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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Test assignment for a copywriting job?

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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…]

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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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4 basic questions a freelancer always needs to answer

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Over the course of a prospective client meeting, there might be a dozen random questions a freelancer might need to be prepared to answer — but there are basic ones that you should be able to handle seamlessly even on your worst day.

This post was sparked by a few serendipitous items over the past week: Lori Widmer’s thoughts in “6 Ways to Get More from Your Marketing,” Jared Tendler’s upcoming Mental Game of Poker 2 (which I helped edit and found to be highly applicable for a freelancer), and the client meeting I mentioned in my Tuesday post, “The thicker the folder, the thicker the applicant.” [Read more…]

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The thicker the folder, the thicker the applicant

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As I prepare for an in-person new client meeting this morning, I’m reminded of an old college admissions officer’s saying: “The thicker the folder, the thicker the applicant.”

It’s always tempting to bombard a prospective client (or employer, or college, or girlfriend/boyfriend, etc., etc.) with a mega-compilation of just how wonderful and accomplished you are. But if you’ve ever sat in the recipient’s chair — as a stack of unprioritized samples lands with a thud — you’ll know why that tactic doesn’t work. [Read more…]

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Who ya gonna cold call?

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Hello Doc: I’ve enjoyed reading your cold-calling tips for freelancers, but wonder if you would break it down even further for newbies like me. For example, who are you calling? No, I don’t want phone numbers, but what I mean is, how do you decide who to call? What do you say?—Trying to think outside the glossies but baffled about where to start

Dear TTTOTGBBAWTS (whew!): You’ve asked an essential strategic question that’s vital to cold calling and sales success. The good news is that a freelancer can construct a high-quality cold calling list with some old-fashioned sweat equity, a bit of sleuthing and minimal expense. But first things first—you need to decide, in a broad sense, what types of clients will provide the best success rate. So, that means: [Read more…]

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