For a freelance writer, the actual gig starts once you have been officially hired, the contract signed, and the deposit for the work has been received. The time leading up to those events is just as important. If you want to get hired for the gig, the job of showing the client that you are the right person starts with your initial communication.
The little things matter when you are interacting with a potential client. Once you get in the mind set that your “interview” starts as soon as you start talking, you can take steps to ensure that you are presenting yourself in the best possible way. The idea here is to show the client what he or she can expect from you once you are hired.
You want to show the prospective client that you will respond to their questions or concerns promptly, so be sure to do so. If the main method of communication is by e-mail, be sure that you are checking yours regularly. Even if you don’t have time to send back a full reply, you can send back a one-liner acknowledging receipt of the message and letting the person know that you will get back to them in more detail shortly, by the end of the day, or whatever.
Once you have been hired, make a point of acknowledging receipt of your client’s communication. Even a simple “Got it” lets the client know that you have received their instructions or the assignment. If something about the assignment has changed, repeat the new instructions back to the client to make sure that both of you are on the same page.
If you have read the instructions twice and they still don’t make sense, ask for clarification. Your time is valuable, and you want to spend it giving your clients what they ask for – preferably the first time. Going back to make major changes because you weren’t clear about what the client wanted isn’t the best use of your time. A better policy is to ask questions to lower the risk of a misunderstanding from the outset.
The people you work with are not an interruption of your business. They are the reason you have a business. The decision to hire one freelancer over another is as much a matter of who the client thinks they would rather work with as your education and experience. If you take care in the small details of establishing a good working relationship from the start, you are well on your way to landing a great freelance writing gig and being the freelancer the client contacts for future projects.
What strategies do you use to look after the little things as a freelance writer?