I saw an ad looking for freelance writers in my travels today that listed the characteristics this particular client is looking for. It mentioned that they were looking for someone who could behave professionally and that “writing divas need not apply.”
I’m not sure at what point we started deciding that diva-ness was something that we should be celebrating. Maybe it was around the time that companies started marketing the princess concept to little girls and their parents. If the focus of hiring a freelance writer to do a job is the work, why would a client want to put up with someone who has a major attitude – no matter how talented they happen to be.
Yes, I know that you need some level of talent to work as a freelance writer. I also know that there are a number of other traits that clients prize as well, and none of them have to do with behaving like a spoiled brat if you are asked to make revisions or the client wants to change something about the scope of the project. Here are are few that come to mind:
- Ability to follow instructions
- Eye for detail
You may have noticed that bitching, moaning and throwing a hissy fit are not on the list. They don’t belong in your bag of tricks when you are a freelance writer. You are getting paid to do a job for your client to the best of your ability in a professional manner.
No matter how good you are, there is no excuse for bad behavior. It doesn’t make you look cool, and I don’t believe that throwing attitude around will make you more in demand. It may work for awhile, but sooner or later the client will move on to a person who will do the job they are getting paid for – without the drama. Writing divas need not apply. Right on.
Angie Papple Johnston says
You are SO right. I think that instead of complaining/throwing a tantrum when a client does something you don’t like, you have two choices: suck it up and keep accepting new work from them or finish the project and don’t go back.
(I have a question, too – I got this in my feed reader and really would love to know how you got that blurb to post at the bottom of the feed. I’ve been having issues with that situation and will try anything at this point. Thanks!)
Megan Eaves says
Very true! I think it works from both ends. When I first started freelancing, I would accept work from almost anyone, as I was trying to built my portfolio. Now, I work only with respectful, friendly clients who appreciate my work and are willing to pay me a living wage for it. In return, I provide them with drama-free, professional writing services and I’m willing to do any revisions/corrections/changes necessary to make the client happy. Usually, they are happy on the first go-round and new clients seem to really appreciate the fact that, when I send back the first go at a piece for them, I offer to make as many changes as necessary until it’s just right.
From someone on the ‘other side’, I can only confirm that dealing with ‘divas’ and ‘rockstars who behave like a rockstar’ very tiring is and usually it is a relieve when these people are replaced, especially when they are asked to participate in teams and quickly make sure to have all attention on themselves.
Experience has learned me to replace these people as soon as possible, no matter how good they are. Unless of course I can deduct the (mental) cost of my receding hairline from their fee.
@ Angie: Thank you for the kind words. Deb can tell you how to get that nifty text on your feed.
@ Megan: We tend to get more selective about who we want to work for with time and experience. The ones we do choose are always receptive to a flexible and cooperative attitude.
@ Franky: Thank you for sharing your take on this. Someone would have to be truly exceptional to make it worthwhile for you to consider an altered hairline part of the cost of doing business. 😀
Stephen England says
I led a volunteer team on-line for the better part of a year, and my primary question to any new recruit was, “Can you play nice with others?”
If they proved they couldn’t, they were gone. Their particular talents weren’t worth the negative impact on team morale.
@ Stephen: Thank you for sharing your experience. Being able to contribute to a team in a positive way is a very important trait, and one that will continue to be in demand.