But I've seen fewer articles over time that talk about how to be a great client. One client, pleased with my work, asked me how to be the best client I had, which got me thinking: how many other clients don't quite know what it is that I need from them? And so here you go--my tips and suggestions on how to be the very best client for your freelance writer. I'd love to hear what any clients or other pro freelancers think of these suggestions!
Be clear about what you need
The more information I get up front, the better. When I know what my clients need, I can make sure that I provide it. But nothing is more frustrating to me than writing an entire webpage, article, or series of Facebook posts, and then having the client say "That's great! ...But I was really thinking more like (this other thing I never told you about)."
I ask a lot of questions leading in to content writing, asking for websites that demonstrate the kind of content you're looking for, who your ideal customer is, and what your goal is for your content. The more answers I get up front, the smoother the rest of the process will go for both of us.
Don't feel like you need to use the lingo
There's nothing wrong with not knowing the difference between a landing page and a press release, but if you ask for one, and then it turns out what you need is the other, that gets frustrating and confusing for both of us.
If you're not sure what you're looking for, ask me questions. I promise, I won't think less of you for it! After all, if you knew how to do all of this on your own, you'd be doing it, right? So asking me questions helps us to make sure that you get exactly what you need--which is beneficial to both of us!
Tell me your budget up front
Sometimes clients get kind of quiet about how much they can afford to spend, and only after I work up a quote do they tell me they can only spend a certain amount. This is frustrating for both of us. If you had told us immediately, I might have been able to work up a different quote. If I truly was not able to work within your budget, I would recommend either another freelancer, or a platform or service where you might be able to get your needs met within reason.
But by waiting until the last moment, you leave a sour taste in both of our mouths. I'm up front about my costs for a reason. I've worked hard to be able to charge what I do, and you're paying for experience and expertise. If you can't afford it, no hard feelings.
But please, please, don't avoid telling me your budget, hoping that I'll somehow charge you much less than I talk about without even asking me.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Confession time: I hate those jobs where someone demands that you be available on Skype 24 hours a day, and I won't apply for them. Quite frankly, I've yet to find a freelancing job where someone pays me enough to be available around the clock. I didn't put up with that in retail, and I got paid a living wage.
But that said: I need you to check your email (or Skype, or however we've established ideal communication) once a day or so. My time is tightly scheduled, and if I run into questions or complications, a delayed response from you can throw off your entire timeline. If you take days to respond to my questions, I may not be able to do anything but reschedule you. And no, I won't be feeling badly about that.
Is this one really hard? If you say you're going to pay me, pay me. If you say you're going to have work for me, have work for me. If things change, let me know. I'm a reasonable person, but again, I schedule my time very tightly, and it's frustrating, sometimes disastrous, to have a client bail without warning.
This goes back to my first few points. If you knew how to do all of this, you'd probably be doing it yourself. If you're hiring me, trust that I know what I'm doing, and know how to get you what you need. I have a great track record with my clients, and my writing has been well received across a variety of audiences.
If you don't like my writing style, again, no harm done. There are hundreds of freelance content writers in this gig economy of ours, and the way I write isn't for everyone. I can change my style up quite a lot to meet the needs of different clients, but sometimes, there's no match. This isn't what I'm talking about.
When I get clients correcting my grammar (incorrectly), arguing with me about how to write certain sentences in ways that will not be advantageous to the customers that they're selling to, or generally trying to tell me how to do my job--well, who does react well to that?
So, there you are! Those are my tips on how to be my very best client that I will never ever want to fire. What would you add to the list?