Love what you do, and you will never have to work for the rest of your life. In April 2009, when the global recession hit India, I lost my job. It was not a good time for me, but the only way to pull yourself out of such situation is to do things differently. You need to do the right things when things go horribly wrong. I made a decision that was quite challenging. I decided to look for a job that I enjoy and allows me to grow creatively, but what would that be? I never knew then. Eventually, after 4-5 months of struggle, I eventually got my freelance content writing assignment. I didn’t make the kind of money I needed, but the experience was good. I never looked back then for a job. Today, with six years of experience I’ve seen different shades of freelance content writing & ghostwriting world. In my previous post, I mentioned how clients should watch out for low quality and unreliable content writers. This was in collaboration with my friend Dan Antion who inspired me to write that, but then I decided to take a step further and showcase the other side of the coin. The Clients.
Like freelance content writers and ghostwriters, clients also have different aspects and perspectives and it is important to understand that, if you’ve to survive in the content writing business. This post will take you on a journey of what type of clients’ you as a freelance content writer or a ghostwriter will come across in your career and how you should deal with them.
Type 1: I Need Free Mockups
Believe it or not, almost every client you’ll come across will ask for the kind of content you create. Here, you can showcase some of the sample articles that you’ve already written and that should be okay with clients who are genuine. Clients are spending money for the content and therefore they have the right to ask for the quality of the content that will be delivered. However, there are clients who ask you to specifically write on topics that they want and how they want it. Such clients are very tricky and it takes time to understand their true intentions. There are clients that do demand samples related to the topic they want and they are genuine clients willing to offer the price writers demand, but some just run away into the blue with your content. Picking them out of the bunch is a talent in its own way.
How to Deal: Create your own blog or site, post variety of samples that you can forward to your clients to showcase them your work. If your client demands a fresh article, you can write a fresh one, post it on your blog/site and forward the link, instead of the Word document file.
Type 2: I Don’t Know What I Want
A client who does not have any clue about what he/she wants is another category that you have to watch out for. Initially, it might seem to you that you can handle the situation and can give in your ideas, talk him/her out and decide on a mutual topic, but be ready for a twist. Clients who are uncertain about their objectives change their mind after sometime and they will remain dissatisfied with whatever content you provide because they’re not sure about their requirements and needs. It is easier to work with clients who have clarity about the kind of work they expect from you and it makes the work experience easier.
How to Deal: Define your project’s objectives before commencing the work. You can also mention about what will be the outcome of the work and mention it in your contract.
Type 3: I Need Constant Communication
Like freelance content writers, clients come in all shapes and sizes and certain clients are very critical of the communication factor. They believe that they are in the driver’s seat and therefore they know things better than anybody else. They will bombard you with emails and text messages telling you can refer to this, research on that and so on. They would also demand you to be quick with your response and email ASAP, which at times will put you in a tight spot, because you might be handling more than one project.
How to Deal: Be clear about how you will do the research and what time you will be available to reply. Provide the ETA to the client to ensure there are no communication misunderstandings later on. Be assertive, confident and professional.
Type 4: I am Extremely Critical
To be honest, clients are people just like us, some lenient and some extremely critical. However, there is a fine line between handling a challenging client and a hard-to-deal critical one. A client who is overly-critical of your work can make you feel depressed and break your confidence. Such clients zap your motivation and the interest to work affecting your work and eventually you see the performance dropping with other projects as well. If you’re relatively new to the world of professional writing, such clients can shatter your confidence completely making you feel guilty and critical about your own work.
How to Deal: Keep in mind that your client should treat you with respect. If there are issues with the quality of the content, work on it. However, at the same time you also have to be confident about the kind of quality you deliver. You need to know that your work is the best and you need to project that with total self-belief. Maintain a professional stance and communicate with the client to resolve creative differences. If the client is not interested in working with you any longer, close the deal professionally and move on with your next assignment with a fresh mindset. Don’t be upset that you couldn’t satisfy your client. Not all deals go the way we think. Start afresh.
Type 5: What Money? I Can’t Hear You
The most frustrating part of freelance content writing business is handling clients who do not pay or pay late. At times you might be handling multiple projects and there could be many projects with outstanding payments. Such clients continue to pass you work, but never really pay or generally pay late. If the client is in a different country, you can go ahead and report the client to relevant organisations, but there is very little you can do.
How to Deal: Keep reminding the clients that they need to pay on time, before you work on their next assignment. You can also mention down some points in your contract related to when and how you want to receive payments. If you have had a bad experience, you can always ask for an advance to be on safe side.
Type 6: Your Rates are Too High
Clients often do a lot of research before they decide which content writer they wish to hire. You might come across clients that do tell you that they’ve found someone who is willing to take the assignment for less than 50% of your charge. Although, this might make you feel that you might lose a client, but the fact is that you need to stick to your rates, if you’re really giving out a unique and professional content. Different freelancers charge different rates, so you don’t have to worry about what others are charging their clients. If clients are happy with your sample work, and if they believe there’s value in your content, they’ll pay you.
How to Deal: Be very clear about the rates you charge. You can tell the client that your rates are based on the quality of content you deliver. Genuine clients are always happy to pay for a high value and rich content. Give them a unique and rich content and they will love to work with you.
Type 7: Catch Me If You Can
Imagine you taking all the pain and effort to write the best content and emailing it to the client, but you never get a respond thereafter. Frustrating, isn’t it? These clients are like ghosts, they keep you hanging on for day and weeks before you receive their email which is probably a one-line email. These clients keep you waiting especially if you have any queries to ask or if you want to know feedback.
How to Deal: Gauge their communication skills during their initial response. If they do not provide timely response or make you feel left out, you can be sure that they will do the same throughout your time together.
To conclude, let me put it this way. Not all clients are the same and therefore you need to deal with each one in its own way. You have to be selective, build long term relationships with some and at times even let go some clients in order to be on a safe side. There are no tried and tested methods as such, but you need to trust your instincts and use your mind to make decisions to build your content writing business and make income through freelance writing.