Do you ever walk away from an offer of freelance writing work?
If you don’t, you probably should, or at least be prepared to do so. This is particularly true when the potential client lacks clarity about the writing project their offering to you.
Here are 5 symptoms that a client isn’t clear on the writing project they want you to write:
- Can’t tell you clearly why they want the writing done. If you’re to do a good job writing what they want you need to know why they want this particular piece of writing done. The reasons can be almost anything, as long as they are stated clearly and you understand what their aiming at. Without this clarity you’re likely to find you simply can’t please them.
- Can’t or won’t tell you where the writing will appear. Sometimes potential clients think they need to hide details from everyone, including the freelancer they hire. It’s totally okay if someone asks you to sign a non-disclosure agreement, but that should free them to discuss the project with you completely. If they aren’t they probably won’t give you the information you need to complete the writing job.
- Seems not to care when the project is complete. When a potential client is vague about when they want the project complete warning bells go off in my mind. If they don’t care, why should I, and since final pay is usually tied to project completion, I want to know, at least roughly, when that will be.
- Insists on an unrealistic deadline. On the other hand, a client who thinks a writing project can be completed in a flash is also unclear about what they are asking. Sometimes the solution is to charge a hefty surcharge for the fast turnaround. Often a better choice is to walk away from a project you can’t do well.
- Is unwilling to give you details on how and when you’ll get paid. You’re a professional and you should be treated professionally, particularly when it comes to pay. If the client seems reluctant to talk clearly about how much and when you’ll get paid, walk away.
A potential freelance writing client who exhibits any of these symptoms needs to get their act together before they hire you. Although your questions about the project may help them get clear, it’s their responsibility, not yours. Make sure you can work with a client before you take them on; your writing business will benefit from your clarity, and so will you.
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