Searching for Freelancers
I am a scientist, or rather would have been one if I had pursued my Masters. I am also a freelance writer. Combine the two, and you get an individual who tries to dissect the art of writing and logically analyse it. That probably explains why I am forever coming up with weird queries related to freelance writing, with weird being a relative term. 

Lately, I have been wondering what clients look for in freelance writers versus what we, freelance writers, ‘think’ clients look for in us. Makes sense?

To get an answer, I posted in several forums, asking clients to share what they look for in freelancers. I received a few replies. Sam Botta shared the most unusual reply. He is (if my Google search is to be believed), quite a celebrity. As per his LinkedIn profile, he is an 'American television and radio host, documentary producer, published author and entrepreneur'. He’s also the director of a TV series, called Live Fearless. I loved this demo reel of the show: 


I decided his reply deserved a blog post of its own, because:

  1. His reply was unusual and I think, most freelance writers would benefit from his perspective
  2. He is an authority client, as far as hiring freelancers is concerned – so his opinion accounts for a lot. In his own words (in the private reply he sent to me post the forum discussion): ‘We've hired more than 10,000 talented freelancers’. Now, that’s a client you’d want to listen to!

I have reproduced his reply exactly the way he posted it (even though the editor in me was clamouring for the right to, at least, proofread it):

“Urooj, this is a non-traditional answer. Spoiler warning: The gurus will surely have issues with how we hire, and that's fine. We just do what works, because we care about what really matters in the world.

We always ask what the person would do for the fun/excitement if there was no need to work anymore. In other words, if the person had been given unlimited amounts of gold for the rest of the lifetimes of all family members, and they were also guaranteed that a portion of that would always be given to the charity the person dreamt of building/supporting... If the person was guaranteed this gold would never be stolen and that all family would always be safe and have gold... IF the person could do work for the LOVE of it instead of for money, what would the person do?

The answers are usually "Well, I would work as a _________ in order to make money." So we have to ask the question in many ways, often in many languages to try to receive an actual answer to the question.

We want to hire people that have such an internal excitement about doing what she or he is 'designed to do' in this life. We want to hire people that do not feel that it's work, they are so passionate about doing it they will have been doing that thing separate from the work experiences they accepted to be able to earn money and gain experience doing something that's NOT the real work they would do if only someone would pay them to do it.

We want to hire people that are able to see past the box of this job or this task, realizing that doing what one daydreams about is what would create the most productivity. We do NOT wish to hire a WRITER that really wants to create joy through photos like those from the collection of Colin Rich of "L.A. Lights" fame. We'd rather hire this person to take the photos she's been dreaming of taking with her camera, then helping her with the tools to have mastery in the skills to enhance this talent so that we can both benefit from creations that come from the results of mutual effort.

The self destructive behavior known as "I can't say what I really want to do" is caused by a variety of factors. One is the fear of being seen as selfish. What is more selfish? Is it doing work that bores you that you didn't give your 'all' to do? OR Is it doing what you are the BEST at, something that EXCITES you which causes you to create the most productive, best work?

Often, when hiring freelance, we hire the person that is open about the real dreams - this is a person that we can work with because we feel the motivation for doing the work, and we want to help you succeed - and this helps us with what we must do to accomplish the kind of influence that affects the course of human events with endless positive benefits.

Tell us what you would do Urooj, if guaranteed unlimited gold for all in your family... with permanent safety and security and freedom to do what you believe you are the best in the world at doing... What excites you? When they mention your name in 333 years to stadiums filled with people across the universe, why will they be smiling? Why do they know your name? What did you do with your talent in this lifetime that made the difference to all future generations?”


Whew! He was elaborate. So, what do you think of his answer? What would be your answer to his question, if the last paragraph was addressed to you? Would you still say you want to be a freelance writer?

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Author: Urooj Kazi is a professional freelance writer. To hire her, visit this website's Contact Urooj page. 
 


Comments

09/17/2012 12:58

Urooj, I'd like to pin your article to my Pinterest board for writers, but Pinterest tells me there's no image to pin. Let me know if you can fix that. I'd love to share this with others.

Thanks!

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09/18/2012 05:51

Wow Urooj, that is quite a response he gave you!

It sounds great in theory, but I don't think his attitude is very realistic. Sometimes the best person for the job is going to be the most determined person - the one who's going to get it done and not stop, just because they have to in order to achieve their ultimate goal - which could be entirely disconnected from the job they're doing for you.

Hiring someone because they're chasing their dreams and "want to make a difference" seems a little naive and disconnected from reality. One of those things that's great as an idea but will soon send you broke!

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09/19/2012 00:47

Hi again, Damien!

I completely agree with you. As a hiring practice, Botta's stand 'seems' to have a huge potential for failure - but, it is working for him. To each his own, I guess. Personally, if I were to hire a freelancer, I'd hire one who 'can do' my work, as opposed to one who'd 'love to do' it.

