Freelance writing seems to be accompanied by complaining. In fact, freelancing in particular seems to be accompanied by lots of complaining overall. There’ s a certain irony to this in my opinion and one that makes me scratch my head. This may be especially because I think there are some specific qualities that lend themselves to accepting work as a freelance provider online. Let’s take a look at some of the qualities I think make you a good freelancer:
Ability to work independently
Forums seem to turn into support groups for freelancers. While there is nothing particularly wrong with this, instead of being a spot to share information, it turns into a whine fest in so many ways. I think forums are a great spot to meet “like-minded” people, especially for those of us who work at home. After all, freelancing is defined as working for yourself and by yourself. Let’s face facts, if you are working independently and you are super outgoing you are probably in the wrong field. Now don’t get me wrong, I think the forums are great but if all you’re doing there is complaining about your job, maybe you need to find a new job!
Self-starter and decision maker
I wish I had a dime for every time I see someone complaining about how much they are getting paid (or not getting paid) to write an article. The fact of the matter is that it is your job as a freelance provider to set your rates. If you see advertisements or offers for less than what you think you should be making – don’t accept the offer or apply for the position. End of discussion.
Now far be it from me to criticize people who complain about non-paying clients. However, to expect a website that provides opportunities to meet up with potential clients (like oDesk) or to expect the state to help you collect YOUR bad debt (like Freelancers Union expects). Freelancers who are not negotiating their payments with clients get exactly what they deserve: Nothing in many cases. I have NEVER accepted any contract with ANY client without some sort of confirmation on how and when I am getting paid. In fact, I have NEVER accepted fixed rate assignments without at least 50 percent up front. If you are not doing this then you will get stiffed. This is part of the deal of being a freelancer: You accept risk. If you are risk-adverse then you need to figure out how to get paid upfront or get a job – yes a job where your pay is guaranteed.
I’m not saying you don’t have a right to complain so don’t get me wrong. But if you are a professional, you learn to deal with freelancing problems without airing them publicly. You are only making yourself look less than professional.