What to Do When Work Slows Down
Any ghostwriter who tracks their monthly revenue can spot normal slow-downs, and mid-summer is a fairly typical time of year for work to drop off – often dramatically.
It’s common for clients to take a vacation and put their projects on pause, or delay making a decision about their ghostwriting needs until they return a couple of weeks later. Others compress their work week down from five days to four during the warmer months and some planned projects get short-changed.
It happens. In fact, I’d say that the summer slow-down is a normal fact of life for most ghostwriters.
Of course, realizing that this occurrence is typical and dealing with the negative cash flow ramifications are two very different things.
If you know that every July your workload shrinks by 50% and you plan around it, such as by taking your own vacation during that time, you’re much less likely to be impacted than if you forget that July is generally slow and start to panic as your accounts receivables dwindle.
So what can you do to counteract the lack of new work? Here are a few activities to jump-start your marketing and help bring in new projects now and this fall:
- Keyword use. To help prospective clients find you, make sure you’re using appropriate keywords to describe the writing work that you do. If you make most of your income from ghostwriting, the word “ghostwriter” should be all over your website, email signature, and social media accounts. It should be crystal clear to anyone who comes across your bio that you’re a ghostwriter – or a medical writer, technical writer, speech writer, or something else.
- Scour writing websites. Even during the slower summer months, there are still plenty of writing projects out there. To find new sources of work, spend some time browsing jobs at sites like Upwork, Guru, and Flexjobs, among others. Craigslist is another to scope out. Yes, there are plenty of projects that pay peanuts, but not all. Two weeks ago I landed and completed an article through Upwork in a few short hours that paid $1/word and netted me well over $100/hour.
- Register at ghostwriting sites. You’ve probably heard of Gotham Ghostwriters, Scribe, and Reedsy, right? Have you registered at them to be notified of potential projects? If not, do that.
- Follow up. Are there prospects you spoke to earlier this summer? Check in with them. Maybe they haven’t made a decision yet and could use your help. Find out where things stand. Do you have an agent? Ask him or her if they have any projects in need of a writer. Email any editor friends to see what’s on their desk.
- Work on your own pet projects. Make use of your free time to work on your own book, or to crank out some blog posts for your website, which will likely catch someone’s eye. Reach out to colleagues to see if they might be interested in a guest blog post, and then write it. Make sure your personal profile on any professional organization websites are up-to-date and include your contact information.
Summer can be a stressful time financially but the more you do to take back control of your workload, the less stress you’ll feel.
What do you do when you need to find work fast?