Tag Archives: freelance clients

The Wealthy Freelancer on Finding New Freelance Clients

I found a YouTube clip posted by TheWealthyFreelancer focusing on finding new, high-value clients by paying close attention to headlines and developments in the business community. While the information in this video clip won’t apply to ALL freelancing disciplines, it’s an intriguing proposition. How can these strategies translate to your specialty?

I’m not a fan of ALL of this advice–the discussion about Jigsaw.com and BudURL.com put me off a bit as it felt a bit promotional–but with a bit of creative thinking, the remainder of the advice presented here could serve you well even as an editor, writer or other freelancing creative. Full disclosure–I know NOTHING of The Wealthy Freelancer aside from what I’ve seen in the YouTube clip, so I can’t vouch for anything except the clip.

–Joe Wallace

Part Time Freelancing

Joe Wallace Turntabling Rare RecordsFreelance Folder recently featured a blog post called Part Time Freelancing–Is It Worth It? The post addresses a variety of concerns for the part-time freelancer, but leaves out a question on the minds of many newcomers to the freelance game.

“Do I mention that I’m only a part-time freelancer?”

That’s not a big deal to some, and a much bigger issue for others depending on the client. Larger companies seem to be interested in people they can form long-term relationships with, while it seems smaller clients are just happy to get the work done. How much scrutiny is placed on the full-or-part-time question is really down to you.

Even when I have been a part-time freelancer in the past, I’ve never mentioned it, and it’s never actually come up in any conversation. But some freelancers are compelled to say something about it for whatever reason–usually to address any potential scheduling conflicts that might arise between the client work and the non-freelance gig.

I w0n’t offer any advice on which path is best as it’s really a personal choice based on your needs, but I can say this from my own personal experience–I’m mostly concerned with maintaining a professional image. Actually, “concerned” is the wrong word. I’m anal-retentive about it. And I have a personal policy that I DO NOT bring up side issues like whether I’m full or part time.

Instead, if I anticipate schedule issues, I simply make it known to the client that he or she is not my only client and that my workflow is manageable, but does require some allowances in order to make deadline.

This is tricky–you want the client to feel they are getting your full attention, but you have to communicate that you are not at their 24-7 beck and call. I simply begin and maintain the conversation by mentioning my other ongoing work in a general way without revealing much.

Oh, and I also don’t over-extend myself to the point where the clients don’t get their money’s worth.

It’s your call on how much to reveal, but my personal preference is to leave unnecessary details out of the picture. Keep it simple, that’s my motto.

Joe Wallace writes about vinyl records and the music industry, personal finance, and makes snarky jokes at the expense of celebrities. He enjoys writing about himself in the third person, impersonating Ronald Reagan, and makes field recordings of strange noises with expensive microphones. Visit his vinyl blog and bad album cover emporium Turntabling.net.

Saying No to Freelance Work

Freelance clients and salary negotiationIt seems counter-intuitive to turn down any kind of freelance money, especially in this economy, but there are definitely times when freelancers need to use the n-word.  As in, “NO”.

Or perhaps, “Not only no, but HELL NO”.

Freelance Folder has a very good post about this idea called 21 Times for a Freelancer to Say No. I won’t reinvent the wheel–their post is excellent and covers 99% of the bases. But there’s one thing that should be added to your mental checklist when sizing up a potential client.

Are they showing early warning signs that the relationship is something less than professional?

By this I don’t mean people who flirt with you, or act overly familiar, or display some of the warning signs listed in the “21 Times” piece. Instead, I’m talking about something I personally call “clingy client syndrome”, where you suddenly find yourself dealing with someone calling and messaging you excessively about the project, asking for things outside normal business hours when it’s not appropriate, or simply demanding too much of your time when it isn’t warranted.

I once found myself in negotiations with a potential client who seemed, based on a combination of behaviors I observed in the short time I spent at the company’s offices, more interested in creating an entourage than getting any real work done.

