This Target Market Mistake Could Cost You Money

Is your marketing helping you reach the best freelance writing prospects? That depends on your target market and how successful you are at reaching members of that group. One of the biggest mistakes a new freelance writer can make is having no target market. That’s when you simply take any gig that comes along, whether or not you enjoy the work, whether or not you

Quick Tip: Pursue International Freelance Writing Clients

I can’t remember where I read it now — maybe on a blog, maybe on Reddit. But a few days ago I saw someone complaining about international freelancers. In this case they were talking about freelance development work and all of the competition they faced from overseas. This is something I see all the time. But then the conversation flipped. People weren’t only complaining about

How to Overcome Your Clients’ Biggest Fears

Of all the obstacles faced by a freelance writer, one of the biggest is the endless worry a client has going into a new project. Deadlines. Communication. Attention to detail. Whether they had a bad experience before or just read too many horror stories from their colleagues, these clients expect the worst. How then do you alleviate these fears before a project begins and ensure

Client Relationship Reminders for Freelance Writers

Your freelance writing business involves more than research, writing, and editing. There’s the whole “business” side of the equation too. And an important part of running the business behind your freelance writing is managing client relationships. Let’s explore a few things you should keep in mind as a freelance writer when it comes to building and maintaining relationships with clients and prospects. The Client Isn’t

How Not to Get Screwed as a New Freelancer

Tired of dealing with awful clients who disappear as soon as “where is my money” crosses your lips? Deadbeat clients are every freelancer’s nightmare, and it seems like we all run into one or more over our careers. However, you don’t have to just sit idly by and hope for the best! You can take steps to protect your business and your pocketbook with just

When Clients Attack: An Elance Story

I had just finished graduate school and needed a job. The problem with getting a Master’s in English with emphasis in Creative Writing is that there is no career development course in the curriculum. There may not be one in any other major either, but with this particular course of study, it seems to be completely necessary.  If you’re really interested in being a teacher,

How to Network, Find Clients, and Grow Your Writing Career

It should be easy, right? Forget that some writers, editors, and business owners have major connections and networks. It’s tempting to see them as ‘dollar signs,’ but the truth is, they’re complex people with feelings, busy lives, personalities, and quirks. They’re human beings. It’s a dream come true when you meet people and you think they’ll help you grow your writing career, but a part

Insulate Yourself From Bad Freelance Clients

Do you ever land bad freelance writing clients? Maybe they’re too needy. Maybe they don’t pay on time. Maybe they expect the world while paying next to nothing. These aren’t good clients to have. Yet many freelancers face these situations. You don’t have to. Here are three simple ways you can better insulate yourself from bad writing clients. 1. Be Choosy As a business owner,

How to Fill a Hole in Your Schedule (the Query-Free Freelancer Way)

You have a fairly packed freelance writing schedule. You have client orders lined up for the next several weeks, and things look good. But then something happens. A project is cancelled. A client suddenly becomes non-responsive. You get a request to postpone something. Whatever the reason, you suddenly find yourself with a hole in your schedule — one that needs to be filled now at

How to Make Your Own Freelance Writing Opportunities

You’ve probably seen or heard this before. Freelance Writer A is having a discussion with new Freelance Writer B. The newer freelancer talks about how they’re struggling to find decent paying freelance writing jobs on job boards and classified sites, and even when they do find one there’s too much competition there. Writer A tells them to hang in there because there really are high

Freelancers: 4 Tips for Dealing with Cheapskate Clients

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it here again, but when you work as a freelancer you’re a business owner. You’re the one offering an in-demand service. And that means you get to set your rates and payment policies. Just as you can’t walk into your favorite retail store and tell them what you’re willing to pay, expecting them to accept your

How Being a Client "Yes Man" Can Kill Your Freelance Writing Career

If you were a client, would you prefer to hire “yes men” who tell you whatever you want to hear, or would you prefer to hire people who tell you the truth? While I’ve seen some potential clients look for the former, my experience is that “yes men” are not what most prospects need or want. And if you spend too much time trying to

The Dead Don’t Write

Note: This post originally appeared at on October 30, 2009. The Freelance Theater audio play series is now a part of All Freelance Writing. Have you ever had a “vampire client” — one who seems to suck the life out of you? Maybe they don’t pay enough so you push yourself to the edge of burning out regularly as you cram in countless projects.

My Love Affair with Elance

I have taken a secret lover. Now, I don’t want my hubby to know because it would devastate him, so I’m only going to tell you guys. The name of my secret lover? Elance. I know, I know, it’s weird. Before I did the Elance experiment for AFW, I never really considered Elance a real place to work. Through the experiment, Elance and I had

The Downsides of Working with Middlemen Clients

I’ve mentioned before that middlemen clients — SEO firms, marketing firms, etc. — are some of my favorite types of clients to work for. They bring a group of their own clients to your door which saves on marketing time for you, and they tend to bring in bigger orders than most single clients. They also often go for regular monthly work rather than short-term

Personality Pays Off (and How Clients can Land even a Fully-Booked Freelancer)

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t often take on new clients because my schedule is consistently full and I’m swamped with my own projects on top of that. A potential client (Robert Schierenberg of Superior Appeals — a company dealing with property tax appeals) changed my mind about that the other day. It was the first time I stopped, thought it over, and said I’d

5 Foolish Mistakes Freelance Writers Make

Everyone makes mistakes. But when it comes to freelance writing, a lot of people make the same mistakes! New writers regularly set themselves up for failure. Even experienced writers get too comfortable in a routine and forget some of the essentials. The thing is, most freelance writing mistakes are easy to avoid. Today let’s look at some of the most common, and most foolish, mistakes

Are Your Clients Reverse Nickel and Diming You to Death?

