The Care & Feeding of Freelancers

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The Care & Feeding of Freelancers

  1. 1. The Care & Feeding of Freelancers Kim Pittaway IRMA 2011 Kimpittaway.com
  2. 2. My background <ul><li>Worked as a freelancer for 20+ years + </li></ul><ul><li>Managing editor and EIC at Canada’s largest women’s magazine for 4 years + </li></ul><ul><li>On-going consulting & editing work with small and mid-sized magazines + </li></ul><ul><li>Teach in journalism programs (trying to create good habits in new editors & writers) </li></ul><ul><li>= lots of experience on both sides of the desk </li></ul>
  3. 3. What drives you nuts about freelancers?
  4. 4. What drives you nuts about freelancers? <ul><li>Not reliable </li></ul><ul><li>Not good enough </li></ul><ul><li>Not enough of them </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t deliver what I assigned (story/photos) </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t want to do fixes </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t like my edits </li></ul><ul><li>Good writer, lousy reporter </li></ul><ul><li>Lousy writer, good reporter </li></ul><ul><li>Pitch me stories that don’t fit my magazine </li></ul>
  5. 5. If you’ve worked as a freelancer, what drove you nuts about editors or A.D.s?
  6. 6. If you’ve worked as a freelancer, what drove you nuts about editors or A.D.s? <ul><li>Unrealistic deadlines </li></ul><ul><li>Unrealistic assignments </li></ul><ul><li>Took forever to get back to me, wanted fixes overnight </li></ul><ul><li>Changed assignment midstream--no extra pay </li></ul><ul><li>Vague assignment </li></ul><ul><li>Edited piece but didn’t let me approve it </li></ul><ul><li>Introduced errors into the story </li></ul><ul><li>Kept delaying publication </li></ul><ul><li>Didn’t pay me enough--or on time </li></ul>
  7. 7. Can this marriage be saved???
  8. 8. What do you as editors & A.D.s want?
  9. 9. What do editors & A.D.s want? <ul><li>Well-written, well-researched stories </li></ul><ul><li>Compelling photos & illustrations that capture the story </li></ul><ul><li>Content delivered on time </li></ul><ul><li>Fresh ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Respect: to have my editorial insight--& understanding of my readers--respected </li></ul>
  10. 10. What do freelancers want?
  11. 11. What do freelancers want? <ul><li>Chance to do assignments that interest me </li></ul><ul><li>More creatively engaging work than I can do for commercial clients </li></ul><ul><li>Chance to stretch myself </li></ul><ul><li>Chance to be in the spotlight </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunity to earn a living--or just some extra $$--doing something I love </li></ul><ul><li>Respect--to have my hard work & effort respected by the editor or AD I’m working for </li></ul>
  12. 12. It’s a relationship
  13. 13. The meet, greet, date & mate approach to finding great freelancers
  14. 14. Step 1: Meet
  15. 15. Step 1: Meet <ul><li>First you need to know yourself: What’s your profile? </li></ul>
  16. 16. Step 1: Meet <ul><li>First you need to know yourself: What’s your profile? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I’m a hip young magazine that loves local entertainment & nightlife </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I’m an established, mature publication that focuses on the finer things in life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I’m a family-focused traveler, always interested in exploring the next country road </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. But what are you offering? <ul><li>How do you stack up compared to the competition--the other media markets--in your area? </li></ul>
  18. 18. But what are you offering? <ul><li>How do you stack up compared to the competition--the other media markets--in your area? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Big bucks? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Top editors & art directors? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Editorial flexibility? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creativity? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prestige? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A good time? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perks like free travel? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good parties? </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. What are you looking for?