The symptoms included a large up-front payment, combined with randomly shifting priorities and goals. The work letter I drafted was ignored in favor of “idea of the moment” planning, actual deliverables seemed unimportant to the client, and there were lots of detailed emails at very odd hours.

In the end, I had to walk away. I’m a professional writer and editor, not an on-call monkey boy.

If you work in the freelance business long enough, regardless of your specialty, you’ll encounter the same type of person–a socially awkward, semi-isolated person who decides that what they really need is some kind of paid companionship in the guise of a legit business agreement. It’s sad, it’s strange, but it’s common enough. There are plenty of famous people who have done just that–I won’t mention any names, but I will say this–freelancers should pay attention to the sorts of warning signs they think they’re seeing in these cases.

When should you say no to freelance work? Sometimes those alarm bells going off in your head for no specific reason are enough. You can definitely read and heed the 21 scenarios listed in the Freelance Folder blog post, but don’t forget to trust your instincts about the intangible things making you uncomfortable. They might not solidify into solid hunches until later, but they’re worth your attention.

Joe Wallace Vinyl Collector and authorJoe Wallace is a writer, editor, social media manager and collector of bizarre record albums. He loves weird vinyl records so much he wrote a book called WTF Records: The Turntabling.net Guide To Weird and Wonderful Vinyl. Now he’s shopping for an agent. Contact him at jwallace(at) joe-wallace.com

Wallace is available for freelance work and consulting on a selective basis. His social media clients include FHA.com, Bank Administration Institute, and MilitaryHub.com. He writes web content for VALoans.com, FHANewsBlog.com and more; previous clients for his web content and editing work include Motorola.com, Artisan Talent, Verizon Wireless, and the official site for Jason Donnelly, AKA DJ Puzzle.

Marketing Yourself as a Freelancer–Mistakes To Avoid

by Joe Wallace

book and script editor for hire Joe WallaceThere’s plenty of advice floating around out there telling you what to do to market yourself as a freelancer. Let’s not re-invent the wheel on that one.

Instead, let’s take a look at some things you should stop doing right now.


We all do it, even I’m guilty. But the worst way to market yourself is to try wading into a crowded marketplace with too many people in it and try to get noticed. If you fly with the flock, you’ll never stand out from it.

Instead, try hitting some markets that don’t seem so obvious. Travel writers would naturally gravitate to something like a Lonely Planet type guide or magazine–why not write travel pieces for food mags instead? The proper angle is the key. Freelance editors get stuck thinking about books and scripts, websites or magazines…but there are plenty of catalogues, brochures, technical manuals and other things out there with the same need for a sharp eye.

Think outside the box. WAY outside. Forget the traditional routes and find something so crazy you don’t think it’s ever been tried before. Once Catherine Tully and I co-wrote an article about martial arts.

For a JUGGLING magazine.

Get the idea?

Not Having Your Own Domain

One prolific blogger I know bought a domain called “IAmJohnDoe.com”. No, John Doe isn’t her real name and that isn’t her actual domain name. (It’s not live yet so she asked me to keep it private). Her chosen domain name (JohnDoe.com) was already hogged up by some other type of business, so she got creative.

The point is, if you are marketing yourself, you need to put your name out there connected with all the keywords in your specialty. Freelance writer, freelance editor, graphic designer, catapult builder, whatever. Yeah, I’ll say it–“for free” domains are useless for you if you are serious about marketing yourself. The first impression factor alone might not matter, but the amount of control you have over your own domain versus one of those free ones is worth the price.

Not to mention that if your free domain company goes bust at some point, or switches to a for-pay model you don’t like, you lose any Google value your site has built up over time.

Your goal with a site like this should include building it up so that if someone does a Google search on “Your Home Town Here” and “Freelance Writer” or “Freelance Editor” or “Freelance Cat Juggler” they should be getting YOU in the top results, because your resume site includes the right combination of keywords and relevant information.