However, his reply is very useful for freelancers who aren't sure why they are doing what they are doing - in essence, help them to reassess their goals.

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09/18/2012 06:23

What a great reply to why anyone would want to pursue freelance writing (or any career for that matter). I've been writing since I was 11 years old and to me it's like breathing- I've got to do it. When I find a subject matter that I am passionate about, the writing becomes second nature to me and I don't even feel like I'm working. It's a great feeling and a great "job".

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09/19/2012 00:50

Hi Halina,

So glad to hear that you are doing what you love doing! All the best for all your future endeavors.

P.S. It IS is a great 'job'. :)

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09/18/2012 11:25

If I could be guaranteed that my needs and those of my "family," which I put in quotes because I am adding in the family of my heart as well as blood family, I would spend my whole life exploring both my internal world (meditation, contemplation, astral travel, shamanic journeying, etc.) and the external world (reading, writing, gardening, walking in the park, developing new varieties of edible perennial vegetables, doing yoga and pilates, learning the medicinal uses of plants, learning the principles of mechanical design and how to build prototypes so I could design things like windmills or other energy-generating appliances for people who want to get off the electrical grid...I have so many passions, I do not want to limit myself to just one! I often joke that if I had been born to wealthy parents, I would have become a dilettante by profession.

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09/19/2012 00:56

Nola,

You are awesome! How can one person have so many (unrelated) interests?

I hope you get to do all that you want to - 'developing new varieties of edible perennial vegetables' sounds very fascinating (that's the biologist in me speaking :)).

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09/18/2012 18:21

Urooj,

Yes, any image should work for Pinterest, but I'd recommend an image that will create clicks. Pinterest is all about the image. Here's my writer's board for an example: http://pinterest.com/melodyraines/my-writing-mentor/
You can see that some images are more likely to create clicks than others.

BTW, the projects I do for free or reduced rates are usually my favorite projects. I do them because I love the projects, not the money. And right now I'm on the verge of getting a full-time job doing the kinds of projects I usually do for free. All the projects I submitted in my portfolio are projects I did for free.

So Botta is talking about me when he says, "We want to hire people that do not feel that it's work, they are so passionate about doing it they will have been doing that thing separate from the work experiences they accepted to be able to earn money and gain experience doing something that's NOT the real work they would do if only someone would pay them to do it."

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09/19/2012 00:30

Hi Melody,

Getting a full-time job that lets you do what you love doing is awesome! Congratulations!

The image's up. I should probably create an account on pinterest too - love the links up on your writer's board.

All the best, Melody.

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09/19/2012 06:17

Great! You've been pinned!

09/18/2012 18:21

Urooj,

Yes, any image should work for Pinterest, but I'd recommend an image that will create clicks. Pinterest is all about the image. Here's my writer's board for an example: http://pinterest.com/melodyraines/my-writing-mentor/
You can see that some images are more likely to create clicks than others.

BTW, the projects I do for free or reduced rates are usually my favorite projects. I do them because I love the projects, not the money. And right now I'm on the verge of getting a full-time job doing the kinds of projects I usually do for free. All the projects I submitted in my portfolio are projects I did for free.

So Botta is talking about me when he says, "We want to hire people that do not feel that it's work, they are so passionate about doing it they will have been doing that thing separate from the work experiences they accepted to be able to earn money and gain experience doing something that's NOT the real work they would do if only someone would pay them to do it."

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09/20/2012 06:00

I love the way you write. Good to let the scientist in you peek over your shoulder when you write and murmur a suggestion or two as long as the writer has the last word!

For some reason, Sam Botta's reply reminds me of my colleague's warning when I decided to chuck my cosy, comfortable, long-term bank job and plunge into writing. "What makes you write is the conflict between what you want to do and what you have to do. That frustration is your inspiration. If you give up this job and take up writing, you think you will be able to really write?"

I have had my share of frustrations and my bank account will never be obese. But I am as sure as I ever was. What I have to do and what I want to do is the same--write.

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Belinda Callin
10/02/2012 12:41

Love it! I have had interviews like that... I always had to stop and think before I lamely said.... well... I would write ...

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01/17/2014 20:52

Myself, the organiser, and my right hand girl, local and translator Isha turned up first with our ‘No Pants’ sign and immediately were approached by about 6 men who asked

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01/18/2014 03:42

After watching your videos and pictures, I get much more information.Thanks for sharing.

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01/21/2014 00:38

The senior officer then came back in and told us that “You are not allowed to take photos in the subway;

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01/30/2014 22:27

Thanks for taking this opportunity to discuss this, I appreciate with this and if you have some more information please share it with me.

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02/02/2014 22:48

Local and translator Isha turned up first with our ‘No Pants’ sign and immediately were approached by about 6 men who asked if this was the ‘No Pants’ Event.

Reply
02/20/2014 01:48

I have been teaching a class and we are looking at this subject in the next week. I will be directing my student to look at your post for good information.

Reply



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