Your profile picture is just as important as your writing, if not more so. This is your first impression. Most of your clients will be people you never get to see face to face.
Your profile picture is how they know you. What do you want that picture to say? Did you even realize it made such an impact?
Picking a profile picture should be intentional and depict how you want others to see you. It is important to send the right message. Below are some tips on how to make sure your profile picture gets you taken seriously.
Make sure you stand out
You want the client to see you, to get a feel of who you are. Be alone in the picture. You won’t stand out if the client doesn’t know who you are.
It’s not the time to show off your friends. Make sure the background of the photo is not too busy, you don’t want the client to be distracted. Also, it is important that your face takes up most of the frame.
Profile pictures should be headshots, or pictures with minimum body visibility. Choose a picture that looks like you too. You are selling yourself, so you need to make sure the client sees you.
Play photographer and get your selfie on
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to take a great picture. You can learn to take a great pic, just get your selfie on. Take lots of pics of yourself from different angles and with different lighting. You will figure out what works and what doesn’t work.
Make sure that the lighting is good enough that there isn’t a shadow casted on your face. Keep playing with the camera until you get a friendly, professional profile picture.
You want to stand out, but don’t overdo it
Your professional profile picture is not the vessel to use to take a stand or try something different. Everybody wants to be unique, but your business profile picture should not be too edgy. You don’t want to turn somebody off before they have even read your work.
Remember, a picture says a thousand words. Offended clients translate into lost hires. You and the client don’t have to have the same life views to work together. Most of your interaction will quite likely be very impersonal anyway.
Why risk losing jobs over personal stances when you will never talk about these things with your clients. Keep it strictly business.
This shouldn’t have to be said, but there are plenty of unwelcoming profile pictures circulating in the business world….or pictures that are just way too serious.
It really is that simple, just smile. You have a better chance of getting a job if you look friendly. You want to make people want to work with you. Your profile picture is the only thing on the page that isn’t wring, you want it to be as good as it can be.
Make sure to smile and let clients know you’re friendly and pleasant to work with. You want your picture to show that you are both professional and trustworthy. Look at your picture and ask yourself, honestly, if you would want to work with you.
Grade school your profile picture
Remember how your parents put such importance on your school pictures? Well, you should treat your professional profile picture the same way. Put your best self forward in your pic. Make sure that in your photo you look clean and well put together.
Check that your hair is well groomed. Men should be fresh shaven or trimmed. Women should avoid heavy makeup and accessories. It’s also probably a good idea to take it easy the day before pictures. It’s best to keep your picture up to date and polished.
A great profile picture is a key component to achieving success in the online job market. Don’t miss out on work because your picture isn’t up to par.
It is only human nature for the eye to rush to the profile picture and make a judgement immediately. As soon as the client sees your picture, they make their first choice about you. They decide whether to read your proposal or not. Make sure your first impression is a good one. Make them look further.
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The appeal of a flexible schedule, being your own boss, and working from home make freelance writing seem like a dream job. Well, it can be.
It can be a career, a business, but it’s not for everybody. Being a successful freelance writer takes hard work and in the beginning, life is really hard.
Just like any small business, it takes time, dedication, and passion. If you answer yes to the questions below, you should be a freelance writer.
Do you actually like writing?
Yea sure, everybody thinks they can write, but can you? And more importantly, do you enjoy it? In order to be successful, in anything (and happy too), you need to like it.
If writing isn’t particularly your thing, there are plenty of other work from home, computer based jobs. Freelance writing isn’t novels and journal writing in the beginning, at least not the type of novels you want to write.
It’s either strange animal domestication or erotica. You have to like writing, because you are going to write a lot of things you have no desire to write. You have to be a decent writer too. You’re not writing flowery poems that are open to interpretation.
For the most part, you are writing business material and nonfiction. If you are passionate about writing and good at it, you should be a freelance writer.
Are you realistic about what being a “new” employee means?
Yes, freelance is working for yourself, but ultimately, you are working for clients. You need to be realistic in meeting client goals.
Also, freelancers need to be realistic in the demands of the trade. It is not easy to get work in the beginning, and the work can be less than favorable.
