The Writing Life, Part 1—Freelancing With Agencies

This is the 1st post in a 5-part series on The Writing Life.

When I first began freelancing, I had no clear idea of how to find clients. So I started cold calling companies. More about cold calling in The Writing Life, Part 4—Finding Clients. Shortly after I completed my first two client projects, I accepted a 3-month contract position through an agency.

Agencies that hire and place writers are much like temporary agencies that hire office personnel or laborers. They find clients who want to hire writers, then they negotiate the contract, find and hire the writers, collect the payment, and pay the writers, keeping a percentage for themselves for the work they’ve done.

It’s fair, but it means you’re working for much less than you would be paid if you worked directly with the client. Still, I loved working this way when I was relatively new to freelancing and still learning how to find clients and negotiate contracts. I also appreciated that the agency would go after any delinquent payers. After a while, however, the constraints of working for an agency became apparent and I determined to work for myself because I’d begun to feel comfortable finding clients and I knew I could negotiate a better rate than I was getting from the agencies.

Working with an agency may be a good way for new writers to begin freelancing. Some more experienced writers prefer to work with agencies, so they can concentrate on what they do best and most enjoy—writing—and leave the administrative aspects like finding clients, marketing, and negotiating contracts to the agencies.

In The Writing Life, Part 2—Freelancing Without an Agency, I will share some of the reasons writers choose to freelance untethered to an agency.

This is Part 2 in this 5-part series about The Writing Life. To read this series from the beginning, click here. I would love to hear your thoughts about life as a freelancer. What in this series is helping you? What else do you want to know about freelancing? Please leave a comment by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom of the page.

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