How to Be Productive Even When You’re Unmotivated

Setting goals and dreaming big is well and good but figuring out how to be productive even when you don’t feel like it is key to a thriving freelance business.

How to be productive

How to be productive even when you’re unmotivated

When you’re the one juggling all the balls and keeping your business going, there are times when you might wonder if it’s all worth the effort.

No one said running your own business would be easy but sometimes it’s harder than you imagined. So what do you do when you have no motivation?

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Tip 1: Stop Making Excuses

If you find yourself blaming outside forces or other people for why you’re not more productive it may be time for some honest reflection.

There will always be obstacles and reasons why you can’t work on your business. Stop making excuses and figure out a solution. Keep moving forward.

Example: I can’t market my business, I’m awkward/introverted/etc. Nope. Get over it. You have to market your business. Figure it out.

By the way, here are some marketing ideas for people who hate marketing.

Tip 2: Celebrate the Victories, Big and Small

While you were analyzing your freelance business did you stop to celebrate the small wins? Take a moment now. You’ve worked hard, you’ve had some good times. Acknowledge it.

No matter how small the accomplishment, give yourself some credit. Savour it. Pat yourself on the back. Being a business owner is tough, whether you’re a plumber or freelance writer. You’ve earned this moment of celebration!

When we’re stressing about how to be productive and worrying about how far we still have to go it’s easy to miss the progress we make. Try to see it. Try to feel positive.

Once you’ve found a few victories write them down and remind yourself of your progress every time you’re feeling down. Use the small wins to spur you forward.

Tip 3: Ask for Help | How to Be Productive

Just because you’re an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you have to do everything by yourself. If you’re feeling stressed, overworked or under pressure it might be time to ask for help.

Sure, you may have a time management issue and if there are systems you can implement and changes you can make to your routine then you should do it. But it also may be time to ask for help. Outsourcing isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of growth. Finding the right strategic partners could make all the difference.

How to Be Productive Even When You’re Unmotivated

Tip 4: Analyze and Evaluate

Rather than digging in and pushing harder, it might be time to take a step back and take stock of your situation.

Give yourself some space, evaluate where things are at compared with where you want to be.

Here are a few questions to consider.

If your business financial health is in question, it may be time to dig out last year’s reports and take stock of your actual numbers. How did things go? What’s changed?

Once you have a good idea of where things are at you can re-evaluate where you’re going. Take a look at your road map and adjust as necessary.

Setting goals and dreaming big is well and good but figuring out how to be productive even when you don't feel like is key to a thriving freelance business.

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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Setting goals and dreaming big is well and good but figuring out how to be productive even when you don't feel like is key to a thriving freelance business.
Setting goals and dreaming big is well and good but figuring out how to be productive even when you don't feel like is key to a thriving freelance business.

How to Create a Digital Business Card

Think of your email signature as a digital business card. It’s a perfect opportunity to promote your business through everyday communication.

How to create a digital business card for your freelance writing business

What if you had a digital business card that you could pass out to all your friends and colleagues to help you get paid work?

When you’re a hungry freelance writer it’s difficult to know where to look for work.

Things like job boards, Craigslist, and cold emailing queries are what people lean towards but these are (in general) low paying, competitive, and an exhausting hustle.

Your chances of landing solid clients are low so your pitch rate has to be high.

If you’re wondering how established freelance writers generate leads they’ll tell you most of their work comes through warm leads (existing relationships) and referrals.

Even if you’re just starting out these options are available to you too. The trick is letting people know what you do and that you’re available so they think of you when an opportunity comes up.

Today we’ll focus on one of the easiest yet most overlooked way to put yourself in front of warm leads and set yourself up for referrals.

Creating a digital business card for your freelance writing business

It’s your email signature

We do almost everything by email so this is a golden opportunity to add a little bit about yourself and your business.

No, this doesn’t make you look desperate. Think of your email signature as a digital business card. It’s a perfect opportunity to promote yourself and your business through your everyday communication.

Here’s what a good email signature can accomplish.

  • Makes you look professional
  • Advertises your expertise
  • Lets people know you’re available
  • Lets people know how you want to be contacted
  • Serves as free marketing
  • Is professional and shows you’re serious about your business
  • Makes it easy for people to contact you

Convinced? Great, let’s do this.

