Tag Archives: freelance writing gigs

The Informational Interview: The Foot in the Door

By Amanda Smyth ConnorHIRE

Whether you’re a recent grad or a long-time freelancer, the informational interview is a GREAT option for getting your foot in the door of a company that may otherwise not be an option.

It’s no secret that the economy sucks and the job market is doom and gloom. Regardless of the industry you are in, getting a foot in the door for an interview is the hardest part of getting a job. Once you get that interview, you’ve got skills and charm and a winning smile that will seal the deal, but getting through the door can be near impossible these days.


Step 1: Do your homework and locate the best individual to speak with regarding an informational interview. Do NOT call the front desk to ask for “whoever is in charge of editing.” In order to effectively find the right person, get on LinkedIn and don’t be shy about sending a LinkedIn message to said individual.

Step 2: Tell them that you understand that they are not hiring at this time, but that you have a deep interest in their company and skill set and that you would love to set up a time to speak with them for just 30 minutes in order to learn more about the industry, company, and specific roles.

Step 3: Most individuals are kind enough to agree to such a request. It’s very non-committal for potential employers. They aren’t in the hot seat to interview you or to evaluate your skill set, and the fact that you are interested in THEM inflates their ego a bit, puts them at ease and sets you up for a relaxed interview.

Step 4: Prepare a list of exceptional questions about specific roles in the division, about the individual’s career track and history, etc., and make certain that you segue way into questions regarding possible job opportunities in the future. Of course you’ve already sent over your resume so that they know more about you, so now you’ve essentially accomplished getting your resume in front of an important person thus setting yourself apart from other applicants in the future and you’ve had the chance to gain some inside knowledge about the company.

You are a superstar.

And while this may not get you a job immediately, this interview is an investment of your time. Now you can link with this person on LinkedIn and you can feel more comfortable in the future when you do eventually get that formal interview, because heck, you already did this once.

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.

Dear Freelance-Zone: How Do I Handle Creative Differences With My Editor?

Ask-a-Freelance-Pro“Dear Freelance-Zone,

I’ve been blogging and writing for one company for a couple of years now, and I find the website taking a turn I don’t really like. The site will have new features that won’t be accepted by the audience we already have and I don’t see this working out very well. I think they might start looking like a liability on my resume instead of an asset once the new features start showing up. Have you got any advice for a freelancer watching a decent paying gig start to self-destruct?”

(Transparency alert–the above question was re-worked and paraphrased to protect identities of both the innocent and the guilty. No actual names or situations have been revealed in the interest of privacy.)

If freelancers should learn anything from the Internet bust-and-boom cycles of the last 20 years, its this–sometimes bad companies do good things, and sometimes good companies manage to screw up what they have in the pursuit of the almighty dollar. And then there are the entrepreneurs out there with deep pockets and dumb ideas.

Every good freelancer with enough time in the game will eventually be put into a position where they can get some easy cash writing or editing content for such well-heeled, but ultimately clueless operators. We do the work, make it shine as best we can, and take the paychecks. The question is, how long do you keep feeding off that easy money?

Scratch that. The REAL question is more along the lines of, “How long can you keep investing your time in stuff you’ll never be able to use on a freelance resume?”

Here’s what works for me personally. I have taken plenty of paychecks—large ones–from people who ended up folding, failing, giving up or going away. I give ’em my best, or in some cases as much as effort as the gig deserved when demands became unreasonable and excessive. But what I should NEVER have done–but DID do to my own detriment–was let any such gig become a primary source of income.

Whenever I DID let a clown company or clueless operator become my main source of income, at some point I would always wake up to the fact that I was setting myself up for disaster and start looking around to establish side gigs. I’d get enough side gigs running to help me transition out of the work I was doing for the dingbats and bail when things became truly intolerable.

I figure for each time I had to make such a move, I spent about three months building up enough steady work after finally giving the heave-ho to the well-funded dummies. I strongly urge you to get at least three months of operating cash saved and ready if you can–you’re going to need it while you start powering up your side gigs into more income.

Pretend you’re quitting your day job to go fulltime freelance and you’ve got the right mentality to make the switch–at least, that’s the approach that works for me.

