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Thursday, October 13, 2005

How To Be A Freelancer In Demand: Become A Busy Client’s Best Friend

By: Shelley Wake

The best clients are the busy clients. Why? Because they're the ones with successful businesses, so they have enough money to pay you. They're also the ones who are busy enough that they really need you. And they’re the ones who are likely to have ongoing work for you.

They’re also the ones who are the easiest to keep because you know exactly what you need to do to keep them. It’s simple – just make their life easier and save them as much time as possible and they’ll come back.

It may seem like a simple thing, but it will make a big difference to clients. I know because I've spoken to hundreds of clients and have constantly been told how busy they are.

Here's what three clients had to say.

“The Best Freelancer” –Emma, Editor

“The difference between the freelancer I never call again and the freelancer I call on month after month has nothing to do with writing skill. The difference is that the great freelancer gets done exactly what I need done without any hassle. If I can give her the job, forget about it, and know it’ll get done right, it will always go to her first.”

“Make it Easy for Me” -Josef, Business Manager

“I contracted someone to do an ad campaign a few months ago. They started emailing me pictures all the time. “What do you think of this for the ad?” “Could this work?” “Do you like this one?” “Hey, here’s one you’ll like.”

I don’t have time for these constant interruptions. I’m sort of glad they wanted my opinion, but do it right. Research and choose a small selection of suitable ones. Then send me those at the end of the week and ask for me to choose which one will work best. That would have been a good (and business-like) approach.”

“No Time to Waste” -George, Project Manager

“I work with some people who seem to think that the whole thing is fun and games. I sort of understand that to them it might be. They’re sitting at home and maybe time isn’t precious to them. But it is to me.

I don’t have time for long phone calls. I don’t have time to read long and detailed emails. I definitely don’t have time to read long emails where you describe how you approached the project and why you liked completing it. If it’s not on topic, I don’t need to hear it. And if it is on topic, it’s still best to keep it short and to the point.”

Making it Easy for Clients

Making a client's life easy is simple to do. All you have to do is remember that the client is busy every time you contact them and think about how you can make it easier for them. Here's a good example for a freelancer who was asked to send a brief overview stating the angle and content of the article.

First Example of Brief to Client

After a lot of thought and research, I have decided that the angle of the article will focus on effective ways of trading shares on a budget. I plan to cover three main topics. These will be new floats, low-cost shares, and how to reduce trading costs.

Second Example of Brief to Client

Angle: Trading Shares on a Budget

Content:

  • New floats
  • Low-cost shares
  • Reducing trading costs

Both examples communicate the same meaning. But the example with headings and bullets is much easier to read. The busy client can learn exactly what they need to know with little more than a glance. It also has a more professional and organized look and so creates a better impression of you.

And as a final added bonus, the easiest way for the client is also the easiest and quickest way for you. So, you win a little extra time and quite possibly a long-term client.

A Final Tip

Remember that if clients seem rushed, they probably are. If clients seem stressed, they probably are. Don’t think of it as a bad thing – think of it as a great opportunity.

If you can be one of the people that makes life easier and takes away some of the stress, you’ve got yourself a client that is likely to pay you well and pay you often. And that’s what a successful freelancer needs to succeed.

About The Author: Shelley Wake is the editor of Winning Freelance Work, What Clients Want, and Where’s My Whale? The Complete Guide to Catching Killer Clients. Shelley and her team of researchers interviewed hundreds of clients for these books and found out exactly what it takes to win great projects and great clients. Link: http://www.writingstuff.com/books1.html

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