Since graduating from Yale University with a degree in film studies, freelance writer Rebekah L. Fraser has helped clients transform their communications using all forms of media. She’s also published hundreds of articles and personal essays in print and online publications, launched a few micro-businesses and created several community projects.
Fraser also writes fiction, and is currently seeking representation for her first novel and writing her second novel.
Tell us about your specialty or niche as a freelancer.
I am a generalist, but my clients tend to be altruistic organizations like schools, environmental organizations and other nonprofits.
My most recent project, Producing the 2017 Annual Report for Pathfinder Program at Hopkins School involved project management, hiring subcontractors, writing the content and designing the assets and layout. I also designed and produced all content for Pathfinder’s website.
Another recent project, for the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern CT State University, involved editing 60 documents for their new website, SustainableCT.org. The documents were bulky and had been written by different people, so they lacked a sense of cohesion. I streamlined the information and gave the documents one voice and a casual, user-friendly tone. I feel particularly proud of my work on this project, not only because the new site (which launched in November 2017) looks great, but also because of the positive impact it is destined to have throughout the state of Connecticut.
What are your clients usually looking for?
My clients hire me to help them communicate with their audiences. Magazine editors rely on me for quality content.
Organizational leaders usually just think they need a writer or a website. After we discuss messaging strategy, they often realize they need a more comprehensive service. I focus on the fact that I am able to translate ideas from one group to another, and to devise a comprehensive messaging strategy that includes written and visual content, graphic design, and project management.
What methods do you use to grow and to acquire more freelance business?
I find that organic networking works well for me. I have been very fortunate to grow by word of mouth. However, I am currently exploring ways to be more proactive in attracting business.
It has ebbed and flowed over the years. 2013 was fantastic. 2014 and 2015 were lukewarm. 2016 was terrible. In 2017, I broke my earnings record.
What are some mistakes you made early on?
I took jobs I didn’t really want because I thought I should, or I thought those opportunities would be good stepping stones.
What are some factors that go into a good business relationship with clients?
Be authentic. Be honest. Be clear. Demonstrate integrity 100% of the time.
Client relationships fail when clients don’t respect the freelancer or when clients have no personal integrity. I had to leave a regular gig I loved because the client was not paying on time and was making partial payments. I did a little research and discovered this was a pattern with him. In fact, previous freelancers had filed a lawsuit to get him to pay them.
As a project manager, I find I don’t wish to re-hire subcontractors who have failed to deliver their work to me or my client on time, or have delivered sub-par work.
Related reading: The Ultimate Guide To Hiring Subcontractors
What do you hope to learn more about or get better at in the next year?
I would like to get better at recognizing my own blind spots, so I can identify where and how I need to grow in order to better serve my clients and allow my business to thrive consistently year after year.