How NOT to Die of Boredom on a Dull Freelancing Gig

This post was originally for my column, “Freelance by Lauren,” on the now defunct DIY Writing: A Writer’s Bucket List.

Illustration by Ramiro Roman

Illustration by Ramiro Roman

“…being bored is like being slowly boiled alive. It seems tolerable at first, but every day it gets more and more painful.” – Sonia Simone, Copyblogger

When I first read these words in 2011, I wrapped them around me, comforted in the fact that there was someone out there – someone I respected and admired – who felt the same way I do. Boredom is the worst. It isn’t simply a minor annoyance. It’s downright painful.

An acquaintance once told me that “only boring people get bored.” But she can stuff it. You can be the most interesting person on the planet and still get bored. In fact, if you’re interesting – someone with a mind full of thoughts – you’re more likely to get bored!

What this acquaintance didn’t understand was that boredom isn’t something you actively choose. No one wants to be bored and seeks it out; it just happens. Often, it will be completely out of your control to avoid it – like when it’s been thrust upon you by your career. I mean, really; what are you going to do? Not do the work you’ve been assigned?

As freelance writers, we have a lot of control over the projects we take on. However, every once in a while, we’ll slip up. We’ll take on the wrong client, with the wrong project. And we’ll be bored to tears.

 Seeing as you can’t give up on a project when you’re already under contract, you’ll have to push through the boredom and get your work done anyway. Here’s how:

Read more ›

Posted in Freelance by Lauren

People I Know: Tor Refsland

Tor Refsland helps online entrepreneurs network with influencers and position their brand so they can attract the right clients fast. Want to skyrocket your blog? Get his free course How To Blog Outreach Like A Boss . But he only has 100 spots (seriously). Click here to reserve your spot now, so you can receive some of Tor`s BEST tips (that no one else uses).

Tor Refsland

Tor Refsland

How I Know Tor

Tor Refsland showed up in my inbox a couple years ago asking me for an interview. I obliged, of course (and yes, if you ask me a question or want to interview me for a post, I’d be happy to help you as well!); but we continued to talk well after the interview was over. And it turns out Tor is a pretty cool guy!

Tor is not only an incredibly charming individual — he’s a great example to fellow freelancers on networking done right. Seriously. This dude is big into blogger outreach, and he does it with finesse.

Check out my e-mail interview with Tor below to find out how this fascinating freelancer got his start, what’s next for his career, and how you can follow in his footsteps. Read more ›

Posted in Entrepreneur, People I Know, Writer Tagged with:

Nurture Relationships for the Best Client Referrals

This post was originally for my column, “Freelance by Lauren,” on the now defunct DIY Writing: A Writer’s Bucket List.

Illustration by Ramiro Roman

Illustration by Ramiro Roman

Client/freelancer relationships, like most relationships, are complicated. They’re never as cut-and-dry as our contracts make them out to be, because they’re more than just a signed piece of paper. They’re organic, and they change constantly.

The bad relationships are always the ones that stand out, but you’ve probably had several client/freelancer relationships that went quite well! They treated you with respect, they paid you on time, and you didn’t hate working for them.

So…what are they doing now? Are you stuck wondering what could have been with these dream clients?

Keeping in touch with former clients is one of the best ways to get new freelance clients. And, who knows, you might just scrounge up some repeat business from an old favorite while you’re at it! Read more ›

Posted in Freelance by Lauren

[AUDIO] The Pros and Cons of Content Mills

Episode8

In this 5 minute episode, you’ll learn:

  • The three best things about content mills.
  • The three worst things about content mills.
  • Why there’s no shame in starting out in a mill.
  • Why you should ultimately leave.

***

Special thanks to SIKORA for my theme music and Ramiro Roman for my album art.

 

Posted in Podcast

How to Set Professional Boundaries with Freelance Clients

This post was originally for my column, “Freelance by Lauren,” on the now defunct DIY Writing: A Writer’s Bucket List.

Illustration by Ramiro Roman

Illustration by Ramiro Roman

Most of us know the importance and inherent value of personal boundaries. We know that it’s “weird” to lean in too closely or say inappropriate comments to strangers. Still, so many freelancers neglect to set boundaries for their business.

