How’s it going? As far as the truck goes, we’re going to get the starter replaced–apparently it’s under warranty still, so the only thing that we’ll have to cover is the labor (which will basically mean about $60 or $75 or what-have-ya charge, instead of over $300 or something)…
I thought you were kinda tired of hearing me jabber about mechanical problems and connecting them to being a writer, so I figured I’d put the brakes on. At least for now.
Anyway, let’s get to it.
A couple weeks back, I got a random message from a woman over LinkedIn. She said that something in my background and experience caught her attention, and she wanted to get in touch with me. She worked for a marketing agency, and she wanted to know when I was available to chat.
Well, it was weird for me because except for friends sending me private messages over LinkedIn, or congratulating me on an anniversary, or people wanting my vote for a jiffy award they’re in the running for and really want to have, I don’t get messages over LinkedIn.
(Okay, offers from LinkedIn don’t really count toward that).
The deal is, I was intrigued. It sounded interesting, but she didn’t offer a lot of detail.
(We’ll break this down as we go–Tip 1 as a fiction writer or copywriter–be sincere and direct, yet keep them interested, and wanting to know more without spilling the beans).
So I wrote her back, half-and-half expecting to hear something on one side, and to be ignored on the other.
She actually wrote me back, and told me which date/time I’d given worked for her.
I did a little digging, since I’d never heard of her agency, and from what I could find out, they have other consultants besides this woman.
The time came for us to chat. Turns out she’d wanted to find me work, and have me be someone on the agency’s rolls.
She asked me what hourly/yearly marks I was looking for in the money situation, after she’d figured out what I was interested in.
(Tip 2–do your research on yourself as well as your clients, prospects, and readers). I say that because I’d been so busy editing, blogging, and what-have-ya I didn’t really think about this. The woman said I could send her a rate sheet later, when I did get things together.
I’ve also never considered working by the hour, for the simple reasons that the less I have to keep track of, the more sane I end up being, and that there are so many hours in a day, which is the limit on how much you can make–$100 an hour, let’s say, that’s $800 a day. It’s nice, but if you’re not working, you’re not earning money. If we contrast that with a $10,000 project to write a sales letter and some emails, and if both projects take 2 weeks, that’s $8k for the hourly, and $10k for the project (assuming a 5 day workweek). $2,000 doesn’t seem like much, or it may not, but it can make major differences.
I almost totally blanked out at the end of our conversation when she said, “Do you have any questions?” (Tip 3–seriously consider Tip 2). I was almost stuttering over the phone here, and did my best to calm it down.
I talked to her about what turned out to be the internship she’d done last semester for WGN, to write their website copy, and things like that. So that established rapport, which was good.
Tip 4: Try to get people on your side–much easier if they reach out to you, but it still works.
I told her that I want to write copy for people, which is what I’d thought about doing in the future (something she’d asked me about when we talked about salary jazz). I said I’d wanted to stay where I was and not relocate.
Tip 5: As a fiction writer or copywriter, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT dismiss any angle, character, plot point, or anything out of hand. If it doesn’t fit for this story, letter, character, email, what-have-ya, save it somewhere for later.
It hadn’t occurred to me that relocating could be worth it (this agency works the Chicago area) for a chunk of change big enough (something north of $75,000 to be sure).
We discussed other aspects of certain jobs–I didn’t think I could proofread B2B direct mail copy in the north suburbs, for example. She kept tossing out ideas based on what they had available, looking to find something to help me out, it seemed. And I don’t think I could do B2B justice as an industry, at this point in my training/business/life.
I’d sent her my resume as requested before we chatted, and we talked about that too–she had mentioned my publications or the publications. I don’t know if she meant the novel starter chapters I’d mentioned on LinkedIn or my editing experience. Things went by too fast for me on that.
I asked her what inspired her to reach out in the first place. She said because I could do writing and editing–and that it was rare and valuable to find that combination. She also thought my project management experience was valuable because people like to have folks who can manage things if people are underneath them.
Tip 6: Seeing your value through the eyes of a professional outsider can be a remarkable thing–I hadn’t really thought of things this way, or the way she mentioned them to me.
After we hung up, I got this woman my rate sheet (maybe undercharging a bit on my upper range), and thanked her for her time.
On the whole, I felt unprepared–despite doing some thinking leading up to the call, it wasn’t enough, or in the right direction(s).
And strangely enough, that’s how it felt to be recruited.
I didn’t ask my interviewer/headhunter how the agency makes money–I’m figuring they mark up whatever rate I want to have, and pass it on to the agency. I also said I’d be free in about a month and a half or so, and could put in 10-15 hours per week, part-time.
All in all, I’ll be more prepared for this next time (especially since I’ll definitely take a look at Writer’s Market before I hop on these types of calls, instead of afterward).
She said if anything changed, to email and call and let her know. And I’ll definitely be doing that.
Until next time,