Once you have successfully landed your first freelance writing job, you should be thinking about completing it to your client’s specifications, to be sure. Now is the perfect time to start developing the habit of thinking ahead (if you haven’t already) and looking at how to get your second freelance writing job. [Read more…]
There’s a time when you are in discussions with a prospective client about a project but haven’t been hired for the gig (yet).Before you can say, “Yes” or “No,” you’ll need to get clear about a few things first. Here are some suggestions about questions freelance writers should ask prospective clients before deciding whether to take on a particular gig. [Read more…]
No matter how busy you are as a freelance writer, you should never get so comfortable that you forget to market yourself to potential new clients. Projects can finish earlier than the client anticipated for a number of reasons, a once-promising gig may become delayed, or you may decide that you no longer wish to continue accepting assignments from a particular client. If you are going to be sending out freelance writing resumes, you will need to know how to write an effective cover letter for freelance writing jobs.
If there is one thing freelance writers have in common, it’s that we are constantly marketing ourselves. It’s not a good idea to get too comfortable in a gig, even if it has been steady and lasted for a long time, and even if the client has hinted that it will continue that way for some time. Things can change in the world of work for employees as well as freelancers very quickly, and while you always give your projects your best effort, you need to understand that you only have work as long as the client needs your services. It’s absolutely nothing personal; it’s just business. One way you can stay search for gigs is to set up Google Alerts for different keywords and have leads come to your In box.
Here’s a scenario that most, if not all, freelance writers who have been working for a while are familiar with: you start communicating with a prospective client and discussing a project. It sounds like something you would be interested in taking on, and you can fit it into your schedule without too much difficulty. So far, so good. Everything seems is lining up really well. Then either you or the client brings up the subject of the budget for the project and how you will be paid. You are asked to give a quote, now that you know the scope of the project – are you better off telling the client that you will be billing by the hour or by project?
You have decided you want to update your resume to give it a more modern look but you are all thumbs with the idea of working with an infographic resume template, and the idea of paying someone to create your resume for you is not in your budget. You are not out of options yet – infographic resume builders can help you get a polished and professional looking resume by doing much of the heavy lifting for you.
Protect your identity and integrity by avoiding fraudulent freelance job offers.
Because freelance job listings characteristically involve short-term telecommute work, they’re easier to fake than full-time, salaried job postings. If you’re a freelancer looking for a new project, get familiar with these easy tricks for spotting freelance job scams:
Take a Step Back from Start-ups
Start-up businesses should not be universally painted with the job-scam brush; however, it’s important to understand that con artists exploit the entrepreneurial spirit of start-up businesses to weave their web of deceit.
Beware of freelance job listings from newly established businesses that promise income from future earnings or a percentage of profits after “X” amount of labor. If an employer cannot afford to pay you now, then you cannot afford to say yes to the job offer.
Never Pay to Work
Although this sounds like career advice from Captain Obvious, job scammers resort to inventive methods to coax freelancers out of money. Never agree to pay for a contract, design or training materials, or distribution costs.
Protect Your Samples
It’s difficult to envision a freelancer in 2014 who does not have an online portfolio of work generated from educational assignments, internships, or previous employment. When a potential employer presses you for additional work samples or detailed outlines pertaining to a specific project proposal, recognize that you may be on the fast track to getting swindled.
Working for free on the promise of a job offer is bad business. Make sure you are always under the protection of a contract. If you readily provide free samples, don’t be surprised if you find your uncompensated work online, credited to someone else.
Avoid Calls for Inexperienced Workers
When have you ever contracted with a legitimate employer who is not interested in the professional and educational backgrounds of their freelancers? Even entry level positions require some measure of basic demonstrable skills or competency.
Freelance job ads that boast “IMMEDIATE START – NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED!” should be treated with as much caution as Jason Voorhees at a summer camp.
Respect Your Instincts
Similar to how you would refuse email lottery winnings from a “Nigerian prince,” go with your gut when conducting online searches for freelance employment offers. Remember to not take unnecessary RISKS:
• Research employers with accredited agencies, like the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
• Investigate employers on social media sites and with other freelancers
• Skip the spec work
• Keep your guard up when asked to provide sensitive personal information
• Stick to this promise: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
If you are solicited by a freelance job scam artist, do your part to stop the cycle of employment fraud and report the incident to the BBB’s Scam Stopper or file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
Have you been fooled by freelance employment fraud or are you aware of current scams circling the Web? Share your stories and tips in a comment.
