What to Do If You Miss a Deadline

missed deadline

When Robert Palmer sings, “You can’t sleep, you can’t eat. There’s no doubt, you’re in deep,” I can’t help but wonder if he’s “Addicted to Love” or about to miss a deadline. If you’re a freelance writer, odds are you will miss a deadline at some point in your career. Whether you misjudge the breadth of a project, get sick, or simply forget to add an assignment to your task list, missing a deadline can be as panic inducing as forgetting a Valentine’s Day gift for your sweetheart. Here are some quick tips for managing a missed deadline so there’s [Read more…]

Revision Requests Getting Me Down


Dear Jodee, Most of the time when I submit my work to a client, it is accepted the first time. There are times, though, when I have a run where several pieces are sent back. During these times, I start to wonder about the quality of the work that I do and I feel a bit insecure about continuing to do work for clients. What would you suggest? R.J. Dear R.J., I think that to be involved in creative work always involves a certain amount of insecurity. You can’t just show up and expect to get paid; instead, you have [Read more…]

How Do I Get Started as a Freelance Writer


Dear Jodee, I love writing. It’s always been one of my passions. I want to go to college but can’t afford it and am definitely not scholarship material. I want to get a job as a freelance writer to earn some money for at least a two year college. I’m graduating this year and I can’t stand thinking I might not be able to go to school anymore. Will you please give me some advice on what I should do? I’d really appreciate it. Jo Dear Jo, It is possible to make enough money from writing to help you pay [Read more…]

When to Follow Up with a Prospective Client


Dear Jodee, What is an appropriate time to wait before following up with a potential client? I’ve made a pitch and had a good initial discussion with the client but haven’t heard anything further. I don’t want to appear too pushy, but I also don’t want to let this opportunity get away from me. Martin Dear Martin, I can appreciate that if you have had a positive response from a prospective client you want to get the project firmed up right away. Even if a client is receptive to your pitch, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she will [Read more…]

Nervous About Meeting Prospective Client


Dear Jodee, I’ve been contacted by a prospective client who wants to arrange a time to meet. I’ve been working remotely for some time and the idea of sitting down for an interview is really intimidating. Can you give me some tips? Nervous Nellie Dear Nellie, First of all, congrats on being invited to meet with a prospective client. I can understand that this is exciting but a little uncomfortable as well, but you need to keep in mind that this is not quite the same thing as a job interview. You are sitting down with someone to have a [Read more…]

How do I Prepare a Writer’s Resume?


Dear Jodee, I’ve seen ads for freelance writers where the prospective client asks for a resume. How do I prepare a writer’s resume for freelance clients? Confused Applicant Dear Confused, A writer’s resume isn’t some mysterious document; it’s just a resume for a writer. The idea of being a self-employed business owner and having to prepare a resume strikes me as being a bit unusual. If you were hiring someone to look after your lawn, fix your broken toilet or replace your roof, you wouldn’t ask to see a resume, so why would a freelance writer have to provide one? [Read more…]

Job Security in Freelance Writing


Dear Readers, I have been following an interesting discussion on another forum where someone asked whether there was job security in freelance writing. First of all, the words job security and freelance writing really shouldn’t be put together in the same sentence. When you are providing services on a freelance basis, you are not working a job. You are a business owner who has clients. Can you earn a stable income through your freelance writing business efforts? Yes, you can, and if you are looking for a secure income, you are probably better off making it happen for yourself than [Read more…]

How Can I Market my Freelance Writing Services Online?


Dear Jodee, For people who have business clients, how do you go about getting them? What are people’s advertising methods? I’m currently advertising on Craigslist and find it’s not as effective as I’d like it to be. Are there other ways of advertising online that are more effective? Thanks in advance. Sam Dear Sam, There are a number of ways of advertising your writing services online. Your web site or blog is a marketing tool that is always available to potential clients. Make sure that your copy includes the kinds of long tail keywords that clients in your niche would [Read more…]

Getting Through a Slump in Your Freelance Writing


Dear Readers, I wanted to share a comment with you that was posted here the other day: I have been in a bit of a dry patch since Christmas! I worry more about how I’m going to get the payment off my client than how I’m going to get the job. There are so many people out there that are ignorant, cheap and lousy. They don’t pay enough, they want the best possible work for $5 and then when it comes to payment they sneak off. I fully appreciate being concerned about whether or when payment is going to be [Read more…]

How Can I Find Clients Looking for a Back Links Writer?


