Show, Don’t Tell for Freelance Success


When you are communicating with a potential client about a freelance writing job, you want to present yourself in the best possible way. Unlike applying for a traditional job, you may not be asked to meet with the client for a face-to-face interview; your cover letter, resume and samples may be your only shot at persuading the client to hire you. This is not a situation where you can hold something back and save it for the face-to-face meeting – there may not be one. Instead, make sure that whatever you submit gives the client the information he or she [Read more…]

Should You Take a Survival Job as a Freelance Writer?


I’ve seen a number of web sites recently that suggest freelance writing as a survival job for people who are in between employment opportunities. While I admit that I do find the idea that anyone who can string a couple of words together can get paid to write until they find something better to do with their time a little insulting, this post isn’t about that particular topic. I want to talk about people already working as freelance writers who may be faced with having to work for less than they are used to making. Many of us are familiar [Read more…]

Would You Complete a Personality Test for a Freelance Writing Job?


When a person is working for a brick and mortar job, it’s not uncommon for the employer to request that the candidate undergo some type of testing. People who are interested in working in law enforcement or as firefighters are required to complete physical and personality tests as part of the screening process. Applicants for administrative positions could expect to be asked to do a typing test at some point in their job search. Freelancers are in a different category, since they are not applying for a job. I’ve been asked to do a personality test as part of a [Read more…]

How to Cope with a Client’s Inappropriate Questions

Have you ever been asked an inappropriate or even illegal question in a job interview? It’s happened to me on occasion, and unfortunately both times the interview was for a job at a law firm. (You would think legal types would know better, but apparently they don’t.) One person interviewing me asked if I was married, and then caught himself and said that he probably couldn’t ask me that question. The other time was much more blatant and I was really shocked that it was a woman asking me if I planned to have children in the next year or [Read more…]

Four Things the Academy Awards Can Teach Us About Freelance Writing


Were you glued to the television last night checking out the Oscars? Were you more interested in what people were wearing than who actually took home one of the golden statues, or was it all about seeing people rewarded for their work? I watched a little bit of the show last night, but didn’t stay tuned for the whole thing. It just doesn’t capture my interest the way it used to a number of years ago. The bit of the show I did watch got me thinking about what freelancers can learn from the Academy Awards. 1. You can get [Read more…]

The “Busy” Question and Freelancers

When you are talking to a client (either a new one or someone you have worked with before) about a gig, the question of a deadline and your schedule is going to come up. Some clients keep it really simple and will explain that they need a particular job done by such-and-such a date and ask if you are available. In that case, you can either say yes or explain that you can complete the project by “x” date instead and ask if they have any flexibility with the due date. Unless the job is something that you have absolutely [Read more…]

Why the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet Approach to Your Job Search Doesn’t Work


When you are looking for freelance writing jobs, it can be very tempting to apply for any and every opportunity you see – whether you are a good fit or not – especially when you are getting started as a freelancer. This type of approach could work and there are some people who do find gigs in this way. I suppose the idea is that if you put enough applications out there, sooner or later someone will respond. The issue with this type of job hunt is that the prospective clients who do respond may not be the ones that [Read more…]

On Freelance Writer Rejection: Sometimes It’s You


If you are a freelance writer, rejection is part of the job. I don’t think anyone actually likes being rejected, and some days it’s easier to take than others. I don’t know if this technique works for anyone else, but when I get rejected I let myself feel the emotions that go with being told that you’re not quite what the client was looking for, or even worse that your work is what the client is looking for  (Ouch). Then I try to figure out whether it was  was something that was in my control or not. Being a bit [Read more…]

What Have You Done Lately?


If your goal is to stand out from other freelance writers who are applying for the same gig, you need to spend some time thinking about yourself and the skills and abilities that you bring to the table. You will have included this information on your resume, so that a prospective client can find out something about you and the kind of work you have done in the past. To provide the reader with more information about you, include achievements in your resume. What achievements, you may be asking yourself. Think back through the jobs you have had and try [Read more…]

Are You Afraid of Your Freelance Writing Clients?

It’s early October, which means that the build-up to Halloween has already started. I’ve been enjoying some scary movies lately and I’ve been thinking about the fact that everyone is scared of something, whether they admit it or not. My list includes heights, large bodies of water, clowns – the usual stuff. I can also admit that I used to be intimidated by clients, both existing and prospective ones. There were a lot of gigs I didn’t apply for simply because I didn’t have the nerve to. When I got hired by people to write for them, I was scared [Read more…]

How to be an Internet Job Miner

The Internet is a wonderful resource for people who are looking for work, including freelance writers. If you are interested in picking up your next gig, you have many options and places to look available to you. Many people who are looking for jobs check employment web sites looking for listings for “freelance writer.” This is an effective strategy, to be sure, but you can also get some great leads by looking at postings for editors. Read through the job description to see if it mentions something about the client looking for someone who can “supervise the work of freelance [Read more…]

When a Client Doesn't Want to Work with You Anymore….

