Thoughts on the Mode Media bankruptcy

mode media bankruptcyIt’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…]

When a freelance client files bankruptcy

freelance client bankruptcyI 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…]

The 1 simple question you must ask every new freelance client

new freelance client questionAfter 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…]

How to get freelance clients to minimize revisions

freelance client revisionsAs 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…]

Writing revisions and doing the right thing

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…]

When freelancer is the other “F” word

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…]