There’s no crying in freelance editing

freelance editingDr. Freelance: I just received feedback from an author about the draft I edited, and I detected he was a little upset/surprised at the number of changes I made to his book. I suppose I could have warned him, but do you have any other suggestions to help take the sting out of the process?—Seeing Red

Red, at the risk of mixing sports, entertainment, and work metaphors, I’m reminded of Tom Hanks’s character Jimmy Dugan in A League of Our Own: “There’s no crying in baseball!” There’s no crying in freelance editing, or there shouldn’t be. [Read more…]

Fear of overcommitting

overcommitting freelanceDear Dr. Freelance: I have a freelance client that I’ll describe as a “phantom client”—I’d had some challenges with him, but he recently paid me for everything he owed. He’d been a steady source of work, so I was reluctant to just sever the relationship. While I was waiting, I was contacted about another project, but I had a fear of overcommitting: If the phantom client came back, I was going to be stuck without enough time to do either job right. I ended up sending the polished, customized resume and letter very late, and it was pretty much moot since the potential #2 client had already submitted a bid to the end user. How do I strike the balance between getting good projects, ensuring quality, and not driving myself crazy?—Rachel

Rachel, I look at occasionally being “too busy” as part of the reason I’ve succeeded in my freelance business—in fact, I have a chapter titled “Why I Love Emergency Clients” in The Science, Art and Voodoo of Freelance Pricing and Getting Paid[Read more…]

The best way to run a freelance business

jake poinier keynote speakerI was honored to be the keynote speaker at Communication Central in Rochester, N.Y., in late September, and I was struck, as I networked with the assembled writers, editors, designers, and publishing experts, by the myriad ways people successfully operate a freelance business. (If you’re interested in attending next year, there are roundups of the event here and here, with lots of good tips from various presenters in the links.)

So, yep, that headline is intentionally misleading, because the truth is: There’s no best way to run a freelance business. [Read more…]

WordPerfect and other blasts from the freelance past

WordPerfectI met up with my friend, Chuck, at a local watering hole the other night, and he sarcastically called me Mr. WordPerfect. (He’s a finance guy, so I wish I’d had the mental agility to have called him Mr. Lotus, but that’s how l’esprit de l’escalier works, doesn’t it?) As I’m notching my 15th anniversary in the freelance writing business this month, it made me think back on some of the software, hardware, and tech gadgets that have plugged in and out of my life over the years. Here’s my highlight list—please share some of your oldies-but-goodies in the comments! [Read more…]

Why I’m (finally) using a standing desk

You could argue that I’m a few years late to the trend of using a standing desk for my freelance home office. The truth is that I’ve been very happy with my antique architect’s drafting table (bought dirt cheap at a yard sale) for more than ten years. I didn’t want to abandon it, I didn’t want to have to buy another monitor, and I couldn’t stomach the idea of having another piece of furniture. After doing a bit of research, I came to the conclusion what I *really* needed was an adjustable standing desk—which seemed to offer the best of both worlds by allowing me to keep the drafting table while adding to its utility. [Read more…]

Test assignment for a copywriting job?

Dr. Freelance, I am a new, part-time freelancer in the midst of interviewing for a copywriting job and was given a 200-word test assignment by the prospective client to complete in order to make it to the next round. The instructions in the email say that “points are given to creativity,” so I’m trying to decide whether to do a simple mock up, even though the job I’m being considered for does not require any graphic design. I am spending the majority of my time before the deadline on writing creative copy, but I just wanted to see what you think about trying to push that creativity into fleshing out the concept.—The Prospector [Read more…]