Dear Jodee, I’m looking for companies or individuals that would like to offer pay per posts on my site. As well, I am looking to write for anyone looking for a back links article writer. Where do I advertise that I can do this? Thank you. Monique Dear Monique, I would suggest that you start with your own web site. Make it simple for visitors to learn that you are interested in writing articles by including a “Hire Me” tab. The page the visitor is taken to should include a list of the topics you have experience with or are [Read more…]

How to End an E-mail to a Prospective Client


Dear Jodee, An e-mail to potential business contacts looks best when written in business style. What about the closing? Sincerely seems “too” traditional to me. What’s an appropriate way to end an email gig inquiry? Nan Dear Nan, If I’m sending an e-mail to someone I’ve never corresponded with before, I like to use “Sincerely” to close the message. I’ve seen people use “Regards” or “Warmest regards” as well. When I used to work for lawyers (and that was several years ago), “Yours very truly” was used to end a letter. This seems a bit too “Old School” for e-mail, [Read more…]

How To Deal with the Salutation in an E-mail to a Prospective Client


Dear Jodee, When I’m responding to freelance writing job ads, I don’t always have a contact name for the client. How do I handle the salutation? Will Write for Money Dear Money Writer, E-mail is a little different from sending a letter by regular mail. People tend to be a little less formal when communicating in this manner. While that may be acceptable when you are sending a note to a friend or a family member, you will want to be more formal when you are communicating with a potential client. If you have the name of a specific contact [Read more…]

Show Me the Money


Dear Jodee, I’ve finished work for a client, submitted my invoice, and….nothing. I don’t want to appear too pushy, but I want to make sure that I get paid for my freelance work. How can I follow up without being aggressive? Hurting for Coin Dear Hurting, I appreciate where you are coming from here. On one hand, you don’t want to alienate the client by jumping on him or her five minutes after you submit the work, but you also want to be paid for what you have done in a timely manner. The first thing you need to do [Read more…]

How Do I Get Started as a Freelance Writer?


One of our readers left this comment on our 31 Free Online Writing Courses post and I thought it was a great question. What would you suggest would be the first step in starting towards freelance writing? I keep thinking I should get some sort of degree or something, but looking at your list, I may not have to do that. Where should I begin? Let me start by saying that if you are asking the question, “How do I get started?,” you are getting a bit ahead of yourself. A better question is to ask yourself what kind of [Read more…]

Telling a Client Why You’re Quitting


Dear Jodee, I’ve been working with a client for some time now, and I’ve become increasingly frustrated with the experience. I’m ready to move on, but I’m struggling with whether to just say that as of “x” date I won’t be available for future assignments or to provide more detail about my reasons. Should I just be straight with the client or are some things better left unsaid? Uncertain About Whether Speak Up or Not Dear Uncertain, I can understand why you would be reluctant to speak up about issues dealing with a client when you have already decided to [Read more…]

Saying No After Receiving Deposit


This question was left in comments recently on the subject of saying No to a client gracefully and I thought it was a great one to address in a column. Dear Jodee, I wonder what if there’s money involved already – Let’s say you got a 50% down payment for the project that you can’t simply do because you’ve miscalculated your time, skills and effort for the job.  Is it okay to return the payment and say no?  I think it will be very unfair for the client who expected you to work on the project already — as you [Read more…]

How Can I Say No to a Client Gracefully?


