Guest Post: Jenn Escalona (Part Two)

New freelancers have a lot to learn, and even seasoned old freelancers learn something new every day.  Here are just a few of the most important tips for new freelancers:

Invest in your business – You should have a professional website and portfolio, no exceptions. The portfolio allows you to show your awesome writing skills off to potential clients, and the website proves that you are serious about your work and not just a fly by night freelancer looking for a little extra pocket money. And continue to build your online reputation as you go along. Add testimonials from satisfied clients to your site, update your portfolio, and make a name for yourself in your area of expertise by networking online or in person.

Be honest with clients – During your day to day life as a freelancer, you will run into a million little instances where it would be easier to fib to the client. Don’t do it. If you are going to miss a deadline, be upfront with the client and they will likely appreciate your candor and understand. Don’t make up an excuse like a broken water pipe or a family illness. When emergencies really do happen, those excuses will start to wear a little thin. Also, don’t lie to a client about your candid opinion. They are paying you for your expertise. If they ask your opinion of something in your field of experience, they want and deserve to hear the truth.  It’s for their own good.  How do you think Coca-Cola would have felt if everyone lied and told them that New Coke tasted just great while secretly spitting it out into the potted plants?

Watch for scams – If something seems too good to be true, watch your back. Don’t fall for traps such as writing long detailed samples for clients you will never hear from again, or paying money for some kind of “Starter kit.” And always, always Google your potential clients. Scammers are everywhere and they are getting trickier by the day.

Remember that you are not an employee – You have chosen to be a freelance writer and you are now your own boss. Your clients have paid for your expertise and time, not your soul. Do not let them guilt you into doing extra work for free or seek to exert employer-like control over you in anyway. You are an independent business owner and are not beholden to clients other than providing them an excellent product by the agreed upon deadline.

The most important advice of all is to love what you do and never let it get old for you.  The life of a freelancer can be tough and full of random curveballs, but if you love to write and wan to be your own boss and make your own way in the world, it is a worthwhile livelihood. Welcome to the business, new freelancer writers!

Jennifer Escalona is a freelance writer and journalist who loves T.S. Eliot, sushi and holding forth with very strong opinions about adjectives and adverbs. To hire her to write your web copy, marketing collateral, SEO content, or even your diary, visit her website. Jennifer also writes about freelancing, language, murklins (ask!), and other wordy topics over at her blog, “The Life and Times of a Freelance Writer”.

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  1. […] Also, if you are so inclined, check out my two part guest post over at Daily Freelance Writing Tips. (Part 1 & Part 2.) […]

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