Do you regard other freelancers who offer the same service as you as a competitor or a partner?
They are both, of course. But here are my three instances when I regard freelance copywriters as partners.
1. When a client asks you to do a project that’s outside your core skills or when it’s a project you wouldn’t enjoy doing.
Rather than leave your client in the lurch by saying “that’s not really my area”, you could suggest a person in your network who you know would a) do a great job and b) enjoy doing the work.
Just lay down the ground rules first. I have two. One is that my freelance contact charges the same rate as I do, so I’m not undercut. And the second is that, if they are approached by my client with the sort of project that I would normally do for that client, they defer to me.
Because, in your helpfulness of finding someone to do the project that wasn’t up your street, you don’t want to lose the client! Of course, you can always get round this by subcontracting the work to your friend and so remain in full control.
2. When you’re snowed under with work and just can’t manage the load by yourself.
We all know that new projects are like buses. You’re kicking around for ages with nothing much to get your teeth into and then three come along at once. And, of course, they’re all urgent.
This is where your contacts are of real value. I have a small network of freelance writers who I know I can trust to do an excellent job for me when I’m up to my ears in deadlines.
On one occasion, I was given a big web writing project that was 40 days’ work. But the client’s deadlines were such that all the copy had to be ready within 20 days. If I couldn’t assure them I could meet the deadline, I’d lose the job to a writing agency. So I enlisted the help of another web writer. We proved to the client we could both write in exactly the same style and we split the work and the fee 50/50.
3. When you’re going through a quiet period and you’re freelance friends are really busy.
This happened to me in the summer. A freelance friend was in the middle of moving house and simply couldn’t take on the latest project she’d been given. So she called me to see if I could help. I wasn’t all that busy at the time, so I gladly took it on. And it was an interesting one, too: writing a pack of printed and online materials for a national charity.
When have your freelance contacts come to the rescue?