  20. 20. What are you looking for? In writers… <ul><li>News reporters </li></ul><ul><li>Issue-oriented writers </li></ul><ul><li>Lyrical creative writers for personal essays </li></ul><ul><li>A people person--great profiler </li></ul><ul><li>Technical writers for projects & DIY </li></ul><ul><li>Packagers </li></ul><ul><li>And more </li></ul>
  21. 21. What are you looking for? In photographers/illustrators? <ul><li>Documentarians </li></ul><ul><li>Portrait photographers </li></ul><ul><li>Landscape shooters </li></ul><ul><li>Technical illustrators </li></ul><ul><li>Cartoonist/caricaturist </li></ul><ul><li>Portrait artist </li></ul><ul><li>Collage artist </li></ul><ul><li>And more </li></ul>
  22. 22. In life, polygamy is frowned upon… <ul><li>…in magazines, it’s essential </li></ul><ul><li>You’re not looking for 1 or 2 who do it all. You’re building a stable. </li></ul>
  23. 23. What class are you in? What class are you looking for?
  24. 24. What class are you in? What class are you looking for? <ul><li>A-list pros </li></ul><ul><li>Good, solid freelancers </li></ul><ul><li>Pros who freelance on the side </li></ul><ul><li>Artists </li></ul><ul><li>Hobbyists </li></ul><ul><li>Students </li></ul><ul><li>And in writing specifically: experts, POVers, non-writers with interesting lives </li></ul>
  25. 25. Where do you find them?
  26. 26. Where do you find them? <ul><li>Other media--including locally published books, art galleries, radio (esp NPR/CBC), blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Local writers’ associations, photo clubs, artists groups </li></ul><ul><li>Groups that cater to the interest areas you cover </li></ul><ul><li>Other writers, photogs and illustrators (want to find a single guy? Ask a single guy) </li></ul><ul><li>Other editors and A.D.s </li></ul><ul><li>Local classes </li></ul><ul><li>Non-journalism jobs that require similar skills--communication depts, pr firms, etc </li></ul>
  27. 27. Step 2: Greet
  28. 28. Step 2: Greet <ul><li>You won’t meet the mate of your dreams sitting in your office. You need to get out (sometimes in person, sometimes virtually) </li></ul>
  29. 29. Step 2: Greet <ul><li>Connect with professional & amateur interest groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many have online directories of members </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Network with instructors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Speak to their classes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Network with pros in related fields </li></ul><ul><ul><li>LinkedIn </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google+ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Network with other editors & A.D.s & freelancers </li></ul><ul><li>Attend events </li></ul><ul><li>Host events </li></ul><ul><li>Network even when you don’t think you’re networking </li></ul>
  30. 30. But I don’t have time!!!!
  31. 31. Pay now or pay later <ul><li>What happens when you’re working with crummy freelancers? </li></ul>
  32. 32. Pay now or pay later <ul><li>Waste time redoing work </li></ul><ul><li>Waste time reassigning work </li></ul><ul><li>Waste energy mourning the story/image you wanted but didn’t get and publishing 2nd or 3rd rate work </li></ul><ul><li>Waste energy scrambling to fill holes left by unreliable freelancers </li></ul>
  33. 33. Step 3: Date <ul><li>Before you date… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do a little background checking </li></ul></ul>
  34. 34. Step 3: Date <ul><li>Before you date… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do a little background checking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Start with a coffee, not a weekend away </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. Step 3: Date <ul><li>Before you date… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do a little background checking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Start with a coffee, not a weekend away </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be clear--and realistic--about your assignment </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. Step 3: Date <ul><li>Setting up your date </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Know what you want in the assignment </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. Step 3: Date <ul><li>Setting up your date </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Know what you want in the assignment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give it enough time--but not too much time </li></ul></ul>
  38. 38. Step 3: Date <ul><li>Setting up your date </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Know what you want in the assignment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give it enough time--but not too much time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Put it in writing </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. Step 3: Date <ul><li>Setting up your date </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Know what you want in the assignment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give it enough time--but not too much time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Put it in writing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Talk it through </li></ul></ul>
  40. 40. Step 3: Date <ul><li>Setting up your date </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Know what you want in the assignment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give it enough time--but not too much time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Put it in writing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Talk it through </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leave the door open for follow-up discussions </li></ul></ul>
