Monday, November 8, 2010

Are You Really Committed to Working for Yourself?

I received a surprise phone call Saturday from someone who approached me six months ago for advice about getting started as a freelance writer. I haven’t heard from this person since six months ago when I gave her some very basic steps to take. Long story short: she not only refused to take action, but also argued with me about whether or not the steps were necessary. FYI: the steps she questioned involved specific directions that a client I’ve been working with for two years requires of all inquiring, new writers interested in writing for his business so it wasn’t like I was just making this stuff up.

I immediately recognized the situation for what it was, wished her well and went on my merry way. Six months later she’s calling again to tell me she never heard back from said client about the writing opportunity (hmm…) and was wondering whether or not I thought it might be too late for her to try contacting him again. I quickly reminded her once more of the client’s application requirements suggesting she try contacting him again, following his instructions, to see whether or not an opportunity still exists. Although she wasn’t as vocal about not wanting to put forth the effort to make that move, her hesitation spoke volumes. She’s not really committed to putting forth the time and effort it takes to be self-employed. I suspected as much.

One thing I’ve learned in my four years of freelancing – as much as clients want a cracker jack writer that can bang out perfect copy every time, they appreciate good writers committed to their business and the job at hand even more. I’m just going to say it: there are a lot of people who get sucked into the “idea” of what it is to be a freelance writer without considering the work it takes to build (and maintain) a steady client base and income. Nine times out of 10, those guys either never get around to starting or completely give up too soon. My message to anyone getting started or struggling to hang in there is to remain committed if self-employment as a freelance writer is really what you really want. Commit to consistently spreading the word about your services. Commit to continuing to learn all about your niche, the latest marketing trends and improving your grammar and writing skills. Commit to being professional at all times, meeting established deadlines as promised and over-delivering on projects. Anything worth doing involves some form of commitment.


Lori said...

AMEN, Kim! Amen.

Kind of baffling that she wouldn't connect the dots. If she didn't follow the directions, what makes her think the client would even consider her?

I remember asking for writing help once. I spelled out exactly what I needed, what the writers had to send me in order to be considered. One person out of the six or more who responded did what was asked. One. I hired her on the spot. And she was my best worker because she listened to details and got it all right the first time. And your friend doesn't see that connection, does she?

You're so right - we have to be committed to the job. Otherwise, we're just playing with paper.

Kimberly Ben said...

No, Lori, this person still hasn't made the connection between not following the client's instructions and not getting the project. Honestly I think she's just looking for some way to earn a living working from home. Freelance writing may not be the answer for her. The good thing is there are options she can explore, but no matter what she does she'll need to commit to the process.

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