Article by Wendy McCance
So you have decided to take the leap and pursue a career as a freelance writer. Congratulations! This is an exciting time. I remember that when I started out, I was both over the moon and a little scared about all I still needed to learn. As each situation came up, I tackled it head-on. I had to learn how to pitch a company, how to write a quote and I needed to figure out what my prices would be for each service.
I relied heavily on the internet to find answers to each of these questions and more. One question that truly nagged at me was how I would know when to stop taking on new clients. I was terrified that I would say yes to so many people that I would be overwhelmed with the amount of business I would be juggling each week.
I scoured the internet looking for an acceptable answer to this question. I never found one. I know you might be reading this and think you can’t wait until that is your dilemma or it is too soon in your career to even concern yourself with the thought. Either way, I’d like to answer this question for you. Believe me, if you are truly spending enough time prospecting for business, the question of when to stop accepting new clients will come up quicker than you can imagine.
My first year in business, I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride. There were weeks with little going on and there were other weeks when it seemed everyone was suddenly interested in working with me. I had many moments where I spent a lot of time talking with clients while panicking because I didn’t know exactly when the work would begin or how much work there would actually be.
You will find that there will be clients who spend what turns out to be months getting ready to start a project and you just won’t know how long before you truly begin the project. Because I work primarily with marketing companies and PR firms, I am the middle man waiting for their client to get ready to move forward. In the meantime, the contact I am working with will want to secure the person who will be doing the work. So I will get all of the preliminary information and then the wait begins. I have also had this experience working with smaller clients who were on the fence about creating a blog (for instance).
Right now I have a client who I had been talking with since November, but their client wasn’t ready to use my services until February. That’s quite a few months before the assignment began and it is common.
Be prepared to also have experiences where you will be working with a client and after several weeks going back and forth, the whole project falls apart. Clients can be fickle and either they decide not to spend the money, choose not to expand with a blog or a revamp of the content on their website or a million other reasons. It just happens sometimes.
The further along you get, the more clients you will juggle, all at different stages of work. Some clients will have you start immediately and others will take longer to form. The beauty of your business is that it takes time to build a base of customers. As you gain more clients, you will have gained more insight. You will be working faster, have answers to the questions that plagued you early on and be more confident about juggling your customers.
The best advice I can give you is, don’t worry about taking on to much. Until you have a full weekly schedule in place, there will be room to add another client. You will be surprised at how they all get staggered out.
What have you had concerns about as you began your freelance writing career? Leave a comment below and let us know.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]
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