Are you willing to write things you don’t really want to and for menial money? If you are ready and willing to put in time and work, you may have found your calling.
You also have to be realistic in your time management. Are you good at scheduling and using your time accordingly?
Can you easily adapt? Can you handle curve balls?
Freelancers are jacks of all trades. They have to be able to handle all types of situations and people. You may be asked to write in new styles, as well as use new formatting.
Can you handle the unpredictable? If you can, you should be a freelance writer. It is a great opportunity to learn and grow, that is, if you are receptive to it.
Clients will even ask you to use specific software and websites, like DropBox and WordPress. Are you willing to install and use new programs? The more you can mold and learn, the more successful you will be in this industry.
Are you a self-motivated and disciplined individual?
It is easy to get distracted when you don’t have a nagging boss on your hands, it is also easy to lose time. In order to be a successful freelance writer, you have to be able to prioritize your time and organize.
Long coffee breaks and the beach are tempting, but these distractions will not make you a lucrative writer. If you lack will-power, this is not the field for you. You have to be able to say no to temptation and plan your days accordingly.
Are you bold enough to market yourself?
Businesses thrive off of marketing and advertising. Can you sell yourself? Are you confident enough and willing to do the legwork?
Freelancers need ambition. If you are a go-getter that is not afraid to put yourself out there, you can do this. Freelance writing is not just about writing paid work.
It is about blogging, creating a professional website, cold pitching, and daily checking of websites and job boards. If you are brave and diligent, you have the upper hand, and you can be a prosperous writer.
Do you like learning new things?
The harsh reality is that as a new freelance writer you are not going to write what you want to in the beginning, unless you are very, very fortunate.
That happens too, but for the most part, you’re gonna have to like learning and have some curiosity. This is necessary because you can only write what you know, and you may not know exactly what the client wants or much about the topic.
Researcher is just another hat the freelancer has to wear. Good freelance writers know how to conduct research. A required job trait for a successful freelancer would be being able to have fun with the unknown.
Do you have thick skin?
Satisfying clients doesn’t always come easily. You shouldn’t be a freelance writer if you can’t handle negative feedback or constructive criticism. You will have both. Sometimes, freelancers even have to deal with difficult clients.
Can you handle the scrutiny and pressure? You will face rejection too. You will face all of these things, and they will either break you or make you a better writer. If you can handle the pressure, jump on in!!!!
If you answered yes to these questions, then you should pursue a career in the writing for hire industry. It can be arduous and tedious, but with time and patience, it can prove to be as successful a career as any other.
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Only accept jobs you know you can complete on time. Be realistic in the projects that you pick and make sure that you can deliver what the client wants.
It is tempting to take on multiple gigs, even those that are unfamiliar, but this is a disservice to yourself. Only accepting jobs that you can complete, and do well, is key to building your JSS.
Meet deadlines. After producing good work, the best way to get good feedback is by meeting deadlines, or even better, being early. Clients get so excited to receive work early. At the bare minimum, make sure you have your work in on time. You are a professional, after all.
Produce quality work. Make sure that you do your research and produce quality work, your reputation depends on it. Clients have hired you based on how you sold yourself, make sure you aren’t just another good salesman, back up your pitch. Take the time to deliver high quality writing.
Be a good communicator. Make sure that all responsibilities and expectations have been clearly discussed with the client. Respond to the client punctually and be proactive. Even if they don’t ask for it, keep the client in the loop. Let them know how the project is going, they will appreciate the effort.
Do not have more than 3 jobs with no spend. This means that the job was not completed or that it was not completed satisfactorily. It is best to have as few no spends as possible, but sometimes things happen.
Don’t beat yourself up, learn the lesson, and try not to let it happen again. More often than not, no spends are a result of poor time management. Sometimes a no spend is an opportunity to learn what type of writing jobs you absolutely do not want to do.
Build repeat clients. It will not hurt your JSS if you do not have long-term or repeat business, but it can help you. This shows that you are dependable and a quality writer.
Always maintain a professional relationship. Never forget that this is your business. It is important to follow all of the standards of any business. Be courteous, prompt, have good communications, practice good time management, and produce good work by the deadline. Treat your clients with the same respect that you would like to be treated.
