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freelancing quiz

Quiz Yourself: Is Freelancing For You?

Love a quiz? Here’s one that asks you if you are cut out for freelancing. But before taking this pop quiz, let me make a clear distinction of two terms you might have been interpreting as one and the same.

A freelancer is a self-employed professional who offers his or her services to one or more companies, often with no long-term commitment to any of them. A freelancer is also known as an independent contractor, a gig worker, an online platform worker, or a contract firm worker. Although others include the terms “on-call worker” and “temporary worker”, these two may not be self-employed.

On the other hand, a person who works full-time for a company but doesn’t have to be at a fixed office location everyday is called a remote worker.

difference between a freelancer and remote worker

Those terms could sometimes used interchangeably and maybe confusing to others who are not into the gig economy. Don’t worry, I’ll be writing more about these terms soon.

A few years ago, a student told me that he couldn’t see himself being self-employed, running his own business, and he just felt that way. He admitted that having a boss suits him well.

At first, I thought that was weird. For many years, people are made to believe that owning a business is the only way to get rich because of being one’s own boss. But stepping back to think, that student made me realize that not everyone is cut out to be self-employed or a freelancer.

Related article: Freelancing: A Reality Check

take a quiz

The 10 Questions

So how would you know if freelancing is for you? Below are ten questions with two choices of answer: (a) and (b). There are no right or wrong answers in this quiz. Your answers will just help you gauge if you have what it takes to become a freelancer.

Reflect on each question and be honest with yourself when answering. Let’s go through each item and see why this quiz matters when pursuing a freelance writing career:

the role of a boss

Freelance writers are considered self-employed individuals. Thus, they think and act like a boss when conducting their freelance writing business and treat those who “employ” them as clients.

If you feel that you need someone telling you what to do most of the time, you may be like the student I mentioned earlier who prefers to be employed rather than striking it out as an independent contractor.

go out and look for work

Freelance writing jobs don’t just come in easy. Most of the time, freelancers look for work in all places. I started out looking for writing gigs from my connections and gradually increased my confidence in seeking assignments on my own from online platforms until I got referrals and inquiries.

focus

This question is about how you deal with multiple assignments. Since freelance writing jobs can come to you all at the same time, you should have that ability to switch focus easily without compromising your quality of work. This requires time management and self-discipline.

Related article: Is the Pomodoro Technique For You?

advertise yourself

This quiz question is about your own confidence to promote yourself as a freelance writer. There are many writers out there — some have already earned their reputation while others are still creating a name of their own. That’s why it pays to have a website that serves as a portfolio so you can establish yourself as a freelance writer.

Related article: 6 Reasons Why You Should Have a Website

paycheck to paycheck

While it’s common among struggling artists to live paycheck to paycheck, it is better for a freelance writer to have enough funds for the rainy days. Most financial experts advise that you should have cash at least equivalent to three months’ salary on hand before entering freelancing.

admin work

Since freelance writers are self-employed, then all the admin work that goes into running your own business should be handled by you. That includes business registrations and processing of necessary licenses and permits. Not only that, you have to learn a little bit of bookkeeping to record financial matters.

do what you say

The seventh question is about your attitude towards work. Do you do what you really promise? A former advertising executive once told me about “under-promise, over-deliver”. It means that it would be better for you to set low expectations but deliver much more than what is expected than vice-versa.

criticisms

In freelancing, feedback is almost instantaneous and it comes from all sides. Thus, freelance writers should be thick-skinned not to be affected by harsh criticisms or at least know how to filter them.

small details

This is about follow-through. Freelance writers are creatives that are more into the ‘big picture’ way of thinking but can also be into the nitty-gritty details if they want to. Balance these two and you’re sure to get the projects done.

network

To be successful in freelance writing, one should nurture relationships despite the “politics” of it. In fact, to start your freelance writing business, you have to start with what you have right now — family members, relatives, and a few friends or acquaintances. Soon, you’ll be able to grow your network, if you maintain to be professionally sociable.

Now count the number of (a)’s and (b)’s you’ve answered. If you answer (b) on all or most of the questions, well done! You’re ready to be a freelancer and freelancing suits you well.

