Freelance for Beginners: All About Client/Writer Relationships

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This is the next installation in a series of posts on freelancing by Mazie Bishop. You can find future posts on Freelancing and read the rest of the series here.

Clients are not only the most important factor of your freelance career but the main form of promotion for your services. So of course, by default, managing client relationships can also be the most difficult aspect of freelancing. Every client has different expectations, but they all have one thing in common: they are all looking for someone they can trust to convey their message in the best way possible.

In this post I am going to be talking about some simple ways to keep your clients coming back to you and how to make sure you become their go-to freelancer.

Communication:

Since we have already discussed how to get started started with your new freelance career, the next thing to talk about is communication. When a client reaches out to you, you want to make sure that you are approachable, down to earth and that you communicate in a way that they will understand best. Make sure that you are friendly, polite and overall professional. Feel free to make connections and tell your clients a bit about your writing background and anything else that applies to the job. Sometimes you may find that you just won’t be compatible with their project, but it’s important to keep that communication positive in case they have a project in the future that is more up your alley.

Professional Priorities:

In this career, it’s obviously important to make sure that we are smart about our rates and to make sure we maintain maximum financial security. This is one of the hurdles that comes with being self-employed, as we don’t have a company with legal support to back us. This being said, you want to make sure that you focus on getting all of the information about your client’s project before you even think of throwing around budgeting details. Doing this will show that you genuinely do care about your client’s business and that you are passionate in what you do. Once all the details are worked out and you have a great understanding of what your client wants, gracefully throw in a message asking about their budget. Give them an approximation of what you would feel comfortable working for, and make sure to say that you are will to further discuss your rates to better fit their budget. Most of the time they will work within your ballpark, but a lot of clients love to know that you are willing to work with them.

Regular Check- Ins:

Once you have started working for a client, you want to make sure that you check in with them on a regular basis with any questions, comments or just general progress, no matter the size of the project. Whether it is once a week or once every few days, just make sure you are letting them know how things are going. They will appreciate that you are thinking about them.

Classy Finish:

Once you have worked your freelancer magic and completed the project to the absolute best of your ability, you want to make sure you take the time to sincerely thank your client for choosing you. The freelance world is a big one, in the sense that there are a lot more freelancers than there are jobs, and the fact that they chose to work with you is a wonderful thing. Show that you appreciate it with a simple and professional thank-you, and make sure they know you are interested in working with them again in the future.

If you really clicked and think that you really made a connection with your client, make sure to mention that you are always looking for new clients and that if they know anyone looking for a freelancer, you’d love to help them out. This is going to get them thinking about who they can tell about your work, and it’s the best way to make sure your clients are promoting you.

These are just some of the simple ways I have made better, stronger relationships with my clients and have kept them coming back, but every experience is different. If you have a tip or trick you would like to add, please feel free to do so in the comments, and make sure to let us know how your new adventure in the world of freelance is going!


Mazie-Bishop

Mazie Bishop is a fiery 23 year-old writer and journalism graduate from Canada. She is self-published and also has several poems and short fiction pieces published in various anthologies and magazines. Currently, she is in the process of writing her second novel, and is in the outlining stages of a quarter-life memoir. You can read about her little crafty adventures, read her work, and gander at her photos on www.theselittlepieces.com.

Freelance for Beginners: Where to Start

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This is the first in a series of posts on freelancing by Mazie Bishop. You can find future posts on Freelancing and read the rest of the series here.


One of the most daunting aspects about a freelance writing career is figuring out where to start. Upon searching this topic at the beginning of my journey, many freelancing professionals claimed that the best way to start is just to jump into it. After taking their advice and not doing the research that I originally wanted to do, I found that this method was not realistic whatsoever.

I found myself hunched over my laptop, scrolling the seemingly infinite list of freelance jobs and trying to submit my bids. I spent endless hours tweeting about my services and my experience as a writer and editor, but after almost a week of no responses, I knew that just jumping in wasn’t the right decision, and that I had to take a different approach.

So, if you’re looking to start a career in freelancing, here is my step-by-step guide on how to get started!

