What Yanny and Laurel teach us about client communications

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client communicationsI reckon we’re about 10 minutes into the 15-minute fame run of the Yanny vs. Laurel dust-up. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can give it a whirl here.) I was firmly in the Yanny camp until late in the day yesterday, when I watched a video that explained the effect—after which I only heard “Laurel,” and couldn’t switch back. Weird how the brain works! In any case, I think the Yanny vs. Laurel divide offers a nifty jumping-off point to discuss client communications and the importance of perception in business.
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Upwork raised its fees, and here’s what you can learn from it

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UpworkIf you’re looking for a slam on bidding sites or outsourcing services, you’re not going to find it here. No, this is about the news that Upwork raised the fees it charges freelancers from 10% to 20% on projects of $500 or less and created a sliding fee scale based on freelancers’ lifetime billings. (The fees drop to 10% on projects of $500.01-$10,000, and 5% above that.) My interaction with Upwork, formerly Elance-oDesk, is limited to a strange experience with hiring a freelancer whose freelance rates were so low they made me question her talent. [Read more…]

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Impostor syndrome and freelance creatives

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Video transcript: Today, I want to discuss impostor syndrome. (Note: You’ll also see it also spelled imposter syndrome, or cited as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome.) It’s not a new subject, but I’ve seen a big uptick in mentions about it among freelance creatives over the course of the past few months, and a Google Trends search indicates that a lot more people are searching the term. What is imposter syndrome? It’s not just a lack of confidence—it’s the feeling that you’re going to get found out, that maybe you’re not as good as you portray yourself, or that somehow you’re inferior to other people in what you do.  [Read more…]

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Cooks Source epilogue

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In my previous Dr. Freelance post, “Would a magazine editor steal my story idea?” I wondered aloud whether it would be in poor taste to say that Cooks Source had gotten its “just desserts” after the recent plagiarism-non-apology-scandal that had the freelance world in a tizzy. (Yeah, yeah, I’m well aware that the correct expression should use the word deserts. Cut the doctor some creative slack, eh?)

Over at my other blog, Jake’s Take, I decided that it’s not in poor taste…and in fact, in this post I conclude that freelancers owe a debt of gratitude to Cooks Source editor Judith Griggs.

In the comments: What do you think about the Cooks Source kerfuffle?

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Federal copy editors run amok

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There isn’t much breaking news about copy editors, but a recent article from The New York Post, “$27 million to change NYC signs from all-caps,” is straight from the are-you-freaking-kidding-me file, sure to warm the heart of the most strident grammar pedant.

At the risk of offending any of my friends or readers who happen to have one of these federal copy editor jobs (Really? Such a position exists? What’s the annual salary, I wonder…), I have to say this is asinine. It’s worth reading the whole thing to get a sweet taste of the pure, harebrained wastefulness, but here’s a quick excerpt: [Read more…]

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Is the handwritten thank you note dead?

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Dr. Freelance: I’ve heard people on both sides of the hard-copy, handwritten thank you note vs. email thank you argument, and wondering your opinion on the appropriate way for a freelancer to thank someone for a first client meeting.—Thankful in CT

Thankful: Call me old school, but I am a bigger fan of the hard-copy, handwritten thank you note than its email cousin—which is not to say that a freelancer shouldn’t send an immediate thank you via email, as well. Consider that the prospective client has spent 30, 60 or more minutes of their valuable time with you…the courteous thing to do is thank them appropriately. [Read more…]

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