However, don’t worry if your answers are mostly (a). It means you have more opportunities for improvement. Think of them as challenges that you could address and overcome gradually. Answering more (a)’s than (b)’s doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider striking out on your own. It just means that you have more prep work to do.

After answering this quiz, you already have an idea on your own readiness to embark a freelance writing career.

Let me know how well did you do on this quiz. If I have missed anything, I’d appreciate your feedback. And if you like to read more about freelance writing, productivity, or creative writing, please do subscribe to my quarterly newsletter and join the tribe. Also, I now have a YouTube channel called Open Notes. Go check it out.

Images from Canva and Clipart Library

online learning

5 Things You Gain From Online Learning

The half-life of a learned skill is five years. Much of what you learned ten years ago is obsolete and half of what you learned five years ago is irrelevant.

A New Culture of Learning by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown

I saw that quote a few days ago from a post on Linkedin. I searched online to check where this quote came from. This came from A New Culture of Learning by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown.

When I first read that quote, it struck me and asked myself if the quote applies to everyone.

Ten and Five Years Ago

I’ve been in the workforce for more than 25 years. There are some nursing and med. tech. skills that will never die after graduating from college. But I’m no longer a practicing medical technologist and nurse. And if ever I return to professional practice, I would need to take refresher courses to update myself with the current trends and best practices and renew my licenses.

I’ve been a creative writer for 21 years now and my screenplay writing skills may have turned rusty as I haven’t written a full-length movie script for years. The recent scripts I’ve written were short company audio-visual presentations.

I’ve been a freelance writer for 8 years and the SEO and social media practices I’ve learned before may now be irrelevant.

Yeah, that quote applies to everyone in this ever-connected world. Welcome to the 21st century brand of learning.

e-Learning

The first time I heard of online learning was back in 1999 when I heard the University of the Philippines offers Open University. Enrolling in a degree course and taking it online at home, the student is only required to come on campus at a specified time or when necessary.

I experienced online learning first hand when I was employed in a BPO company. They require all employees to take an online training course and call it a “university” where at the end of each course, you take a test and get a certificate of completion, if applicable.

When I started freelancing, I saw some sites that offer online courses and enrolled in a few of them. It seems that e-learning has become the greatest revolution in today’s education.

Advantages of Online Learning

At Home

Most of us have attended a traditional learning setup — school campus, classroom, library, Principal’s office, etc. We need to pay for tuition and other fees to be enrolled and attend classes. Attendance is checked, exams are given, and at the end of the term, you’ll know if you passed or failed. Nowadays, aside from getting a formal education, people get online degree programs or take courses through an online platform. It takes a Google search to find a suitable course for you and it’s also interactive.

Self-paced

Although online education has its limitations, people find it convenient to take it within the comfort of their home. All lectures and materials are provided online and students can learn at their own pace. But comfort does go both ways. Although e-learning can be done at home, one can always be distracted. Thus self-discipline is required of each learner. That’s one of the reasons why UP Open University requires all applicants to take their readiness test to see if the student can withstand the demands of online learning.

Cheaper

Most online courses are cheaper than school tuition fees. And there are more than a million online courses that are free. But be careful in choosing those free online courses.

Good on your resume

Taking an online program will always look good on your resume. Potential employers or clients will think that you’re taking further education seriously.

There’s a course for almost everything

Nowadays, online courses are shorter because they focus on one topic. These mini-courses are skill or knowledge specific which if taken in a formal education set-up it may not be available or might have been mentioned lightly.

Everything is Teachable

There are people who still think that students don’t get real degrees online. Some may even think that online learners are lazy or are not smart enough to withstand formal education. That’s not how it is nowadays. Prestigious universities around the world do offer their degree courses online.

Because of the Internet, we’re constantly sharing our thoughts, our experiences, and our talents. There is so much stuff that we know that we don’t even know that we know. Sometimes, the greatest impact would come from sharing things we’re passionate about.

That makes us creators. Everyone has a skill and knowledge that he could share no matter the location, the experience, or the personality. Anyone can teach the things he loves and be able to impact the lives of others. You can teach the things that seem simple to you and be able to grow a community around you. You can change the norm and follow your dreams because everything is teachable.

