Monday, November 23, 2009

Freelancing - It's All About Relationships

Being a freelance writer is all about relationships--relationships with editors, agents, clients, designers, photographers, printers, computer experts, interview sources, and other writers. It's an understatement to say that such a career requires well-honed people skills and that developing and sustaining relationships are essential to success.

Clients or editors who fall into the too-good-to-be-true category are the ones who return phone calls, respond to query or marketing letters, respect your work, pay you what you're worth (on time), and try not to make unreasonable demands.

At the other extreme are those who are rude, arrogant, disrespectful, demanding, unrealistic, over-controlling, and penny pinching. Working for them is stress squared because they leave you feeling diminished and drained. On the bright side, as a freelancer, you do not have to do business with people like that. You can turn down the job at the outset; address the problems when they surface; and, if you choose to, resign from the project.

When I was a full-time employee, I can't even count the number of times I bit my tongue, compromised a principle, or tolerated unacceptable behavior from a boss because, I told myself, I didn't want to risk my livelihood. Being fired was the worst possible thing I could imagine, and then, one day, the worst possible thing happened.

Amazingly, it turned out to be the best possible thing. I knew I would never again remain in an abusive situation and that there would always be another assignment, another client, or another job, just around the corner. In the last 20 years, I have had to test my resolve on more than one occasion--though, fortunately, not many.

In between the best and worst possible extremes are the people you are more likely to work with or for. They are neither saints nor villains; they are just regular folks. They run the gamut of quirks and personalities, good days and bad, consistency and professionalism. For the most part, you won't love them or hate them. You may develop relationships with them, or you may never get past being seen as a "vendor." You may admire some things about them and dislike others. And you may even put up with less-than-optimum working conditions from time to time.

As someone once reminded me when I was having a very bad day, "That's why they call it work and not sandbox."

Bobbi Linkemer is a ghostwriter, book-writing coach, and editor. She is also the author of 14 books. Bobbi has been a professional writer for 40 years, a magazine editor and journalist, and a book-writing teacher. Her clients range from Fortune 100 companies to entrepreneurs who want to enhance their credibility and build their businesses. Her articles on writing regularly appear on and other top online article sites. Visit her Website at: