps to outline attainable goals and set your own deadlines.

Optimize your workstation

It’s hard to be productive if you’re not comfortable. And setting up an ergonomic workstation is also vital to your health. You need desk furniture that’s supportive or you could end up with poor posture or back problems. Adjust your chair and sit with correct posture. Also, make sure you have sufficient lighting and that your monitor and keyboard are at the correct distance.

Once you analyze your workstation you may want to consider ordering new equipment. While it’s fine to work in bed or on the couch from time to time, having an ergonomic setup will serve you and your writing in the long run.

Take care of your eyesight

Staring at a screen all day isn’t good for your eyes. You know this.

If you feel your eyes are strained, consider getting an eye test. There are special glasses you can wear just for looking at screens. You can choose here from a full range, depending on the level of your eyesight.

Also make a point to take regular screen breaks and look somewhere else, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Read

If you still can’t find motivation, why not read something by your favourite writers? Not only does reading entertain and help you get out of your head, it may give you the inspiration you need.

At the very least, reading will remind you why you decided to start writing in the first place.

Get ideas from other writers

Networking with other writers can also help you get into the zone for writing. Chatting and working through your writing tips and strategies can help you as much as it does other writers.

This is also a good way to deal with insecurity as a writer too. It’s comforting to know that other people are going through the same struggles from time to time.

Try relaxation techniques

If stress is the problem, consider trying relaxation techniques. These may include meditation, yoga, massage or even going for a walk.

It’s more difficult to get into the zone when you’re feeling anxious, and panicking about work can often be counter-productive.

Find a relaxation activity that works for you. You don’t necessarily need to do this before you start writing, but at some point in the day to let your body wind down.

Take a break

Don’t work yourself too hard and remember taking writing breaks is important. The danger of working for too long on the same piece is that you might lose your objectivity.

Taking regular breaks allows you to clear your mind and return to work with a new perspective. It’s a good idea to try to disconnect completely and do something else. Go for a walk or run errands.

When you’re ready to work again you’ll find it’s easier to get in the zone to write. 

Don’t force it

If nothing seems to work and you can’t get in the zone right now then don’t force it. It’s important to be in the right frame of mind otherwise you might find that you don’t produce your best work.

If you’re working to a deadline then take a big break and come back to it. Everyone needs a different optimum level of pressure to work efficiently. You might find inspiration comes later and there’s no point wasting time if you’re not getting much done.

Getting in the zone to write can be challenging, but all writers eventually find their own way. When you find yours, great things will happen. It’ll only inspire you more. It’s important to find the environment and routine that makes you comfortable. Share your experiences with other writers and help each other find motivation.

Getting in the zone to write can feel like a big challenge. It requires a careful balance of both creativity and productivity. 

And if you're trying to write to deadline, this could end up being stressful. 

Or, perhaps, impossible.

Here are 10 tips for getting into the zone to write.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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How to Set Your Freelance Writing Rates So You Actually Make Money

Do you struggle to set your freelance writing rates? Knowing what to charge for different services can seem like a mystery or even like a shot in the dark, but it doesn’t have to be!

How to Set Your Freelance Writing Rates So You Actually Make Money

Why you need to have freelance writing rates

When you’re new to freelance writing, it’s easy to focus more on finding work that what your rates should be.

Totally makes sense!

And then someone asks you the dreaded question, “What do you charge for this service?”

How do you answer?

Do you freeze like a deer in headlights? Do you stammer and throw out the first price that comes to mind? Or do you have a rate sheet and an internal hourly rate that you consult before quoting?

There are SO MANY BENEFITS to having a system for pricing your work and setting your freelance writing rates.

Most importantly, you’ll actually make money.

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Hear me out.

Pricing your work properly means you’ll set rates in a way that your business runs profitably. And if your business doesn’t make money, then you’re not running a business.

You’re working on a hobby.

Speaking of hobby, I filmed a little video talking about the time I realized my knitting passion was, in fact, a HOBBY and not a BUSINESS.

This realization was great because allowing my passion to remain a fun hobby allowed me to create a business that was actually a business.

There are many different ways to set rates but the most important thing is to make sure your bringing in an amount you need to live.

I’ve created a course on this topic called How to Price Your Work so I’ll do a quick summary below but keep in mind this can take a bit of time to figure out, and there’s a lot to consider.

How to set proper freelance writing rates

  • Note how much money is already coming into your household on a monthly basis
  • Look at your fixed expenses so you have a baseline for what you need to bring in with your business
  • Figure out your cost of doing business, including equipment, software, office space, utilities, contractors, childcare, housecleaning, fuel, meals or whatever else factors into running your business
  • What is your ideal income? Write it down so you can figure out what you’ll need to bring in to make this amount

Like I said, this can take some time but trust me, it’s SO worth it. Because once you understand what you need to bring in to run a profitable business, you can set your rates accordinly.

