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…]

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…]

How to Target Your Freelance Writing Job Search for Newbies

Your first freelance writing job is the hardest one to get, in my opinion. Once you have one (or a few) gigs under your belt, you can use your past writing experience to propel yourself forward to the next opportunity. How do you approach the task of landing that first gig, then? Start with what you know, and I don’t necessarily mean the fact that you have been writing for yourself for years. Working on your own projects is not the same thing as taking on client work. Both of them involve writing, but your own work is more of [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…]

Reapplying After Being Turned Down for a Gig

If you have applied for a freelance writing job and didn’t get hired, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should consider that door closed and never contact that prospective client again. There are times when you should consider taking another run at getting hired by a client you would like to work with. You Feel You Can Present Yourself Better There are times when we apply for freelance writing jobs and realize afterward that we could have done a better job at presenting ourselves as a good fit for that client. If you sent off your resume and realized later [Read more…]

How to Respond to a Blind Ad


Not all clients who are looking for freelance talent share their contact information when they post an ad looking for help. Not knowing exactly who you are responding to can feel a bit awkward. Some ads looking for freelance writing help are poorly written at the best of times, and when the client is not clearly identified, it is even more challenging to provide the information needed to show them that you are the right person for the gig. It may be tempting to assume that blind ads have been placed by shady individuals who are either looking to collect [Read more…]

Who Are Your Freelance Writing Clients?

When you are looking for freelance writing jobs (I prefer to think of them as freelance writing opportunities), do how well to you know your potential clients? Rather than simply applying for writing gigs without thinking about whether the opportunity is a good fit for your skills and abilities, why don’t you take some time to get a clear idea about who your clients are, or could be? Here are some questions to get you started: What kind of business does your client operate? Do they have an online or brick and mortar presence, or both? What kinds of writing [Read more…]

What Matters Most: Good Brand Fit or Reliability?

I like to have some background noise when I’m working, and I often have the television on during the day. It’s interesting where ideas for blog posts come from sometimes: I started watching an episode of D.C. Cupcakes, a reality show about two sisters who run Georgetown Cupcake. To be honest, I wasn’t paying a lot of attention at first, but when the ladies became involved in hiring new staff, the show became a lot more interesting to me. I’m always curious about the hiring process from an employer/client’s point of view, whether it turns into something I can blog [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…]

Don't Neglect Your Current Clients While Looking for Freelance Writing Jobs

Freelance writers are always thinking about finding their next project. We send out queries, send out pitches to prospective clients and check out the job boards looking for our next gig. While we need to thinking about where then next gig is going to come from, we shouldn’t ignore our existing clients as a source of work. One way to increase the chances of being hired for future projects is to give your clients your best effort on the work they have already assigned to you. Delivering what they have asked for, on time, will put you on the short [Read more…]

How to Stand Out from the Crowd When Applying for Gigs

When a client (or any employer) puts out an ad looking for help, they are usually swamped with responses. It’s not uncommon for a single ad to generate 200 responses (or more). How do you stand out from the crowd of other people (in a positive way) who are trying to get the same freelance writing gig? Follow Instructions One thing that will set you apart from the rest of the pack is to follow the instructions in the ad to the letter. If the client is asking for a resume, send your most recent version. On the other hand, [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…]

Stretch Yourself When Applying for Freelance Writing Jobs

Most people, whether they are working for an employer or freelancing, want to feel like they are working toward something better. They may be trying to get a better salary or qualify for a promotion. Whatever the individual’s personal “carrot” hanging on a stick in front of them, they need something to keep them motivated on the job. The same thing is true for freelance writers. We have an idea of what “success” means to us, and while what it looks like is as unique as the writers themselves, part of it usually involves a writer stretching him or herself [Read more…]

The Job Pyramid and What it Means to You

The job market is shaped like a pyramid. Consider the pyramid shape for a minute. It’s broader at the base and gets narrower as it rises to the top. The same thing is true when you are looking at freelance writing jobs. If you are looking at entry-level opportunities, there are many of them out there. I’m just talking about numbers, not whether they would be a good fit for you or whether they pay a rate that you would feel comfortable accepting. One of the reasons that I like checking out leads on is that this job search [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…]

Do You Care About Your Clients' Business?

At first glance, this may seem like a bit of a silly question. Your answer may be something along the lines of, “I care if my clients are doing enough business to make sure I get paid, so yes….”, or some such thing. What I am getting at is something that is much deeper than that. Do you have an understanding of what your clients’ goals are and what they want to achieve through your writing? Here’s the thing. There are a lot of people out there who are working (or at least trying to find work) as freelance writers. [Read more…]

The Rate Question: "Is That the Best You Can Do?"

Have you ever given a quote to a client and been asked whether you could give them a further reduction in the price? If you are really interested in the project or you have the potential to pick up steady work, it may be tempting to considering lowering the price. Before you decide whether to do so, take a minute to consider what the client has actually said. He or she hasn’t indicated that the price you have quoted is too high….yet. All they have asked is whether the price you have quoted is a firm one. If you feel [Read more…]

Why a Price Objection is a Good Thing

When you quote a fee to a potential client, there are a few things that will happen. The client may agree to the price you quoted and hire you. You may never hear from the person again. They may come back with an objection. On the face of it, an objection isn’t really a positive thing. You have considered the project and how much time and effort it will take, and you have quoted the potential client what you feel is a fair price for your work. Ideally, you want them to agree to your price without objecting to anything, [Read more…]

Getting Confidence in Your Job Search: Fake It 'Til You Make It

One comment that I have heard several times since I started freelancing from people who are thinking about taking the plunge is that they couldn’t do because they “don’t have the confidence” to do it. Here’s the thing: You don’t (necessarily) need it. If you waited until you felt fully confident and completely comfortable before you started applying for gigs or talking to potential clients, you probably won’t ever put yourself out there to pursue freelance opportunities. You can become more confident over time, though, by adopting the “Fake It ‘Til You Make It” approach. A potential client sees your [Read more…]

Why Are Freelancers Negotiating Rates Anyway?

Jack Busch’s thoughtful comment to my post on Negotiating Rates: Overcoming the Price Objection led me to think about freelancers and rates and why we do the negotiation dance. A couple of things came to mind. We’re Still in the Employer-Employee Mindset When someone is interviewing for a job, part of the hiring process includes a discussion about the salary range the candidate is looking for. The question may come up during the interview process and the job seeker wants to make sure that the range they are looking for fits with what the employer is willing to pay for [Read more…]

Negotiating Rates: Overcoming the Price Objection

Finding a potential client and getting them interested in what you can offer is great, but you still need to work out the compensation details before you can start working together. If the client has checked out your resume and/or samples and is interested in hiring you, they have already made a decision to hire you, albeit a conditional one. At this point, the client feels that you can provide them with the services they want but they want to know whether you can do so at a price they are willing to pay. If you quote a fee for [Read more…]

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