It’s a strange feeling to have a blog post go viral and wish it hadn’t. That was my experience on Friday, when I checked Google Analytics and saw a huge surge in traffic to my post about what to do when a freelance client files for bankruptcy. I subsequently went to Twitter, and found the cause: the Mode Media bankruptcy announcement on September 15. [Note: I am using “bankruptcy” loosely not legally here, as in “they’ve shut down and aren’t paying their creditors.” The company hasn’t yet filed for legal protection, but that would seem a likely path forward according to this article.] [Read more…]
I started to get suspicious when a reliable freelance client still hadn’t paid their invoice after 60 days and several follow-ups. My left eye started to twitch when I discovered both of my main contacts had been let go. Yesterday, after several voicemails and emails of second and third notices, I got my answer: They’re filing for bankruptcy. It wasn’t a huge invoice, a couple hundred dollars, but it was a reminder from the universe that there’s no such thing as risk-free freelancing. [Read more…]
After 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…]
As freelance writers, editors, and designers, we’re well aware of how aggravating it is to deal with incremental client changes, and the file that inevitably gets named FINAL-FINAL-FINAL_version27.doc. (I’ve also discussed in the past that our own inclination to make things perfect is a form of self-inflicted scope creep.)
Now, don’t get me wrong. I can’t stand to see a goof glaring back at me from a printed page that’s been released into the wild, or even an online document that will need to be repaired and re-uploaded. Mistakes need to be fixed. [Read more…]
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…]
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…]