But what about pricing specific services or projects? How do you price those?

It is a good idea to refer to the going rates in your industry for three reasons.

First, you will be able to price your services competitively.

Second, if a “going rate” is well below your threshold, then you can avoid offering rather than being frustrated for doing a service that doesn’t meet your monetary needs.

Third, if someone offers to pay you a certain rate that doesn’t meet industry standards you can walk away with confidence, rather than accept a rate that is below the bar.

Where to find freelance writing rates

I’ll list a few places where you can look through rates but keep in mind you should compare these rates to those in your local area as well. These are general rates and depending on where your clients are located, this could shift dramatically.

Are you ready to Charge What Your Work is Worth?

Do you struggle to set your freelance writing rates? Knowing what to charge for different services can seem like a mystery or even like a shot in the dark, but it doesn't have to be!

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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5 Valuable Tactics to Actually Improve Your Business ROI

If you’re a freelancer you’re a business owner. And as such, any time you can improve your business by streamlining or adding processes, the better you’ll do.

5 Valuable Tactics to Actually Improve Your Business ROI

Freelance writers and entrepreneurs have to play all the roles in a business. But if we’re not careful, we can get bogged down in the day to day and neglect the business building part of things.

Systems and processes are the secret to scaling but they take time and planning. And when you’re in the midst of just trying to keep up with your workload, these business improvement practices can easily fall by the wayside.

But if you want to improve your business, you must find time for this important groundwork.

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5 strategies to improve your business performance

Business building is a daunting task, especially when you’re also responsible for every other aspect of your company. Over time you’ll figure out which tactics and practices serve you and contribute to growth and which ones only distract.

There is definitely some trial and error for finding strategies that work for you. Here are five suggestions for places to start to improve the performance of your business. 

Identify bottlenecks

One of the quickest ways to increase your profitability and productivity is to identify and resolve bottlenecks. It’s difficult to notice these chokepoints when you’re zoomed into the details of your business and day-to-day work so take time to back up and look at the big picture.

To find where you can improve processes look at these areas.

Time

If you aren’t tracking your time, start. This feels like extra work, I know, but knowing how long it takes you to complete work is the only real way to understand where your bottlenecks are.

Look at how long projects take to complete and compare them to one another. Pay attention to the ones that are taking longer than they should.

Hourly rate

When you look at your prices versus how long it takes you to complete a project, does your hourly rate make sense?

If you’re unsure, here’s more about how to price your work properly.

Type of work

Look at your current clients and the type of work you’re doing. Is this the work you want to be doing? Are these the clients you want to have?

Here’s more about identifying your ideal reader or client.

Once you have identified the areas that need improvement you can develop strategies to address these areas. 

Automate processes

Technology is rapidly transforming the business landscape through processes like automation.

And these advancements are available for freelancers too!

Look at what’s available. Talk to your network and ask what other entrepreneurs are doing to automate their processes. Consider implementing the tools that make sense.

This may feel like it will take more time to set up and optimize than simply doing things the way you’ve always done them but automating and systemizing will allow you to scale down the road. The value cannot be overstated.

Here’s a real life example to help drive this point home. Stakeholders in the food and beverage industry can utilize text message marketing for restaurants to communicate with customers and staff. This also helps minimize errors, improve efficiency and reduce staff workload. There was a learning curve and initial setup costs but look at what they’ve gained as a result. 

Want to improve your business? Ask for feedback

It’s easy to see your business through rose-coloured glasses. Or to only see issues from your point of view. Ask your existing customers for feedback. Ask trusted colleagues for honest advice. The truth may be scary to face but this is one of the fastest ways to learn where your weak points are.

Of course you may not choose to address every point that comes back to you, but there will be some feedback that you can and should act upon. There’s always something you can improve.

Keep marketing

Marketing improves brand awareness, increases client acquisition and adds to your overall authority within your industry. You will never regret doing more marketing, just make sure it’s the right kind of marketing for you and your business. 

Setting aside time each quarter to plan your marketing will allow you to focus your energy on achieving your goals and improving your business. And don’t take your foot off the gas if you’re full for clients. Your business will still benefit from marketing, even if your main focus shifts from acquisition to another area for a while. Keep marketing.

Prioritize training

How much time do you set aside for continuing education? Whether you’re a solo business owner or you have contractors or staff, equipping your employees with the right skills will only benefit your business. Look at your skillls. Where could you use some training? Consider your employee’s skills and identify gaps. Invest in education and you’ll not only keep up with the changing business landscape but you’ll see improvements in other areas too.

