Many freelance writers aren’t a fan of writing on spec. That is, to create an assigned article for a potential freelance writing client or publication without the promise of acceptance. This usually happens when a publication doesn’t want to commit to a new writer without giving him or her an audition first.
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If there’s one piece of advice a freelance writer needs, it’s to keep looking for jobs. You always want your plate to be overflowing rather than barely having enough work to pay your bills. This means you need to send out the occasional job query. However, there are some things you should know before you get started. Here are five mistakes to avoid when writing job queries. [Read more…]
The freelance world can be a bit difficult from time to time. You spend hours seeking out jobs and writing the perfect articles, but what happens if you don’t get paid? It can be stomach turning for the end of the payday to arrive and not have received payment. While you may get angry, or sit there in complete shock, there are a few ways to deal with late paying clients.
Give Them the Benefit of the Doubt
It may look fishy to not receive payment, but things happen. Your client may have internet problems, been in an accident or simply forgot. Regardless, the best way to handle the situation is to contact the client. In most cases it was a simple error or the payment was just delayed. By approaching the situation professionally, you can prevent losing your client by going off the handle.
If you’ve tried emailing the client and haven’t gotten a response, it may be time to escalate the issue. A quick phone call can give you a better idea of what’s going on. You can usually find the contact information of a client that has paid you through PayPal in payment details. If the client seems to be avoiding the issue, or won’t take your calls, you may have a serious problem.
Know Your Rights
If you are selling the client the rights to your work, remember that he only has those rights once you’ve been paid. If your client doesn’t pay up, publish the content elsewhere, if possible. If the client uses the content, send them a cease and desist notice explaining that he does not have the rights to the content because he did not pay for it.
Get a Lawyer Involved
If a client owes you a large sum of money, and refuses to pay up, it might be time to get your lawyer involved. In most cases, simply mentioning that you will take the issue to your lawyer will get the client to fork over the funds, but if not a lawyer can help you take the client to court. Remember, this tactic is only worth while if the client owes a large sum. Otherwise, you’ll pay more for the lawyer than you’ll get from the client.
No one likes to deal with late paying clients, but it sometimes happens. The key is to first understand that things happen and sometimes they are beyond the client’s control. Second, call the client in order to get a better answer. You should also know your rights and where you stand on the content that you’ve not been paid for. Last, but not least, only get a lawyer involved if the client owes a large sum.
Guest poster Diedre Fleisner is a professional writer who knows how much it can sting to not get paid for her hard work. She enjoys writing about bankruptcy and loan issues and enjoys researching sites.
If you are a freelance writer, then it is likely that most of your business comes from clients that you have never seen face to face. A freelancer’s office is, for the most part, online . . . and online is where you “meet” the people you write for. As a freelancer, it is important that you are always looking to grow and expand your business, so as to create for yourself a stable and reliable income. Therefore, you should have a virtual presence to use as a marketing tool for procuring clientele. Your best advertisement is your writing, and the best way of showcasing your writing is through a portfolio. Your writing portfolio should inspire clients to hire you, and should be readily available on the world wide web. Here are some guidelines for creating a stunning online writing portfolio:
Keep it simple. Don’t complicate your viewer’s experience with distracting imagery and superfluous language. Your writing should speak for itself, so let it speak.
Organization. Imagine you are visiting your online portfolio: Is it easy to navigate? Can you understand the exact purpose of the site without having to explore for it? If you can’t answer yes to both of these questions, then you need to rethink your portfolio’s organization. Everything should be readily available to your visitors from the landing page.
Quality versus quantity. Don’t ever put a piece of work on your portfolio site just for the sake of adding content. Remember that one awesome piece can land you a job . . . but ten so-so pieces will only prove that you are a so-so writer.
White space. You need plenty of it. It keeps your portfolio clean, professional, and easy to read. Also, it just looks nice.
Web-hosting. If web design isn’t your thing (after all, you are a writer), then there are many web-hosting services like Vistaprint and Freelance Marketplace that will host your portfolio for a minimal fee, and that provide you with free portfolio templates. Simply fill out your bio, upload your image, and post your example pieces.
Perfect makes perfect. In addition to examine your writing acumen, potential clients will also be sizing up your portfolio as an example of the type of work you do. What does that mean? It means your online portfolio should be mistake-free, well thought out, and executed to the full extent of your capabilities. Your name is on your portfolio, so you need to keep in mind that your portfolio is also an example of your work.
Creating an online portfolio is the next logical step in expanding your freelance writing horizons, and it doesn’t have to be a complicated venture. Follow these guidelines to create an online portfolio that gets attention, impresses visitors, and lands you new and exciting writing gigs.
Leiselotte Weith is a freelance writer who knows the importance of a strong online writing portfolio. When she’s not helping other writers succeed, she can be found writing about personal finance, loan sites and bankruptcy issues.
One of the most terrifying parts of being a freelance writer is the notion that at any point, a client could call, IM or email you and say something alone the lines of, “This is completely not what I want. Change it immediately.” This is especially scary if you’ve just paid all your bills and you don’t even have ramen noodles to eat. When you need the job, you need to deal with the client’s complaints. But you also have to stay cool. Clients are like dogs — they can smell your fear. The following tips will help you a lot.
Don’t Take Complaints Personally
It’s easy to think that every complaint a client has is specifically about you. It almost never is. Your client isn’t saying anything bad about you as a person, just about a particular thing you’ve written for them.
Clarify Precisely What the Client Wants
A lot of complaints come down to miscommunications. This is the best time to get specifics in writing, along with detailed explanations. This way your client can’t double back and get twice the work for a low price. While most clients won’t do such a thing, there are some who will. Only give a client one piece of free work before you cut them off for good. [Read more…]
When you’re a freelance writer, you have one of the best jobs in the world. At least, until you have about 3 hours to do a project you could comfortably deliver in 8. While it’s great to get paid to learn things, sometimes your ability to learn is limited by the fact that you’re having heart palpitations thinking about the complexity of the research you’re being expected to do. So the following five tips should have your keyboard rocking and rolling in no time.
Wikipedia is Your Friend
Wikipedia is one of the best sources of information ever devised by human beings. It changed the Internet the way the Dewey Decimal System changed traditional library sciences. So check out something Wiki first — most things have one, and they’re usually pretty accurate. Just make sure that you check the resources included in the Wiki as part of your fact-checking process.
Most of the time when I submit my work to a client, it is accepted the first time. There are times, though, when I have a run where several pieces are sent back. During these times, I start to wonder about the quality of the work that I do and I feel a bit insecure about continuing to do work for clients.
What would you suggest?
I think that to be involved in creative work always involves a certain amount of insecurity. You can’t just show up and expect to get paid; instead, you have to not only produce quality work, but it has to be reviewed and accepted before you receive any money. There are times when it can be stressful – especially when you get a number of requests for revisions in a row.
If you are able to separate your self from your work it can be easier to deal with these situations. Yes, you put part of yourself into what you write (which is why you are good at what you do), but when a client asks for a change he or she is not rejecting you. It’s about the work, and the client has the right to get what he or she wants.
Everyone gets these requests, and in some cases there is more than one round of edits. You may have produced the work, but the request to make changes isn’t about you. As long as you have followed the instructions properly, just put it down to part of the job and make the changes the client has asked for.
Get up and stretch, take a walk, and then come back to work on the revisions. You will have a better perspective on the assignment by taking a break first.