This post was inspired by the thread I spotted on an online forum where a writer had been “fired” by a client and was asking whether to ask for her “job” back. The words “fired” and “job” have quotes around them because they don’t really apply in this situation. If you are a freelance writer, you are your own boss. You don’t have a job, you have assignments, and a client can’t fire you in the same way that an employer can. If you have received the, “this isn’t working out” message from a client, you have choices. You can [Read more…]

Waiting for Confidence to Strike

More than one person I know has said that they couldn’t work as a freelance writer because they don’t feel confident enough. I tell them that feeling confident is not a requirement; if I waited until I felt completely confident and I was wearing just the right outfit and the phase of the moon was just so, I would never reach out to any prospective clients. If you take how you personally feel about your job hunt out of the equation, you can get a lot more accomplished and be on your way to finding a gig that is a [Read more…]

Do You Interview Potential Clients?

When you are communicating with a potential client, do you take the time to interview them to make sure that both of you are a good fit. I admit that when I first started out, anyone with a pulse and a checkbook looked good to me. At that point, I was more concerned with getting someone to hire me than thinking about whether our working together would be a good fit. Over time, I started reading freelance writing jobs more carefully to get an idea of what the client wanted before I applied. When I got a response back about [Read more…]

Reading Between the Lines with a Client

Writing a job ad is not an easy thing to do, and it’s no wonder that so many clients appear to struggle with putting what they need into words. Some of them seem to expect the reader to know what they want when all they post is “writer needed” and an e-mail address. Others have a lot of content in their ad, but that doesn’t mean they are stating their needs in a way that is easy to understand. If you are waiting for the perfect ad to answer, you may be missing out on some great opportunities. Just because [Read more…]

Does Politeness Matter When Looking for Work?

I admit that rudeness really gets under my skin. There is never an excuse for it. I can deal with someone being direct, and I can be that way myself when the situation warrants it. You can be assertive without being nasty to the person you are interacting with. If you were interested in hiring someone to do some work for you, does the applicant’s demeanor matter or should you be focused on his or her skill set only? The candidate’s skills and experience matter, of course. Unless you are looking to fill an entry-level opportunity, you do need to [Read more…]

Didn't Get the Gig? Keep in Touch Anyway

Have you ever been on the short list for a freelance writing job and the client decided to hire someone else? It’s happened to all of us. No one likes being rejected, especially when they have made the effort to update their freelance writing resume, choose relevant samples and craft a cover letter. When you add a bit of back and forth communication about the gig before the client makes a decision, it is disappointing to find out that you aren’t going to be working on it. When you hear the words, “Sorry, we have decided not to hire you…” [Read more…]

What Message Would You Wear on a T-shirt?

Photo credit: taliesin from I like T-shirts with slogans on them. If I see a display of shirts at a store or a kiosk, I do stop to check them out. I usually find at least a couple with slogans that I find funny or interesting. The T-shirts we choose to wear give the person who sees them an idea of who we are without our having to say a word. I remember the ’70s as being a time when T-shirts with messages were very popular. Customers could go into a store and look through a book of transfers [Read more…]

Are You a Hunter or a Gatherer When it Comes to Finding Freelance Writing Jobs?

I bet you’ve seen ads looking for salespeople where the employer is looking for someone who is a “hunter.” This term refers to someone who is actively seeking out new customers for their company’s product or service. The salesperson may spend a good portion of his or her time on the phone cold calling prospects or even calling on prospective customers directly. Since businesses need to keep selling to keep operating, the sales team must not only ensure that existing customers are being serviced properly, but they must also be looking for new customers. Freelance writers need to have some [Read more…]

Attitude Counts When Looking for Freelance Work

Is looking for freelance work a necessary evil to you or something that you take in stride as part of the life of a freelancer? No matter how busy we may be at any particular point in time, we need to keep in mind that things can change very quickly. A client who was keeping us busy with steady work may not have much for us at a particular point in time. We may decide that it’s time to move on from a client or a type of work we have outgrown. The gig may be for a specific project [Read more…]

How Much Does Talent Matter?

I had a great conversation recently with someone I was interviewing, and we got on the subject of talent when it comes to freelance writers. We were discussing how much “talent” matters in the equation of what makes someone a successful freelancer. I’ve been giving the matter some thought, and here’s my take on it: Talent is Only a Small Part of Freelance Success Yes, having a certain amount of raw talent is required. You need to be able to write well. Good grammar is a skill that you can improve with time. Spelling is something that a lot of [Read more…]

Content Freelance Writing Gigs
FWJ is read by many thousand readers every day. We offer a free weekly newsletter with all the top stories - come join the community!