If you’ve been in business for any amount of time then you know the landscape is constantly changing. You can count on that! But if you pay attention to areas where you can continue improving then you’re positioning your business for continued relevance and profitability. 

If you're a freelancer you're a business owner. And as such, any time you can improve your business by streamlining or adding processes, the better you'll do.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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What’s a Social Media Manager and Why Should I Care?

I heard of the social media manager title years ago, but never considered I would or could be one.

What's a Social Media Manager?

I figured it was for someone else, someone who went to school for new media or social media management (things that didn’t exist when I did my bachelor of journalism).

But then my LinkedIn job suggestions started getting…obvious.

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But I’m a writer! Who cares about what a social media manager is!

Here’s a splash of what I see whenever I check LinkedIn Jobs to see what’s new and who’s hiring.

  • Social Media Coordinator
  • Copywriter
  • Office Administrator
  • An Open Letter to _______’s Future Marketer
  • Client Success Coach
  • Marketing Specialist
  • Social Media Manager
  • PR Consultant
  • Marketing and Events Coordinator
  • Brand Publishing Specialist

Keep in mind these are the jobs posted in the past seven days in my area, which LinkedIn thought I’d be a good match for.

If you’re a writer but have collected different skills, experience, connections, etc. you may have a different snapshot. But do you see what I’m talking about?

Two reactions come to mind I must choose between

  1. Wow, this social network doesn’t know me at all
  2. When did I become a social media manager?

So I begin wondering, what’s a social media manager and is it different from what I’m doing now?

Well I’ll cut to the chase, all 10 of these postings are about the same.

The type of work, the skills involved, the experience required, everything. No matter if it’s administrator level, coordinator level or management level. Now that’s confusing!

This tells me something

I need to understand all the ways people think of the skills I have—calling myself a writer without attaching any of the other keywords strips out nine of these jobs. Wow. Yet all require the exact same skills. OK…

What now?

Fluent in social media but wondering how to create a sustainable, effective Instagram strategy? I’ve written an ebook on exactly this topic!

This is a free resource but it’s a part of my resource library and to access it you’ll need a password. Pop your email address into the form and I’ll send it to you.

Once you’re in the library navigate to the social media section and look for “How to Create an Instagram Strategy ebook.”

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Here’s what’s in the modern-day social media manager’s toolkit

  • Fluent in social—all social (paying attention to social trends, dos and don’ts, what’s hot and what’s not)
  • Strong writing skills (with a specialization in content marketing/copy writing)
  • A people-first approach to everything (a service mindset, which not only has you listening to your customers and industry chatter but being engaged in your community)
  • Graphically inclined (not a pro, but you need the basics of design and video production)
  • Comfortable with social selling (and understanding how this is done)
  • Competent at SEO and analytics (yes you will have to run campaigns and reports)
  • Confident public speaker (yes you will have to use Instastories and Facebook Live—you may even have to speak on a panelin person)
  • An understanding of human behaviour (you don’t have to have a psych degree but you do need to understand what works and what doesn’t, what people want and what they don’t)
  • Reasonable budgeting skills (show me the money! Er…show your clients how you’re spending their money!)
  • Adaptable (this industry is like a river—moving fast and constant, you have to keep up with the changes and adapt as necessary)
  • Curious and savvy (in order to succeed as a social media manager, you need to know what works—but if you’re ahead of the curve you’ll be able to move your clients’ business strategies forward faster and won’t be distracted by fleeting trends or vanity metrics)
  • Strong grasp of marketing (specifically strategy and digital, email, and funnel marketing)

If this seems like three jobs in one, you’re right.

And if it seems like a lot of different skill sets wrapped up into one, you’re right again.

But this seems to be where the industry is at these days and if you want to compete, you need at least a cursory knowledge of these tools.

Keep in mind the typical day-to-day tasks a social media manager executes each day are a little less overwhelming: writing and scheduling posts, running ads, replying to fans and creating graphics.

See? Not so bad. However, the only way this works is with a strong foundation—a strong social marketing strategy.

This is where the real value of a social media manager comes in. If you have good instincts and can build a strong strategy for your client, you are going to see great results.

So stay at it and invest in yourself!

5 Tips for Optimizing Your Social Media Profiles Free Ebook

By the way, if your social media presence needs a little work check out this free ebook in my resource library. You’ll need a password to access the library so pop your email into the form below and I’ll send it to you.

Once you’re in the library navigate to the social media section and look for “Social Media Profile Optimization Ebook.”

