By Contestant #3
Sometimes getting the gig is the easy part. A well-crafted cover letter and a couple of good clips will get your foot in the door, but what you do after you land it?
10. Keep it Old School
Nothing pleases a client/editor more than writers who are still working on dial-up and don’t believe in “fly-by-night” technology like Twitter or in home fax machines. Your clients lead busy lives, teach them how to slow down by waiting an hour for you to get to the local copy store and pick up their fax. Announce with a giggle that you’re technologically challenged and can’t open their PDF file. They’ll appreciate your honesty.
9. Be Helpful, Point Out What’s Wrong
Your wonderful editors and hapless clients are just so busy. I’m sure they’d appreciate a nice, detailed memo on all that is wrong with their publication or business. Editors want to hear from writers who can identify off-center graphics and tell them how to adjust the tone of their publication to better fit their audience. Businesses will line up to hire the writer who can point out mistakes in their job post: “Missed a period here. A split infinitive there.” And though your expertise may be in corporate writing, go ahead and give them a heads up on adjusting the price points of their products. What a way to say, “I’m good at what I do, and what you do, and what they do…”
8. Vent Your Frustrations About Your Editor/Gig
You can be completely anonymous on the Internet. Use that to your advantage and let those frustrations out. Your friends at Twitter, FWJ, and those who frequent your blog are never going to know whom you’re talking about and your clients never read that stuff anyway.
7. Do Your Own Thing At All Times
Sure your client gave you detailed instructions on the content they wanted for their Web site. Eh, you’re the writer and you know better. Call the shots and give ‘em what they should want instead.
6. Make it Personal
Build up a healthy rapport with your clients. Email those funny jokes your sister always forwards to you. Brief them on your toddler’s toilet training escapades or share the hilarious details of your wild weekend – everyone’s had four too many shots of Tequila!
5. It’s High Time for High Maintenance
You’re not needy; you just want reassurance – constantly. When you send in a completed assignment, you expect the client or editor to get back to you immediately with feedback. Don’t be afraid to argue the merits of your rejected pitch. And, stay on top of them about payment. If they promised you payment on the first, start reminding them on the 29th and ask for updates until you receive it. They’ll love your tenacity.
4. Fight Those Edits!
Changes?! Changes?! Who are they to tell you, the writer, that you need to make changes? You worked hard on the assignment, producing the muse-kissed words from your very soul. Take a stand and leave that period and semi-colon right where you put them.
3. Take Your Time Returning Emails and Calls
It’ll make you look like you’re really in demand. Everyone wants the “it girl/guy.” So take a day or two or five. Put yourself in the power position. Clients need to know that they may not get you in an emergency; you’re just too popular.
2. Deadlines, Smeadlines…
Eh, you got caught up in you favorite reality show and will miss your deadline – big deal. Everyone knows deadlines are negotiable. Publications work so far in advance you’ve got a nice cushion of time before they really need it. The same with clients – everyone knows writers are notorious procrastinators. Run with it.
1. Lose Interest and Quit Midway
The assignment is boring/tedious/stupid etc. So just quit and avoid any nastiness by disappearing into cyberspace. Don’t return phone calls or emails and they’ll get the hint eventually. Plus it’s not like you’ll ever run into them again.
Freelancers often put so much emphasis on getting the job they never stop to think about how to keep it. A bout of procrastination, a smattering of insecurity and a big helping of conceit can get a writer booted from a gig faster than you can say kill fee.
What other ways can freelancers get themselves booted? What’s number one on your top ten reasons?