Step One: Do your research

Find out what kind of freelance you want to get into. Do you want to write fiction, non-fiction or maybe even reviews or news? Do you want to edit or transcribe? There are so many options for us because as writers we have a wide skill set; not only do we have the ability to write, but we also have the ability to edit and type fast!

Step Two: Pull together a writing resume

Now this isn’t going to be as structured as a normal employment resume. Instead of selling your skills as an employee, you are going to be selling your service as a writer. This resume is to include all levels of education, all non-institutional education that has contributed to you as a writer, and any and all writing experience. Your goal is to show people why they want you to work for them. They want to buy your skills, and you want them to come back to your service with all future projects.

Step Three: Find a secure venue

For your first couple of freelance gigs and beyond, it’s important to find a venue where you will will be securely and regularly paid for your services. You need to make sure that there are contracts and that there is someone watching your transaction to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Hopping on Twitter and finding a client that wants to work with you over email and PayPal is not the ideal first gig, but there are tons of other websites that make for a safe freelancing environment.

One example is Fiverr, which is a simple marketplace style website with tons of traffic. You create an account, build your profile and offer your services. The catch is that the base price for each gig is $5, so you want to consider this for how much you want to get paid in the end. On my profile, I have a very popular service that says I will proofread 2000 words for $5, but other people on the website sell their editing of 700 words for $5. There are so many options for gigs, from press releases to copywriting; all for $5 and the clients come to you! The best part is that you can create custom offers for customers that want larger projects done.

Step Four: Build client relationships

In my experience on Fiverr, most of my bigger projects have come from the same clients I had when I started. They liked my work and they came back. So I started thinking about ways to get more business from them. I started messaging them occasionally, asking them if they needed any work done for their books, websites, or projects and 9 times out of 10, they would say yes. Then I took the step to letting them know that they could refer their partners and friends to my service as well. This is all based on the workload you are interested in taking on. Sometimes it gets a little bit stressful, but it’s worth it in the end.

Step Five: Don’t get discouraged

If freelance is what you want to do, than you need to know that it’s not going to be easy from the get go. Even after these steps, I had a hard time with a few set backs. You just have to keep telling yourself that it will get better, business will pick up, and in a year from now, maybe even a month from now, you will have a successful freelance career as a writer. As long as you keep working for it.

In my next post, I’ll be clearing up any confusion you might have about what to charge for your services, how much is too much, and how to get your client to keep coming back! I hope this helps inspire you to try professional freelancing and I look forward to hearing any stories or experiences you have along the way! Feel free to leave any questions below and I will try my best to answer them for you!
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Mazie-BishopMazie Bishop is a fiery 22 year-old writer and journalism student from Canada. She is self-published and also has several poems and short fiction pieces published in various anthologies and magazines. She is a big dreamer who hopes to be writing with the big guys some day and cannot wait for her career to start! Currently, she is in the process of writing her second novel, and is in the outlining stages of a quarter-life memoir. You can read about her little crafty adventures, read her work, and gander at her photos on www.theselittlepieces.com.

Self-Publishing Checklist: 12 Steps to Success

Self-Publishing

You’ve put in the hours. You’ve bled and cried. You’ve driven yourself crazy trying to iron out that nasty plot hole. And now you’ve done it – you’ve finished your manuscript! Huzzah! Congratulations!

But now what? If you want to get your work out there and are considering self-publishing, you’ll want to make sure you cover the basics before attempting to put your words out there for the world to read.

I published my first ebook back in April 2014 – nearly a year ago. And now, with four more books slated for release this year, I’ve put together a checklist to help myself stay on track and would like to share them with you to aid you in your own self-publishing adventure!

Note: This is meant to be a very basic checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything. But not to fear! I’ll be posting more about these checkpoints in detail over the next few months.

