Picture of hand with five fingers: Friday Five.Freelance nurse writers, unite! (Almost) every Friday, I share five tips to help you launch, amp up or maintain your freelance writing career. Enjoy!

Tip 1 (Monday): Assess threats to your business

For three weeks, we’ve been performing a SWOT analysis of ourselves (and our business). You should complete all four activities by writing your answers on a sheet of paper. Within the next week or two, we’ll put all of this information together so you can discover where the gap lies between where you are and where you want to go.

Today, you need to assess threats to your business. For a SWOT analysis, ‘threats’ are defined as factors outside your control that could have a negative impact on your ability to reach your goals. For a freelance health writer, threats might include:

  • Increasing competition from writers in other countries who can afford to work for less money
  • Organizations taking all the writing in-house
  • More consumer magazines folding

The list of threats will depend on your niche, the type of writing you do (or intend to do) such as journalism versus content marketing, and various other factors. Jot down the top three to five threats you perceive could hinder your ability to succeed as a freelance writer. There’s no right or wrong answer here; just do your best.

Tip 2 (Tuesday): Set a revenue goal for the month

You’ll never succeed as a freelancer if you take a “wing it” approach. Today, set a revenue goal for the month of September. If you’re still working full-time as a nurse, your goal might be modest: “Earn $150 for a short web article.” If you already have some clips and are regularly selling short web articles (for example), then your goal should be more aggressive: “Earn $1,500 for a magazine feature.” Don’t worry about how modest or grand your goal is; simply get in the habit of setting revenue goals on a monthly and quarterly basis.

Tip 3 (Wednesday): Develop your mission statement

If you think this is a silly ‘corporate’ exercise, you’re wrong. Your mission statement provides the focus that informs all of your client interactions. Here’s mine: “My mission is to improve the lives of healthcare consumers and professionals by crafting content that informs, empowers and entertains.” Sometimes, your mission statement can become your tagline, as well. Take some time today to think about what, exactly, your overarching freelance goal is. What is your mission?

Tip 4 (Thursday): Assign yourself a ‘freelance shift’

Do you show up for your nursing shifts whenever you feel like it? No? Do you ever call up your charge and say, “Hey, you know, I’m just not in the mood to work today. The nursing muse has abandoned me, so I’m going to the mall for a few hours”? No?

Don’t do that with your writing career, either. Develop a mindset right now that your freelancing job deserves to be treated with all the respect you accord any other professional activity. Today, assign yourself a freelance shift. Hold it as sacred as your nursing shift. If you’re starting out on a part-time basis, your writing shift might consist of just one hour, three times a week. That’s OK. But be specific: “My freelance shift is every MWF from 7:00 to 8:00pm.” Also, don’t forget to track your time.

Tip 5 (Friday): Find freelance gigs using these 3 sites

One of the most common questions I hear is: Where do you find jobs/clients??? Well, here are three places you can start your search:

  1. Journalism Jobs — click the ‘freelance’ link for writing opportunities
  2. The Hitt List — Subscribe to Emma Hitt’s popular list of medical writing opportunities, including freelance
  3. MediaBistro — Register for free to view the job listings; filter by ‘freelance’

That’s it for this Friday 5! Drop your questions and comments into the box below, and have a great week.

Wishing you well,