From The Golden Thread Mailbag …
Contracts

This week, we have three inspiring stories to share – one from a member who’s taking The Ultimate Travel Writing program, one from a member who’s taking The Six-Figure Copywriting program, and one from a member who’s taking The New and Expanded Resume Writers program. But first, some excellent tips on contracts from Eileen C. Enjoy …

"Hi, Scott – Great article about contracts in last week’s Golden Thread. I’d like to pass along a few tips about contracts that I’ve learned in my 3+ years as a working freelance copywriter.

"First, some clients are intimidated by the word ‘contract’ – especially smaller businesses.In that case, just use the phrase ‘letter of agreement,’ which seems less intimidating to them. You can also have them sign a ‘scope of work’ or ‘work order’ – they all boil down to pretty much the same thing.

"Second, if a prospect refuses to sign a contract and put down a reasonable deposit (I usually get 50%), it’s a red flag that should not be ignored.I had a fairly prominent Internet marketer in the real estate industry refuse to put a bona fide signature on an agreement.Instead, he faxed me the agreement with his name typed in. When I politely but firmly insisted that I needed a signature, he told me it was perfectly acceptable in his business practices to type in a ‘signature’ (yes, red flag number one) and that, obviously, I was going to be ‘difficult to work with’ (red flag number two) and I ‘needed to compromise’ (red flag number three) if I wanted to work with him.

"Naturally, with all those red flags flying, I did not want to work with him in the least.It can be hard for newbies to walk away from jobs in the beginning, but some jobs and some people really are not worth working with.When they refuse to act professionally or treat you like a professional, you’ll save yourself a great deal of trouble and stress if you walk away."

– Eileen C.

Thanks, Eileen. Let’s hope your good advice will help our members avoid some "newbie" mistakes they might have made.

This next letter originally came to Lori Appling, director of AWAI’s travel-writing program, but we thought Mary O’s good news about her freelance career was perfect for our Mail Bag too …

"I just got a contract from International Living for the article I wrote for my [travel-writing program] final about my trip to China! And when I got back from China, I had a contract sitting in my pile of mail from Today’s Christian Woman for my article about how I used my traveling to touch lives. So, I’m on my way … thanks to your program. I found the program so fascinating that I completed it in just 4 weeks time, even though it is a six-month program. The ideas in it flowed so smoothly that hours would go by as I read it and underlined portions that just jumped out at me. I constantly use my class notebooks as a resource as I rough out my articles, and I add to them weekly when I get your emailed writing tips. Thank you so much."

– Mary O.

This one’s from another new freelancer – a copywriter who landed her first two clients before she’s even finished the program …

"I’m 56 and I’ve decided this is probably my last career change. I raised my kids and helped my husband with his side business (custom engraving). When he passed away suddenly last year, I found myself without direction and wondering what to do next. My love of writing and this copywriting program saved me. I finally knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I haven’t finished the program yet, but will soon, and I’ve started my own writing business. Joined the Chamber of Commerce, got two new clients – I’m on my way!"

– Alanna K.

And before I sign off for this week, here’s one more success story – this one from a member in the resume-writing program …

"So far, I have done about 20 resumes for my friends all over the world. I did this for nothing to get the practice, and they in turn gave me testimonials to use on my website. Since most of my friends have good jobs, I had to talk some of them into applying for a job to test my resumes. And almost all of them got called in for an interview. One of my friends, who had not planned to switch jobs, ended up accepting a new position. When she notified her current employer that she was quitting, they counter-offered and gave her a 30 percent increase in salary and a promotion!"

– Tom O.

Great work, Mary, Alanna, and Tom! And continued good luck to all of our members who have taken that first step toward a new life.

Thanks to one and all. Keep those emails coming!

Scott

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: June 6, 2005

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