Replying to job listings is probably one of the main things that freelance writers do on a daily basis. While some of us may be fortunate enough to have long-term clients that provide us enough income not to pitch to someone new every day, sending in job applications is still an inherent and crucial part of freelance writing.
I’m writing this post from the perspective of someone who goes through job applications on a regular basis. In the past months, I think I’ve seen so many – and deleted even more. I thought it would help our readers, especially beginning freelancers, if I shared my experience.
If you don’t care about your job application being read (at the very least)…
Don’t follow instructions in the ad.
It’s a no brainer, and every freelancer will tell you that they know this. But when it comes to the application of the idea, many fail.
Attach a resume when it’s stated in the ad that resumes are not needed.
When it comes to many writing gigs, the proof is in the writing. Hence, many employers want samples and not resumes. Many ads explicitly say “send samples; we don’t need resumes”. No matter how impressive your resume may be, if the ad states that there is no need to send a resume, why do that? That’s one way to start off on the wrong foot.
Attach Word documents when URLs to work samples are requested.
Many ads also state that samples should be sent as URLs. The reason behind this is that employers want to simply click on a link and see actual published material. Additionally, attachments are a hassle to download, not to mention the risk of malware!
Don’t send any samples at all.
I can’t count the number of application emails I have received which are written in such a way that creative juices just flow out of my screen. Unfortunately, in spite of the ad saying that samples are needed, the applicant writes something along the lines of “Samples and references to be furnished upon request.”
Guess what? When an employer reads that, they won’t send you a request.
Don’t proofread your application.
Another no brainer. You’re applying for a writing position. You may not be the best writer in the world, but you can still get the job. If your application letter (no matter the length) is rife with typos, you can forget about hearing back from the employer.
Open with “Tell me more about the job and the rates”.
In many cases, freelance writing job ads include the essential details that writers want to know: type of writing (blogging, copywriting, etc.), word count, pay rate (even if it’s generic like pay per hour), and topic/s. Of course, it is understandable – and even expected – that a serious writer will want to know ALL the details at some point, before going further.
If, however, you send an email application opening with “Tell me more about the job and the rates” and not add much more, this sends the wrong message. Red flags go up. Bells ring.
I don’t know about other people, but I want to work with writers who are interested in the topic, establishing their voice, and growing their audience – and not simply how much a gig pays. That may sound idealistic, but it’s true.
Don’t get me wrong. I know pay is important. For some, it is a deciding factor; but I consider it a turn off if that’s the first thing you throw at me.
When going through application emails, I really put a premium on how the letter is written and if instructions are followed. If those things are met, I then look at the samples.
What about you? What do you think a freelance writer has to pay attention to when responding to a job ad?
Bonus: If you need help with your resume, here are 6 resume tips for freelancers.
As a freelance writer, one of the biggest challenges you face is setting yourself apart from everyone else. There are lots of amateurs out there who claim to be professional writers – so unless you show your potential clients that you are serious, you’re not going to stand out from the crowd. There are a number of effective ways to do this, and some can actually save you time and money.
Appearing professional starts with the quotation that you give to your client. Don’t just write an email that explains how wonderful you are – instead, invest the time to put together a proper quotation and attach it to your email. Include a cover page that clearly identifies that this is a quotation that you have prepared for the client, along with the name of the job, the date on which the quotation was issued, and the date on which it expires.
It is also a good idea to include your logo on the cover page – if you don’t have one, get one designed. Provide a line item breakdown in the body of the quotation, along with any assumptions or conditions – for example, the number of revisions that are included. Not only will this make you appear more professional, it will establish a clear scope for the quote – saving you time and aggravation if you win the job.
Another way to set yourself apart is to include indicative graphics with your writing. This doesn’t mean that you have to do the graphic design – you just need to provide direction to help the client choose appropriate graphics.
Stock photography is a good tool for doing this – for example, Dreamstime stock footage and photos can cost less than a dollar each, which is a tiny fraction of the overall cost of a job. As well as giving your deliverable a much more polished appearance, this can save you time and money – clients are far less likely to ask for extensive rewrites if you deliver something that looks close to a final product. On the other hand, if you give clients a rough draft, they will often make changes even when they aren’t warranted, especially if they are challenging clients.
