Have you ever had a client ask what forms of freelance writer payment you accept? Do you list them on your website so that clients know up front which ones are available to them? You have several options available and by offering more choices, you may be able to increase your client base.
Editor’s Note: This post was written by Brie Weiler Reynolds, the Director of Online Content at FlexJobs, the award-winning site for telecommuting and flexible job listings. FlexJobs lists thousands of pre-screened, legitimate, and professional-level work-from-home jobs and other types of flexibility like part-time positions, freelancing, and flexible schedules. Brie provides career and job search advice through the FlexJobs Blog and social media. Learn more at www.FlexJobs.com. If you’re visiting this site, it’s highly likely that you’re either thinking of becoming, or you already are, a writer. When, though, does that transition happen? When do you get to drop the “aspiring” from your title as [Read more…]
Every industry has its horror stories and freelancing is no different. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about what it’s really like to work as a freelance writer. As a prior manager of a freelance writing pool to a newly converted freelancer myself, I can safely say many of the things I used to hold true about freelancing were anything but. Freelancing is a Piece of Cake Freelance writers work incredibly hard for the money they earn. While they have eliminated their daily commute to the office, most freelancers fill those “extra” commuting hours with work. Don’t get [Read more…]
For the past three years, I have run my own virtual writing and editing company, Desired Assistance. Born out of my ability to write and edit, paired with the increasing demand for virtual assistants, I combined the two to create my own business. This journey hasn’t always been easy, but it has certainly been worth it. Along the way I discovered things about myself, my writing, and business in general. Here are some of the lessons I learned. Work Your Network When I first launched my freelancing business, the majority of my clients came directly (or indirectly) from my college and [Read more…]
Freelancing is awesome. You are your own boss, there is no daily commute, you avoid the office politics and drama…there are so many benefits of working for yourself. However, that also means you have to learn things the hard way, and without a safety net. Accepting full responsibility for mistakes and your actions comes with the territory of being a freelancer.
Man, it just isn’t easy to be a freelance writer sometimes. Sure, you have the ability to set your own hours and rates. You can work from literally anywhere with an Internet connection and you are your own boss. Plus, if you ever need to take time away you can do so. All in all, it is a good career choice, but it still has its difficulties.
BOO! OK so that’s all I got. That’s my splash. Spectacular wasn’t it? Kidding. Seriously though, all this labor and angst over finding your “voice” as a writer… does it really have to be so damn hard all the time? (Hint: OF COURSE IT DOESN’T.) Sorry, was I shouting? Forgive me, it’s all the pent up passion y’know. Wreaks havoc with my social filters. Anyhoo, you probably already know the usual tips to finding your writing voice and groove, like: Write a lot. Write a lot more. Then write even more.
For many writers, math is not a strong suite. Creativity comes easy, but when it comes time to worry about taxes, writers often run the other way. The danger that goes along with freelance writing is the idea that you do not get a formal paycheck. While a traditional job will take care of the taxes for you, in general, freelance writing probably won’t. In other words, it’s in the hands of the writer to set money aside for taxes. Now to make things even more complicated for those who despised math growing up: there are different types of taxes [Read more…]
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…]
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…]
Bring up the topic of green living and people think recycling and light bulbs. These are, of course, important parts of caring for the environment, but they are not the only things each of us can do to save, reduce and reuse resources. The office presents several opportunities to lessen our personal impact on the world around us. Paper Control Cut back on paper use. Writer’s use a lot of paper, including to hand -edit pieces. That’s why it’s important to keep a bin next to the printer to deposit used paper. The paper is can be reused for back-side printing, [Read more…]
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…]
I firmly believe reading great writing is key to becoming a great writer. It doesn’t matter the subject, what matters is how the writer connects with their readers and how well they deliver the information they are charged with conveying. Check out these great blogs *listed in no particular order.* 1. The Oatmeal Before you cry ‘Foul!’ Yes, The Oatmeal is not a traditional, 500-word-per-post blog. It is, however, incredibly clever with the small amount of words each post uses. Each blog hits its target and it doesn’t dwell on ledes to do it. 2. TechCrunch Chock full of information, TechCrunch is [Read more…]
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…]
There is perhaps no other topic in the freelance writing world that generates more controversy than the concept of writers writing for free. Bring it up and lines in invisible sand are drawn, commenting spikes and in the case of Harlan Ellison, a few F-bombs are dropped. It’s understandable. Shady publishers and editors prey on vunerable writers who want to see their names in print. Writers are constantly burned by “write for free now and earn later” promises in which “later” never comes. However, in the angry buzz of the debate something gets lost. Choice and education. There will always [Read more…]
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…]
There have been many advances in the field of freelance writing over the last few years: for most publications it is no longer necessary to send in an SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) query; electronic payments outpace snail mail checks; social media has made it easier to connect to other writers and editors, etc. The business side of freelance writing has gotten easier with more online applications streamlining mundane tasks many writers loathe. Shoeboxed is one great app that moves shoeboxes full of receipts out of the closet and into cyberspace. Shoeboxed organizes and stores receipts, business cards and documents [Read more…]
Being a freelance writer isn’t an easy gig. Many people wake up on January 1st and after staring at themselves through a hazy fog of cheap champagne and celebratory glitter decide that this would be the year they took the big step and pursue their passion for the written word. Three months and several rejection letters later they sit alone in their basement home office muttering about being an under appreciated, true artist. Instead of writing for a living, they spend the majority of the day failing at freelancing. Fortunately, after spending a fair amount of time sucking at this [Read more…]
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…]
Ever since I started writing at Plagiarism Today and especially since I started this column, I’ve been hearing a lot from freelance writers who have been scammed or otherwise victimized by unscrupulous clients. Though the good news is that such bad clients are very rare in the big scheme of things, they are common enough that almost every freelancer, if they remain active long enough, will run into one or two over the course of their career. So how do you avoid being taken advantage of as a freelance writer. As we discussed previously, clients have the playing field tilted [Read more…]
There are some writers that are heads and shoulders above others. They always snag the important gigs and never seem to have a dry spell. What is it about them that makes them so popular? Abundant talent? Insider connections? Eh. Talent will take you far and connections will help you get your foot in the door, but there are three things that, when all else is equal, separate the cream from the watery stuff no one wants. Communication. Star writers are excellent communicators. They keep their editors informed on article development, including any changes or source issues. They are accessible. Emails [Read more…]
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…]
I get a lot of emails from people seeking freelance writing advice. One letter last week got me thinking about how much time writers waste on queries. In the email, a new writer asked if I could read his query and tell him why it was rejected and point out any obvious problems. He went on to say he knew he didn’t miss anything because he had worked on nothing else but the query for two weeks. Two weeks is a long time. Queries are an important part of writing, especially for writers trying to establish themselves in the field. [Read more…]
Part of being a freelancer is looking for work. Even when we have a full plate, we are aware that our status can change very quickly. Clients run out of work, we decide that it’s time to move on, or we simply experience a dry spell. Since a phone call or e-mail can change our work schedules (and have an impact on our cash flow) very quickly, getting into the habit of always being on the lookout for new opportunities is important. The “job” of a writer is not just about thinking stuff up; it also involves the functions of [Read more…]
By now, we all know that, when signing freelance writing contracts, you need to be copyright smart and make sure that you aren’t giving away more rights to your work than you intended. But many don’t understand what the big deal about signing over copyright to their work is. Most freelance writers don’t resell the same work to several clients, and act that is considered to be very bad form when it is done without prior knowledge, and often times freelance writers never have any intention to ever return to the topic again. In short, for many freelance writers, once [Read more…]