freelance rules

The Rules Of Freelancing… Written and Unwritten

I have always been the guy that loved breaking rules… Just ask past classmates, friends, police that knew me and oh yea, the prison guards.

  • The first to smoke a cigarette in the new school
  • Drinking vodka in science class
  • Painting a swastika on the sheriff’s windshield
  • And having a buddy throw a tennis ball full of marijuana over the prison fence

Breaking rules had its share of fun and excitement, but it also carried consequences.

I finally realized after many years that following the rules makes more sense for my overall well being.

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And then I started freelancing!

Trust me when I say, the best freelancers are compulsive rule breakers.

  • “If I want a comma there, I’ll put the damn comma there!”
  • “But if I want to start a sentence with a conjunction, I will.”
  • “And you can’t do nothing.”

Okay, I broke a rule on that last one that could cost me dearly… A double negative always makes a positive. Can’t do nothing could actually read: Can do anything!

Are you shaking your head in amazement?

How does this asshole get any clients?

Are you laughing?grin

Well, wipe that F’in smirk off your face, because I am about to smash my ego and admit that I am sick of breaking all these rules. And because of my “about face,” I have been gaining great clients and writing material that is loved.

So follow these written and unwritten rules of freelancing and join me as I near the peak of freelancing mountain.

Rules Of Freelancing: Act Like The Expert You Are Supposed To Be

Some clients will test you to see if you truly are a freelance expert. If they say they want something done that will most likely get negative responses because of the way it is written, you need to explain to the client immediately how this could negatively effect them.

Maybe you are being asked to write about something you have no clue about. Does that mean you “play stupid?”

No, the contrary. I may tell the client I am slightly unfamiliar but my research will tell me all I need to develop an excellent article.

Rules Of Freelancing: Use Profanity Sparingly

You probably noticed that I used a couple of profanity terms earlier in this post.

This is my blog and I can do that, so if you don’t like it….

But never… NEVER use profanity when speaking with a client. And NEVER use profanity in the material you provide them unless they distinctly ask you to do so. And even then, use it sparingly.

It has greater effect that way.

Rules Of Freelancing: Obey Word Counts

If a client asks for 800 words, why would you give them 1,200 words?

Do you actually believe it makes you look better? And for heaven’s sake, don’t try to slip them 500 words. That is even worse.

The client ordered a word count for a specific reason. Now I have had my moments where I could not “fluff” enough to get a full count. I simply told my client that and sent what I had. And, I have sent 100 words more than the count, but never more.

Believe me, you will gain more respect if you follow this unwritten rule.

Rules Of Freelancing: Answer Emails

I have to come clean here, I have broke this rule. Normally It happens because it goes to my spam folder. So be sure and look at your spam folder.

I am firmly against checking email too often. It slows down progress.

But you do need to check your mail at least twice per day and answer client and potential client emails within 8-12 hours.

Rules Of Freelancing: If You Can’t Destroy, Get A Contract

I can be a nice guy unless someone tries to rob me after I provided them with great material.contract

All my current clients would never even consider it and I have had very few try it. The ones who have are no longer in business because I went to all levels to make sure the world knew of their sleazy ways.

One service called Ghostbloggers ripped me off along with many others. I believe the authorities in Europe finally caught the creep after a damaging post I wrote and many others commented on.

If you are not willing to attack thieves with all your power, get a contract and enforce it!


These are just a few of the rules of freelancing.

Oh yea, a couple more…

  • Write for the reader
  • Reread your work

Do you have any written or unwritten rules you would add?

Post them below… I have got to go… Client meeting in 5 minutes.

But, please share this in your social circles. Thanks and happy freelancing.

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4 thoughts on “The Rules Of Freelancing… Written and Unwritten

  1. These really are great rules, and I totally agree with them all. Unwritten rules? Not that I can think of, but I will say that freelance wannabes need to learn the trade and the craft . . . I’m tired of amateurs crowding the field, giving good writers a bad name. 🙂

  2. Hi Greg,
    Thanks for the insightful article. I’ve been having a go at freelance writing on and off for years. I started submitting to magazines, had a few successes, but nothing groundbreaking. I’ve dabbled with Textbroker and similar sites and am growing increasingly fond of Constant-Content. What I would like to know is, how do you actually go about finding private clients? This seems to be holding me back. Any tips?
    Greg (great name by the way)t

    • Great question Greg!

      I have found my website a good way. I also suggest you develop a good “pitch” and start contacting potential clients via their websites. It has worked quite well for me.

      Last but not least, use social media. Join groups and offer your services on a consistent basis.

      With a first name like yours, you should have no trouble… LOL

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