I met with a local group of freelancers for coffee last night. (Any Phoenician readers in the audience are welcome to join — it’s the Phoenix Copywriter Coffee League on LinkedIn.) At one point, one of my friends asked me a question that, I admit, I’m not very good at answering:
“What are your favorite freelance projects?”
I hemmed and hawed, to the effect of “I dunno. No favorite. Anything but public relations.” Like a good reporter, she pressed me, “Well, what about websites vs. brochures? How about healthcare vs. high tech?”
It’s a question I *should* be prepared to answer. (It’s not one of the “4 key client questions” I discussed a few weeks back, but it does occasionally get asked.)
I’m philosophically anti-niche, although I totally respect writers who choose to go that route if that’s what works for them. I describe myself as an omnivore: I like all different types of writing, whether it’s digital or print, and I can find something to like about any industry; even if it’s not a topic I absolutely adore, the trick is to find an interesting angle. (And I say that as someone who once wrote about crop and hail insurance for farmers.) It’s easier for me to define my business by what I don’t like or won’t do. And yeah, I’ll take boring but high paying freelance jobs over a client that won’t keep a roof over my family’s noggins.
As my compadre continued to press the issue, I finally came up with a workable answer:
My favorite freelance projects are those in which I like, enjoy, and respect the client and what they’re trying to accomplish.
This presents a challenge, of course. It’s not like you can do a cold call campaign to target the “Awesome Freelance Client Database,” or look them up under “A” in your local phone book. They are out there, though, and you will find them if you’re persistent. And when you do, it underscores the importance of cultivating your client relationships, as well as doing fantastic work for them, once you’ve found a yin to your yang.
In the comments: What are your favorite types of freelance projects?