I work as a freelance author, which means I am self-employed and spend a fair amount of time searching for new clients via the Internet.
I am currently working exclusively for two clients. The first freelancing job I ever took was recommended to me by a friend who wrote some website content on the side for extra money. It was on a website where clients can post jobs for freelancers to accept and complete. I also work for another client independent of this site. I found that particular job opportunity while browsing another website where clients post content that needs to be completed, but in this case, authors must bid on the job with a price and time frame. The lowest bidder with the best portfolio wins.
Thankfully, this client turned out to have long-term work for me.
Internet technology is a very important tool for me and for other freelance authors. Simply querying “work for freelance authors” in a search engine such as Google or Bing has led to several different job opportunities for me. Another search that led me to a goldmine of writing opportunities was “websites for freelance authors” since there are a multitude of them available.
I’ve been in this line of business for several years now, and I can provide several different websites where my work has been featured. Also, I host my own website that is full of unpublished pieces dealing with a large range of subjects. Potential clients are intrigued by this website and I always receive kudos from them. Building up a client base has been a huge help because I have a litany of references and people who are always willing to provide spectacular reviews. I am very dedicated to my clients and provide extremely quick responses to revision requests or requests for new content. For the most part, I have found simply showcasing my strengths and providing business references from past and current clients is the best way to earn more work.
There are several different legitimate websites out there for freelance authors and clients who are looking for their work. A few of these websites have fantastic forums that allow for communication with other professionals in my line of work. These forums have proven to be invaluable resources to both myself and my clients. Not only do they help both sides of the profession learn the ‘lay of the land’ when starting with unfamiliar companies, but they also provide a wonderful place for professionals to discuss the proper way to handle uncommon client requests and things like proper grammar and style.
My first freelancing job interview was a huge success. I wrote a sample piece about eighteenth century handbags for one of my favorite freelancing sites, and it was a hit. I got rave reviews on not only my spelling and grammar, but also on my attention to detail when dealing with the subject matter. Recently, however, I submitted a sample piece to another prospective client about HVAC units, which is far from my area of expertise. Although I did the required research and the ideas came out very well on paper, I completely forgot to follow the client’s very precise formatting guidelines. Although my spelling and grammar were impeccable, I had used the wrong font, the wrong size, and the wrong margin measurements. I was incredibly embarrassed when I received the rejection letter from that client. Since that day, I’ve learned that paying very close attention to detail is important in any endeavor, not just in writing.
The internet is a wonderful tool for job searches, and that is a fact. With any profession, however, there are scams. It’s important to speak with and take advice from other professionals before committing to any one client or website. Also, I learned websites or clients that require some form of up-front payment for a welcome kit are usually frauds. I once sent a $149.99 payment to a company for training materials and a set of DVDs before I took a job with them, and once I did, I never got one single assignment. It’s the hard knocks in my professional career that have taught me the greatest lessons, I believe.
Believe it or not, I never went to college. I have a high school education, but I always excelled in English, grammar and literature. Therefore, the answer is no, I never used any university offered Career Services programs.
It’s hard to say what I would change about my past professional career. I’d probably have to admit I still have times where I lack motivation. Freelance writing is something that requires a pretty serious work ethic. Being self-employed, I do not have a boss to scold me if I show up five or six minutes late for duty. I don’t get fired if I fail to show up for work every day, but I can lose very valuable clients. I can only rely on myself to find work, complete it correctly, and turn it in by the client’s specified deadline. The second thing I would change is hiring a website developer at the very beginning. Showcasing my work on my personal website has been a great help to me and has led to some pretty hefty successes, but it took up so much of my time in the beginning I could barely produce enough content to pay the bills. About a year ago I decided to hire a website developer to optimize and update my site for me, and I’ve never made a better decision. I just wish I would have made that decision a little sooner.
JustJobs.com is a job search engine that finds job listings from company career pages, other job boards, newspapers and associations. With one search, they help you find the job with your name on it.