Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Good Clients, Bad Clients and Life Lessons

I'm approaching my one year anniversary for being a full time freelance writer and I must say, this year has taught me a lot about this business. I am looking forward to seeing where I'll be at in a year from now, with all that much more experience under my belt and hopefully some more dosh under the mattress.

I've seen good clients and bad clients. I've also had one impossible to please example that taught me a bit about not letting rejection knock the wind out of your sail. I'm fairly lucky and have had pretty good luck so far for the most part. Most people I've worked for have treated me fairly and paid me and some have even taught me a thing or two.

I work for several clients and think I've done a good job of diversifying my income sources. This is an evolving process as I'm hoping to replace some of my low paying jobs for better paying jobs or at least have enough coming in to give me the option of turning down jobs if they don't appeal to me.

Good client: I work for an agency that supplies me with lots of work and who always pays promptly. I even got paid once in advance on a significantly large job when I got into a jam because of the trust I've built with this company. While the work doesn't always pay the best, the relationship is important as is the reliability and trust.

Bad client: I worked for someone that not only messed me about but messed about the agency I worked for when I referred them to one another, thinking I was helping two clients. That was a hard thing because I feel responsible for the loss felt by the agency and am hoping that the money will be recaptured. The bad client is definitely someone that will reap what they sow. I have no doubt about that.

Bad client: I worked for a company that paid great rates and even paid almost double for rush orders over Christmas. They were great for the first few months and then fell upon hard times so the writers are being paid last. At first I was very understanding but that proved to be fruitless when it came right down to it. I have had to resort to putting them on credit hold because not only are they not paying me but they're also not communicating with me. I clearly had to explain to them that ignoring my e-mails wasn't going to get them more work from me and for the first time, withheld work. How that will pan out remains to be seen but I'm learning a lot about knowing when to cut my losses. I had to look past the fact that the rates were great and realize it doesn't matter how great the invoice looks if it remains in your open file.

Life lesson: I've devoted time to projects thinking they'd take off and had them disappoint me because the people running them are scatterbrained and running in too many directions at once to be organized. I've also had people try to talk me into doing things for free and have learned to recognize that I need to either learn from it or earn from it. If I'm not doing one of the two, I'm not doing it!

Life lesson: I've learned to see through some people who try to appear to be gurus or experts but are really sales pitching everyone around them. It's taught me that you can't fake it for too long. Smart people will eventually see through everything. I've never tried to fake it and am glad I'm smart enough to see who is.

Good Client & Life lesson:
I've started to develop a great new working relationship with a person I really respect and who I know I'll have a very symbiotic relationship with. This person is someone I hope to build a solid working relationship with and believe that I can learn a lot as well as have a lot to offer in return. I'm learning who I should align myself with based on many factors.

All in all:
So far it's been a good experience and I'm learning a lot about the publishing industry, about Web 2.0, SEO and about the importance and various ways of self promoting yourself enough that you can elevate your success significantly.
I'm learning, I'm earning and best of all, I'm writing


BloggingWriter said...

Sounds like you have learned a lot this year, Dana. I wonder if your bad client is the same as mine. I have one client who paid very well but now is several weeks late with my payment. They had the nerve to ask for more work, too, which I refused, and they are not responding to my emails.

I am increasing my bidding rate in the hope of attracting better paying work. Since I know I can get the low paid work with ease, I am now pricing myself where I would like to be. It only takes one client to say yes to improve my cash flow.

Good luck with moving up the ladder. I'll be following your journey with interest.

Dana Prince said...

Sharon, Your portfolio looks great, your website is well ranked and you have a professional image so I bet raising your rate will definitely work.

When people see that they can get awesome work dirt cheap, of course they'll take it. I would bet money that you'll do very well with raised rates as well because the quality is there.

As for the bad clients, it's unfortunate. It took a lot of pondering for me to hold back a project. Either it will tell them I mean business or that will be the end of the relationship and maybe that'll be better in the long run. It's been a learning experience, that's for sure!

Sun Singer said...

What a busy year. It's a learning extension of everything you knew before the year began. It will be interesting to see another post 12 months from now to hear how high you are flying.