Category Archives: freelancing

The Art of Negotiation

Freelancers know that the key to successfully landing business contracts is knowing how to negotiate a win-win for the parties involved.

One potential problem is negotiating pay. Often, the client has a firm budget for the work needed, and it’s up to you, the freelancer, to accept the gig or not. If the pay isn’t sufficient to cover the costs of running a business, paying living expenses, paying taxes, and saving for retirement, then it may be best to walk away.

But before you do, make sure you’ve exhausted your options. Perhaps the job could be altered in some way, so that the client can afford your services. The job could be done in instalments, or a payment plan could be proposed. Maybe only part of the project could be acquired, or maybe you could suggest ways of reducing the amount of work required, so that the budget is met.

If, on the other hand, you name a price, and the potential client balks, explain the value that editing services add:

  • a professional image that attracts clients
  • audience reach and retention from ideas well communicated
  • freedom from embarrassment resulting from poor copy and the subsequent loss of goodwill and profit
  • time savings from efficient content creation

If possible, offer a freebie that won’t cost you much. If you know a client needs promotional material or other content, throw in a press release or a reworked blog post from your archives.

If the timing of delivery is a problem, don’t simply decline the job — suggest delivery alternatives.

As a last resort, refer the client to another freelancer in your network. What goes around comes around, after all.

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Filed under freelancing, negotiating, work issues

For Men Only: Online Dating? Hire an Editor

Freelancers are always looking for new markets to conquer, and today I discovered a new one: online dating profiles.

If you’re familiar with online dating, then you’ve come to expect a little embellishment here and a little downplaying there. That drool-worthy photo of Mr. Right? You know it was probably taken 5 years and 20 pounds ago in spectacular lighting. You’ve stretched the truth yourself, and you’re not going to knock someone else for playing to their strengths.

But there’s one thing women can’t forgive in an online dating profile: poor spelling. That’s right, guys: Forget about your visible nose hair (actually, please don’t) and the weak chin you inherited from your mother’s side of the family. If you “love chidren and puppys, to” or “beleive in remembering important dates like anniverseries,” you may be missing out on connecting with that special someone.

But what’s good for the goose isn’t so good for the gander: According to the article in the above link, men don’t discriminate against women for the same offence. Women can forget the spell-checker altogether, and men don’t mind. No real surprise there, hence the time and money spent instead on hair, makeup, wardrobe, and glam shots.

Sigh. Showing you know “i before e except after c” would be a whole lot quicker, easier, and cheaper, eh, ladies?

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Filed under branding, content creation, editing and writing, freelancing, spelling, writing

Nix the Networking Noose

Lots of editors are introverts. We love reading — alone! — and we have little trouble working at home as freelancers.

Of course, we must deal with our clients and with any other issues related to running a business — talking with the accountant, with the computer techie, or with the account manager at the local office supply store. And we must market ourselves to keep the gravy train rolling. Yes, we must “network” whether we like it or not.

For me, the thought of networking is not pleasant. I hate self-promotion and sales talk, and isn’t that what networking is? This is who I am, these are my skills, and this is why you should pay me money. Oh, and this is my business card. Now I’ll smoothly bring the conversation to a close and move on to my next victim.

Clearly, I need to change my perspective on this.

Today, I discovered this article that helped me do just that. The article suggests that, instead of focusing on yourself when meeting someone new, you should focus on the other person. Huh.

This idea has been expressed before, but I enjoyed the author’s refreshing take: don’t network; help people instead.

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Filed under authenticity, freelancing, networking, work issues

What’s Your Word?

According to the Toronto Sun, this is PwC’s personal brand week. (I have no idea what “PwC” stands for — even their website left me wondering. I guess their brand is so strong that their name doesn’t matter, heh. ) On their website, PwC offers this tool to help job hunters understand how they’re perceived in online searches. Armed with this knowledge, job hunters can then work to correct any inconsistencies.

To get the gig they want, job hunters and freelancers should be clear about what they have to offer a company — in other words, they should be clear about their brand. Recently a branding exercise has been making its way through the media: Choose one word that represents you.

Although I’d love my word to be innovative, daring, or brilliant, there’s no denying that my word is persistent. That, along with confident, is how others often describe me. I know I can do anything if I put in the time. From learning a new skill to getting the job contract I want, it comes down to daily habits performed with drive and consistency. Obstacles are nothing to me:  With persistence I find ways (hey, there’s some innovation for you!) to accomplish my own goals and those of the people and organizations that I’m fortunate to be involved with.

Once you’ve identified your word, you’re on your way to creating your brand. It’s a matter of making sure your brand is loud and clear — online, on your resumé, in person — to employers. Because your brand is unique, it sets you apart from the pack and makes finding the right fit easier for both you and prospective employers.

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Filed under authenticity, branding, freelancing, job-hunting, online life, work issues

The Self-Publishing Revolution

Self-publishing is an exciting development for authors and freelancers. Gone are the days when self-publishing was equated with vanity press publishing. Self-publishing has empowered writers and editors to come together without the need for the big publishing house as middleman. Check out www.writer.ly and authorconnections.com.

Award-nominated writer Nina Munteanu spoke to the Toronto Branch of EAC recently, and she was enthusiastic about the future of publishing. Although the industry has experienced an upheaval, what remains is the desire for great storytelling. It can therefore be argued that the partnership between writers and editors has never been more important.

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Filed under content creation, editing and writing, freelancing, future of publishing, self-publishing

Time to Edit Edit

WordPress won’t allow me to manipulate the words in a title. What I want the above title to express is “Time to Edit Edit,” where the second edit refers to the word itself.

Confused? Allow me to explain.

As an editor, I choose  short Anglo-Saxon words over longer Romance language words (spread not proliferate), I omit jargon and needless words (the fact of the matter is), and I favour concrete words over abstract words (“hit” not “laid hands on”).

But I just discovered a new term for editing that is nothing short of genius: quality control. I don’t care how you spell it: Quality Control, quality control, QR, or qr. Heck, shout it out: QUALITY CONTROL. Before you question my sanity, see this post.

(It may work wonders on an invoice, but I still wouldn’t allow it in a document!)

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Filed under branding, editing and writing, freelancing, usage

Copy Editing Commandment #6: Thou Shalt Not Miss a Critical Deadline

Today’s commandment is again credited to Einsohn’s Copyeditor’s Handbook. Pretty self-explanatory, right? After all, the freelance editor and the client sign a contract at the beginning of their working relationship agreeing to delivery dates.

But what if there is a delay? What if the editor has made queries to the author, and the author is in no hurry to respond? What if the job is taking more time than expected?

Schedules can sometimes be changed, but remember that editorial work is only one part of a larger project. Editorial delays affect everyone else working on the project. Be remembered for your punctuality and professionalism, not your plodding and prolongations.

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Filed under editing and writing, freelancing