Got questions on the freelance life? ASK US. Drop us an e-mail with your freelance questions to questions (at) freelance (dash) zone (dot) com.

joe wallace

Joe Wallace is Freelance-Zone.com’s co-founder. His credits include a 13-year stint as a military journalist for Air Force News Agency and web copy for projects on Wal-Mart.com, Shopping.AOL.com, and Verizon Wireless. He is a freelance web editor for Motorola and runs seminars on freelance writing and social media in the Chicago area. In his spare time he runs Turntabling.net, a blog about vinyl records, drive-in culture, and film soundtracks.

Got Questions About the Freelance Life? ASK US


Drop us an e-mail with your questions about freelance gigs, freelance writing, freelance editing, getting paid, submitting freelance invoices, freelance tax nightmares (we don’t give ‘advice’ on taxes, just share what works for us) insurance and much more. FZ is here to help. Questions are answered by veteran freelance writers and editors who know exactly how the game is played. Joe Wallace and Catherine L. Tully are experienced, full time freelancers ready for your questions.

Secret Weapons to Finding More Paying Freelance Gigs

PhotoFunia-3d80f2dby Joe Wallace

If you’re wondering what a doctored photo of a moon walk has to do with getting a freelance job, keep reading. You won’t find freelance jobs on the moon, but if you’re fed up enough with a fruitless hunt for more paying gigs to consider looking there anyway, you’re well on your way to getting a new freelance opportunity.

I just started a high-paying freelance editor gig for a major national corporation. I found this gig in a place I least expected to–and that was probably the reason why I landed it. There was no horde of eager applicants to compete with–just a reasonable amount of competition. My source for this job isn’t as important as the idea that I landed the work because I opened myself up to new opportunities by looking in places I wouldn’t have explored a year or two ago.

So how can you create your own secret weapon to finding new freelance work? Continue reading Secret Weapons to Finding More Paying Freelance Gigs

6 Freelance Job Resources You Haven’t Thought Of

freelance newspaper jobs

by Joe Wallace

Looking for freelance gigs? You’ve probably been all over the map in search of more steady work, but there are a few places that haven’t been beaten to death by the scraper sites..though they probably will be after we publish this. Best advice? Keep your BEST job resources to yourself as long as possible to avoid the bandwagon syndrome.

That said, here are a few that haven’t been ruined by scraper sites yet…and some that NEVER will be due to the nature of the job sourcing:

Reddit Jobs is pricey for editors to list gigs on–300 a day for 30 days–so you won’t be troubled by a bunch of spammy ads from the usual places offering you three bucks a post or “revenue sharing”. At press time, the problem with Reddit Jobs for freelancers is that some fields are underrepresented, but that obviously changes depending on supply and demand.

Artisan Creative. The reason why Artisan won’t be scraped out of usefulness for a busy freelancer? They have a screening process for candidates. This isn’t an “all-comers” source of freelance jobs, it’s a situation where talent actually matters. Artisan is a creative staffing agency that places writers, coders, designers, and many other freelance specialties. The jobs are heavy-hitting, too. Major companies, household names. I have personal experience with Artisan Creative and am very happy with them.
Continue reading 6 Freelance Job Resources You Haven’t Thought Of

Freelance Jobs Are Just A Network Away

get freelance jobs

Yuwanda Black wrote an article many moons ago for CopyBlogger called Where Have All The Freelance Jobs Gone? Where indeed? I’ll tell you where. They’ve mutated.

Once upon a time, freelancers–especially writers–needed a set of skills directly related to putting words down to tell stories, report news, or sell products. They also had to sell themselves in cover letters, queries, and proposals.

Then came the web, SEO content, blogging, and an explosion in online copywriting. The notion that “everybody’s a writer” gave way to “everyone’s a blogger”. Some get paid, some do not, but the cliche is there for a reason.

Freelance work for writers seems to be subdividing into two basic categories, at least for now. I tend to think of it as skilled and unskilled labor. There’s a certain point in a successful writer’s career where a decision is made or a path is taken to an important collection of skill sets beyond the ability to write well. Those who don’t take the leap wind up stagnating. They don’t make it out of content land, instead remaining trapped like prehistoric dragonflies in amber.

Continue reading Freelance Jobs Are Just A Network Away