Marketing Yourself To Other Freelancers at the Expense Of Your Target Market

I  belong to a few e-mail lists for writers and editors. A lot of people spend an inordinate amount of time doing PR stuff on these mailing lists, chatrooms, LinkedIn groups, etc. “Hey, I’m teaching here” or “Read my interview there” and such–a high volume of material that’s aimed at other freelancers. My question is this–how much time are you spending getting street cred with your fellow freelancers versus marketing yourself to potential clients?

I am NOT saying don’t participate in these groups. What I am saying is beware of spending more time with your colleagues than you do with your target market. Blowing your own horn is great, but if you’re just blowing for the rest of the orchestra to hear you aren’t really PERFORMING, know what I mean?

The Perfect Questionnaire

541349_spreadsheet_1By Amanda Smyth Connor

Before ever putting pen to paper, you will have met with your client several times to discuss the scope of the project before you. Presumably, you will have had a preliminary interview, followed by several formal (or informal) meetings to nail down all of the details so that there are no surprises along the way. How you go about these meetings is entirely up to you, but if I may, I’d like to pass along some advice.

Do yourself a favor and come up with whatever you consider to be “The Perfect Questionnaire.” Come up with a list of top questions that must be answered in order to quickly and efficiently complete any project. I would recommend including the following:

  • What tone/style specifically are you looking for and please provide an example of writing that exemplifies this tone/style. (Feel free to add some options regarding tone/style that a client might choose from to help guide them.)
  • Who is your key demographic (specifically – age, gender, etc)
  • What specific key points need to be called out in this project?
  • Would you like a call to action included in this project and if so, please clarify what this/these call(s) to action might be.
  • What is the end goal of this project? (Include examples, such as “to drive readers to your site”, “to increase traffic”, “to educate/inform”, “to entertain”, etc.)
  • Who are your direct/top competitors?
  • Is there anything specific that I may not be aware of that should NOT be mentioned?
  • What are your top keywords? Do you have an SEO strategy that I need to follow?
  • When does the final version of this project need to be delivered?

The client may be in charge during the interviewing and preliminary stages of any project, but once you begin discussing the details of the project, it is up to you to drive the meeting and to make sure you ask the right questions and gather as much info as you can. Do your homework and create a great questionnaire for yourself and your future clients – it will save you loads of time and will make your job that much easier.

Amanda Smyth Connor is a community manager for a major publishing company, owns her own wedding planning business, and has managed online communities and content development for many start-up and Fortune 500 companies.  She has been a professional editor for more years than she can remember.

The Vanishing Freelance Client

Freelance Switch Vanishing Client

by Joe Wallace

Freelance Switch had an excellent article recently on the phenomenon known as the “magical client”. You know the ones–they show up with work from time to time, pad out your coffers for a bit, then fade away for ages. Later, they reappear to throw some more work your way, like magic.

I can hear some new-to-freelancing grumbles now; “I wish I HAD some magically appearing clients!” Here’s how I cultivated some of mine:

Be William Shatner

Sounds absurd, I know. Remember Rescue 911? Shatner walking us through emergency after emergency, with those calm and reassuring tones. What a new freelancer can do to bring in repeat clients is be the go-to person in somebody else’s crisis. Over-deliver, make yourself completely available in an hour of need, and watch the loyalty grow.

Be Leonard Nimoy

This is starting to read like a sci-fi nerd dating column, but so be it. Leonard Nimoy, as Spock on Star Trek, was always the font of helpful advice and useful stats. Find a way to apply your freelance street skills to the benefit of a client and you’ll see that sometimes dispensing some free advice can increase your stature.

But beware–make sure you don’t come off as condescending or like a know-it-all, but if you see a client heading into a mistake, it’s good to diplomatically point out a better alternative.

The way I do it is just to relate my past experience. “You know, in the past when I’ve worked on other projects, I learned that Google tends to frown on key words it considers spammy. Too many keywords stuffed into an article is bad enough, but adding XYZ to the mix has, in my experience, really hurt any website those words appears on.”

Continue reading The Vanishing Freelance Client