Hey there, lovely! I found you some free reads!
Scifi, fantasy, superhero, romance...drop me your e-mail and I'll send 'em with love! ^_^

What can I do for you?........Free Fic…....Writing_Tips
...Interviews…............Interactive Resumebyjenfinelli.com

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tips for Small Businesses Working with FreeLance Writers: Stats, Risks, and Ramifications

The US Small Businesses Administration estimates that based on the last census, small businesses make up 99.9% of the business force in the United States. Out of 27.5 million businesses, only 6 million have employees, and only just over eighteen thousand businesses employed more than 500 employees.

Those 99.9% are the businesses that hire freelancers. The big guys in the top 18K don't need always need independent writers--they have thousands of employees from every educational persuasion. That doesn't mean giant businesses don't ever hire freelance writers, of course, but they don't always need the extra help. It's not just the States--in the UK, 79% of small businesses queried by the Guardian hire freelancers.

So what? To quote Dr. Larue from Hoo U, "this would have several ramifications."

First, the checks and balances between writer and client decrease when the client heads a small business. That's great, because it means the freelancer and the client have more open communication about a project. Unfortunately, without the giant corporate editing-system, many small business owners just have to trust a writer's ability based on how good the client 'feels' the writing 'looks.' There's a paradox here, because usually the small business owner knows she can't produce professional-quality writing--that's why she hired the freelancer in the first place. Yet the small business owner expects herself to professionally evaluate that writer and get good content for her money, all based on a feeling about a skill she doesn't have. Don't see a problem here? Let me give an example.

I once contracted to ghost-write a large project for a client who spoke English as second language. Before hiring me, the client had hired another writer, a native English speaker, who could not finish the project due to a family emergency. The client paid him anyway, and then sent me what his former free-lancer had written. It saddened me. The previous freelancer sold my client a product peppered with grammatically-incorrect syntax and awkward structure, and the client--again, not a native speaker--had no idea he'd been cheated. He could recognize that the words made sense, he saw the writing surpassed his own, and he could see that the client successfully followed basic capitalization rules--but my client didn't know how to recognize a dangling participle or an ugly gerund or verb tenses that didn't match their subjects. As a result, my client paid hundreds of dollars for something a high-schooler could have written. That's really, really sad.

Small business owners with non-native English or disadvantaged educational backgrounds stand to risk more when hiring a freelancer--but you don't need a corporate editing team to mitigate that risk. Many business owners consider contracting a freelancer through sites that provide editing automatically--that means looking for writing websites like Scripted rather than freelance job boards like ODesk. Freelance job boards generally provide more flexibility and direct client/writer interaction, but they don't provide much quality control; that commission ODesk skims off pays to help find the freelancer and provide mitigation services, not to correct her work.

Small business owners who prefer the liberty and flexibility of working directly with a freelancer may at least want to have a trusted friend evaluate the freelancer's work--before starting a contract. Don't operate in a vacuum. Yes, as a freelancer, I prefer working directly with a client, without any job boards or writing websites--no middleman means all the money goes straight to me--but I want fairness. If you choose to work without a middle party, get a professional friend with good writing skills to give you a second 'feel' on the freelancer's application. Don't just rely on your instincts.

"Don't trust your instincts" goes two ways: after hiring a qualified freelancer, business owners should consider trusting the professional writer over their own 'feelings' about writing. I've seen clients buy ghost-work and then add in grammar errors before posting it online. While I'm glad my name didn't go on the end result, I'm frustrated that I took the effort to do something right if my client just ended up looking bad anyway. Clients should seriously consider reviewing GrammarGirl or Strunk and White or something before changing what a freelancer submits. Several software companies also provide automatic 'grammar-checkers' that may help, although nothing's as good as a real, live human. (Links to a few grammar guides included below.) No time for grammar? Either trust the freelancer, or ask a friend to look it over.

Have a favorite freelancer experience? Free-lancers, do you have a favorite small business client? Leave a comment!


  1. I really, really like Freelancing tips. While it has been acknowledged that it has an important part to play in the development of man, it is impossible to overestimate its impact on modern thought. It still has the power to shock the upper echelons of progressive service sector organisations, who are likely to form a major stronghold in the inevitable battle for hearts and minds. Complex though it is I shall now attempt to provide an exaustive report on Freelancing tips and its numerous 'industries'.

  2. One of the most important steps in the process is for the employer to clearly define the need, the required deliverable, the necessary skill set and expertise of the freelance professional, their commitment and availability, the project's timing requirements, and payment structure.

    Hire a Freelancer