When you hear the phrase “nickel and dime” chances are that you think of being a buyer — asked to pay for ridiculous little add-ons to a product of service, greatly increasing the overall price. Can you also be nickel and dimed as a freelancer? Absolutely. How Freelance Clients Might Try to Nickel and Dime You As a freelance writer, you probably either give a

Raising Freelance Writing Rates – Demand Isn't Enough

How would you feel about having your freelance writing schedule booked weeks or months in advance? Do you wish you had the luxury to be more selective in the freelance writing jobs you take on, able to turn down anything that doesn’t appeal to you?  Plenty of freelancers are already in that boat, myself included. It’s a great place to be, but a reader brought

Freelance Writers: Don't be Afraid to Talk to Your Clients

I’m not sure why, but some freelance writers I know seem to treat clients as though they’re some mythical creature who, once caught, should be worshipped in some way. Don’t get me wrong. You should be good to your clients. But there’s a fine line between being good to them while being responsible in your work and idolizing them to the point where you can’t

Land More Freelance Writing Jobs by Questioning Your Clients

Do you spend enough time questioning your clients (and prospective clients)? You should! No. I’m not suggesting that you get into a spat with a client about how they want you to handle a project. I’m talking about good old fashioned information-gathering. If you spend some time looking at public responses to job ads from writers (bidding sites, forums, etc.), you would notice a common

The Client Isn't Always Right (Like This One)

“The client is always right.” You’ve probably heard that a million times. Well guess what–you’ve also been lied to a million times. Clients make mistakes. Worse, they can occasionally become abusive. I’ve been lucky in that these types of clients have been few and far between in my career thus far. However, two colleagues recently weren’t so lucky. What’s worse is that the client /

So What if the Client is Nice?

I saw a writer’s comment on another blog yesterday where they mentioned that a client may have paid very little, but it was OK because the people there were nice (paraphrasing a bit). All I could think was “so what if they’re nice?” Look folks–it’s great when you have a good, nice client on board. Heck, I hope ALL of your clients are nice to

Do You Get Paid Upfront for Your Freelance Writing Work?

Chris Bibey wrote a great post recently about upfront payments for freelance writers. I commented there with some of my own views, and I wanted to share those comments here and get some of your thoughts on how you bill freelance writing projects. I charge all of my new clients in full up front. Most of my repeat clients also pay up front, even for

How Many Freelance Writing Projects do You Take on Each Month?

The number of actual projects (or clients) I take on each month as a freelance writer can vary pretty greatly, and more clients doesn’t always mean more income (often the opposite). So I’m curious – do you seem to have a typical number of projects each month, or do you vary a lot with your freelance writing work too? In the past, I worked mostly

Don't Market Freelance Writing Services on Price

Are you trying to build your freelance writing career around price? Do you figure if you offer the lowest rates, you’ll be more successful than all of those writers who “charge too much?” Have you ever lowered your rates just because you saw cheaper services getting picked more often? Do you assume more freelance writing jobs equals a better writing career? Uh oh. You may

Why Should Clients Pay You More Just for Doing Your Job?

I was doing a bit of blog reading this morning, and came across this quote in regards to freelance writers bidding low on writing jobs when they’re new: “A novice copywriter can start with a low price at first. Companies will eventually increase the pay of a copywriter who always submits quality work.” I see this being said to new writers of all varieties all

What Buyers Need to Know About Freelance Writing Rates

In a forum discussion today, the issue of a freelance writers’ rate per hour came up. To summarize, the potential buyer’s thought was this: They earn $20 per hour in their position (where they wear multiple hats, including the current writing), so in their mind a freelance writer charging more than that is “excessive.” I have a few thoughts on that (not meaning any disrespect

Tips to Set Up a Referral System With Clients

Here’s another question from Latoya of Writers Brew: Question What tips do you have for creating a referral system using existing clients? Answer I can’t say that I’ve ever set up a referral “system” with my existing clients. I’m a big believer in natural referrals whenever possible… they just carry more weight. My clients are happy with my work, and they refer me to their

What's the Best Way to Deal with Bossy Clients?

This question comes from Latoya of Writers Brew: Question What’s the most professional way to deal with bossy clients? Those who like to dictate every aspect of your work as if they were your employer. Answer I’m sure plenty of writers are going to disagree with me on this one, and perhaps my mindset on this issue stems from my primary role as a consultant