I started to title this post "For Writers," but I realized that it applies to more than just writers. It also applies to entrepreneurs, small business owners, and anyone else who needs to market on a regular basis.
Years ago, when I was a newbie freelancer, I had an informal schedule where every morning (or after I got up - we'll just call that morning), I would "warm up" by catching up on other freelancer blogs and newsletters, and then I would search for new freelance work. I did it that way every day for at least a couple of years.
Over time I stopped marketing on a daily basis. I had a lot of repeat clients at the time, and it stopped seeming necessary. Yes, I'd forgotten about the importance of marketing for freelancers, and honestly it probably set my career back quite a few years.
Another thing that led to me marketing less - and to my career setback as well - was that I got burnt out, but that's a good subject for a future post.
Fast forward to today. I have squeaked along for some years on longtime repeat clients and one-off work from a freelance job board I frequent, but in 2022 I've lost two of my repeat clients. I was already feeling the pinch after losing the first one early this year, and then of course after my horse got sick and I could barely find time to work. For the past couple months, my horse has been doing a lot better, and I've been working more... and boom, I lose another client.
So obviously I need to start marketing regularly again. Ideally I'd like to settle into a daily schedule again that includes time to market, just like I used to. Unfortunately, my horse isn't entirely back to normal yet, so my schedule is still a little topsy turvy, and I'm not sure where marketing is going to fit in. Additionally, I have a couple other business ventures now that I didn't have then, so my schedule is definitely much more complex.
Right now my routine is to get up, get a few things done at home if I have time, and then head out to the barn with my computer to feed Panama. While he eats (which takes a while now, since he's finally back on hay) I can work. Often I work on client projects during this time, but I'm thinking that it might be an ideal time to work on marketing. Marketing requires a little less focus than client work, and sometimes the distractions at the barn can be bad, for one thing. For another, going to the barn is often the first "real" thing I do with my day, and I like the idea of reinstating the goal of working on it first thing.
Note: For a lot of freelance writers, marketing means combing through freelance job postings, but not always! Lately I've been working on my websites and blogs, social media posts, and videos. For other (non-writer) small businesses, that's probably a lot of what your time marketing is going to look like.
What about you? Do you schedule time to market to ensure it gets done? What do you find works best for you?