The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Picking the Best Freelance Job

My Django project in progress…
(Photo credit: kogakure)

I usually have about seven projects at a time, and they’re not all created equal. As a successful freelance writer, I’ve been on the wrong end of a bad job. However, there are some warning signs that are easy to miss. If a job posting requires numerous, generic forms, you’ll be drowning in paperwork and red tape for the entire project.

Trust your gut during a phone interview. If the client doesn’t know what they want, they’re not going to be happy with anything you produce. The most lucrative jobs are from either well-established corporations or start-ups with solid investors. Tread carefully if a job posting seems too broad or it requires you to sign up for an account.

Reputation Counts

The best, easiest and highest-paying jobs I’ve secured were from word of mouth. I’ve had offers via LinkedIn from clients looking for a writer with a niche skill set. I’ve applied for one job and received a call about another, non-posted opening that’s a much better fit to my skills and expertise. Build your reputation and make sure you list specialties, like your history of building blog followers. You never know when one client will refer you to your dream gig.

Once you build a solid reputation, you’ll have more choice when it comes to projects. Many beginning freelancers have to take what they can. However, this is prime learning grounds and a great way to diversify your skill set. Unlike job hopping, taking different projects will make you desirable to future clients.

Know Your Worth

The average salary of a freelance writer is impossible to pinpoint. A senior writer can make a minimum of $70,000 per year, but the joy of freelancing is that you get to decide how much you make. If you’re a fast writer, only agree to projects that pay per word or per project. If you’re a bit slower, an hourly rate is a better fit.

Keep in mind that it takes $50 per hour, working a 40-hour week, to make a six-figure salary. If this is your goal, plan (and accept projects) accordingly. This might mean you’re working more than 40 hours per week, or that you pass on an ALJ Application job that just doesn’t pay what you’re worth. If a project requires frequent phone meetings, that eats into your time and may make the project a loser.

Signs of a Great Contract

The perfect client knows what they want and has a great editor available. There are zero meetings, and work-related emails are kept short and sweet. Everyone’s a professional, and there’s no need for that filler fluff that eats up so much time at traditional offices. However, this all depends on you performing, or over-performing, to keep the client happy.

Michelle is an aspiring writer with a passion for blogging. She enjoys writing about a vast variety of topics and loves that blogging gives her the opportunity to publicly voice her thoughts and share advice with an unlimited audience.


One response
  1. Valerie Avatar

    I would be pleased to get a handful of jobs just to make ends meet. Worry and anxiety don’t mix well with trying to write.

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