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Freelance Writer: Direct Clients

Updated on September 27, 2014
You can work when and where you choose as a freelancer
You can work when and where you choose as a freelancer | Source

When you write freelance you need to juggle a number of earnings balls to keep your finances stable and one of these is writing for clients directly.

You may write for a number of organisations and clients via agencies such as TextBroker, paying regularly into PayPal or bank accounts but maybe haven't thought about issues raised by writing direct for clients.

Find out more about small business cash flow on Amazon

Questions to answer prior to writing direct for any client

Writing direct for a number of different clients can be a great opportunity for higher earnings levels but is it a wise move? Only you can make the decision on whether to take on direct clients and weighing up risks involved has to be paramount before you spend hours writing content for clients you may not know very well.

Consider the following points prior to agreeing to take direct orders from any writing client:

  • is the client known to you? Have you worked for them in the past? If so, you may have already built a strong working relationship that's sufficient for you to trust them enough to work on jobs
  • will the client make payment in advance, either a deposit towards final payment or full payment for writings contracted? If not, you may want to seriously consider whether it is worth your while to work for this client
  • do you know anybody else who writes for this client and can you get a word of mouth reference on likelihood of continual major edit requests and payments history
  • before agreeing to work for the client will they provide you with references you can check regarding their financial stability and history of working with other writers
  • is it feasible for you to pay to run a credit check on this client?
  • how does the client plan to make payments to you?

Risks to contracting to writing for direct clients

There are substantial risks entailed when taking direct writing clients onboard. The section above details aspects to consider prior to making any agreement to write direct for any client. If you decide to go ahead anyway you should attempt to mitigate risks by asking your client for a deposit of 50 percent or more towards payment for your writings. This way you do have an understanding the client is acting in good faith.

Of course, any business faces risks of a similar nature when making decisions on whether to offer a line of credit to new customers. The inherent danger for the freelance writer lies in being a small, one-person business that is reliant upon daily writing efforts for survival.

If you have worked with this client in the past via agency contracts of some kind it's likely you've built a rapport and feel an element of trust and good faith towards your contracting client. The beauty of writing for agencies such as TextBroker though is that clients need to pay for contracted writings up front and may also find it difficult to reject works that meet specification. When you're working with clients direct you enter a whole different ball game. Work that may well pass agency specifications for approval and payment could be rejected or sent back for constant edits and rewrites. Payments via your contracted agency may be daily, weekly, fortnightly or even monthly but you know when your work is approved the money will hit your PayPal account on the due date. When you work for direct clients you may find PayPal is not the preferred method of payment. They may prefer to pay by direct bank transfer or even cheque. You may also find you need to chase payments, or that payments are delayed up to 90 days by the client's accounts payable department.

If you agree to work for a previously unknown client you face further risks. Your client may be impressed by your writing style and depth of knowledge, but when you submit your writings they may not achieve desired tone or totally reflect the information your client specified or hoped for. Some clients may actually be looking for marketing or advertising expertise rather than straightforward writing skills, yet not make this clear to the writer. Where you have contracted to write longer pieces, it is in your interests to make regular submissions to the client to ensure your work is reflective of their requirements. If you should find your work rejected or sent for continual rewrites, it is possible to publish on other outlets, such as HubPages, depending upon the subject matter of your written material.

Benefits to writing for direct clients

One of the major benefits you'll find when you start acquiring direct clients is the increase in rates you can charge for work. Many jobs from agency sources pay nominal rates and writers need to churn out high levels of work in order to achieve earnings targets. With direct clients you're free to set a rate you're both comfortable working with and can even negotiate different rates for varying types of work.

You'll find it easier to build a rapport with your client when working on a one to one basis and the writing and editing process can be much quicker.

Working for two or three direct clients allows you to build substantial knowledge and research materials around your clients' business. Over a period of time you can expect your writing to benefit from the inherent acquired knowledge as you become a quasi expert within the field. The tone and voice of your articles will become more polished and professional as a result of this knowledge and you should expect to be able to charge more for your work and also use this material to garner further clients with similar interests.

When you have substantial expertise and knowledge in specific subject or business areas, contracting to write direct for clients in this field can be lucrative and rewarding.

As can be seen, writing for direct clients can be risky but it is also rewarding. You'll gain far more insight and knowledge into your contracting clients business and interests and your writing will benefit. Setting ground rules before agreeing to take on any direct writing jobs is important and arranging for deposit or staged payments for work is also a good idea.

© 2014 Dawn Denmar


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