At All Media Freelance, the parent company of FWD, we always recommend that all freelancers—and this goes for bloggers, copywriters, photographers, small businesses–scope out the competition. Conducting industry-specific recon just makes good business sense. You’ll save money, time, and precious resources when you learn from the mistakes of those who came before you.
Recently, on one of our fact-finding missions, checking out various business websites, we came across a site offering copywriting and editing services. Within moments, we noticed a glaring error – especially troubling considering the services the site claims to offer – copywriting and editing.
This editing business, which prides itself on its ‘eye for detail’, elected to use the word ‘except’ when they should have used ‘accept’. We couldn’t help but take exception to this—careful proofreading would have caught what may have been a simple typo. One thing potential clients know for sure: these editors don’t check their own work; so, how can I be certain they’ll check mine? NEXT!
Seriously? Is it too much to ask that a self-proclaimed editor [slash] copywriter proofread the content she wrote for her own business website, advertising her skills? Apparently so. Things just went from bad to worse. Further exploration revealed limited knowledge of proper comma and apostrophe usage and other related issues.
Sam and Amy Speak, “Nobody’s Perfect”
Samantha explains, “As a freelance journalist and copywriter, I’ve made my share of stupid mistakes and still do. If I’m commenting on another person’s post or article and feel rushed, I often notice one or more mechanical errors in my (sadly) already submitted comment. I confess that, on occasion, we’ve overlooked an error in a couple of our posts, but we always go back and correct it, once discovered.”
Amy adds, “And if you know us, you know we’d even elect to arrive late to a meeting with the renowned Brian Clark (who doesn’t use a pen name, by the way), just to make it right.”
Says Samantha, “I’ll never forget one of my most noteworthy errata. I decided to write a comment early in the morning before I had put my contacts on. Apparently the post had something in it that made me desperate to comment right at that moment. FAIL! Later that morning, I went back to read the post again and review my comment. I had peppered it with senseless spacing, spellings, and dubious punctuation.”
Just Do It
Just Do It – people everywhere, from avid runners to couch potatoes, recognize this famous Nike slogan. This powerful phrase inspires all types of action in people…on and off the field.
Just do it: just apply, just write, just edit. But when you do get up and move to just do it, make sure that you bring your A-Game. Prepare yourself well first. Your website is a reflection of your skills, talent, and ability – your own best advertisement – your Brand. Make it work for you rather than against you. Especially if you put yourself out there as a professional copywriter and editor for hire, you better know how to spell, punctuate, and string a sentence together – with style. If you don’t know it, perhaps “Just don’t do it” is a better policy.
So maybe the Nike slogan works as an inspirational mantra, literally directing runners and others to get off their butts and just do it. Yet it doesn’t quite cover it for freelance writers, editors, and copywriters. If you have mistakes, like the one appearing on the website prompting this post: “At this time, I only except checks or money orders,” – we’d be willing to bet that you will be accepting few new clients except for those who cannot read.
Do It Right
If you have trouble with punctuation, proper sentence structures, and other mechanics of writing, take a class at your local community college. Want to jump in the fray as a freelance journalist? Take a class in journalism to learn the basics. Write for experienced freelancers as an intern and listen to their advice about how to improve and revise your work. Do this before hanging out your shingle as a freelancer.
Save your pennies and hire an experienced professional web designer to create your business site for you. If you want to write the content yourself, have a more experienced content writer proofread your work for mechanical errors, clarity, and panache.
Make Your Mark
You’ll certainly make mistakes when you first go rogue and start freelancing full-time. And you’ll likely still make some missteps even after you’re going strong with a thriving business. Take your lumps, learn from your fails, and keep improving. #makeitcount
Just do it, but just do it right.
Image credits: cheezeburger dot com, prettyplease dot us