February 28th, 2017 by Bob Bly
Subscriber DC writes:
“I’ve been a full-time freelance copywriter for 21 years. It’s
been great — but maintaining a constant flow of good projects
has been harder work than I ever imagined.
“I know this is ‘feast or famine’, but it requires massive effort
to overcome. Many business books (certainly not yours) gloss over
“Some books on freelancing show pictures of freelancers with
laptops on the beach. In my experience, nothing could be further
from the truth!
“There’s freelancing myth and hype — and freelancing reality.
“I love being a freelance copywriter; at 51 I’m a ‘veteran’ and I
can’t imagine doing anything else.
“But it requires constant marketing and effort — more now than
ever — which you rightly emphasize in your books.”
DC speculates the vast majority of freelance copywriters are not
as busy as they would like — even though 95% won’t admit it.
So, how do you escape the “feast or famine” cycle — and stay busy
and profitable all year long?
The answer is my “double pipeline” method. It works as follows:
First, figure out how much marketing you have to do to generate
enough work to meet your income goal.
As an example, assume Joe, a copywriter, generates his leads
primarily via direct mail.
His income goal is $100,000 gross revenue a year. His average job
pays $2,000 per assignment.
Joe works 50 weeks a year, so he needs one $2,000 job per week to
hit his $100,000 sales target,
Now, say his direct mail package generates a 3% response rate,
and he closes one out of every three leads on average.
If Joe sent out 100 mailers a week, this would yield 3 inquiries
and one paid assignment, meeting his income goal of $2,000 a
So 100 mailers a week keeps Joe’s lead pipeline full.
But my “double pipeline” method says you should calculate how
much marketing and self-promotion it would take to meet your
Then do DOUBLE that amount of marketing. If Joe’s calculations
shows he needs to send 100 sales letters a week to meet his
income goal, he should send 200 letters a week.
That way, his pipeline will not merely have enough leads to
generate the work he needs. It will have twice the volume of
inquiries required to generate the 100K in revenues he wants.
Of course, thanks to referrals, repeat business, and other
sources of leads — social media, blogging, and what have you —
Joe realistically won’t need to send 200 or maybe even 100
But the point of the “double pipeline” method is this: doing
more marketing and self-promotion than you need to gives you an
abundance of leads — more than you need.
Having the doubly full lead pipeline is your protection against
slow times and virtually assures that you are busy, productive,
and profitable all year long.
Try doubling up in your marketing, and fill your lead pipeline to
overflowing. It’s your insurance against an unwanted slowdown in
leads and work.
You can do it by following my “ABM” formula for self-promotion,
explained in this short free video: