writing clients

A Genius Tip for Getting Hired at Your First Client Meeting

Master the client meeting with one genius tip. Makealivingwriting.com

Maybe it’s your first client meeting ever, and you’re petrified that you don’t know what to say. And you’ll come across like a dummy.

Or maybe you’ve taken scores of client meetings as a freelance writer — but you keep shooting blanks, and walking away without an assignment.

If you’re an experienced freelance writer, perhaps you’ve left too many first client meetings with the sneaky feeling that you’ve just been milked for an hour of free consulting. You could have charged hundreds for the advice, but you just gave it away, in hopes of impressing your prospect — and still didn’t get the gig.

If you’re any of these writers, I’ve got a piece of advice that’s going to save you time and help you land more clients.

You see, there’s a balance you need to strike in first client meetings between impressing the prospect that you’re smart, and being too helpful. So helpful that they get all the info they need in the meeting, and don’t have to hire you.

How can you impress clients fast, without giving away all your secrets? Here’s my approach:

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How to Ask for a Raise: Two Emails That Got Results

How to ask for a raise: A guide for freelance writers. Makealivingwriting.com

When I became a professional writer 5 years ago, I had no idea what I should charge. I had an inkling that I needed to raise my rates, but how?

Then I joined Freelance Writers Den. I hadn’t been a member for a week before I realized that I was vastly under-charging. That was easy enough to fix for new clients – I would start quoting appropriately for new work.

But how could I apply what I’d learned about rates to existing clients who were paying me $45-$55/hour for ongoing work of varying types–emails, websites from scratch, blogs, newsletters and more?

I felt especially resentful of my $45 per hour client. I knew I needed to ask for more money, but I didn’t know how to ask for a raise.

Every time I tried to imagine how this conversation would go, it became an ultimatum, which I knew I wanted to avoid.

Then, I searched around the Den and found three key pieces of inspiration that enabled me to craft emails that got me the raises I wanted. Here’s what I did:

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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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How to Keep Your Freelance Clients–When Everything Goes to Hell

How to keep your freelance clients when everything goes to hellI’d only been a freelance writer for a couple of months when I scored a regular gig with a large web design firm.

The pay was decent, I loved the assignments, and the editor was a breeze to work with. It seemed like my fledgling career was ready to take flight.

Then my son got sick.

Because of a chronic medical condition, we need to check on him every two hours at night when he’s ill. My husband couldn’t cover, so I was on duty for the entire ordeal. All alone. Seven Days. No sleep.

Of course, this was when my client called with an emergency assignment. The previous writer had flaked, and he needed me to step in and write two pages of automotive content ASAP. Against all logic, I took the job.

Unfortunately, my fatigue got the best of me. My writing was garbled, and I made mistakes that could have led to a lawsuit.

To say my editor was pissed would be an understatement. I was on the way out the door.

I turned to the Freelance Writers Den for advice on what to do about it and how I could save what I felt was a floundering career. I got some great tips and loads of supportive sympathy. I came up with a plan to win my client’s trust back.

Here’s how it went:

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3 Tip-Offs That Your Dream Writing Job Will Really be a Nightmare

businessman with question maskRecently, I had an interview for what seemed like a dream writing job.

It was in a field I love. The work was right up my alley. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was in a slow period of assignments and getting concerned about cash flow.

After a successful meeting with a mid-level manager, I met with the head of the company.

It was ghastly.

Not only did she slash the hourly rate previously quoted to me, but she was rude. She also made several disparaging comments about my former profession. (I’m a licensed attorney.)

After I weighed the pros and cons of taking the gig, I decided it was a ‘no.’ It was scary to walk away from additional income, but my instincts told me it just wouldn’t be worth it.

Turns out, I made the right decision. A couple of weeks later, I landed a job through idealist.org with a legal nonprofit that needed a writer to blog, produce web content, and write grant proposals. After meeting with their very friendly director, I accepted a long-term, $3,000-a-month gig.

How can you tell if a writing job is a good fit, or has all the makings of a hair-pulling nightmare? Here are the three questions I ask:

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How One Writer Turned a Bad Review into Prospecting Gold

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I groaned when I read the email subject line, saying a former client had written a bad review of my business on a very popular online site.

This client had been a problem for several weeks, and finally requested a refund. Despite my no-refunds policy, I agreed.

Because of a postal delay, that refund check didn’t arrive by the designated deadline. The client then sent an obnoxious email and posted negative reviews to Yelp and Thumbtack.com — sites where my profiles generate a combined 85 percent of my new client calls. Negative reviews on these important prospecting tools could tank my business.

Plus, the Better Business Bureau contacted me for a written response to his complaint there.

No question — it was a client disaster in the making.

I know clients need to trust professional resume writers like myself, so this was a “do or die” situation.

How can you make a bad review work for you, and not against you? Here’s what I did:

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