Diana Kelly Levey

This 1 Change Can Help Grow Your Freelance Business

women laughing with each other

February 6, 2019

I was working on a freelance article for a content marketing client this week about how focusing on one word could help you reach your goals for the year. It’s not a new concept. There are books about it, like One Word That Will Change Your Life, and it’s a practice used in business by some high-level companies to help employees focus on their goals.

But, applying it to my life would be new to me.

I admittedly didn’t spend much time thinking about it, but when I heard the word “connect” it resonated with what I wanted to do in my personal and professional life as a freelance writer and content marketing writer.

I’d already started marketing and reaching out to previous clients, trying to meet new freelance writers who live near me, and reconnect with friends I’ve lost touch with. By focusing on this word daily and applying it to small interactions (even with strangers and social media followers) as well as with clients, I could build on it and (hopefully) have richer relationships by the end of the year.

Try it yourself:

Your One-Word Freelance Exercise for Success

Spend some time thinking about some words that might help drive your freelance business with intention this year. Here are some words (and phrases) that come to mind as good ones that might work for freelancers:

  • Focus: Block out all distractions and be intentional with what you’re doing right now
  • Just write: Any writer who procrastinates (all of us) might benefit from a mantra like this. Write whatever you want. Journal. Write fiction. Jot down poetry. Write freelance articles. Just. Do. It.
  • Update: This could mean different things. It  was another word I considered. I want to be better about updating my website, my portfolios on other platforms (like Contently, Skyword, and ClearVoice), and LinkedIn. Even my email signature in Gmail.
  • Passion: This could mean you want to work on more projects that make you feel passionate about what you’re working on.
  • Efficiency: Maybe you want to become a faster writer, create systems and processes to make your freelance jobs easier, hire others to help

This website has a ton of great business words that might help you get started.

Here’s How I’m Planning to Use My Goal Word

Connect locally.

We just moved to a new town and it can be lonely working by myself all day in a suburb where I don’t know many people. When I was a freelancer in Manhattan, I was used to walking a few blocks to a coffee shop and work next to other freelancers . When I lived in Queens for a year, the proximity to Manhattan made it easy for me to pop into the city at least twice a week to attend media events and see friends. Now that I’m farther away, it’s harder to do that when I’m busy with work. The three-hour round trip in Manhattan is a challenge to justify. We bought a property. I need to establish roots. My goal is to continue to meet people in the community and find fulfilling organizations that I want to join or participate in.

Connect with former colleagues, friends and contacts.

I signed up for podcaster Jordan Harbinger’s Level 1 course (it’s free) which helps you reconnect with your network daily and stay in touch with people who may have fallen off your radar. The course sends weekly emails with exercises to carry out. I haven’t done all of the exercises yet, but it’s been fun to scroll through old contacts and see what people are up to these days. I also like to connect with former colleagues and people I meet at events on LinkedIn, occasionally endorsing them for skills. (Learn the six-figure freelancer skills you need to adopt.)

Reach out to freelancers.

When I posted that my husband and I were moving to Long Island, I heard from some Facebook friends who were freelance writers that they lived nearby. I made it a point to see them within a few weeks of moving here and make follow up plans. I also connected with a fellow journalist who’s in the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) with me and posted on a message board that she lives in my county as well. Some of these seem a bit like blind dates at first but with way better results in meeting smart, nice, local freelancers who can relate to my life and industry.

Aim for a doubleheader.

If I’m in the city for an appointment or meeting, I’ll try to see a friend, editor, or publicist contact to get more bang for my (time and train fare) buck. It’s easier to see who’s around on certain days that I’ll be making the trip rather than trying to pop in for one-off visits throughout the week.

Go fishing in your inbox.

I set up a biweekly email check-in with a freelance friend to see how we both were doing with pitching new clients. It’s been helpful to know I have someone to answer to who will ask how I’m doing and if I did what I said I was going to tackle two weeks ago. I also followed up with all of my previous clients from 2019 earlier this year and got about $900 worth of assignments within a few weeks. There are more tips on how to do this in the blog “there’s money in your inbox.” Try this once a month and you’ll stay top of mind for clients.


Are you going to focus on a specific word or phrase this year?


Share your word with me in the comments here, share it on social media when linking to this article, or email me: Diana (at) DianaKelly.com.

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Diana can help with:

  • Writing content
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Email Diana about opportunities: Diana(at)DianaKelly.com.