5 questions to ask yourself before hiring a freelance writer

Before I became a full time freelance writer, I “side hustled” with it for the most part of 8 years. During that time frame I’ve worked with some very interesting characters, who have taught me valuable lessons.

A lot of clients I’ve worked with have never used a freelance writer before, which comes both with positives and negatives.

This blog is aimed more at The Client, and giving you some some insight on the questions to ask yourself before engaging a freelance writer, so you can have a great partnership and find the right person for your projects.

As a disclaimer, I don’t speak for every freelance writer on the planet – this is just from my own experiences and also how I like to operate to have complete clarity!

  1. What is my budget? You may not know exactly how much money you have to spend, but if I had a pound every time someone had “no budget” but then thought my quote was “too much” I’d have a Gucci bag by now. Maybe three actually.

    Even if you don’t have an allocated budget, you need to sit and realistically ask yourself how much you are willing to spend. This will help you find the right freelancer for your financial needs, and erase any need for awkward negotiation. If you ask a freelance writer to guide you on budget, we actually spend a lot of time making our proposals commercially right for you (which we don’t get paid for).

    Have a rough ballpark figure, and if you’ve never worked with a freelance writer before – be open to their suggestions. We aren’t money-grabbing monsters, we just want to be paid fairly for the work we do.
  2. How niche is the content I’m asking for? This plays a huge factor in pricing, as well as the kind of freelance writer you’ll need. The more niche your content is, the higher the price will be – especially if you’re working with a specialist in that area or someone with a technical background.

    If the content is incredibly generic (a simple google search would give you many variations of the article) then being charged through the nose for it is unfair on you, I completely agree. However, the more information you can give on a briefing call – the more accurate the quote will be.

    Again, if you need guidance – freelance writers will always be honest. If something is too niche, I always pass it on to someone else who can do it – because our reputation is everything.
  3. What are my timescales for delivery? Similar to being niche, the sooner you need a piece of work, the higher it’s going to cost you. Think of it as Amazon Prime – we have to prioritise your work over other stuff we’re working on. This is going to result in a retainer being requested, and a higher rate. Also, it’s important to note that if your timescales are inaccurate, we will let you know. What would you rather have, something done properly, or something rushed?
  4. Do I value content creation, or do I see it as a necessary evil? This is probably the most important question to ask yourself. The worst client is the client who thinks they can do every job on the planet – including copywriting.

    Feedback is crucial to having a brilliant piece of work, however if you start treating your freelance writer as though they’re an idiot who can’t do their job, they’ll stop working with you. It’s that simple.

    If you see content creation as a necessary evil, you aren’t ready to hire a freelance writer, marketer, graphic designer or any creative.
  5. What is the scope for future work? (volume) A lot of freelancers will consider slightly lowering their rates if there is guaranteed work (at least I do anyway). Does this mean you’ll get 50% off? No. What it does mean is you’ll develop a great partnership with a freelancer because they feel valued, you give them regular work and (hopefully) pay them on time.

To conclude, you’ll see that the above questions aren’t difficult, nor are they going to take you a lot of time to think about before you engage with a freelance writer. I hope this piece has given you a little bit more direction and insight, and I wish you the best of luck with engaging a freelance writer in the future.

Follow me on Twitter for unfiltered ramblings.

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