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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Freelance clients who miss their own deadlines

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Dr. Freelance: I saw your video “Freelance Writing Follies: Are You Done Yet?” and appreciate how you poked fun at freelance clients who miss their own deadline and then expect me to make words appear out of thin air. But on a more serious note, what can we as freelancers do to make sure that clients don’t try to take advantage of us? — Dr. No (I’m Not Done Yet)

Dr. No: Making a freelance job go smoothly, deadlines and all, has everything to do with setting clear expectations. Part of that is getting freelance clients to understand that we’re partners in the deal. That burden is on you, good Doctor. Here are some strategies that can help: [Read more…]

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Client follow-up waiting game

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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…]

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Freelance Forecast 2010 survey results

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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)
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What’s the biggest new-client red flag?

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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…]

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Editor asks: How to handle deadline-delinquent writer

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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…]

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