Is your freelance client serious? Here’s the test

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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…]

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Freelance referrals gone bad

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freelance referralReferrals—given or received—can be among the most powerful business-builders in your freelance arsenal. As today’s guest post illustrates, however, they come with their own set of responsibilities and conflict resolution requirements.

A former client (let’s call him Jim) contacted me and wanted me to work on a new project with him. I didn’t have time and didn’t have a great experience working with him before, so I referred him to a colleague (let’s call her Abby), someone I had recently re-connected with after many years. They worked out a contract, and Abby began work. As the referring business, I was to be paid a 10% referral fee. [Read more…]

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4 rules of face to face meetings for a freelancer

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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…]

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The wrong way to get freelance jobs

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There are countless strategies and places to find freelance jobs, but this week, I received a note that represents a classic example of the wrong way to go about it: soliciting work from other freelancers with whom you have 1) no relationship or 2) no understanding of their businesses. Exhibit A is a pitch I received from out of the blue on LinkedIn: [Read more…]

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Writing revisions and doing the right thing

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I ran into a sticky situation with an editor a few months back over writing revisions for a freelance magazine assignment. I’d written a short travel piece featuring three different locations, and received approval for the text. The art director wasn’t able to secure a free photograph of one of them, however, and I got a call asking for a new item to replace what I’d written.

As a businessperson, crafting something completely new goes beyond the definition of “writing revisions.” So, I asked the editor if there was budget to compensate for what I considered to be work and time beyond the original scope. The magazine had selected the locations, and the lack of a free photo was beyond my control—and it was their choice, not mine, to not want to pay for one. [Read more…]

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14 years of freelancing

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In August 1999, I walked in the front door of my house with The Box: all of my personal belongings from the last corporate job I ever plan to hold. Looking back on 14 years of freelancing, I can only marvel at how quickly it’s gone—particularly compared with the preceding two-year stints in various magazine, marketing and public relations staff positions that seemed much longer than the time elapsed on a clock.

I didn’t make the decision lightly or capriciously, and I made sure not to make what my dad used to call an acrimonious departure. (I won’t get into the details here, but let’s just describe the bridge as smoldering rather than burning; a few years later, I counted my former employer as one of my best freelance clients.) [Read more…]

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