Graphic designers, website developers, lawyers, and accountants… when hired, these freelancers all receive pretty clear deliverables. For writers, not so much.
People approach writers in the beginning stages of their business. They lean on them for help with figure out big-picture initiatives for their business.
Because copywriters often handle many different segments of a business (i.e. email content, advertisements, web copy, social media posts, etc.), we’re often asked extra hows or whats about the strategy behind each.
So, you’ve written other email drip campaigns? How often do you think I should schedule these? Do you recommend a certain email program? Will you look into that for me…
Hey, those blogs you’re writing…? Do you mind throwing those on my seventeen social media channels? Here’s my Hootsuite login…
You get the gist.
So, how does one protect his or her time, energy, and sanity while remaining human and helping out a fellow small biz owner?
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Here’s what’s worked for me.
Set boundaries. I’m a textbook people-pleaser, and this hasn’t helped me one bit as a freelancer. When I started, I said “Yes” to every project and proposal simply to have work and clients. But, I ended up overworked, underpaid and super unhappy with myself and the quality of work I was producing.
So, create a contract. Have the hard conversation, get the words on paper, and snag that signature. If you’re not sure where to start with contracts or proposals (they both can discuss time and project-related boundaries), try Creative Class or this awesome article by Ryan Robinson. Don’t be afraid to reinforce boundaries as you work through different projects.
Build a solid list of referrals. While you network with other freelancers and creatives, gather a list of people to whom you can refer needy clients. Your clients can’t expect you to be a jack-of-all-trades. They’ll feel better outsourcing another project if the freelancer has come from your little black book.
Have the hard conversations over phone or Skype. Hey, these folks are just trying to navigate the dizzying world of small business. It isn’t easy. Don’t hide behind email or text for hard conversations. Let your client hear your voice and see your face when discussing boundaries and additional rates.
Consider expanding. If clients need it, there’s a market for it. If you’ve reached a plateau within your business or would like to diversify your services, think about expanding your contract to include what your client is requesting. Many freelance writers specialize in ad copy and strategy, or writing and social media. The possibilities are endless
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You specialize in your craft because you’re good at it. Odds are that business owners want an expert to take care of each segment of their business; they’re just turning to you because they trust you, and you should take that as a compliment. Don’t burn the client-freelancer bridge because they keep asking too much of you. Be respectful and honest, and you client will treat you the same.