Freelance writing and the economy

One of my assistant writers recently asked me an important question that is relevant to the times. She wanted to know if I have noticed significant changes in my writing business since the economy has begun to decline. Honestly, I have been very fortunate, and at the very least, a few clients have canceled projects due to financial difficulties. I don’t believe that there is a significant work shortage in the writing, editing or publishing industry per se, but like any other business, there will be a strain.

If you are just starting out, it might take a while to develop a firm client base that will provide a significant steady income. If you have been in the business for a while, you may have lost certain clients or your current clients have postponed payments. It is more important than ever to protect yourself in the midst of this financial climate. Be aware of the warning signs that your client is having financial problems.

Payment is something that should be discussed upfront. With certain projects, milestone payments can be arranged (meaning when part of the work is done, part of the money is paid). When you are working with magazine editors, this is not always possible.

If you are not getting paid, and you have the feeling that your client has monetary problems, you may need to end the relationship.

It is a good idea to find multiple sources of income. Don’t rely on one or two clients to pay the bills. You should always have more than one project that provides timely payment. Also, put out applications, bids, and queries to keep fresh income rolling in. Never stop advertising.

Make sure you keep an emergency fund in case a client doesn’t come through.

Be wise and cautious during this time. If you run your business well and keep your options open, you should do fine during the recession.

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