Tag Archives: freelance jobs

When and How To Find Freelance Jobs

By Amanda Smyth Connor


By now, you’ve come to learn that I have a deeply passionate fondness for social media – bordering on unhealthy obsession – and this week we’ll explore one more reason why I believe  social media is the greatest invention since #slicedbread.

Now that you are on Twitter (you are, aren’t you?) and you’re fully entrenched into following, conversing with, and RTing your favorite freelancers, writers, authors, etc, you should also be following all of the companies you are most interested in working with.

Nearly every major company has a social media presence, and the smartest of the bunch have Twitter feeds/Facebook accounts/LinkedIn pages dedicated to talent acquisition, i.e. job postings. Companies are currently in their first quarter (Q1) during which the majority of hiring takes place for the year, as Q1 occurs directly following budget approvals. What does this all mean? It means that you have the best chance of getting hired for awesome freelance gigs during Q1, and maybe Q2. Chances are also low that you’ll get hired during Q3 and most hiring is NOT done during Q4, since this is the time of year that companies have expended their budgets and need to wait for new budget approval (Q1.) And thus we come full circle.

Pop Quiz!

1. When do you have the highest chance of finding a freelance gig with a company? (A. Q1)

2. Where should you look for company jobs? (A. Aside from freelance job boards, follow the company talent acquisition Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, LinkedIn pages and RSS feeds on the career pages of their websites.)

3. When are you least likely to get a call back about that awesome freelance gig you applied for? (A. Q4)

Amanda Smyth Connor is a social media manager for a major publishing company 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.

Ethics in Freelancing

Joe-Wallace-Vinyl-Collector-and-authorby Joe Wallace

Once I had a client that needed some writing done on financial topics which included those very unsavory payday loans you might keep seeing advertised late at night in infomercial-land.

I was young in my freelance career and hadn’t really experienced much in the way of ethical dilemmas in my work, so in the end, I tried to give this client what was asked for but still keep within a certain ethical boundary. I wound up writing about these payday loans, describing what they are and how they work, but also encouraging the reader to carefully read contracts and especially the fine print.

I wrote that nobody should ever sign a contract they don’t fully understand, and a few other reasonable cautions. I felt like I should probably never take on that kind of work ever again, but at least I wrote something that could not be disguised as snake oil.

But I was wrong. I learned later, confidentially, that my work had been turned over to another person who took out all of my reasonable words and basically distilled my work INTO snake oil. The client WANTED snake oil and wasn’t too happy that they got “read the fine print, too”.

That was a lesson I’ve never forgotten.

Ethical freelancing is important. It’s not up to me to tell YOU what YOUR ethics should be, but I can say from experience that when the little voice in your head starts bugging you with nagging urges to ditch a certain project because it’s making you feel crawly, listening is a very good idea. Even if it means losing that week’s income. In the long run, whatever you have to do to make up for that lost cash is worth it.

If there’s any advice to be gained from my experience, it’s that–don’t ignore your instincts, they’re there for a reason.

Is This Wrong?

Joe-Wallace-Vinyl-Collector-and-authorLet yourself get on a few PR mailing lists and eventually you get flooded with press releases, requests for work, product reviews, an endless supply of e-mail. And on the day you post a “help wanted” ad for a creative person, whether they’re writers, editors, photogs, etc…you can expect an even larger pile to deal with. It’s my own fault, I know.

But I feel slightly guilty when trying to manage all that incoming mail, for one simple reason; I round-file anything that looks even vaguely like spam and aggressively delete emails from the clueless, the hopeless, and the inept. I’m sure they are all nice people, I just don’t have time for them right now. I have deadlines to meet, material to edit, audio to create, mixes and uploads to contend with.

A multimedia freelancer’s life is a very busy one–something a lot of these e-mail senders don’t seem to appreciate. Especially the ones who want me to hire them.

It’s sad, but it’s true. Long, rambling preambles, irrelevant details, people who won’t GET TO THE VERB, as it were. I am guilty of doing this myself, but fortunately, it’s mostly contained to my blog posts.


Lately I’ve been aggressively deleting ALL emails, unread from the moment I encounter the following pet peeve: people who write “free-lance” instead of “freelance”.

Having worked as a freelancer since 2003, I find the use of “free-lance” to be a red flag. A warning sign. An indicator that a degree of cluelessness is very likely present. This is not nice, it is not fair, and likely not even true in some cases. But I don’t care, since pet peeves are not tied to logic, common sense, or human decency.

I’ve even seen the dreadful use of this mangling of the word “freelance” on book covers–books I refuse to review.

There IS a point to all this, somewhere. I suppose the point is that packaging is everything, first impressions are critical, and you should stop hyphenating the word “freelance” if you want to appear like you know the business at all. That’s just my opinion and doesn’t reflect those of other seasoned creative types who are in business for themselves.

But it’s a good object lesson anyway, methinks. Because THAT is how subjective the freelance business can get, savvy?

