By Amanda Smyth Connor
Pardon me as I climb up on this soapbox for just a moment, but I’ve got a bone to pick.
My frustration comes when I read Facebook/Twitter updates from friends and aquaintances that read like this:
“Dear All, I’ve decided to start freelancing! So, send me anything you’ve got! I’m ready to write!”
Oh how simple you make it sound! If only it were so easy as to simply blast out an email or to Tweet your availability and to have a series of jobs and assignments lined up at your feet.
“My GOD,” you would think to yourself. “It’s just so wonderful and EASY being a freelance writer! Why doesn’t everyone do this?!”
Because it isn’t easy, you ninny! If it was easy, we would all be millionaires and we would be writing blog posts from our estates on the beach, and monkey butlers would proofread our work all day.
Do you ever find yourself defending what you do to others? This happens to me rarely, but I find that my defenses go up the moment a stranger suggests that freelancing is a dream job filled with all-day pajamas and working from the beach. I mean, sure, occasionally I have been found wearing night pants around 3pm, but that’s usually when I am in a blind panic about a deadline and showering was forced to become a lower priority.
Do you ever face critics regarding your career? How do you handle this situation? And what advice do you share with others who believe that jumping into freelancing is quick and easy?
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.
I recently stumbled across freelancer Daniel Brantley’s blog and decided, based on his most recent entry to take his advice and run a Google search on myself. Lo and behold, I was quite pleased to see that I’m in the top five results on page one for my very common name. Not bad for a humble freelancer with a bit of net-knowhow, eh?
Something more disturbing–a blog post rife with cringe-making spelling errors, and nighmarish violations of Strunk & White’s “omit needless words” law which should be reported to the feds. This blog post was NOT written by yours truly, but it’s so badly written and assembled that this guy’s hamfisted attempt to credit me as a source for a drunk driving statistic actually makes it appear as though I wrote the damn article. I know that’s a stretch, but it’s true.
I’m not going to embarass this poor halpless doink by linking to the badly written slop. He got plenty of bad comments about the awfulness of the article and in light of that I think he’s been punished enough. But the moral of this story is, you really ought to Google yourself to see what’s being done in your name on the net. In my case, it looks pretty rotten–if you read this blog post and assume that it’s written by me, you would never hire me to polish the brass on the Titanic.
Fortunately for me, this crapola is buried three pages deep in the Google results. Anybody looking for me on Google will find my GOOD stuff and move on long before getting bored enough to click over to page three at the bottom of the pile. That said, I know plenty of people who have had work “borrowed” for other web sites who didn’t learn about it until they randomly Googled themselves out of boredom. If you don’t know how your name is represented on the web, take a moment and pull up Google.com and give your own name a spin. You could be shocked by what you find. Cheers to Daniel Brantley for reminding me to have a look…
Freelancers are always running into little problems…shifting deadlines, clients who don’t know what the hell they really want, and the worst one of all–the publisher who won’t pay for some reason. Handling this situation calls for a tactful blend of psyhological warfare and extreme tact, but you can win if you play your cards properly. In a recent dispute with an editor over payment, I used the following five tactics for successful resolution of the problem. I’m happy to report that I did get paid, I’m still writing for the publication, and everyone seems happy. Here’s what I did:
Continue reading Not Getting Paid? Five Tips For Resolution
According to a Freelance Switch survey, only 15% of surveyed freelancers write a blog. To the 85% of you who are not writing blogs, I say a hearty thank you. Thank you for making my quest for more paying gigs that much easier by taking yourselves out of the race. Self-promotion is one of the most important parts of this crazy business of ours, and by not promoting yourself, your expertise, and years of experience in the game you seriously cut down the competition for yours truly. You guys are awesome.
When I read that 15% factoid as reported in Mike Gunderloy’s post at Web Worker Daily, I admit I was fairly surprised. I would assume a much higher figure. Any freelancer who wants to get paid should be taking a serious look at how they market their number one asset–themselves. If you aren’t pushing your skills, you sell yourself short. Doing a blog is not going to drive employers to your virtual doorstep in droves, they won’t be beating down your door just because you have your shingle out. But any time you apply for a new gig, you should use every tool at your disposal, every advantage over that other 85%.
Continue reading Why You Really Need to Start a Blog