Not making enough money, freelance writers?

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post for freelancers who are not making enough money….

Are you a freelance writer who’s not making enough money? Blogger Carol Tice has a great metaphor for you. She describes some of your clients as “sleazebags” and she says they’re getting you pregnant.

Really! You can read the whole story here. I once had a client who treated me in a distasteful fashion (she insisted on a meeting at an office that was in the boonies — a 60-minute drive from my house. Then, she cancelled as soon as I arrived.)

But she still wanted me to work for her. She was just showing me who was boss. ‘I’ll show her,’ I thought, and I charged her double the rate I would have given anyone else. She accepted, but it still wasn’t worth it because she was difficult, rude and demanding for the whole contract.

Tice offers four smart tips for avoiding an unwanted client pregnancy:

  1. Observe the 30-minute rule. Don’t let an initial meeting go any longer than this.
  2. Ask them to define their project. During this time, focus the conversation on exactly what they want done.
  3. Ballpark rates ASAP. Ask them their budget, right away. If they won’t tell you, give them a ballpark figure yourself.
  4. Offer to consult. If they really don’t know what they want, offer  to help them conceptualize it at a rate of $100 an hour.

If you want to make a living as a freelancer, it’s important to have a strategy for dealing with common ‘people’ problems you’ll face. The client who just wants to talk, who is unwilling to pay, or who is mean and manipulative can suck up hours of your time during which you’ll earn nothing.

Develop a plan that will allow you to do your work and get paid for it — as you deserve.

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