Businesses hire freelance writers all the time. That’s a great thing for us! And for them. Freelance writers are flexible, come with a variety of skills and companies don’t have to pay us benefits (though it’d be nice wouldn’t it?).
One of the tricky things about working with companies, particularly small businesses with little experience hiring freelance writers, is that you’ve got to help them along the way. As someone who’s worked almost exclusively with small companies and start-ups, I have a few lessons I’ve learned. Here are a few parcels of wisdom for freelance writers applying for writing gigs and companies wanting to hire a freelance writer:
- Be clear. One of the things I’ve had to learn over and over again is that you can’t be successful if you’re not clear about your vision and intentions. In fact, you’re guaranteed to disappoint your client if you don’t understand what they need and/or want. Also a lot of companies may not know what they’re looking for. But don’t settle for that as an answer. Ask them to be specific, to provide examples of text they like, and to spend the time figuring out what style/type/format of writing will help their business.
- Be realistic. Writing involves a lot of right-brain thinking. It’s hard to put freelance writers on the same schedule as another worker doing something less creative because creativity takes time. Expect too much and a) they might not be able to deliver b) they might deliver with less than adequate results. Furthermore, if writers and small businesses are not on the same page when it comes to deadlines, it will cause dissatisfaction on both sides. I tried meeting the demands of a start-up once and ended up with flaky copy. Instead, I should have been honest about what I thought were realistic expectation. You might fear disappointing your client. But be dishonest and you’ll disappoint them even more when you turn in half-baked writing.
Are there any pearls you’ve learned in the writing industry? Share the wealth with us here.