Category: writing clients

The Sad Tale of Your Worst Writing Job Ever [An Essay Contest]

The Sad Tale of Your Worst Writing Job Ever [An Essay Contest]

The sad tale of your worse writing job ever [An essay contest]. Makealivingwriting.com

Ask any writer about their worst writing job — and they’ve got a story to tell.

If you’re a freelance writer for any length of time, some gig will go sideways on you. That’s just how it is.

The key is not to see that worst-case experience as an indicator of your skills, or a referendum on your future potential as a writer.

It’s just…business. Things go wrong. Misunderstandings happen. Everybody has a bad day.

Because so many writers seem to be devastated when they bomb at a gig, I thought it might be useful to collect worst-client stories and let writers compare notes. I thought we could collect them in the comments on this post.

So I’m having a contest! Details are below. But first, I thought I’d kick this off by sharing my own worst writing job stories.

How to Keep Your Freelance Clients–When Everything Goes to Hell

How to keep your freelance clients when everything goes to hellI’d only been a freelance writer for a couple of months when I scored a regular gig with a large web design firm.

The pay was decent, I loved the assignments, and the editor was a breeze to work with. It seemed like my fledgling career was ready to take flight.

Then my son got sick.

Because of a chronic medical condition, we need to check on him every two hours at night when he’s ill. My husband couldn’t cover, so I was on duty for the entire ordeal. All alone. Seven Days. No sleep.

Of course, this was when my client called with an emergency assignment. The previous writer had flaked, and he needed me to step in and write two pages of automotive content ASAP. Against all logic, I took the job.

Unfortunately, my fatigue got the best of me. My writing was garbled, and I made mistakes that could have led to a lawsuit.

To say my editor was pissed would be an understatement. I was on the way out the door.

I turned to the Freelance Writers Den for advice on what to do about it and how I could save what I felt was a floundering career. I got some great tips and loads of supportive sympathy. I came up with a plan to win my client’s trust back.

Here’s how it went:

3 Tip-Offs That Your Dream Writing Job Will Really be a Nightmare

businessman with question maskRecently, I had an interview for what seemed like a dream writing job.

It was in a field I love. The work was right up my alley. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was in a slow period of assignments and getting concerned about cash flow.

After a successful meeting with a mid-level manager, I met with the head of the company.

It was ghastly.

Not only did she slash the hourly rate previously quoted to me, but she was rude. She also made several disparaging comments about my former profession. (I’m a licensed attorney.)

After I weighed the pros and cons of taking the gig, I decided it was a ‘no.’ It was scary to walk away from additional income, but my instincts told me it just wouldn’t be worth it.

Turns out, I made the right decision. A couple of weeks later, I landed a job through idealist.org with a legal nonprofit that needed a writer to blog, produce web content, and write grant proposals. After meeting with their very friendly director, I accepted a long-term, $3,000-a-month gig.

How can you tell if a writing job is a good fit, or has all the makings of a hair-pulling nightmare? Here are the three questions I ask:

How One Writer Turned a Bad Review into Prospecting Gold

photodune-4727189-negative-feedback-xs

I groaned when I read the email subject line, saying a former client had written a bad review of my business on a very popular online site.

This client had been a problem for several weeks, and finally requested a refund. Despite my no-refunds policy, I agreed.

Because of a postal delay, that refund check didn’t arrive by the designated deadline. The client then sent an obnoxious email and posted negative reviews to Yelp and Thumbtack.com — sites where my profiles generate a combined 85 percent of my new client calls. Negative reviews on these important prospecting tools could tank my business.

Plus, the Better Business Bureau contacted me for a written response to his complaint there.

No question — it was a client disaster in the making.

I know clients need to trust professional resume writers like myself, so this was a “do or die” situation.

How can you make a bad review work for you, and not against you? Here’s what I did:

Why Some Freelance Writers Earn Big Bucks While Most Slave for Peanuts

Well-paid freelance writer

Do you sometimes feel like an easily replaceable cog in the vast wheel that is the freelance writing marketplace?

If so, you’re not alone.

With all the $5 or $10-a-post writing gigs online, it’s easy to feel writing has simply become a cheap activity — and that clients don’t appreciate the work you do.

Here’s one email I got recently that perfectly sums up the problem many writers face:

“The thing I struggle with is that I am unable to land a gig where the client really values what I do. Since the clients I worked with have a number of writers on the rolls, they always treat each writer as just another disposable commodity. Which is worrying, because it means they will drop me any time they want.

“So how I do go about building a relationship where I’m not just another writer?”–Ryan

Great question! That’s exactly what you want to do if you’re going to become a successful, well-paid freelance writer. Here’s how:

How One Writer Won Over a Wary Client With Slam Poetry

Slam poetry nightThis past October, I found a new copywriting client. They had already gone through two sub-par writers, so they were wary of hiring another freelance writer.

I did a paid trial piece using the voice I saw on their blog.

It turns out they didn’t like their voice and wanted to go in a different direction. They asked me how I saw myself “fitting in” — a clear sign of doubt.

So I asked for a meeting. Drawing on my background as a slam poet, I paid attention to the way the client spoke and asked questions about their desired voice. The client left the meeting hopeful and satisfied. I won their trust, and I did it using slam poetry.

Here’s how:

What’s It Like Writing for Skyword? Writers Tell All

What’s It Like Writing for Skyword? Writers Tell All

By Jennifer Roland If you’ve been looking for steady freelance writing work, you’ve probably come across Skyword. Maybe you’ve even posted a profile there — and gone back to add more to it with the hope of being selected to write for one of their clients. Clients use...

How I Found a Great Freelance Writing Client in My Spam

By Chris Peden I wasn’t trained as a writer. I got my undergraduate degree in accounting, and went off to the working world to balance some books for various businesses. Eventually, I started my own firm, doing accounting and taxes for small businesses and...

Stop Doing This Now to Explode Your Freelance Writing Income

Today I've got a question: How's your freelance marketing going? Not so good? I talk to a lot of writers who, when you press them, finally admit they're not doing any marketing at all. What's happening is, writers go to market their services...but then they don't....

How I Find New Freelance Clients Weekly — With Minimal Marketing

By Sharmeen Akbani Gangat Are you looking to land new freelance clients? I was, too. A year ago, I moved to Houston from New York City because of my husband’s job. I decided to take my business online. And I thought it would be really hard. But I was wrong. Yes, the...

Avoid Loser Writing Clients With This Quickie Checklist

Bad clients are the bane of every freelance writer's life. Once we get one, we tend to feel stuck. It can take ages to find a better client and fire that annoying, low-paying client go. I actually heard recently from one writer who'd been writing for one underpaying...

How to Land International Freelance Clients for 2015 — Now

By Amy Dunn Moscoso Are you losing out on local freelance clients because they don't have the budget for freelancers or because other writers work for less? You don't have to limit yourself to local clients. Start thinking globally. You can build a rocking list of...

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