Dear Jodee, I’ve applied for gigs where there isn’t a lot of detail given in the ad. When the client gets in touch with more information, I realize that I’m really not interested in going any further; the pay is either less than what I am prepared to accept or the subject or the scope of the project isn’t what I’m looking for. How do I say No with some class when the client is clearly interested in getting started and this is not the right gig for me? Tongue-tied Dear Tongue-tied, Your issue is not about not being able [Read more…]

The Client Who Can’t Commit


Dear Jodee, I was hired by a client to do some writing work. We discussed the details of the project and had agreed on its scope, as well as payment. Then the client disappeared. It’s been a few weeks now and although I’ve followed up by e-mail, I haven’t heard anything back. What happened here – is this person being a work tease? Frustrated Dear Frustrated, It sounds like this is a gig that just isn’t going to happen. Something must have changed for this client and rather than explain that to you, he or she just disappeared. Are they [Read more…]

Do You Need a Thick Skin to be a Writer?


Rather than answer a question this week, I decided to just talk. Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of discussions online about having a thick skin and how writers need to have one to be successful. I have to respectfully disagree, if only for the reason that I don’t have one and I consider myself to be successful. When I was a child, more than one teacher assured me that I would develop a thicker skin as I grew up, but I suppose I didn’t inherit the thick skin gene because it didn’t happen for me. If having a thick [Read more…]

Job Boards for High-Paying Freelance Writing Jobs


Dear Jodee, In my experience, most online posting sites for writing jobs are dominated by high-quantity-low-pay offers. I’d immensely appreciate any hints you have on finding job boards whose mission involves *emphasizing* high-quality opportunities that pay accordingly, rather than mixing them at random among pocket-money article databases and small businesses with small budgets. Katharine Dear Katharine, Looking for higher-paying freelance writing job opportunities is a bit like panning for gold – you are going to have to look closely and discard a number of things before you find the nugget you are looking for. Indeed.com has a neat feature that [Read more…]

Dealing with One of “Those” Days


Dear Jodee, How can I get back on track when my day starts off in a frustrating way (rejection e-mail, snarky communication from a client, etc.)? I work from home and I find it challenging to get focused on what I need to do when I’m faced with something disappointing or frustrating when I first sit down at my desk. What can I do to refocus my attention on the work I have in front of me? Miffed in the Morning Dear Miffed, It’s hard to stay focused when your day starts off in a frustrating manner. People who work [Read more…]

How to Deal When a Client Drags Their Feet


Dear Jodee, What do you do when a client wants to hire you but then drags their feet getting you the necessary material, putting you behind on schedule on their project AND others? Dawn Dear Dawn, When a client wants to hire you but doesn’t finalize the arrangement by giving you a deposit and/or providing you with the materials you need to get started, you don’t really have the gig yet. You’re still just talking. At the risk of sounding sexist, it’s like the man who tells a woman at the end of a date, “I had a nice time. [Read more…]

Why You Shouldn’t Write for Revenue Sharing Sites


Last week, I wrote about unanticipated successes.  One of the stories I relayed involved an article I wrote while experimenting with a site that pays based on residuals.  A few years ago, I wrote a brief no-brainer of an article for a revshare site that has subsequently generated several hundred dollars in earnings. I mentioned my overall disdain for involvement with most revenue sharing sites in the front-end of my post and thought I’d go into a little more detail about why I feel the way I do.  I’d hate to think that my story of an exception to the [Read more…]

How to Move on from Entry-Level Writing Gigs


Dear Jodee, I’m on various freelance websites such as elance.com odesk.com and ifreelance.com. I’m getting some work but the work I’m getting takes me forever to complete and it’s not very well paid. I know there are ways to make more money freelance writing, can you point me in the write direction? Acacia Dear Acacia, You have many options available if you want to make more money as a freelance writer. There is some great information posted here on Freelance Writing Jobs, including the job leads we post on weekdays, that can help you move toward better-paying gigs. Along with [Read more…]

How Do I Find Magazines Taking Submissions?


Dear Jodee, I would really appreciate any advice on how to take the first step to writing an article and submitting to a magazine. How do I go about finding information on what magazines are taking submissions? Patty Dear Patty, Many, if not most, magazines have a web site, which can provide you with a wealth of information about the publication. If the writers’ guidelines are not posted there, you can contact the magazine and ask for them. If you type “magazine writer’s guidelines” into Google, over 370,000 hits will come up. I would add “pay OR paid” to your [Read more…]

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