Tag Archives: freelance writing jobs

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.

Branding Yourself pt. 100…

By Amanda Smyth Connor

Make Mo' Money
Make Mo' Money

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve discussed the importance of branding yourself and marketing yourself as a means to growing your freelance business, but I really can’t stress this concept enough.

As a freelancer, you are your own business. You are the CEO, the administrative assistant, the Senior VP of Marketing….janitor… Basically, you can’t just produce a great product without covering all aspects of running a business, and my favorite part of running a business is in branding and marketing myself.

With regard to making yourself into a “brand,” the more high-quality exposure you have, the more recognizable your name will become as an authority in your industry.

1. Do you have a professional blog? Are you maintaining it regularly (2-5 times per week)?

2. Do you optimize your blog with good keywords so that Google knows what kind information you’re offering, thus helping others find your site more easily?

3. Do you Tweet often (at least 4 times per day?) and do you maintain a professional Facebook page for yourself/your business that you also update regularly (once a day)? Do you use these social media sites responsibly to establish credibility for yourself?

4. Have you joined several networking groups within your industry (starting with those found on LinkedIn)?

In order to start your magical journey into the world of self-branding, your answers to the questions above need to be a resounding “yes.”

Amanda Smyth Connor is a social media 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.

A Little Thank You Card Goes a Long Way

By Amanda Smyth Connorthank-you-and-Follow-up

The holidays are upon us again and I’ve only just recovered from last year. I’ll be taking a different approach to the holidays this year as I continue my journey toward ORGANIZATIONAL NIRVANA!

I’ve started my Christmas shopping early, I booked my travel back in August and we’ve already alerted the in-laws as to which days and times we will be visiting (from 3:00 to 3:04pm on Tuesday.)

What I absolutely cannot forget to do this year is to send thank you cards to all of the clients who hired me. Whether they were completely awesome and fed my positive energy or sucked out my will to live, they still hired me and paid me, and for that I am thankful.

For starters, I’ll be sending a card to each of my new clients that includes a personalized message. For my regular/favorite clients I try to send a little more, like cookies for the editorial team or coffee and bagels for the crew. It’s a nice little “thank you” that won’t cost you an arm and a leg and it keeps your name fresh in their minds.  Remember, it’s not bribery if they’ve already paid you.

What do you do to thank your clients?

Happy Almost Holidays.

Amanda Smyth Connor is a social media 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.

$140,000 Per Year on Elance.com?

by Mike O’Mary

Will work for food iStock_000004304868LargeI’m curious…do any members of the Freelance-Zone.com community have experience using Elance.com to get jobs? If so, how did it go for you as a freelancer?

I ask because I’ve used Elance.com as a client, and I have mixed feelings about it. A while back, I mentioned to someone that I needed help from a graphic designer and a proofreader, but that I was on a tight budget. My friend suggested Elance.com. So I gave it a try and posted a couple of jobs.

As a client, I was pleased with the results. I got bids from graphic designers and proofreaders from all over the world. And the prices reflected the global nature of the competition. In fact, some prices were so low I couldn’t believe it.

In the end, I didn’t go with the lowest bidder. Nor did I go with an overseas bidder, although there were many. I went with U.S. providers, partly because of my comfort level, but also because I found that I could hire a U.S. freelancer and still spend way less than I had anticipated. In fact, at the end of the graphic design job, I gave the designer a bonus because I couldn’t believe how much work she did for the price she had quoted me. And that’s where my mixed feelings come in… Continue reading $140,000 Per Year on Elance.com?

When Regular Clients Become Unreliable

Have you ever had a long-term regular client who suddenly became less reliable? Maybe their business suffered due to economic circumstances. Maybe they had to deal with a personal issue and were less focused on business projects. No matter how reliable a freelance writing gig might seem, it can always disappear.

Let’s talk about some of the ways regular clients might suddenly become unreliable and what you can do about it if it happens.

