Have you ever been faced with a massive book a client has hired you to write and sat there wondering how you are ever going to get it done? Perhaps you try to get an outline together and don’t find it easy to figure out what will go into the book or how it will be organized.
Or maybe, you have a couple of projects where clients are requesting a single article or two and that’s it. You’d need to string a bunch of these together to feel like you’re doing enough work and earning enough money.
There are so many types of projects as a freelance writer. And if you’re like me, you do it all. But do you have a preference? Do you work better on smaller projects than bigger ones or vice versa?
Well, you might know which you like better and you might not. Either way, there are some things to consider when it comes to working small projects or big ones.
1. Your Personality
By “personality” I mean are you a starter or do you really like to dig in and go all the way? Many people are great starters, but if it takes to long to finish something, they get bored and want to move on to the next “start.” I am one of these people. I love the energy of starting something new, but my enthusiasm fades if it takes too long.
In the early years of my freelance career, this made me prefer smaller projects. One-off articles or clients that wanted one or two articles a week. Do I do larger projects? You bet. I have written books and eBooks, reports, and white papers for clients. I have taken on projects with a deliverable of dozens of articles or hundreds of product descriptions.
But here’s the thing…
Over the years, I have gotten better at getting those large projects done. I have learned how to stick with something, to see it through to the end — and enjoy doing so. And that’s a good thing because it’s important to consider…
2. Cash Flow
With small projects, you do the job and get paid and you’re done. Period. Sure, the same can be said for larger projects, but with those the paycheck is higher. And since larger projects are set up in terms of milestones (or at least they should be), you will have money coming in regularly, which is ideal in terms of cash flow. Plus, the more large, high-paying projects you have, the fewer projects you have to hunt down each month.
Having said that, you can often charge more per word for smaller projects. If you write a one-off article, you might charge 15 cents per word, but if you are writing 2 articles weekly, you might charge only 12 cents. One the other hand, if you are writing a book, you might only charge 10 cents per word.
Personally, I don’t like one-off projects because I just don’t feel like they are worth my time and effort. I like regular clients that give me work every week and projects that I know will pay me a decent fee overall. My ideal is writing lead magnet reports, which I do for anywhere between 3 and 10 clients per month.
These reports are around 4,000 words each and I can often upsell the client to also have me do their cover, a more visually appealing or even custom report layout, and additional pieces of content. It’s a fabulous balance between small and large projects and it pays well.
Do you like planning things out in meticulous detail? If so, larger projects might be your preference. When you write a small article of 500-1,000 words, you don’t have a ton of planning to do. Personally, I don’t need to even outline something this small. I just start researching and writing.
But the larger the project is, the more planning is needed. You need to do preliminary research. You need to plan a detailed outline. You might have to go back and forth with the client to get that outline ironed out. And there will be a lot more back and forth as you submit portions of the project. If you thrive on this kind of stuff, then large projects are for you. If not, maybe stick with small projects.
4. Fewer Changes
When you are working on a single article project, even multiple articles, with each article submitted, you might not even have any revisions to do. And if you do have revisions, they probably won’t amount to much. Also, the client is less likely to change the scope of the project or change their mind on the content.
With a larger project, the chances you will need to do revisions are much greater. And the chances that the client will change direction are greater. Although, a good client has the project well though out before hand, and IF they make changes, they give you plenty of warning and will pay you extra, particularly if you’ve already written the relevant content.
In the end, you will have to feel things out and decide what’s right for you. I suspect, if you’re like me and perhaps most freelance writers, you’ll take what you can get when you can get it. This is especially the case if you are new to freelancing.
However, it’s worth taking the time to consider the type of project — small or large — you enjoy doing more. If you do have a preference, focus on finding those types of projects whenever possible. This might make your freelancing experience that much more enjoyable 🙂