Category: Freelance by Lauren

How to Juggle Multiple Clients Without Dropping Them

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

As freelancers, and presumably people who have had at least one nagging (caring) parent, we’ve all heard the warning about putting all our eggs in one basket. It’s too risky! Especially when it comes to clients.

But having multiple clients has its own set of risks!

Think about the last time you had a good friend over to visit. You both had a great time, right? Good conversations, plenty of food to go around…? Now think about the last time you had, oh, three friends visit. It was a little harder to keep everyone entertained, right? Perhaps one, or more, of your buddies was left out of the conversation?

That same imbalance of focus can occur when trying to “entertain” your freelance writing clients. That’s why “master juggler” is one of the many hats you’ll need to don to truly be successful.

But don’t worry: It’s easier than it sounds. Continue reading “How to Juggle Multiple Clients Without Dropping Them”

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”

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”

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”

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… Continue reading “5 Ways Freelancing is Like an Elementary School Bully”

A “Getting Started” Checklist to Help You Start Freelancing

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

It’s the time of the year when everyone’s making lists! Children (and optimistic adults) have their gift wish lists. Santa’s got his list of who’s been naughty or nice. A few of your *ahem* favorite bloggers have put together lists of useful resources for their readers. And, in a couple weeks, you’ll probably be writing down a list of your goals for the coming year.

Aren’t lists fantastic? And, more importantly, is there anything lists can’t do?!

I’m a fan of lists. I craft To-Do lists on a daily basis. I often wished there were a simple list I could check off when I first started freelancing. It would have made the journey much (well, a little…) easier!

Everyone’s foray into freelancing is going to be different. But, if you’re juuuuuuuuuuust starting to think of taking the plunge, this list should help you get started.

‘Tis the season, after all. Continue reading “A “Getting Started” Checklist to Help You Start Freelancing”

The One Word That Can Change Your Freelance Writing Career

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

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You read that right. There’s a magic word floating around  that can make or break your freelance writing career.

Interested?

That one word is… Confidence!

Illustration by Ramiro Roman
Illustration by Ramiro Roman

If you let out a sigh and felt your shoulders slump as you read the answer, you probably need to work on this attribute a bit. And that’s okay. Most of us do! (I’ve been freelancing for a few years now and I still need to give myself the ol’ “pep talk” every once in a while… Or, you know, once a week…)

Women freelancers in particular suffer from these issues.

“We women earn less due to our own fears, lack of money knowledge, and low self-worth.”

~Dianna Huff, CEO of DH Communications.

Well, that doesn’t sound good, does it?

But bleak isn’t my style! (Unless it’s for dark humor purposes). So turn that frown upside-down and let’s get confident! Continue reading “The One Word That Can Change Your Freelance Writing Career”

The 500 Hats of Freelancer Cubbins

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

The title of this article is a Dr. Seuss reference — partly because I wanted to lighten things up before we got into the nitty-gritty details of the many, many duties you’ll be taking on in your life as a freelancer… But also because I really liked Seuss’The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins as a child. Perhaps even more than Bartholomew and the Oobleck! (Don’t judge).

Taking on the numerous hats a freelancer must wear can be a little scary. I know. But it’s less scary when you know what you’re getting yourself into ahead of time.

That’s exactly why I’m here: To make things less scary for you.

So, take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. And let’s take a look at some of the caps you’ll be donning: Continue reading “The 500 Hats of Freelancer Cubbins”