Is there a bigger time waster than the potential client or an actual client can’t or won’t make up their mind? Of course there is, but not many that can make you feel absolutely crazy.
You know what I mean. I’m talking about the potential client who keeps you on the string and/or the client you have under contract who can’t decide exactly what they want.
Either way they are time sinks. In fact, the time waster actually costs you money because you could be using the time you’re wasting chasing or negotiating or explaining again again could be used for paying work. You deserve better.
Your goal is to ether help that time waster get off the dime and make a decision or you should decide they aren’t worth the effort.
Time waster examples
Time waster clients come in two types – those who waste your time before they hire you and those who waste your time after they hire you.
Why should they hire you as a writer?
Do you know the answer to this question? You should. You need to know the skills and talents you bring as a writer that set you apart from other writers.
When you can answer why they should hire you you’ll find landing freelance writing gigs much easier than it is if you don’t.
Here’s why you need to know
You need to be able to articulate why a client you want should hire you because you are unique. You have a particular set of writing skills that are based on any number of things, including these four:
You know your price for writing, right? You charge $X by the hour or the word or the page etc. You know your price gives you enough to for all of your expenses as well as at least some of your wants.
If you don’t know this it’s time to go back and re-figure how you’ll charge for your services.
Now, how do you feel when quoting your price? Confident? Scared? Excited? Broke? Desperate? Eager? In other words, do you worry about your client’s sticker shock?
Do you fear client’s sticker shock?
Many writers do, and it’s a shame. You know the feeling, it’s when you’re afraid your price is to high for the person you’re quoting it too. It’s a funny thing, because in the U.S. at least there’s very little bargaining for goods and not a whole lot for many services. If you buy a salad at a restaurant, the price is the price and you choose to pay it or you choose something else even if it’s another restaurant. When you hire a lawyer or a plumber you either pay their price or you don’t.
OMG! I just noticed that I have posted 2,080 blog posts – in fact this one makes it 2,081! (Assuming WordPress can count my posts accurately – I certainly haven’t tried to keep track.)
And that’s while I’m also ghostwriting books, writing about politics and election integrity, experimenting with gathas, writing blog posts for others. As well as living my life.
I’m quite impressed!
The secret of 2,000 + blog posts
The secret of writing that many blog posts isn’t really a secret. Writers like me who give other writers and would-be writers would mostly say the same thing:
You’ve absolutely got to put the words down on paper or on screen.
And you’ve got to do it regularly.
Interruptions like robo-calls (is there anything more annoying and useless on the planet? Probably, but I can’t think what at the moment) are exactly the kind of thing that, if I don’t turn my phone off, can drive me clear off course. Someone dropping by to talk about business is fine if they keep to that, otherwise it’s like other interruptions, annoying and non-productive. And if you’ve got young children at home where you’re working, interruptions are guaranteed.
Interruptions break your concentration, making a train wreck out of your thinking and even your writing if your not careful. They make me want to tear my hair out. Bet you often feel the same.
Of course, a real truth about life in these times is interruptions are a fact of life. The trick, then, is to figure out how to deal with them so you’re not taken so far off course.
Start by protecting yourself. Turn off the your cell and your landline if you have one. Put a sign on your door asking not to be disturbed. Think about the last few times you were thrown off course by something you weren’t expecting. Spend a few minutes imagining what you might have done to avoid those altogether. The chances are you’ll find at least a couple of things you can do proactively to make it easier for you to stay focused.
‘Scope of work’ is one term used to refer to the details of, among other things, a writing gig.
Sometimes defining the work you’ll do is pretty simple – a 500 word blog on how to get up in the morning, or a one page sales letter introducing the newest widget.
At other times, usually when you’re dealing with a brand new client or a more complex project, the scope of work can be quite detailed. In either case the goal is to make sure you and your client are on the same page.
What to include
It’s often up to you, the writer, to figure out exactly what the scope of work really is. In addition to your name and contact information, the client’s name, title, billing address and contact information you want at least the following:
- Date the contract or scope of work is agreed upon and/or signed
- Definition of the project
- Statement of projects purpose
- How changes to the agreement can be made
- Who signs off on it and arranges payment
- Due date
- Payment and how it will be made
Attending a conference or convention, if you do it right, is both highly fruitful and a ton of hard work. When you put in the effort you’re likely to have at least one or two of the following benefits and maybe more.
I just returned from the four-day Netroots Nation Conference in Philadelphia. Although I went as COO of Democracy Counts, I’m way too much of a writer not to be aware of how a conference or convention can benefit those of us who are freelance writers. Netroots is a progressive political organization but it doesn’t really matter what kind of conference or convention you’re attending. Here’s what I mean.
A conference or convention can lead to one or more assigned articles
Once you know you’re scheduled for some sort of meeting – regional, national, international or even city-wide – ask yourself who would benefit from an article about that meeting. That answer can range all over the place, from small-town local newspaper to big international magazines. Don’t overlook industry trade magazines.
You’re a writer so of course you can write on any topic!
Okay, maybe like me, you can’t do credible academic writing on rocket science, but on the whole you truly can if not write on any topic, write on most.
Because you know how to do research and how to translate difficult topics into understandable English for the average reader. And you read a lot about a whole bunch of things. You’re curious and you enjoy learning. You were either taught to think clearly or figured it out for yourself.
Clients may doubt you can write about any topic – particularly theirs
This morning we had a discussion in our forum about how often clients insist you have experience writing about their particular product or process. Many who hire writers don’t understand that a good writer can learn about what the clients wants you to write about quickly and that in fact you actually can write about any topic, including theirs.
It seems there’s more going on in life than is readily apparent and the so-called Law of Attraction is apparently one way to access some of it. Of course, the idea that we humans can tap into something beyond our ordinary selves is ancient, and so is the idea that we can ‘manifest’ or create what we want.
I’m far from an expert. What I want to talk about is how some of the thinking there has made life more fun and productive.
Abraham-Hicks, who have roughly a gillion videos on YouTube is where I started. Esther Hicks talks about moving toward what feels good. The idea is the better we feel about ourselves and our lives the more effective we’ll be. I’ve turned that into moving into gratitude. When I’m down, or angry or whatever unhappy, when I remember what I’m grateful for I start feeling better pretty quickly. In general when I feel better I write better and market better, etc. etc. etc.
There’s some real science behind Law of Attraction
Dr. Joe Dispenza, who also has a big presence on YouTube, has done a lot of solid research into this particular brain/mind/body connection. He’s also with his team conducted an amazing number of brain scans of people in his seminars which indicated we have much more influence on our body than we are traditionally taught.
There are a whole lot of people my age who aren’t very healthy. This was driven home to me when I ended up in an urgent care facility with a badly cut finger last week. (It’s healing nicely, thank you.) I kept seeing people roughly my age who were just sick and seemed to have given up.
Thinking about it today I realize that I am more healthy many around me who are in their 70s or so. Sure part of it is the good fortune of good genes, but there is I’m convinced more to it than that. As I look at how healthy I am, I see that some of it, maybe even most of it, is because of habits I’ve developed in the last decade or so.
I stopped smoking
Probably the biggest thing I did to get and stay healthy was quit smoking. It’s been more than a decade and although it was the hardest thing I ever did, I’m also very pleased with the results.