Self-Publishing Checklist: 12 Steps to Success

  • Beta-Readers, Editors, Proofreaders
    • Have you had a second (or third or fourth) set of eyes look at your manuscript?
  • Revisions
    • Have you edited, revised, and polished your work?
  • Launch Date
    • Have you selected/announced a launch date?
  • Cover
    • Do you have a professional-looking cover for your manuscript? Is it eye-catching? Does it look good as a thumbnail (this is how it will show up on most websites!)? Have you done a cover-reveal?
  • Print vs. eBook
    • Are you producing this book as an eBook? Are you doing Print on Demand (PoD)? Find the vendors/sites you want to sell through and adhere to their guidelines (formatting, marketing, ISBNs, etc.).
  • Formatting
    • Has your book (whether print or eBook) been formatted to the appropriate formats for your vendors (or wherever you’re selling?).
  • Uploading
    • Give yourself a couple extra days to upload your book with to your vendors’ sites so that you don’t miss your release date.
  • Price
    • Have you selected an appropriate/competitive price for your book?
  • Blurb/Product Description
    • Have you written a stellar (and accurate) blurb to put on the back of your book or on your book’s page?
  • Selecting Key Terms
    • Have you selected succinct categories and key-terms for your book on your vendors’ websites?
  • Marketing Platforms
    • Where are you marketing your book? Follow any guidelines for those platforms.
  • Review Copies
    • Have you sent complimentary copies of your book to any reviewers you have lined up?

I hope this checklist helps you get a good handle on your self-publishing journey. Keep an eye out for more posts on self-publishing in the coming months!

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Have any steps that you find crucial to the self-publishing process? Have something you think should be added to the checklist? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments below!

To Edit, or Not To Edit…During Camp NaNoWriMo

Hey all you WriMo’s! How’s the first week of Camp NaNoWriMo been treating you? How are your word counts looking? Steadily inching toward your goals?

Well, I have a small confession to make…my word count is at a heartbreaking ZERO.  Yeah, it’s pretty bad. We’re what? 5 days in now? This time in November I think I was already nearly 10k words deep.

But it’s not all horrible. I promise I’ve been productive. Even if I haven’t been writing my intended Camp NaNo project, I have been working on another project. But just not writing…more along the lines of editing.

Yeah, it might be fudging the rules of Camp NaNo a bit much, but since I’ve been working on releasing my ebook next week, I had a flurry of last minute editing sessions. In total, I think I edited through nearly 30,000 words (what with all the re-reads) in the last three or four days.

Now, I’m definitely going to get to work on actually writing later this month during NaNo, but the real question is: can I count some of my editing toward my word goal this April?

I know I’m not the only one doing something like this. Many people enjoy using the energy and excitement of NaNoWriMo to get more non-traditional projects completed. So while many people are scribbling away, there are quite a few of us who are frantically deleting and slashing words from our manuscripts.

But that brings up another question: HOW do I count my editing toward my NaNo goal?

There are various ways of doing this, so lets take a look at some options we have here:

– Keep track of how many words you cut from your piece (but beware, setting a goal of 25k and then deleting more and more words just for the sake of winning Camp NaNo can be detrimental to your story)
– For every hour you spend editing, give yourself 1k words toward your word count goal on Camp NaNo’s site.
– Set a word count goal – something like 5k – then divvy up the piece you’re editing into 5 parts (or one part per thousand) and only give yourself those words on your word count when you’ve finished editing each section.

There are a lot of other ways you can approach accounting for your editing while doing Camp NaNo – just find one that works for you and keeps you accountable to your editing throughout the month.

And keep in mind that you will have to validate your word count at the end of the month in order to “win” Camp NaNo. If you’ve reached your editing goal (and be honest with yourself, because you’re the only one you’re hurting if you don’t do any editing and then say you did), then just copy and paste enough of your newly edited story into the validator.

I do hope to get a significant amount of actual writing done this month, but I’ve been riding the wave of Camp NaNo energy during these power-editing sessions this last week and think my word count should reflect all that hard work.

And for all my fellow NaNo editing rebels out there, make sure you’re stocked up on red pens. It’s going to be one hell of a month.

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What are you working on for this round of Camp NaNoWriMo? Are you editing, writing, or doing something else entirely? Let us know in the comments below! And make sure to join us on Twitter for sprints to help you reach your word count (hint: you can edit during word sprints too)!