In everything we undertake in life, some basic rules apply. Freelance writing is no exception.
The freelance universe functions under certain principles, just like the big universe in which we live.
I tend to think of these as natural laws of freelancing, sort of like Newton’s laws of motion.
Understand these rules, and it will be easier for you to create the freelance writing career you want.
Ignore them, and you’ll find yourself banging your head against the wall.
I’ve often mentioned these to my mentoring clients…but never pulled them together into one handy reference guide.
So here they are:
Three Freelance Writing Laws
1. Writing work of one kind tends to lead to more work of that same kind, from similar clients and at a similar pay rate.
If you’re writing articles for $10 about pet food, it’s unlikely you will be able to parlay that into writing $1500 case studies about financial services. Likewise, writing articles for the local paper won’t easily get you a gig writing direct mail copy for a Fortune 500 corporation.
Choose your writing niches and clients carefully, because like tends to beget like, both in topic and client quality. It’ll be easier to move up from lower-paying finance articles to higher, or to move from finance to general business…but huge leaps are difficult because they are against the natural order.
2. Getting rid of a problem client creates a vacuum which naturally attracts a new and better client.
If you stay fully booked with crummy, low-paying clients, it seems like you never can find a good one. Fire your lowest payer and use that time to do a little proactive marketing, and bingo — very often, a better client will appear almost immediately.
3. The way you treat clients will return to you, in similar treatment you receive from future clients.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, Newton said. Others would call it the law of karma. But I’ve never seen it fail.
Be a stone pro and always be courteous, prompt, and helpful to clients, and those people will refer you other great clients. Be sloppy, late, or rude when you have a nightmare client, and you will find yourself with more substandard clients.
What other laws do you think govern freelancing? Leave a comment and tell us how you think it works.
PS — I’m back because I realized I left out another one of my favorite natural laws of freelancing: “Writing assignments tend to expand to fill all the available time.” Get more booked up and you’ll be amazed at how much more efficient you get.