Savvy Speaks: Of all the Nerve!

Savvy Speaks: Of all the Nerve!
Savvy Sisters - Wed Jul 27, 2011 @ 10:00AM
Comments: 171

This week we're going to take a slightly different approach with Savvy Speaks, and talk about the business of being in business as a freelance marketer. Most of us have realized that there is a lot of power in the audacity of asking. We want to know what you've had the nerve to ask for. Here are some of our stories:


Take a left turn when everyone else goes straight

As an interviewer, the articles that are the most interesting to write (and therefore read) are those where I get a glimmer of the story behind the story. 

Often when I interview someone, they start off with a well rehearsed story handing out the few sound bites they have tucked in their back pockets. It takes a little bit of work to break through that wall.  

It's when I ask questions like  "How did that impact what came next?" or "Why on earth is that done?" that I can start getting the converstation going in a different direction giving me the results and ultimately story I"m looking for.   


Clear guidance

It never ceases to surprise me, but some companies that hire me to help develop their content expect me to also come up with their messaging strategy. That's no problem, but it comes with a different price tag.

If a client hires you to write a white paper or other content asset and tells you to come up with the unique angle and key messages, push back. Again, unless you are going to be paid a consulting fee to help flesh that out, the client needs to convey the story it wishes to tell. Your job is to help tell it in the most engaging way possible -- not to figure it out from beginning to end. After all, they should be the subject matter experts and the ones who deeply understand what will resonate with their prospects and customers.


A chance

Before I had a writing portfolio and wonderful clients (ready to provide glowing recommendations at the drop of a hat), I had no proof that I knew what the heck I was doing. Prospective clients had to take me at my word.

 I knew I could do the work (and do it well), but my past experience was in project management and account services. Finding the courage to ask for blind faith was tough. Who the hell was I to call myself "writer?"

But, if you don't ask, you'll never get the opportunity to see what happens if the other person says 'yes.' Now that I'm living on the other side of that "what if," I'm SO glad I had the audacity to ask.


Better payment terms

In this business, it's not uncommon to be working for large companies that have 60 or even 90 day terms. It's tough to manage your budget when you get paid 2-3 months after the job's finished (which can take 3 months itself). I finally spoke up and started asking for better terms when starting the project. I started by saying something like "I know your PO system was set up for vendors that are businesses, but I am just a solopreneur - is there some flexibility in the way you can pay my invoices?"

Some solutions we have worked out include:

  • Submitting the full invoice at the start of the job so it gets paid out around the time the job is finished
  • Having the accounting department agree to pay me on receipt or within 15 days as an exception to their regular invoice policy
  • Having the marketing director pay me via personal check or Paypal and then submitting it as a reimbursable expense (which gets paid back to her bi-weekly)
  • Getting hired as a temp employee on a W2 and getting paid bi-monthly (taxes get taken out, but that has it's advantages too!)


When it comes to getting paid in a timely fashion, ask for what you need, get creative and you may be surpised what you can accomplish!


To Leave

I launched my freelance career by leaving my job in 2008 but then winning them as my first solo client.  I was working on a vertical sales team for a large software company.  I was frequently writing for the marketing department as an "additional duty" but it wasn't part of the job I was being paid for.  I realized over time that those additional duties that accounted for less than 20% of my time were the only part of my job I enjoyed!  Ironically the marketing department didn't have the salary threshold or budget to bring me over as an employee but they had no issue paying me as a freelancer if I left my current position.  For the first two years I was on my own they were my largest client.  I am proud now to say they still do work with me but are no longer the largest!


What are some of the biggest business opportunities you've had the audacity to ask for?

How did it go?

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