How Many Freelance Writing Projects do You Take on Each Month?

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on October 11, 2008 in Freelance Writing Business
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The number of actual projects (or clients) I take on each month as a freelance writer can vary pretty greatly, and more clients doesn't always mean more income (often the opposite). So I'm curious - do you seem to have a typical number of projects each month, or do you vary a lot with your freelance writing work too?

In the past, I worked mostly for end clients (in other words, the person buying my articles was the one publishing them or the company ordering a press release was the one actually issuing the news). These days, while I still work with several repeat and regular end clients, I also do more work for marketing firms, SEO firms, Web design firms, etc. who act as middle men clients - they outsource multiple projects to me (such as a design firm hiring me to put together launch releases for their own clients' new sites and companies).

Each has their good sides.

The Benefits of Working with End Clients

  • You become familiar with their own company's needs, become "invested" in the company with repeated work, and communication can often be much better.
  • Because you'll often be working with more clients of this type, if you lose one for any reason, you don't take as big of a financial hit until you fill in the work time with new clients.
  • The administrative side of things can be much simpler (your client file deals with one specific client).

There are also some obvious perks to working with firms.

The Benefits of Working with Middle Men Clients

  • They often bring in larger, or more frequent, orders.
  • They secure the end clients and bring them to you, which can save on marketing time (not that you should ever stop or significantly slow down your marketing anyway).
  • If there are communication issues between you and the end client, the middle man may have additional information to help you out (for example, they may know that the client is typically slow to respond, particularly nit-picky about certain things, etc., and they can give you a heads up so you can move the process along a bit more smoothly).

Each also has its downsides. For example, when working with firms that have you dealing with multiple end clients at once, you may spend more time dealing with organization and administrative tasks even if not as much on the marketing side of things. And when working with end clients, they won't always have the need or budget to bring in regular, large orders.

This month I'll probably be working with about a half dozen clients or so in total. Other months I've worked with nearly two dozen. I've found that getting a good mix of middle men and end clients seems to be the most enjoyable and financially-rewarding way to go. Now what I want to know is, what works for you? Do you prefer working with a few clients on larger projects, or many clients on smaller ones? Why?

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.

She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.


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3 Comments

  1. Leigh October 11, 2008 Reply

    Good post, Jenn. In the past, I liked working with more clients on small projects. If I could finish a project in a day and get paid for it, then finish another project the next day and get paid for it, and so on, I’d have a constant flow of small sums of money coming in to my account.

    Now I prefer working with fewer clients who have large projects. Right now I only have four major clients, but they all have big projects. One client has over 300 articles to be written. One needs 65 articles. One needs five articles per week. The final client usually orders 30 articles at a time, and he always pays immediately upon receiving the completed work.

    I’m not working with middle men anymore because I have been burned too many times. I recently had someone refuse to pay me for a sales letter – she had been referred by a client of mine. I did a project a few years ago for $1,300 and never got paid a cent – the person who worked with me was not the person responsible for payment. He was simply the graphic designer on the project. So, no more middlemen!

  2. Nicole LaMarco October 12, 2008 Reply

    Hi Jenn!

    I like long-term clients and middle men websites the best. However, I also take on short-term work that sometimes turns into long-term work. Not including my middle men websites I am currently working for 7 clients this month. If I take on anymore I might explode so I am good with this amount. It always depends on how big the project is. One this month is huge, so I probably won’t be taking on anymore. Usually I would take on about a dozen clients.

    I prefer a mix of both, because that is where the demand is.

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