When I started this website in 2016, all I thought was sharing what I think about writing and working from home. I’m doing this because I believe sharing is doing something right. I’m using this platform to share my experiences and what I’ve learned from the things I love doing.

Teachable

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone is advised to stay at home. I took this opportunity to attend a series of webinars which focuses on e-learning from an online platform called Teachable. Content creators can create courses and earn from these courses with this platform.

Career Karma

Also recently, I received an email from Arthur Meyster of Career Karma. Career Karma is a free app which promotes coding boot camps in the U.S. for people who are interested in breaking into information technology. Students can discover peers, coaches, and mentors to help accelerate your career in technology. However, the coding boot camps are in the U.S. I do hope there is something like this here in the Philippines.

Small Revolution

A few months ago, I received an email from Katrina McKinnon of Small Revolution. Her website is an online learning platform for those who want to become a copywriter and a virtual assistant. It also has a library of articles, bookshop and community. Small Revolution works with Kazi Work, a directory of vetted freelancers who are looking for online work. When a student finishes the training and graduates they are highlighted in Kazi Work.

My Thoughts

For the past few days, I’ve learned a lot and I’m already thinking on how I should be sharing my knowledge through this platform more. My quarterly newsletter is coming out soon and I’ll be sharing a good resource, too. So watch out for those two.

Tell me what you think about this article and let me know if I have missed anything. I’d appreciate your feedback. And if you like to read more about freelance writing, productivity, or creative writing, please do subscribe to my quarterly newsletter and join the tribe.

clients

Stop Attracting Bad Clients

All freelancers agree that there are bad clients out there. We hear from writers similar stories of bad experiences from clients after writing for them. I, too, experience those types of clients. This phenomenon has become a chronic disease for some writers because they get one bad client after another which could burn them out of freelance writing.

But before I go on, let me share my recent experience which prompted me to write this blog post in the first place.

A Recent Experience

I’ve been promoting myself as a freelance writer through this website and once in a while, I do engage on social media. One day, I posted a comment on someone’s YouTube channel and shared a link about working from home which leads to my blog.

The personality behind that YouTube channel has books, TV appearances, and a large following on social media. He sent me an email through my website to contact him. I was surprised and was very honored to talk to him on the phone. In the process, he asked for a writing sample. I sent one, and he liked it. I haven’t heard anything from him since.

Just recently, I received an email from his staff asking for my rate. I told the staff that my rates vary depending on the client and their needs.

Although I prefer to be paid by the hour, not all of my clients prefer this method. I can be paid per month, per project, per article, per page, per 500 words, or a combination of per hour + per 500 words.

Also, I told the staff that as a member of the Freelance Writers Guild of the Philippines (FWGP), no writer should be paid lower than Php 2.00 per word. So I gave them a quote for my minimum rate which I believe is fair enough for me and for them, and still within the FWGP standard.

After a few hours, I received the staff’s reply. He said that “although they like my writing”, my rate “is beyond something they can afford”. They also said that they “wouldn’t haggle because they respect my pricing”.

That reply made me think.

This personality has more than half a million subscribers on YouTube alone. His books are best-sellers. With his stature, he can afford to hire good writers at a fair rate. Saying that they couldn’t afford my rate made me think that they’re probably hiring someone who would accept a writing job worth less than Php 2.00 per word. Now I’m wondering how much does this YouTube personality pay his team.

I’m just hoping that no one from the FWGP circle would be fool enough to accept a YouTube video script writing job for less than Php 2.00 per word because this perpetuates the phenomenon of getting bad clients.

RELATED ARTICLE: How Much Will You Charge?

Types of Bad Clients

The YouTube personality I mentioned is not really a bad person. I am subscribed to his channel because I like his content. But because of this personal incident, I could classify him as a potential bad client.

Below are the types of clients freelancers encounter. If you experienced at least one of them, chances are you’ve been duped. But if you experienced them all before, by all means, avoid them.

The control freaks

These clients have a lot of trust issues. They keep on sending you a message every now and then asking for updates. They might even require you to install a remote monitoring tool just to check if you’re not playing around.

