Are freelancers unique?

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I’ve been doing the Freelance Forecast for four years now, and in addition to the many thoughtful responses I receive to the survey itself, it’s always interesting when someone takes the time to offer detailed criticism—constructive, nit-picky or otherwise. So, I thought I’d pass along a piece of correspondence I received the other day for your consideration: [Read more…]

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‘Tis the season for client gifts

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Earlier this fall, a reader asked, “Should freelancers bring a gift to a first client meeting?” Now that we’re in the holiday season, client gifts are top of mind…so what’s the savvy freelancer to do?

When I was first starting out in the business, back in the 1900s (I love saying that), my then-toddlers came with me (my daughter sporting a Santa hat) as we made a circuitous route around town to visit each client and drop off a small gift. [Read more…]

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How to edit a writer’s story you disagree with

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Dr. Freelance: I was recently given a freelance editing assignment for a magazine, and it was painful to edit on a couple of levels. First of all, the guy was a terrible writer and therefore the story was a challenge. Second, I had issues with some of the pseudo-science that he used to defend his opinions. (I have a degree in the field in which he’s a so-called expert.) What’s your thought on how to edit a writer’s story you disagree with? — Science Stickler

S.S.: That is ugly, isn’t it? Unfortunately, you may not like my answer: Your job as a freelance editor of a magazine article is a bit like the job of a defense attorney. In other words, your goal needs to be defending the guilty, no matter how egregious the crime, to the best extent of your abilities. You need to make the story as good as you can. If there’s something empirically wrong, you can do your best to suggest an edit that would make it more accurate — but it sounds like your situation came down to irreconcilable differences of opinion. [Read more…]

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Losing a loyal freelance client

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When you hear you’re losing a loyal freelance client or editor to a new job, your first thoughts are probably something along the lines of “Oh, no! What if I lose the business to the replacement’s pet freelancer? How am I going to make up for the lost income? Has all my good work over the years been squandered?”

Take a deep breath. And then click over to my new Freelance-Zone.com post, “Losing a loyal client.”

Just as it happened to me, losing a loyal freelance client happens to all of us — no matter how strong a given relationship is, you also are dependent on your contacts’ relationships with their own companies. The truth is, someone going somewhere else can make this a new business opportunity, rather than a doomsday moment. And it’s an ever-present reminder that diversifying your business — and not being dependent on a single anchor project or company — can be a critical component of your financial health.

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Is the handwritten thank you note dead?

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Dr. Freelance: I’ve heard people on both sides of the hard-copy, handwritten thank you note vs. email thank you argument, and wondering your opinion on the appropriate way for a freelancer to thank someone for a first client meeting.—Thankful in CT

Thankful: Call me old school, but I am a bigger fan of the hard-copy, handwritten thank you note than its email cousin—which is not to say that a freelancer shouldn’t send an immediate thank you via email, as well. Consider that the prospective client has spent 30, 60 or more minutes of their valuable time with you…the courteous thing to do is thank them appropriately. [Read more…]

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