Most freelancers find it hard to get business, myself included. On top of that, sometimes, some clients can be hard to please. I’ve had my share of “Clients from hell”. Just like most things in life, these things “just happen” to you. The question is: what do you do about it? I hope that my personal take on what I do at work might help you. Here’s what I do:
I set objectives, milestones, prices, and scope of work clearly before starting
Never jump straight into a project the moment it comes about. It really helps if you take some time out to set down objectives, the necessary milestones (it’s your job to come up with these, not the clients’), the exact scope of work, your expectations from clients, and also ask what clients expect from you — all of this, before starting the project (and not while working on one).
Well, that’s nice to hear. But what do I mean by setting down expectations? Assuming a ghost blogging project, which involves writing 600- 1200 words, here’s what I would do:
To the client:
· You own 100% copyrights to my work. I will not showcase this work as a part of my portfolio or even pretend that these blog posts are mine.
· Blog posts will be in the range of 600 – 1200 words. The range is wide so that it can have the space to give a wide berth to ideas.
· Research, originality, linking out to other blogs or sources, using royalty-free stock photos, adding tags, picking categories, and optimizing for SEO are all included in the price quote and are to be expected as deliverables.
· As for the topics, angles to take, opinions, etc. Here are some choices:
o You may suggest topics, put forth your ideas, and give me explicit instructions to follow.
o You may have me think of angles, put up the topics for your approval, and I write based on our mutual understanding.
· In spite of all the hard work that goes into trying to find your voice, match your personality, and to impersonate your character, these are still blog posts with MY ideas. There could be a possibility that you might not want to use the post. In such cases, I’ll take my article back and I’ll retain my rights over those articles or blog posts.
· If posts have issues with spellings, grammar, language, syntax, etc., I’ll make changes until you are satisfied.
I give wiggle room
We are all different people. We think different. Each of us has different ways of thinking. While we mostly have the same goals such as financial freedom, money, good health, fame or recognition – the way we approach each our needs is vastly different. Our behavior with others, ego states, personality types – all different.
Why am I talking about this? Clients are people, after all.
Hence, I give them room to wiggle. I start with trial projects and see how things go. You’ll be surprised at how different it feels to work for every single client (which reinforces my thought that people are different after all). But I determine how much room I give out for clients to wiggle. Sometimes, unfortunately, things don’t work. Scope of work expands inconsiderately at the same price points, ideas don’t match, etc.
I give up, more often than not
I do give up on projects. Actually, I give up much sooner than most of my freelance writer or blogger friends I know. Maybe this is something I should work on or perhaps I do the right thing, I am not so sure. A few instances of mismatch, and the projects are off.
But I am fair. In fact, I am also generous. I cancel projects but:
· I don’t invoice my clients for the work already done (even if I am right or if I am actually justified in invoicing).
· I still edit my articles or blog posts, make final changes, or add what the client asked for in the last email. Like maybe, number of words falling short of average? Or maybe the Meta information for blog posts needed changes? I know I won’t be paid for this, but I do it anyway.
· I clearly state why I am cancelling the project. The client has a right to know why I took this step.
· More often than not, I let my clients keep the articles, blog posts, reports, or whitepapers already completed, with full rights.
You might call me ridiculous, but this is who I am. This is how I do business.