In my nearly 14 years as a freelance writer, I have rarely been able to see the work of other freelancers. And I mean rarely. This past week, I got to see two different pieces of work from two different freelancers.
I was appalled.
Seriously, I couldn’t believe the lack of quality that these supposed professionals provided.
First, let me provide some context. A lot of the work I do these days is writing lead magnet reports for people who are launching online businesses. I offer three levels of report — Basic, Advanced, and Premium. I also offer additional materials, such as solo ads, opt-in pages, and report covers. (Yes, I taught myself to use Adobe Illustrator and InDesign to be able to offer clients more.)
The first piece of work I saw was a lead magnet report. Now, my client had ordered one from me because my work is very good. But previous to that, he had paid someone to do one, and he decided to use that one as a backup. He asked me to do a cover and solo ad to go with that report.
Well, the report was about 1,200 (give or take) words shorter than it should have been. And I am quite certain that this person, working as a professional freelance writer, had absolutely NO CLUE how to format anything. The bullets were terrible. The line and paragraph formatting were awful. There were no page breaks. There was no page numbering. There was no table of contents.
I asked him what he paid for it. She only charged one cent less per word than I charge for a Basic report and on top of it all she put her own name on it and her own bio in it!
This is NOT professional.
My basic reports come as a work-for-hire. They are fully formatted and include page
numbering. The author (client) bio is included, the disclaimer is
included, the table of contents is included, and I include one public domain image in the Introduction and each major section of the report.
Next, I got to see a cover done for a report I had written for another client. Now, this client doesn’t have the best English and the original title she had for the report was not well written. I tweaked it, partly because of the poor grammar and partly to make it more in line with the way a lead magnet report title should read. But when she showed me the cover, the new title wasn’t on it. The cover had her old title, which was NOT grammatically correct. There was even the word “than” where there should have been “then.”
The person who made her cover, found on Fiverr, had literally copied and pasted her title without correcting the grammar! WTF!
Now, I am well aware that even the very best freelancers out there make mistakes. I know I do. No one is perfect. But it was blatantly obvious that these two freelancers were sloppy, unprofessional, and did not deserve to be paid for such shoddy work — at least not in my opinion.
But it’s these kinds of freelancers that can take advantage of an unsuspecting and inexperienced client who doesn’t know any better. A client who doesn’t know the level of service they should be getting for the money they are paying.
My point with all this?
If you are working as a freelancer — be the very best you can be!
I imagine, or at least hope, that these two freelancers are not representative of what’s out there in terms of service providers, that they are in the minority, but I really don’t know if that’s the case. It’s so easy to sign up with a freelance platform and sell your services on the cheap, so I could be sadly disappointed if I knew the real numbers.
What I want to say here is that as freelancers, we have a responsibility to represent this industry with class, quality, and integrity. We have a responsibility to deliver top-notch work that is no less than what the client needs, even if they don’t know they need it. We have a responsibility to ensure we know the ins and outs of the software we use and that we use it to its full capability.
We have a responsibility to ensure our clients get their money’s worth from our services.
- Learning the software you use and knowing it like the back of your hand
- Proofreading, proofreading, proofreading
- Taking what the client gives you and improving/correcting it
- Guiding the client — remember, you’re the expert
- Going above and beyond in your service
- Not rushing your work
So, take a good long look at the service you provide. See if there is anywhere you can
improve. I try to do that regularly. Be the best freelancer you can be today, and improve your skills and knowledge so you can be better tomorrow.
I’d love to hear what you think about this topic. Let all of us know in the comments section below!