The dreamers

These clients want the moon and the stars. You’re enticed to support their goals but the problem is, they don’t tell you how to get there. You’ll have to figure it out yourself and give it to them on time.

The eccentrics

These clients don’t have an idea of what they want until you write it for them. They’ll be happy but then they’d change their mind and realize that your writing or your service is not what they want at all.

The samplers

These clients would ask for a writing sample or ask you to do a “writing test” just to check if you’re the right fit. And most of the time, the sample is never paid.

The fly-by-nights

These clients disappear with your payment. They would come up with all the reasons for not paying you. They could also be eccentric, you know. Also, a sampler and a fly-by-night could be one and the same person.

The misers

These clients prefer to pay the lowest rate possible. That’s why they are scattered across the different online job platforms. Most of them are also starting up, with limited funds to hire people, thus they outsource.

Why You Keep on Attracting Them

You might have heard of the Law of Attraction. Your thoughts become things. Whatever you think and act about, you bring about.

Probably, in your desire to get the freelance writing gig quick, you attract them unknowingly. Here are the reasons why:

You keep on choosing clients in the wrong places.

When I started freelancing back in 2012, I started using oDesk and Elance (both are now Upwork). I also made a profile on other online job sites like OnlineJobsPH, PeoplePerHour, Outsourcely, etc. These sites are where I’ve met those bad clients, and only a handful were good ones.

I’ve realized that these sites have become overcrowded with writers who are willing to bid low rates just to get the job. And bad clients love these kinds of freelance writers.

You sound desperate.

Have you noticed how you write your cover letter or pitch? Take a look at these samples:

“I agree with the cause of your non-profit organization and I would be honored to write for you for a reduced rate.”

“I would be willing to lower my rate if you’d agree to hire me.”

“I don’t have any writing samples, but if you would give me a chance to write for you, I could prove my worth.”

“I would love to write for you.”

These are the statements that attract bad clients. They could smell insecure and desperate writers. And in the end, these poor desperate writers would be treated like doormats.

You easily jump in for anything and everything.

In the desire to get a freelance writing gig, you tend to apply for any writing job on any platform without realizing what type of writing the prospect wants. Applying for any writing job on any writing format and hoping that something will stick together doesn’t work.

I consider myself as a generalist because I can write both fiction and non-fiction, from web content to academic writing, and almost everything in between. However, I know what I can’t write and I tell my clients about that at the beginning.

RELATED ARTICLE: 6 Reasons Why You Should Have a Website

What You Could Do To Avoid Bad Clients

Qualify your prospects.

Qualifying means to check your prospective client’s online reputation. Do some research. It’s not bad to have a profile on some online job platforms. Some platforms provide ratings for employers to guide freelancers. You may still find rare gems there.

Target your prospects directly.

It’s better to choose the type of writing jobs you are comfortable with. Avoid those job posts that seem too good to be true. With experience, you can sense the job posts made by these bad clients.

If possible, have a website or a blog that prospective clients could look into. One advantage of having a website is that you control your own content, thus your own profile and portfolio. And it makes you stand out from the crowd.

My current client sent me an email and told me that he found me on Google while searching for a freelance writer. And when I proposed my rates, he agreed. This only shows that there are good clients out there.

Also, learn some principles of good networking. Dress up, attend gatherings, and connect with people. Who knows? They may refer you to good clients in the future.

Project that self-confidence and communicate your useful expertise.

Take a look at what you’re writing and saying. Are you using words that show your confidence? You should come across with an attitude that your writing is a valuable skill and provide a valuable service.

But what if you’re not confident enough? Then fake it until you make it. Doing consistent confident actions tend to build confidence over time.

Try looking for gigs that you are comfortable writing with first.

“Write what you know” is a cliche you’ve heard a lot of times. But for freelancers, this can still apply. Successful freelance writers focus on specific industries and limit their clients within that niche. Ask yourself what topics and industries do you prefer to write about. Do you want to focus on B2B (business-to-business) or B2C (business-to-customers)? And if you see a niche you really want to get into but don’t know about yet, then study and learn until you’re comfortable writing about it.

Have your prospective client pay for a writing sample.

