Friday, February 1, 2008

Signs of a Bad Freelance Gig

Bad gigs are like bad relationships, often we want one so badly we are willing to ignore the bad stuff. Other times we walk blindly into a bad gig because we're new or naive. Lastly, we may take a gig and all the heck that comes with it because we see dollar signs.

As it is a new year and we are all trying to do better, here are some signs of a bad gig:

  • It's! Too! Damn! Exciting! Tricia Grissom pointed this out in her Anti-Goals for the new year blog post. When a gig! Has! To tell you! It's all that! It usually ain't. Avoid the show-offs, real gigs don't have to hype themselves up.

  • The terms keep changing. "Blog twice a week for $12, wait, no, let's do a blog every day for $5. No wait, um, I need at least a 500 word blog everyday for 5% commissions, no wait..." If they can't commit you need to dip.

  • Freelance Lotharios. They woo you with promises of a regular gig if you just give them a little bit for free. "Send me 10 articles or blogs so I can really see if you've got it." "Come on baby, just let me see the lead in." You give in and they never call you again.

  • They're so mysterious. No company email, just a Craigslist post. And when they contact you, they want to know all about you, but play who they are close to the vest. You don't want to get to know them - trust me.

  • Freelance whores. They're giving a shot to every Tom, Kim and Bad Writer. There are no real requirements, just be ready baby. Watch out - you'll catch the"bad site as a clip" cooties. The only cure - a big shot of collecting better clips to live down that one

  • Freelance Pimps. They've got a stable of writers they put to work everyday. You make all the money for them in terms of traffic and ad dollars and they kick back a little for you to get some new paper clips. "Who else is going to take care of you like I do baby? I get you exposure. There are plenty of ho's, um writers, who'd love to work for me. Fifty articles at $4 is the big time. Now get out there and make my money."

  • Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde. Oh they're just perfect, until they're not. Email bitch-slaps and article shake-downs are just a few methods of intimidation these suckers use.

  • Please sir, may I have some more? They're sweet, and new, and small. These publications have the best intentions and none of the funds. "If you could just give me a little free stuff to get me started, then I'm sure I'll be able to pay you, I swear, in like a year, or 5..."

  • The Absent Minded Professor. They run their business like a batty old woman's antique shop. Things are jumbled, they lose articles and don't have much in the till.

  • Mr. Boring. You've been together forever and can write an article for them in your sleep. It's routine and you're bored. Wake me when you print.

Kick the bad to the curb, sure you never know what you're going to get and that may be exciting, but on the flip side you never know what you're going to get. And while Mr. Boring may be dependable, you'll suffer like the other Desperate Writers who plug away each day, hoping for something exciting to happen. You may fall in with one of the bad ones, just to see what it's like and get burned.

The gig in shining armor? The one where payment shows up on time, where they display a level of professionalism that reminds you of the days of chivalry without the sexist undertones.

The gig is mutually beneficial - you get great clips, they get a great product.They know what they want and are discriminating, no dangling participles with them. You get the umph in your tummy when you see your article in print. They're just, *sigh.*

Got any signs of a bad gig? Do share.

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Tricia Grissom said...

LOL! The pimps and ho's thing is so true. Well said.

Terreece said...

Hey Tricia,

Girl, it just came to me one day I was trolling the job boards. The writer come on lines were all the same and they just sound like pimps!

Sean said...

Love this article, it confirms some of the thoughts I've had just this morning. But I had to select the text to read it; why the pastel font colors on light blue background?

Kyo said...

You have nailed it! Absolutely.