Finally, for larger jobs – more than a few pages – be clear with the client that you are going to produce an outline before you actually write the final copy. This doesn’t have to be extensive – but it should list the main sections, along with bullet points that capture the essence of the content for each section.
Ask the client to review and approve this before you start to write – as well as creating a professional image, this will give you an agreed baseline from which to create the final copy. This will reduce the likelihood of rewrites, and allow you to charge additional fees if the client has a change of mind subsequently. You will also find it much easier to produce copy using an outline as opposed to just diving in and starting to write.
According to the U.S. Greeting Card Association, we love sending special messages to our nearest and dearest. About 1.6 billion Christmas cards will be purchased this year to send our best wishes to friends, loved ones, neighbors, and coworkers. These very healthy numbers mean there are many opportunities for freelance writers who can master a turn of a phrase to capture a person’s interest and make a greeting card feel as though it were written to express the thoughts or emotions of the person who wishes to send it.
This kind of writing is very precise. You have a very limited space in which to work, and you will need to choose every word with care. Either your card is going to grab a person’s attention and fit exactly what he or she wants to say on a particular occasion, or it will be left on the shelf, so to speak.
Study the Market Before You Submit
This market is like any other, so you will need to do your homework before you submit any verses to a greeting card company. Go online and do some research. Find out what types of cards different companies offer and click on the most popular ones.
Get a feel for each company’s particular style before you start trying to compose anything. Look at the length of the verses, the type of wording used, and the subjects that the cards deal with. If you excel at writing humorous greeting cards, your contribution may not be the best fit for a very traditional publisher.
Follow Submission Guidelines Carefully
When you are ready to submit your work to a particular greeting card market for freelancers, make sure that you follow the instructions to the letter. Some of them still want to receive submissions by regular mail, while others are open to hearing from writers by e-mail. If you are asked to send in your idea for a card on a cardboard card in a particular size, then that is the size that the publisher wants to see. Don’t send in your submission on plain paper.
Do tell the editor exactly to whom your card is directed. If you are writing a greeting card for a father, mother, sister, brother, grandmother, grandfather, friend, husband, wife, or sweetheart, you will want to set this up by sharing some directions with the reader before starting the verse.
If your concept involves a specific image, share this as well. You will need to set the visual scene so that your idea will be implanted in the editor’s mind before he or she starts to read your idea. Simply sharing a verse without this extra information may not be enough to clearly convince the person reviewing your work that it will be enough to get your point across.
Submit Several Poems for Submission at Once
To make it worth your while to submit your work to a greeting card company, do submit several poems at once. Since this type of submission is relatively short, it makes sense to wait until you have a number of poems to share. Some freelance writers send in a batch of 10 or 20 at a time to an editor to review and have the chance of getting a larger pay if they have multiple submissions accepted at once.
11 Greeting Card Markets for Freelance Writers
If you feel that you have the chops to break into this highly-structured type of writing, here is a list of greeting card markets that accept outside submissions.1.
1. Amber Lotus Publishing E-mail pdf with sample of your work.
2. Artists to Watch Submissions are reviewed quarterly, so you will need to be patient if waiting for a response.
3. Avanti Press Fill out form to be considered for future writing opportunities.
4. Designer Greetings Accepts submissions from writers by mail; no electronic submissions for greeting cards accepted.
5. NobleWorks Submit online form to request copy submission guidelines.
6. Moonpig Review online guidelines before submitting by regular mail or electronically.
7. Comstock Adult humor greeting card company. Download submission guidelines from website.
8. Freedom Greeting Card Company African-American greeting card company. Send e-mail query for creative submissions.
9. Warner Press Christian greeting card company. Read submission guidelines online.
10. Calypso Cards See submission guidelines on website.
11. DaySpring Cards Christian greeting cards. See submission procedures online.
Consider Submitting Art to Greeting Card Companies Too
If you are a talented artist or photographer as well as a writer, greeting card companies are also looking for people who can provide images for their cards. Check the submission guidelines to see whether the greeting card company you are interested in will accept both types when you are looking for this type of freelance writing gig.