To avoid a bad experience with the samplers, have them pay your writing sample. Charge them per article or per 500 words whether or not they hire you or not.

I’ve put this provision in my Statement of Work with the client. I charge it either per article or per 500 words depending on the length. I also put in there that if ever they liked my writing, the project will push through. But if not, consider it as a “kill fee”.

RELATED ARTICLE: Statement of Work

My Final Thoughts

Freelancers encounter bad clients, that is a fact. But it should never be a constant in each freelance writer’s life.

To avoid having bad clients, know who, what, and where to look for a good client. Acting and sounding confident (even though you’re faking it) could impress a potential client. And focus on a specific niche you’re comfortable writing about.

Let me know if you have experienced these types of bad clients and how you dealt with them. Or just tell me what you think about this post. Let me know, too, if I have missed anything, I’d appreciate your feedback. And if you like to read more about freelance writing, productivity, or creative writing, please do subscribe to my quarterly newsletter and join the tribe.

statement of work

Items to Put In Your Statement of Work

One of the frustrations of a freelance writer is not being paid for the work he/she had done. The freelance writer would charge it to experience. However, it keeps on happening, especially if the client sounds too good to be true.

So to avoid this kind of scenario, it is better to set up a written Statement of Work (SOW) which, for me, also serves as my proposal. And once the client signs it, it becomes a contract.

I have on my file a template which I can freely edit depending on the client’s job request. So each of my clients receives a different scope, thus, a different rate.

Statement of Work

You might have heard of these acronyms or terms before:

  • RFI (Request for Information)
  • RFP (Request for Proposal)
  • SOW (Statement of Work)
  • SLA (Service Level Agreement)
  • MSA (Master Service Agreement)
  • Independent Contractor Agreement
  • Contract

Technically, they operate in different ways. These documents describe specific aspects of how an agency or a contractor is going to serve the needs of a client. These documents could represent a section or the entire contract itself.

Most businesses prefer a general contract. BPO companies do have a separate SOW and SLA within their Contract. Others prefer an Independent Contractor Agreement for freelancers.

The reason why I chose to call my contract a Statement of Work (SOW) rather than anything else is its purpose. A Statement of Work provides a detailed and descriptive list of all the deliverables of a project. For me, aside from providing a detailed description of my deliverables, my SOW serves as my free quote or job proposal, including my promise of service level. And if the client signs it, this becomes our contract.

Let me show you how I compose my Statement of Work.

The Parties Involved

At the beginning of the contract, I always state who I am dealing with.

This [type of contract] is by and between me, [YOUR NAME] of [your company] and the client, [CLIENT'S FULL NAME] of [client’s company].

I prefer to deal with one person, even if the clients are in pairs. This way, I avoid any miscommunication or misunderstanding during the course of the project. However, if they are a pair, like a husband and wife team, I state both full names in the contract.

If the person has two companies, I prefer to set up a separate contract for each company. Why? Let me tell you a story:

I had this client who reached out to me to write for his website. The topic is within my expertise, thus I wrote blogs on his behalf comfortably well. However, when he announced that he would set up another website and asked me to write its contents, I thought twice. The topic is not within my expertise but I could write about it if I’ll research it well. That would mean more time for research and writing, meaning more time and effort. Thus, I gave the client another set of rates, different from the first assignment. At least, I would not feel I’m at a disadvantage if I write for both websites at the same time.

Most clients would take advantage of this situation. Since they already know how much I charge, they would find a way to use my talent to do something much bigger than the first assignment. Clients would think that the same rate applies across the board. It may apply to other freelancers like illustrators who could charge per piece, but not for freelance writers.

Scope of Work

This part of the contract contains a detailed and descriptive list of all the deliverables. It defines the type of project, its scope and limitations. This serves as a compass for the project so both parties can track the progress and make sure everything is going according to plan. It is better for me to define everything, even the slightest detail. A vague SOW only opens the door to disputes. It’s in the best interest of both parties to eliminate vagueness whenever possible.

