I have been a freelance copywriter for more than ten years and there are some genuine consistencies that I notice amongst the freelance community.
Here are some things you may not know about creative freelancers:
As freelancers, we probably still think about you (the client). Sometimes it can be because we experienced a nightmare project but often a few years have passed and we wonder about your success and get a little tingle when we see that you’ve expanded to a second location or have hired extra staff.
Even if we quote you in hours, our work is never done in hours. There’s probably many hours (days) unaccounted for when we are thinking about you or your project. Driving in the car, we’ll suddenly be hit by inspiration about how to make your business stand out or in the middle of the night, we’ll dream about you and your pending deadline. We’ll spend a few hours on the net, looking at your competition to go above and beyond and we’ve probably already Googled you or asked someone about you before you’ve even approached us for a quote.
Bit on the side
Most of us have side projects or side hustles. As well as our core freelancing gig, we’re also making films, writing novels, entering art/design comps, running events for like mindeds. All these extra curricular activities add to our skillset, enhance our creativity and make us do what we love to do. When you hire a freelancer, you’re not just getting a service, you’re hiring a creative individual.
We’re a unit
Freelancers inherently help other freelancers. Some of my best clients have been referred to me by other freelance copywriters and I get a lot of work from designers and web developers. We’ve got each others’ back because we know what it’s like and we prefer to recommend someone we know and trust.
We absolutely know what we are doing
We actually know what we’re talking about. So when we say, ‘no your logo will NOT look good in a frog coloured green’ or ‘no, you shouldn’t tweet that same thing six times in a day’ it’s a great idea to listen. Generally, being a freelancer means we are more qualified and had more experience than working for an agency or company, especially because we see a variety of clients pass through us and we haven’t just worked in the same organisation for many years.
Wanting something overnight will not give you a great result. Providing a creative service that is original, unique, effective and attention grabbing is unlikely to happen in twenty four hours, no matter how experienced or skilled we are.
The creative process
Undoubtedly, each freelancer has a unique, different creative process that doesn’t really look that linear or understandable (so don’t try and think about it too much). This is sometimes why we work better remotely, rather than inhouse.
More than you want
As a freelance copywriter, you have probably paid me to write 800 words for you. However, I have probably written close to 2000 and an additional couple of pages of handwritten notes to get you the best 800 words to meet your objective. And over delivering is almost inherent with being a creative professional. It’s almost like we can’t help it!
You need us
Sure, you can probably fix that leaky tap by yourself but a plumber will do it expertly, ensuring it won’t happen again in two weeks and ruin the whole laundry on a weekend, when you’ll need to go into damage control and call an emergency plumber. Just call the “plumber” in the first place. And by plumber, I mean freelance copywriter, graphic designer or marketing consultant.
Time is money
Creative freelancers don’t really get to slack off. Every hour of looking at the net or in a meeting or staring out a window or even grabbing lunch is time that we don’t get paid for. So if we want to earn a living, we need to be working. This shows through in our utmost productivity and focus.
In the end, we probably end up cheaper to hire than an employee. You don’t need to supply us with office space, holiday pay, sick leave, electricity/utility costs, superannuation, stationery (which is lucky because I go through a LOT of Post-It notes!)
We can work from anywhere in the world. And sometimes we do. Even when we’re on holiday, we probably still check client emails and tweak websites and send invoices etc.
In almost all cases, we genuine care about our clients and really want them to succeed and we’ll probably go above and beyond to help make that happen.