Already have one? Wonderful! Take a few minutes to review your email signature and adjust as necessary.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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What should your digital business card include?

Best practice recommends between four and seven lines for an email signature (although I say less is more here), so pick and choose the information you will include.

Some suggestions include the list below.

  • Your name
  • Your title/type of writing you do
  • Company name (if relevant)
  • Contact information (How do you want people to contact you? Remember including your email address is redundant)
  • Website address (link here to your professional site or the site you want prospective clients to see—where they can learn more about you and your services)
  • Tagline (what sets you apart from your competitors) or marketing message
  • Social links (if relevant, and only if you want your prospective clients to see)

Avoid adding images—most people have image blockers or read email on phones these days. If you feel you need your photo, logo, or social icons then use a service that will embed it into your email signature like Wisestamp or Hubspot.

Another tip is keep your email signature brief.

There’s no need to list every social platform. Dial back your contact information to the best way people can reach you and your best website, which will give people more information about you and your services.

I’ve linked instructions for adding your signature to your email below.

  • Adding your signature in Gmail
  • Adding your signature in Outlook

And don’t forget about your smartphone!

  • Adding your signature to your iPhone
  • Adding your signature to your Android

Be brave, put yourself out there!


Other articles about marketing

Think of your email signature as a digital business card. It’s a perfect opportunity to promote your business through everyday communication.

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
Think of your email signature as a digital business card. It’s a perfect opportunity to promote your business through everyday communication.
If you’re wondering how established freelance writers generate leads they’ll tell you most of their work comes through warm leads (existing relationships) and referrals. Even if you’re just starting out these options are available to you too. The trick is letting people know what you do and that you're available so they think of you when an opportunity comes up. Today we'll focus on one of the easiest yet most overlooked way to put yourself in front of warm leads and set yourself up for referrals. It's your email signature. We do almost everything by email so this is a golden opportunity to add a little bit about yourself and your business.

Freelancing for Beginners | 4 Simple Ways to Make Great Money

When you research freelancing for beginners all sorts of tips and tricks pop up.

Freelance Writing for Beginners

It’s a bit overwhelming, I know.

You wonder how people get started, how it works and if it’s possible to make a living writing.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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Want to work from home as a freelance writer?

I was interviewed about writing for the Publishing for Profit podcast. If you’d like an introduction to what earning a living from writing can look like make sure to check it out.


Freelancing for beginners

I landed my first freelance gig by accident. I had blogged for a while, for fun, and one day I received an email asking if I would help promote a movie by writing a preview on my blog. It paid $35.

By the way, if you’re curious what that looked like, here’s one of my first paid posts.

Because I didn’t understand, well, anything about freelance writing and didn’t know anyone who was freelancing I continued blogging for fun and taking freelance writing gigs as they came to me.

Over the years I became savvier and joined professional associations I thought would help me figure things out.

It has taken a while but the pieces are falling into place and I believe there are more opportunities than ever for people who want to get started freelance writing.

Don’t Let Technology Hold You Back

These days you can launch a blog or website in an afternoon, get YouTube famous with a couple viral hits and apply for remote gigs from your smartphone. So why not give it a shot?

Launching a successful freelance business is an entrepreneurial venture like any other, and requires a good deal of hard work, focus and discipline.

By the way, I’ve created a worksheet to help you answer some important questions about your freelance business. Just pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password for my resource library.

When you’re there, navigate to the freelancing category and download the “Freelancer Positioning Worksheet.”

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Here are a few quick tips for getting started.

Four tips | Freelancing for beginners

1. Create a writing portfolio

When you don’t have experience it’s tough for potential clients to take a chance on you.

Writing samples are the freelance writing industry’s version of education and/or experience. In lieu of samples, consider writing blog posts and using those to demonstrate your skill until you build your portfolio.

Here are a few other ideas for getting writing samples for your portfolio.

  • Offer to write for local charities
  • Guest post on other websites
  • Submit letters to your local newspaper

Anything that shows that you’re a capable writer is worth displaying in your writing portfolio.

Extra credit: As you gain experience, collect testimonials from clients. This will help build trust with future prospects.

