In examining the recent results of the Freelance Forecast 2010 survey, one particular answer shocked me: 54% of the respondents said they did not contribute to any retirement plan in 2009. (Even 46% of those who’ve been freelancing for 10 years or more didn’t contribute.) There might be some reasonable explanations—bad financial year, already contribute the max to a spouse’s account, already independently wealthy, want to keep freelancing forever, want to pay more taxes—but it still gives me pause to think that freelancers make a major financial mistake by not adequately preparing for the future. [Read more…]
Dr. Freelance: I have been contacted by a few potential clients who found me on various lists. They asked me if I am interested in taking their proofreading tests but then don’t send the tests to me. How much time do you suggest on client follow-up? Thanks!—Concerned Proofreader
Concerned: Great question, and I have a couple of thoughts. Ideally, client follow-up is something that you define in the initial contact: 1) ask when you can expect to receive the test, 2) when the client would like you to follow up, 3) who the point person is, and 4) when the project deadline is, because you can use that as leverage in the sales process. In general, the sooner you follow up, the better. [Read more…]
Freelance Forecast is Boomvang Creative Group‘s annual survey of creative freelancers—writers, editors, graphic designers, web designers, illustrators, photographers, PR pros and all varieties of solo entrepreneurs—as well as the clients who hire them for freelance jobs. If you did not participate this year, but would like to be notified about the upcoming Freelance Forecast in December, please subscribe to the email list via the sign-up box in the right sidebar.
- Download Freelance Forecast 2010 (.pdf)
- Download Freelance Forecast 2009 (.pdf)
Dr. Freelance: I’m wondering what you think the single biggest new-client red flag is when you’re meeting with a prospective client?—Just Curious
Just Curious: If you work long enough in this business, you’ll find that there’s a whole United Nations’ worth of ’em. A new-client red flag could be foot-dragging on returning calls or emails, pushing off meeting times, not sending materials for your review before asking for an estimate, prying endlessly for information and ideas without agreeing to anything concrete, poor experiences with prior freelancers… [Read more…]
Dr. Freelance’s key points on how to price freelance writing for social media:
- Creating a Facebook Fan page or Tweeting for clients isn’t rocket science, but it remains an unknown quantity in many respects.
- You need to consider shelf life and return on investment for your client when you price freelance writing for social media.
- A not-to-exceed estimate can reassure a wary client.
- Jake is CPR and first-aid certified, but he is NOT a licensed physician and this should NOT be construed as medical advice. Contact your local healthcare provider or, in case of emergency, dial 911.
Dear Dr. Freelance: I’m a magazine editor at my wit’s end with a chronically deadline-delinquent writer. Not just a day, but a couple of days of excuses and delays. This freelancer nails every assignment and requires little editing, and I like her personally, so I’ve cut her slack. But I’m running out of patience. I’ve tried padding her deadlines, which she figured out. I’ve tried asking for daily updates, which has had no measurable effect. What can I do to motivate her?—Too Late Baby
TLB: I assume you’re providing her plenty of lead time and that she’s squandering it. If that’s the case, an editor-friend of mine has a system that will help you get the point across. Basically, her freelance stable divides into A, B and C categories, with the A Team receiving the most and best assignments. If nobody in A is available, a story trickles down to the best writer in B, and so on. [Read more…]