SCOPE OF WORK: This is a [type of] project for the client which includes:
• [describe the nature,
• scope of the project, and
• limitations of the project]

An example of what I presented to a client recently looks like this:

SCOPE OF WORK: This is a SEO and Social Media Management project for the client, which includes:
-- administering the WordPress site,
-- article/blog writing
-- social media posts on 1 Facebook page and 1 Twitter account only (additional social media platforms will have additional charges)
-- responding to comments for audience engagement (but not including critical or sensitive customer service or technical support issues which I may not be able to handle due to my limited knowledge of and exposure to the company/organization)
-- content curation and
-- other activities related to Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Management.

Although the above example does not show much details, the important thing is I laid out the general scope and limitations of the work first. Particular details may be discussed and laid out later during the negotiation phase and/or final drafting of the contract.

RELATED ARTICLE: 7 Ways to Turn Your Writing Into Cash

Delivery Date and Deliverables

This part defines the desired outcomes based on the scope of work. I usually state what I would produce (e.g. 2 articles in .docx format), when or how frequently they are delivered to the client (e.g. weekly), and how they should be delivered (e.g. via Google Drive).

Here is what I have on my template:

DELIVERY DATES: I shall complete the Services and/or Work by or in accordance with the delivery schedule below:
   Deliverable/s: [number of] hours per week (a total of [number of] hours per month) of writing in [type of] format.
   or [number of] words of [type of] writing in [type of] format within [period of time] upon my acknowledgement receipt of written instructions via email.
   Submission: Submission of deliverable will be via email or Google Drive or whichever the client prefers.

Revisions

Some freelance writers miss this part because they might not have given a thought about it. There are clients who keep on returning the work for revisions many times that the writer’s pay itself is no longer worth it.

As much as possible, I make sure that the work needs no revisions at all. However, there are times that clients point out an issue or two for the writer to revise. Once is acceptable. But more than twice require additional charge.

Here is how I stated it on my Statement of Work template:

REVISION: Edits will be avoided at all costs and are not anticipated except in extreme circumstances. An article may be returned to me only once for revision at the sole discretion of the client. Revision will be done within 24 to 48 hours upon return. Succeeding revisions, if any, will be charged as per the writing rates stated below.

Also, in order to avoid confusion, it is better to define clearly in the Statement of Work what satisfaction means. For example, my current client has defined that all works should be 100% unique or 0% plagiarized. Although there are instances when direct quotes from sources are all over the Internet, these would show a result of 97% unique or 3% plagiarized, which is still acceptable within the principle of fair use.

Payment

I guess this is the part why freelancers need to set up contracts with their client in the first place. Getting paid for writing may be fun, but getting paid right is another issue.

This part of the contract should define how much you will charge for what type of project. Specify also how you should be paid (e.g. via PayPal or bank deposit), how much is the deposit, and when and how the balance should be paid.

Here is how I worded mine:

PAYMENT: The total project price is quoted at $xxx.xx USD per month (₱xxx.xx PHP per month). A minimum of 50% down payment is paid up front…
   Payment is done [frequency], no later than [day of the week or month]. Should [day of the week or month] fall on a non-banking day, payment should be made not later than the next banking day. An invoice from me should reach the client no later than the closing of working hours of every [end of pay period].
   International payments will be paid in [currency] via PayPal to [email address]. For direct bank deposit, it should be payable to: [bank details]

RELATED ARTICLE: How Much Will You Charge?

Sample Writing and Kill Fee

Here’s the sad and frustrating part. Many clients require sample writing from applicants. A few of them would pay for the sample writing, but most of them don’t. If they belong to the latter, I refer them to my website, blog, or portfolio so they could check it out. If they insist, I won’t bother. Most likely they will pay me lower than my worth.

To avoid this problem, I offer a paid writing sample or paid trial. I charge this the way I charge per article. The Statement of Work specifies that if the client likes the sample, the project will push through. If not, the payment for the writing sample serves as the kill fee.

A paid trial will be done to see if my writing suits the client’s requirements. A writing task will be given and will be paid for at the amount of [amount] per 500 words upon submission. If the paid trial satisfies the client, the project will push through. Paid trial is non-refundable.

The kill fee also serves as a good protection for freelancers who are in the middle of a project. If the client suddenly decides to terminate the project, and the freelance writer is not yet paid for the current task, it would make sense that the payment for the current task would serve as the kill fee. However, this should be stated in the Statement of Work, too. Better specify in the contract how would you like the sample writing, down payment, and kill fee be paid for your protection.

