It’s the dog days of summer and it’s slow. Slow as in, NO ONE has work; agencies are quiet, businesses pinching pennies, and freelancers wondering where are all the jobs? Is anybody working? It’s stagnant, like the thick humid air, and it’s getting harder to breathe.
And I get a call. Straight from a client — a newbie — ‘we hear you write.’ Can I help them out? Welllll, let me check my book. Yepper, looks like I’m free! And they’re close, right down the road. So I go and we schmooze and it’s clear we like each other… and I show them my book, especially the techy pieces, cuz it’s what they do.
Seems the other copywriter bid the job WAY TOO HIGH, as in WAY WAY too high. Like thousands. I tell them I can do it, will do it, and they can pay me whatever they’ve budgeted because I’d like them to get to know what I can do, make sure they’re happy, hence setting up a good working relationship for the future. Clearly there’s more work down the road, but let’s make sure you like the work we’ll go from there. They assure me I won’t starve.
Sure, no problem, but the red flags are waving everywhere. Freelance designers and writers know all about this. The client that reinvents, redirects, reintroduces, changes their mind . . . again and again and again. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. Usually, “looks good, sounds great” translates to freelance talk as, “great — bill us.” It’s music to our ears. It’s our mating call. We love it.
I love this. Amazing how things can come full circle. I work for a publishing company and just today my EIC and I had this very conversation. “Paying freelancers late — well, that’s the nature of this industry.” HUH!!! Paying someone what you owe them — that’s the nature of the industry. Geeeeezzz, give me a break. I though we were trying to create a more credible institution — but’um I guess since the big bad publisher is always right — well, you get my drift.
I wanted to say to my editor, shouldn’t we be working on being better than “the industry”. The Brand Right person in me wanted to throw up stats and build a marketing plan that proved that happy customers (that includes freelancers) make and build better businesses.
What happened to the notion that relationships are what any good business is all about? Why is it that leaders tend to put the building blocks of relationships on the back burner because they have “bigger fish to fry”.
Maybe I’m naive or too much of an optimist, but it just makes sense to me. And, as a writer myself trying to break in to freelancing — well nothing is sounding very pleasing right now. Sounds like I need to do all my work for free and pray “hope” pays the bills. smile — that’s a little joke.
Well, I hope it gets better and hey, when the work stops coming in — make some up yourself. My father used to tell me, you have to make your own opportunities, and I’ve been living by that creed.
I was b****in one day @ work about being married for 17 yrs, and the “BOY” I was talking to said “Iwas only 3 when you got married.” Man did I ever want to slap him, The kids (& by that I mean anyone under 30) have no concept of what we “older” women can and still do. I run circles aroun most of the 20 something crowd @ work and actually have a work ethic, which they seem to be lacking. So stick w/ doing what you know how to do and it will be appreciated(hopefuly w/ ching ching)