The Guru Blog spotlights members who are pursuing their passions through independent work. For this week’s “Feature Me Friday” segment, we’d like to introduce to you Lynda Forman, a full-time writer and editor. Lynda began offering her writing services on Guru in October 2005 and she now works with clients around the world. She is a one-woman company – for now. Read on to learn more about her experience and her thoughts on how to cultivate (and guarantee) freelance success.
Guru: How did you get into freelancing?
Lynda: I wish I could say I had a plan. In 2005, I realized I hated my job, so I walked out and decided to make writing my career. I’d always written and loved to write, so I figured, why not? The next day, I started bidding on work, and got my first freelance job within a few weeks.
G: What was the most challenging obstacle you faced as a beginner freelancer, and how did you overcome it?
L: When I first started in freelancing, there wasn’t as much information about ‘how to do it’ as there is now. So, I just said ‘yes’ to every job I could, learned from the feedback, asked my clients questions about their business, and figured things out along the way.
G: Looking back, what did you wish you’d known as a beginner freelancer?
L: I wish I’d known how to set up a bookkeeping/accounting system. That would have saved some (tax) headaches.
G: What is your favorite thing about Guru?
L: I have to say, I have met some of the best clients on Guru, and I thank Guru for bringing them to me. The SafePay system has to be mentioned as a favorite. It’s nice to know I will be paid for the work I do.
G: What is one thing you’d like to change about Guru?
L: I don’t know if I’d change anything, but I’d love to see a phone app for the site.
G: What other sites do you use to find and manage freelance projects?
L: Guru is the main one I use, though I started out with Elance a few months before coming on Guru. However, my first year on Guru, I believe, I got paid more than I paid for the membership.
G: What assurances do you ask for before beginning work with a new client?
L: SafePay, SafePay, SafePay. I also use a project plan template that clearly outlines what I’ll do, what the client will do, and what happens if either of us doesn’t do as we’re supposed to do. Also, be sure to get the contact information of your clients. If they’re hesitant to give this to you, be wary of working with them.
G: What are your usual work terms – when do you ask to be paid?
L: It depends on the size of the project. Sometimes, I request deposits. Sometimes I do not. This can also depend on whether I have worked with the client before.
G: Do you have any tips for getting insurance? This is a big concern for freelancers in the U.S.
L: I got health insurance by going online and deciding what I could afford. I also am a member of the Freelancers Union, and I know they offer insurance to members in some areas.
G: What do you consider your specialty when it comes to freelance work?
L: I’ve learned to be versatile in my business, but I would say I enjoy writing books, eBooks, and online courses. There’s something about immersing yourself in a topic or a story. I’ve learned so much about so many different things. I’m unbeatable during trivia games!
G: What do you find the most rewarding about freelancing?
L: The most rewarding thing is hearing a client’s satisfaction on the phone or in an email. Knowing that you brought their idea to life is what brings me back to my computer every day.
G: What has been the most unique or memorable project you’ve taken on so far?
L: Oh my. I’m glad I signed a non-disclosure agreement for that one. Trust me, it was a doozy.
G: What is one thing you’ve learned above all else while breaking into the freelance world?
L: Freelancing is not a hobby, and when you treat it like a business, you’ll be in business. And you’ll make money. Trust me
Contact Lynda Forman
Lynda is found on many sites around the web. She invites you to get touch with her through her website (www.lyndaforman.com), Guru profile, Facebook page, Twitter account, and her blog (http://lyndaforman.wordpress.com). Unsurprisingly, she drinks a lot of coffee.