Paying dues.

Such an obnoxious term.

As an adult, with years of experience at something, anything, it feels icky to have to start at the bottom of the totem pole in a new profession.

But, I’m not here to tell you that’s what you need to do when you are ramping up or transitioning into a new freelance travel writing business.

Not exactly.

It’s not about working for free, or anything having to with rates. Or writing on spec. Or any other sort of abominable practice to take advantage of new writers or those without enough clips to make them feel like they can push back.

It’s about scheduling.

Yes, straight-up, 9-to-5 or minimum-wage-paying retail job scheduling.

When you pitching new editors or companies to work with, you might not be thinking about it, but at this time of year, you are in the enviable position of being the pitch-hitter, the temp employee, or the seasonal extra hand.

This is the time of year when the freelance travel writers who have already built up great, enduring, trust-filled relatinoships with their editors have told their editors that they won’t be available between X day and Y day for the holidays.

Not because they need to–they aren’t officially “on” a schedule–but because they have the kind of on-going relationship with their editors in which the editors have come to expect certain things from them at certain times due to mutual understanding; they are not working pitch-to-pitch with these folks.

Of course, we all want to be in this position with our editors!

But it starts somewhere, and secretly, December is *the* time to begin these relationships.

On the one hand, there is the simple reason that the regular writers have checked out (in the editorial world–less so in content marketing where writers are more likely to just complete their contract work in advance of heading out for the holidays).

This is also the best time to get in because of….annual planning! Just like we are doing in our current webinar series, the companies you’d love to blog for and magazines you’d love to write for are looking internally about how to change their strategies in the year ahead.

They are thinking of what’s next and what’s new–so it’s the ideal time for them to be receptive to new faces and voices.

I have been working really hard with folks in the coaching program this month to take advantage of these opportunities and the results have been fantastic:

  • getting same-day responses to completely cold pitches to blog for companies all across the travel industry and getting started with paying work that same week
  • insta-assignments from trade magazines directly from letters of introduction

So, if you’re in the position right now where you don’t have enough work scheduled for this month or the months ahead, or you’re just not happy with where your client portfolio is right now, this week is the time to:

  • Google hard for trade magazines that fit your background and get those letters of introduction out
  • get crystal clear on what services (exact writing deliverable) you are offering that will make people jump when your email arrives unsolicited in their inbox
  • Google deep for companies in your area of expertise that clearly need help with their blog and marketing for 2018 and hit them with your offer


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