Joe Wallace writes, edits, produces, and promotes creative multimedia projects. He is very busy and isn’t accepting new assignments except on a very limited basis. He’s currently editing and doing sound design for the indie film project 45 RPM, writing about veteran’s finance issues, and doing social media promotion for said projects.

Sometimes You Have To Tell The Client NO

Joe-Wallace-Vinyl-Collector-and-authorby Joe Wallace

I love my clients. I have just the right amount of them, the projects are diverse and interesting, and I have good rapport with them. Over the long haul, there have been suggested changes, tweaks, alterations to the work flow, content, the usual course corrections that come with any long-term relationship.

And like any long term relationship, there are suggested directions that turn out to be bad ideas, and some that are just plain untenable from the start.

In my early days as a freelancer, I used “the customer is always right” motto until it became apparent to me that, even as a writer (as opposed to a writer/editor/sound designer/social media promoter, blah blah) the clients often turn to me as a subject matter expert and informal advisor–even when they don’t realize they’re doing so. That’s about the time I started saying no to ideas that don’t work, are too ambitious, or just plain bad.

In a sushi bar in downtown Chicago this week, I overheard two lawyers talking shop. Some of the best-ever advice for freelancers came from my shameless “accidental” overhearing of the following paraphrased statement.

“I tell them two things: I say, ‘this is my role and in my professional capacity I will tell you A, B and C about what you’re asking. Now I’m going to step outside my role as your professional and I’m going to tell you what I personally think about this scenario based on my prior experience with it. I do this to let you know that in my professional capacity with you, I’ll give you the advice you need–but I’ll also tell you off the record whether it’s practical in the real world.’ ”

I’ve done quite a bit of that myself, albeit in less direct ways–but I’m starting to think I should take my cues from a lawyer in a sushi bar and start couching it in those terms.

–Joe Wallace

Wanna Be Headhunted?

Joe-Wallace-Vinyl-Collector-and-authorby Joe Wallace

I’ve got a super-busy schedule these days; my writing gigs have increased exponentially, I’m enrolled in the Recording Arts program at Tribeca Flashpoint Media Academy here in Chicago, and I’m working the post-production end of my short film, 45 RPM.

So naturally, I have absolutely no time whatsoever to consider the gig that was offered to me today via e-mail; a digital managing editor slot for a startup near me.

I didn’t apply for this gig–far from it–it came to me in my inbox today from a creative placement agency. I didn’t have to wonder how they found me, as I’ve got a little strategy to help me track where my random e-mails come from and how I’ve been discovered on the Internet.

My resume site for my work in multi-media has a site-specific e-mail address. So does my writing-specific resume site. Ditto for my vinyl blog Turntabling.net and my filmmaking blog Now-Sound.com.

The headhunter found me, oddly enough, via my multimedia resume page. So it’s likely the headhunter did a keyword search for a set of specific terms and my site wound up in the page one or page two results.

If you want to be discovered this way, there are plenty of ways to do it–mine includes having a resume page that’s been online at the same address for a very long time, using SEO-optimized resume writing techniques, along with plenty of images also with SEO optimized filenames. But none of this is my point, really.

If you really want to open up some additional freelance options for yourself, I strongly suggest you check out the creative temp agencies in your market. They can be an important source of income for a creative freelancer. Some of my highest profile and best-paying work has come from agencies, and I did some good work for these household name-type companies.

If you’re frustrated with a lack of work, a creative temp agency might just open up some new income potential for you. I have no time whatsoever to consider the position e-mailed to me today, but maybe YOU do.

Joe Wallace is a writer, editor, indie filmmaker, multi-media artist and time management fanatic. He has many projects going at once, and has finally realized he’s not truly happy unless he’s beating deadlines, rushing for trains, calculating the amount of remaining natural light, editing video, and planning his next recording session all within the same day. He blogs about filmmaking at Now-Sound.com.

Top Digital Creative Jobs

Joe-Wallace-Vinyl-Collector-and-authorThis landed in the Freelance-Zone.com inbox this morning–the Onward Search Salary Guide for the 10 Hottest Digital Creative Jobs. No surprise that web developers made the top of the list at a median salary of $82K per year. Skip down to where the writers get some love and you’ll find copywriters coming in at $56K/year. Only one writing-related field in the top ten? True.

Management is obviously well-represented; project managers and art directors are earning between $70K and $78K per year, but far and away the most lucrative gig according to this top-ten chart is for information architects, who score a median $99K per year. Fellow writers, our wheelbarrows full of hundred dollar bills await, if only we’re willing to make the jump into a career field with the word “architect” in it.

Digital freelancing is obviously still hot in many ways, even for writers, but a crowded marketplace requires you to get creative, stay flexible, and outsmart your competition by being the most available and easy-to-work-with freelancer possible. That might not sound like “outsmarting” at all, but it’s shocking how often just being all those things is the key to success.

–Joe Wallace