The Importance of Being E(a)rnest

No, this post is not about the play, nor is it about the movie. It’s about a quality all successful freelancers share — being earnest (aka sincere, aka dependable).

Let’s face it, there’s actually no dearth of talented writers out there. The world today is filled with wonderfully eloquent and awe-inspiringly articulate folks. Do we really need another writer? Yes, if she is not just talented but dependable too.

The law of demand and supply for writers says that if there’s plenty of supply, then a few things other than writing skills are also going to count. Do you have a bad attitude, or act like a diva with a client, or have as much respect for deadlines as a snail does? If you’re answer is yes to any of the above, you’ll need to rethink your strategy.

Early on in my freelance career, my neighbour, wife to a pretty successful entrepreneur, had told me that sincerity and reliability were the most important things for repeat business. Talent will get you work the first time. But a freelancer’s bread-and-butter is repeat business, and that comes when the client is assured of your reliability.

What are some of the indications of sincerity to a client?

  1. You respect deadlines. Your work gets done before or by the date agreed upon.
  2. If there’s going to be a delay, you flag it to the client immediately, explaining the reasons clearly, offering options if necessary.
  3. You take feedback in your stride and apply it well.
  4. You seek to do the work in the spirit of things, not just by the letter.
  5. You don’t wait for the client to offer solutions to potential problems. You’re proactive in finding solutions.

2 thoughts on “The Importance of Being E(a)rnest”

  1. The importance of being earnest…m intrigued by the title. Being earnest as a free lancer does carry a lot of with indeed. And why being a free lancer is an author, each role in life requires the same dedication and earnestness.
    Was an enlightening one.

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