In my last Quick Query Tip post “Work Your Contacts” I wrote about how to work your contacts in order to get your foot in the door of a particular publication. This week I wanted to go into a little more detail on how to delicately balance working your contacts when your contact person is a friend.
Balancing business with personal relationships is important and essential to freelance writing success. As discussed in the last column, asking people for a professional hook-up has its issues. Asking for one from a friend is no different. In fact, if done incorrectly, it has the potential to harm the relationship. There are a few things you should keep in mind when entering into the “hook up” phase of your relationship.
Don’t become a bug-a-boo.
Time after time you come back for more, asking for an email contact to this editor and a name drop to that client and most of your work is coming in on the backs of your friends. Keep it up and there will come a time when your friend(s) will wonder you are in a relationship with them because of their their witty banter or only because of their connections.
Give just as good as you receive.
If you’ve gotten a boost from a friend, give a boost back. Leads, sources, recommendations to an editor – the help, in any form, is always appreciated. Don’t think of it as giving away work. There is plenty of writing work out their for great writers. Notice I said great. Mediocre ones have a little more trouble…
Don’t be an eager beaver.
Your friend just shared great news about landing a gig with a big publication and the first thing you do is tweet your congratulations then DM your favor request, yuck. Not only are you jumping all over their fresh kill, you’re being rude.
Trading professional favors is a fringe benefit to a friendship, it isn’t the glue that holds it together. Ask for favors sparingly and with deliberation and don’t become stingy with your own career boosting nuggets.
Have a professional hook-up story? Got a complaint about them? Tell us below!