Writing for a living may sound glamorous, and I suppose sometimes it is. However, the reality of freelance writing can often be more about long hours, chasing unpaid invoices, drumming up clients to replace ones who ran out of funds to hire a writer and spending time educating clients about what is—and what is not—realistic when working with a freelancer. Sometimes, there’s precious little time for actual writing.
One way to free up some writing time and eliminate a few of the headaches that come with a typical ghostwriter contract is to work with a writing company. Such companies handle all of the collections, marketing, customer service and most client contact. Pretty much all you have to do is write. Imagine that!
I think there are a many solid reasons for working with a writing company. Below are my top five:
1. Reliable payments. Although writing can be fun and rewarding, the number one reason freelancers write is to make money. Private clients can often be unreliable with payments. Sometimes, they have cash flow problems and are late paying; sometimes, they don’t pay at all. Even well-meaning (and well-funded) clients can forget to mail a check or initiate a Paypal payment. With a good writing company you get paid on time, every time.
2. Qualified clients. If you’ve ever trolled Craig’s List or other job boards for writing gigs, you know that the quality of clients can range from very professional or borderline insane. A good writing company qualifies the clients before their orders ever hit the job board. This saves you time spent dealing with clients who don’t know what they want and/or have unrealistic expectations.
3. Less marketing. When you have to find clients on your own, a good portion of your work day is spent marketing your services to new clients. This means scanning job boards, responding to calls for writers, bidding on writing jobs on sites like Guru and elance, and even making cold calls to local businesses. Freelance clients come and go frequently and a writer who wants a steady income needs to constantly replace clients who go out of business, take their freelancing in-house or run out of funds. A writing company handles the marketing for you.
4. Consistent writing opportunities. When you do your own marketing, you have to take time off from writing. Conversely, when you’re writing, you’re not looking for new clients. When you deal with a writing company, you have many fewer peaks and valleys.
5. They have your back. When you work alone and have a problem making a client understand what’s reasonable and what’s not, you have no one to stand up for you. Perhaps the client wants a third (or fourth) free revision. Perhaps the client tries to change the payment terms in the middle of a job. A good writing company will help you deal with unreasonable clients or those who try to take advantage of you.
What’s the bottom line? Working with a writing company isn’t right for every freelancer. However, don’t dismiss such an opportunity just because the company takes a commission. In my opinion, they more than earn it.
Sandy M is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.