RELATED ARTICLE: 6 Reasons Why You Should Have a Website

Rights, Disclosures, and Non-Compete

We are now reaching the end of the contract. However, there are other issues that need to be discussed.

I usually ghost-write for clients. Thus the issue of copyright should be laid out in the contract. More often than not, I would declare that the copyright belongs to the client on a ghostwritten project. Otherwise, I would declare the full copyright of the article and have my by-line attached to it.

Another issue is the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) between the client and me. This is especially applicable in ghostwriting projects where we both agree not to publicly (or even privately) tell anyone that I write on the client’s behalf. This is stated in the contract as well.

Since freelance writers get many jobs from different clients, it is common that a writer gets two clients having the same industry or niche. To prevent conflict arising from this situation, I declare and include a non-compete clause in the Statement of Work.

This is how I wrote mine:

RIGHTS, DISCLOSURES, NON-COMPETE: I hold no copyright to the materials created [if this is ghostwritten]. I agree to non-disclosure of rates, processes, and client lists. I agree to refrain from competing with [client or company name] for the same client during the course of this contract.

Execution and Effectivity

This is the last part of the contract. It specifies how I will deliver the Statement of Work to the client, and in what format. It also specifies what will happen if there are changes in the terms and conditions during the course of the project.

Also, I specify the date of effectivity of the contract and when the project should start. If the client can define the date of when the project will end, the contract contains that detail as well. However, most of my freelance writing contracts are open-ended.

EXECUTION BY COUNTERPARTS. This SOW may be executed and delivered via email in PDF format. Any changes in any of the items herein should be done in writing and must be mutually agreed upon.

At the bottom of the contract are two signatures: one for me, and one for the client.

I usually write the terms and conditions on MS Word or Google Docs. Then save it as PDF before sending it to the client. I don’t need to have this notarized because most of the clients don’t want to be hassled, too. However, there are organizations that require the contract to be physically signed and notarized.

My Final Thoughts

A well-constructed Statement of Work (SOW) should be detailed. Otherwise, it will open the door to disputes. Take time to review and polish each section well and make sure to be descriptive and detailed as possible leaving no room for misinterpretation.

Let me know if you think that I have missed anything, I’d appreciate your feedback. And if you like to read more about freelance writing and productivity, please do subscribe to my quarterly newsletter and join the tribe.

internet

How the Internet Made My Freelance Writing Career

Internet is Life

A few days ago, my husband, who is working at night, told me that we didn’t have an Internet connection. So he had to buy a prepaid load at eleven o’clock in the evening to load up our pocket wi-fi so he could get back to work. Fortunately, the next day, our Internet connection became stable.

You see, we are a household that uses the Internet a lot. It’s part of our lifeblood; we couldn’t live without it because it’s part of our livelihood. My husband and I work at home for many years now that we invested not only on computers but also a stable Internet connection.

Life Without Internet

But before I go on, let me tell you something about how life was without the Internet.

I was born in a generation between the old-school and the technological advancements. Thus, I have experienced both worlds and could live, thrive, and survive without the other.

I was in second year high school (today’s grade 8) when I learned how to type. My father taught me the finger placement on the typewriter. Then, slowly I learned how to type without looking at my fingers and started to type fast.

Two years later, I had a computer as my elective subject in fourth year high school (today’s grade 10). For the first time, I learned BASIC computer language. BASIC stands for Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. Back then, a black and white TV could be used as a computer monitor, and a floppy disk measuring 5.25” could contain 360KB of data.

We don’t have a desktop computer at home then. So I still rely on a typewriter for school projects.

Eight years later, during my second college course, we were taught WordStar, Lotus 123, Print Shop, and dBase IV. Floppy disks then were the 5.25” and 3.5” which can store 1.44MB of data. CPUs then do have two floppy disk drives for each type.

Two years later, I was introduced to Windows Office ‘95. It was the first time I saw GUI icons to click that would do away with memorizing keystrokes for commands.