Ways Regular Clients Might Become Less Reliable

Here are some things an otherwise reliable client might do to suddenly change your working relationship:

  • They might cancel projects at the last minute.
  • They might decrease their usual order size with no advance notice.
  • They might simply stop contacting you or responding to emails (or phone calls).

The worst can be when a long-time regular client tells you on a whim that they can’t order for a month or two, but then they plan to get back to a regular order schedule. On one hand, it could be a worthwhile relationship to preserve, so you might try to accommodate. But that isn’t always the right thing to do. After all, you are a business owner too, and you have to put your own business interests first. If your business isn’t surviving, you can’t do your best work for clients anyway.

How to Deal with Clients that Become Unreliable

How do you deal with these situations? Given my last example, you have a few options:

  • Tell the client it’s alright, and that you’ll be happy to take them on again when they’re ready;
  • Tell the client that you’ll pursue other regular contracts to fill that void as soon as possible, and that means you likely won’t have availability when they’re ready to come back if they give up their spot;
  • Combine the two — pursue only one-off projects in the interim with the expectation that the client will come back to their regular schedule after a month or two.

Personally, I go with the second option. I don’t leave my schedule open with some naïve hope that a client is going to come back. If their own business is struggling now and they can’t order any more (as budgets are usually the concern), there is no guarantee that’s going to change in the short-term. And it would be foolish to rest the future of my own business on those hopes. So I find someone else. If they come back before I’ve found another regular I want to stick with, that’s fine. If not, too bad. I’ll refer them to someone who can work with them moving forward. That’s not to say there’s any bitterness about it. It’s just business.

Because clients can become unreliable in different ways, there are also different ways you can handle the situations. Some examples include:

  • Letting them know you can’t reserve their time in the future if there’s a break in the contracted work;
  • Discussing their future plans with them in more depth — find out if there really is a very short-term problem at hand where it might be worth sticking it out for a month or so;
  • Offering to adjust project specs to meet their new requirements without undercutting your own earnings or losing the gig altogether;
  • Being firm, letting them know that commitments followed by last minute cancellations aren’t acceptable professionally (because once they committed, you had to turn down other prospects), and that if it happens again you won’t be able to continue working with them;
  • Moving on and not looking back — especially if a client becomes unresponsive for an extended period (that can’t be explained with a brief emergency taking them away from work).

Are these the only ways to deal with long-time clients who become unreliable? No. But they give you somewhere to start and some options to consider. It’s one thing to like our clients and want to work with them to overcome their problems. But we also have to know when to do that and when it’s best to part ways — temporarily or not.

No freelance writing job is a sure thing. From large content sites that shut down or change payment models to smaller independent clients who can’t sustain the workload, gigs come and go. And it’s a part of our job to be prepared. So be ready to handle the situations if they come up, even if hoping they don’t. And never stop marketing your services and building your visibility to attract new prospects. Then when a sudden opening does happen, you’ll already have interested prospects waiting for a call.

Jennifer Mattern

About Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a freelance business writer and professional blogger who writes about freelance writing, social media, indie publishing, and small business. She also publishes e-books for freelance writers and is scheduled to publish her first nonfiction book, The Query-Free Freelancer, next year.

A Job Opp You May Not Have Considered

By Amanda Smyth Connor1151807_to_do

Being a freelance writer means staying on the ball regarding finding new job opportunities and clients. It also means staying flexible in your job search. One job opportunity you may not have considered is within the community management and social media realm.

Many major corporations are outsourcing their community management needs and many of these job skills encompass what you are already good at: writing, planning and coming up with creative ideas.

What does this role call for specifically? Community managers are in charge of developing and maintaining the style and tone of content that is posted within a community. They develop editorial calendars and make recommendations for specific content. They gather feedback from the community and make decisions about how best to engage the community. They suggest various means of revenue. They control most of the social media channels and messaging, and they develop content – from marketing messaging to blog posts. Community managers straddle the marketing departments, member services departments and editorial departments. They may even have a say in product development. For being a relatively new field, community managers are in greater need now that major companies are realizing the need for such a diverse position.

While networking and job hunting, keep this position hot on your radar!