Dear Freelance Clients, Please Stop Being So Annoying

Yes, I’m Planning On Going On Early Retirement

2020 has been a record year for me on the freelancing front.

I’ve had the privilege of working with clients in some very interesting industries. I’ve interfaced with some passionate teams. And recently, I’ve had the change to learn more about SEO and keyword research. All signs of progress all while increasing my income despite a challenging year on virtually every other front.

Nevertheless, as I accrue more experience in freelancing, I can’t help but notice some things that clients do that are less than desirable from my standpoint as a writer. Okay, sometimes they’re downright annoying.

Clients have occasional gripes with me, I’m sure. But if a client ever wanted to know what are my pet peeves as a writer … well, here’s the list.

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Set — And Coordinate — Realistic Deadlines

Whether you’re a freelance writer, agency owner, or just somebody else in the business of juggling many clients, you probably understand how busy things get when you’re managing a roster full of 10 clients.

Whenever I’m working with a new client, I provide some information about my average lead times so that people know what to expect. For me, three to six business days per draft is a realistic turnaround time.

Busy freelance writers aren’t sitting at home twiddling their thumbs waiting for their next project. If you’re going to ask for a quick turnaround project from a writer, than please reach out and ask if it’s doable before putting the work on their plate.

Some freelancers are fine working with clients who need things done “by yesterday.” However, many are not.

Even if you’re a regular customer, freelancers don’t owe you their availability until …. they owe you their availability. If you want that luxury, you should be prepared to sign a retainer. Until then, you should realize that they’re able to take on other projects.

Be Realistic About Your Budget

Quality writing doesn’t cost zero. In my biased and humble opinion, it needn’t cost a fortune either. Given the potential ROI of effective content marketing, I would also affirm that it’s generally a good investment.

Clients need to be realistic about the budget they assign for freelance writing projects.

Specialized, technical writing costs more than generalist copy.

If you need three revisions, or are going to ask your writer to read 100+ pages of background research, then expect that he or she is going to factor that into the price of the job too.

There’s a positive correlation between quality and cost. If you’re going to demand the very best article ever written, then you should be prepared to back it with a credible budget. Remember the time / cost / quality triangle. You can pick two!

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Understand The Economics Of Freelancing

It’s not your business to know how freelancers make a living. But there are some basic best practices that it would be advisable to follow.

For one, freelance writers earn money based upon the projects they undertake and bill for. They don’t get paid a salary to sit in a (home) office. That means that — to put it bluntly — their time is their money.

Unless your freelance writer has indicated that it’s part of the service, it’s unfair to assume that you are entitled to ask your freelancer for unpaid chunks of time. Things such as:

  • Attending long phone meetings
  • Watching repeat demos
  • Watching webinars

The good news is that if you’re transparent about your requirements from the outset the freelancer can build these into the quote they’re preparing. Just be aware (refer to previous point!): more time spent = more money spent.

Written by

Nonfiction ghostwriter. Thought leadership for B2B technology & public affairs clients. Site: Book:

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