  41. 41. Step 3: Date <ul><li>Setting up your date </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Know what you want in the assignment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give it enough time--but not too much time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Put it in writing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Talk it through </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leave the door open for follow-up discussions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write it in to check in </li></ul></ul>
  42. 42. Step 3: Date <ul><li>After the date--when the assignment is submitted </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Always send a thank you note--even if you haven’t had time to look at it </li></ul></ul>
  43. 43. Step 3: Date <ul><li>After the date--when the assignment is submitted </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Always send a thank you note--even if you haven’t had time to look at it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respect is earned: timely, thoughtful feedback </li></ul></ul>
  44. 44. Step 3: Date <ul><li>After the date--when the assignment is submitted </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Always send a thank you note--even if you haven’t had time to look at it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respect is earned, part 1: Timely, thoughtful feedback </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fix requests: Put it in writing & talk it through </li></ul></ul>
  45. 45. Step 3: Date <ul><li>After the date--when the assignment is submitted </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Always send a thank you note--even if you haven’t had time to look at it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respect is earned, part 1: Timely, thoughtful feedback </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fix requests: Put it in writing & talk it through </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respect is earned, part 2: Let them see edits/selects </li></ul></ul>
  46. 46. Step 3: Date <ul><li>After the date--when the assignment is submitted </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Always send a thank you note--even if you haven’t had time to look at it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respect is earned, part 1: Timely, thoughtful feedback </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fix requests: Put it in writing & talk it through </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respect is earned, part 2: Let them see edits/selects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respect is earned, part 3: Pay them on time </li></ul></ul>
  47. 47. Will there be a 2nd date? <ul><li>What went right? </li></ul><ul><li>What went wrong--and can it be fixed/can I live with it? </li></ul><ul><li>Where are this person’s skills best used? </li></ul>
  48. 48. You want a long-term relationship. How can you make it appealing?
  49. 49. Step 4: Mate <ul><li>Nothing says “I love you” like on-time payment </li></ul><ul><li>Steady work </li></ul><ul><li>Let me do what I’m good at </li></ul><ul><li>Help me get better at what I’m good at </li></ul><ul><li>Let me try something new </li></ul><ul><li>Tap into my passions </li></ul><ul><li>Make me feel like a member of the family </li></ul><ul><li>Pass me some perks </li></ul>
  50. 50. And now a note about one-night stands
  51. 51. How do you attract someone who is out of your league?
  52. 52. Attracting a superstar <ul><li>Can you offer… </li></ul>
  53. 53. Attracting a superstar <ul><li>Can you offer… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An assignment that’s juicy, goofy or fun? </li></ul></ul>
  54. 54. Attracting a superstar <ul><li>Can you offer… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An assignment that’s juicy, goofy or fun? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The chance to do something they’ve always wanted to do? </li></ul></ul>
  55. 55. Attracting a superstar <ul><li>Can you offer… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An assignment that’s juicy, goofy or fun? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The chance to do something they’ve always wanted to do? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Something that won’t require a lot of time or effort--that they can create easily or may already have created? </li></ul></ul>
  56. 56. Attracting a superstar <ul><li>Can you offer… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An assignment that’s juicy, goofy or fun? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The chance to do something they’ve always wanted to do? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Something that won’t require a lot of time or effort--that they can create easily or may already have created? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The opportunity to explore their passion? </li></ul></ul>
  57. 57. Attracting a superstar <ul><li>Can you offer… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An assignment that’s juicy, goofy or fun? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The chance to do something they’ve always wanted to do? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Something that won’t require a lot of time or effort--that they can create easily or may already have created? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The opportunity to explore their passion? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The chance to be in similar company? </li></ul></ul>
  58. 58. And if you get ‘em… <ul><li>Make the most of their name value </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Coverline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Press release </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promo in direct mail packages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Submit for awards </li></ul></ul>
  59. 59. In the end…
  60. 60. Relationships take work <ul><li>And any good relationship is built on </li></ul><ul><li>Respect </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Mutual satisfaction (technical term: fun) </li></ul>
  61. 61. Questions?

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