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Are you looking to level-up your business on social? Need a social media manager? Let’s chat!

Let me know what problems you’re looking to solve and I’ll be happy to send you a quote.

I heard of the social media manager title years ago, but never considered I would or could be one. I figured it was for someone else, someone who went to school for new media or social media management (things that didn't exist when I did my bachelor of journalism). But then my LinkedIn job suggestions started getting…obvious.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
I heard of the social media manager title years ago, but never considered I would or could be one. I figured it was for someone else, someone who went to school for new media or social media management (things that didn't exist when I did my bachelor of journalism). But then my LinkedIn job suggestions started getting…obvious.
I never considered I would or could be a social media manager. It was for someone else, someone who went to school for new media or social media management.

Valuable Advice for Freelancers | 4 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Marketing yourself is a huge part of running a freelance business and yet these four marketing mistakes are made all the time. All the time!

Marketing yourself is a huge part of running a freelance business and yet these four marketing mistakes are made all the time. All the time!

Marketing mistakes for freelancers to avoid

There are all sorts of stats flying around about how Millenials all have side hustles and make something like $250 extra per month from them.

So everyone’s a freelancer now, right?

But the thing is, freelancing doesn’t have to be some sort of little odd jobs racket. But how do you turn things around and make real money from freelancing?

Marketing.

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Good marketing.

No marketing generally means no one hears about you or knows what you do.

Good marketing keeps your prospect funnel full and attracts your ideal customers to you.

Bad marketing means you enter the dreaded feast or famine cycle. Or worse.

The consequences of poor marketing is like taking random shots in the dark. Regardless of how great your product or service is, people can’t get a handle on what you do or who you serve.

Bad marketing means your message is muddled, inconsistent or muted.

Here are four marketing mistakes to avoid

Not having a marketing plan

Honestly, you won’t go wrong by investing the time in a solid marketing strategy.

It will take time or money, or both, to put it together but once you have it mapped out it’s a road map to follow. One that shows you where to pour your marketing efforts and helps you ignore all the shiny objects and other trends that only serve to distract you.

Trying to run a viable business without marketing plan is almost an impossible task.

Although you may find clients or grab bylines, your success will be scattered rather than strategic.

Every business needs a well-thought-through marketing plan that will help them target the right customers effectively without wasting a lot of money.

Another thing to note about marketing plans is you don’t have to create or implement these on your own. It’s not for everyone!

Fortunately, you can rely on specialists, agencies or other experts to help you. For example, managed marketing experts like Rsmconnect.com can help you implement your marketing plan by giving you an expert marketing team.

Only marketing when sales are low

Ugh.

If I hear a fellow freelancer bail out of marketing because they’re busy or have a full client load ONE MORE TIME….

Here’s the thing. You should always be marketing. Now, the intensity level may wax and wane as you have capacity, but the marketing machine should always be running.

So many business owners think they only need marketing when they’re trying to rustle up work. That, my friend, is how you get stuck in the feast and famine cycle.

It takes time for prospects to get to know you, like you and trust you. Not everyone is ready to hire the moment they hear about your service.

Keep up good marketing habits.

Considering marketing as a huge business cost

Do you think about marketing as a cost or an investment?

If you’re thinking of marketing as a horrible chore, then you’re doing it wrong.

Marketing should be an investment into your future business, and your marketing plan will ensure your messaging and positioning are allowing you to run the type of freelance business you want.

Figure out a way to reframe your view of marketing and stop making these marketing mistakes. If it feels icky then take a look at the tactics you’re using. They shouldn’t feel icky.

Change your tactics, don’t bail on marketing.

Retargeting bounced visitors

Remember before when I said not everyone who runs into you online is ready to hire you or buy something from you? It’s true.

And guess what else? Not everyone who visits your website or online store is ready to purchase from you either.

Retargetting shoppers or website visitors is a no-brainer to keep your warm leads warm so when they are ready to buy, they’ll think of you. Hopefully.

According to some experts, about 58% of online shoppers in the US alone do not push through their online transactions simply because they’re ready to buy.

Think about it. How many times have you added something to your cart only to change your mind, or get distracted and not finish the transaction? You may still want the item but the timing was wrong.

A retargetting ad can remind you to finalize that purchase, or to sign up for that course, or whatever. If you’re running an online business but aren’t investing in retargetting ads, you’re leaving money on the table and this is honestly one of the biggest marketing mistakes you can make.

Marketing yourself is a huge part of running a freelance business and yet these four marketing mistakes are made all the time. All the time! Here are four marketing mistakes to avoid.

One more thing. I think you’ll enjoy my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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