I’m a client. I get approached by designers, web architects and copywriters all the time. They pitch me the same shit – over and over.
I don’t like being blunt, but the whining at the other end of the phone, Skype session, Webex or whatever-technology-choice-du-jour just comes off as pleading. Painful, desperate pleading.
If you want to differentiate yourself from the rest of the poverty herd, here’s a checklist of what a client really wants from you – directly from a client’s perspective.
Measurable results look like this: 3% sales in the 1st quarter, 5% sales in the 2nd, 7% in the 3rd, and 8% sales in 4th to wrap up the year.
Help your client achieve results like these, and there’s no question of whether they’ll work with you or not. They will – and money won’t even be a consideration at that point.
Speak to me using jargon and industry-laden terminology, and here’s what I’ll do: I’ll be polite and show you the door, or politely excuse myself from the conversation.
And I won’t answer any more of your emails or phone calls.
Your Best Work
This may seem obvious – even insulting – but I guarantee that if I created a survey right now and asked 100 businesses why they stopped working with someone, the overwhelming majority will say the person didn’t do a good job, or didn’t do whatever task was assigned in the first place.
Give up the excuses – they ended in high school.
The only time I look for the lowest cost is when I don’t perceive value.
Hey, I can get anyone to write an article or a press release. There’s a whole globe full of people willing to do the work, and everyone’s charging different rates. I’ll shop by price when I’m not seeing value in choosing you over someone else.
Strong Confidence Levels
Before I hired my very first writer, I did some research. What I found was mind-boggling.
The amount of neuroses writers display is astonishing – I’m floored by the stuff writers do to themselves. There’s impostor syndrome, not-good-enough mental crap, and that’s just the beginning.
It’s appalling… and as a client, it’s to my advantage. I consistently use this information to negotiate rates. In the past 8 years, I’ve never been told no or asked to pay more than what I’m offering.
Now, don’t get uptight. I don’t pay 1$ an article or a penny a word, or anything like that, and the writers I hire are from countries where English is the first and main language. But your lack of confidence has let me rejoice in great rates.
What I’m saying is this: have confidence in your abilities. Writing for money is a business pursuit. You get to decide how and when.
Be Creative; Just Not with My Business
Creative. I love this one: when writers don’t deliver what I asked for, I’m told (with accompanying attitude) it’s because they were being creative. Yes, you sure were, and with my $500!
Look, by all means, be creative with a creative assignment. But when it’s a business assignment, deliver what we agreed upon using the objective checklist and guidelines I provided. Please, and thank you!
Tell Me About Your Emergencies
Look, I know emergencies happen. We live our lives, and crap comes along most often when we don’t want it to.
So communicate with me. Let me know if you had a death in the family, a sick spouse, sick kids or if you feel you might be getting sick. I can relate.
But don’t expect me to be kind or understanding if our pre-determined deadline gets missed and you said nothing about it. And when I do hear from you? It’s for another payment!
Forget the Competition
There is no competition.
That’s right: when it comes to writing – any type of writing – there isn’t any competition. Just for laughs, I tested this theory and asked several fellow business owners if they’ve heard of any of those ‘writing gurus’ that permeate the Internet.
They’d heard of none.
That’s right, these business owners didn’t know any of the so-called ‘writing experts.’ And these folks are well-read; they’re just not reading where you write.
And that’s a good thing. When you contact these business owners, they don’t usually care about where you’ve been featured or who you know or who you hang out with.
They care how your content is going to help their business get promoted. They want to know how that speech is going to influence their peers. They want to know about how they can turn an intangible idea into dollars and relationships.
That’s all they care about. That’s all you should care about.
Stop the brow beating. Stop the neuroses. Stop the whining and the self-deprecation and the image-destroying habits.
Oh, and stop the $30 a day latte habit I see you all talking about online, especially if you’re not earning anything.
Start contacting people who can pay you. Fortune 1000 companies are always – and I mean always – looking for content. Departments like engineering, communications, and sales and marketing are always looking for writers who can get their ideas onto paper in a crisp, concise manner.
Why not make it you who gets hired? Decide how you’ll use your writing talents to create the lifestyle you desire. Make the decision to be confident in your ability.
If you won’t, then who will?