Most of us work online, where we don’t get the benefit of face-to-face interaction to gauge how a client reacts to conversation. While we may know better than to tell a client to his face that we missed work because of atomic diarrhea, via email, it’s all-too-easy to drift into TMI territory.

There’s no reason you can’t be friendly with clients, within reason. Setting professional boundaries with freelance clients is in the best interest of both parties – you’ll get the job done better, and they’ll maintain more respect for your work.

Try implementing some firm rules in the following areas: Read more ›

Posted in Freelance by Lauren

Handling Criticism and Naysayers as a Freelancer

“What’s something everyone loves to give but hates to receive?” My riddle book says the answer is “advice,” but I’d like to update that to say “criticism.”

naysayers

Illustration by Ramiro Roman

“Everything you are doing is bad. I want you to know this…”

A couple years ago, an awkward conversation with a friend made me feel like I was conversing with Dr. Janosz Poha from Ghostbusters II (observe the quote in the header!).

I was berated for nearly an hour about how everything I was doing in my business was terrible: From my website looking like crap to not commanding higher prices to the ridiculousness of my preferred gigs (writing articles).

Yikes!!

She said a lot of different things to me, but most of it boiled down to this: Sell out.

In order for me to live a “better” life, I would have to give up doing what I love and start going after jobs that make the big bucks…even if they would bore me to tears. Hmmm. Read more ›

Posted in Freelance Life

10 Big Mistakes You Might Be Making in Your Freelancing Career

This post was originally for my column, “Freelance by Lauren,” on the now defunct DIY Writing: A Writer’s Bucket List.

Illustration by Ramiro Roman

Illustration by Ramiro Roman

Freelance writers making mistakes? Is that even possible?

If you think I’m talking about grammatical errors and typos, you’re wrong. Those mistakes barely matter in the bigger scheme of things. The mistakes I’m talking about are much more sinister – and much more detrimental to your freelance writing career.

And much more common!

I don’t know any freelancers who haven’t made at least one of the 10 mistakes written below. And that’s . . . not so good.

So here we go: Read more ›

Posted in Freelance by Lauren

[AUDIO] Why You Shouldn’t Place Articles for Your Clients

Episode7

In this three minute episode, I quickly explain:

  • Why placing articles is nearly impossible for writers, even if you want to take on the job.
  • Why placing articles is bad for your — and possibly your client’s! — reputation.
  • How placing articles can get you into legal trouble.

Don’t get into trouble by being unaware of the potential fallbacks of these commonly-asked-for gigs!

***

Special thanks to SIKORA for my theme music and Ramiro Roman for my album art!

Posted in Podcast

Writers Don’t NEED College (Plus 5 Reasons to Love Online Classes)

This post may offend you…

My high school graduation photo.

My high school graduation photo.

After high school, I shuffled off to community college.

I hated it.

I dropped out.

I went to a pretty tough “magnet” high school and I was burnt out with school. In fact, high school pretty much made me hate school. I needed a break.

In my time off, I wrote a screenplay. I had some interest, but, at that point in my life, I wasn’t mentally or emotionally “ready” to take the plunge to be a real writer just yet. Okay, I admit it: I completely freaked out. (I stashed my screenplay in a box, never to be seen again).

It was around time that one of my co-workers at my crappy minimum wage job convinced me to join Bryman College with her. Read more ›

Posted in Freelance Life

5 Ways Freelancing is Like an Elementary School Bully

This post was originally for my column, “Freelance by Lauren,” on the now defunct DIY Writing: A Writer’s Bucket List.

Illustration by Ramiro Roman

Illustration by Ramiro Roman

You’re probably already aware that freelance writing clients can sometimes be bullies. There are endless stories online of poor, unfortunate freelancers getting bossed around by unreasonable clients. It’s practically an epidemic!

But, did you know freelancing itself can be a bully, too?

It’s true! Freelancing can bully the hell outta you. But it doesn’t bully you quite the same way abusive clients do. Freelancing bullies “old school” style – it bullies you like the toughest kid on the elementary school playground.

Let me explain… Read more ›

Posted in Freelance by Lauren, My Favorites
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