2. Market yourself as a freelancer

Even if you land a retainer client on your first at-bat, consistently marketing your freelance business is one of the best things you can do.

When you’re just getting started, your marketing will be more outbound than inbound.

Think outreach, pitches, cold calls/emails, etc.

As you build your brand and establish yourself in your niche your marketing will be more inbound than outbound.

Think books, podcasts, interviews, referrals, etc.

Extra credit: I believe in the power of marketing to transform people’s careers and businesses. Here are three marketing ideas for writers who hate marketing.

3. Set up a website and optimize it for search engines

While you can certainly get started freelancing without having a website, this is an excellent way to put yourself out there.

Having a website also sets you up for inbound marketing, which is vital if you ever want to scale your business.

Think of your website as your digital business card, you resume and your writing portfolio all in one. This is the most important resource in your toolkit and worth spending time creating.

If you take time to optimize your website for specific keywords, you’ll increase your chances of prospective clients finding you.

If you’re looking for some SEO help, here are 6 simple steps to ranking well on Google.

Although it’s not mandatory to have a website before you can land a paying client, having even a simple site with your name and contact information on it will go a long way to giving you credibility and status.

Extra credit: Wondering what goes on your website? Here are essential freelance writer website elements.

Freelancing for beginners | Final tip

4. Turn up each day, and do the work, whether you feel like it or not

As writing can be seen as a creative job, people sometimes leave their work until inspiration strikes.

However, freelance writing is a job, not a creative exercise.

It’s important to turn up each day and do the work, whether you feel like it or not. In no time you’ll be on your way.

Extra credit: Setting goals and dreaming big is well and good but figuring out how to be productive even when you don’t feel like it is key to a thriving freelance business.

When you research freelance writing for beginners all sorts of tips and tricks pop up. It's a bit overwhelming, I know. You wonder how people get started, how it works and if it's possible to make a living writing.

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
When you research freelance writing for beginners all sorts of tips and tricks pop up. It's a bit overwhelming, I know. You wonder how people get started, how it works and if it's possible to make a living writing.
When you research freelance writing for beginners all sorts of tips and tricks pop up. You wonder how it works and if it's possible to make a living writing.

Five Tips for Optimizing your Social Media Profiles

Optimizing your social media profiles is important! You want to ensure potential clients know who you are, what you do, and why they should hire you.

Optimizing Your Social Media Profiles

These tips are available as a free download in my resource library. plug in your email address below and I’ll send you the password.

Once you’re in the library, navigate to the social media section and download the ebook called “Social Media Optimization.”

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

Optimizing Your Social Media Profiles

When you’re a hungry freelance writer or getting started in the industry it’s difficult to know where to look for work.

Things like job boards, Craigslist, and cold emailing queries are what people trend towards but these are (in general) low paying, competitive and an exhausting hustle. Your chances of landing solid clients are low so your pitch rate has to be high.

If you’re wondering how established freelance writers generate leads they’ll tell you most of their work comes through warm leads (existing relationships) and referrals.

Even if you’re just starting out these options are available to you too, the trick is letting people know you’re available so they think of you when an opportunity comes up.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
Click the image for more information, or pop your email address in the form below

The best way to let people know you’re available is by saying you’re available.

It’s easy to look at your social media profiles as places where friends and family connect with you, so there’s no reason to talk about your business (don’t they already know what you do?) but what better place to find referrals than your friends and family list?

One More THing…

And don’t assume they’re aware of what you do or even understand it.

Do you know the details of your entire network? I don’t. Take assumption out of the picture and optimize your social profiles for your freelance writing business.

Lay it out for them so it’s easy for them to think of you when they hear about someone looking for a writer.

Another reason to optimize your social media profiles is because your reach is wide on social.

A potential client is more likely to run across you on Twitter or LinkedIn before ever seeing your website. You want to ensure you tell any potential clients who you are, what you do, and why they should hire you.


Optimizing your Social Media Profiles ebook

These tips are available as a free download in my resource library. Plug in your email address below and I’ll send you the password.

Once you’re in the library, navigate to the social media section and download the ebook called “Social Media Optimization.”

