By Amanda Smyth Connor
I’m meeting a fellow editor for lunch later today. She’s buying. It’s a nice gesture of thanks that she’s extending to me for sending a few jobs her way, and while this is a simple gesture on both our parts, its effect is far reaching for both of us.
I’ll admit that I am the first person to overbook and overextend myself. I struggle every day to learn how to say “no” to new jobs and projects, because once that steady stream (or tidal wave) of business hits, you never know when your next dry season might pop up. However, when business hits critical mass and I know I’m in over my head, I’m happy to make referrals to other editors who I know and trust.
Not only will I happily send business to other editors/writers, but I know that they will do the same for me, thus building a small safety net for ourselves for down the road. During my next dry season, when I’ve got plenty of time on my hands and not enough projects, with any luck, one of these referrals will find its way back and I’ll be back in business and happy as a clam.
This is not the time to hoard clients or to be selfish about business. Casting that net of referrals will certainly help you down the line. And making friends in the business, even if these friends are your freelance competition, will pay off when that bit of unexpected business lands on your doorstep courtesy of a friendly resource.
It seems like obvious advice: Make friends. Be nice. Share. But in any business industry, you find friendly supporters and cutthroat individuals. I would much rather be counted among those who are attracting business with honey than with vinegar.
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.