When Freelancers Eff Up

As with any trade, freelance writing can become stressful. But some aspects of it can be just downright hellish. From juggling multiple clients to getting panicky over unreturned emails, it’s the uncertainty that is the toughest part. Not the edits, or pitches, or interviews, but the unknowing of when your next gig is going to come through.

When you live in an ebb and flow world, it’s critical to maintain a good relationship with the few clients that you currently do have. Here are a couple of errors, both ones that I’m guilty of and ones that I’ve seen other freelancers do, that will certainly mess up your client relations.

Missing a Deadline

In an office setting, deadlines are typically fluid. Of course, I needed to get them in on the day they were due, but since my editor’s office was right around the corner, she could see me working and knew when I had a heavy load to bare, so getting copy in a day or two late wasn’t a huge deal. But that’s not the truth when it comes to freelancing. Clients want their content when they want them. Getting a decent draft in on time is far more valuable than getting in a good final copy late.


Your editor is not your friend. They are a business acquaintance. They don’t care if your dog is sick or your bf just dumped you. They want the copy in on time. Leave the excuses at the door and keep your emails work-centric.

Filling Your Plate

Sure, it seems like a wonderful idea to take on 4554321 clients when money is tight, but are you sure you’ll be able to make half a zillion deadlines by Tuesday? Freelance is quality over quantity. Only take on as much as you can chew so that you don’t start missing deadlines or turning in half-crap work.

No Schedule

When you work from home, it’s hella tempting to sleep in til 2pm and work all night long. Remember, you’re the boss, so treat yourself as you would any other respectable employee. Learn to tell sources that you’re “in the office" at certain times. These are the times when you’re available for a phone call or when you can quickly reply to Skype messages or emails. Stick to a solid six to eight hour workday, where you actually get up at a reasonable hour and allow yourself the time to do other things, such as hit the gym or grocery shop, in the evenings.

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