Here’s a scenario that most, if not all, freelance writers who have been working for a while are familiar with: you start communicating with a prospective client and discussing a project. It sounds like something you would be interested in taking on, and you can fit it into your schedule without too much difficulty. So far, so good. Everything seems is lining up really well. Then either you or the client brings up the subject of the budget for the project and how you will be paid. You are asked to give a quote, now that you know the scope of the project – are you better off telling the client that you will be billing by the hour or by project?
Archives for August 2014
Freelance writers have all the financial freedom in the world, don’t we?
I wish!!! The truth is that while we do have the potential to earn more than if we held a 9-to-5 job, the degree of financial uncertainty is always there. It’s not far from the truth to say that freelance writers may face more uncertainty when it comes to financial issues.
While we do have those periods when we get a whole lot of money, there are financial pitfalls that we should not ignore. If we tend to “live easy, love free”, before we know it, we might need the assistance of an expert bankruptcy lawyer to get out of the mess we’ve – perhaps unwittingly – created.
If you’re financially responsible, good for you. You can pass up on this post. If you’re not so sure, then I hope you continue reading so that you can avoid these financial pitfalls that may not be easily recognizable.
Taking clients for granted
Just like some employees may take their day jobs and bosses for granted, it may be that some freelance writers take their regular clients for granted. The thinking may be, “We’ve been working together for so long. It’s going to last forever.”
How is this a financial pitfall?
If you take your clients for granted, you may not be sensitive to their needs. You may not deliver the best work you possibly can. The result is that you may lose their business.
The solution: Take preemptive measures. Treat each client – old or new – as if they were your only source of income. Give them your best, and don’t take them for granted, even though they may be the easiest person to work with.
Taking job hunting for granted
In the same way you may fall into the trap of taking clients for granted, you might take job hunting for granted. You have a lot of clients. You have more than enough on your plate. Why look for freelance writing job opportunities regularly?
Here’s why: You never know when you might lose a big client. It is thus important that you have a rolling roster of clients that can make up for an unexpected loss.
The solution: While you don’t have to always bite off more than you can chew, do apply for jobs now and then. Even small jobs can lead to long-term, more profitable ventures.
Not paying close attention to taxes
I don’t have to emphasize just how important it is to pay your taxes. The IRS has its ways, and it will find out if you’re not paying your dues at some point. The thing is, sometimes, you may not be aware of all your responsibilities as a freelance writer taxpayer. The excuse that “you don’t know” won’t work. If you don’t declare and pay your taxes correctly, you might face enormous fines, which could deplete your savings – or worse.
The solution: Learn about your obligations as a taxpayer. If you can’t do it yourself, hire an accountant.
Any career has its financial pitfalls, but for freelance writers, the stakes may be a little higher simply because of the lack of traditional job security. With a little bit of care and foresight, we can avoid those financial pitfalls.
What other potential financial pitfalls do you see or have experienced? Share them with us in the comments!
Word count. That often dreaded, while at the same time appreciated, element of freelance writing.
For some content writers or bloggers, hitting their word count is a pain. For others, making sure that they don’t go over the word count can be a chore (especially if their editor is strict about not going over that number).
Still, for some, word count doesn’t really matter. To be honest, while I always take into consideration every client’s requirement for the number of words, I am not too bothered. I have that word count in mind as a general rule, but I just write and for some reason, I’m lucky to end up in the range of the required number. I think that’s experience doing the magic there.
How about you? How do you fare when it comes to word count?
On another note, have you ever thought about just how many words there are in your favorite books? I found an infographic showing the word count of famous books, and it’s interesting to see the comparison. Showcased authors include George R.R. Martin and J.K. Rowling. We know how long their books are…
The infographic also includes epic novels such as Ulysses, Bleak House, War and Peace, Les Miserables, and Gone With the Wind.
For shorter reads, take a look at the works of George Orwell, Charles Dickens, Ray Bradbury, and Ernest Hemingway.
Even if you don’t give a darn about the word count of these famous books, this infographic can add new titles to your reading list.
Which of these works have you read? Which do you want to read after looking at the infographic?
Any time the question of freelance writer rates comes up, a heated discussion rapidly ensues. No doubt there are many different opinions about whether it is appropriate to post rates on your website for potential clients (and your competition) to see, or if you are better off inviting your clients to contact you for a quote instead. We’re going to examine different options so that you can decide which will work best for your business.