Then the late ‘90s came. For the first time, I was able to use a dial-up Internet connection and had my first email address. At this point, I’m already proficient in MS Word and Excel, plus Adobe Pagemaker.

But I still don’t have a computer at home.

Yes, even though I have an email address and have access to the Internet, I still rely on my typewriter for writing. And if ever it needed to be a computerized copy, I would go to the Internet cafe, rent a computer by the hour, save it on a 3.5” floppy disk, and have it printed on a dot matrix, ink jet, or laser printer all for a fee.

It was only in 2003 when we had a desktop computer at home. The most reliable operating systems then were Windows ‘98 and Windows 2000. Typing became much easier because the keyboard was soft to the touch, there’s no need to move the typewriter carriage to the left as I reach the end of the line, and there’s no more need to feed paper.

Oh, those were the days, my friend.

How the Internet Made My Freelance Writing Career

As time goes by, the Internet has evolved and new technologies have sprung. Today’s Internet is far different from the Internet in the late ‘90s. It’s difficult to identify an aspect of our lives that hasn’t been touched by the Internet. It has become so innovative and so in demand that it has transformed the whole world. So much so that the changes brought by the Internet has caused us to reinvent the way we work.

Recently, three of my blog posts that dealt with working from home were noticed by readers like Nick Porter of BroadbandSearch.net. The blog post he shared inspired me to write this one.

It’s obvious that the Internet has made a huge impact on human civilization. Let me enumerate how it affected my career:

Working From Home

my remote work officeI’ve mentioned in previous blogs that I’ve worked for almost seven years in a large US-based BPO company. It was there that I’ve experienced working in an almost digital environment.

When I decided to work at home, I applied what I’ve learned which made my transition from corporate to home set-up easy.

Back in 2012, freelancing and independent contract work were starting to gain popularity. With websites like Upwork (formerly oDesk and Elance combined), OnlineJobs PH, PeoplePerHour, etc., freelancing has become more acceptable as the years go by. The Internet made me find full-time jobs as a freelancer.

With the heavy traffic and long commute that stress people everyday, we expect more people to shift from office work to work at home setup and/or freelancing soon.

Independence

What I liked about working from home is the freedom from the stress and pressure of an office environment. I got more sense of autonomy as I worked my way through my freelance writing business.

On the other hand, I still need to discipline myself to become more focused and efficient in order for me to succeed.

Working Hours

Freelance writing has made me free to choose the hours I want to work so much so that I’m no longer working 40 to 48 hours a week. But there are times that I am working almost 24/7 because of my passion.

There were clients that still follow the traditional 9 to 5 schedule that I was forced to follow their time zone. But there are newer clients that embrace the concept of flexibility regardless of their location or time zone.

Communication & Transparency

One of the things I’ve learned from working in the BPO industry is transparency. And to achieve this, communication is the key.

The Internet has made communication easier and has expanded the media. Aside from email and websites, we now have SMS, chat, VOIP, streaming media, cloud storage, and the like. This has made the world smaller in terms of reaching people around the globe.

Collaborative Work

Start.me appWorking with clients located abroad would be challenging if there’s no Internet. Today, the Internet provides productivity tools that we can use to collaborate, allowing multiple people to work on a document at the same time.

e-Learning

The Internet has made it easier for me to enroll in courses I’m interested in. This can help me take my career to the next level as I thrive in the freelance community.

Security

However, the Internet also has its own downside. While I work from home using it, I’m also aware of its dangers. In fact, working dependently on the Internet has a bigger risk now that there is so much going on online. Hackers and scammers can pose as prospective clients. That’s why I have to be my own first line of defense against cybercrime. I also need to have a working knowledge on how to detect threats and what to do if this happens.

Now that I’m already settled working from the comfort of my home, Internet connection (and electricity that runs it) have become my necessities. It is difficult for me to live without it because my livelihood depends on it.

How about you? Are you also dependent on the Internet?

RELATED ARTICLE: 9 Ways the Internet Has Changed the Workplace

Let me know how the Internet affected your life and career or tell me what you think of this article. Let me know, too, if I have missed anything, I’d appreciate your feedback. And if you like to read more about freelance writing, or productivity, please do subscribe to my quarterly newsletter and join the tribe.