Complete your profile. 100%. This is factored into your JSS and it helps make you seem trustworthy to your clients. If you didn’t care enough to complete the profile page to your own business, should you expect a client to trust you with a project for their business? Probably not.
Ask questions. Asking questions is the best way to obtain complete understanding. If you are unsure of any parts of the project, make sure to ask. The same applies to any misunderstandings you may have with the client’s request. Asking questions makes sure that you can deliver what the client wants.
Make sure the client is happy. When the work is delivered, ask if the client has everything they need and if they are satisfied with the work. You never want to assume that a client is pleased, even if they have payed you.
Let the client end the contract. It can seem off putting if you end the contract first. Let the client finalize the project, it is their project after all. Why should you decide that the project is done? This is just a last courtesy to the client. They started the project, they should end it.
Ultimately, your JSS is your reputation, and it mostly depends on good client interaction. Treat your clients with a professional air and hold yourself accountable. If you take your work seriously and produce high quality work, you will succeed and your JSS will go up.
If you always maintain professionalism, you don’t risk giving your client the opportunity to say anything negative about you. Make sure that you are representing yourself well and ensure you are getting the jobs you want.
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Most clients are easy as pie, but you will run into a difficult client, though rarely. This is just part of the business world.
However, even difficult clients can be worked with, you just have to have the right tools. Below are some tricks to handling difficult clients:
Be specific and keep track. Make sure that you are clear in your responsibilities and the client’s goals for the project. Ask any relevant questions. It is optimal to have the job details in writing.
This way, any discrepancies can be handled accordingly. Make sure that you completely understand the requirements of the job before you accept the contract.
Always keep track of communication with the client, whether it’s a paper trail or an email thread, just cover yourself. It is always nice to have a point of reference.
Keep the client informed. Sometimes a difficult client is really just anxious, nervous, or completely unfamiliar with how the freelance world operates.
Make sure to have open communication and be patient with your client. Sometimes you may have to walk them through the process, we all like being informed.
Just think about how apprehensive we are to get a new barber/hairdresser…the client is trusting you with their business. That means it is their business to know. Take the time to communicate progress to your client.
Be proactive. Raise any obstacles you have encountered or issues you are having with the project, as soon as possible. The earlier you communicate with the client, the better chance you have of resolving the problem.
Show the client that you are genuinely trying to successfully complete their project. If you cannot complete something, let them know why, and provide documentation or clearly explain the issue to them. The sooner, the better.
Put yourself in the client’s shoes. Listen to your clients requests and make it your mission to complete the project to the best of your ability.
Your writing is your business, your reputation. It also is the client’s livelihood. Be understanding, empathetic, and patient. It could be possible that they are just having a bad day. We are all human, after all.
Know when to walk away. Some clients can just be plain mean. There’s something to be said for the expression, you can’t win them all. You really just can’t please everybody all the time.
Writing is not easy, that’s why everybody can’t do it. You may not always be able to capture what the client wants and sometimes they just may have unrealistic expectations.
Kill them with kindness. It is almost impossible to be mean to somebody that is overly nice. The more difficult the client, the more ridiculously nice you should be to them.
If they eventually don’t catch on, they probably aren’t the type of client that you want to work with anyway. Sometimes all a difficult person needs is somebody to be nice to them. Simply being nice could change their whole day, you never know.
Adapt to the client. Find the mode of communication that your client likes best: Skype, email, phone, job board, etc. and then go out of your way to use it when you communicate with them.
This shows that you are invested in your client and that you value their preferences. Don’t be afraid to download and learn new software. Even challenging clients can be a learning experience. Sometimes they pay well too!
Never lose your cool. You have a reputation to maintain. A difficult client will eventually build a reputation of their own. Don’t let them degrade your reputation. Don’t let them get the best of you.
You are a professional and have a business to run. Never allow a client to push you over the edge, especially if you use a written message-based platform. Always cut off communication before the relationship reaches that point.
Freelance writers experience so many challenges and difficult clients are on the list. Even tough clients can become good clients and prove to be prosperous. All it takes is a little TLC to turn a difficult client around.
Just showing that you care and are serious about the project goes a long way. Remember to always put yourself in somebody else’s shoes.
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