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

Five tips for optimizing your social media profiles

1. Choose a professional/standout profile picture and cover photo

Your profile photo should be high quality, square, reflect your brand, stand out in news feeds, and be a picture of you.

Your cover photo (on applicable platforms) should be high quality and represent the core values of your brand.

The more consistent your images are across platforms, the better.

2. Make it easy for people to know who you are/what you do

If you want to capture leads from your social profiles then use your full name or business name.

Nothing cute here.

A great social media bio explains who you are and what you do, shares your personality, and targets your niche audience with keywords. Think of it as an amped-up elevator pitch.

Five Tips for Optimizing your Social Media Profiles

3. Link to your website

Some gurus teach linking to your professional Facebook page and if that’s where you prefer doing business I won’t stop you. But don’t leave the URL section blank.

Think about it this way, where do you want your prospective clients to go? Send them there.

I want them to go to my website so I can showcase the best of my work on a property I own and control.

4. Include keywords about your services

If someone is searching on Twitter for someone like you, what will they search for?

Make sure those words show up in your profile in a non-spammy way. Avoid buzz words, use terms your ideal client would use, be concise, and mention the benefits of what you do.

And my favourite tip for Optimizing your Social Media Profiles

5. Be clear on your location/contact info

If you work from home you may not want your address listed for the world to see, but how about your city or region? Adding your location helps potential clients discover you. And what about your contact details?

Make it easy for people to get in touch, but only share what you’re comfortable with. Adding a phone number may be too much, but what about your work email address? If you want people to contact you with work, tell them how to reach you.

Conclusion

When you’re a freelance writer, figuring out how to be present and active on social media can seem like a waste of precious resources. However, social media can be a wonderful discovery tool. And if you optimize your profiles well, they will stand out and attract your ideal clients.

So give it some thought and see if you can’t optimize your social media profiles a bit.

Get out there and be social!


Optimizing your social media profiles is important! You want to ensure potential clients know who you are, what you do, and why they should hire you.

The best way to let people know you’re available is by saying you’re available.

It’s easy to look at your social media profiles as places where friends and family connect with you, so there’s no reason to talk about your business (don’t they already know what you do?) but what better place to find referrals than your friends and family list?

By the way, these tips are available as a free download in my resource library. Plug in your email address below and I’ll send you the access code.

Once you’re in the library, navigate to the social media section and download the ebook called “Social Media Optimization.”

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

Other Marketing Posts

Optimizing your social media profiles is important! You want to ensure potential clients know who you are, what you do, and why they should hire you.

The best way to let people know you’re available is by saying you’re available.

It’s easy to look at your social media profiles as places where friends and family connect with you, so there’s no reason to talk about your business (don’t they already know what you do?) but what better place to find referrals than your friends and family list?
Optimizing your social media profiles is important! You want to ensure potential clients know who you are, what you do, and why they should hire you.
Optimizing your social media profiles is important! You want to ensure potential clients know who you are, what you do, and why they should hire you.

Creative Ways to Make Money from Freelance Writing

I want to talk about the different ways you can make money from freelance writing. This is an important topic to me because I see a lot of people limiting their income opportunities because they’re not creative!

Creative Ways to Make Money from Freelance Writing

And I don’t mean this as a slight at all. It just seems like we get stuck in a train of thought where freelance writing can only be one thing.

Like freelance journalism OR copywriting.

While you certainly can scrape out a living from one track of freelancing, most freelance writers I know have a variety of income streams. This can add a lot of variety to your work! Plus this approach can keep your business solvent when one income stream dries up.

Which happens. A lot. You were around in 2020, right?

But maybe you’re just getting into freelancing and you’re not sure where to even start. You know you want to write but…that’s it!

If that’s the case, you’ll definitely want to read this training on personal branding and then work on your positioning so you narrow down what you bring to the table and who you best serve with your skills and abilities.

Freelancer Positioning Worksheet

I’ve also put together a worksheet to help you figure this out. Just pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password for my resource library.

When you’re there, navigate to the freelancing section and download the “Freelancer Positioning Worksheet.”

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

Creative ways to make money from freelance writing

Below I’ve listed several of the ways I make money from freelance writing with a brief description. If I’ve written more on the topic I’ve linked to it in the heading.

