Members of my freelance writing course are always bringing up the question of how to best communicate with clients. Some of them love to call clients on the phone, and even visit in person when they can, but others would much rather use email. Is one type of communication better than the next? Well, this all depends on who you are and the client you are dealing with.
Through my years as a freelance writer I have found that most clients, about 75 percent in my case, prefer to communicate via email. This is usually easiest because it is quick and efficient while also leaving a trail.
What about the other 25 percent? These clients usually like to speak on the phone from time to time. No matter if they call me or vice versa, phone calls are the primary mode of communication. I know many freelance writers who hate to speak with clients on the phone. For me, this is a dream come true. I love to talk with clients on the phone because it gives me the chance to communicate with the â€œoutside worldâ€ via a method other than email.
As of late, more and more new clients are asking for an initial phone consultation before starting a project. I love doing this because it gives me the chance to â€œmeetâ€ the client while also discussing project details. In my opinion, it is quicker and often times more efficient to talk about a project on the phone. A short call can go a long way in ensuring that both you and the client are on the same page.
This is a topic that I have discussed in the past, but one that is necessary to bring up again. Many aspiring freelance writers think they donâ€™t have to communicate regularly with clients because they work from home. In some cases you may be right. But soon enough you will find a client that wants to communicate on a regular basis no matter if it is via email, telephone, or in person. The way you communicate with clients will determine the type of relationship you build. My best advice is to take cues from your client. Let them lead you towards the communication method that works best for them.Â
Do you have a freelance writing portfolio full of samples to send potential clients? If not, this is something you should do right away. I usually advise aspiring freelance writers to create a basic portfolio sooner rather than later. I use the word â€œbasicâ€ because this does not have to be anything special. Many people think that a freelance writing portfolio has to be full of hundreds of samples that have been placed in national magazines and/or purchased by major corporations.
Here are five tips to keep in mind when creating your freelance writing portfolio:
1. Include a wide variety of projects. This makes it easy to find the right piece no matter what a buyer is looking for. For example, your portfolio may include a feature article, SEO article, sales letter, marketing brochure, etc. The more types of projects you have in your portfolio the better off you will be.
2. Your portfolio is meant to attract new business. For this reason, you only want to include your best pieces. It is safe to say that you know which pieces are best, and which ones you would rather keep from clients. If you have a few projects of the same type that you would like to include, this is fine. In fact, most clients request three to five samples so this is encouraged.
3. Always update your portfolio. Many of the samples I used when I started as a freelance writer are no longer in the portfolio I send to potential clients. Instead, I update it from time to time as more projects are completed.
4. But I donâ€™t have any samples? Forget about this common excuse. Even if you donâ€™t have samples you can put together a portfolio. My first portfolio was full of articles I wrote for my college newspaper, projects from my internship, and basic projects that I completed solely for this purpose. If you look long and hard and are willing to create projects specifically for your portfolio, you will be in a good place soon enough.
5. Organize your portfolio in a folder on your desktop. This allows you to quickly and easily find what you are looking for. To go along with this, making necessary updates is also simple.
These five tips will help you create a basic freelance writing portfolio.
I talk a lot about the benefits of becoming a freelance writer. You have the freedom to do what you want, you donâ€™t have to answer to an annoying boss, and you have the ability to control your income. That being said, you are sure to hear the question â€œare you sure you want to be a freelance writerâ€ time after time.
This is something that I dealt with quite a bit when I started my career. Many people thought it was a mistake. During that time one thing I found was that many people donâ€™t understand the opportunity that is available. In other words, those who are asking the questions are not aware that you can earn $10k/month or more as a writer.
Here are three potential downfalls of becoming a freelance writer. These are sure to lead to many questions from friends and family as you start your career:
1. It takes a lot of hard work. When you are hired for a more traditional job you know you will be working hard, but at the same time you also know you are going to get paid no matter what. This is not the case when you become a freelance writer. Instead, you will be facing an uphill battle that will not yield any compensation until you get your footing. Do you have what it takes to work hard?
2. Are you willing to deal with the naysayers? In my opinion, this can be one of the most difficult parts of becoming a freelance writer. You will probably have to deal with people close to you questioning your career choice. If you stick to your guns the naysayers will realize soon enough that you did the right thing. Unfortunately, many aspiring freelance writers give up too soon due to outsiders telling them they made the wrong decision.
3. Not as much stability as a traditional job. This is a common worry, but one that I look at in another way. You may be giving up the stability of a â€œguaranteedâ€ paycheck, but remember one thing: your employer can lay you off at any time. But when you work as a freelance writer you control your career.
If you are not worried about the potential downfalls listed above, you wonâ€™t have any major problems transitioning into a career as a freelance writer.Â