When freelancer is the other “F” word

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You don’t have to be in the creative biz for long before running into a prospective client who has had a bad experience with a freelance writer, graphic designer or web designer (or all three)—the kind that turn “freelancer” into the other “F” word. Although coming to the rescue may seem a good business opportunity, this once-bitten client also has DANGER stamped on his or her forehead. The reason? Well, as tempting as it is to blame a fly-by-night freelancer, how can you be sure that the freelancer caused a bad relationship? Is it possible that a toxic client caused the issues? You don’t want to become the next casualty. [Read more…]

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Your favorite freelance projects

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I met with a local group of freelancers for coffee last night. (Any Phoenician readers in the audience are welcome to join — it’s the Phoenix Copywriter Coffee League on LinkedIn.) At one point, one of my friends asked me a question that, I admit, I’m not very good at answering: “What are your favorite freelance projects?”

I hemmed and hawed, to the effect of “I dunno. No favorite. Anything but public relations.” Like a good reporter, she pressed me, “Well, what about websites vs. brochures? How about healthcare vs. high tech?” [Read more…]

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How a freelancer can answer the 4 key client questions

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In “4 basic questions a freelancer always needs to answer,” I talked about the importance of preparation in advance of a client meeting. Since every meeting, client, and freelance job is different — and your business is also unique — these aren’t “teacher’s guide” answers, but rather pointers toward formulating your own individual answers to key client questions.

A major caveat here: Your goal in a first client meeting is not to tell all about yourself and your freelance writing, design, or other services. It’s about figuring out how to help the client and making the sale, right? Ultimately, that’s about *asking* questions, which I’ll address in a future post. [Read more…]

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Why freelancing is like Wipeout

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Freelancing is like Wipeout, the cult TV show with unexpected obstacles popping out of nowhere, and even visible obstacles being squirrellier than you realize…till you plunge into the drink.

My most challenging client and I weren’t seeing eye to eye on Friday. (He’d be proud of the “most challenging” descriptor, so I’m at peace writing this openly under the assumption that he might read it.) It was the most serious disagreement that we’ve had in 3 years of working together. [Read more…]

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Self-inflicted scope creep and perfectionism

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Dr. Freelance: I have a tendency to let my perfectionist side get the better of me, kind of like scope creep but it’s not the client’s fault. I’ll start with “just that little bit extra” to make sure that what I turn in is absolutely impeccable, then realize that I’ve spent 2 extra hours that weren’t in my estimate. Doc, save me from myself!—Little Miss Perfect

LMP, I’m going to give you a little tough love here: Every writer, editor, designer or other freelance creative who’s worth a darn has a perfectionist streak, but if you fail to keep it in check, it can be disastrous for your profitability. Take your example, and multiple it out across a couple of clients a month, and you are doing a lot of work for free. You’re not getting $XX per hour, you’re getting $XX-10%. [Read more…]

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