In praise of saying yes to freelance jobs

saying yes to freelance jobsA Google search of “saying no to freelance jobs” currently coughs up 9.2 million hits, while “saying yes to freelance jobs” clocks in at half that—and a quick look shows that most of the latter results are really about saying no. I don’t disagree that it’s important to turn down work that waves a red flag in your face. At the same time, that’s not the philosophy I take into the business arena. As Tom Robbins noted in Still Life with Woodpecker, “There are only two mantras…yum and yuk. Mine is yum.”
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Is your freelance client serious? Here’s the test

serious freelance clientDr. Freelance: I have a prospective freelance client — an author who needs his book edited — and he appears to have the money and desire to hire me. He keeps pressing me for a price estimate, but I haven’t seen the manuscript, just one sample chapter that I edited. I’m concerned about extrapolating, because it’s a long book and I’m not sure of the overall quality. What’s my next step?—Hurry Up and Wait [Read more…]

The 1 simple question you must ask every new freelance client

new freelance client questionAfter all these years, I like to believe I’m pretty skilled at avoiding red-flag clients.

Alas, I’m writing today to confess an unforced error, because I recently neglected to ask the 1 simple question you must ask every new freelance client:

What’s your past experience working with freelancers? [Read more…]

Marketing webinar for freelancers

Upcoming WebinarsUPDATE 8-26: Please note, the Sept. 14 freelance marketing Q&A webinar has been filled to capacity. Based on demand, we’ll conduct another session later in fall 2015. Please add yourself to the notification list here, and we’ll contact you with the details when they’re announced. Thanks for your interest!


When it comes to my own education on topics from sales to social media, I’m a big fan of the webinar format, which is why I’m pleased to announce the first Dr. Freelance marketing webinar for freelancers: “Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Freelance Marketing…But Were Afraid To Ask.” [Read more…]

Fear of overcommitting

overcommitting freelanceDear Dr. Freelance: I have a freelance client that I’ll describe as a “phantom client”—I’d had some challenges with him, but he recently paid me for everything he owed. He’d been a steady source of work, so I was reluctant to just sever the relationship. While I was waiting, I was contacted about another project, but I had a fear of overcommitting: If the phantom client came back, I was going to be stuck without enough time to do either job right. I ended up sending the polished, customized resume and letter very late, and it was pretty much moot since the potential #2 client had already submitted a bid to the end user. How do I strike the balance between getting good projects, ensuring quality, and not driving myself crazy?—Rachel

Rachel, I look at occasionally being “too busy” as part of the reason I’ve succeeded in my freelance business—in fact, I have a chapter titled “Why I Love Emergency Clients” in The Science, Art and Voodoo of Freelance Pricing and Getting Paid[Read more…]

4 rules of face to face meetings for a freelancer

face to face freelanceI know what you’re thinking: “I hate meeting face to face.” And I also know why: Face-to-face meetings take time and energy. You need to get dressed up. They break up your day inconveniently, especially for a freelancer on deadline. You need to drive to the client’s office or agreed-upon offsite venue, and there will be traffic. Maybe you’re shy, or going to an office gives you nasty flashbacks to your corporate-cubicle days.

Last week, however, I was reminded twice why face to face beats a phone call or email conversation pretty much every time. [Read more…]