What to Expect When Hiring a Freelance Writer for the First Time

What to expect when hiring a freelance writer for the first time

What would you like to know about hiring a freelance writer?

Over many years working as a freelance writer, I have learned that clients who have never partnered with an independent writer are sometimes nervous about how to get started.

Hiring a freelance writer can take a lot of work off your plate, but it can be intimidating when you don’t know what to expect. So, I’m sharing with you how I begin working with new clients, and I hope understanding the process will ease your concerns.

Initial consultation

When working with a new client, I like to schedule a phone call or Zoom meeting. This is the most efficient way to learn more about you and your writing needs. Depending on the size and complexity of your writing project, our initial conversation could be short and sweet, or it might be longer and more in-depth.

During the consultation, I will ask you about several things:

Project details: What do you want me to write? Here’s where you’ll describe what you need and the goals you’re trying to achieve. The more details you can share, the better! This will be the bulk of our conversation.

Research: Whom will I need to talk to in order to gather all the information to complete your project? Will I need to conduct interviews? Will I need to do research? What background information can you provide?

Review: Will you be the only person reviewing the draft of the project? If not, who else will need to review it?

Deadline: What’s your turnaround time?

Budget: What is the budget you’ve set aside for this project? (You can check out my sample rate sheet to give you an idea about my writing fees.)

Quote: After our conversation, I will review my notes as well as any background documentation you can provide. Then I can offer you a quote for how much your project will cost. If my quote aligns with your budget, we can sign a contract that outlines project details, timeline, and fees.

What about hiring a freelance editor?

I can help you with editing, too! If you’re hiring me as a freelance editor, I’ll ask you a few other questions during our initial conversation:

  • What type of editing do you need? For example: proofreading, copy editing, or substantive editing (light, medium, or heavy editing).
  • Do you have a style guide preference? (For example: Associated Press Style or Chicago Manual of Style) Do you have an in-house style guide?
  • What is the format of your document? For example: PDF, Word document, or Google Doc.
  • Do you have a sample of the writing I can review so I can provide a quote?

Communication preferences

Strong, prompt communication is crucial to a successful writing project. It’s how I learn about you and your needs, and it’s how you stay updated about my progress.

I want you to share your expectations about how often you want to receive progress reports throughout the project.

  • Do you want frequent emails about my progress?
  • Do you want to spare your email inbox and get updates only at significant stages of the project?

Knowing this, I can prevent you from feeling overwhelmed with updates or feeling out of the loop on how the project is going. Of course, your preference may depend on the size of your project. Small projects tend to need fewer updates.

I’ll also explain my communication needs so I can work efficiently. Prompt communication from you is important to keep the project moving forward and on track to meet your timeline. Email is typically fine for this—I might follow up with quick questions or concerns about any roadblocks I might encounter (such as scheduling an interview with someone at your organization who is unresponsive).

The writing process

This is where you can hand off the project with confidence! I will schedule and conduct interviews, do background research, write and polish the first draft, and send the draft to you for your review. If you’d like, I can facilitate approvals from the people I interviewed.

After you review the draft, we’ll discuss your feedback, and I’ll handle your edit requests. Then I will send you a second draft for review. My clients rarely request edits to the second draft, but just in case, I always offer two rounds of edits for every writing project.

Closing the project

When you’ve approved the final written document, I’ll send my invoice. In most cases, I send only one invoice for a writing (or editing) project, but that can vary, depending on the size and scope of the project and the timeline. Don’t worry—we’ll figure this out when I send you my initial quote.

What else would you like to know about hiring a freelance writer?

I hope this was a helpful overview of what to expect when hiring a freelance writer for the first time. Not all writing projects are the same, so your initial conversation with me might vary, but this should give you an idea of what it’s like to work with a writer.

If there’s anything I didn’t mention that you’d like to know, please contact me and ask! I want all my clients to feel completely comfortable and confident when hiring me to partner with them on a writing or editing project.

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