writing fails

Clients From Hell: Quick Ways to Spot and Avoid Them

Beware

They pay late, or too little. They’re not sure what they want. They’re unavailable when you have questions, and sometimes downright abusive when they do pick up the phone. They’re clients from hell, and as a freelancer, you just don’t need this grief.

And yet, tales of client woes are an epidemic in the freelance world. Stories of the best friend you went to work for, who underpaid you for years. Or the company that never raised your rates, even as your responsibilities grew. The one that disappeared with your big final payment.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could avoid freelance writing clients from hell like these?

Well, for the most part, you can! There are some classic warning signs that things will go wrong — if you know what to look for.

Here’s my guide to quickly screening out losers:

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When Freelance Writing Jobs Go Terribly Wrong: Steal My Recovery Plan

Recovery strategies for screwed up freelance writing jobs. Makealivingwriting.com

Ever have one of your freelance writing jobs turn into a total disaster? It happens, even to experienced writers.

I know, because it recently happened to me. After roughly 18 years of freelancing.

This flameout happened on a $3,000 corporate research report project that required intensive interviewing. I’d done these sort of projects in the past, loved them, was excited to do another one.

Then I did my research, put my list of possible interview subjects together, sent out hundreds of inquiries — roughly triple what I’d needed in the past to land the 6-8 interviews required — and got zero responses. Not. A. One.

It’s been a long time since one of my freelance writing jobs ended in failure. In fact, I’d only ever had one other article that got killed, at the very beginning of my career. Having a complete whiff this late in my career was a humbling experience.

What should you do if the worst happens and one of your freelance writing jobs gets screwed up? Here’s my guide to keeping it professional and minimizing the damage, when everything that could go wrong does:

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Do You Sabotage Your Freelance Writing Jobs? A Gut-Check

Do you sabotage your freelance writing jobs? Makealivingwriting.com

Are you one of those freelance writers who can’t seem to win no matter how hard you try? All the freelance writing jobs you touch seem to turn to merde. Things may start out well, but then something often goes wrong.

You don’t get paid. Your client drops you. All your prospects just want to know how little you’d be willing to do a gig for. And you’re always struggling to book more freelance writing jobs.

If this is you, listen up.

I’m going to tell you exactly why that’s happening, and how to fix it.

How do I know what’s up? I recently added a free, 1-on-1 consulting perk for all Freelance Writers Den members who’ve been in the Den a year or more. That turned out to be…500 writers!

So I’ve been talking with many, many writers who’ve been working on their careers a long time, and learning what keeps them broke, and why it’s so hard for many to find and keep freelance writing jobs that pay well.

Turns out, it’s mostly themselves. Let me spotlight the major mindset problems that lead you to choose crummy clients — or screw up better gigs — over and over. See if you recognize yourself in any of these archetypes of the low-paid freelancer:

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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.

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The 3 Types of People Who Fail At Freelance Writing

Should you give up your freelance writing dream? Makealivingwriting.com

Have you ever wondered if you should just give up on freelance writing?

There are people who should. After nearly a decade mentoring thousands of writers inside Freelance Writers Den and elsewhere, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are a few specific types of people who aren’t cut out for this.

If you’re one of these types, freelance writing is not going to work out for you. Ever. Unless you change the type of person you are — which may be tough.

Here’s what I mean…

Yes, I realize saying this is not going to make me popular with every aspiring writer on the planet.

Let me clarify: I’m talking about people who hope to earn a full-time living from freelance writing, and pay all their bills.

If you’re working on a novel, or just like to write the occasional article for the local paper, this post is not about you. Write on!

Regular readers know I like to be encouraging and upbeat. But I also don’t believe in spreading false hope.

If you’re dreaming of making ‘freelance writer’ your job title, you should know there are certain types of people who predictably do not become successful freelance writers. I’ve seen it over and over AND over again.

And no, it’s not because you’re not a ‘good enough’ writer. Mediocrity is rampant in this industry!

Here are the three types of people who fail at freelance writing:

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How My Writing Career Thrived After My Article Got Killed

I’ve shared a lot on this blog about how I got started as a freelance writer. But here’s one thing I’ve never gotten around to mentioning. Probably because it’s sort of embarrassing. I kind of blocked it out of mind.

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