There are many, many more creative ways to make a living from freelancing but I hope this initial list will help get the juices flowing! Income diversification. Yeah!

Journalism

Freelance journalism is one of the more popular areas in freelance writing. Even moreso these days with so many newspapers shutting down or merging. However, there’s more to journalism than newspaper!

Reporting is the most common type of journalism, and this can be local news, current events, sports, arts, features, lifestyle and MUCH more. A reporter writes the story as an observer, without inserting themselves into the situation for the most part.

Editorial is another popular type of journalism. You see this type of writing in magazines or the opinion section of papers. These are person-driven, opinion pieces (also known as op-eds) but the writer still needs to be qualified to write the article and it should have mass appeal to get picked up.

Copywriting

While some purist journalists see copywriting as the “dark side” of freelance writing, I would argue a lot of good can be done in this space! And for the most part, copywriting pays more than journalism.

Copywriting is everywhere. You see it on websites, in marketing, for product descriptions, in advertising and much more. If you need the art of persuasion in a piece of writing…it’s probably copywriting.

Businesses often need copywriters, to bring their brand to life and give them a voice that resonates with customers. Freelancers can often find a nice balance of retainer (ongoing) and one-off clients from copywriting.

Ghostwriting

If you’ve heard of ghostwriting (and don’t worry if you haven’t), you probably think of it as authors writing books for someone else. And it’s accurate! This happens all the time. In many cases, a publishing house will hire a writer to write for a celebrity or other public figure to help them tell their story.

But there are more opportunities for ghostwriters!

There are many busy CEOs and thought leaders who want to add a blog, newsletter or social media presence to their content marketing strategy but have no time to make it happen. Ghostwriter to the rescue! You would write in their voice and help them enhance their profile.

Blogging

While there are a zillion benefits to maintaining a personal blog for your business, you can also make a decent income from freelance blogging.

Likely, you’ve heard blogging is dead (or something to that effect). Great! Less competition! Blogging is most definitely not dead and is, in fact, thriving if you find the right niche.

I haven’t written much about freelance blogging but if you’re interested in learning more about it, I recommend Elna Cain’s Freelance Blogging in a Weekend. In this course Elna teaches you her strategy to charge $400 per blog post and shows you how to research and write with maximum efficiency. Highly recommended!

SEO writing

If you’re not familiar with search engine optimization, then you may not want to dive into this until you get a bit of training. This is a specialized area in the writing world as it combines technical know-how with writing skills.

But I think you should get the training!

Businesses need to rank in search engines in order to find customers and they’re too busy doing what they do best to worry about figuring out the details involved with SEO. If you can handle that for them…you will find a nice income stream from SEO writing.

Make money from freelance writing

Writing-adjacent services

I also recommend taking stock of your skills and seeing what services you can offer clients, which are related to writing. For me, these types of services provide a brain break, to allow me to continue working but not burn out from doing one type of writing too much.

Social media management

You can absolutely offer just social media writing for clients, but I like to add a bit more value by also handling management. This can include everything from sourcing images and creating graphics to scheduling posts and managing comments.

Affiliate marketing

This is big in the blogging world but I don’t see traditional freelancers utilizing this income stream as much as I would like.

Essentially, you promote someone else’s product or service and receive a commission for every sale you refer. This can definitely become a bit slimy so it’s important to only promote things you actually recommend (and would even if you didn’t get paid).

If you aren’t familiar with this concept try and pay attention to social media influencers and watch them promote products. Sometimes they’re paid by a brand to advertise a product on their channel and sometimes they’re affiliates for the brand, which is more of a partnership.

Content marketing strategy

Content marketing is everywhere, because every marketing initiative generally requires content! So why not step up your game a bit by offering strategy services to clients? A strong strategy is the framework that holds marketing together. It takes the random buckshot approach and focuses the shot so it’s smart and effective.

If you want to make money from freelance writing, this is a valuable and important service you should consider offering!

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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Other articles you may enjoy

I want to talk about the different ways you can make money from freelance writing. This is an important topic to me because I see a lot of people limiting their income opportunities because they're not creative!

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 want to talk about the different ways you can make money from freelance writing. This is an important topic to me because I see a lot of people limiting their income opportunities because they're not creative!