Yes, you read that right!
In the world of working from home and especially freelance writing, getting to work with good clients is winning just half the battle. If you want to make a steady income, then securing long-term clients is everything. You don’t want to lose them by making silly mistakes or being ignorant of some of the obvious ones.
I have been a successful freelance writer for just over a year now. I have had the privilege of working with some of the most wonderful clients from around the world. Clients from Singapore, the United States, Israel, Canada and many others.
I have also hired writers. Owing to my second pregnancy and childbirth, I had to hire writers to help keep my freelance work afloat. So in the span of just two months, I had to gracefully let go and even ruthlessly fire many writers for these mistakes and more.
Sure, getting fired sucks and I am guilty of hurting the self-esteem of a few writers. So, if you are reading this, then good on you, mate! You’ve come to the right place. These are real things some freelance writers do, and you can avoid, to get fired in no time.
Don’t Plagiarize Your Work
One of the writers I hired had given me an exhaustive resume – proving she was a writer. I assigned her a test job, which she did well and I was so impressed!
I should’ve done a plagiarism check though because the five articles that followed were all dangerously plagiarized!
There are clients who cut you some slack; they can let you go with just a warning. But I couldn’t do the same in my post-delivery mental state of affairs. We had to dissociate immediately.
Remember, the golden rule of freelance writing is to avoid plagiarism, by all means. This stands true whether you are a reporter, a student, or a blogger.
Why plagiarism sucks so much? Because it’s worse than stealing. You can’t even be penalized for it, you only stand to risk your good reputation. It’s the clients who face potential lawsuits and what not. Submitting plagiarized work is the worst thing you can do to your clients. And it’s the best way to hurt your own reputation as a freelance writer.
Pro Tip: Always give credit to the source, the author deserves it; plus linking to credible sources increases your credibility too!
Don’t Give Fake Credentials
I wanted to explore the realm of freelance transcription work once. I had worked only one transcription project so far, yet, I boasted to a potential client that I had “enough” experience to take up the job. Turns out, the job didn’t pay well and I was incredibly frustrated spending so much of my time on it. Owning up to my mistake, I had to politely end the contract.
If you listen to this podcast featuring Kim Egan, she shares that there is a remarkable power in being your true self. Egan says, “When you are comfortable in your own skin and are the person you really are, then you actually attract people you meant to work with. If you were being false and were not being true to who you are then you’d be in business with people you don’t like or care for. AND they wouldn’t like you because you’re being false.”
This was perfect for what I had just been through with this transcription client. Not only was I not completely truthful from the beginning, but the client was not a pleasure to work with at all.
Pro Tip: Be open and honest about what you can do, your timelines, and your limitations.
I hired another writer and it just got worse for me. Their assignment came in a day late and it was half-baked as well. There was no notification of the delay and not even proofread. I was in the soup! Since I had other deliverables, not only was I hard-pressed for time to do this job, but the delay would have potentially tarnished my reputation with this client.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only writer who flaked out on me.
You see, it would be a different ball game if you notified the client about a break from work or vacation time. What sucks is when a writer accepts the assignment, sits on it for a few days and then comes back saying they cannot do the assignment for whatever reason (or not at all). Now that sucks hard.
With repeated flake-outs like this, clients will not hire you again in the future nor give you more work now. It would be so hard to trust you again.
Pro Tip: Inform and apologize for any inconvenience caused to your client, as soon as possible. Make sure you don’t do this often. Emergencies only.
Hope these tips help you. Do you have some tips too? Leave a comment here.