In recent years I’ve enjoyed dabbling in freelance writing, but more recently, I took a couple of consistent part-time positions where I get to be a part of two great teams working as a managing editor, writer and social media manager – which allows me to really delve into three things that I love each and every day…and requires me to pay quarterly taxes because it’s no longer a hobby – but thats for another post.
If you are new to all of this and you are a person who wants to build and maintain a positive rapport with clients and carry a reputation that precedes you as being respectable and honorable then these rules are for you. In a world where you are often known by your online presence and by word-of-mouth only, these rules are a set to consider living by.
Oh, and if you see fit, this handy dandy image below…it was made with pinning in mind for you Pinterest lovelies. Pin it, share it…refer back to it.
Choose Jobs That Are a Good Fit
If you have the luxury to wait for a job that’s right for you then take the time to choose those that are fitting to your creative interests and strengths. If a job is not a good fit, you will fast become burned out, your work may not be the quality that it would be otherwise, and the money and time away from your kids will not be worth it – so choose carefully if you have the ability to wait for the job that’s “just right”.
I’m also aware that waiting around for the right fit is not the case for everyone, which leads me to my second point…
Quality is a Must
Put out quality work no matter what, even if you are working a position that isn’t your first choice. Don’t just slap something up for the sake of getting your job done for the day. If you have to work a job to support your family, that’s understandable – own it and work hard at it even if you’re writing about something that you have minimal interest in.
I am of the mindset that you can always gain something of value from anything that you do. Additionally, your employer is depending on you to represent their brand as if it were your own and as if you have a passion for it – so doing anything less than stellar is a huge disservice to your employer and a poor representation of your work ethic, which will ultimately translate into a poor representation of the brand itself. So, work hard and put out quality – no matter what.
Don’t Steal From Others
I know you may think this goes without saying, but I’ve seen seasoned and well established freelancers make some ridiculous blunders in this department.
Give credit where credit is due – plain and simple. There is no excuse for not giving proper credit. Pulling several ideas from a singular place and then passing it off as your idea is not only wrong, it’s unethical and it discredits your reputation. Not to mention that if you are caught, it puts your brand in hot water if you’ve made the blunder under their name.
We all get busy, and it’s easy to feel rushed to find something fresh to write about on our respective blogs or for our freelancing gigs – but we must always be honorable and keep best practices as we do it. Period. Link out folks, it’s not hard. Additionally, when in doubt – ask for permission in advance.
Write with a consistent voice and maintain a consistent persona across the board. If you are all over the place your readers and clients will not come back. So, while it is natural to evolve with your writing – don’t make drastic changes in yours style in an effort to gain traffic. Keep it real, keep it authentic and you will see steady growth over time.
Be Grateful & Pay it Forward
Be gracious and humble. When someone is willing to share what they know with you, be certain that you thank them, and then try to pay it forward when you have the chance. The best way to learn is by finding fairy blog-mothers (thank you Kludgy Mom for the coining this term!) and mentors in the fields that you are trying to break into. But, they will not stick around if you aren’t showing them you are grateful through your words and actions. Don’t just check in when you want something. Shoot them an email just to say hello, in addition to asking for their advice. Send them an e-card when you know they’re having a particularly hard week to give them a boost. When they’re having a book launch – do everything in your power to promote them – even if you do have a small audience – they will remember your efforts and it will mean the world to them.
Some of the best and most successful bloggers and freelancers I know are also some of the most genuinely kind and humble people I have met while navigating this business and I truly think that’s a big reason why they are so successful.
They have become the example for how I want to go about doing things. Never too big for the britches as they say… not that my britches are getting very big…but, I am eternally grateful for those who have been so gracious to help me with things like my Blog Idol Interview series, or to offer a lead on a job or to offer advice for how to be successful in social media consulting and community management.
I have found mentors and friends – many of who are one in the same, and I am grateful. My life has become more enriched because of it. SO, pay it forward, remain humble and be gracious – a simple rule to live by that pays off not only professionally but personally as well.
This is by no means an all inclusive list of rules and it’s not to say you’ll get it right all the time, because I know I’ve had my own bumps along the way, but when you do hit those bumps, it’s good to go back to a set of rules like those above and remind yourself what quality practices look like.