Author: Lauren Spear

Lauren Spear (née Tharp) is the owner and creator of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She's written hundreds of bylined posts helping freelance writers to become BETTER freelance writers. Thousands if you count all the articles she's ghostwritten (but she's not allowed to talk about most of those).

4 Reasons Cheap Freelance Clients Aren’t Worth Your Time (Even if You’re Desperate for Cash!)

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

Button-Freelance

Last month, I made a horrible mistake.

Freelance writing has been my sole source of income for several years now. Not to mention I was raised by freelancers! I really, really should have known better.

But, I panicked.

Some unexpected expenses came up that my current client roster wouldn’t be able to cover. And I’d already tapped out my “emergency” funds. So, when a former client came around with some “easy” work, I accepted…for less than a quarter of my cheapest rate.

To drive that last point home: I’m the cheapest writer I know. I was working for below content mill prices. But I figured, “Hey. It’s easy work for quick cash! It’ll be fine.”

It was so not fine. Here’s why: Continue reading “4 Reasons Cheap Freelance Clients Aren’t Worth Your Time (Even if You’re Desperate for Cash!)”

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:

Continue reading “How NOT to Die of Boredom on a Dull Freelancing Gig”

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. Continue reading “People I Know: Tor Refsland”

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! Continue reading “Nurture Relationships for the Best Client Referrals”

[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.

 

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: Continue reading “How to Set Professional Boundaries with Freelance Clients”

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: Continue reading “10 Big Mistakes You Might Be Making in Your Freelancing Career”