How to Work With a Freelance Writer or Independent Contractor for Maximum Effectiveness

Research shows that the number of freelancers and independent contractors are on the rise. Whether part-time or full-time, freelance writers are everywhere. Here are some things to keep in mind when you consider working with a freelance writer operating as an independent contractor.

Know what you want from a freelance writer before you hire.

Make sure you and the freelance writer both have clear expectations. This will ensure that the project is done to your satisfaction, and that you are charged appropriately.

Feel free to ask the freelance writer for their opinions and input on the project, but you should be able to give them at least a general overview of what you’re looking for. Make sure you can answer the freelance writer’s specific questions and clearly define the project before signing any agreements.

treat freelance writers like consultants rather than employees

Treat the independent contractor like consultants, not employees.

Freelance writers and independent contract copywriters become self-employed for a variety of reasons, such as autonomy and flexible work hours. Treating them like an employee not only goes against the freelance writer’s personal goals, but also runs the risk of violating IRS rules.

U.S. tax and business laws require different treatment for employees and independent contractors. In general, clients can tell freelance writers the desired results, but not how to get them.

Here are some ways to make sure you stay on the right side of the law:

  • Include a clause in the agreement clarifying the freelance writer’s independent contractor status
  • Define the project and deliverables, but not how the work will be done
  • Let the freelance writer use their preferred tools
  • Don’t reimburse an independent contractor for usual expenses (the project fee should cover these)
  • Pay a freelance writer per-project rather than per-hour
  • Avoid non-competition agreements (non-disclosure clauses are fine)

Give feedback.

Although independent contractors and freelance writers traditionally don’t need as much supervision as an employee, it’s reasonable and expected to provide occasional feedback. Request updates to a project, ask questions, and let the freelance writer know how you think the project and the partnership is going. Most independent contractor writers would prefer steady input over not knowing whether you will like the finished project.

Be available for questions.

Even if your project is well-defined and in writing, the unexpected can happen. No matter how much you trust a freelance writer, be sure to maintain communication. If you are going to be unavailable, let the freelance writer know ahead of time, and connect them with someone who can answer their questions while you’re gone.

with freelance writers you get what you pay for

You get what you pay for.

It’s a cliche because it’s true. Independent contractors and freelance writers with multiple clients and years of experience usually charge higher rates because their knowledge is valuable and their time is limited. In general, clients can pick two of three choices: fast, good, or cheap! Expect to pay a premium for something high-quality on a short deadline. If a project is done well on a budget, the results will probably take longer.

Help contractors be invested.

Just because an independent writer is not your employee doesn’t mean they can’t be invested in the work or shouldn’t be considered part of the team. Explain to your freelance writer why the project is important to you and your company. Freelancers benefit from a sense of purpose as much as employees. When they understand your goals and the role they play in achieving them, an independent contractor is more likely to do a better job.

Clients who are upfront about their needs and goals, who respect a freelancer’s position as an independent contractor, who understand the value of their services, and who offer feedback and ready communication are a freelance writer’s dream. Follow these tips to get the most out of your partnership.

Looking for a freelance healthcare writer to help with your marketing content and sales copy? Comment on this post or visit to start talking about how I can help.

As always, thanks for reading. If you’ve found this blog post helpful, or know someone who could benefit from it, share away!

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