I could be wrong, but many of you probably have regular clients that bring in most of your income. You’ve worked with these clients for a long time, and you know that you will get steady work from them. It might even be that you know their needs and preferences by heart that you can write for them in your sleep.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but there is also something important about reaching out to get new clients from time to time – even if you already have enough regular clients.
Today, I’d like to share the reasons behind this thinking.
You expand your client base.
There is a high degree of uncertainty in our chosen field. While we may have enough regular clients, who’s to say that next month, one or two might need to cut back on their expenses? What if we suddenly lose a client (or more)?
It is thus important to get new clients to expand your network. In case you find yourself losing a client or two, you will have those new clients to make up for it.
Of course, it is also imperative to make sure that you can handle your regular work plus the new client’s demands. Before you get new clients and agree to do work for them, make sure that you have enough time and resources to meet everyone’s needs.
You’re faced with new challenges.
Another reason it is important to get new clients is the idea that “new” can also mean “challenging”. As I said earlier, with regular clients, you know each other so well that you may sometimes operate on autopilot.
As a writer, it is important to be challenged and do new things. This helps you be more creative and flex different writing muscles.
With a new client, you also want to make sure you impress in the hopes of creating recurring work. This means that you also challenge yourself at every turn to ensure that your work is of even better quality than usual. (Not that this should not be the case for everything you do…)
New challenges that may come when you get new clients:
- You need to learn a different writing style.
- You need to learn about a new topic.
- You need to learn how to deal with different personalities.
You learn something new.
The main thing about facing new challenges when you get new clients is that you are bound to learn a thing or two. As a freelance writer, you probably have your specialization, which I think should be the case. This is the area/niche which you are most knowledgeable in and comfortable with.
But if you stay in that zone forever, then you might stagnate. If you get new clients that require learning about an unfamiliar niche or writing style, then it is your chance to professionally improve yourself. And, I don’t know about you, but it is quite an important thing.
Back to you
How often do you get new clients pro-actively? What other benefits does it bring?
Life as a writer can be unpredictable: audiences are fickle; the hours can be long, and projects demanding. Yet, those are some of the main reasons why we write. If you’re passionate about your craft, chances are you’ve worked hard to get your name out there. However, with the high volume of online content going live every day, it can be difficult for your content to stand out. For a frame of reference, more than 150,000,000 blogs are on the Internet and people produce about 42.6 million new posts each month.
Becoming a prolific writer in a particular niche is the first step. Stand out as a writer and improve your online presence with some of the following techniques and tools.
You have decided you want to update your resume to give it a more modern look but you are all thumbs with the idea of working with an infographic resume template, and the idea of paying someone to create your resume for you is not in your budget. You are not out of options yet – infographic resume builders can help you get a polished and professional looking resume by doing much of the heavy lifting for you.
If you have decided that an infographic resume is the right style for you, then you’ll need to decide on a style that can present your skills and experience in a way that will make you an attractive candidate to potential clients. Unlike a standard resume, you only have a single page in which to tell your story, so space is definitely at a premium here. How do you find the right template for your resume?
Proofreading is an inherent part of me. Whenever I write something, I have to proofread it. It’s a habit, and since I am a creature of habit, proofreading is a given.
That doesn’t mean that I find it an easy task, though, and it may be the same for some of you.
For one, it is a well-known fact that going over your own work with the intent of finding mistakes does not always yield good results. You’re biased. Your eyes tend to gloss over mistakes. Typos – misspellings, misplaced punctuation marks, etc. – can easily be overlooked.
Your eyes’ condition may be another factor. What can you expect if you’ve been looking at the computer screen for hours working on that article? Of course your eyes are tired! Of course, you can make mistakes while proofreading.
How can we make proofreading an easier task?
Here are two simple things to do.
1. Take a break before proofreading.
Sure, there’s no stopping that first immediate proofreading if you are compelled to do that, but why not leave your work untouched for 15 or so minutes while you take a break? If it’s late, and you’re not under pressure, you can even leave it overnight and proofread in the morning. A fresh set of eyes – your own – will work better.
2. Change your font.
We all have our preferred fonts. Some of our clients may have their required fonts. But that’s not what this is about. It’s about changing your font solely for the purpose of proofreading. Some fonts are more readable than others, and if you use a highly readable font when proofreading, your task becomes easier. Additionally, any change in font will actually make it easier for you to spot mistakes as what you see on the screen is different from what you saw the whole time you wrote.
One last thing: go up one or two font sizes for proofreading.
What are your tricks to make proofreading easier?